‘To come true’
Stream it on Hulu.
At one point in Anthony Scott Burns’ deeply disturbing film, a character brings to mind influential science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. It’s a daunting landmark to set, especially because the film explores one of Dick’s favorite subjects: the porous boundaries of reality. Surprisingly, “Come True” is up to the challenge.
Teenage Sarah (the elf, magnetic Julia Sarah Stone) tries to live a normal life despite being so estranged, for unknown reasons, from her mother that she has chosen to be homeless. Enrolling in a sleep study can help solve two of Sarah’s problems at once: finding a bed on a semi-regular basis and figuring out why she’s plagued by nightmares – the film’s elaborate dreamscapes are absolutely terrifying.
“Come True” borrows from science fiction, psychological drama and horror to send viewers on a journey to the outer limits of the unconscious. He bravely refuses simple explanations, or even providing a general road map – it’s as slippery and disorienting as a dream. This, of course, is only a slight reflection of the hell Sarah is going through, but it creates a constant state of dread in the viewer; At its best, “Come True” is reminiscent of Jonathan Glazer’s cult favorite “Under the Skin.” And the final blow will make your head spin.
Let’s put one thing aside: for the most part, Lisa Joy’s feature debut as a director wasn’t met with positive reviews.
But watching “Reminiscence” — which Joy, co-creator of the “Westworld” series, also wrote — with an open mind suggests a misunderstanding about the nature of the film.
Set in a futuristic Miami half-flooded by rising waters, the film has a tough exterior: Hugh Jackman’s Nick Bannister is a brooding investigator whose specialty is time rather than space. He and his associate, Watts Sanders (Thandiwe Newton), help people find and relive their memories, however overwhelmed they may be.
But if you’re expecting futuristic noir or a sci-fi parable about climate change, you’re bound to be disappointed: “Reminiscence” is a romance, even if it’s set in a soggy world. He’s entirely preoccupied with Nick’s obsession with Mae (Rebecca Ferguson), a sultry singer plying her trade in joints from Miami to New Orleans. He can’t stop thinking about her and his all-consuming obsession is to find her. Rather, the film sits at the unexpected center of a Venn diagram combining Alfred Hitchcock’s surreal exploration of the psychoanalytic unconscious, “Spellbound,” and Nicholas Sparks’ stories of fervent love. Simple thriller scenes aren’t that effective, but those dealing with the crushing weight of love are.
A little housekeeping: There are many movies named “Coma”, so be sure to search for the recent Russian movie. And if you prefer subtitles to the ubiquitous English dub, head over to the free streaming version (with commercial breaks) on IMDb TV.
Not that dialogue is all that important in Nikita Argunov’s film, which often looks like an MC Escher drawing come to life from CGI.
One day, a ragtag group of cool-looking strangers save Viktor (Rinal Mukhametov) from menacing creatures that appear to be made of black dust. His new friends take Viktor to safety in a universe where the laws of physics don’t apply – whole pieces of buildings float upside down, bridges levitate in the sky and connect aerial islands. It’s a world made up of what goes on in the heads of people who are in a coma, a fantastic reality that seems unfinished because it is based on the partial consciousness of these collective brains. (Obviously, inner space replaces outer space in this week’s column.)
Although it sounds complicated like “Tenet”, the movie has a certain playfulness that defies the highfalutin concept. The visuals can sometimes lack some depth, but the 2D feel has a distinctly fun old-school appeal, as if the actors are squirming around painted backdrops. Additionally, many of the scenes boil down to the group trying to escape these peeves, known as the Reapers. Sometimes all you need is a good chase scene, even if it’s upside down.
This rambling British indie is streaming for free on Vudu with commercial breaks, giving you seconds to grab a drink and solve an existential mystery: how can a filmmaker create such precise mood and craft such accomplished sets, and at At the same time tolerate such a nonchalant approach, to say the least, to acting?
Five movies to watch this winter
Police officer Zoe Norris (Katherine Drake, stubborn with a blank expression and a monotonous tone) is not particularly happy to be sent to deal with a suicide, but the situation she finds in a house isolated is even more difficult than expected. Naturally, communications cut off, as they usually do when visitors from somewhere other than Earth come to visit.
Yes, we’ve seen variations on that premise dozens of times, but writer-director Neil Rowe handles his own well, especially given what must have been a microscopic budget. Rowe has a keen eye and delivers impressive visual compositions of austerity. The first half of the film also moves with the economical grace of a good 1970s B-movie, which is selective praise.
As we catch sight of mysterious, extremely tall humanoids roaming the rural landscape, rattling their army of spider-like metal robots, we realize that it’s humans who are causing the most damage: the title outbreak refers to a suicide epidemic.
Rowe gets out on his skis a bit when he digs deeper into the plot, but he still manages to summon a few shocks, including a barn scene that’s ridiculous and affects everything all at once. I’m not entirely sure I understood the ending, but it certainly made my head spin.
“The Gate of Summer”
Stream it on Netflix.
Sci-fi can be pretty dark these days: Writing this column often means down dark paths littered with extinction events, pandemics, technologies running amok, and what happens when the sun threatens to destroy humanity. So it’s a relief when levity comes knocking, especially if an adorable cat is involved.
The feline’s name is Pete and he’s a staple in Takahiro Miki’s faithful adaptation of a 1956 Robert Heinlein novel of the same name. This Japanese film, which is streaming on Netflix, actually has two key characters named Pete: the cat and an android, PETE-13, who takes care of robotics genius Soichiro (Kento Yamazaki, from the Netflix sci-fi series “Alice in Borderland”) when he wakes up in 2025 after having spent 30 years in cryogenic sleep. Soichiro struggles to understand what happened to the people he knew in the decades that followed – those he loved and those who betrayed him.
All that, and there’s also time travel.
Admittedly, the film takes its time to set the plot in motion in the opening scenes, which are set in 1995 – there’s a fine line between smooth and slow pace. But it all pays off once the passive Soichiro begins to take a more active part in his own destiny.
Miki has a light touch when it comes to what is, essentially, a decade-hopping romance, and the artfully disheveled Yamazaki makes for an enticing lead worth rooting for.