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Official Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge (January 2023)

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shugs
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Official Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge (January 2023)

#1

Post by shugs »

Image

Goal
Watch as many movies as you can that fit into the Sci-Fi and/or Fantasy genres. If you are in doubt whether a movie counts or not, just ask.

Rules:
- All movies tagged as science fiction or fantasy on IMDB are eligible.
- Each feature film (over 40 minutes) counts as one entry.
- 80 minutes of short films or miniseries/TV episodes counts as one entry.
- Rewatches are allowed and are good for the soul.

Official Lists
IMDb's Sci-fi Top 50
IMDb's Fantasy Top 50
The 100 Greatest Sci-Fi Movies
100 Science Fiction Films (BFI Screen Guide)
Fantasy Cinema: Impossible Worlds on Screen

Unofficial Lists
Unofficial Lists
Movies watched this challenge:
:ICM: :letbxd:

Previous Challenges of this Theme
Previous Challenges (& Winners)
Participants
RankingParticipantScore
1gunnar172
2flavo5000162
3jdidaco58
4sol45
5Tngy38
6Silga36
7maxwelldeux34
8blocho30
9beasterne28
10Lonewolf200327
11klaus7826
12Knaldskalle21
12peeptoad21
14nimimerkillinen19
15vortexsurfer17
16AB53716
16cinephage16
16dirty_score16
19shugs14
20Lakigigar13
21VincentPrice12
22DudeLanez8
22jonas2k8
22ororama8
25frbrown7
26ChrisReynolds6
26Minkin6
28OldAle15
29mightysparks4
30Mochard3
Last edited by shugs on January 26th, 2023, 9:24 am, edited 13 times in total.
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#2

Post by dirty_score »

Count me in, thanks for hosting shugs :thumbsup:

Is there gonna be scavenger hunts?
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#3

Post by shugs »

dirty_score wrote: December 31st, 2022, 3:25 pm Count me in, thanks for hosting shugs :thumbsup:

Is there gonna be scavenger hunts?
No, sorry, no bonus challenges this time.
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#4

Post by flavo5000 »

I gotta be in on this one.
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#5

Post by gunnar »

flavo5000 wrote: December 31st, 2022, 11:59 pm I gotta be in on this one.
Go for 300 points this year. :)
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#6

Post by VincentPrice »

1. Black Adam-2022: 7/10
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#7

Post by flavo5000 »

gunnar wrote: January 1st, 2023, 12:16 am
flavo5000 wrote: December 31st, 2022, 11:59 pm I gotta be in on this one.
Go for 300 points this year. :)
Nah, gonna pace myself. Not sure I'll even break 200...
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#8

Post by Silga »

1. Escanaba in da Moonlight (Jeff Daniels, 2001) 6/10
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#9

Post by VincentPrice »

2. Viy-1967: 9/10
Spoiler
1. Black Adam-2022: 7/10
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#10

Post by vortexsurfer »

1. The Premonition (Robert Allen Schnitzer, 1975) - 8/10
2. The Crazies (George A. Romero, 1973) - 8/10
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#11

Post by gunnar »

1 - Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953) - 6.5/10 - Abbott and Costello end up on a rocketship and have a few adventures through various misadventures. It wasn't bad, but doesn't rise to the level of their better work.

2 - The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961) - 4/10 - KGB agents pursue a defecting scientist near atomic testing grounds. An atom bomb turns the scientist into a monster of sorts. It's a pretty poor film.

3 - Miss Minoes (2001) - 7.5/10 - A cat gets turned into a human, though she still retains her cat instincts and the ability to talk to other cats. The woman befriends a sad sack reporter and uses cat gossip to help him write stories that help his career. The two start investigating a prominent citizen with the help of a neighbor girl. They investigate because the cats of the town say that he is not the pet friendly upstanding citizen that he appears to be. It's a fun film with nice performances from Carice von Houten as Minoes and Sarah Bannier as Bibi, the neighbor girl.

4 - Beyond Tomorrow (1940) - 6.5/10 - Three wealthy old men come back as ghosts after they pass away to try and help a young couple that they helped meet. The ghosts don't really do much other then fret, but are likable enough. The film is fairly predictable.
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#12

Post by Mochard »

And I'm off and running!

