The Road Warrior

Let’s go for a drive.

Essentially one extended action scene, broken up by small bits of dialogue and drama, this remains one of the great rock-me, sock-me flicks.

Director George Miller, who topped himself 30+ years later with Mad Max: Fury Road, is in fine form here, pitting a grungy Mel Gibson against the dregs of humanity.

There’s a story, or at least part of one, about a bid to transport oil from one barren outpost to another barren outpost, but that’s not why we’re here.

We came for the squeal of metal on metal, and boy howdy, does this deliver.

 

Time After Time

It’s a fight across time and space.

Jack the Ripper gets his hands on a time machine, opening up a new world of potential victims, but there’s one man who can stop him — famed writer H.G. Wells, the man who concocted the ability to jump between decades.

Pursuing his friend/foe from 1893 to 1979, he finds danger, adventure, and romance in this very-winning sci-fi slice of “what if?”

Mary Steenburgen is a particular delight as a “modern” woman intrigued by the very-proper Wells, even if he seems a bit demented with his tales of time-hopping mad men.

Classy entertainment for smart people.

Donnie Darko

“Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion!”

Richard Kelly carves up suburbia like a surgeon, revealing all the dark, hidden secrets begging to get out.

And that’s before the giant metallic rabbit, time travel, and space vortexes enter the conversation.

Stumbling along in an over-medicated haze, Jake Gyllenhaal is the linchpin holding everything together, his warped grin barely disguising the mix of anguish and anger which roil his soul.

The universe is collapsing on itself — or something like that — and this high school low-achiever holds the key to everyone’s fate.

If he can just wake up in time.

 

The Midnight Sky

In space, no can hear you cry.

A twist on the iconic Alien tagline, it fits this melancholy tale of life struggling to find a way after we’ve killed the Earth.

Directed by and starring George Clooney, it interweaves two stories.

A crew of long-gone space explorers try to make it home while dealing with deep emotional fallout.

But back on what used to be a blue planet, a dying scientist who regrets his life choices broadcasts an ominous message — don’t come back.

PS — Even if you see the big emotional twist in the finale coming, it still works.

Starman

“He doesn’t want to hurt anybody.”

John Carpenter has made a pretty decent career from films in which creepy-crawlies of all kinds harass and/or straight-up murder folks, so this was a nice change-of-pace for the director.

The alien invader played by Jeff Bridges comes to Earth in response to a message broadcast by the Voyager 2 space probe, only to be shot down.

Scrambling to reunite with his own kind, the peaceful explorer takes the appearance of Karen Allen’s late husband, setting up a cross-country journey and a tentative love story.

Warm and hopeful, this is E.T. for adults.