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Diana Hignutt
08-22-2015, 07:53 PM
Eight days ago, I stumbled on a list of the 25 best Science Fiction Films of the 21st Century:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/the-25-best-sci-fi-films-of-the-century-so-far-20150507

I started watching the films from first on down (I have a meager entertainment budget) so, I've only seen the #1 and #2 (and Under the Skin) so far. (though I've seen most of the films before, I hadn't see a fair number).

Also, here's another list from Rolling Stone:

http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/lists/the-top-20-sci-fi-films-of-the-21st-century-20140515

Once I watch all the top contenders either for the first time or again, I'll post my list. Care to play along. I can't argue with Children of Men for the #1 spot, and I'm still digesting Upstream Color...

Calla Lily
08-22-2015, 08:26 PM
I read through that list and while I agree with most of the picks, I'm not subjecting myself to some of them, or rewatching some. Children of Men, especially. Brilliant, well-acted & directed on every possible level, and so f'ing depressing I wanted to crawl into a dark closet and never come out. The pivotal scene when the battle simply stops as soon as the soldiers hear the baby cry made *me* cry. And I loved the scene where the landlady clocked the bad guy with a giant bone when he tried to steal the baby. But seriously: This woman and her baby were headed for a lifetime of medical experimentation, you just know it. Ick, ick, ick.

Sunshine, however--so weird and good.

Introversion
08-23-2015, 05:43 AM
Eight days ago, I stumbled on a list of the 25 best Science Fiction Films of the 21st Century:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/the-25-best-sci-fi-films-of-the-century-so-far-20150507

Can't say "Interstellar" would go on my "Best of" list, nor "Ex Machina", nor "Snowpiercer", but there were some titles on there I hadn't heard of that I'll probably try to find on Netflix, so: Thanks!

C.bronco
08-23-2015, 05:48 AM
Planet of the Apes
I would have to put that first, but that was 20th.

Diana Hignutt
08-23-2015, 06:27 PM
I read through that list and while I agree with most of the picks, I'm not subjecting myself to some of them, or rewatching some. Children of Men, especially. Brilliant, well-acted & directed on every possible level, and so f'ing depressing I wanted to crawl into a dark closet and never come out. The pivotal scene when the battle simply stops as soon as the soldiers hear the baby cry made *me* cry. And I loved the scene where the landlady clocked the bad guy with a giant bone when he tried to steal the baby. But seriously: This woman and her baby were headed for a lifetime of medical experimentation, you just know it. Ick, ick, ick.

Sunshine, however--so weird and good.

You are under no obligation to watch all these movies, but discussion is invited.

On #1 : Children of Men. I found it, indeed, bleak. Bleaker than Snowpiercer but not as bleak as that accursed A.I. which I find relentlessly depressing. But, at the same time, I found it very hopeful. I found clues of meaning and perhaps spirituality in that: SPOILERS: Theo's animal charisma, every single animal trusts him. Also, how everyone Theo loves dies all carrying on the project the woman he loved started...and ultimately Theo gives his all for the newborn and mother. Now, in fairness, I was despairing that the boat would come, and was so relieved that I didn't think it through as far as you did. But Theo trusted Julie, and it validated everything they did, and his father's beliefs...so maybe we, the audience should trust her judgement in the goodness of the Human Project. It's a simple faith that humanity can be good, as exemplified by Theo throughout the film and by the powerful cease fire scene. In the end, maybe humanity was (and by extension is) worth saving.

Diana Hignutt
08-23-2015, 06:30 PM
Planet of the Apes
I would have to put that first, but that was 20th.

First? Wow. Well, I'll be getting there. I saw it on a plane flight back from France last year with a lot on my mind. I'll be looking forward to it. Which is that? Rise of Dawn? The second of the new one's right? (not counting the semi-dreadful Burton version).

Calla Lily
08-23-2015, 07:03 PM
Diana, I see your points. I may be skewed because I find all of PD James relentlessly depressing.

Corsairs
08-23-2015, 09:05 PM
The Indiewire list is pretty good, though it rates some more artsy sci-fi films higher than I would while downplaying the more mainstream ones (Inception in particular, which probably should be in the top 3).

It's kind of hard to take the Rolling Stone list seriously with the inclusion of Reign of Fire, Attack the Block, and Cloverfield, but I won't argue with their one-two punch of Inception and Children of Men at the top (though I'd have reversed their placings).

Children of Men is definitely a punishing film, but boy, is it amazing. It made me cry too, Calla, and I don't cry easily. Any film that can do that to me is one I have to come back to from time to time. There's so much disposable cinema out there, but Children of Men sticks with you for days. It's like a brutal workout at the gym: punishing yet ultimately rewarding.

cornflake
08-23-2015, 09:43 PM
I cant with that list (the indiewire one). A.I. on a best-films list? Minority Report is there too, along with Gravity. It seems like the criteria is budget, not quality.

I hated the heck out of Children of Men, so clearly I'm just not on board with whomever put this together, but c'mon - A.I? Why not stick in that Robin Williams-as-crying-robot thing? The list says Signs almost made it, as well as Vanilla Sky. Signs! I don't understand what's happening, heh.

Marlys
08-23-2015, 10:15 PM
I disagreed with a few of the picks on both lists--would have left off Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, A.I., and Inception (and couldn't get more than halfway through District 9 because of the stupid shaky cam)--but I'm glad to have recommendations of other films to watch, particularly ones I haven't heard of.

Oh, and Reign of Fire was pure awesome.

Diana Hignutt
08-23-2015, 10:57 PM
I cant with that list (the indiewire one). A.I. on a best-films list? Minority Report is there too, along with Gravity. It seems like the criteria is budget, not quality.

I hated the heck out of Children of Men, so clearly I'm just not on board with whomever put this together, but c'mon - A.I? Why not stick in that Robin Williams-as-crying-robot thing? The list says Signs almost made it, as well as Vanilla Sky. Signs! I don't understand what's happening, heh.

Except two of those films Primer and Upstream Color were made entirely on the director's personal finances (Primer for only $7,000). But, like you I actively hated A.I. And Signs is a joke.

Diana Hignutt
08-23-2015, 10:58 PM
I disagreed with a few of the picks on both lists--would have left off Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, A.I., and Inception (and couldn't get more than halfway through District 9 because of the stupid shaky cam)--but I'm glad to have recommendations of other films to watch, particularly ones I haven't heard of.

Oh, and Reign of Fire was pure awesome.

I highly recommend Upstream Color, unless you end up not liking it, in which case, I don't.

Calla Lily
08-23-2015, 11:05 PM
I really liked Inception. Have watched it more than once. Reign of Fire is one of my go-to popcorn movies. so much eye candy AND fire-breathing dragons? Win.

Primer didn't do it for me, and I avoided AI because I hate movies that deliberately push my mom-buttons. *cough* Hook *cough*

Actually, I'd include I'll Follow You Down on the best list (time travel done right for a change plus spectacular , low-key acting).

Marlys
08-23-2015, 11:25 PM
I highly recommend Upstream Color, unless you end up not liking it, in which case, I don't.
Thanks! I just checked, and it's on Netflix. Will watch it soon (not tonight, though, because Fear the Walking Dead).

cornflake
08-24-2015, 03:22 AM
I disagreed with a few of the picks on both lists--would have left off Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, A.I., and Inception (and couldn't get more than halfway through District 9 because of the stupid shaky cam)--but I'm glad to have recommendations of other films to watch, particularly ones I haven't heard of.

Oh, and Reign of Fire was pure awesome.

Is that Planet of the Apes the James Franco one? Because that was *terrible*.

I also have barf-cam avoidance, but I've found it's mitigated on the small screen. I walked out of Hunger Games 15 minutes in, lest I barf all over the theatre, but I can watch Blomkamp on tv. I don't like to, because I think he's one-note, obvious, and his movies are repetitively boring, but it's less barfy.


