Adventures in Sci-Fi (Part 4)
Into the 21st Century
I'm that age in which the 90s seem "only a few years ago" which means that most of the films here I consider "new" despite some (looking at you Pitch Black) are twenty years old.The one thing that stands out as I added films from this era is the number of "indie" films. Pitch Black, Sunshine, Moon, and The Signal could not have been made before the 2000s where CG became "cheap" to the detriment of Visual Effects Houses such as Rhythm and Hues Studio which filed for bankruptcy two weeks before winning an Oscar for their work on Life of Pi.
Part I: The Before Times; the 60's & 70's
Part II: The Awesome 80's
Part III: The 90's; Bigger & Badder
Part IV: Into the 21st Century
Pitch Black (2000)
Director: David Twohy (The Arrival, A Perfect Getaway)
Starring: Vin Deisel, Keith David
Summary: After crash landing on a planet that is nearly always in a state of perpetual daytime, the passengers and crew face danger when darkness does come.
Fun Fact: The hot desert was in fact about 50 degree F. "Sweat" was sprayed on the actors
The Fountain (2006)
Director: Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, Noah)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz
Summary: A surreal mix of three stories in which men, played by Jackman, seek eternity with the women (played by Weisz) they love.
Fun Fact: The director chose micro-photography over CG Effects
Director: Danny Boyle (28 Days Later..., Trainspotting, Steve Jobs)
Starring: Chris Evans, Cillian Murphy, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michelle Yeoh
Summary: A small crew is on a mission to detonate a bomb to reignite a dying Sun.
Fun Fact: The space suit helmets' design is inspired by Kenny, from South Park.
District 9 (2009)
Director: Niell Blomkamp (Elysium, Chappie)
Starring: Sharlto Copley
Summary: A documentary-style film exploring xenophobia, racism, and humanity in South Africa after millions of illegal (space) aliens seek refuge there.
Fun Fact: Produced with a budget of $30 million. By comparison, Avatar was released the same year with a budget of $425 million.
Director: Duncan Jones (Source Code, Mute, Warcraft)
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey
Summary: Sam Bell nears the end of his three-year contract working alone on the Moon with his computer companion GERTY, sending a vital resource back to Earth.
Fun Fact: Kevin Spacey, who voiced the computer GERTY, agreed to join the project only if he could see the film first and liked it.
Director: Nimród Antal (Armored, The Whiskey Bandit)
Starring: Adrien Brodyk, Laurence Fishburne, Topher Grace
Summary: A group of elite warriors from around the globe find themselves hunted in an unfamiliar jungle.
Fun Fact: I'll take crap for this selection. Though I thoroughly enjoy both Predator and Predator 2, I actually like Predators best of the series.
Director: Christopher Nolan (Dark Knight, Dunkirk, Memento)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy
Summary: A heist film with a twist. Instead of hitting a bank, the team is breaking into the mind using dreams.
Fun Fact: Tom Hardy was hired based on his role in 'RocknRolla' in 2008
Ender's Game (2013)
Director: Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Eye in the Sky)
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford
Summary: Based on the novel byOrson Scott Card. The world's gifted children are enrolled in a military academy with the goal of saving the world from an invading species.
Fun Fact: The novel is required reading for U.S. Marine Corps officers as it teaches "lessons in training methodology, leadership, and ethics."
Director: Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy)
Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough
Summary: Jack is a Technician assigned to extracting the last resources from a doomed Earth. After a ship crashes, he finds things are not exactly as they appear.
Fun Fact: Based on an unpublished graphic novel by Joseph Kosinski.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Director: Doug Liman (Swingers, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Jumper)
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton
Summary: Loosely based on the novel 'All You Need Is Kill' by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Bill Cage is a public relations officer who finds himself in the middle of the fight. When things go poorly, he finds himself doing it all over again.
Fun Fact: The director wanted to do the film to watch Tom Cruise play a character who was bad at what they do.
The Signal (2014)
Director: William Eubank (Love, Underwater)
Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke, Beau Knapp
Summary: Three friends take a road trip together, when they encounter something strange. Nic wakes to find himself in a strange research facility.
Fun Fact: USA Today wrote: "Had Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch made a movie together, it might have looked somthing like 'The Signal'"
The Martian (2015)
Director: Ridley Scott (Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, Thelma & Louise)
Starring: Matt Damon
Summary: Based on the novel by Andy Weir. During a storm, astronaut Mark Watney is mistakenly left behind on the surface of Mars, where he must find a way to survive alone.
Fun Fact: The author of the book, Weir, published one chapter at a time online for free. After making a Kindle edition available at 99 cents (the miniumum price) it quickly sold 35,000 copies and gained the attention of publishers and movie studios.
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