M.L. Miller aka the @$$hole formerly known as Ambush Bug here! Sprouting from the success of the Best of the Best in Horror Countdown that ran all last month, I thought we would Countdown the Best of the Best in Sci Fi in 2017. Since my area of expertise is horror, I have enlisted my buddy Matt Adler to come up with the Top Ten Sci Fi films of 2017. Along with Matt’s picks for the top ten, I will be adding a pick of my own that is worth noting. Many of these films are available On Demand, digital download, or on DVD/BluRay and when I can, I’ll try to link to them at the top of the reviews.
As far as how the list was compiled? Well, Matt will explain in each of the review why he thinks this film is worthy of the countdown and why it is where it is in the list. For me, I am simply going to offer lesser known suggestions that may not be blockbusters, but they pack a big sci fi punch despite all of that. Any film released after November 1st, 2016 is game for the list. Look for new countdown entries every Monday, Wednesday and Friday through November.
So let’s get to it! Chime in after the article and let us know what you think of the films, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong we are, and most importantly, come up with your own list…let’s go!
#10 GHOST IN THE SHELL #10
GHOST IN THE SHELL (2017)
Directed by Rupert Sanders
Written by Jamie Moss, William Wheeler, Ehren Kruger (screenplay, based on the comic “The Ghost in the Shell” by Shirow Masamune)
Starring Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt, Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara, Tawanda Manyimo, Peter Ferdinando, Anamaria Marinca
Find out more about this film here, @GhostInTheShellMovie, and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Matt Adler
The controversy looming over this film– that of Hollywood’s tendency to eliminate the few available roles for non-white actors by casting white actors in traditionally non-white roles– is legitimate. But if you look past the politics to the substance of the film, there’s a lot to appreciate here.
Everyone knows Scarlett Johansson is a brilliant actress, and she brings every ounce of that talent to the role of Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg with emotional conflicts to rival any full-blooded human. She emotes– boy does she emote– and her non-verbal performance is equal to the words written for her to speak. Not to mention how sumptuous the movie is on a visual level; you won’t be able to take your eyes off a frame.
It’s not a perfect film, and it may disappoint hardcore fans of the original, in that it doesn’t strive for absolute faithfulness. But it does have a lot going for it as a cinematic endeavor. So while I do hope that Hollywood addresses its serious ongoing issues of race and representation, I would urge people not to hold it against a film that is, on its own merits, a treat to watch.
aka PROJECT LAZARUS
Directed by Mateo Gil
Written by Mateo Gil
Starring Tom Hughes, Charlotte Le Bon, Oona Chaplin, Barry Ward, Julio Perillán, Rafael Cebrián, Bruno Sevilla, Alex Hafner, Godeliv Van den Brandt, Daniel Horvath, Melina Matthews, Efrain Anglès, Saras Gil, Nikol Kollars, Angelo Olivier, Karina Matas Piper, Mark Schardan, Yone Sosa, Maarten Swaan, Alexandra Szucs, Johanna Wallmeier
Find out more about this film here @RealiveMovie and on Facebook here
Reviewed by M. L. Miller
REALIVE is a soulful retelling of the story of Frankenstein and his Monster through the eyes of the monster himself as a man with terminal cancer is cryogenically frozen and revived 50 years in the future.
When an artist named Mark (Tom Hughes) is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he decides to go an unconventional route and cryogenically freeze himself in hopes that technology of the future will be able to find a cure. His on again/off again girlfriend Naomi (TABOO’s Oona Chaplin) is appalled by this idea and hates the idea of losing him. Still, Mark goes through with the process and through future technology which replaces subpar parts with newly grown organs and mechanical stabilizers, Mark becomes the very first Revived Man. Weak and fragile like a newborn, Mark struggles to build his bones and get used to his new body, all the while he is remembering what it was like to be truly alive in his previous life. The longer Mark lives in this new life, the longer he wonders if he truly is alive at all. When plans are made to bring back a mate for Mark, he doesn’t wish this struggle onto anyone else and makes plans to foil the plans of his doctor, Victor West (Barry Ward). Meanwhile, Mark’s nurse Elizabeth (Charlotte Le Bon) has formed a bond with Mark that tempts her to help Mark in his plans.
So yeah, two of the characters are named Victor and Elizabeth, so you’d better bet this is a Frankenstein story. And REALIVE really does mesh the classic tale with the technology of tomorrow pretty well. Mark is more machine than man as a large portion of his body has been genetically reproduced or mechanically supported and he even refers to himself as a “monster” when he suffers this crisis of conscience. The difference is that instead of having an “Abby Normal” brain, Mark has a brain that functions quite well and he is able to have these philosophical debates with himself, Elizabeth and Victor. This raises the film to an intellectual level that is rarely spoken and only eluded to on most FRANKENSTEIN stories. And compared to films like SHARKNADO, it raises the bar on ScyFy-style films as well.
Light on horror, there is a quite terrifying sequence where Mark finds out about previous participants in the Realive Process that is absolutely horrifying. Seeing these people, frozen with hopes of being revived and healed being treated as guinea pigs is going to be enough to make anyone wince. Still, the true horror is the moral ones at play in REALIVE, as we are taken through the entire process through Mark’s soulful narration, recalling his past, walking us through his painful present, and inevitably telling us the future is very bleak. The shocker of an ending really does pack an emotional punch. REALIVE is one of the most intelligent and soulful retellings of FRANKENSTEIN to happen in a long time. It’s a film worth seeking out if you’re a fan of medical horror, sci fi, and tales of the human soul. Equal parts a Frankenstein nightmare as it is a celebration of human life and a message to cherish every moment, REALIVE is a truly special type of film that resonates across genres.
THE COUNTDOWN SO FAR…
#10 – GHOST IN THE SHELL
M.L. Miller goes by many names—Ambush Bug, Mark L. Miller, hey you jerk over there! He’s an original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow Mark on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.
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