Time travel stories come in all shapes and sizes. Some are more focused on the fun and entertainment. Others use the conceit to allow for explorations of themes and ideas. Robert A. Heinlein’s short story “—All You Zombies—” is more the latter, and the Spierig brothers – Michael and Peter – do a great job adapting it for the silver screen with their film Predestination. And while it’s easy to get lost in time loops and find fault in rules and story construction, this film is an easy one to enjoy with the paradoxes presented because of the themes and concepts it develops.

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Christopher Nolan certainly is a filmmaker with ambition. People may argue one way or the other about his story construction, or his editing style, or his attachment to film even, but it’s hard to argue that he’s not a filmmaker who is working hard to push big ideas out into the world of film. His 2014 film Interstellar, which he wrote with his brother Jonathan, pushes ideas about interstellar space travel, about space-time, about a dying Earth, about wormholes, about black holes – about leaving our planet – and creates a film that feels as much a scientific thesis as it does a story. Is it perfect? No. But the ambition and passion shine through in every frame. Join us as we continue our time travel series with Nolan’s film Interstellar

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After receiving an Oscar nomination for his short film 7:35 de la mañana, Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo went to work using his moment of glory to get his first feature written and financed. As is so often the case, he finally got it released years later, but Timecrimes was critically acclaimed and became quite the sci-fi festival darling. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t get the push it needed for its theatrical release and it died a quiet death at the box office. Luckily, its quality has kept people talking about it and watching it. Join us as we kick off our Time Travel series with Vigalondo’s 2007 film Timecrimes

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Steven Spielberg didn’t have a sense that his little, personal alien film was going to blow up like it did when he was making it. Universal Studios saw it as another kids film that likely would only be seen by moms taking their kids to the theater. But E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial managed to touch pretty much the hearts of everyone who saw it, turning it into the #1 film in the world in short order.

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Fritz Lang’s sci-fi classic has really been through the wringer since it’s premiere in 1927. After having been cut nearly in half then reshaped, people have struggled over the decades to restore the 2 ½ hour film to its full glory but to little avail. In 2008, however, a 16mm print of a horribly scratched copy of the nearly full version was found in Buenos Aires and the film was given new life. It’s since been beautifully restored and is a marvel to watch, even with the scratches. 

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we begin our Fritz Lang series with “Metropolis.”

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James Wong Howe shot color films very well, but it was his black-and-white cinematography that he was really known for. He won two Oscars for his B&W cinematography and played with many techniques that influenced filmmakers and cinematographers long after he was gone. The camera work on John Frankenheimer’s 1966 film “Seconds” is no exception. It fits the tone of the film perfectly, creating a sense of unease and discomfort quite often. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we finish our B&W cinematography of James Wong Howe with Frankenheimer’s “Seconds.”

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It’s a sad state to consider that Christopher Nolan had to fight to get money to make “Inception” because it wasn’t a sequel, based on a comic book, a remake, or something similar. It was purely an original script about a wild inverted heist taking place inside someone’s dreams. It’s a marvel of a film, and we conclude our latest Original Sci-Fi series with this non-benevolent alien movie, Nolan’s 2010 film, “Inception.”

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When the extended trailer for James Cameron’s 1989 undersea scifi spectacular, “The Abyss,” was released, it set the stage for an epic film that promised to deliver “Aliens” underwater. When the film was released, it received good reviews and earned its money back, but wasn’t what people expected. But 3 years later, Cameron was able to return to it and release an extended version with nearly 30 minutes of new material, including an extended ending. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our Original SciFi series with “The Abyss.”

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In 1977, Devil’s Tower went from being known as the first National Monument (for those who had actually heard of it) to the iconographic image marking the rendezvous point where the aliens want to meet the humans in Steven Spielberg’s third theatrical film, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” The release and success of the movie saw visits to the monument skyrocket, which shows the power in Spielberg’s film. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we jump back into our Original SciFi series with this fantastic entry into the genre.

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We end our Original Science Fiction series with Andrew Niccol’s visionary 1997 film set not too far in the future, Gattaca. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we delve into not just what makes this film great and unique, but also what ties the four films from this series — Dark City, Sunshine, Moon, and Gattaca — together.

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