Is everybody ready for tomorrow, April 1? You’ll no doubt hear about Arnold Schwarzenegger agreeing to undergo plastic surgery to star in a Predator prequel that takes place in the two hours immediately preceding the first film, or that Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer is being released with white American actors digitally inserted to replace the international cast. It’s certainly a good day for everyone. But before that happens, feast upon this week’s Cross the Streams, where the only fool is the one writing it. Here’s what’s new in streaming science fiction!
Mr. Nobody (Netflix Instant)
Jared Leto had an amazing awards season this year, nabbing multiple wins for his gender-swapping role in Dallas Buyers Club. It was Leto’s first film role in four years, as he’d last starred in Jaco Van Dormael’s offbeat 2009 drama Mr. Nobody, playing a 118-year-old man named Nemo Nobody who reflects back on his forgotten memories through a form of hypnosis. (It’s easy to see why the Academy wasn’t too hot to get this role nominated.) The film follows Nemo at three different stages in his life, and the result is an often engaging, often beautiful mish-mash of ideas whose reins should have been pulled it at some point in the outline process. Add to the complicated story the three-year wait for a U.S. release — it finally came out in a limited release in November 2013 — and you’ve got a movie that seems destined for cult fandom but hasn’t quite reached it yet. Which is why you can watch it on Netflix now instead of a super-deluxe Blu-ray edition.
Adventure Time: Season 2 & Regular Show: Season 2 (Netflix Instant)
If you’ve been following the site for a while, you know we like to take the rare liberty about what counts as sci-fi, and I’m saying with confidence that the fantastic Cartoon Network series Adventure Time and Regular Show fit just as much into this genre as they do in fantasy, comedy, and existential psycho-drama. The second season of both shows are excellent to binge on, regardless of how many times you’ve watched the episodes. You’ve never quite seen best friend team-ups like Finn & Jake and Mordecai & Rigby, and the imagination that goes into their stories is seemingly boundless. It would seriously take most of the afternoon to discuss what makes these shows so good, so just have a seat in a giant dog-shaped chair, have some chocolate ca-a-a-ke and dig in.
Slither (Showtime Anytime)
With a career that began in the wicked world of Troma Studios, writing the script for Tromeo and Juliet, James Gunn wasn’t exactly primed to be the next great filmmaker, and his first feature, Slither, is exemplary of that. A dark gross-out comedy that utilizes some fantastically gory practical special effects, Slither misses the mark in some ways by taking itself too seriously and dragging on in places. But there are some big laughs and groans to be found, a winning performance from Nathan Fillion, and Michael Rooker gets to play one of the most disgusting things ever put to film. Not a perfect film, it still beats the shit out of his follow-up, the violence-obsessed vigilante movie Super.
Green Lantern: The Animated Series (Netflix Instant)
Hey, here’s some more Cartoon Network action animation for you. Couldn’t care less about seeing Ryan Reynolds mug the camera as Hal Jordan? Check out this far superior series, which features Hal and Kilowog trying to stay safe in a universe where Red Lanterns want them gone, all while training up new Greenies in the process. Green Lantern isn’t as good as Paul Dini’s Batman and Superman animated series, but it still…rings…true to the comics that inspired it.
Generator Rex: Seasons 2-3 (Netflix Instant)
More cartoons! This Man of Action series follows a teenager named Rex who lives in a world whose citizens are infected with the nanites that fill up the atmosphere. While some of the infected, known as E.V.O.s (Exponentially Variegated Organisms), are able to control the random shifts that their minds and bodies are put through, many more go crazy and turn into monsters, and Rex has the power to stop that. But there’s also someone out there who has the power to stop Rex. Conspiracies abound!
Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (Netflix Instant)
Even though the word “mega” lost a little of its significance when the 800th Mega Man game came out, Syfy lessened the modifier’s impact even more by giving the label to random sea beasts involuntarily caught up in a battle against another ridiculous monster. (Where is Ultra Whale in all this?) This go around, the good guys built a robotic shark submarine meant to take down the bastard megalodon that decapitated the Sphinx in one particularly inspired moment of mayhem. Is it worth watching to see Debbie Gibson reprise her role from the first Mega Shark movie? No spoilers.
It’s a Disaster (Hulu Plus)
Yeah, so I can’t really fool anyone into thinking this is straight sci-fi storytelling. Todd Berger’s low-budget dark comedy is actually about the destruction of relationships and friendships when people are forced to stay in one place for a long time with nothing to do but self-reflect. But why are they all in one place for a long time? Because there’s some kind of an apocalyptic event happening outside the suburban house’s front door, but nobody wants to see what it is. The dialogue and cast, including Julia Stiles and David Cross, are strong enough that you probably won’t want to go outside anyway.
Next week, I might just start throwing vampire dramas and police procedurals into this list just to see if anyone complains about it. Seriously though, let’s have an Adventure Time party. I wonder who we can get to bring the rainbows…