Tag Archives: Jupiter Ascending

14 Upcoming Science Fiction Movies

From The Next Phase Blog

Jupiter Ascending, Mila Kuniss, Channing TatumA low-budget science fiction movie, Project Almanac, opens today and next week we have the debut of the visually spectacular Jupiter Rising. More movies are scheduled to open during the year so this is a good time to follow up on my previous post on the Top 10 Science Fiction Movies in 2015, with a list of the lesser—but possibly even better—offerings that are scheduled to open in the first four months of 2015.

Here are the 14 upcoming science fiction movies of 2015 in chronological order.

* The Usual Disclaimer: See Below 


  • Project Almanac (January 30, 2015)
    “A group of teens discover secret plans of a time machine, and construct one. However, things start to get out of control.” Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 36% Fresh, 57% Liked it. But the reviews are still coming in. Children and teenagers have been discovering futuristic technology in the movies for a long time. It’s becoming a trope of its own.
    Project Almanac Trailer
  • Predestination (Release date is January 9 but it is not yet in theaters)
    “Chronicles the life of a Temporal Agent (Ethan Hawke) sent on an intricate series of time-travel journeys designed to prevent future killers from committing their crimes. Now, on his final assignment, the Agent must stop the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time and prevent a devastating attack in which thousands of lives will be lost.” This is is based on the short story, “All You Zombies” by Robert Heinlein. It’s certainly not a new idea but the proof of the pudding is in the execution.
    Predestination Trailer
  • Vice (Release date is January 16 but it has not yet appeared in theaters)
    “Julian Michaels (Bruce Willis) has designed the ultimate resort: VICE, where anything goes and the customers can play out their wildest fantasies with artificial inhabitants who look, think and feel like humans. When an artificial (Ambyr Childers) becomes self-aware and escapes, she finds herself caught in the crossfire between Julian’s mercenaries and a cop (Thomas Jane) who is hell-bent on shutting down Vice, and stopping the violence once and for all.” Ah, Westworld, father of them all.
    Vice Trailer
  • The Phoenix Project movie, science fiction movies 2015The Phoenix Project (Release date is January 16 but not yet in theaters)
    “Four young scientists work to craft a machine to reanimate deceased organisms. As the project develops, the machine exceeds their wildest expectations, creating boundless possibilities that challenge the very nature of human existence. However, success with this experiment comes at a price, as ulterior motives and reckless abandon lead to consequences none of them could predict.” This could equally have been called The Lazarus Project. Are we going to see a scientific basis for zombies or a science-fiction Flatliners?
    The Phoenix Project Trailer
  • Alien Outpost (January 30)
    “Two documentary cameramen embedded in an army unit in the most hostile place on earth, an outpost surrounded by the last remaining alien fighters (Heavies) of an invading attack force. The world may have forgotten about the Outposts, but the Heavies are planning the second invasion of Earth and the soldiers are the only ones who can stop it.” The Battle of Los Angeles goes to Afghanistan to fight aliens that look like they migrated from Edge of Tomorrow. It looks gritty–and not just from sand blowing around.
    Alien Outpost Trailer


  • Seventh Son (February 6)
    “In a time long past, an evil is about to be unleashed that will reignite the war between the forces of the supernatural and humankind once more. The sole remaining warrior of a mystical order travels to find a prophesized hero born with incredible powers, the last Seventh Son.” This fantasy film is based on the novel “The Spook’s Apprentice” by Joseph Delaney, which is the first book in The Wardstone Chronicles series. That gives the production companies lots of room for sequels.
    The Seventh Son Trailer 
  • Absolutely Anything (February 13, 2015)
    “Monty Python alumni John Cleese, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, and Eric Idle reunite for this sci-fi comedy directed and co-written by Jones (along with Gavin Scott), and centering on the story of a group of mischievous extraterrestrials (voiced by the Python crew) who grant embittered schoolteacher Neil Clarke (Simon Pegg) extraordinary powers in order to see how he will use them. Subsequently seeking the wisdom of his loyal canine companion Dennis (voice of Robin Williams).” I hate to see Robin Williams go out as the voice of a dog but, hey, he could make any role outstanding.
    Absolutely Anything Trailer
  • Ejecta (February 27)
    “The story of one night on earth that changed everything we know about the universe.” That’s a pretty short description for such an enormous topic.
    Ejecta Trailer


