All tagged sci-fi

Call of Cthulhu Review (Game, 2018)

Call of Cthulhu is an adventure game with RPG elements based on the Call of Cthulhu tabletop RPG from Chaosium Inc. The Call of Cthulhu universe is inspired by the work of HP Lovecraft, one of the most influential and problematic weird fiction authors of all time. He created this vast universe of monstrous beings from another realm that consume you with madness until you destroy everyone and everything around you. He was also an incredibly paranoid man who wrote extremely harmful things thanks to his xenophobia and a legitimate hatred and fear of anyone not like the people he grew up around in his hometown. The pop culture understanding and enduring legacy of Lovecraft is not based on what he actually wrote but on the ideas he wrote and permitted other writers to expand upon in their own stories. Call of Cthulhu finds a way to confront the darker side of Lovecraft’s legacy head-on through context and perspective.

The Predator Review (Film, 2018)

Does a B-movie celebrating its status as a B-movie forgive it from embracing problematic elements of B-movie history long after we stopped accepting these harmful tropes? That’s a hard question to answer. There are films that wield those tropes as a weapon against a history of microaggressions and abusive content, and there are films that think they get away with it just because others have done it worse. Then there’s the element of if they’re even aware they’re doing it when the focus of a genre film is so rarely characters or cultural implications.

The Predator is a B-movie. There’s no other way to describe it. It’s a sequel and soft reboot to 1987’s Predator, itself a B-movie action/horror/sci-fi film that established a pattern now followed in four films. A group of soldiers come in contact with an alien race whose only goal on Earth is hunting strong members of humanity. They cloak to turn invisible, mimic our speech to confuse us, track us via heat signals, and rip our spines out when they win. A clever soldier will inevitably find a way to defeat them and humanity will be saved for a time. Then it happens all over again in the next film with very minor changes—new technology, different setting.

World of Tomorrow 2: The Burden of Other People's Thoughts Review (Short Film, 2017)

"World of Tomorrow 2: The Burden of Other People's Thoughts" is a sequel to the 2015 Academy Award-nominated animated short "World of Tomorrow" by Don Hertzfeldt. It is a continuation of the story, as much as you can consider "World of Tomorrow" as having a story. Emily, the young girl visited by a clone of herself from centuries in the future, is visited by another version of the same clone. Where the first clone Emily encountered is eager to show her the future, Emily 6 is only concerned with the past. She is tired of being an incomplete and abandoned clone of an Emily who no longer exists, so she travels back in time to reboot herself off of the original Emily's memories.

Tau Review (Film, 2018)

Cinema has an obsession with exploring artificial intelligence. It's almost innate to the medium. We're talking about a history that goes all the way back to Metropolis in 1927. The trend really took off in the wake of 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968, but the tropes of the trend were already pretty well established at that point. When you're watching a film about artificial intelligence, you're in for a story about what defines humanity, creation, and morality.

Tau is a science fiction/thriller about scientific experiments in a smart house. Julia (Maika Monroe) is kidnapped by Alex (Ed Skrein), a programmer and scientist, for experimentation. Alex's goal is to create the most advanced, adaptive artificial intelligence system ever. His current model, Tau (the voice of Gary Oldman), is tasked with protecting his mansion, overseeing the experiments, and doing everything per Alex's orders. Once Julia breaks free of her literal restraints, it's up to her to convince Tau of his own humanity to save her own life. Can a computer program ever learn to think and feel like a human? What happens if we train them to? Who gets to define humanity?