Renaissance

Style for days.

This gorgeous black-and-white animated film, aimed squarely at adults and not kiddos, is a swirling mix of eye-popping images and brain-shattering plot twists.

Set in 2054 Paris, it follows a police captain trying to untangle a mystery revolving around the kidnapping of a young scientist who was hot on the heels of a cure for a rare genetic condition.

Shady people are everywhere, evil corporations rule from on high, and our main cop, a man of great principle, but flexible ethics, sinks ever-deeper into a world which ignores his pleas for help.

A true hidden gem.

 

The Martian

Science, the final frontier.

Stranded on Mars after his shipmates think he’s dead and hit the gas pedal to get out of town, quick, Matt Damon finds himself a lonely Robinson Crusoe on the angry red planet.

No big-budget sci-fi epic has spent so much time devoted to the how and why of growing potatoes in a harsh environment, and yet it works.

Director Ridley Scott brings his usual visual panache to the story, while finding an unexpected amount of humor in Damon’s ordeal up among the stars.

A film grandpa and Bill Nye the Science Guy can agree on.

 

Blade Roller

Taste the revolution.

Coca-Cola instructs you to be cool by … stealing its product, I guess, in this artsy early ’90s commercial from soon-to-be movie bigwig David Fincher.

The man who gave us everything from Seven to The Social Network to this year’s Mank once made most of his spending money directing TV ads and music videos.

One of his best is this zippy lil’ affair, heavily influenced by Ridley Scott’s late-blooming sci-fi classic Blade Runner.

Homage or ripoff? Or maybe both?

Either way, it does make me a bit thirsty.

 

I Come in Peace

“You go in pieces!”

Deep it ain’t, but this early ’90s sci-fi blow-em-up is fast ‘n gritty fun, with Dolph Lundgren dropping body blows with a diabolically hungry alien invader.

Our outer space visitor tells everyone he meets that he’s here on a mission of peace, moments before sucking out their brains and all the good juice hiding inside.

The only man who can stop him? That would be He-Man himself.

Lundgren, the only action star with a real life master’s degree in chemical engineering, never gets the full respect he deserves.

He’s a man mountain with moxie.

 

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

He comes in peace.

Unless you tick him off, and then maybe, just maybe, he might have his killer robot zap all of you lil’ twerps just to teach you a lesson.

Michael Rennis is a stoic alien invader traveling the galaxy with one mission — keep the warring factions on Earth at the height of the Cold War from ever thinking about taking their new nuclear power up, up, and away to space.

To do so would unleash a firestorm the humans couldn’t possibly win, he warns them.

Thoughtful sci-fi with a message — more Star Trek than Star Wars.