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Five sci-fi movies to stream now

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For many fans, the girl with the dragon tattoo will always be Noomi Rapace. In the decade since she played goth hacker Lisbeth Salander in a Swedish film trilogy, Rapace has built a thriving international career that leans heavily on thrillers and sci-fi. Here she is back in her native country with this war film set in a dystopian future to which the conflict in Ukraine suddenly gives a tragic contemporary echo. Rapace’s Caroline Edh is such a badass soldier that she’s asked to join a small unit tasked with transporting super-secret, super-important canisters – on ice skates. She agrees, but not because she’s a patriot: Caroline has learned that a camp on the other side of the vast frozen expanse is holding her daughter, who was abducted years earlier.

The plot is quite basic, but the film benefits from two formidable assets. The first, of course, is Rapace, who can suggest steely determination like few others. The other is the confident direction of Adam Berg. All of the on-ice scenes are absolutely stunning – sometimes eerily beautiful and sometimes, well, scary – and the sound design is so richly evocative that you might want to watch with headphones. Let’s hope Berg and Rapace team up again.

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This futuristic, or futuristic, thriller has a pedigree singular enough to command attention: The film is co-produced by Blumhouse, best known for its horror fare, and directed by Ali LeRoi, who created the sitcom “Everybody Hates Chris.” with Chris Rock. Perhaps that’s why “American Refugee” can’t decide what story it wants to tell, or how.

But there’s one big reason to watch anyway, and that’s Erika Alexander.

Ever more famous as the star of the 1990s ‘Living Single’ series, Alexander is an authoritative presence as Helen Taylor, an obstetrician. (Her job plays a key role in the plot.) Her marriage to Derek Luke’s Greg is going through a rough patch, which isn’t helped by the collapse of the United States into a catastrophic economic failure that in turn turns in civil unrest.

As the country crumbles (cues the obligatory editing of alarming reports), the Taylors and their children must flee the invaders. They find some kind of shelter in the compound of their prepper neighbor, Winter (Sam Trammell, not threatening enough). From then on, the movie pretty much ditches the entire financial apocalypse setup to focus on the suspense in one place.

As an action movie, “American Refugee” is a bit short. Where it’s far more interesting is like a look at masculinity in a time of social breakdown, with a pair of men desperately trying to prove their worth as they feel threatened by force and violence. autonomy of women in their lives. science fiction? Barely.

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With a future wasteland nearly uninhabitable, Nova (Anniek Pheifer) is sent back in time to stop the chain of events that will destroy the world. There’s one small problem, though: Nova ends up looking 25 years younger after her trip, so for most of the movie, she’s an intense 12-year-old looking like Greta Thunberg (Kika van de Vijver). With the help of her new friend Nas (Marouane Meftah), Nova organizes to change the course of history. Although this Dutch family film about a pint-sized eco-warrior features a cute little robot, its overall approach is pretty serious; it’s not “Spy Kids Against Climate Change”. (That’s assuming the Dutch version of the “Terminator” premise would be about an ecological apocalypse rather than a robot uprising.) It’s kind of nice to have a kid-friendly story that doesn’t sugarcoat its message, even if the parents should be prepared for some intense post-viewing conversations. And that’s not a bad thing in our current circumstances.

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Carlson Young’s feature debut is this rare film: the product of what feels like a personal, obsessive vision. You can see traces of Peter Strickland (“The Duke of Burgundy”) and Dario Argento in the bizarre world it evokes. Young herself plays Margaret Winter, a troubled young woman who never quite got over the death of her twin sister when they were little. Margaret feels like she doesn’t belong anywhere, let alone her feuding parents (Dermot Mulroney and Vinessa Shaw). Eventually, she finds purpose in a series of fantastical essays orchestrated by Lained (the singular German actor Udo Kier does the weirdness very, very well), which is the film’s answer to the Goblin King of “Labyrinth”.

Blending sci-fi, horror and fantasy, the film is about overcoming trauma and growing up. It’s a familiar enough subject matter, but “The Blazing World” has an idiosyncratic twist all its own, enhanced by an ambitious production design and an evocative score by Foster the People keyboardist Isom Innis.

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Director Jason Richard Miller has a lot of fun with this low-budget, high-concept time travel film that’s as gory as it is goofy. Funded by an avuncular patron (Richard Riehle), Madeline (Brea Grant) and Owen (Parry Shen) build a time machine in their garage. Madeline decides to test their invention in person as she doesn’t want to sacrifice another animal after a test mouse meets a bloody end. (The movie barely made it past the 10-minute mark, as Miller isn’t interested in exposition or story; that’s refreshing.) Madeline inadvertently creates a loop that generates dozens and dozens of versions of herself, one of which materializes in the gardener every day at the same time. Because two versions of the same person cannot co-exist, Owen, using an array of inventive devices, must kill each new Madeline as soon as she appears. 1980s-style synth music set the comedic tone early on, and much of the film’s humor stems from the utterly nonchalant way Madeline and Owen handle their predicament: Of course, time travel is possible ! Of course, a guy has to kill his wife over and over again! Of course the Madelines become murderous! Like an exuberant lo-fi band, the film unleashes a devilish energy that challenges the viewer to take anything too seriously.

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