Except two of those films Primer and Upstream Color were made entirely on the director's personal finances (Primer for only $7,000). But, like you I actively hated A.I. And Signs is a joke.

I'll look into those. Signs is hilarious - it's terrible, but it's terrible in a fun way. A.I. is just bad, and boring. Most of what I don't like on the list I don't not like in the Signs way, where they're fun bad; they're more the unwatchable, groanworthy bad, like Melancholia or something (which I found more watchable than some on the list, but still terrible).

Marlys
08-24-2015, 03:36 AM
Is that Planet of the Apes the James Franco one? Because that was *terrible*. No, that was Rise of tPotA. This one wasn't as bad, but it wasn't "Best of" good, either.


I also have barf-cam avoidance, but I've found it's mitigated on the small screen. I walked out of Hunger Games 15 minutes in, lest I barf all over the theatre, but I can watch Blomkamp on tv. I don't like to, because I think he's one-note, obvious, and his movies are repetitively boring, but it's less barfy. My problem is that I don't always know if it's going to be shaky before I go in--if it's mentioned in the reviews, I can take a Bonine and be okay. But it's not always mentioned, or I don't check the reviews. I mean, action films are one thing, but Rachel Getting Married? Didn't occur to me to check.

Raventongue
08-24-2015, 04:02 AM
Children of Men really didn't have much impact on me. Not sure why, it isn't like no movie ever does or like it didn't have a universal element.

Snowpiercer most certainly did, and I'd have to put it in the top 10 at least. But I watched the two about a decade apart, so maybe if I went back and watched them in succession I'd feel differently. Maybe not- I'm not really inclined to rewatch Children of Men because a lot of the subject matter just did not resonate with me. I could relate to Snowpiercer. They certainly addressed different themes.

I can't believe I'm even old enough to have seen two non-teenager movies a decade apart already. Time flies, peeps.

Big shrug to Ex Machina, which simply didn't push any of my emotional buttons. I didn't go see Interstellarbecause I was reluctant to believe the hype. And I'd rather dance naked in a glass elevator over the world's most crowded mall in whatever is the world's most judgmental country than see any of the Hunger Games films.

I'll have to take a look at the lists and see which of the others I have and haven't watched. I remember liking Inception quite a bit when it was in theatres.

cornflake
08-24-2015, 04:02 AM
No, that was Rise of tPotA. This one wasn't as bad, but it wasn't "Best of" good, either.

My problem is that I don't always know if it's going to be shaky before I go in--if it's mentioned in the reviews, I can take a Bonine and be okay. But it's not always mentioned, or I don't check the reviews. I mean, action films are one thing, but Rachel Getting Married? Didn't occur to me to check.

Same. I check if I know it's a director prone to it, but if it's not or a genre I don't think to check beforehand... my local theatre is good about it though. When I ditched Hunger Games I went to the desk and told them why I was leaving, and they gave me a pass to use to get into any other film, any day. They said because they know it happens, if you leave within like, I think they said 20 minutes of the show starting, they'll give out a pass. Other theatres may have other rules but considering the price of movies, I'm happier knowing it's safe to leave and not waste the money or feel ill.

Myrealana
08-24-2015, 06:18 PM
There are a surprising number of movies on that list I haven't seen, considering how many movies I see, and how much I love SciFi.

There are even a couple I've never heard of before. (Upstream Color, Timecrimes)

I don't know that A.I. belongs anywhere near this list, and Ex-Machina was thought-provoking, but too slow and tedious for me. It could have been so much better.

PeteMC
08-24-2015, 06:38 PM
Interesting list, thanks. I'm surprised how few of these I've actually seen, and there are several I hadn't even heard of.

Thoughts on the few that I have seen:

- Battle Royale is superb but grim as all hell. The book is still better though.

- A.I. was briefly okay until it turned into sodding Pinocchio. <gak>

- Minority Report was a lot better than I was expecting it to be, given I'm not a Cruise fan. I'm not familiar with Dick's original but the ending of the film felt a bit too pat for my liking.

