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The Sci-Fi Agenda

Mirror of the thinking person’s guide to science fiction cinema at The Sci-Fi Agenda.

  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    1.Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    ★★★★★

    Former lovers restart their relationship in reverse after mutual memory erase through shady brain firm.

  • Brazil

    2.Brazil

    ★★★★

    Daydreaming pencil-pusher joins forces with clandestine duct repairman to find mirage girl in Orwellian office maze.

  • Her

    3.Her

    ★★★½

    Semi-depressed personal-card-as-a-service hipster Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with operating system entity.

  • Coherence

    4.Coherence

    ★★★★

    Leaps of labyrinthine logic when already awkward dinner party enters entangled quantum state due to passing comet.

  • The Vast of Night

    5.The Vast of Night

    ★★★★½

    Two young tech enthusiasts in 1950s New Mexico go hunting tapes after uncovering haunting radio signals with an obscure history.

  • Ex Machina

    6.Ex Machina

    ★★★★

    Gifted engineer invited by wealthy wizard executive to Turing test humanoid AI at forest tech monastery.

  • The Endless

    7.The Endless

    ★★★★½

    Mystery video tape sends brothers back to childhood cult or commune under the spell of strange physics.

  • Moon

    8.Moon

    ★★★★

    Sam Rockwell battles severe loneliness and weak communications during solo mining mission on the Moon.

  • Arrival

    9.Arrival

    ★★★½

    Grieving linguist faced with exercise in circular comprehension after enigmatic spacecraft appear around the world.

  • Melancholia

    10.Melancholia

    ★★★★½

    Spectacular cinematography of worn out Kirsten Dunst with doubts during own wedding as looming rogue planet nears Earth.

  • Donnie Darko

    11.Donnie Darko

    ★★★★

    Troubled teenager faces fate and flying jet engines and converses apocalyptic rabbit on the philosophy of time travel.

  • District 9

    12.District 9

    ★★★★

    Bureaucrat assigned relocation of alien outcasts from Johannesburg ghetto in smart xenophobia allegory.

  • Twelve Monkeys

    13.Twelve Monkeys

    ★★★★★

    Bruce Willis goes back in time to stop eco-terrorists from ruining Earth in brilliant expansion on still short La jetée.

  • The Man from Earth

    14.The Man from Earth

    ★★★

    Professor claims to be ancient at impromptu farewell gathering with cross-disciplinary group of colleagues and disciples.

  • Upgrade

    15.Upgrade

    ★★★½

    Tech-averse mechanic reluctantly agrees to cybernetic implant for a chance at avenging his murdered wife.

  • Annihilation

    16.Annihilation

    ★★★★½

    Biologist leads exploratory scientist team into curious and confusing environmental will-o’-the-wisp in search for missing husband.

  • Upstream Color

    17.Upstream Color

    ★★★½

    Strange substance travels through larvae, orchids, pigs and people in poetic weave by the director of Primer.

  • Sorry to Bother You

    18.Sorry to Bother You

    ★★★★

    Race relations and workplace politics in dark comedy on the logical conclusions of scientific corporatocracy.

  • Gattaca

    19.Gattaca

    ★★★★

    Natural born swimmer assumes stealth genotype in hope of going to space in brave new world of eugenics.

  • Predestination

    20.Predestination

    ★★★½

    Ethan Hawke as bartending time traveler setting lives in motion while on final duty to track down elusive bomber.

  • Last Night

    21.Last Night

    ★★★

    Widower’s solitude interrupted by woman looking for lost suicide pact partner during Earth’s last few hours.

  • Primer

    22.Primer

    ★★★★½

    Breakdown of spacetime and personal relations after serendipitous revelation in one of the most mind-bending movies ever.

  • The Lobster

    23.The Lobster

    ★★★½

    Lone singles end up in remote hotel for relationship conditioning under threat of being turned into animals.

  • Under the Skin

    24.Under the Skin

    ★★★½

    Clever usage of hidden cameras as humanly disguised alien seductress picks up men around streets of Scotland.

  • Timecrimes

    25.Timecrimes

    ★★★½

    Peeping tom becomes own pawn when trapped in cycle of events at high-tech skunkworks lab up the hill.

  • Open Your Eyes

    26.Open Your Eyes

    ★★★★

    Young man car-crashed into facial disfigurement by manic ex-lover ends up in dreamlike state of altered reality in levels.

  • Frequencies

    27.Frequencies

    ★★★

    Metaphysical love story and fate versus free will struggle in class society determined by frequencies.

  • ANYA

    28.ANYA

    ★★★

    Newlyweds in fertility trouble seek aid of enthusiastic geneticist to solve DNA-driven bloodline mystery.

  • Videodrome

    29.Videodrome

    ★★★★

    One man’s gory pursuit of mastermind behind sensational snuff broadcast that turns out to be neurolinguistic programming.

  • The Double

    30.The Double

    ★★★★

    Office worker in a rut gets more excitement than he asked for in doppelgänger drama based on Dostoyevsky novella.

  • Spring

    31.Spring

    ★★★½

    Young American adrift in southern Italy ends up in primordial romance with secretive lady of fine lineage.

  • H.

    32.H.

    ★★★★

    Fleeting fragments from two Helens of Troy at odds with loss in modern mythology of meteors and motherhood.

  • The Congress

    33.The Congress

    ★★★★

    Multi-level metafilm/acid trip on society’s escalation of escapism, based on “The Futurological Congress” by Stanisław Lem.

  • Starship Troopers

    34.Starship Troopers

    ★★★½

    Teens sent to wage interstellar war on arachnids in subtle and not-so-subtle satire on fascism and propaganda.

  • Evolution

    35.Evolution

    ★★★

    Boys become experiment in wake of unknown sickness in strange seaside village inhabited solely by women.