  • Chappie movie, Chappie, Hugh Jackman, Neill Blomkamp, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto CopleyChappie (March 27)
    “Every child comes into the world full of promise, and none more so than Chappie: he is gifted, special, a prodigy. Like any child, Chappie will come under the influence of his surroundings — some good, some bad — and he will rely on his heart and soul to find his way in the world and become his own man. But there’s one thing that makes Chappie different from anyone else: he is a robot. The first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself.” Ah, the thinking, feeling robot. Calling Mr. Data. Wait, he’s busy watching a double feature of I Robot and Wall-E.
    Chappie Trailer


  • Monsters: Dark Continent (April, 2015)
    “An American platoon stationed in the Middle East is thrust into battle with a new breed of Aliens in this epic sequel to Gareth Edwards’ cult sci-fi hit, Monsters.” If you liked Monsters you’ll probably want to see this. I missed it so I’ll have to catch up.
    Monsters: Dark Continent Trailer 
  • Ex Machina movieEx Machina (April 10, 2015)
    “Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer at an internet-search giant, wins a competition to spend a week at the private mountain estate of the company’s brilliant and reclusive CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac). Upon his arrival, Caleb learns that Nathan has chosen him to be the human component in a Turing Test—charging him with evaluating the capabilities, and ultimately the consciousness, of Nathan’s latest experiment in artificial intelligence.” Thanks to The Imitation Game, people actually know who Alan Turing was and what he accomplished. This seems to be a science fiction sequel with a dark “what if” scenario.
    Ex Machina Trailer
  • The Moon and the Sun (April 10, 2105)
    “Follows King Louis XIV (Pierce Brosnan) in a tale of how the French monarch tries to achieve immortality by stealing the life force from a mermaid.” I can’t believe that I just typed that sentence. The movie is based on the Nebula Award-winning novel by Vonda McIntyre, the book that beat Game of Thrones for the award in 1997. We get to watch Pierce Brosnan and William Hurt stride the halls of Versailles. What could go wrong?
    No trailer available
  • Z for Zachariah (April 16, 2015)
    “In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors.” Somehow I think that survivors of an extinction-level event would be more concerned with survival than love triangles. You know, the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: food, shelter, clothing, heat. Oh, and not becoming an easy source of protein for other, fiercer or less ethical survivors. Love, not so much. it’s based on the novel of the same name by Robert C. O’Brien.
    Z for Zachariah Trailer
  • The Age of Adeline (April 24, 2105)
    “Adaline (Blake Lively) ceases to age following an accident one icy night, but keeps her condition a closely-guarded secret while embarking on a number of incredible adventures throughout the 20th Century. After years of a solitary life, she finds the love and courage that enable her to fully begin living.” An immortal who isn’t a vampire–what a concept! It’s got romance without a bloodbath.This could start a trend.
    The Age of Adeline Trailer

That covers January through April although debut dates move and shift. that’s why the list has only 14 movies instead of 15 I’m not promising to see and report on all of these films, mind you. A lot depends on quality, reviews, and availability.

Again, for more information on the biggest science fiction movies of the year, see my post on the Top 10 Science Fiction Movies of 2015. I’ll follow up with another post later in the year that lists science fiction movies opening in the summer and beyond.

* The Usual Disclaimer
The list does not include superhero or comic book movies, anime, animated children’s movies, movies based on video games, horror (including poltergeists, haunted mirrors, creepy children, etc.), James Bond, fairy tales, Bible movies, paranormal romance and (with a few notable exceptions) monster movies. These films either fit into their own separate genres or I don’t consider them true science fiction.

10 Top Science Fiction Movies in 2015

From The Next Phase Blog


January is here and it’s time for my blog’s annual roundup of science fiction movies that will be released in 2015. It was originally posted in The Next Phase blog and is re-published here. Some of these movies are eagerly anticipated while others will be complete surprises. Of the six, only three are original stories, not franchise sequels, reboots or re-imaginings of previous movies.

Jupiter Ascending, Mila Kuniss, Channing Tatum, Sean BeanIn today’s post, I’ll cover the ten biggies, movies that are receiving all the hype and social media buzz. As per my usual rules, the list does not include superhero or comic book movies, anime, animated children’s movies, movies based on video games, horror (including poltergeists, haunted mirrors, creepy children, etc.), fairy tales, Bible movies, paranormal romance and (with a few notable exceptions) monster movies. The reason is simple: I don’t consider those genres science fiction.

