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Director: Denis Villeneuve Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, Jared Leto, Ana de Armas Running Time: 163 minutes


 

The advanced screening of Blade Runner 2049 and presumably, all advanced screenings of the film, began with a letter from the director, imploring those in attendance to keep tight lipped about the film’s various twists and turns, to “not spoil the magic”. And though there are plenty of spoilers that will, for the purposes of playing ball, be avoided in this review, Blade Runner and its sequel are not films about the plot details, not really. Despite the many story-changing cuts and decades of speculation and misleading trailers and advance screening advanced warnings, these are films whose true value lays not in the story beats but in the ideas and the images and everything else that a rogue tweet or a too-curious eye over a Wikipedia page cannot take away from you. From the outside, Blade Runner 2049 may look like yet another nostalgia cash-in, and an odd choice for one at that, but it’s no mere replicant of the original, providing a beautiful backdrop against which the series’ themes about identity, memory and autonomy are given further thought.

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This year saw the introduction of a new film festival in the ranks of Dublin’s long list of varied film programming. The Dublin Sci-Fi Film Festival showcased genre filmmaking new and old in Smithfield this May. Film In Dublin were happy to be in attendance at the inaugural edition of the festival, with myself serving on the jury for the festival’s shorts programme. DSFFF is looking to expand even further in 2018, and have opened submissions now to filmmakers looking to submit their science-fiction shorts and features to potentially be shown when the festival returns to Smithfield next year.

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Director: Luc Besson Starring: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke, Rihanna, John Goodman Running Time: 137 mins


There’s a great chase sequence near the beginning of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets in which the characters exist simultaneously in two alternate dimensions. One a colorful, expansive and beautiful looking desert world filled with wide-eyed consumers; the other an over-packed, messy and dangerous market planet, where the possibility of adventure (or disaster) lies around every corner. Much like this inter-dimensional marketplace, the film seems to exist in two separate states at once. And, much like the characters, viewers will likely find themselves torn between the two. Valerian is awful. But it’s also kind of amazing. And damn if it’s not great to look at!Read more…

Set to take place in 2018, the Dublin Smartphone Film Festival is Ireland’s latest international film festival dedicated to filmmakers exclusively using mobile devices. The festival will screen a host of short film, documentary, animation and music videos, with industry and educational workshops as well as a few surprises.

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Science fiction doesn’t always have to be about laser beams and Ewoks. For those who like the science in their films to be a little harder in nature, the Irish Film Institute is offering a series of films, both fact and fiction, that explore and incorporate plausible scientific methods and practices into their stories. These are the thinking person’s films about science and they’re on offer next week at the IFI.
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Director: Ridley Scott Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride Running Time: 123 minutes


Almost forty years ago now, the minds of Dan O’Bannon and the then up-and-coming director Ridley Scott crossed with the cold and violently Freudian imagery of H.R. Giger and created Alien. A massive hit, Alien took the science-fiction adventure dreams that were launched in viewers two years earlier by Star Wars  and curdled them into a nightmare; not an Expanded Universe that invites exploration, but a cruel one that punished hubristic humans who wander where they’re not wanted. Alien‘s success and its iconic imagery made it a no-brainer for franchise material, and after the interpretations of other directors-some welcome, most not-and some regrettable dust-ups with Predators, Scott returned to the space where no one can hear you scream, first with the yes-but-no-but-yes prequel Prometheus and now with the bridge-gapping Alien: Covenant. These latest films may have their faults, quite a few in fact, but at least Scott is back for reasons other than money or brand building, instead using the old world he helped create to explore new ideas. It’s just unfortunate that having ideas at all puts Scott one up on any of the characters in these films, who almost never have two brain cells to rub together.

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Ireland’s newest genre film festival is coming to Dublin from the 5th-7th May.  Dublin Sci Fi Film Festival’s inaugural programme features Irish premieres of The Winter Soldier (from Blue Valentine screenwriter, Joey Curtis), The Untamed (Winner of the Venice Film Festival Silver Lion) and Creature Designers: The Frankenstein Complex; indie gems such as She’s Allergic to Cats and Embers; a range of international shorts and Sci-Fi classics such as Barbarella, The Forbidden Planet and a very special 30th anniversary screening of The Running Man.

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Last month, we told you about the Dublin Sci-Fi Film Festival, the city’s newest film festival dedicated to the genres of fantasy and science fiction. The festival announced that they were accepting submissions from aspiring sci-fi filmmakers to screen their work, a process that is still open. Now further details, including dates and venues, have been announced for the Dublin Sci-Fi Film Festival.

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Directed by: Morten Tyldum  Starring: Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen  Running Time: 116 mins


Passengers is not the nice romantic sci-fi film you’ve been led to believe. What’s disconcerting is that it thinks it is. Thanks to a horribly misguided plot development in the first act of the movie Passengers is a film so far from what it wants to be that it’s staggering to imagine how anyone involved thought it was a good idea. Not only is this plot development completely unnecessary, it unintentionally transforms the whole thing into a profoundly uncomfortable experience.

Fair warning to all here, it’s going to be kind of impossible to discuss the film’s issues without stating what this plot development entails, so rather than continuing to talk in circles, let it be known there are spoilers ahead!

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The current incarnation of HBO’S Westworld series is now on the eve of its fourth episode and enjoying universal critical approval. Mixing thought-provoking science fiction with disturbing horror, the show poses a number of ethical and social questions about socialites rapid adoption and integration with technology. Where do we draw the line between artificial life and human life? Is it murder or infidelity if none of it is real? These are poignant questions in 2016 and the show could not have arrived at a better time to explore these themes. To get a better understanding of this new incarnation we here at Film in Dublin have decided to revisit the Cult 1973 original. Released incidentally only 2 days after the opening of Disney World Florida, Westworld posits a future where rich tourists can enjoy luxury vacations in a state of the art adult theme park, their every needs served by lifelike robots. The vacation becomes a nightmare when the androids start malfunctioning and killing the guests. 43 years after its release, this low budget SCI-FI now seems sharply relevant. It is a cautionary tale of man’s inability to see its own fallibility in the pursuit of innovation.

 

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