- Gravity. Yeah well, it was pretty I suppose.

- Solaris. Sent me to sleep, literally. I have no idea what all the fuss is supposed to be about.

- District 9. Really, really liked this one. Excellent stuff, especially considering it was made for the movie equivalent of pennies. Wobbly camera work isn't for everyone admittedly, but it didn't bother me.

And that's it - looks like I've got some films to watch.

Diana Hignutt
08-24-2015, 06:44 PM
I just can't say enough good things about Upstream Color which I discovered thanks to this list. I just love it. There will be a lot of people who won't though. It's somewhat abstract...but deeply thought-provoking. It's got me reading Walden again. And reading film analysis of the film. Still haunting me three days later...

ElaineA
08-24-2015, 07:28 PM
I'm actually surprised now many of the movies I've seen. Not a huge number, but more than I would have guessed. I'd have put Melancholia and Wall-e on that list. I loved District 9 and Snowpiercer. I thought Gravity was heavy handed with all of it's unsubtle "rebirth" imagery, and not very interesting. I just watched Ex Machina and I didn't find it in the least profound...or great. It was creepy, but I didn't feel fiddled. I thought it was pretty predictable. Eternal Sunshine! Yay!!

I can't believe I still haven't seen Her. Must watch that.

Glad to have a list of movies to try, though. Thanks for posting both, Diana.

Shadow Dragon
08-24-2015, 11:06 PM
While the Rolling Stone list is rather iffy overall, I am glad they included Wall-E. One of the best Pixar movies, and it's depiction of the future of the Earth is kinda bleak but amazing to look at.

greendragon
08-24-2015, 11:20 PM
Am I the only one to find it rather presumptuous to claim this is a list of the best films of the 21st century when we're barely 15 years into the 21st century? :P

Diana Hignutt
08-24-2015, 11:26 PM
Am I the only one to find it rather presumptuous to claim this is a list of the best films of the 21st century when we're barely 15 years into the 21st century? :P

Um...so far...that seemed obvious....

greendragon
08-24-2015, 11:59 PM
Just being snarky :)

Diana Hignutt
08-25-2015, 02:02 AM
Just being snarky :)

Okay then. Fair enough. You were, in fact, snarky. Carry on.

Brightdreamer
08-25-2015, 02:27 AM
Am I the only one to find it rather presumptuous to claim this is a list of the best films of the 21st century when we're barely 15 years into the 21st century? :P

Well, this is SF - maybe they know something about the next 85 years that we don't... ;)

It does seem a little odd they wouldn't wait for a "big number", like 2025, before compiling a list like that. (If the previews are any indication, The Martian might be bumping someone off the list. And then there's the new Star Wars trilogy, which will surely be the best and brightest and... yeah, okay, maybe we don't need to wait to see how those turn out to adjust things.)

Corsairs
08-25-2015, 05:37 AM
Clickbait needs no "big numbers." ;)

In seriousness, I don't mind these silly lists popping up from time to time. It gives us fodder to debate and discuss our differing perspectives, and that's always fun. :D

Diana Hignutt
08-25-2015, 11:35 PM
In Upstream Color, #2 on the first list, there is a lot to take in. The book the thief has his victims transcribe is Walden. The Sampler is much like Whitman's narrator in Song of Myself. The movie is a treasure trove of transcendental literary references if subtle. So much so that I though I'd share this little video essay on Upstream Color and the Walden Connection:

https://vimeo.com/92652144

Don't watch that if you haven't seen the film as spoilers obviously abound.

jlmott
08-26-2015, 05:23 AM
Cannot comment on those I haven't seen, which is most of them, but definitely loved both Children of Men and Eternal Sunshine. Surprised to hear so many describe Children of Men as depressing. Sure the future it describes is a harsh and violent place, but the ending scene is anything but bleak. It is astonishing hopeful, and quite beautiful. On the other hand, I never get what people see in Donnie Darko. Always felt it was a little too in love with its own cleverness, and I never felt emotionally engaged with it.
Wall-E is a marvel too. Now that one gets to me. Every time I watch it. I mean, I know he's going to be OK in the end, but still--:cry:

Underdawg47
08-26-2015, 05:52 AM
I liked Pandorum. I think it should be on the list.