  • Advantageous

    36.Advantageous

    ★★★½

    Single mother in a future of super-children and rapidly diminishing job count explores the prospects of body sacrifice.

  • The Sticky Fingers of Time

    37.The Sticky Fingers of Time

    ★★★

    Pulp author covering hydrogen bomb test in the 1950’s gains time travel capabilities and meets present day spawn.

  • Strange Days

    38.Strange Days

    ★★★★

    Ex-cop uncovers plot around hard currency of illegal cortex recordings in unrestful Los Angeles at turn of the millennium.

  • I Origins

    39.I Origins

    ★★★★½

    Eye scientist on crusade against creationism stumbles upon deep discovery and meets mysterious love interest.

  • Another Earth

    40.Another Earth

    ★★★½

    Astronomer distracted by duplicate Earth encounter causes tragedy and misses MIT in favor of cleaning up aftermath.

  • eXistenZ

    41.eXistenZ

    ★★★

    Biotech body horror in a future of increasingly immersive virtual reality where gamers versus realists battle it out.

  • Sound of My Voice

    42.Sound of My Voice

    ★★★½

    Covert documentary maker couple infiltrate seclusive sect surrounding charismatic leader claiming to be from the future.

  • Europa Report

    43.Europa Report

    ★★★½

    Intimate space ship interiors from found footage of manned mission to Jupiter’s moons in search for extra-terrestrial life.

  • Never Let Me Go

    44.Never Let Me Go

    ★★★

    Trio coming of age at strangely isolated boarding school in alternate history where life extension happened.

  • The Laplace's Demon

    45.The Laplace's Demon

    ★★★★

    Determined research group with entropic breakthrough in their bag visits the island castle of a madman and his deadly contraptions.

  • A Scanner Darkly

    46.A Scanner Darkly

    ★★★

    Shapeshifting surveillance agent in undercover drug lord operation becomes addicted to Substance D in Philip K. Dick story.

  • Cosmos

    47.Cosmos

    ★★★★

    Three astro-nuts with frictional past camp out in car on observatory all-nighter listening for strange space signals.

  • Cold Souls

    48.Cold Souls

    ★★★

    Captured spirits and soul-searching in Saint Petersburg as Paul Giamatti plays himself on the verge of total theatrical uninspiration.

  • Limitless

    49.Limitless

    ★★★

    Struggling author rids writer’s block with pilot nootropics and advances into finance while watched by the wrong people.

  • OtherLife

    50.OtherLife

    ★★★

    Biotech genius develops total simulation substance with the potential of severe time dilation and struggles to keep it from the wrong hands.

  • Extracted

    51.Extracted

    ★★★

    Scientist trips down unreliable memory lane of alleged murderer through mind extraction machinery of own invention.

  • Embers

    52.Embers

    ★★★

    Newfound lovers/strangers in desolation wander about on amnesic repeat caused by mysterious global disease.

  • The Quiet Earth

    53.The Quiet Earth

    ★★½

    Energy science lab rat tries to trump despair and seek explanations after awakening to a world devoid of people.

  • Travelling Salesman

    54.Travelling Salesman

    ★★★

    Mathematicians make computational complexity breakthrough in π-fi chamber play on the ethics of scientific progress.

  • Splice

    55.Splice

    ★★★½

    Biohacker couple of ambiguous moral fiber in sudden parenthood when illicit gene splicing pet project goes awry.

  • Little Joe

    56.Little Joe

    ★★★

    Triffid throwback in plant-based pastel on the symbiotic merits and morals of genetically modified organisms.

  • Cube

    57.Cube

    ★★★★

    Rational thinking under stress when group of strangers wake up in never-ending cubic deathtrap rigged with math.

  • Realive

    58.Realive

    ★★★

    Notable designer wakes up in the future after opting out of terminal cancer through experimental and arguably successful cryostasis.

  • The Quiet Hour

    59.The Quiet Hour

    ★★★

    Strong sister and blind brother keep up and out in expertly scored story of survival after alien invasion.

  • Robot Stories

    60.Robot Stories

    ★★★

    Makers and machine love in four-part anthology on the limits and possibilities of human-robot interaction.

  • Stranded

    61.Stranded

    ★★★½

    Vastly underrated down-to-earth exploration of Mars after pioneer crew crash-lands in crater on limited life support.

  • Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

    62.Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

    ★★★

    Collapsing and newfound relations in apocalyptic road movie about earth on the brink of destruction due to asteroid Matilda.

  • Sleep Dealer

    63.Sleep Dealer

    ★★★

    Drone strike surviving village teen hacker meets memory author in Tijuana when looking for fortune in telerobotics.

  • Vanishing Waves

    64.Vanishing Waves

    ★★★

    Surreal erotic encounters as one conscious test subject travels mind of comatose other under not-so-controlled conditions.

  • Cypher

    65.Cypher

    ★★★

    Spiritless accountant goes into corporate espionage and discovers business convention brainwashing scheme.

  • Uncanny

    66.Uncanny

    ★★½

    Ex-engineer science writer spends week at solitary lab for interviews with prodigal inventor and the AI creation Adam.

  • The Beyond

    67.The Beyond

    ★★★½

    Robotisised astronauts are sent through just discovered wormhole to bring back news of the mysterious unknown.

  • S1m0ne

    68.S1m0ne

    ★★★★

    Director has-been replaces quitting leading diva with computer simulation that keeps outshining his own career.

  • The Box

    69.The Box

    ★★★½

    NASA engineer and wife go down morally dubious path paved with supernatural occurrences after pushing a button.

  • Self/less

    70.Self/less

    ★★★

    Prosperous property developer attempts escape from elderness through supposedly safe mind uploading to younger body.