Tag Archives: Ridley Scott

Cinema Dispatch: Blade Runner 2049

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Blade Runner 2049 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures and Sony Pictures

Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Yup!  Blade Runner sure was a movie, wasn’t it?  I mean I was always more into eighties Carpenter than eighties Scott, but it’s clearly a movie that’s impact can still be felt to this day from science fiction films like The Matrix and Dark City to anime like Ghost in the Shell and Akira.  Heck, even the live action Ghost in the Shell looks as much like the original Blade Runner as it does the source material!  Many of us have been living in this film’s shadow for as long as we’ve been alive, and so the prospect of a sequel seems rather quixotic considering how hard it would be to not only live up to that movie’s actual merits but to also live up to the sense of scope and impact that it ended up leaving in its wake.  Does the director of that one movie where Jake Gyllenhaal meets a giant spider have what it takes to stand with one of the titans of the genre, or will this project collapse faster than Rutger Hauer’s plan to not die at the age of four?  Let’s find out!!

One more thing!  Some people may consider a pertinent detail that we learn five minutes into the movie to be a spoiler.  I don’t REALLY see it as a spoiler considering how early it is in the movie, but I figure I’ll just put up a SPOILER WARNING here just in case you want to go in completely blind.  TURN BACK NOW IF YOU MUST!!

We good?  Okay, so the year is 2049 and the movie begins with Agent K (Ryan Gosling) who we learn within the first five minutes of the movie is a replicant which is an artificially created human but ALSO a cop for the LAPD.  A Blade Runner in fact which is a cop that specifically hunts replicants!  Hence the title… though I’m still not sure WHY they’re called that considering he uses a gun and tends to leisurely stroll from place to place.  Anyway, replicants haven’t been a problem for a while now as the CURRENT big bad organization Wallace Corp has fixed all the kinks that were in the Nexus 6 models from the first film (they had a tendency to rebel and kill humans) but K still has to hunt down these old timers whenever one crosses their path and we see him at the start of one of these missions as the movie begins.  Once the deed is done (in GRUESOME detail), he ALSO discovers something else that’s on the replicant’s property that shouldn’t be there but holds secrets that could turn this world on its head.  Oh, and in case you were wondering OF COURSE Deckard (Harrison Ford) is somehow involved, so K has to not only find answers as to what exactly they found but where it came from and who else knows about it.  While on this super-secret assignment that I’m not gonna spoil, he also has to contend with Wallace Corp head honcho Niander (Jared Leto) as well as his replicant assistant Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) who seem to know exactly what’s going on and are keeping tabs on him just in case he either discovers too much or finds something that they’re looking for as well.  Will K unlock the mysteries that are so mysterious that they can’t be discussed here?  Will they in some way deal with his mysterious past which is a mystery even to him?  JUST HOW MANY SECRETS CAN ONE MOVIE HAVE!?

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“This is GREAT!  What’s your secret?”     “I’M NOT TELLING YOU!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Alien: Covenant

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Alien: Covenant and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Ridley Scott

