The Best Films to Watch Without Leaving Bed This Week: Stunning Sci-Fi Classics

World on a Wire, Sci-Fi, Film

Every Monday I find myself whispering that old Beckett adage into the morning air: I can’t go on / I’ll go on. As I settle into the week’s work, and no matter how thrilling the day’s prospects, it’s that beginning of the week existential stomach ache that always seemed to start gnawing away at my insides. But breathe, just breathe, the hours will pass themselves and soon it will all be easier and the weekend will come again—one that’s rife with fantastic films playing in theaters all around the city. But in the meantime, look forward to the evening, when a wealth of wonderful films will be at your fingertips.

With so many great movies streaming online, what better way to spend a cold March night than curled up beneath the sheets with some of the best rare and incredible cinema from the comfort of home? But with myriad options streaming, I understand the decision of what to screen in your private bedroom viewing can prove a challenge. So to make your troubles easier, this week we’ve highlighted some of our favorite science fiction movies to watch without leaving bed. From confounding classics like Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s World on a Wire to modern wonders such as Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color, get cozy and enjoy.

WORLD ON A WIRE, Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Available to watch on Hulu +

SOLARIS, Andrei Tarkovsky

Available to watch on Hulu +

LA JETEE, Chris Marker

Available to watch on Hulu +

VIDEODROME, David Cronenberg

Available to watch on Amazon / iTunes

THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, Nicolas Roeg

Available to watch on Amazon / iTunes

UPSTREAM COLOR, Shane Carruth

Available to watch on Netflix / iTunes

BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW, Panos Cosmatos

Available to watch on Netflix / iTunes

BRAZIL, Terry Gilliam

Available to watch on Amazon

ERASERHEAD, David Lynch

Available to watch on Hulu +

METROPOLIS, Fritz Lang

Available to watch on Netflix / iTunes

THE ELEMENT OF CRIME, Lars von Trier

Available to watch on Hulu +

BLACK MOON, Louis Malle

Available to watch on Hulu +

ALPHAVILLE, Jean-Luc Godard

Available to watch on iTunes / Amazon

Enjoy Nicolas Roeg x Portishead in The Short Film ‘The Sound of Claudia Schiffer’

As the reigning king of films drenched in “out-of-focus, sparkling-chandelier-light haze reminiscent of fantastical winter nights of intoxication” Nicolas Roeg’s work resides in a category of its own. Throughout his ouevre—from Performance and Bad Timing to Don’t Look Now and Walkabout, he has carved out his own slice of cinema, replicated by many since but possessing an essence entirely its own—whether critics have been receptive or not. His films entice you with an almost drug-induced feeling, where the edges are always a little blurry and the world is a fever dream that you never really want to wake up from.

An in 2000, as part of the BBC project “Sound on Film,” Roeg created a short film starring German supermodel Claudia Schiffer. Aptly titled, The Sound of Claudia Schiffer, the sixteen-minute work was given a sonic treatment from Portishead’s  Adrian Utley and consists of a swirling montage of found imagery that sucks you into its strange and hypnotic vortex. The short was screenign during the Venice Film Festival, as well as performed in London with a live orchestra, but now you can watch it below for yourself (thanks to The Seventh Art).

Looking In on the Set of Nicolas Roeg’s ‘Walkabout’

Best known for his mind-bending Bowie-led sci-fi stunner, The Man Who Fell to Earth, director Nicolas Roeg remains of the most influential and brilliant directors with a radical eye for beauty .His work has an essence entirely his own, possessing a very particular drug-induced feeling that only heightens the stunning cinematography he employs. Back when writing on Bad Timing, we noted that in his films, "the edges are always a little blurry and the world is a fever dream that you never really want to wake up from. No one does out-of-focus, sparkling-chandelier-light haze reminiscent of fantastical winter nights of intoxication better than Roeg. And when it came to his 1971 beauty, Walkabout, the English filmmaker took on the role of DP, using only natural light to film his young actors, with a script only 14 pages long. 

In an article for the Criterion Collection Paul Ryan expressed that:
Walkabout is an astonishing visual poem, by turns violent, innocent, and elegiac. Above all, it is truthful. That beautifully wistful look on Jenny Agutter’s face in the film’s penultimate sequence is one we can all recognize as we think back on those twin landscapes of time and place. And as we revisit Roeg’s encapsulation of a “land of lost content,” we can all say, with Houseman, “I see it shining plain.”  
While Rogert Ebert noted:
The film suggests that all of us are the captives of environment and programming: There is a wide range of experiment and experience that remains forever invisible to us, because it falls in a spectrum we simply cannot see.
And now, the Criterion Collection has published a series of behind-the-scenes photos from Roeg’s adventurous exploration of the natural world. Check out a few shots below and visit HERE for the rest.
 
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Nicolas Roeg Returns with WWI Romance ‘At Sunset’

As the English master of violent sexual obsession and radical nonlinear storytelling, director Nicolas Roeg has been the man behind some of my absolute favorite films. His early features are a mix of feverish aesthetics and editing with psychologically potent narratives that spin on their own axis of pleasure and pain. Although best known for his sci-fi mind-bender The Man Who Fell to Earth, it was Performance—which he shot as well as co-directed—that has become one of those films that feels like a part of heart, I could be totally content having it play on loop forever across my bedroom wall. And then there’s his erotic psychodrama Bad Timing, which plays into just about every one of my cinematic fetishes and really made me fall head over heels for Roeg’s unqiue style. 

