The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension [1984]

“Sealed with a curse as sharp as a knife. Doomed is your soul and damned is your life.”


Thanks to Sam for hosting this watch party! This was on my watchlist and I was so happy to watch it with the gang, finally!

Buckaroo Banzai, directed by W.D. Richter, features a star studded cast of Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd, Vincent Schiavelli, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jonathan Banks and much, much more! The story follows Buckaroo Banzai, “an adventurer, brain surgeon, rock musician” and his band of merry men, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, as they dash to protect the planet from a bunch of evil aliens looking to take over the world!

Hmm what can I say about this film? Well… Dr Hikita and Buckaroo are trying to perfect a machine (called an oscillation overthruster) which will allow people to pass through solid matter. Buckaroo drives the machine in his car and ends up in the 8th dimension. He finds something under the car which seems to be an alien creature. Meanwhile, learning about their tech successes, Dr Lizardo (a scientist who had ALSO attempted to create the same machine, and was in an insane asylum) decided to break out. Apparently in creating the same machine he had found himself in the 8th dimension as well, was attacked by aliens, and his body was taken over by an evil alien. There’s a bit where a messenger called John with a Caribbean accent comes to Buckaroo and crew and lets them know that he is from one group of aliens called the Black Lectroids that has been at odds with another evil group of aliens called the Red Lectroids, and it seems like earth is about to get caught in the crossfire. Also a bit in there where Buckaroo gets electrified and can see the aliens in their true form, a bit where he finds a love interest in a bar, some slug torture, Banzai tries to kiss an unconscious woman and he gets immediately and painfully electric shocked (honestly served him right) and then at some point, the film finishes and the gang do a catwalk past a sign saying Buckaroo Banzai and it rolls to credits…

There’s a lot to unpack there, but mostly one big question… What the hell did I just watch? This film has a big cult following and is a lot of fun, but it’s a very silly film. There’s a lot going on, and also nothing going on. I believe one critic called it “unintelligible” which I would have to agree with, because it was pretty hard to follow. It seems like the writer(s) threw everything they had at this film and that Peter Weller and friends were just having a fun old time in front of a camera; meanwhile John Lithgow goes through a whole gambit of European accents, never really landing on the one he is attempting to nail (Italian).

Parts of the film gave off the same vibe I felt when I watched ‘American Astronaut’, which was this grease-monkeys feel. Though I thought that AA was excellent, whereas this film went on a weird journey that was all over the place.

Also, how can a film have that many stars and yet feel so low budget?! In one scene, the characters put ‘glasses’ which were clearly made of bubble wrap, supposedly to protect their eyes or help them see an alien. It’s unclear why. At one point all the scientists were wearing glasses to illustrate how smart they were, and then later abandoned that idea apparently. There was a moment at the end where – after the characters strutted past in slow-mo – the camera pans to the Buckaroo Banzai sign and I said “nothing says high budget film like gaffa”. You could clearly see a K on the brick wall, showing where the makers had attempted the sign prior lol. There was this level of pride they seemed to have in the film at that point, like they were collectively saying “nailed it” as they walked away. Did they nail it? Well that’s up for debate!

So all in all, great cast. Very fun, weird film. Probably the most diverse 80s film I’ve ever seen, including lots of ace Black and Asian peeps <3 though only one woman… who ended up only being the romantic element of the film. There was literally a scene where she is kissed by Buckaroo into consciousness, like some sort of sleeping beauty. It’s one of those films you need to watch with pals for maximum banter. I’m really glad I watched it with a group because it made it a lot of fun. Don’t watch it after taking drugs because you will trip out. You have been warned. I’m usually a big fan of weird, but even this was a bit too weird for me but maybe I need to watch it again. Jeff Goldblum in every scene was probably the highlight. Particularly dressed up as a cowboy in the end.

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Sci-Fi London 2020

SOPHFIFEST’s December 2020 WATCHERS club has been pushed back one week, but for a very good reason!


SCI-FI-LONDON 2020 is happening 8-13 December and due to COVID it’s going to be virtual this year. Cannot wait. Also, tickets are super cheap at £20.20 for the whole festival, or £5 per film if you only want to watch the odd film.

