Streampix Watch: Top 10 Out of This World Sci -Fi Picks

Liam Neeson Goes Undercover in "Darkman" (Universal Home Entertainment)

Coming off the groundbreaking achievement of Alfonso Cuaron’s multi-Oscar nominee “Gravity,” Streampix offers a selection of science fiction classics that also takes you into the future. With recent popular additions like “Blade Runner,” “Pitch Black,” “Blade” and “Serenity,” you’ve come to the right place to experience other universes without leaving your living room. Here’s a curated selection of Top 10 Streampix sci-fi flicks to launch you into orbit:

Blade Runner”: Ridley Scott’s 1982 adaptation of Phillip K. Dick’s novel, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” is a legendary sci-fi noir starring Harrison Ford as retired police officer lured into tracking down bioengineered beings known as replicants and shut them down. The movie also stars Rutger Hauer, Sean Young and Edward James Olmos and is known as much for its frightening vision of a dystopian future Los Angeles as anything else. The film, which received mixed reviews from critics and a desultory box office, has been reissued several times and is now considered a cult classic.

Pitch Black”: Writer-director David Twohy’s 2000 outer space adventure stars Vin Diesel as a convict with a special gift who holds the key to survival in his night vision when a spaceship crashes on a remote planet plunged in darkness, with Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser and Keith David.  The movie launched the “Chronicles of Riddick” franchise, with a 2004 sequel by that name, an animated third film, “The Chronicles of Riddick : Dark Fury” (also available on Streampix) and last year’s “Riddick.”

Blade”: This 1998 feature, starring Wesley Snipes as a modern-day –human-vampire hybrid who hunts the modern-day undead, inspired by the Marvel Comics superhero, also featured Kris Kristofferson and Stephen Dorff. Writer David S. Goyer also penned the two sequels, 2002’s Guillermo del Toro-directed “Blade II” and 2004’s “Blade: Trinity,” directing the latter, which co-starred Jessica Biel as a female vampire hunter. The story continued in the 2006 Spike TV series, “Blade: The Series,” written by Goyer, but without Snipes.

Serenity”: Josh Whedon’s 2005 space western was the continuation of his short-lived 2002 cult Fox TV series “Firefly,” with the same cast, which includes Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Adam Baldwin and “12 Years a Slave” Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor.  The story revolves around a renegade crew of space freighter hiding a fugitive from a totalitarian regime in 26th century outer space. During their voyage, the individuals accept any work they can get and take on several other passengers along the way, while in flight from the feared military force known as the Alliance.

Sphere”: Barry Levinson’s 1998 science-fiction adventure, based on a novel by Michael Crichton, about a team of experts recruited by the Navy on a top-secret mission to explore a mysterious alien spacecraft on the ocean floor features an all-star cast, including Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Liev Schreiber and Queen Latifah.

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Being John Malkovich”: Hard to categorize, Spike Jonze’s 1999 dark comic fantasy features John Cusack’s puppeteer who finds a portal into the mind of the real-life John Malkovich in a movie that prefigures many of the same themes in his similarly futuristic Oscar-nominated “Her.”

Virus”: This 1999 thriller takes up where “Alien” left off, as a salvage-boat captain (Donald Sutherland) comes across a Russian research ship inhabited only by a ruthless extraterrestrial life form (is there any other kind?), with a cast which includes Jamie Lee Curtis, William Baldwin and Joanna Pacula.

Timecop”: Jean Claude Van Damme stars as a time-traveling cop in the futuristic Time Enforcement Police Force who clashes with a rogue politician (Ron Silver) bent on manipulating the past to further his ambitions, while trying at the same time to rescue his wife (Mia Sara) from an incident in the past in director Peter Hyams’ 1994 sci-fi thriller based on an original story in Dark Horse Comics. The film remains Van Damme’s highest grossing to date as a lead actor (his second to top $100 million in worldwide box office).

Darkman”: “Spider-Man” director Sam Raimi’s grim 1990 revenge superhero saga (based on his own short story, an homage to the Universal horror films of the ‘30s) tells the tale of a brilliant (is there any other kind?) scientist (Liam Neeson) who, on the verge of a major discovery in synthetic skin, is burned beyond recognition, and left for dead, by an evil gang who set fire to his lab. Altered by an experimental medical procedure, he assumes various “identities” to reap revenge on his assailants. The movie co-stars Frances McDormand and Colin Friels, spawning a pair of direct-to-video sequels (both available on Streampix), 1995’s “Darkman II: The Return of Durant” and 1996’s “Darkman III: Die Darkman Die.”

Colossus: The Forbin Project”:  Joseph Sargent’s 1970 thriller is a prescient tale about American and Soviet defense computers merging for world domination and destruction, much to the dismay of the scientists who created them.  Sort of the ultimate worst-case scenario after Stanley Kubrick’s HAL wreaks havoc in “2001: A Space Odyssey” just two years before.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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