A near-future fascistic USA is focused on an annual cross-continent murderous road race. Scattershot but sprightly, this exploitation effort (a Rollerball mockbuster) juggles media satire, cartoony splatter, 1984 riff, and car-chase comedy. Full of ideas, though, and hugely influential. A remake – spawning several DTV sequels – followed.
An average soldier wakes from cryosleep to find himself the cleverest man in 26th-century America. Shambolic but consistently funny satire, held together by an intrusive voiceover and weakened a little for sometimes mistaking sneering at the working class for satirising commercialised stupidity.
A girl with pyrokinetic powers is on the run from the authorities. Perfunctory second adaptation of the Stephen King novel, unsure quite what to do with the source material. At its best, it apes the previous version, no classic itself. A throbbing John Carpenter score helps some.
A Los Angeles horse trainer thinks his ranch is home to a UFO. Splendid SF parable, playing with all sorts from Hollywood lives to obsession with spectacle and fame via an M Night Shyamalan-ish genre pastiche. Loads to appreciate, both on first and (especially) repeated viewings. Recommended.
A space ranger tries to rectify the error marooning his vessel and crew. Contrived Toy Story spinoff – purportedly the film spurring merchandise – that starts well and looks great throughout, hampered with a stupid plot reveal. Also, Buzz here isn’t the toy character. Some good gags and shoutouts, but an empty movie nevertheless.
1719: a young Commanche woman determined to become a hunter combats an alien presence. Smart, thrilling riff on the Disney/Pixar princess archetype: this is Brave or Moana meets Apocalypto, basically. A lean, effective thrill ride blending action, gore, and character-focused storytelling well, with a few neat nods to the wider Predator franchise.
A computer games designer discovers he’s in a simulation. Meta belated sequel with some fun ideas about reboots, too much clumsy cod philosophy, and plenty of decent performances. However, poor action staging, awkward recasting of key roles, and weak storytelling undo good intentions.
A conspiracist discovers the moon is on a collision course with Earth. Cheerfully shambolic SF disaster flick, cribbing from across the genre from Contact to The Core as well as from the director’s back catalogue. A sturdy cast of B-listers helps, with John Bradley being especially good value.
A desert planet with a fabled resource is given new custodians: a messiah figure may be among them. Impressive if slightly po-faced partial adaptation (Part Two is to come) of the Frank Herbert allegorical SF classic. Takes its time: the pacing is televisual rather than cinematic. However, it looks great, and a good cast plays to their strengths.