I’m particularly excited about the feature films (synopses below):

  • Live (08/12) – a dystopian story where humans aren’t allowed to be in contact with one another, which given our current COVID/lockdown situation seems very on the nose.
  • Mirror Human (09/12) – this film follows the lives of three characters and explores androids. The synopsis is quite elusive so I guess I will watch and find out!
  • Cosmic Candy (09/12) – a film about a hallucinogenic candy which looks really vibrant and trippy and full of action.
  • Minor Premise (10/12) – this film is about scientific experimentation gone wrong. Ethan finds himself fragmented into different timelines after trying to finish his father’s invention and has to rely on partner/colleague Dr Alli Fisher to find the answers. I’m excited to see how this thriller unfolds.
  • A report on the party and the guests (11/12) – this is a film about a creature on a secret mission but is also about a pandemic and humanity destroying itself.
  • I am human (11/12) – this film is about cyborgs living as part of humanity and explores the human brain and what makes us human.
  • The American Astronaut (11/12) – on my current watchlist. This is one of the top 100 science fiction films of all time, so I’m excited to finally see this.
  • Truth or Consequences (12/12) – the film is set in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico (yes, this is a real place!!) and explores the concept of humans colonising new planets but what if you were left behind. I’m really interested in this idea, the further we advance into space exploration and I’m looking forward to this offering.
  • Skyman (12/12) – this film follows Carl who believes he will be the victim of repeat alien abduction. Is he right? Let’s find out! It’s also co-directed by Daniel Myrick of The Blair Witch Project! Woah!
  • I am Ren (13/13) – this film is a thriller about Artificial Intelligence and follows Renata trying to find answers to a mysterious event.

There are also 30+ short films this year to explore. Check them out here.

I’m really excited to see so much diversity in this year’s offering. This is the direction that science fiction film needs to be moving into. More women, more BIPOC/POC, more LGBTQ, more disabled, more neuro-diverse creators and actors. Representation FTW!

Get your pass soon: https://sci-fi-london.com/ SOPHFIFEST will be chatting about films seen on this site and normal social networks so check those out coming soon 🙂 ONE MORE WEEK! ONE MORE WEEK! ONE MORE WEEK!

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Anon [2018]

“We have to believe our eyes, or the system doesn’t work.”


What struck me about this film very early on was how film noir it was (or at least, neo noir). It has all the major tropes of a noir film… the stylish monochrome, oppressive city landscapes, offcentre camera placements and angles/shadows, the misanthrope detective, a murder investigation, suspense, femme fetale, smoky cigarettes, revolvers and this intentional feeling of alienation for the main character as his story unfolds.

Everything has this bleak feeling in the film, which is quite fitting given the subject matter, i.e. a question that the film poses about technology, privacy and intrusiveness. They ask this question a number of times in a number of ways: “They say it’s for our safety… Why don’t I feel safe?” This hopelessness is a reflection of today’s feelings towards our own technology. It’s making our life easier, but at what cost? Are we actually happier for it? Is it worth it? (let me work it, I put my thing down flip it and reverse it….)

I really enjoyed the subject matter. Shows like Black Mirror ask the same sorts of questions about technology so it’s on everyone’s minds at the moment.

What I feel missed the mark is that a lot of (neo) noir films have their misanthrope hint to a troubled past to literally add to the mystery. If it’s subtle it preserves the mysteriousness of the character. However, in this film all the cards were laid bare regarding his past. Perhaps this was because of the surveillance element of the film, but it needn’t have been so. I didn’t need to see through his mind’s eye to know he was troubled. Just like some interactions didn’t need to develop the way they did to create tension and drama. It felt like if a little bit had been preserved, it would have given the film a lot more.

All in all, entertaining but quite a listless film that missed the mark a little for me and was just a little too predictable but in all the wrong sort of ways.

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Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse [2018]

So good, this film gets THREE quotes:

“Wherever I go, the wind follows. And the wind smells like rain”.

“I’m taking this cube thing with me. I don’t know what it is, but I will do.”

“You got a problem with cartoons?!”


I don’t usually love a film at first sight, but within one minute I was truly in love. Into the Spider-Verse became one of my favourite films of all time in a flash! I open-mouth laughed. I cried. I was moved to heck. And I deeply loved this film and thought it was phenomenal. That’s how excellent a film it is.

So that ^ was the short version, but for the long version…

The soundscape is so excellently paired with the pacing of the action and it’s weird to say this but the levels were perfect. I watched the film with my partner and she usually reacts negatively where films get very loud for the action parts and then become quickly quiet which happens with most films, but there was no reaching for the remote. She didn’t need to because it was just really well done. I know, weird praise but it was just so good.

