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!
#6 ALIEN: COVENANT #6
ALIEN: COVENANT (2017)
Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Jack Paglen, Michael Green, John Logan, Dante Harper
Starring Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Amy Seimetz, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby, Uli Latukefu, Tess Haubrich, Lorelei King, James Franco, Guy Pearce, Noomi Rapace
Find out more about this film here, @alienanthology, and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Matt Adler
I know a lot of you were disappointed by PROMETHEUS. I was too. While it provided answers to some long-standing questions and posed some interesting new ones, ultimately it just lacked the oomph of the first ALIEN film and its sequel, ALIENS. I am, however, pleased to report that with ALIEN COVENANT, Ridley Scott recovers from that awkward start and really delivers a film that captures the best of the franchise.
This film is legitimately scary. Like, edge of your seat, grab the person next to you kind of scary. It almost belongs on the horror list. But it also brings the thinking man’s sci-fi that Ridley Scott is known for, and in doing so, manages to blend the disparate elements that have made this series so successful.
Michael Fassbender. Need I say more? Oh, alright. Playing not one, but two androids, he brilliantly threads the needle by establishing completely different personas for these unnerving and not-quite-human characters, despite their similar backgrounds. Seriously, this is an Academy Award level performance, though we all know the Academy’s bias against genre films makes a nomination highly unlikely.
Nevertheless, this is much more than just a genre film, as it combines essential questions on the nature of creation with gripping action, and some truly horrifying sequences featuring the aliens you know and fear. I look forward to seeing where Scott takes the franchise from here.
COUNTER CLOCKWISE (2016)
Directed by George Moïse
Written by Michael Kopelow, Walter Moise, George Moïse
Starring Michael Kopelow, Devon Ogden, Kerry Knuppe, Bruno Amato, Robert Renderos, Kyle Rickard, Cleo Antonelli, Frank Simms, Brad Bishop, Chip Bolcik, Aaron Bowden, Caleb Brown, Alice Rietveld, Joy Rinaldi, Steven Synstelien, Alex Vaiangina
Reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug
A one eyed dog, a big ginger dude (I can say this because, I too am a big ginger dude), and a teleporter/slash time machine make up a truly kooky little film called COUNTER CLOCKWISE.
Michael Kopelow plays Ethan, a big brain trying to figure out the kinks in his teleportation machine. But when he thinks he has mastered it, he decides to use his dog as a test subject as the first traveler and ends up sending him a few hours into the future instead. But before he can understand that, he tries the procedure on himself and ends up twisting and turning in an infinite loop filled with murder, hitmen who like to hug, deception, and guys who don’t like to wash their hands after pissing.
First and foremost, FUCK YOU, MR. MOVIE, FOR TESTING YOUR TELEPORTER OUT ON YOUR DOG!!! Did you not watch THE FLY II? The poor little one eyed dog is about as lovable as they come and sure Ethan and his lab partner are upset when they lose him, but still, you just don’t test on animals, especially man’s best friends!
Now that that tirade is over, I can calm down and tell you all that this is a clever and quirky little gem of a film. Done on a modest budget with no name stars and no big effects, COUNTER CLOCKWISE relies on telling a complex, but utterly followable story of a man lost in time trying to solve a mystery. Kopelow is not your typical leading man as he is a burly, balding, ginger with thick glasses, but dammit if he isn’t relatable and does a fantastic job of being the central hub with which this murder mystery rotates around. Following multiple time-lost versions of him self through the story and trying not to explode the continuum a la TIMECOP, Kopelow is convincing as he frantically tries to put everything together and fix this mess he’s gotten himself in and is believable and likable in doing so all the way through in a Louis CK meets Brian Posehn sort of way. This film is kind of like RUN LOLA RUN, except with a tall, balding, glasses wearing ginger taking the place of Franka Potente.
COUNTER CLOCKWISE is the type of ground level sci fi I can get behind. The time travel never gets so complex that it makes my brain scratch and there are enough moments of humanity that really allow you to connect with Ethan’s plight. Filled with odd characters such as a guy who is really excited about drinking from a water fountain and a hitman who is both overly affectionate and polite, but also a necrophile, this film never follows the path well traveled. Instead it tells a unique story of bent physics and bloody murder with a stiff-armed running ginger desperately trying to put his life back together. If you’re looking for something outside the norm, COUNTER CLOCKWISE is a low fi sci fi flick that fits the bill nicely.
THE COUNTDOWN SO FAR…
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