5 Black And White Movies To Watch After Interstellar

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InterstellarChristopher Nolan is widely known as a student of film and cinema. His movies are full of references and influences from earlier works, and his latest, Interstellar, is no exception. Watching the epic space adventure slash family drama unfold, you can’t help but notice nods to the work of other filmmakers. While there is obvious inspiration taken from films like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Philip Kaufman’s The Right Stuff, there are many more that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. Just for the hell of it, we’ve compiled a handful of classic black and white films (and one that is, admittedly, cheating) whose presence can be felt, to varying degrees, in Nolan’s latest offering.

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Cross The Streams With Unidentified, Fantastic Voyage, Mimic, And Godzilla

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Yesterday was the biggest day of the year for Star Wars fans, and yet still none of George Lucas‘ most classic films (nor his less classic) have made their way to streaming services. At least so far. So you’ll have to settle for one of the many other options hitting the Internet this week. There’s a damned good chance you’ll have seen some of these before, since this week’s streaming picks are a well-known melting pot of comedy, horror, and whatever Mimic is. But just like getting second-hand underwear for Christmas, it doesn’t have to be new to be useful.

Here’s what’s new in streaming science fiction!

unidentifiedUnidentified (Netflix Instant)
What better way to start your week than with a haphazard low-budget thriller? Okay, so there are plenty of better ways to spend your time, but not all of them will involve four friends whose quasi-innocent trip to Las Vegas ends up turning into an otherworldly chase after the guys get in trouble for not being able to pay a loan shark back. It’s the kind of movie where you hope the monstrous presence and the dickhead loan shark win.


Fantastic Voyage Remake Sets Sights On Man Of Steel Writer David Goyer

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fantastic voyage(poof)

That was the sound of sci-fi movie fans’ faith in humanity going up in smoke. Another remake that few people wanted has found a screenwriter with one of the more uneven resumes in Hollywood. The long-gestating update of Richard Fleischer’s 1966 family adventure Fantastic Voyage has injected Man of Steel‘s David Goyer into its bloodstream to write the script treatment and executive produce. Can’t somebody sink this project for good already?

Though Fox is one of the studios behind it, it’s Lightstorm Entertainment’s James Cameron—you might have heard of him—who has been spearheading this one for years, but there hasn’t been much talk about it since Night at the Museum‘s Shawn Levy left it behind some years back. Goyer could also potentially fill that director’s chair, but it looks like they just wanting to utilize his storytelling skills for now.


2013 Saturn Award Nominees Include Ender’s Game, Riddick, And More

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GravityBullockAnytime the Academy Awards rolls around, there’s usually an outcry from fans that not enough genre films are recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Luckily, this year the movie that has the most nominations is Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, but even if the Academy doesn’t give science fiction the respect it deserves, there are several long-standing and prestigious awards focused specifically on honoring genre material. Last night we posted the Nebula Award nominations, and now the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films has announced its nominees for the 40th annual Saturn Awards.

Unsurprisingly, Gravity is a front-runner for the Saturns as well, earning eight nominations including Best Science Fiction Film, Best Actress for Sandra Bullock, Best Supporting Actor for George Clooney, and Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón. Gravity is tied with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug for the most nominations. Some of the other nominees for Best Science Fiction Film are Ender’s Game, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Pacific Rim, Riddick, and Star Trek Into Darkness.


The Best Sci-Fi Movies Of All Time As Chosen By Scientists

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The internet loves a good list. Best of lists. Worst of lists. The top 10 lists about lists about lists. We’re not immune to the appeal: it’s an easily digestible way to examine a subject, and they can be a lot of fun to write. We’ve certainly made our share of lists here at GFR, and we cover science fiction enough that we hope we can share some insights you might not have thought of, or at least make you laugh at the occasional poop joke. Still, we may have just been outclassed in the area of science fiction-related lists, because a group of scientists and engineers have gathered together and revealed their picks for the 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies of All Time. (Of all time!)

The Best Sci-Fi Movies According To Scientists

war of the worlds poster
10. War of the Worlds (1953)

9. Star Wars (1977)

8. Blade Runner (1982)

7. Jurassic Park (1993)

6. WALL-E (2008)

5. Fantastic Voyage (1966)

4. Alien (1979)

3. Brazil (1985)

2. The Matrix (1999)

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey

All in all it’s a solid line-up, with a few surprises. I wouldn’t have expected Fantastic Voyage to make the cut, but then again it’s been ages since I’ve seen it so maybe my memories of it have degraded. I do have to call shenanigans on Blade Runner being that far down the list though. In my opinion it ought to be at least neck-in-neck with Alien, and there’s no way both of those films should be below The Matrix. For that matter, WALL-E seems unnaturally high compared to Blade Runner and Star Wars. Then again, this isn’t a “most influential” list, so it’s all up for debate.

Here’s what Popular Mechanics’ brain-trust of scientific experts had to say about Blade Runner, perhaps my very favorite science fiction movie of all time:

Humanlike robots can be a good thing. But in this sci-fi classic, androids called replicants get too lifelike for comfort and are banished to space colonies. If they escape and return to Earth, special cops, or blade runners, who can tell humans from replicants, hunt them down and neutralize them. Our experts give the film high marks, in part, for its humanization of advanced robots. ‘Blade Runner has probably done more to ready the world for artificial life than [any other film],’ says Daniel Novy, a scientist at MIT’s Media Lab. ‘Inspiration is important, even at the expense of some accuracy.’

Wait a minute, Mr. Novy. Are you telling me that Blade Runner’s replicants aren’t exactly what we can expect within the next few decades? I bet you’re just pissed that Batty came up with that awesome “Tears in rain” speech and you didn’t. (No wait, that’s me that feels that way.)

And what about Fantastic Voyage, the dark horse I didn’t expect? We may not be on the verge of shrinking humans down and injecting them into our bodies, but that’s just a thematic predecessor to the idea of nanotech. Here’s Popular Mechanics again:

A miniature spacecraft and crew are injected into a comatose scientist to remove a life-threatening blood clot, so that he can survive to share vital secrets. The movie’s lavishly depicted workings of the human body garnered two Academy Awards and three additional nominations — and got James Giordano thinking about medicine at the tiniest scale. Now a professor of neuroscience at Georgetown University, Giordano examines the mechanics of the brain’s response to pain. ‘The film has been a lifelong inspiration for me to work on developing neurotechnology,’ he says. David Carroll, director of the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials at Wake Forest University, says that the movie’s minuscule technology, although physically impossible, is echoed in his current work. ‘It’s exactly what we are working on: Injecting nanobots that find a cancerous tumor, tell us when they have found it, and destroy it,’ he says. Now that’s fantastic.

Another pick that seems like it should be higher on the list, here’s the entry for Ridley Scott’s classic, massively influential Alien (which thankfully hasn’t been damaged by retroactive association with Prometheus):

Sigourney Weaver proved that a woman can be a bad-ass sci-fi action hero. But our experts saw the gooey, exoskeletal villain — which uses living humans as hosts for its nasty progeny — as a pioneer of fictional biology. ‘The Alien franchise bases its xenomorph life cycle on parasitic wasps on Earth,’ says Terry Johnson, a bioengineering researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. ‘It’s a pleasure to see a film that acknowledges just how weird life can be.’

As long as nobody brings up the damned albino critter from Alien: Resurrection. Or Alien: Resurrection at all, for that matter.

You can read the rest of the list entries over at Popular Mechanics. What do you think of their picks?