Playing Catch-Up — The Other Side of the Wind; Three Identical Strangers; All the Money in the World

The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles, 2018). Nearly fifty years after Orson Welles shot its first footage and over thirty years since the master filmmaker’s death, The Other Side of the Wind finally sees release. Completed by a … Continue reading Playing Catch-Up — The Other Side of the Wind; Three Identical Strangers; All the Money in the World

Now Playing — Alien: Covenant

In space, it is said, no one can hear you scream. While I watched Alien: Covenant, I started to wonder if it was possible to hear aggressive eye-rolling into the middle of a booming movie theater. The latest attempt to wring a few more dollars out of enduring nostalgia for the 1979 sci-fi/horror film — or, more likely, the inferior 1986 sci-fi/action sequel — returns Ridley Scott to the director’s chair, continuing the eradication of goodwill that he began with Prometheus. That prequel effort to the franchise Scott inadvertently launched a lifetime ago trafficked in pretentious, exploratory mumbo jumbo and disconnected … Continue reading Now Playing — Alien: Covenant

Top Ten Movies of 2015 — Number Four

Befitting his status as a filmmaker approaching his octogenarian years, Ridley Scott is something of a throwback. Until The Martian, I didn’t realize just how far in Hollywood’s history his creative instincts lie. Since he made his feature directorial debut in the latter half of the second, Scott was easy to plop into the categories of the other auteurs from around that era, deeply informed by the greater artistic latitude afforded to those behind the camera. That he truly made his name with a pair of films that combined harder science fiction elements with more audience-friendly directness (as if George … Continue reading Top Ten Movies of 2015 — Number Four

We have just discovered an important note from space

Ridley Scott has been directing feature films for nearly forty years, doing so at a reasonably prolific rate. Included among his films are a pair of science fiction efforts (Alien and Blade Runner) that are widely considered classics and have absolutely influenced the similar genre efforts that followed with a pervasiveness that only Star Wars can rival. He’s received three Best Directing Academy Award nominations and presided over a Best Picture winner. While I think even his most fervent adherents would acknowledge that he’s signed his name to more than a few clunkers, by any fair estimation Scott has had … Continue reading We have just discovered an important note from space

Maysles brothers, Melville, Ophüls, Scherfig, Scott

The Reckless Moment (Max Ophüls, 1949). This was the last film made by the great German director Max Ophüls during a brief dalliance with Hollywood, and it exhibits both his mastery of the form and the knack for scratching away at tremulous morality that probably sealed the failure of Stateside tenure. Based on the Elisabeth Sanxay Holding novel The Blank Wall (which later became source material for the Tilda Swinton vehicle The Deep End), the film relates the story of an everyday woman who attempts to cover up a murder that she suspects was perpetrated by her daughter against a … Continue reading Maysles brothers, Melville, Ophüls, Scherfig, Scott

The walls were crumbling, the wheels were coming off

Great pains have been taken in recent weeks to preserve the mystery and secrets of Prometheus, the film that represents director Ridley Scott’s return to the franchise which he unwittingly launched over thirty years ago with 1979’s Alien, before the notion that film concepts could go on forever and ever through endless sequels and reboots. A big screen secret agent with a habit of introducing himself last name first was about the only example of such a process of constant recycling that has now became the norm. It was widely known that Prometheus was more of a prequel, all the … Continue reading The walls were crumbling, the wheels were coming off