The concept of the sci-fi horror genre allows us to address the built-in terrors and tensions developed in society that are difficult, if not impossible, to actualize and confront directly. It has the strengths of sci-fi’s ability to question our potential as a developed species, breaking current conceptions of reality to attain a scenario that directly addresses these bigger questions than those enveloped in regular drama. However, some of these questions are big enough to be menacing: we do not always wish to wonder about the scientific possibilities that lie outside of us; the unknown of the natural world can do its best to terrify us as well. This is a major distinction between what sci-fi horror and “regular” horror intend to achieve: no longer are the monsters personal and haunting regular people; they can be cosmic and haunting our professionals, our perceived authority. It is the helplessness in face of the unknown that scares us in all horror, thus leaving the sci-fi horror genre in a unique position to give a sort of therapy to humankind’s universal fears.
Director - Ridley Scott
Cinematography - Derek Vanlint
If you flashback to the early 00’s, there was still a sense of excitement and anticipation at the announcement of Ridley Scott working on a new project. This was a visionary director who’s expansive, ambitious and heart capturing visual eye had given the world of cinema such wonders as Alien and Blade Runner, masterpieces of the science-fiction genre. No longer; his last great film was in 2000, the swords and sandals epic Gladiator. During a long decade of quantity over quality, he cannot quite find that old spark and sees the excitement turn to pessimistic low expectations. 2009 offers a comeback; after years of talk, experimentation and musing, Scott’s longstanding desire to return to the world of his name-making colossus Alien has come to fruition.
Fox sanctions a project with Scott in the director’s chair and Jon Spaihts on board to write the screenplay. Rumors are rife about the film, and rejected drafts are already doing the rounds on internet chat rooms and gossip websites. They all seem to point to an existential direction for the series, as the infamous Alien Harvest script indicates. Beyond this, all that is known about the project is that it will be a prequel to Alien, only loosely associated with the franchise. The signs are good. Elsewhere, he is also working on a new Robin Hood movie. Worryingly, this film is seemingly in a constant state of flux regarding its plot, its screenplay and even its concept. In 2010, the same year that Robin Hood is released to a mediocre at best critical response, Lost show runner Damon Lindelof is drafted in to work on Spaihts’ script despite the fact that pre-production has purportedly been completed with filming set to commence within six months. It is horribly reminiscent of the stories that are coming out of the camp responsible for Hood, talk of constant rewrites and rethinks, resulting in the desecration of Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris’ original vision. Now the signs are worrying.
2012 wasn’t a bad year for movies. It was actually a great year. The problem is, the movies we were most anticipating, specifically the Hollywood blockbusters like Prometheus and The Hobbit, didn’t live up to our expectations. With that said I still managed to make a list of 50 films I loved. Maybe I just have bad taste or maybe I just love movies but the most time consuming factor when making this list was sitting down and deciding what makes the cut and what doesn’t. Even with 50 films listed below, I found it hard to not include movies like Frankenweenie, The Loneliest Planet, Compliance, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, and Searching For Sugar Man. Come to think of it, every film featured on our list of best documentaries could have easily snuck into this list. I haven’t seen everything of course. Below is a brief list of oversights – but there were a few films that received critical acclaim that I just didn’t like including Alps and Cosmopolis. As with all lists, this is personal and order isn’t too important until you get to my top 10. I could easily rearrange the ordering for any film featured on this list as I enjoy them all.
Note: I am only including movies that were theatrically released. That means I am not including many of the gems I watched at film festivals nor is Zero Dark Thirty eligible.
A few oversights:
The Hunt, Barbara, Attenberg, Almayer’s Folly, The Comedy, Girl Walk / All Day, The Day He Arrives and Neighbouring Sounds.
The cinematic summer of 2012 rolls on with director Ridley Scott’s first sci-fi effort in almost 30 years, Prometheus, whic has provoked fierce discussion among critics, audiences, fanboys and cinephiles as to its merits since it hit theaters this weekend. In both spoiler-free and spoiler-ful flavors, Ricky D, Julian Carrington and Simon Howell are here to dissect the remains. In between, they take a look back at 1979′s original Alien to see how the canonical sci-fi/horror chiller holds up.
