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Catch otherworldly classics at OMSIs scifi film festival

first_imgThese films were all designed to blow your mind. Consider making a weekend of it.The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry has been hosting a science-fiction film series on its vast, four-story Empirical Theater screen throughout the month of August. Most of that is gone now, and we still don’t have any way for you to rewind time and catch up — but never fear, the series reaches the outer limits of futuristic weirdness, and just a little Hollywood cheese, this weekend.Cheese comes in the form of “The Last Starfighter,” a 1984 knock-off of “Star Wars” that starts in a trailer park where the only relief from hard-luck life is the arcade game of the title. But the game turns out to be a test for unsuspecting kids who might become actual space pilots for the Rylan Star League — as arcade games do, of course.“The Last Starfighter” got respectable reviews and became a bit of a cult classic; critics lauded the surprising final film appearance of Hollywood legend Robert Preston, in an updating of his beloved role in “The Music Man” — as an interstellar military recruiter and con man. Actually, make that con alien.Also on tap is “The Matrix,” a 1999 sci-fi action film that really did blow minds with amazing special effects that embody the idea of our comfortable reality as nothing but a constantly shifting, machine-made illusion. “The Matrix” was the first film to employ what’s called “bullet time,” with the action slowed down dramatically while the camera — and the viewer’s eye — continues to perceive at normal speed. The impressively weird result helped make “The Matrix” into one of the most celebrated mind-benders ever filmed.Also a mind-bender is the world of “Blade Runner,” blending film-noir motifs like overwhelming gloom, urban alienation and a tough-guy cop with genetically re-engineered androids, among them a femme fatale our hero cannot resist. “Blade Runner” was considered slow and strange in 1982 — and the 25th anniversary director’s cut being shown at OMSI is even slower and stranger — but its anxious, cyberpunky feel eventually made it a cult classic. It’s now considered one of the greatest science fiction films ever made, and the sequel that came out in 2017, “Blade Runner 2049,” was embraced more quickly and completely than its predecessor.last_img read more