Before I get into the review proper, I feel it might be worth discussing my thoughts on the series as a whole in order to provide the proper context for everything else I’m about to say.  Ridley Scott’s original film from 1979 probably holds up the best; even more so than James Cameron’s Aliens from 1986 which is still a VERY fun action film and one of the few BIGGER IS BETTER sequels out there (matched only by his own Terminator 2 in 1991).  I give the edge to the original because it’s a straight up horror film and those tend to hold up better than shoot-em-action flicks (the quality of special effects changes rather quickly while what scares us transcends generations), but both are damn near the pinnacles of their respective genres.  Alien 3… not so much.  Oh sure, there’s PLENTY of aspects in it that are outright brilliant and awe inspiring (as well as bone chilling and utterly haunting), but they’re all wasted on a portentous and sluggish script that’s too impressed with its own sense of self-importance to pace itself properly, and yes I’m referring to the Assembly Cut which has most of the stuff that David Fincher wanted in it.  The one thing this movie DIDN’T need was to be over two freaking hours (also, killing the most interesting new character off halfway through didn’t help things either).  That said I would watch that movie TWICE if it meant I never had to watch Resurrection again.  Good GRIEF is that a monstrous product of its time!  I don’t think I’ve seen a franchise so thoroughly 90s-ified in the worst ways imaginable outside of that Roland Emmerich Godzilla movie!  Needless to say that the franchise needed a fresh start in order to get things back on track; and it wasn’t gonna be with those FREAKING Alien vs Predator movies!  I REALLY enjoyed Prometheus which seems to be a minority opinion for some reason, and I’m not sure why.  No matter how “scientifically minded” you are, there is always gonna be things you didn’t expect when traveling to ANOTHER FREAKING PLANET and people are gonna make mistakes!  Honestly, it seems less like a true critical consensus (film stands at a solid 72% on Rotten Tomatoes) than some inexplicable backlash due to it… not being completely scientifically accurate I guess?  What was your first clue?  Was it the giant humanoid albino dudes or the baby alien growing in that one person’s stomach?  Now I didn’t know ANYTHING about Alien: Covenant walking into it other than it was Ridley Scott directing and that it will indeed have Xenomorphs throughout, but considering how much I liked Prometheus I was hopeful that some of the cool stuff Ridley was working with in that movie would find its way into this seemingly straightforward Alien creature feature.  Does Ridley Scott succeed in his true return to the franchise he started all those years ago, or it time to end this bug hunt once and for all?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with the crew of the Covenant, a spaceship with thousands of cryogenically frozen humans and almost as many frozen embryos, being violently woken up due to some sort of science catastrophe.  Now normally the crew is left to sleep with the passengers, all of whom are headed to a new planet to colonize it, while their Synthetic buddy Walter (Michael Fassbender) takes care of everything, but with this… solar flare or something?  I don’t know, let’s just go with that.  With this solar flare causing havoc on the ship, all of them need to be woken up and at their posts to avert disaster.  Most of them are fine, but sadly enough the captain (James Franco in a very brief and crispy cameo) gets burned alive in the chaos; leaving the second in command Chris Oram (Billy Crudup) in charge.  So already things are going pear shaped on this trip that’s gonna take another seven years to complete, but they just so happen to pick up a strange signal that might be the answer to their problems.  The signal traces back to a rather close planet which they scan and find to be very hospitable to their needs, even more so than the planet they were heading to in the first place!  Despite the protestations of one the scientists Danny Branson (Katherine Waterston), Chris decides to at least investigate the place and see if they can locate the source of the strange signal as well as check if the planet really is as good as their scans indicate it to be.  Of course it’s not.  You KNOW it’s not.  This movie isn’t called Pleasant Space Cruise; it’s called ALIEN COVENANT!  The question isn’t IF they’re gonna get killed by monsters; it’s HOW MANY of them will!  Aside from the obvious revelations, does the crew of the Covenant find something unexpected on this seemingly perfect planet?  What was the source of that strange signal to begin with?  Maybe it’s someone from one of the other films who’s playing someone new in this movie!?

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My multiple lips are sealed!

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Cinema Dispatch: Life

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Life and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures

