In just a few days, we’ll all be living in the future world of 2024, which isn’t anywhere near as advanced as we hoped. Artificial Intelligence is intruding upon our daily lives, and our phones have never been more powerful, but it’s not quite the technological leap forward we expected when we were kids. Fortunately, as we head into New Year’s Eve, some great sci-fi movies offer a glimpse of where technology could go and an exploration of whether humanity has a future in the stars.
All of our picks for the three great sci-fi movies to watch on New Year’s Eve offer different takes on what’s coming down the road. Happy endings are in short supply here, but there’s at least some hope that we can all pull through together and make it through another year.
Director Kathryn Bigelow and her ex-husband, James Cameron, teamed up for Strange Days, an underrated sci-fi classic that still doesn’t get the love it deserves. The film envisions an alternate future version of 1999, where memories can be recorded and uploaded to users like an illegal drug.
Ralph Fiennes stars as Lenny Nero, an ex-cop turned memory dealer, with Angela Bassett as his driver and bodyguard, Lornette “Mace” Mason. When Lenny is given a disc that contains the rape and murder of a woman named Iris (Brigitte Bako), he and Mace find themselves in way over their heads. Iris’ memories are worth killing for, and even Lenny isn’t prepared for what he will find at the bottom of this rabbit hole.
Watch Strange Days on Max.
Thanks to Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan can once again pick and choose almost any movie he wants to make. Although Nolan has rarely touched sci-fi flicks, we’d love to see him take another crack at the genre because his work on Interstellar was jaw-dropping and beautiful. Additionally, Nolan doesn’t forget that the best science fiction tales are always better when paired with a human story that brings out the heart.
Matthew McConaughey stars as Joseph Cooper, an astronaut who reluctantly accepts a desperate mission in space to find humanity a new home before Earth becomes uninhabitable. But to do so, Cooper has to leave his children, Murph (Mackenzie Foy) and Tom (Timothée Chalamet), behind on Earth and essentially miss decades of their lives. Meanwhile, an older Murph (Jessica Chastain) faces a seemingly unsolvable scientific problem about how humanity can be evacuated from the planet. So, no pressure! It’s only an extinction event if both Coop and Murph fail.
Watch Interstellar on Prime Video.
The problem of Artificial Intelligence is not going to go away in our daily lives, but at least we don’t have AI robots that can pass themselves off as humans. That’s not the case in Ex Machina because Blue Book CEO Nathan Bateman (Moon Knight‘s Oscar Isaac) has already created an AI android with a female body named Ava (Alicia Vikander). Ava is also strikingly beautiful, so of course, Nathan’s employee, Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), feels attracted to her. How could he not? Ava is practically a dream come true for some geeks.
Therein lies the problem. While Ava suggests that she is also attracted to Caleb, can she really be trusted when she clearly has her own agenda? For a machine, Ava is a pretty fast study of the human condition. And she may be more like her creator and captor than anyone wants to admit.
Watch Ex Machina on Max.
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