Steve Coate
08-27-2015, 09:12 AM
I'd put Gattaca and Logan's Run ahead of some of the films on those lists.

Diana Hignutt
08-27-2015, 02:46 PM
I'd put Gattaca and Logan's Run ahead of some of the films on those lists.

Gattaca was made in the 90's and Logan's Run the 70's as I recall...

robeiae
08-27-2015, 03:11 PM
What, no Guardians of the Galaxy in either list? No Avatar? No Star Trek? Pffft. Weak lists. At least Rolling Stone put Serenity in there.

Diana Hignutt
08-27-2015, 04:40 PM
What, no Guardians of the Galaxy in either list? No Avatar? No Star Trek? Pffft. Weak lists. At least Rolling Stone put Serenity in there.

GotG is a superhero movie in space. Avatar is Dances with Blue Space Aliens and bad Sam Worthington acting: so no. Star Trek? Serenity? Pfft. Give me Upstream Color anyday...

ETA: I've now seen the top three films on the first list. I don't think you can top: #1 Children of Men, #2 Upstream Color, or #3 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Certainly, none of the films you listed can hold a candle to those films...

robeiae
08-27-2015, 05:58 PM
Disagree.

'Course, the lists also include A.I., Gravity, Cloverfield (which is just a monster movie), and Edge of Tomorrow, right? Come on, Star Trek is head and shoulders above those, at the very least.

Diana Hignutt
08-27-2015, 06:06 PM
Disagree.

'Course, the lists also include A.I., Gravity, Cloverfield (which is just a monster movie), and Edge of Tomorrow, right? Come on, Star Trek is head and shoulders above those, at the very least.

I thought Edge of Tomorrow was very clever and belongs on the list. Gravity is a visual accomplishment but not really science fiction.

Corsairs
08-27-2015, 06:50 PM
Edge of Tomorrow remains one of my favorite films of any genre, period. It's as smart, funny, and propulsive as you could ever ask a film to be. Glad to see it getting some love on these lists.

robeiae
08-27-2015, 07:15 PM
Hey, I liked Edge of Tomorrow. But there are a lot of movies I like that would never find their way into a top twenty list (unless the qualifications were severely limited, like say top twenty George Clooney movies). I don't think Edge is better than the reboot of Star Trek. But okay, taste. Still can't see how Trek is not on the lists (or Guardians; superheros or not, that's sci-fi).

Diana Hignutt
08-27-2015, 07:50 PM
Hey, I liked Edge of Tomorrow. But there are a lot of movies I like that would never find their way into a top twenty list (unless the qualifications were severely limited, like say top twenty George Clooney movies). I don't think Edge is better than the reboot of Star Trek. But okay, taste. Still can't see how Trek is not on the lists (or Guardians; superheros or not, that's sci-fi).

Once I get done watching all the movies on the first list...I will advise...I think you make a strong case for Star Trek. The first list explicitly excludes superhero films or films that made other lists (like Wall-E) so that may leave GotG out of the running...and maybe, they're not including Space Opera (ST, GotG, etc.) I will get back to you on my opinion in a few weeks...

Manuel Royal
08-28-2015, 04:19 AM
Battle Royale has to be disqualified: it was made in 2000. That's the 20th century, not the 21st.

Ex Machina was great, dealing with one of the great science fiction questions. If we ever create true artificial intelligence -- well, it probably won't happen anything like that. Still a good movie.

Interstellar was actually not good science fiction, and a mess of a movie, but visually wonderful. The first movie I can think of that correctly depicts a wormhole as a spherical hole in space.

Edge of Tomorrow was really good. The ending bugged me because I thought it was weak dramatically, yet it makes sense in terms of the science fiction elements already established in the film.