1. Black Adam (2022) - 6/10
2. The Matrix: Resurrections (2021) - 6/10
2 Monkeys
1. Black Adam (2022) - 6/10
2. The Matrix: Resurrections (2021) - 6/10
Last edited by Mochard on January 3rd, 2023, 5:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#13

Post by Lakigigar »

1. Solyaris (1972) - 6/10 Watched it for first time, liked it and i think i get a lot of the typical Tarkovsky trademarks but it's maybe a bit too heavy for my personal taste (which i reflected in the rating) but I appreciate the film and art.
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#14

Post by Mochard »

3. John Wynn's One Hour (2022) - 3/10
3 Monkeys
1. Black Adam (2022) - 6/10
2. The Matrix: Resurrections (2021) - 6/10
3. John Wynn's One Hour (2022) - 3/10
Last edited by Mochard on January 3rd, 2023, 5:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
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#15

Post by maxwelldeux »

1. Aelita: Queen of Mars (1924) 5/10
I just could not get into this one. It felt like it was 4 hours long. Some nice visuals, though.

2. Dead Heat (1988) 4/10
Typical buddy cop moving starring the human personification of stale white toast (Treat Williams) and the high school jock who was kinda funny and never grew out of it (Joe Piscopo). They stumble upon a resurrection machine that can reanimate dead people, which is nice, since Treat Williams' character dies in the first act. But Vincent Price as the super-villain in a sci-fi/action/zombie movie takes it all the way to 11.
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#16

Post by sol »

1. Case for a Rookie Hangman (1970) Fantasy

Image

The first 25 minutes are easily best and the most nightmarish here as the protagonist enters a seemingly abandoned building where he constant falls through floorboards to hidden levels, and as he envisions multiple doors to darkness opening (see above). Things become a little less atmospheric after this point, but that is when the stinging bureaucratic satire begins as he is put on trial and accused of being a hare himself in scenes that evoke the then yet-unmade The Wicker Man. Add in an eerily cyclic ending, an impossible crash that he survives early on, and crazy 'thinking machine' and this really rocks.
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#17

Post by sol »

@Mochard - can you please use the [imgsz=000,000][/imgsz] tags to make your posters smaller? It would help keep this thread readable. Thanks! :)
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#18

Post by dirty_score »

1. Star Wars Andor (2022) Ep. 1-3 (115 min.)

A prequel series to a prequel movie (Rogue One), which is my favourite of the latest Star Wars output and considering the fate of the characters in the movie/storyline, I was a bit skeptical with this. It seems kinda of a slow burn and a bit more grounded.
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#19

Post by sol »

Spoiler
1. Case for a Rookie Hangman (1970) Fantasy
2. When the Cat Comes (1963) Fantasy

Image

As a narrative, this is a bit shaky, from the weird coincidence of a killed cat with magical eyesight re-emerging to how everyone in the world is placed into four distinct, non-overlapping categories, to how no one minds when turned red (yes, that happens). The special effects are damn impressive though as actors tinted in various shades of red, yellow, purple and grey start prancing around the place. There is also an amazing dark background magic show.
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#20

Post by peeptoad »

1. Le golem (1936) 6
2. Lokis. Rękopis profesora Wittembacha (1970) 7
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#21

Post by blocho »

maxwelldeux wrote: January 2nd, 2023, 5:42 am 2. Dead Heat (1988) 4/10
Typical buddy cop moving starring the human personification of stale white toast (Treat Williams) and the high school jock who was kinda funny and never grew out of it (Joe Piscopo). They stumble upon a resurrection machine that can reanimate dead people, which is nice, since Treat Williams' character dies in the first act. But Vincent Price as the super-villain in a sci-fi/action/zombie movie takes it all the way to 11.
Shouldn't your rating be 11/10?
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#22

Post by blocho »

1. The Adam Project (2022)
I was hoping for action and sci-fi and comedy, and what I got was an achingly sentimental family drama with just the faintest dusting of action and comedy. Pretty disappointing.

2. The Andromeda Strain (1971)
The procedural is a storytelling format most commonly associated with crime. Here it’s used for science fiction, hard science fiction. The result is unexpectedly riveting, and a lot of credit must go to director Robert Wise for making a movie like this interesting despite its dry script and almost anonymous characters.
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#23

Post by Lakigigar »

2. Něco z Alenky (1988) - 8/10
Lol, someone made an Alice even more fucked up than Alice in Wonderland. I liked it.
Spoiler
1. Solyaris (1972) - 6/10
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#24

Post by OldAle1 »

Starting off as I typically do for the New Year with the best quality, primo selections from yesteryear...

1. The Amazing Transparent Man (Edgar G. Umer, 1960)
2. Monstrosity AKA The Brain Snatchers AKA The Atomic Brain (Joseph V. Mascelli / Jack Pollexfen, 1963)

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The second and third movies on one side of one of the flipper discs in the 50-Film Mill Creek Sci-Fi Classics box set have, interestingly (or boringly, as the case may be) quite a bit in common besides being discmates and made in the same period. Both take place largely in an old, isolated country house; both are about people being used for scientific experiments against their will; and both climax with huge, vaguely atomic-related explosions that wipe out the houses and kill many of the main characters. And both suck. That's about all you really need to know about these two low-rent cheapies (both also are 55-65 minutes long), but just in case you want a reason to prioritize one over the other...

The Amazing Transparent Man is just a bit better I think, perhaps due to the direction of the usually reliable Ulmer - in fact this is the first of the 10 or so movies I've seen from him that I haven't liked. Here a safecracker gets busted out of prison and forced to work for a madman who wants to invade the USA with an invisible army - and the safecracker gets to try out the highly radioactive and obviously deadly invisibility formula first. He has other things in mind, and so does the scientist who developed the formula, who is being forced to work for the bad guy on pain of his daughter being harmed. Most of the film is people arguing in the house or in a car.

Monstrosity involves an elderly woman who wants to live forever, but the scientist she keeps employed (this time the scientist is doing it for money and power, willingly) can't seem to make a go of transplants into the recently-dead corpses, so fresher meat must be found - in the form of three suitable young female candidates lured to the isolated place from Europe, who won't be readily missed should they... disappear. There's also a sort of wolf-man character on the property, and a gold-digging man who hangs around the old lady for the promise of her young body - and riches. This is a little more sexually provocative than usual in this kind of film from this era - not that it has any nudity or anything, that might make it interesting. Alas, there's nothing else here to make it memorable. Most of the film is narrated by an uncredited Bradford Dillman; the film was shot in 1958 but languished uncompleted for 5 years, and one casualty was apparently most of the soundtrack. While there is some dialogue, the post-dubbing is poor, and there are long stretches that are narrated that seem like they shouldn't be. Well, it was short anyway.
Last edited by OldAle1 on January 2nd, 2023, 11:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
It was the truth, vivid and monstrous, that all the while he had waited the wait was itself his portion..
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#25

Post by Silga »

2. A Smoky Mountain Christmas (Henry Winkler, 1986) 5/10
A Journey through the Universe
1. Escanaba in da Moonlight (Jeff Daniels, 2001) 6/10
2. A Smoky Mountain Christmas (Henry Winkler, 1986) 5/10
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#26

Post by flavo5000 »

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1. Miraklet i Valby a.k.a. Miracle in Valby (Åke Sandgren, 1989)

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2. Nora (Satomi Mikuriya, 1985)

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3. Ratatouille (Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava, 2007)

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4-8. The 10th Kingdom (2000)
The Timeless Tomorrow
1. Miraklet i Valby a.k.a. Miracle in Valby (Åke Sandgren, 1989)
2. Nora (Satomi Mikuriya, 1985)
3. Ratatouille (Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava, 2007)
4-8. The 10th Kingdom (2000)
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#27

Post by AB537 »

1. Black Adam (Jaume Collet-Serra, 2022) 5/10
2. Arrebato (Ivan Zulueta, 1979) 6.5/10
ICM Forum Challenge winner: 2020 Crime, 2021 UK/Ireland
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#28

Post by blocho »

Hey folks -- I'm thinking of watching The Leftovers for this challenge, but I'm unsure whether it's truly sci-fi/fantasy. I know only the basic premise, which does indeed sound fantastical, but is that it? Are there other fantasy elements in the series?
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#29

Post by Lakigigar »

Image

3. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) - 8/10

I should have watched this sooner, but the length and different expectations prevented me from doing so, but I definitely wanted to watch it during this challenge. It's my 15th Spielberg film and I think it is immediately my favourite, although almost every other Spielberg film i've seen before i have seen quite a while ago so memories are often not fresh anymore for those. Maybe i'll watch A.I. too for this challenge later on which i also haven't seen yet. And it's also the unchecked Spielberg film on the most official lists, and the most checked and favorited one left on ICM.
Spoiler
1. Solyaris (1972) - 7/10
2. Něco z Alenky (1988) - 8/10

I upped Solyaris by 1, 6 was maybe a tad too low.
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#30

Post by blocho »

3. Time Lapse (2014)
Sometimes the low-budget sci-fi movies are the best. The main plot device, borrowed from The Twilight Zone, is a camera that takes pictures of the future. This camera, when it falls into the hands of the three protagonists, unleashes a complex sequence of events that serve to highlight the interpersonal dynamics of the characters. What follows doesn't always work well. There are character developments that could have been set up better. But overall, this is a riveting and enjoyable thriller.

4. Paddington (2014)
I’ll be clear at the start: I like bears. Both the majestic godless killing machines of reality and the talking anthropomorphic variety of children’s literature fantasy. This movie concerns the latter. And though I’m unfamiliar with the titular bear of the source books, the cinematic version is utterly delightful.
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#31

Post by shugs »

1. Kiss Me Goodbye (Robert Mulligan, 1982, 🇺🇸) - 5/10
2. Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes (Junta Yamaguchi, 2020, 🇯🇵) - 7/10
3. Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932, 🇺🇸) - 7/10
4. Miracle in Milan (Vittorio De Sica, 1951, 🇮🇹) - 8/10
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#32

Post by dirty_score »

2. Star Wars Andor (2022) Ep. 4-5 (90 min.)

A new set of characters are introduced where they, along with our hero Cassian Clem, set up a heist. I had only time for 2 this time but I'm starting to sense a pattern: this series is best viewed by watching 3 episodes each time, acting as a 3-arc contained story.
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#33

Post by beasterne »

Image

1. Stargate (1994) - Having never seen any of the shows this movie spawned, I went into this with a pretty open mind. My familiarity with the IP actually comes most directly from a theme park ride I experienced back in the mid-2000s Stargate SG-3000.

Anyway, the film itself I thought started with some promise and an interesting hook--a giant stone artifact in the shape of a circle has been found near the Great Pyramids in Egypt, covered in strange hieroglyphics. James Spader, a bit of a fringe scientist, is brought in to translate the markings, only for it to be revealed that the stone artifact was covering a fully built alien structure, a gate between worlds lightyears away, that is all set up and ready to be turned on.

But this is where the problems start. Everyone who is supposedly smart and well-trained starts making absolutely boneheaded decisions in order to move the plot forward. James Spader withholds information for no reason, Kurt Russell as a commando colonel withholds information for no reason, and it all just gets very dumb. I did enjoy seeing Jaye Davidson (who I only know from The Crying Game) appearing in this film as Ra, the supposed Sun God of ancient Egypt.

That all being said, this film does feel like a direct influence on The Fifth Element (with the ancient Egypt connection) as well as Atlantis: The Lost Empire (The hero of the latter, Milo, feels like a direct ripoff of the James Spader character). So, a couple of bright spots, but overall not much to recommend this one.

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2. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) - Tagged as sci-fi on ICM. This has been on my watchlist for quite a while. Overall an enjoyable Batman film. I did watch some Batman TAS as a kid, but it's been two decades since I revisited this world so it felt quite fresh. The story has a lot of film-noir elements. A femme fatale, flashbacks, the mob, and of course everyone's favorite anti-hero Batman. Strong art direction is probably the highlight of the film. Certainly worth a watch for anyone interested in superheroes or the Batman universe.

Image

3. Valerie and her Week of Wonders (1970) - First great discovery of 2023! What a strange film. So much symbolism and fantastic imagery. Impossible to tell what's "real", what's "in her head", and ultimately I think those types of questions are meaningless in a movie like this. It's a film that needs to be experienced on its own terms, and if viewers can give up control of reality for 76 minutes they should be amply rewarded.

Valerie is a 13 year old girl on the cusp of maturity. She begins seeing visions of an extremely creepy vampiric figure called the Polecat. Seriously, I was so uncomfortable and freaked out every time he appears on screen, he's that creepy. As he infiltrates her life strange things begin happening all around Valerie, and she must do whatever it takes to maintain her grip on her familiar world. Very Alice in Wonderland, except in this movie Wonderland invades the "real" world, and asks if there is even a difference between the two.

One drawback to the film is that its theme, growing from girlhood to womanhood, feels like a man's idea of what this must be like. The original novel was written in 1935, by a man, and this film was directed in 1970, by a man. This subject and story could very well benefit were it to have more women in charge of the creation of the work. I would be very curious to know if this movie works for women as well as it worked for me. This is a small point, but it's an interesting "What if?" for me.

Back to the good: every shot in this movie is expertly crafted. The colors, framing, and backing score cast a spell, and reminded me strongly of visiting an art gallery. Very European, very middle ages, this film was a total surprise and makes my list of favorite films for sure.
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#34

Post by Tngy »

1. Office Invasion (2022) 3/10
It was an awful comedy for the first 80 minutes and the sci-fi part afterwards was predictable and lame.

2. Arrival (2016) 7/10
Definitely not a bad film, but for me it wasn't quite the masterpiece others see in it. Decent sci-if flick with an interesting concept but a bit boring from time to time.
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#35

Post by VincentPrice »

3. Wyrm-2019: 8/10
Spoiler
1. Black Adam-2022: 7/10
2. Viy-1967: 9/10
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#36

Post by blocho »

5. The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)
I can now see where District 9 got some of its ideas from, not to mention a half dozen other sci-fi movies. This is a fairly typical story about a deadly alien life form come to earth. The mystery-oriented first half quickly gives way to a second half which is mostly an extended chase sequence. Full of plot holes and sci-fi nonsense dialogue, the movie never really becomes exciting. The most interesting feature is the portrayal of the title character, played by Brian Donlevy. Quatermass is haughty, swollen with self-regard, dismissive of others, and reckless. And yet, his character flaws are inserted so incidentally into the story, that I'm not sure it's what the filmmakers intended. I can't help but wonder whether they see him as a strong leader rather than a megalomaniac masquerading as a strong leader.
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#37

Post by Lakigigar »

4. The Wizard of Oz (1939) - 3/10
I don't like this film, sorry.
Spoiler
1. Solyaris (1972) - 7/10
2. Něco z Alenky (1988) - 8/10
3. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) - 8/10
Last edited by Lakigigar on January 3rd, 2023, 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#38

Post by mightysparks »

1. Don't Look Up (2021) 6/10
Astronomers discover a comet heading towards Earth which will cause an extinction-level event in 6 months but struggle with convincing everyone of the truth in this uneven satire. The first half of this is pretty painful with unfunny and dumb humour that makes it feel like it's made by someone over the age of 50 who has seen a few memes on social media and thinks they understand younger people (that Steve Buscemi 'fellow kids' vibe). But it does seem to even out tonally in the later parts of the film and actually ends on quite a nice note that affected me a bit. I don't think it's quite witty and smart enough and I think it's partly due to a poor script and partly bad casting. But the idea is cool and the plot is fine and these things keep it watchable. And all the shots of the animals made me sad.
1 Laser Beam
1. Don't Look Up (2021) 6/10
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#39

Post by Tngy »

3. Toy Story (1995) 8/10
Spoiler
1. Office Invasion (2022) 3/10
2. Arrival (2016) 7/10
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#40

Post by flavo5000 »

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9. Silent Shorts [Le pied de mouton (1907), The Airship Destroyer (1909), Alice in Wonderland (1903), Scrooge; or Marley's Ghost (1901), The Thieving Hand (1908), An Interesting Story (1904), Le roi du maquillage (1904), Mary Jane's Mishap (1903), The Little Match Seller (1902), The Enchanted Drawing (1900), Le cauchemar (1896), Les affiches en goguette (1906), Le squelette joyeux (1898), Le scarabée d'or (1907), Le papillon fantastique (1901), L'homme orchestre (1900), Nouvelles luttes extravagantes (1901), La tentation de Saint-Antoine (1898), Le cochon danseur (1907) ]

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10. Cyber Vengeance (J. Christian Ingvordsen, 1997)

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11. R.I.P.D. (Robert Schwentke, 2013)

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12. Pyl a.k.a. Dust (Sergey Loban, 2005)

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13. Synchronic (Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, 2019)
The Timeless Tomorrow
1. Miraklet i Valby a.k.a. Miracle in Valby (Åke Sandgren, 1989)
2. Nora (Satomi Mikuriya, 1985)
3. Ratatouille (Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava, 2007)
4-8. The 10th Kingdom (2000)
9. Silent Shorts [Le pied de mouton (1907), The Airship Destroyer (1909), Alice in Wonderland (1903), Scrooge; or Marley's Ghost (1901), The Thieving Hand (1908), An Interesting Story (1904), Le roi du maquillage (1904), Mary Jane's Mishap (1903), The Little Match Seller (1902), The Enchanted Drawing (1900), Le cauchemar (1896), Les affiches en goguette (1906), Le squelette joyeux (1898), Le scarabée d'or (1907), Le papillon fantastique (1901), L'homme orchestre (1900), Nouvelles luttes extravagantes (1901), La tentation de Saint-Antoine (1898), Le cochon danseur (1907) ]
10. Cyber Vengeance (J. Christian Ingvordsen, 1997)
11. R.I.P.D. (Robert Schwentke, 2013)
12. Pyl a.k.a. Dust (Sergey Loban, 2005)
13. Synchronic (Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, 2019)
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