Here are the top ten science fiction movies in 2015 in chronological order of their release dates:

  1. Jupiter Ascending (February 6, 2015)

This is the movie I’m most looking forward to as it is an original story that offers a spectacular dose of space opera with lush sets and amazing special effects. It’s a Cinderella meets Harry Potter story that takes us out into space and beyond to another planet. “In the future, a young destitute human woman gets targeted for assassination by the Queen of the Universe, and begins her destiny to finish the Queen’s reign.” This is a movie for those of us who have ever looked at the stars and felt we belonged there.

Jupiter Ascending looks like a big, wonderful story that, in print, would take up at least 400 pages. @JupiterMovieUK stars Mila Kuniss with Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Channing Tatum, and Gugu MBatha-Raw. I hope Eddard Stark is more politically savvy here than he was in Game of Thrones.

Andy and Lana Wachowski both wrote and directed, bringing their experience from the Matrix Trilogy to bear. It’s a big budget spectacular ($175M) and it will give the Wachowskis a chance to regroup after the disappointing box office of Cloud Atlas. To fully appreciate the lush visuals of Jupiter Ascending, you have to watch the official trailer. It’s better on the big screen, though.

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road, Charlize Theron, Tom HardyMad Max: Fury Road (May 15, 2015)

I enjoyed at least two of the earlier Mad Max movies but I have severe reservations about this one. Having seen the trailer, I know that @MadMax4FuryRoad includes a truly horrific level of violence. What I saw in just a few moments of coming “attractions” instead totally repelled me. It reminded me of the second half of 28 Days Later, which started as a good, creepy, post-apocalyptic zombie movie and morphed into a psychopathic blood bath that physically turned my stomach.

The tag line for Mad Max: Fury Road is, “A world without hope . . .  without law . . . without mercy.” It also appears to be a world in which big burly men commit a lot of murder and mayhem. Which raises the question, “Where do law, mercy, and hope come from?” Mad Max movies have always been pretty violent but if Director George Miller (who produced Beyond Thunderdome) has ramped this re-vivication of the franchise up to bloody carnage levels, I’ll pass.

  1. Tomorrowland (May 22, 2015)

Although this movie comes to us from Brad Bird, creator of Ratatouille and The Incredibles, it is not an animated movie. Starring George Clooney, Hugh Laurie and Judy Greer, Tomorrowland tells the story of a magic button that instantaneously transports anyone who touches it to another world. This is a world “somewhere in space and time” that looks really cool—at least from a distance. Imagine traveling into a book cover designed by Michael Whelan and you get the idea. Or just watch the trailer for @Tomorrowland.

There have, of course, been good trailers for awful movies and bad trailers for excellent movie so it’s difficult to get the whole picture from this snippet. Still, Tomorrowland is an original story—not part of a movie franchise—so I’m inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt.

  1. Jurassic World (June 12, 2015)

This is another franchise reboot and it takes place 22 years after the events of Jurassic Park. The park’s novelty has worn off, and visitor rates are declining. What to do? Get a new attraction, of course—something really big and nasty. What could go wrong? Just ask Seaworld.

The trailer for @JurassicWorld replicates the sense of wonder combined with sheer terror that we got from the original movie. Our eyeballs weren’t accustomed to visions of the impossible made real as they are now. I left the theater with the amazing feeling that I had seen real, live dinosaurs. Special effects and CGI have come a long way since, so the idea of seeing dinosaurs in the flesh isn’t as shocking. But Jurassic World has possibilities. The cast is good and competent—including the marvelous Irrfan Khan—but not really A-List. Director Colin Trevorrow, who is also one of the writers, has mostly documentaries and TV movies under his belt. The success of this movie is a tossup. But, as the tagline says, “The park is open.”

  1. Terminator Genesis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emelia Clarke, Sean Bean Terminator Genesis (July 1, 2015)

Once again we go back to the future with a new time line in which Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese join up with the original Terminator to stop Judgment Day. In this installment, we get Emelia Clarke—Khaleesi of the Dothraki tribes—as Sarah Connor. This is an interesting swap as Lena Headey, who once had same the role in the TV series The Sarah Connor Chronicles, currently plays Evil Queen Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones. If only Director Alan Taylor had hired Jason Momoa as a new Terminator. Khal Terminator—now there’s a thought.

