Hi, this is Nick Venable from the future, where I’m friends with Wolverine and Professor X and stuff. There’s all kinds of Sentinels where I’m from. And Peter Dinklage has a mustache. It’s real crazy. And while you’re waiting for the future to get here, why not spend a day or two catching up with some of the most recent streaming science fiction?
Here’s what’s new this week in streaming science fiction!
The More Recent
Star Trek Into Darkness (Amazon Prime, Netflix Instant, Redbox Instant)
Have you ever had a piece of cake that was gorgeous on the outside but full of misplaced disaster inside? That’s kind of what watching J.J. Abrams Star Trek Into Darkness was like. A beautiful CGI creation that takes viewers from one place in the galaxy to another, Into Darkness‘ visual appeal and all-star cast can’t make up for a lackluster and often goofy script. Maybe one could blame it on the piss-poor marketing campaign with Benedict Cumberbatch’s “mystery” role at its center. Maybe it was just a lame story. Either way, Simon Pegg FTW!
Birth of the Living Dead (Netflix Instant)
To call zombie fiction ubiquitous is a bit of an understatement, as the shambling groaners are all over cinema, literature, video games, and TV. And while filmmaker George A. Romero didn’t invent the concept, his seminal 1968 horror Night of the Living Dead became something of a template for the zombie fiction of the future. Which is strange, considering how different his monsters are from everyone else’s. In any case, Rob Kuhns delivers the backstory to this classic film (and more) with his enjoyable doc Birth of the Living Dead. Even if horror isn’t your bag, hearing Romero’s story should serve as inspiration for anyone with a dream and a lack of resources.
Free Birds (Netflix Instant)
So, the science fiction angle in Jimmy Hayward’s Free Birds is largely limited to a hunking chunk of time travel, which allows two polar opposite turkeys to head back to the first Thanksgiving in order to make sure turkeys don’t become the meal of choice for generations to come. Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson deliver enjoyable voice performances, but there’s something lacking about the entire affair. More time travel! (You can read our review here.)
Cody the Robosapien (Hulu Plus)
If you have a kid who isn’t particularly interested in movies that are amazing, may I present Sean McNamara’s Cody the Robosapien? (Or Robosapien: Rebooted, as it is also known.) Like E.T. if you removed all the magic, this flick involves 12-year-old Henry (Bobby Coleman) finding a robot named Cody, who was originally created for military purposes (despite being cute and big-eyed) by an investor named Allan (David Eigenberg). Everyone becomes friends, and then bad men come in and kidnap Allan and Henry’s mother. Sons of Anarchy‘s Kim Coates is in this, but, sadly, he doesn’t kill anyone.
Alien Encounter at Loch Ness (Hulu Plus)
This is a hard-hitting documentary that uncovers the real truth behind…okay, not really. This is exactly what it sounds like. If you want something even more ridiculous, check out Dark Watchers: The Women in Black on Hulu Plus. Beware.
The Less Recent
The Rocketeer (HBO Go)
Joe Johnson’s 1991 underachiever The Rocketeer was, to me, one of the last great all-ages family adventures, with just the right amounts of gee-golly whimsy, heart, and excitement. Not always an easy feat when Nazi scientists are involved. If this movie ever gets remade, which it almost certainly will, may Cliff Secord have gold-helmeted mercy on us all.
The Net (Crackle)
Hot off the bus-driving success of Speed, the award-winning Sandra Bullock starred in Irwin Winkler’s tech thriller, which featured jargon-filled dialogue that sounded dated five minutes after the film hit theaters. She stumbles upon a conspiracy, and none of them involve Dennis Miller not being funny on purpose.