Movies about the Future
Science Fiction, Time Travel, and Films Set in the Future
New Rose Hotel
Tri-lingual credits hold out great hopes for New Rose Hotel, a well cast tale of international corporate espionage. Christopher Walken is an old hand at the game, training Willem Defoe to pry a Japanese biochemist away from his employer. They hire Asia Argento to seduce Maas away from his icy Nordic wife. New Rose Hotel is very high tech, and the spastic film style leaves huge gaps for the viewer to fill in. If you wait, however, the entire film gets regurgitated in flashbacks so you get to see it all twice. New Rose Hotel is all style and little substance: your basic 45 minute movie in an hour and a half. Rated R. 1999. 90 minutes.
All right, maybe you understood 12 Monkeys the first time you saw it, but most of us watched 12 Monkeys at least twice. Brad Pitt plays an excellent wacko and you can view this one just for the prison scene which shows what Terry Gilliam can do with a decent budget. Bruce Willis turns up the volume on his Pulp Fiction persona for his role as Cole the time traveling prisoner.
This 1962 short film by Chris Marker provided the story for 12 Monkeys. Using black and white stills with a French voice over montage into this science fiction story. La Jetée tells the tale of a time traveler who returns to Orly airport to try and reverse the effects of an earlier catastrophe. 43 minutes. French w/subtitles. Unrated. 1962.
Lulu on the Bridge
Harvey Keitel plays jazz saxophonist Izzy Maurer, who gets shot in the lung and can no longer play. So now he wanders around. Paul Auster wrote and directed Lulu on the Bridge, a confusing mystery/thriller/science fiction tale about a mysterious rock that Izzy finds in a dead man's briefcase. He calls a phone number that was also in the brief case, and Celia Burns (Mira Sorvino) turns up. The two of them groove together as the stone glows blue and floats in midair. Willem Dafoe , Mandy Patinkin, and Vanessa Redgrave are three more reasons to take Lulu on the Bridge off the shelf, but don't be fooled, sometimes even surplus talent cannot save a mediocre film. Maybe David Lynch got his inspiration for Mullholland Drive from Lulu on the Bridge. Rated PG13. 103 minutes. 1998.
Did someone say "film noir"? If you're curious about just how dark you can make a film and still have a visible image (but not necessarily an intelligible story) check out Dark City. The plot is the standard failing alien civilization wants to conquer earth scenario. Unlike Mars Attacks, the Nosferatu lookalikes in Dark City use memory control as their tool. Keifer Sutherland overacts his role as the complicit limping Dr. Schreber but the rest of the cast are okay. This is a niche movie which you'll enjoy if you liked Spawn or The Crow. 1997. Rated R. 98 minutes.
The City of Lost Children
Directed by the team of Jeanette/Caro, The City of Lost Children that forces you to think of Brazil. The City of Lost Children is a very funny mad scientist story about a family of clones that kidnap children so they can record their dreams for one of their members. Wild sets and courageous children who fight off the freaks with the aid of a circus giant. Also check out Delicatessen by the same guys. 1995. 120 minuets. Rated R. Subtitled/French.
Delicatessen is a post apocalypse French film that is reminiscent of Brazil. See our cannibal movies section.
Michael Palin, Jonathan Pryce, Katherine Hellmond and Robert DeNiro are the major names in the futuristic Terry Gilliam epic Brazil. Poor Mr.Buttle has been expunged by the master computer. They take him away and he ceases to exist. Pryce is Sam who is promoted to the Ministry of Information through his mother's social machinations. He encounters Jill who is trying to find out what became of Buttle. She is literally the woman of his dreams, and he falls for her and her cause. It seems Sam's friend and coworker, Michael Palin as Jack, had accidentally killed Buttle while interrogating him. Bob Hoskins and Robert DeNiro have great parts as plumbers. You might want to buy this one, because you will have to rent it five or six times to get a handle on the story. The full 142 minute version is now available in a boxed DVD set versus the standard 131 minute US 1985 release. The extra footage actually adds a lot to the story. Rated R.
Until the End of the World
Any movie directed by Wim Wenders is hard to understand, and Until the End of the World is no exception. William Hurt stars in this fast paced debacle that has something for everyone and not much of anything for anyone. Until the End of the World has a great soundtrack, and Solveig Dommartin has enough of a French accent to hold my interest. Max von Sydow and Sam Neill play the wise elders.
A Hong Kong futuristic thriller along the lines of Blade Runner. If your local video store stocks Wicked City, then you have a great video store. You might get the idea that Men in Black borrowed a little too heavily from Wicked City. Attractive monsters interbreed with humans to create misunderstood hybrids, while a special squad of police elite hunt down and destroy the more malignant clan members. Why were the women all naked and the men in clothes ? The film is in Cantonese with strange subtitles.
The Fifth Element
Bruce Willis is beginning to dominate this genre, but he can't outdo his Yugoslavian co-star in the bizarre film The Fifth Element. The futuristic Dick Tracy type sets in The Fifth Element are excellent and don't detract from the well written sci fi story. Nice taxicab scenes.
Honorable mentions in the hard to understand movies about the future go to:
Harrison Ford before he became Jack Ryan is quite good in Blade Runner, a now-aging scifi movie. I only mention Blade Runner because it's been spiffed up and re-released on DVD.
A Clockwork Orange
A Clockwork Orange is a Stanley Kubrick adaptation of the Anthony Burgess novel about futurepunks. Malcolm (not Roddy) McDowell is at his best and scariest in this one. Watch A Clockwork Orange again and see if it still makes you unsettled . 137 minutes. Rated R. 1971.
Did you actually see Zardoz when it came out? Bet you don't remember it. In the 23rd century, Zardoz is a giant stone head that floats down from heaven and spits out guns. He beseeches his followers to go out and kill. Sean Connery is Zed, one of the brutal Zardoz devotees. Dressed in a red speedo and double bandoliers, Zed sneaks into the head and flies back to Vortex 4 where the cognoscenti live. These immortals farm, trade and live the civilized life. Zed is treated as a primitive slave and studied for his sexual prowess. There are lots of swirly 70's scenes and just too much silly camera work by today's standards. Sean probably forgot he was in this one. Too freaking weird. What was director John Boorman thinking when he made this? Charlotte Rumpling is the immortal love interest. Zardoz got his name from the Wizard of Oz. We've been told it makes more/some sense if you view it under larges doses of hallucinogens. Can anyone verify that? 1974. Rated R. 104 minutes.
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