I stream, you stream, we all stream because rental stores are going extinct and Redbox booths don’t have enough product. Last week was a wash for sci-fi fans, but this week more than makes up for it. Get your eye patch ready.
Escape From L.A. (Netflix Instant)
I will never have had it will all this motherfucking Snake Plissken on this motherfucking surfboard. In 1996, John Carpenter’s Escape From L.A. was something of a disaster, what with its hilariously obvious visual effects and ill-formed transportation of Snake from the East to the West. But the L.A.-as-Alcatraz idea was solid, and it didn’t take long for the initial backlash to get drowned out by everyone who embraced the cheesy excess. If Carpenter and Russell aren’t at the forefront, we don’t need another Plissken movie.
Doctor Who, Season 7: Part 1 (Amazon Prime Instant)
Now that Matt Smith’s impending exit from Doctor Who is official, will it affect the past four years of Doctor Who? Amazon Prime already has pretty much the entire series, and now the first part of Smith’s final season is available, and it even comes with the “Asylum of the Daleks Prequel.” Do you dare say goodbye to Ponds again?
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Crackle)
The general population might not call Steven Spielberg a science fiction director, but some of the most timeless entries in the genre were a product of the man’s genius. This is probably my favorite of all of them, and it makes me wonder why Richard Dreyfuss isn’t in more cerebral films. Close Encounters hasn’t lost its sense of awe and personal discovery, even in a world that’s gone completely public. The cool part about the world now, though, is that you can watch this film on a laptop in the middle of the wilderness, where surprises may await you.
Planet of the Apes (Netflix Instant)
With Dawn of the Planet of the Apes coming in a little less than a year, what better time to rewatch the film that started it all, 355 days in a row. While it’s lost some of its oomph after all these years of sequels and remakes and the like, fresh eyes will revel in how dark a film this is. (And they’ll also appreciate the ending a bit more.) Men in monkey suits haven’t been as terrifying since, and with motion-capture changing the game, this will probably continue to hold that crown.
Jason of Star Command (Hulu Plus)
The People That Time Forgot (Netflix Instant)
Let’s take a nostalgic trip back to the late 1970s, when the sense of nostalgia was then hearkening back to serialized and pulpy fare from the 1930s and 1940s. Craig Littler’s Jason wears his Buck Rogers inspirations on his sleeve, and The People That Time Forgot — a sequel to The Land That Time Forgot — was mostly an exercise in juxtaposing current people with all kinds of crazy prehistoric creatures and bad guys. While the plots may not have always been concrete, both of these projects overcompensated with momentum and cheesiness. Nothing wrong with that.
As a palate cleanser to all the classics above, this documentary is awesome but might leave viewers rather sullen. Environmental photographer James Balog presents undeniable proof of climate change’s effects on the world with a series of time-lapsed videos of years of Arctic glaciers as they melt and reform. His cameras capture the biggest glacier caving ever filmed, and it is almost horrifying to witness. Roland Emmerich’s imagination is made of images like these. It doesn’t take a human agenda to get a point across, and Chasing Ice will melt your naysaying.
All that, and we didn’t even get to talk about Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves on Netflix, but that’s okay. See you when (or if) we Cross the Streams next week, guys. Thanks for reading!