Video Of The Day: 13-minute Promotional Short for ‘Blade Runner’ Unearthed
Director’s Cut – 3 Essential Recuts (And 3 Worthless Ones)
Ever since the birth of the concept in the early eighties, the prospect of a ‘Director’s Cut’ has become one of the most mouth watering morsels for film fanatics, a chance to glimpse an expanded version or in some cases a radically altered vision to their favorite movies. Whether it be the lengthening of an already acclaimed feature (Apocalypse Now Redux), or a total overhaul on the original (Superman II: The Donner Cut), the opportunity to claim even more entertainment, and insight, from a released film is too good to pass up.
However, for every second look that breathes new life or realizes unfulfilled potential for a film, there is the ill-judged revisit of pointless, self indulgent or apparently maliciously motivated proportions. Sometimes, a feature film pleads to be seen in its full light. Other times, it’s better left well alone.
Here is a look at six notable re-cuts, three that dramatically improve the material, a further three which bafflingly fail.
Kicking us off is cinema’s most famous such second run, or more accurately it’s most famous fix job. While Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is now celebrated as a classic of both sci-fi and neo-noir, its 1982 release was an underwhelming one, not helped by the studio enforced amendments which clouded its quality with needless audience pandering and dilution of its vision. The film’s reputation, and standing, improved dramatically when it was significantly re-cut in the early nineties.
Most notably, Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut (it has been re-cut three times since its release, most recently with the tidying and fixing Final Cut) wiped out the ill-judged and poorly orchestrated narration track, added late into the original shoot’s production due to fears of viewer confusion, and restored the ambiguous ending to comprehensively wipe out the illogical and sappy theatrical ending, which infamously utilized outtakes from The Shining and swapped the permanent raining nighttime with sweeping bright countryside.
A 2003 US commercial for BMW. Directed by Tony Scott.
Contract with the devil. James Brown and Clive Owen. A commercial featuring Clive Owen, the “soul godfather” James Brown and Gary Oldman, and Marylin Manson. The music tracks are “Rock is dead” by Marylin Manson, “Sex machine”, “Please, please, please”, and ” I feel good” by James Brown.
Tony Scott as a young man starring in his brother Ridley’s first film
Tony Scott – Love ‘im or hate ‘im, it’ll be a long time before anyone forgets him
In the late 1970s and 1980s, composer Giorgio Moroder was often accused of trying to replace the orchestral movie soundtrack with high-energy, synthesizer-heavy disco pop laid on with a trowel in movies like Thank God It’s Friday (1978), Flashdance (1983), Scarface (1983), and Top Gun (1986). I remember a magazine story on Moroder which quoted one of his many critics as saying, “The day the music died, Giorgio Moroder was brought in for questioning.”
I think some people had the same opinion about movies and Tony Scott. Full disclosure: I’m one of them. But it would be greatly unfair to Scott, who apparently committed suicide Sunday after being diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, not to admit that, for good or for ill, his 1980s feature work had an enormous impact on commercial filmmaking.
The younger brother of Ridley Scott by seven years, he was gifted – like his brother – with an outrageously good eye; a taste for the visual strong enough to earn him his master’s degree from London’s Royal College of Art (which he’d attended on scholarship no less). But painting didn’t pay well, so he joined with his brother in Ridley Scott Associates where, from the 1970s into the 1980s, he applied that eye to moving pictures, directing thousands of commercials, some of them still-talked-about all-time classics in the U.K.
His first feature was the visually sumptuous, dramatically wispy attempt at erotic vampirica, The Hunger (1983), and it was such a lambasted flop it’s a surprise Scott’s feature career didn’t end right there. But three years later, producer Jerry Bruckheimer tapped him to direct Top Gun and movies would never be the same.
It was a perfect marriage of sensibilities (along with Michael Bay, Scott would remain one of Bruckheimer’s go-to directors). Bruckheimer, whose youthful interest in photography had led him to his own career in commercials before turning to movies, had the same affinity for striking imagery as Scott.
2012′s Great Movie Moments: June
At the end of each month, the Sound On Sight staff will band together to write an article about their favourite scenes in films released. Here are our favourite scenes from the month of May.
Warning: Of course, spoilers are in full effect here!
Killer Joe – KFC Rape
Killer Joe marks an unshakeable return for William Friedkin, the legendary director of The French Connection, To Live And Die In L.A. and The Exorcist. This vigorous mix of sex, violence and family values gone wrong is a roller-coaster ride, designed for those who like their Southern neo-noir thrillers sprinkled with a heavy dose of black humour and an irresistibly bold dose of crazy. Take for instance the most shocking scene: Killer Joe’s KFC-flavored rape.