With May 25th fast approaching – or as some may know it “Towel Day“ – in honour of Douglas Adams, I’ve compiled some sci-fi movies that you can get a few laughs from.
Computer Chess – (★★★★★) – directed by Andrew Bujalski
Set in the 1980’s and filmed entirely using an old redundant video format, Computer Chess centres around a competition of programmers squaring off against each other to see who has the best program.
The film manages to be extremely deadpan, almost boring for large parts, but through flashes of surrealism, fantastic characters and sheer oddness it elicits moments of completely unexpected and outstanding humour.
Safety Not Guaranteed – ★★★★½ – directed by Colin Trevorrow
Based on a real ad taken out by someone looking for someone to go time-travelling with, this low budget indie deals with three magazine employees who set off to track down the person responsible for the ad for an article.
Plaza and Duplass are their usual deadpan selves in a film that is genuinely funny and endearing, but Jake M. Johnson (some will know from the TV show “New Girl”) does a fine attempt to steal the movie, also the director got the gig of the next Jurassic Park off the back of this, definitely worth a watch.
Robot & Frank – ★★★★½ – directed by Jake Schreier
A high concept light comedy that deals with an ageing cat-burglar, the brilliant Frank Langella, and a robot purchased to look after him while his children can’t. Frank however realises that the robot is programmed to do whatever he is told and the possibility of resuming his formerly lucrative career in crime intrigues him.
There are some really great moments in this movie that has a lot to say about getting old and has some fine support work from Susan Sarandon, James Marsden and Liv Tyler.
John Dies at The End – ★★★★ – directed by Don Coscarelli
The director of Bubba Ho-Tep and Phantasm returns with another genre mish-mash dealing with some youths who take a drug called “soy sauce” which it turns out is actually a portal to seeing other dimensions (a gateway drug if you will). Unfortunately some really nasty horrible creatures want to cross over the other way so it’s left to John and Dave to try and stop the apocalypse.
The film is very funny and playful and has some cracking dialogue and set pieces, I should also admit that some special effects look a bit cheap but hey, some people have small budgets. Paul Giamatti is great as the reporter listening to Dave’s increasingly bizarre strange story.