But in the last few decades his films have been far and few between, disappearing and reemrging with lackluster work. However, Screen Daily reports that Roeg has apparently gotten himself back into the directorial seat, developing a romantic WWI drama, At Sunset. The film looks to be a, "tale of a torrid affair between a woman in her late 40s, early 50s and a young lad from Yorkshire. She is a wealthy landowner, he is a former labourer on a big estate… the madness of the First World War brings them together." Psychosexual anguish? Violence and emotional upheaval? Count me in! 

At Sunset is apparently still in the casting process with "France’s top female actress" in the running. Okay then, might I suggest Isabelle Huppert and Michael Fassbinder for the roles? Both too old? Okay, Juliette Binoche and Benedict Cumberbatch? Whatever, I’m on board.

Peruse the Highlights of Danny Boyle’s Reddit AMA

If you’re not already excited for Danny Boyle’s Trance, you should be. As we said earlier in the week, this might be his most visceral film yet, a wonderful collaborator of sight and sound that works you into a dizzyingly hypnotic state of your own. And after last weekend’s SXSW conference and this week’s talk at 92YTribeca, Boyle took to Reddit this afternoon for an AMA—ask me anything—on his work as an iconic filmmaker and speaking to Trance specifically.

Eager fanboys rushed to get their questions in as Boyle scrambled to answer diligently. As to be expected, the queries were a mixed bag—such as one person asking, "Would you rather fight 100 Duck sized Ewan McGregor’s or one Ewan McGregor sized Duck?" To which Boyle responded appropriately (and accurately), "It’s a pleasure working with any Ewan McGregor manifestation." However, others were thoughtful and generally people were just grateful to be able to ask someone so fanatically beloved an inquery of their own. And no, this time there wasn’t a "gofuckyourself@youcunt.com" answer a la Trent Reznor. Here are some of the highlights and best Boyle answers.

When asked about the music he was listening to whilst developing Trance

Bowie, the Low album. Unkle. And Underworld. Fortunately, Rick Smith from Underworld did the whole score for Trance and managed to incorporate these influences and more.

How the commercial/critical success of Slumdog Millionare and 127 Hours has affected his ability to make future films:

They’ve given freedom to pursue the stories I really want to tell. I try and keep the budgets low as well, which helps. There’s no way any studio would make a film about a guy who’s alone for 6 days and then cuts his arm off without the critical financial success of something like Slumdog behind it. So you have to take advantage of your success where you can.

On who/what has cinematically influenced him the most:

1. Apocalypse Now.

2. Nicholas Roeg movies from Performance to Eureka. The Roeg films are a big influence on Trance. None of these films are perfect but they’re interested in something much more interesting than perfection, the mystery of film…

(^^^I agree, Danny!)

When asked about his affinity for genres and where he’s going next:

I’m open to most genres. I like to play around with genre though…28 Days later was a Zombie Movie with no Zombies in it in my opinion; Slumdog was a Fairy Tale in genre terms but there are moments of real darkness in it; 127 Hours was an Action Movie about a guy who couldn’t move… Trance is supposed to be a heist movie or an amnesia movie, or a femme fatale movie. but it’s all of those things and none of those things really. the genre hooks are macguffins that give us a route into exploring ideas about perception, reality and madness.

On what it takes to be a successful filmmaker:

I think passion is as important as intelligence. you need to convince so many people to join you in the making of the film, and you need to use the power they give you to connect with your audience emotionally. Obviously you don’t want to do stupid things, but whatever you do, you should believe passionately, and your audience will experience that as well.

And for those of you that loved The Beach, sorry but if Boyle could go back in time and direct any movie it would be: 

The Beach. I would do it much better than the original guy.

Speaking to the dramamtic environments his films tend to be set in—slums, desolate urban spaces, Jams Franco stuck in a rock, etc.:

Yes, I’ve always been interested in the extremes of human experience. In the new film Trance, it’s not a physical landscape, it’s the interior of the mind, thought it’s manifested as a beautiful idyllic French landscape at one point, as a secret church where all the world’s stolen paintings are collected, and as a space where the character wreaks revenge on those he fears. It’s in extremis where you can reveal our true natures.

And, of course, where he keeps his Academy Award:

In a shoebox, under the bed. It’s very comfortable and best out of sight.

Trance opens in the UK on March 27th and has its limited release April 5th in the US. 

Celebrating the Best of Ry Cooder on His 66th Birthday

Hey y’all, it’s Ry Cooder birthday and this calls for celebration. The iconic American guitarist, singer, and composer has been wrapping us in a dusty world of sound since the late 1960s, creating his own idiosyncratic style that mixes a fine blend of genres—folk and blues to tex-mex and rock to jazz and soul. Just the coolest dude, Cooder has also scored some of the most memorable soundtracks of the 50 years from Nicolas Roeg’s Performance to, perhaps his best work, Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas. His sound conjures up vivid images of desolate and beautiful American landscapes, making you long for escape to a somewhere warm in a "vast country where nobody [knows you].  Somewhere without language, or streets." So grab some tequila, saddle up in front of a sunset, and have a listen. Enjoy.

I Knew These People

Poor White Hound Dog

Face to Face That I Shall Meet HIm

The Long Riders

Tramp Em Up Solid

The Border

Cancion Mixteca

Bomber Bash

Maria Elena

She’s Leaving the Bank

Y Tu Que Has Hecho

Crossroads