Magellan (Amazon Prime)
This is a low budget sci-fi flick where scientists find that 3 signals (of intelligent design) have started broadcasting, and they are all in our solar system. In a race against in other nations (Chinese), the US is sending a one man 10 year mission to each of the moons where the signals are coming from to investigate the source.
Right off the bat you notice just from the camera work that this is very low budget. The sets are sparse spaces, the astronaut suit looks like the best interpretation of a suit on a lo-fi budget, and the CGI is below video game levels. Still… What is broadcasting? What happens when all of the artifacts are found and are put together? I admit, I stuck with it to find out. So even though it is very low budget, I wanted to see where the story went. In that regard, it does draw you in. The resolution was interesting though it set up more questions and left us on a bit of cliffhanger where a second movie could be done (I hear they are doing an eBook sequel).
After watching this, I found out they had done a Kickstarter, not for making the movie per say, but more for the funding of getting it released and put on display. Should you watch it? That’s a tough call… if extreme low budget flicks check you out of the experience then this is probably not for you. I however could see what they wanted and intended in the grasp of what was probably unaffordable in a sci-fi budget. At least they shot for the stars and I give them credit for that. I’d check out the sequel if they followed it up.
Blame! is an excellent anime that is on Netflix. It tells the story of a human group who has to hide in a safe zone from the machines that want to terminate all humans in the city, which it keeps building. Humans lost control of the machines due to a virus and now only someone with the Net Terminal Gene, can access those controls. So a mysterious man named Killi wanders the city looking for any human that may possess that gene. He ends up helping this group of survivors in their quest for food and safety from the machines.
The CGI is beautiful and the story elements between drama and action are very well balanced. This is a universe that is heavily influenced by dystopian cyberpunk and one that I would love to see more stories happen within. If you like anime or cyberpunk then definitely check this one out!!!
The Ritual (Netflix)
This may be the first spooky, terrifying, make you jump, horror thriller I’ve seen in a long time. When four friends do some hiking in Northern Sweden, they get off the normal trail and then are hunted by… something. The fact that this “something” is rarely seen, makes the movie all the more creepy. Normally horror movies are plagued by cliche after cliche but The Ritual kept me guessing and interested in what was going to happen next all the way through. The underlying message of “facing your fears” also plays out in a very intriguing way. So much so, that when you reach the end, there is a feeling of accomplishment in the resolution. I know that sounds vague but I honestly do not want to give the plot away because it is so good. Go watch it!!!