Is there a blog that will tell me what sci-fi movies to see in theater?
May 21, 2013 12:11 PM   Subscribe

Can you please suggest a blog or resource that will tell me what under-the-radar science fiction movies I should go see?

I did not like the new star trek movie. Hollywood will keep making mass-marketed movies as long as I keep going to see them. But I don't know what else to see.

I'm hoping for a blog that cares about how hard the science is and how strong the plot is.
posted by rebent to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: one addition: I'm not looking for a list of "These movies are the best sci fi ever" so much as "These movies are better than the michael bay / jj abrams action movies that coincidentally happen in space or with comic book characters."
posted by rebent at 12:30 PM on May 21, 2013

I can't think of a blog that tries to be specifically discerning and exclude all of the mass market stuff, but Sci Fi Reviewed has links to Europa Report and Upstream Color -- both of which I think are quite good "below the radar" sci fi films.
posted by bl1nk at 1:27 PM on May 21, 2013

This might be obvious, but for movies in theaters, Rotten Tomatoes has a science fiction & fantasy category you can just browse in tomato meter order.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 1:29 PM on May 21, 2013

Badass Digest?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:48 PM on May 21, 2013

Best answer: I don't know of a continuing source, but there have been a couple of round-ups recently of the genre stuff that's in the pipeline:

A New Era of Sci-Fi is Upon Us - Looking Ahead to Worlds That Await

77 Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies to Watch Out For in 2013

And for streaming:

18 great sci-fi movies you can watch right now on Netflix Instant

(Anyway, those three are all sites worth following for more of the same.)

In general I feel that hard sf, as hard as many readers like it, doesn't work well for the movie format and I'm resigned to that as a rule. That doesn't mean there aren't interesting things to be done with the genre, but quite a bit of it is still going to be visually and action oriented, even the stuff that looks more interesting and political than is typical Hollywood fare of late, such as Elysium. And even there a discerning reader of SF can see that the basic ideas at work in the narrative trace directly back to Huxley and Wells. So as much as I'd love to see a flowering of more technically sober SF films, I don't know that there's any way for them to get made given the current model of funding and audience discovery.

I think what I'm really holding out for is something like a House of Cards/Sopranos/The Wire extended-narrative form. You could argue that it's already here in, say, Hemlock Grove, but I'm just not a fan of horror despite recognizing it as the third leg of the SF-fantasy stool. I feel this would allow for more exploration of ideas, whereas the movie form seems to require such urgency and necessity that the stakes are way too high for many potential stories to attain.

Well, sorry, a bit of a tangent there. But I recommend looking for indie films and off-the-radar material as you're doing. When you find something that's a keeper, like Blomkamp's District 9, look for their next project.

A recent example that I thought worked well as both a genre tale(?), a human story, and an ideas movie was Safety Not Guaranteed. A very serious and thoughtful film that had few-to-zero special effects (at least in the usual sense) was Never Let Me Go. There are filmmakers who incorporate genre elements in what are actually literary and philosophical movies, such as Melancholia. Because of the way he handled the fantasy world of Pan's Labyrinth, I'm allowing myself to look forward to a more interesting treatment of the blockbuster genre by Guillermo del Toro in Pacific Rim.

But with the numbers of projects listed up above, I don't think you need to worry about having material, it's more about picking it. No, you're not limited to big-studio tentpole blockbusters, which even when done well have a soullessness to them. But you may need to relax your "hardness" standards if you want to find interesting options.
posted by dhartung at 3:25 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite] might be sort of what you are looking for. They cover a lot of different things, but their movie coverage seems to be pretty extensive. I feel like they are always very clear about what kind of movie something is - big on fancy expolsions, low on plot or something more interesting or indepth. Though I haven't read what they thought about the new Star Trek.
posted by Sabby at 11:12 AM on May 22, 2013

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