Directed by Daniel Espinosa

What’s with movies trying to tell us that Space is totally scary!?  I LIKE space!  That’s where all the Star Trek stuff happens!  I mean, between Ridley Scott’s Alien, Gravity from a few years ago, and now THIS movie, it’s like Hollywood has a grudge against NASA or something!  This may be the most overt example though considering it’s literally called LIFE which is about the FIRST FORM OF LIFE WE’VE DISCOVERED OUTSIDE OF EARTH (from freaking MARS of all places) is apparently a serial killing jellyfish monster.  Anyway, does this latest entry into the horror sci-fi genre turn out to be another classic, or is this yet another uninspired snooze fest trying to grasp onto ideas that have already been done in much better movies?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins IN SPAAAAAAACE on what I believe is supposed to be the International Space Station, but it could just be a unique space station for this movie.  The six member crew of this station (Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, and Olga Dihovichnaya) receive a package from a probe that was sent to Mars which has some dirt samples for them to analyze, and of course they find a single living cell tucked away inside; confirming once and for all that there is life outside of Earth.  Of course, the cell turns out to be PURE EVIL as it grows SUPER fast and eventually turns into some white squid/bat looking thingy which starts to wreak havoc on the crew members and on the integrity of the station itself.  Can our fearless astronauts stop this space menace from killing them all and destroying the station?  Failing that, can they keep the monster from making it back to Earth and presumably destroying all life on it!?  WHY DIDN’T THEY BRING SOME SPACE MARINES ABOARD IN CASE SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENED!?  Master Chief could have solved this in minute!!

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HOLY SHIT!  How did a space squid manage to do THAT!?

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Cinema Dispatch: Morgan

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Morgan and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Luke Scott

I think I actually managed to avoid every trailer for this movie (if I did catch one, then I quickly forgot it) because I know next to nothing about this movie other than there’s some woman who’s got powers or something.  Frankly, it looks like something right up Fox’s alley to the point that I wouldn’t be surprised if the big twist at the end is that Morgan gets enrolled in the Xavier School for Gifted Children, though there might be a bit of awkwardness considering where this movie looks like it’s gonna go.  Then again, they gave Wolverine a pass and that dude’s only power is to kill people and not get hurt doing so.  Anyway, will the latest Fox sci-fi thriller be something to keep the company relevant and afloat until they can rush out the Deadpool sequel, or does this science gone wrong escapade turn out to be just as bad as Fantastic Four?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about some sort of science project by THE CORPORATION (*COUGH* Tyrell Corp *COUGH*), that seems to have gone off the rails when one of the scientist (Jennifer Jason Leigh) was stabbed in the face by their test subject known as Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) who is a… synthetic human I guess?  After the incident, a Risk Assessment officer (Kate Mara) is sent by THE CORPORATION to find out what the hell happened and if the project should be terminated.  I would have terminated the project when it turned out they were KEEPING HER IN A LOCKED CELL UNDERGROUND, but what the fuck do I know?  Things seem to be going okay for the most part as the scientists are still very enthusiastic about keeping the project going (including Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Morgan seems to be no more harmful than anyone else who you’d keep under a microscope twenty four hours a day.  Still, this wouldn’t be a movie if things didn’t go horribly wrong and needless to say that bringing Paul Giamatti into a situation never ends very well; especially when you get a guy that hammy to assess someone else’s current mental state.  Will Morgan turn out to be the monster that Kate Mara thinks she is?  Was she actually sent there to see if the project is on track, or were the more nefarious motivations at play?  Most importantly, who the hell keeps dressing Morgan up in those awful hoodies!?

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“So do you like that color or do they just not give you anything else?  Don’t mind that they’re staring right at you by the way.  You can tell me.”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Martian

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The Martian and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Ridley Scott

Oh yay!  Another Ridley Scott film, because the last one was so good.  Well despite his shaky track record as of late, there’s no denying that the man is one of our greatest living directors and a movie like this is right in his wheelhouse while also being an original science fiction property as opposed to going back to the Alien well.  Can he manage to make a great movie with so many excellent resources at his disposal, or will he still manage to screw it up like he did with Exodus and Robin Hood?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) who is part of the Ares III manned mission to Mars.  While on the planet’s surface, the crew gets word of a big ass storm coming their way so they have to leave the mission early, and by early I mean RIGHT THE FRAK NOW!!  Apparently they didn’t see it coming until five minutes before it hits.  The astronauts on the planet (including Mark) try to make it to their recon ship in the midst of the downpour of… whatever the hell it is Mars starts raining down in a storm (rocks I think).

“I think I’ve got a rock in my shoe.”     “DEAL WITH IT!!!”

“I think I’ve got a rock in my shoe.”     “DEAL WITH IT!!!”

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