A dying physicist attempts to get a message to a returning spacecraft. Lop-sided though well-meant SF drama, an adaptation of Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. The story’s wafer-thin, so has to resort to tickbox genre jeopardy done better elsewhere. A shame, as there’s a fine, quiet drama here somewhere.
1983: a Soviet cosmonaut returns to Earth harbouring a parasite. Very watchable Alien/Quatermass Experiment hybrid, balancing SF horror with a developing romance and a modernist visual sensibility. Doesn’t add much to what we’ve seen before, perhaps, but distinctive in feel and look nevertheless.
A progressive newspaper columnist with a book due turns to murder to quell online trolls. Sprightly yet deadpan black comedy horror, exploring the impacts of internet bullying, the limits of free speech, and the rapaciousness of publishing. Plenty of dark fun to be had, and some neat asides about writing along the way.
A last-ditch effort to restart the Sun through deploying a nuclear device goes awry. Handsome though derivative SF that can’t decide if it’s an arthouse piece or a mainstream thriller. In trying to be both, and in quoting from Alien, 2001, 2010, Silent Running, Event Horizon, Dark Star and others along the way, it struggles for clarity and distinctiveness.
An alien civilisation makes a series of contacts with life on Earth; one provokes a space mission. Still-extraordinary piece of mainstream SF with philosophical ambitions, plus a technical marvel. Essential viewing, even if it remains impenetrable to some.
A space station tasked with saving the Earth from energy crisis is transported to a parallel dimension. Good-looking, well-cast, but dumb-as-rocks sidequel to Cloverfield / 10 Cloverfield Lane that steals indiscriminately (Gravity to Evil Dead II) but can’t settle in terms of tone or logic.
A deep-space vessel malfunctions; a passenger wakes from cryosleep 90 years early. Odd SF flick which initially plays interestingly with The Shining in space, only to default to creepy romance mode which doesn’t work at all; Act 3 shows evidence of much surgery.
Bond investigates stolen spacecraft so he can avert a nuclear war. Fifth in the franchise and the cracks are starting to show. Connery is jaded, and the Roald Dahl script is awkwardly dated at best. Impressive production design and a couple of neat directorial moments lift some of the tiredness.
The first manned mission to Mars goes awry. Straightforward SF disaster/bodycount movie with the usual nods (astronaut called Bowman etc), though more contrivances than usual. Seriously, guys, don’t take a robot with its “military” mode enabled.