June 20, 2012
All the anticipation, all clever viral marketing, and that stunningly awesome trailer have all led to this: 2012’s “yeah, but” movie. Prometheus is one of those movies designed to flood the internet with endless debates amongst nerds and/or film critics – it’s a not-quite-prequel to one of the greatest science fiction and horror films of all time, co-written by Lost’s Damon Lindelof, and directed by the ever dubious Ridley Scott, the director of two beloved masterpieces early in his career and a whole slew of middling-to-fascinating-to-downright-awful films ever since. Big budget, an R rating, gloopy sci-fi horror and spaceships and a great cast and you have to wonder, is it any good? Well, yeah, but… Read the rest of this entry »
September 9, 2011
I have recently finished reading Simon Reynolds’ latest tome, Retromania, which largely deals with pop culture –and specifically, music’s – cyclical nature; it constantly looks back to repeat itself and revel in past glories. The book deals mostly in music, though fashion is thrown in as a comparison, and films are very rarely mentioned at all. The only major instance I can recall is in regards to the early 70s boom in 50s nostalgia, when American Graffiti became a massive hit, capturing the cultural zeitgeist along with Sha Na Na and eventually the TV series Happy Days. He attributes that particular revival to the fallout of the 60s that so deeply split America that everyone wanted to think back upon the simpler times of their collective youth, when they listened to rock n’ roll and everyone gathered at school dances. This was largely an imagined past, of course, as socio-economic variations meant a lot of different experiences for a lot of different people, and times were just as rough for some then as they were at their present. Still, nostalgia has a powerful effect, and though it is generally an instinct of conservativism and all of the negative connatations with ignoring both the present and the future that entails, it has produced some great art. American Graffiti, for instance, is a brilliant example of inter-weaving narrative strands that also captures some universal truths in a specific moment.
Oh District 9, what hath ye wrought? To nobody’s surprise, that relatively small-budgeted sci-fi romp’s success spurred on the Hollywood braintrust into making not one but two similarly themed invasion yarns. The first of these was Skyline, directed by visual effects team The Brothers Strause (ugh), eager to cheaply follow up their not-smash success Alien vs. Predator: Requiem. Some legal troubles came about because The Brothers Strause (ugh) were also doing visual effects work on Battle: Los Angeles, or something along those lines. This is utterly ridiculous, of course, because there are scores of directors and writers that could sue both parties for shameless intellectual property theft. Read the rest of this entry »
July 15, 2010
John McTiernan’s tight, sparse and commendably pure Predator still stands as one of the finer action achievements of the 1980s, and though it has been sullied by a grim sequel borne out of the Jason Takes Manhattan mode and a pair of cinematic abortions that shall not be mentioned by title here, the simple concept still has allure. For those living under a rock, it is basically a sci-fi Most Dangerous Game, with honour-bound but ruthless dreadlocked aliens hunting humanity’s finest killers. While the original was happy for our heroes to tangle with a singular beast, Nimrod Antal’s Predators takes a cue from the Alien franchise by pluralizing both the title as well as the number of predators. Read the rest of this entry »