I really want this installment in the franchise to live up to several of its predecessors and the trailer rocks. It could go either way. Arnold returns in his original role and James Cameron has taken the unusual step of explaining why the cyborg has wrinkles. Do we care? I’m keeping my fingers crossed for @Terminator5News and hoping that it turns out well.

  1. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (September 18, 2015)

“The Gladers have escaped the Maze, but now they face a new set of challenges on the open roads of a world ravaged by solar flares and disease.” That’s all I need to know. We enjoyed the first movie, based on the novel by James Dashner, and were intrigued by the ending. Now we get to move out into a dystopian world that is willing to sacrifice the lives of teen-aged boys in a twisted trial of intelligence and endurance. The survivors have returned in their previous roles. I’m in, too.

  1. The Martian (November 25, 2015)

I wrote enthusiastically about this book in a previous post and I’m seriously looking forward to the movie. Put Ridley Scott together with Matt Damon and the planet Mars in a high-tension story of survival and you’ve got some serious science fiction. Better yet, even people who are allergic to SF can watch this one because, like Gravity, it’s not set that far in the future. This story of an astronaut, part of a Mars landing team, who is accidentally stranded when his team is forced to evacuate is riveting. It could happen. It could happen in our lifetimes. Be prepared.

If @TheMartianMovie does the book justice, science teachers across America should make going to see the movie a class assignment. They’d be fools not to. The science is fascinating—I found it the most interesting part of the story—and even Neil DeGrasse Tyson shouldn’t be able to find fault with it.

  1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (November 2015)

It’s a good thing this film ends the franchise because the titles are getting too long to handle. If you read the books and saw the previous three movies, you’ll see this one, too. If you didn’t, you won’t because Part 2 won’t make any sense. I expect Jennifer Lawrence to do her usual superb job of acting supported by the same cast of good guys from the Districts and bad guys from the Capitol. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman is listed in the credits as Plutarch Heavensbee so I assume they are using footage already in the can to patch him in.

I found the book rushed and crowded, with author Suzanne Collins cramming an awful lot of action between those covers. So I was glad when Producer Nina Jacobson and Director Francis Lawrence decided to break the book into two parts. Part 1 spent a lot of time on Katniss’s angst at becoming the Mockingjay so @Mockingjaypart2 will get down to the action of destroying the Capitol. The big dramatic theme is, “Let’s go get Snow.”  Us girls get to watch Katniss kick butt and boys of all ages can watch a lot of stuff get blown up. May the odds be ever in our favor.

9.Insurgent (Undated 2015)

This is the film version of the second book in the series by Veronica Roth and starring Shailene Woodley. In this one, “Beatrice Prior must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side.” Controlling inner demons doesn’t make for a lot of action so the success of Insurgent depends a lot on how well the writing team of Veronica Roth, Akiva Goldsman and Brian Duffield do with the script and how well Director Robert Schwentke handles his cast of thousands.

As before, if you liked Divergent, you’ll probably see @InsurgentMovie. I plan to go.

10. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (December 15, 2015)

This is easily the most anticipated SF film of the year and everything about it has made news in the science fiction world. This includes the return of stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker, reprising their original roles. Sir Alec Guiness, alas, has gone far, far away.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Episode 7, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels@StarWars_VII has two things going for it that Episodes I, II, and III lacked.

  • J.J. Abrams is directing instead of George Lucas.
  • Lawrence Kasdan and J.J. Abrams are writing the screenplay—in addition to George Lucas.

The official trailer went viral instantly and within days had spawned an un-official George Lucas version that added in all the extraneous stuff Mr. Lucas loves and that spoiled the three prequels—including JarJar Binks. (It’s quick but he’s there.) You only have to watch one and then the other to see the difference.

When The Force Awakens is released in December, fans will be camping out on the sidewalk to score advance tickets for opening night. It’s easier to get them online but there’s no romance in that. I fail to see any romance in camping out on the sidewalk in December, either, but it takes all kinds.

I feel compelled to note that we also eagerly awaited the first three movies in the series, prequels to the original Episode 4, and look how well that turned out. I’m guardedly optimistic, though. Which means that I really, really want this movie to be much better than Episodes I, II, and III.

More to Come

A lot more, but less-notable, science fiction movies are in the pipeline for 2015 and I’ll cover those in another post. In the meantime, mark your calendars if you like outer space, time travel, dark dystopian worlds, or dinosaurs. The Force is with us this year.

Related Post: The Martian: Survival on the Red Planet