Check out these 7 acclaimed sci-fi movie classics

Posted 4/7/20

This week’s assortment of Staff Picks highlights critically acclaimed sci-fi flicks available on various video streaming services, perfect for the would-be couch surfer.

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Check out these 7 acclaimed sci-fi movie classics


This week’s assortment of Staff Picks highlights critically acclaimed sci-fi flicks available on various video streaming services, perfect for the would-be couch surfer.

What do you think of our recommendations? Share your thoughts and some of your own home-entertainment suggestions to:

Ex Machina (2014)

Running time: 108 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Alex Garland
Platform: Netflix
Tomatometer 92%; IMDb 7.7/10

A young computer programmer (Domhnall Gleeson — Black Mirror, About Time) is selected to help test a newly developed advanced artificial intelligence (Alicia Vikander — The Danish Girl, Testament of Youth) at a secluded estate owned by his hero and boss (Oscar Isaac — Inside Llewyn Davis, Star Wars: The Last Jedi). Artists Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Williams Ardington and Sara Bennett won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for their efforts on the low-budget sci-fi thriller. Writer-director Alex Garland was nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar as well.

9 (2009)

Running time: 79 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Shane Acker
Platform: Netflix
Tomatometer 57%; IMDb 7.1/10

A burlap-stitched rag doll awakens in a post-apocalyptic wasteland to embark on a hero’s journey in this animated action-adventure directed by visual effects guru Shane Acker (Total Recall, The Lord of the Rings). An all-star voice-acting cast includes Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings, Sin City), Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music, Starcrash), Martin Landau (Ed Wood, Crimes and Misdemeanors), John C. Reilly (Stan & Ollie, The Lobster), Crispin Glover (Back to the Future, Willard) and Jennifer Connelly (The Rocketeer, Dark City).

Minority Report (2002)

Running time: 145 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Steven Spielberg
Platforms: Hulu
Tomatometer 91%; IMDb 7.6/10

This instant sci-fi classic from Steven Spielberg (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1941) depicts a near-future where police have virtually eliminated murders with a special crime unit, which can see into the future to prevent crimes before they happen. Based on a short story by Philip K. Dick (Blade Runner, Total Recall), the film stars Tom Cruise (Top Gun, Edge of Tomorrow), along with Max von Sydow (The Seventh Sea, Flash Gordon), Neal McDonough (Band of Brothers, Timeline) and Colin Farrell (In Bruges, The Lobster).

Into the Forest (2005)

Running time: 101 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Patricia Rozema
Platforms: Netflix
Tomatometer 76%; IMDb 5.9/10

Ellen Page (Juno, Inception) and Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld, Across the Universe) portray a pair of sisters who learn to survive on their own in an isolated forest home following a major power outage in this dark drama from director Patricia Rozema (Mansfield Park, Grey Gardens).

Blade Runner: The Final Cut (2007)

Running time: 117 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Ridley Scott
Platform: Netflix
Tomatometer 92%; IMDb 8.1/10

This definitive director’s cut of the classic simmering sci-fi noir re-released in 2007 (the original came out in 1982) is set in the once-future dystopia of Los Angeles in 2019. The story follows the futuristic hard-boiled gum-shoe Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford  — Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark), who must track down and eliminate a gang of dangerous rogue androids. Based on the novel by Philip K. Dick (Minority Report, Total Recall), the film’s cast includes the late Rutger Hauer (Sin City, Batman Begins), Sean Young (Dune, Fatal Instinct), Edward James Olmos (Stand and Deliver, Selena), M. Emmet Walsh (The Jerk, Blood Simple), Daryl Hannah (Splash, Wall Street) and Brion James (The Fifth Element, Silverado).

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Running time: 164 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Platforms: Amazon Prime
Tomatometer 87%; IMDb 8.0/10

For those hankering for a double-header, this sequel to Blade Runner from director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Enemy) featured Ridley Scott (Alien, Thelma & Louise) as executive producer. Ryan Gosling (The Notebook, La La Land) stars as K, a replicant (android) police officer charged with chasing down rogue androids 30 years after the events depicted in the original film. Harrison Ford (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica, Stand and Deliver) reprise their roles with support from Jared Leto (Suicide Squad, Requiem for a Dream), Robin Wright (The Princess Bride, Forrest Gump), Ana de Armas (No Time to Die, Knives Out), Sylvia Hoeks (The Best Offer, Whatever Happens), Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire, The Martian) and Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers). The sequel garnered five Oscar nominations, with wins for Best Visual Effects and Best Cinematography.

Super 8 (2011)

Running time: 112 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: J.J. Abrams
Platforms: Amazon Prime
Tomatometer 81%; IMDb 7.0/10

Fresh off his success rebooting the Star Trek movie franchise, writer-director J.J. Abrams (Lost, Star Wars: Episode VII) helmed this nostalgic coming-of-age sci-fi thriller with Stephen Spielberg (Jaws, Saving Private Ryan) on board as producer. Set in 1979, the nostalgic coming-of-age story follows a tight-knit group of friends who witness a violent train crash and stumble onto a dangerous mystery. Joel Courtney (The Kissing Booth, The River Thief) and Elle Fanning (Maleficent, Somewhere) star with support from Kyle Chandler (Argo, Friday Night Lights), AJ Michalka (Grace Unplugged, The Lovely Bones), Ryan Lee (Goosebumps, This Is 40) and Zach Mills (Hollywoodland, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium).