Science fiction, as Octavia Butler once said, frees you to go anyplace and examine anything. So it’s no wonder why it has remained one of cinema’s most popular genres for over a century. This month, Kanopy is celebrating “Sci-Fi September” by offering dozens of noteworthy Science Fiction films and TV series that you can stream for free with your Livingston Library card. Check out the recommended titles below, our browse Kanopy’s entire Sci-Fi collection here.
(Descriptions provided by Kanopy)
Metropolis – 1927, directed by Fritz Lang
Perhaps the most famous and influential of all silent films, Metropolis takes place in 2026, when the populace is divided between workers who must live in the dark underground and the rich who enjoy a futuristic city of splendor. The tense balance of these two societies is realized through images that are among the most famous of the 20th century. Lavish and spectacular, with elaborate sets and modern science fiction style, Metropolis stands today as the crowning achievement of the German silent cinema.
Alphaville – 1965, directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Jean-Luc Godard fuses a hardboiled detective story with science fiction. Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine), a hero Godard borrowed from a series of French adventure films, comes to Alphaville, the capital of a totalitarian state, in order to destroy its leader, an almost-human computer called Alpha 60. While on his mission, Lemmy meets and falls in love with Natacha (Anna Karina), the daughter of the scientist who designed Alpha 60. Their love becomes the most profound challenge to the computer’s control. Void of any flashy special effects, Alphaville uses 1960s Paris to depict the city of the future.
Night of the Comet – 1984, directed by Thom Eberhardt
It’s the first comet to buzz the planet in 65 million years, and everyone seems to be celebrating. Everyone, that is, except Regina Belmont (Catherine Mary Stewart) and her cheerleader sister (Kelli Maroney), two Valley Girls who couldn’t care less. But when the ladies discover they’re the only people who the comet hasn’t vaporized or turned into a zombie, they do what all good Valley Girls do, they go shopping…for a couple of machine guns! Never underestimate two girls from the valley!
Mars Attacks! – 1996, directed by Tim Burton
Jack Nicholson as the President of the United States greeting invaders from outer space? Anything can and does happen when the twisted mind of director Tim Burton plunges planet Earth into complete pandemonium in this all-star sci-fi spoof. Based upon the Mars Attacks! trading cards by Topps.
Her – 2013, directed by Spike Jonze
From the unique perspective of Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) comes an original love story that explores the evolving nature—and the risks—of intimacy in the modern world. Set in the Los Angeles of the slight future, Her follows Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive entity in its own right, individual to each user. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha” (Scarlett Johansson), a bright, female voice, who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual and unconventional love for each other.
Dirty Computer – 2018, directed by Andrew Honoho, Chuck Lightning, Lacey Duke, Alan Ferguson, and Emma Westernberg
A visually stunning story of a young woman named Jane 57821 (Janelle Monáe), who is living in a totalitarian near-future society where citizens are referred to as “computers.” Acclaimed actress Tessa Thompson co-stars. A timely and poignant Emotion Picture, Dirty Computer explores humanity and what truly happens to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness when mind and machines merge, and when the government chooses fear over freedom.
High Life – 2018, directed by Claire Denis
Monte (Robert Pattinson) and his baby daughter are the last survivors of a damned and dangerous mission to the outer reaches of the solar system. The crew– death-row inmates led by a doctor (Juliette Binoche) with sinister motives– has vanished. As the mystery of what happened onboard the ship is unraveled, father and daughter must rely on each other to survive as they hurtle toward the oblivion of a black hole.
The Prisoner – 1967, created by Patrick McGoohan
After resigning, a secret agent is abducted and taken to what looks like an idyllic village, but is really a bizarre prison. His warders demand information. He gives them nothing, but only tries to escape.
Farscape – 1999, created by Rockne S. O’Bannon
Thrown into a distant part of the universe, an Earth astronaut finds himself part of a fugitive alien starship crew.
Outcasts – 2015, created by Ben Richards
A group of courageous pioneers have a unique opportunity to build a new and better future on another planet. Living in the frontier town of Forthaven, the Outcasts are passionate about their jobs, confident of their ideals and optimistic about the future. Although as they continue to work and live together, they come to realize that this is no ordinary planet. Mystery lurks around them and threatens the fragile peace of Forthaven. Is there a bigger purpose at work?
— Joe, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian