Man on a Mission: The Post-Apocalyptic Tom Cruise of Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion

Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) saves the day.

There once was a time when science-fiction films were innovative and ahead of their time. Back then, even B-movies could attract audiences because they had something to say, despite their overall trashy appearance. Nowadays, it sometimes feels as if major studios seem to be more interested in shelling out large sums for rather pedestrian works in terms of storytelling that desperately attempt to make up for their deficiencies in that area by means of impressive visual and aural effects. TRON: Legacy by Joseph Kosinski was a prime example for that recent phenomenon in 2010. Three years later, the director returns with his sophomore movie, Oblivion and Tom Cruise on his coattails as the star du jour.

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World-On-A-Wire

Caught in a Web: The Virtual Reality of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s World On A Wire

Dr. Fred Stiller (Klaus Löwitsch, left) and his secretary Gloria Fromm (Barbara Valentin, right).

‘Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?’ the British band Queen asked at the beginning of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Freddie Mercury’s legendary opus magnum. A similar question has also been posed in the realm of cinema several times. What’s real and what’s a dream or, in the case of modern technology, a computer simulation? The most prominent films to deal with the matter of cyber universes are probably the Wachowskis’ The Matrix trilogy, but there have also been other noteworthy instances before.

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Let There Be Light: Mankind’s Cosmic Journey Out of the Dark in Cyril Moog’s META_MORPHOSIS

The official poster for the Cosmic Cine Filmfestival

Letters scroll up the screen as if announcing a new episode of Star Wars. ‘The earth is on the brink of entering the next dimension,’ they tell us while ethno music plays in the background. ‘Thousands gather to mentally build an energy portal through which the earth will reach a higher spiritual level.’ That is the premise of META_MORPHOSIS, coming to you at a string of German science-fiction film festivals this spring.

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