The film has a really great comic-style visual feel to it, with that classic comic lettering style prompting you throughout the story and showing the main character, Miles’, inner thoughts and feelings. The graphics are UN.FREAKING.BELIEVABLE. At times the colours are so vivid that it just blew my mind. Look closely and you’ll see the shading on the faces, which is a classic comic-move that make the characters come alive and feel like you’re reading a comic, except if a comic was in 5D… The fifth dimension is emotionsssss. Or it could be sleepiness. I’m not sure.

Kingpin is a mountain. He’s a goliath of a man. I felt intimidated by him just watching him and my hands got real clammy… I mean just imagine you’re a kid and you’re approached by a massive tank-man who is extremely dangerous and unhinged. That’s part of the reason why I loved Miles so much. When you first meet him, he’s much like every version of Peter Parker/Spiderman you’ve ever met in previous origin stories. He’s a kid. But he goes through this transformation while he’s trying to work out who he is in the world, he’s learning from mistakes and soon you see he is amazing, strong, fricking selfless and brave af. He does not hesitate to go toe to toe with anyone if it means securing someone’s safety. And that’s really what sets Kingpin and Miles apart. Kingpin is so selfish and is destined to repeat the same mistakes he has made in his life into perpetuity because he hasn’t accepted that he cannot control things, does not accept his part in his own downfall and will not learn. Kingpin’s vulnerability is his family, but then so is Miles’. The difference is that threats to Miles’ friends and family just make him stronger, not weaker like it does for Kingpin.

Anyway, my takeaway and life hack from that would be: Be more Miles.

There are lots of references to different styles of animation later in the film (like funny little ACME bits). It’s just so endearing and those fond little touches show you how much the makers love comics and animation. I know you would expect them to, but there are loads of animations that just feel like someone has banged out another film. Into the Spider-Verse feels like it was a little sprout that was fed and grew and fortified into greatness. Also the different styles worked seamlessly together.

The final boss fight scene begins literally like a platform game fight, and it was just one of many things that made me LOSE MY GODDAMN MIND watching the film.

I could go on and on.

The only ONLY criticism I have is that I wish the film was called INTO THE SPIDEY-VERSE. I’m just gonna call it that and you can’t stop me. You’re not my real daddy.

So all in all… it was alright…. said nobody because they all said it was AMAZING. Really excellent film. If I was to give stars, I would likely give it five stars out of five. But I would say just go see it. Even my partner – who is not a science fiction or animation fan – thought it was amazing which is not common. So it gets the TOUGH CROWD thumbs up!

Easily one of my top twenty films of all time. Maybe even top ten. Go watch it now. It’s on NOW TV. Hey you. Go, stop what you’re doing. That’s unimportant. Put that down. Okay you over there, finish what you’re doing in the bathroom and then bloody go do it now. In fact, I want to go watch it again too…

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The Fly [1986]

“I will say now, however objectively, that human teleportation, molecular decimation, breakdown, reformation, is inherently purging.”


I feel like I saw this film when I was very young but it was probably one of those films that would have seemed very inocuous at first to my parents and then it became sexy and scary and my parents decided it was TIME FOR BED. Due to this policing I have some memory of it, but obviously none of the good sexxxy scarrry bits.

So this film is your typical film. Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Boy gets jealous and jumps into his transporter with a fly. Boy becomes fly. You know, standard.

I feel like this is a sci-fi/gore film of two parts. On the one hand, it is obviously pretty gorey and really gross but I feel like it isn’t gore for the sake of gore and has good humour about itself. For instance, in one part, Seth as The Fly (played by Jeff Goldblum) pukes on his food in Roni/Veronica’s (played by Geena Davis) presence and says “that’s gross”. I feel like he is referring to all gore films in that moment, and it’s so well comically timed. The second part to it is it’s surprisingly moving. I was way more moved by the story than I thought I would be, considering how ridiculous a film it is. There’s one moment where The Fly is watching Roni talking to an ex and then she gets in a car; he’s on top of the roof looking down, and it was like a Hunchback of Notre Dame moment. He has become an outcast, which unlike HOND is largely his own doing, but you can see this same sadness in him and it made the film – for me – deeply touching and tragic particularly as the movie develops and comes to its climax. A lot of gore films paint creatures as monsters and things to be scared of (which I personally think is pretty basic), but in this film Cronenberg painted it as something to be pitied and empathied with which in contrast is very loving and complicated and wonderful. I also enjoyed the fact that the creepy ex boyfriend – who throughout the film is lechorous to Roni – doesn’t come away unscathed from his altercation with The Fly.

Lastly, no one else could have done The Fly justice than Jeff Goldblum. His intensity and his little physical ticks make it what it is. Absolute must see.

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