The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Guy Ritchie — maker of the two recent steampunky Sherlock Holmes movies starring Robert Downey, Jr. — gives us a great spy-fi comedy adventure this summer that dieselpunk fans ought to be interested in.

Although the The Man from U.N.C.L.E., based on the 1960s television series of the same name, takes place in the post-dieselpunk era, it contains many of the genre’s tropes and themes: spies, unrepentant Nazis in a plot against the two superpowers, missing nuclear weapons, speedboats, helicopters, industrial decors reminiscent of Thunderbirds and dashing Space Age costumes.

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Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6 may seem like the umptieth Disney movie, especially the umptieth digitally animated one. Considering it’s by the team of Frozen, people may expect something along those lines. Nothing could be further from the truth. Big Hero 6 is one of the best things released by Disney since well, quite a while.

This Marvel/Disney collaboration is proof that both companies should work together more often. The film is not only a magnificent feat when it comes to animation, but also has the same kind of imaginative storytelling and feel of adventure that Marvel movies have become famous for in the last decade.

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Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending

Imagine a space opera-style movie with both casual, practical and elaborate costumes, visually pleasing combat scenes, all kinds of alien, human and everything in-between species, interesting villains and bombastic space ships as well as magnificant scenery.

Well, you don’t have to imagine it any longer, because the creators of the Matrix trilogy are back with a new cyberpunk sci-fi epos: Jupiter Ascending.

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Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin

Many of us have grown up watching the Samurai X/Kenshin cartoons (anime) on TV. Or read the classic manga. Kenshin is without doubt one of the best known Japanese fictional characters in the Western world, so it was a bit of a surprise that it took until 2012 for there to finally be a movie adaptation. A live-action movie that, when announced, both rejoiced fans and left them skeptical of the venture.

That skepticism turned out to be entirely unnecessary, as Rurouni Kenshin has become, without a doubt, one of the best anime/manga adaptations into a live-action movie ever made.

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Airlords of Airia

Airlords of Airia

Airlords of Airia is a crowdfunded short film coming out of Germany, just over twelve minutes long. The little gem is meant to be a teaser to an upcoming feature-length movie, set in the same universe. How far the plans and planning concerning the feature film are, I cannot say, but I certainly hope the plans will eventually bear fruit.

The story of Airlords of Airia is rather simple: A transformed version of Earth, some 3,000 years after an apocalyptic event brought about by technology. Mankind has recovered and taken to the sky once more, in massive airships this time.

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

If you expect a high explosives, action-packed, gunfire and combat scenes everywhere kind of movie — the likes of which Hollywood puts out every week — then you’ll be sorely disappointed with this. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is as far from the bog-standard, no-thoughts action film as it can be.

It’s a movie that takes its time for things to evolve, the plot to unfold and characters to develop. For the best, because this is one of the strongest espionage movies, possibly the strongest, I have seen in years.

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Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame

The year is 689 of the Tang Dynasty and Wu Zetian is, despite of a good amount of opposition, about to be crowned China’s first empress. When an official bursts into flames on the construction site of her celebratory giant Buddha statue, the conspiracy theories start flying about and the need for a very special detective to not only solve this case but also prevent the untimely demise of the endangered royal arise.

Enter Di Renjie (Detective Dee), a man imprisoned after leading a failed rebellion some years ago, who must now solve this case with the aid of the empress’ right-hand woman, Shangguan Jing’er, and penal system officer, Pei Donglai.

Facing a sorcerer, assassins left and right and a plot to bring down the empress to boot, they must try to solve this particular enigma.

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Dirigible Days: Steampunk and Cthulhu in One Web Series

Dirigible Days

The first steampunk-themed web series I came across, and I guess the first one in general, was Riese. Since then, a fair number of such productions have been attempted, with varying budgets and even more varying rates of success. The strangest one I came across was a story completely told through the medium of dance. I cannot remember the name and I found it extremely odd. It was on YouTube, should somebody desire to go looking for it.

Really good productions are comparatively rare, but there are some jewels and about one such jewel I want to talk today.

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Hirokin: The Last Samurai

Hirokin: The Last Samurai

On the planet Aradius, the human interlopers have suppressed the indigenous Arid for years because of their link to the planet itself, called the Wei, and their fear thereof. This resulted in a near genocide of the Arid race and all kinds of unpleasant side-effects that both remaining Arid people and humans alike suffer from.

Centuries later, the planet is a wasteland and humanity is led by the tyrant Griffin, who uses his deacons to hunt down the Arid and their rebel leader, Moss.

Enter our reluctant hero, Hirokin, who crosses paths with the despot and ends up with the choice between standing up for the Arid and leading their rebellion so they can once again be free — or avenging his family.

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Iron Sky

Iron Sky

It was a long time in the making, but now it is finally out: Iron Sky. It was released in Germany on April 5 and this was the day I went to see it.

The whole movie is just as absurd as the story promises: Space Nazis who escaped to the Moon in 1945 now want to come back to conquer the Earth.

The scouting mission of the Fourth Reich gets an unexpected ally who leads them to an even more unexpected ally. Both allies are rather temporary, obviously, but what they achieve and who picks up on and uses their slogans…

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