One I would've added: Predestination. A surprisingly faithful adaptation of Heinlein's justly-famous time travel story All You Zombies. (I say surprisingly faithful because it uses the original dates from the 1958 story, instead of moving everything up 50 years or so. So we have references to a sci-fi version of history in the '60s and '70s as Heinlein was imagining it in 1958.) The central concept of the character's sense of identity, reflected in the original title, still gives me a chill.

Diana Hignutt
08-28-2015, 02:48 PM
Battle Royale has to be disqualified: it was made in 2000. That's the 20th century, not the 21st.

Ex Machina was great, dealing with one of the great science fiction questions. If we ever create true artificial intelligence -- well, it probably won't happen anything like that. Still a good movie.

Interstellar was actually not good science fiction, and a mess of a movie, but visually wonderful. The first movie I can think of that correctly depicts a wormhole as a spherical hole in space.

Edge of Tomorrow was really good. The ending bugged me because I thought it was weak dramatically, yet it makes sense in terms of the science fiction elements already established in the film.

One I would've added: Predestination. A surprisingly faithful adaptation of Heinlein's justly-famous time travel story All You Zombies. (I say surprisingly faithful because it uses the original dates from the 1958 story, instead of moving everything up 50 years or so. So we have references to a sci-fi version of history in the '60s and '70s as Heinlein was imagining it in 1958.) The central concept of the character's sense of identity, reflected in the original title, still gives me a chill.

I agree with all your opinions here. And yes, Predestination deserves to be on the list.

ElaineA
08-30-2015, 09:09 AM
Just watched Edge of Tomorrow. Good movie I might not have otherwise watched, so I'm glad for the list, and for Diana posting the list. :D

HomewardBound
09-28-2015, 06:26 AM
I agree with some others who said Children of Men is depressing. It was excellent, but didn't quite connect with me. There was a relatively downer ending that didn't help matters for me.

Eternal Sunshine was fantastic. It's delightfully demented but incredibly thought-provoking. I love this movie more and more as I get older.

Her was very poignant. For some reason I can't figure out, I saw this movie with my mother. I saw the natural growing apart of two lovers, from the perspective of the one unwillingly left behind, with commentary on the fulfillment of human relationships. It was an ending I hadn't expected, and it stuck with me. My mother saw a movie about people being too obsessed with their iPhones. :Shrug: Different people see different things, I guess.

I watched District 9 with my cousin, and I'm shocked she let me pick that movie, because it's not her type. I really like it (might have rated it higher myself), but I can't quite watch it all the way through again, because it makes me so uncomfortable. Which is the point.

There are quite a few movies on this list that I keep telling myself I need to see. Which means I really need to see them soonish.

mirandashell
09-28-2015, 09:36 PM
How is Donnie Darko only at #24? It's an amazing film! I've seen it several times and it still surprises me when I watch it again.

One of my favourite films in any genre.

mirandashell
09-28-2015, 09:43 PM
Timecrimes is sheer genius. I love that film

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timecrimes

Yourg
10-02-2015, 12:35 PM
Leaving superhero films out as well as films not entirely in the genre (like Cloud Atlas), here's my attempt at a favorites list.

Solaris
Children of Men
Interstellar
Serenity
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
War of the Worlds
Mad Max Fury Road
Her
Star Trek Into Darkness
The Core
Oblivion
Minority Report
Edge of Tomorrow
Jurassic Park III
Prometheus
Terminator Salvation
Riddick
Chronicles of Riddick
The Mist
American Astronaut
District 9
Under the Skin
Splice
Donnie Darko
Chronicle
Daybreakers
The Adjustment Bureau
Star Trek (2009)
The Host (2013)
Ex Machina
Monsters
Predators
Inception
Moon
The Machine

I'm pretty "meh" on Inception, but I include it because I keep thinking one of these days it's gonna grow on me. I have a grudging respect for Upstream Color, but I can't say I like it. I didn't think too much of Sunshine way back when I first saw it. I suspect that if I saw it again I might like it more now, and then it might also go on the list.