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Five Great Sci-Fi Flicks Coming To Netflix In February

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Ah, January is finally over, which means all of the movies headed to theaters will be at least 8% more likely to be engaging, with the possible exception of Jupiter Ascending, which had a predictably horrible debut at Sundance. Critics, right? Thankfully, NetflixNetflix is filling February with a bunch of new-to-streaming features, and they’re adding five solid 2014 sci-fi releases. As well as the first season of Richie Rich, which isn’t sci-fi, but I feel like I’m living in a weird alternate reality where people like Richie Rich again. Anyway, set your My Lists.

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Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead (February 7)
One of my favorite sci-fi/horrors of last year, Tommy Wirkola’s splatstick-filled sequel Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead is a non-stop slip-n-slide through some of the most insanely imaginative gore out there. An advancement on its predecessor in every way, this flick pits the surviving Martin (Vegar Hoel) against that Nazi zombie bastard Herzog (Ørjan Gamst), who is stopping at nothing to raise all the dead German soldiers he can to take over the world. But Martin has two secret weapons: a zombie arm that also has dead-raising powers, and a trio of American zombie killers (including Martin Starr) who are fully invested in putting these bodies back into the ground no matter what it takes. And what it takes is a lot of blood-soaked special effects.

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Review: Earth To Echo Recalls Childhood Wonderment Through Modern Eyes

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earth to echoWith his feature debut Earth to Echo, director Dave Green is at the intersection of advantages and disadvantages. The film is children’s sci-fi, following three young boys who find an alien that wants to go home, and has thus become the center of endless comparisons to Steven Spielberg’s E.T.. On the one hand, that easy marketing opens the film to a wider audience than most alien-ish films, but it also has that much farther to fall when people realize that a first-time filmmaker’s found-footage flick is not going to match up to what is considered one of the greatest kid’s movies of all time. (And you thought the title had alliterative skills.)

You know what, though? I never liked E.T. all that much either as a kid, or as an adult, and I’m more inclined to draw comparisons between Earth to Echo and Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Whatever its faults, this is a film about those rare parts of life where one is on the brink of something incredible, when discoveries are made rather than learned about second-hand. Roy Neary went off into the woods, while these kids go to the desert. Most real comparisons stop there, though, because this is a found-footage movie, and that in and of itself is one of the reasons why Earth to Echo isn’t a great movie for audiences of all ages. It is, however, a surprisingly good effort, as long as you’re willing and able to suspend your disbelief.

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Earth To Echo Trailer Helps An Adorable Little Alien Get Home

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While most found footage movies seem to be horror, that isn’t the only genre that likes to get in on the act, and there are a fair amount of science fiction-themed offerings as well, like Chronicle and Apollo 18. To the best of my knowledge, however, there hasn’t been a found footage sci-fi kids movie, until now that is. Relativity is set to release their kid-centric Earth to Echo later this summer, and it definitely fits into this category. Shortly after the announcement that the film will premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival in mid-June, the studio has unveiled a quick new trailer and a handful of still photos.

At a few seconds over a minute, this trailer is on the shorter side of things, but does a good job of cramming in most of the important plot points. When a trio of friends, played by Teo Halm, Reese Hartwig, and a kid whose name is Astro, receive strange messages on their cell phones—because all kids need and have cell phones—they team up to investigate the mysterious goings on. A map sent to all of three of the boys leads them out to a remote spot in the desert—where are their parents in all of this, letting them be lured to remote locations by unknown parties? Once there they come across an adorable little being from space named Echo. Because Echo is from space, the government tries to hunt it down, and it is up to the friends hide it and help it get home.

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Earth To Echo Gets A New Poster And A Film Festival Premiere

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earth to EchoIt was only a matter of time before we got a kid-centric found footage film. While the technique favored by low-budget horror movies is being employed less and less—and when it is used these days it is generally with a purpose, like in Ti West’s The Sacrament—the upcoming sci-fi adventure Earth to Echo is all up in its business. When most of us were kids, we didn’t film ourselves doing tons of stupid shit because didn’t want to get caught and get in trouble, but if everything we see on the Internet and TV is to be believed, the youth of today haven’t developed such an aversion. We haven’t heard much from the film since the last trailer a few months ago, but now it’s back with a new poster and a world premiere date.

This one-sheet features and adorable little alien thing named Echo that looks like Bubo, the mechanical owl from the original Clash of the Titans, not that crappy remake, or the sequel to the crappy remake. The action looks like a cross of Chronicle and J.J. Abrams Super 8, and I can’t help but get little bit of an Explorers vibe from this as well.

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Earth To Echo Debuts Mysteriously Adventurous First Trailer, Complete With Adorable Alien

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Science fiction is one of the few genres that lends itself extremely well to films centered on young characters. Horrors, romances, action flicks, and Nazi war dramas just can’t get into the imaginative world of youth in quite the same way. This is evidenced quite well by the above first theatrical trailer for the directorial debut from filmmaker Dave Green, the otherworldly adventure Earth to Echo. I cannot wait to watch this movie, regardless of if I’m the only child-free adult in the theater. Does this giant trenchcoat and pencil-thin mustache make me look creepy?

Earth to Echo looks like an ample mixture of J.J. Abrams’ Super 8 and Josh Trank’s Chronicle, pitting friends against the unknown through the lenses of different cameras. Found footage haters will undoubtedly talk a lot of shit about why Green didn’t just make the film traditionally, but I think it’ll be pretty interesting to see the action in this film through a “child’s eyes.” Especially the more discovery-oriented portions before the adults come in and make everyone’s lives a living hell.

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Sci-Fi Adventure Earth To Echo Gets A New Trailer

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When I was a kid I loved those movies that focused on characters my own age, where instead of being pawns in a larger game, the filmmakers let the kids be the heroes. And I’m not just talking about ones where they were the protagonists, but the ones where the kids were responsible for solving their problems on their own. There were always movies where the adults swoop in and save the day at the last minute, but that was always kind of insulting. I’m thinking of movies like The Goonies or Monster Squad, where sometimes the kids even got to save the adult’s ass, and they get credit for being intuitive and capable. If this new trailer can be trusted, Relativity Media’s upcoming sci-fi adventure Earth to Echo could fit nicely into this niche.

Perhaps I’m just assuming from the age of the main characters, or the fact that Earth to Echo is rated PG (who does that anymore?), that it is aimed at a younger audience. Perhaps I’m wrong. Watch this trailer that popped up on iTunes Movie Trailers and judge for yourself, but that’s the impression that I get.