Tag Archives: Ridley Scott

My Favorite Scene: The Martian (2015) “Space Pirate”

The Martian was my favorite book of 2014, so when it quickly was turned around into a huge movie the following year, I was a little nervous they could get it right.  Especially so, because Ridley Scott, who used to be one of the most dependable directors in Hollywood, was helming it and was riding a decade long dry spell.  Fortunately Scott was able to summon up a final science fiction masterpiece (no, I don’t hold out any hope for further ones) aided by perhaps the performance of Matt Damon’s career, an amazing ensemble cast, and fundamentally awesome source material (you can read my full review here).

One of the reasons that the story of Damon’s botanist, stranded on the Red Planet when his crew thinks him dead and leaves him behind, works so well is that it is 1) grounded in science and 2) as filled with funny moments as the novel is.  Damon doesn’t have to quite do the amount of solo camera time that Tom Hanks did in Cast Away, but this is probably the closest to that feat that any other actor has come.  Like Hanks did with Wilson (the greatest prop in movie history), Damon uses his logs to come up for an excuse for essentially breaking the fourth wall and talking to the audience.  My favorite of these log rants begins with Damon using Vicodin as a condiment and ends with a convoluted explanation of how Mars now belongs to him under maritime law and that he is, in fact, a space pirate.

By the way, Andy Weir’s second novel (Artemis) hasn’t even been released yet and has been snapped up by a studio with The LEGO Movie team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller attached to direct.
Matt Damon in The Martian

 

All the Money in the World Trailer #1 (2017) “How Much Would You Pay?”

 

Sony Pictures has revealed the first trailer and poster for director Ridley Scott’s Getty kidnapping drama All the Money in the World, starring Michelle Williams, Kevin Spacey, Mark Wahlberg, Romain Duris, Charlie Plummer and Timothy Hutton.  

All the Money in the World follows the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (Plummer) and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother Gail (Williams) to convince his billionaire grandfather (Spacey) to pay the ransom. When Getty Sr. refuses, Gail attempts to sway him as her son’s captors become increasingly volatile and brutal. With her son’s life in the balance, Gail and Getty’s advisor (Wahlberg) become unlikely allies in the race against time that ultimately reveals the true and lasting value of love over money.

Directed by Ridley Scott (Alien: Covenant, The Martian, Gladiator) from a script by David Scarpa (The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Last Castle), the true-life drama is based on the book by John Pearson.

Sony will release All the Money in the World in theaters on December 8, 2017.
*Text from Coming Soon
All the Money in the World Poster

Top 5: Crap Films with Amazing Trailers

Movie crowd

Trailers are an art form unto themselves.  They sell the film more than any other form of marketing.  Sometimes a trailer is so good that it’s a mini-film of its own.  The very best leave you completely assured that when you walk into the movie it’s advertising, you’re going to walk out a fist-pumping veteran of a crucial, life-altering movie experience.  However, sometimes that awesome trailer that you watched 100 times to amp up for the movie, turns out to be much better than the actual final product.  Here are five, in order of release, which wrote a check they couldn’t cash (though that doesn’t mean the trailers still aren’t fantastic if you can erase the memory of the actual film).

 1. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) dir. by George Lucas

Before we knew what midichlorians, pod racing or Gungans were, we got our first peek at new Star Wars footage for the first time in 16 years and every person in that theater was completely quiet, studying every frame.  UNTIL Darth Maul ignited the second blade on his saber, and then you could have scraped the lot of us off of the ceiling.  It’s easy in retrospect to see red flags, but not many of us walked in expecting anything less than awesomeness.

 2. Where the Wild Things Are (2009) dir. by Spike Jonze

This is still one of the best trailers I’ve ever seen.  The song, by the way, is “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire, which needs to be compulsory listening for all people all the time.  Where the Wild Things Are was one of my favorite books as a child.  Maurice Sendak got the misfit, bestial energy of little boys, and this two-minute trailer is a much better adaptation than the full go.  A book with 37 sentences in it needs a whole lot of padding to reach a two-hour film.  This book didn’t need it.  The trailer did the job and still does; capturing the iconic imagery and themes of the book with the perfect marriage of Arcade Fire’s best song.

 3. Sucker Punch (2011) dir. by Zack Snyder

In 2011, Zack Snyder was coming off 300 and Watchmen and was one of the hottest directors in Hollywood.  Sucker Punch was a mystery film, but though it was completely confusing as a trailer, there were giant samurai fights, steampunk Nazi battles, science fiction cities, and an amazing dragon.  Check, check, check and check.  What I should have paid closer attention to was the trailer’s own warning “You will be unprepared”….for how deeply creepy (not in a good way) this film is.  The fantasy vignettes in the film are visually stunning action pieces.  It’s what connects them that is super, super…..no, “creepy” is the precise word.

 4. Prometheus (2012) dir. by Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott returning to the Alien franchise after what it had endured since 1986 seemed to be perfect, and this trailer cemented it.  This was a sure thing.  It looked gorgeous, had a great cast, and it looked like we were in for a terrifying introduction to where the xenomorphs originated.  What we got was a ponderous, question filled, few answers given, cryptic mess.  The aliens are tadpoles?  Does that make them amphibians?  Why is that a thing that even popped into my head?  Probably because I spaced out while someone trudged down a corridor for another 10 minutes.  And it’s STILL better than Alien: Covenant.

 5. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) dir. by Ben Stiller

Much like the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are, this works almost as a music video, this time to “Dirty Paws” by Of Monsters and Men.  If you’ve never read the short story, it’ll take you 15 minutes and it’s brilliant, and the same problems that sunk Wild Things did so in Mitty.  This two-minute short film tells you the story of a repressed, bored, lonely man who dreams of doing great things and then one day sets off and does them.  It accomplishes it with almost no dialogue.  It remains a fantastic trailer and all of the movie you ever need to see.

Revisiting all of these has my emotions in this place:
Disney Pixar's Inside Out

 

Movie Review: Alien Covenant (2017) “Some Things Should Remain a Mystery”

 

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Here’s my advice to you: if you’re going to go see Alien: Covenant in the theater and you have not watched Prometheus since it came out, you will be vastly better informed if you give yourself a refresher course.  Now, if you hated Prometheus, that’s going to be a problem, because Alien: Covenant picks up 14 years after those events and the end of Prometheus spawns by far the most interesting parts of Covenant.  The quick and dirty of my opinion on Covenant, because I am going to have to get into spoiler territory a bit, is that I think two episodes into Ridley Scott’s demystification of the origins of the xenomorphs have convinced me the entire endeavor is a mistake.  Sometimes things become a lot less interesting the more you know about them (Wolverine’s origin should still be a mystery, for example).  Prometheus was gorgeous, dreamed big, was massively flawed, but was admirable in its ambition.  Covenant provides answers….eventually, but is criminally boring in getting to them with 75% of Prometheus‘ budget (no one will be calling this film “gorgeous”).  It’s not Aliens 3 or Resurrection….but, honestly, it’s not even Prometheus. Continue reading Movie Review: Alien Covenant (2017) “Some Things Should Remain a Mystery”

In Theaters This Week (5/19/2017): Alien Covenant, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 4, Everything Everything

Each Thursday we look at what is going to be coming out in theaters this weekend, show you the trailers for the big releases, predict the box office winner and just generally give you enough of a carrot to pull you through the rest of the work week.  This week boils down to whether Alien: Covenant can shake off the Prometheus effect enough to take down Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Continue reading In Theaters This Week (5/19/2017): Alien Covenant, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 4, Everything Everything