1. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of destiny
Yes, there’s a sequel to 2000’s Crouching Tiger (Netflix), Hidden Dragon. And, like so many other revivals of classic properties, it’s just hanging out on Netflix. Loosely based on the same “Crane-Iron” series of books by Wang Dulu as the original Crouching Tiger, Sword of Destiny builds on its predecessor’s magical combination of folk tales, multi-faceted characters, and physically impossible acrobatic fight scenes. Michelle Yeoh returns as you Shu Lien, fresh out of exile and locked in an important battle with the West lotus clan for control of the Green Destiny sword.
Directing Sword of Destiny is Woo-Ping Yuen, the martial arts choreographer on the first Crouching Tiger, and he certainly brings his prowess for creating gorgeous and soaring aerial combat sequences
Snowpiercer (Netflix) is one of the most original, thoughtful, and unpredictable science fiction movies in recent memory. The film takes place in a dystopian near future, in which some malfunctioning technology has triggered a new ice age and killed almost all life on Earth. The humans that survive board Snowpiercer, a gigantic super train that never stops circling the entire planet.
By 2031, the onboard society has split into the wealthy, who get the luxury cars in the front of the train, and the impoverished who are forced to eat food cubes and live in subhuman conditions in the tail. Rebels living in the tail of the train lead a revolt after people living in the front led by the spooky Minister Mason, go too far. It all gets even more chaotic and compellingly strange from there.
3. Apostle (Netflix)
Have you ever thought of this that why are period horror films are so much scarier than ones set in modern day? Is it because the relative ignorance and brutality of the past adds an extra element of terror? Or are images of Victorian-era Londoners in bleak lives inherently unsettling? Probably that, although blood-Hungry monsters, freaky, and blood cults are scary too.
Fortunately, Apostle (Netflix) possesses all those things. Set in 1905, Apostle concerns a man named Thomas, who leaves London for an island run by a cult that’s kidnapped his sister. Thomas with the cult members and their leader, in the hopes of rescuing his sister from them. However, things get awfully sticky for Thomas when he realizes that the cult’s teachings aren’t exactly wrong. Imagine if little shop of Horrors mashed up with The Wicker Man, only ten times as freaky, and you’ll get Apostle.
4. Cargo (Netflix)
There’s always room for a new twist and new voices in even the most trope-heavy film genres. Take Cargo (Netflix), which revives the zombie movie genre from its funk by adding new dimensions of humanity. Directors Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling based the film on their 2013 short of the same name.
It follows a man named Andy, played by Martin Freeman, who, with his wife and infant daughter, preserve himself up in a houseboat along a river deep in the interior of Australia following a zombie apocalypse. Andy wants to take the boat upriver to the safety of military protection; his wife wants to make a supply run. Eventually, Andy heads out on land of undead with Rosie strapped to his back, fighting off the zombies. Ultimately, Cargo is a film about the will to not just survive, but to protect your loved once no matter the cost.
5. I am Mother
I Am Mother(Netflix), the feature debut by writer-director Grant Sputore, take place after an apocalyptic, extinction-level event has wiped out all of humanity. Fortunately, a re-population contingency plan springs into action: a robot named Mother activates in a secure lab facility and raises one of 63,000 human embryos pre-frozen by scientists should life ever cease to exist.
Mother then raises her human daughter, helpfully named Daughter, through a pleasant childhood, until things get prickly during her teen years. Daughter discovers a living mouse and wonders if there’s more life beyond her four walls. But then she finds out there really is, when an adult human woman comes knocking at the facility door. I Am Mother is ultimately a thrilling, chilling, and even oddly touching allegory about parenthood and letting go.
6. The Wandering Earth
The Wandering Earth is one of the highest-grossing movies of the decade, but most North American movie fans probably have no idea it even exists. It enjoyed an extremely small release in the U.S. but earned nearly $700 million at China’s box office. The film is one of that country’s first Hollywood-style, big-budget, blockbuster science-fiction epics.
In the Wandering Earth, scientists discover that the Sun is evolving into a red giant, meaning that it’s expanding at a rate that will devour Earth in 100 years and the entire and entire solar system in 300 years. The globe’s governments and scientists work together and come up with a creative solution: 10,000 gigantic jet engines are installed around the world, propelling the planet out of its orbit to begin a very long journey to a new permanent resting spot more than four lightyears away. Things go wrong relatively early, when spaceship Earth gets caught in Jupiter’s orbit, which will ensure its eventual destruction, if our heroes can’t get the jets working again, that is. Comparable to Armageddon, The Core, and Interstellar, The Wandering Earth is a fun and accessible sci-fi adventure.
7. See you yesterday (Netflix)
Filmmakers can use the limitless tools and imagination of science fiction to say something about the world, and Stefan Bristol explores some powerful themes with See You Yesterday. Bristol and his talented young cast combine sci-fi tropes with brutal social commentary, this time-travel thriller is about the future and the past, but really it’s about the present.
C.J, played by Eden Duncan-Smith, is a precocious and preternaturally gifted young scientist who, with her best friend and collaborator Sebastian, has constructed a rudimentary, but functional, time machine. They just want to go back in time by a day to look around and then come back, so as not to “butterfly effect” the past and rewrite history. But See You Yesterday is set in the predominantly African American Brooklyn neighbourhood of Flatbush, and C. J’s brother Calvin is horrifyingly shot down in the street by the police. C.J has to use her device to go back and attempt to save her brother’s life while battling against the time loops and complications. She both causes and encounters. See You Yesterday is a heart-breaking, thoughtful movie, one that’s laced with great sci-fi references as well as the Jamaican influence that permeates Flatbush culture. Don’t waste any more time, see this movie.
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