20 items from 2017
Directed by Ridley Scott.
The crew of the cargo ship Nostromo receives a distress signal from a nearby planet and while investigating, one of the crew is attacked by a parasite which implants an embryo in his body. This embryo soon gruesomely erupts from man’s body before escaping into the shadows, stalking and picking the remaining crew members off one by one.
It’s the 1st of October and you know what that means? It’s time to kick-start another series of October Horrors, the hopefully annual series (provided I don’t get fired between now and the 31st) in which I spend every day of this ghoulish month spotlighting cinematic horror from across the years. Well, mostly the 80s. Cause I like the 80s. A lot.
We’ve got »
- Graeme Robertson
You might not recognize the name Sir Ian Holm. If you’re an avid movie fan, however, you’ve probably encountered it at least once before. Holm is one of those quiet giants of the acting world; precisely the type which seems to suit the British rather well. Just like other industry stalwarts (the names Jim Broadbent, Mark Rylance, and Stephen Graham come to mind), he’s lauded by critics but rarely plays the fame game. So, you might not know that you’re a Holm fan until you see his picture and realise that he’s been in some of your favorite films. There
- Nat Berman
Over the next week I will be looking at a selection of prescient films (and TV) which represent a cutting depiction of not only our present, but our near future. To start the ball rolling here, I consider Terry Gilliam’s masterpiece, Brazil. A look into a bleak, totalitarian future, filled with bureaucracy. Then next week in part 2, a breakdown of the societal and technological changes predicted in modern Science fiction such as Ex Machina, Black Mirror and more.
The beauty of Science Fiction is that it has the ability to tell a story that relates to the current world, but which can be set in a future of limitless possibilities. Until you reach 2015 and realise self drying clothes, flying cars and hover boards aren’t yet available, there’s no one to tell you, you’re wrong. Writers have been doing it for years. »
- Amie Cranswick
“I spent a lot of time reviewing the silent films for crowd scenes –the way extras move, evolve, how the space is staged and how the cameras capture it, the views used,” Nolan said earlier this year when it came to the creation of his WWII epic Dunkirk, referencing films such as Intolerance, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, and Greed, as well as the films of Robert Bresson.
Throughout the entire month of July, if you’re in the U.K., you are lucky enough to witness a selection of these influences in a program at BFI Southbank. Featuring all screenings in 35mm or 70mm — including a preview of Dunkirk over a week before it hits theaters — there’s classics such as Greed, Sunrise, and The Wages of Fear, as well as Alien, Speed, and even Tony Scott’s final film.
Check out Nolan’s introduction below, followed by »
- Jordan Raup
Running from 1-31 July, BFI Southbank are delighted to present a season of films which have inspired director Christopher Nolan’s new feature Dunkirk (2017), released in cinemas across the UK on Friday 21 July.
Christopher Nolan Presents has been personally curated by the award-winning director and will offer audiences unique insight into the films which influenced his hotly anticipated take on one of the key moments of WWII.
The season will include a special preview screening of Dunkirk on Thursday 13 July, which will be presented in 70mm and include an introduction from the director himself.
Christopher Nolan is a passionate advocate for the importance of seeing films projected on film, and as one of the few cinemas in the UK that still shows a vast amount of celluloid film, BFI Southbank will screen all the films in the season on 35mm or 70mm.
In 2015 Nolan appeared on stage alongside visual artist »
- Michelle Hannett
Alien: ConvenantThe eight films that encompass the Alien series—including its succession of sequels, prequels, and spin-offs—make up a widely varying compendium of consistencies and contrasts. The latest entry, Alien: Covenant (2017), is no exception. As the critical reviews of this new installment are now sufficiently mingled with the predictably deviating audience reactions, one thing about the popular franchise remains clear: each title will forever be burdened and bolstered by the films that came before it. Of course, this isn’t all that surprising; sequels are usually judged by their precursors. But with the Alien anthology, it’s not just about the quality of one film as opposed to another, it’s about a deference to the fictional narrative construct (few movie cycles are as preoccupied with a generally coherent narrative thread) and the anticipation derived from an incorporation of familiar themes and visual motifs (there have likewise been »
God bless the Criterion Collection for their forthcoming Blu-ray of a nifty 2K restoration of The Breaking Point (1950), the second swipe at Ernest Hemingway’s novel To Have and Have Not, which is on the company’s release schedule for August 2017. You may have heard of the first version… Bogie, Bacall, Hawks, “You know how to whistle, don’t ya?” Remember that one? Well, this one, the story of a down-on-his-luck charter boat captain Harry Morgan (John Garfield) who gets manipulated into a deadly smuggling run to help make ends meet, is directed by Michael Curtiz, and it trades Hawks’ larky, Casablanca-derived vibe for something decidedly darker, a daylight-splashed noir that somehow ferrets out all the chiaroscuro shadows in Hemingway’s material nonetheless. Throughout The Breaking Point, but especially in the movie’s riveting second half when Morgan allows himself to get roped into a second, even more dangerous scheme, »
- Dennis Cozzalio
Sigourney Weaver’s face isn’t the first one you see in Ridley Scott’s “Alien” — she’s not even the first name you see, popping up second in the opening credits to Tom Skerritt — but there’s no question that Scott’s 1979 sci-fi masterpiece is a film (and, now, an entire franchise) that lives and dies based on the strength of Weaver’s indelible Ellen Ripley. She doesn’t even begin to emerge as the film’s principal hero until about 45 minutes in, when Ripley steps up in the wake of the kind of calamitous tragedy that still makes the film such a heart-pounding to watch, nearly four decades on.
Scott’s choice to ultimately center his film around the strength of a female character was hardly the kind of thing that other late-’70s action-driven blockbusters dug into (screenwriter Dan O’Bannon first wrote Ripley as a male lead, »
- Kate Erbland
In 1979 the world of cinema was forever changed as Alien arrived in theatres across the world. Based on a script from Dan O’Bannon, director Ridley Scott scared an entire generation senseless with his chilling space-set sci-fi horror. The film followed a group of space miners whom, after investigating a distress beacon on an uncharted planet, found themselves in distress as they came under attack from the deadliest of foes, the Xenomorph. The creature came from the inventive brain of the late H. R. Giger and has haunted viewers ever since it first sprung forth from John Hurt’s chest cavity.
Since Alien burst onto the screen we’ve had three sequels, two spin-offs and, with this week’s release, Alien: Covenant, two prequels. That’s a lot of films for one creature to inhabit and the results have varied. There’s been a lot of debate over the years about which film is best, »
- Kat Hughes
Rob Leane May 5, 2017
It’s been a while since we saw her on the big screen, but Ellen Ripley lives on in books, audio dramas and games...
Now that Neill Blomkamp’s much-talked-about Alien 5 idea – which would have brought back Sigourney Weaver and offered an alternate sequel to Aliens, wiping Alien 3 from the canon - seems to be off the cards, chances are that we won’t see Ellen Ripley back on the big screen any time soon.
Rumours and rumblings suggest that Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel series (which began with Prometheus and will continue very soon with Alien: Covenant) may eventually feature an aged-down Weaver back in the »
Given that this week we’re celebrating Alien Day, it’s only fitting that I return to my reviews of the Alien and Predator Figurine Collection with a character from the original movie, and the choice is Captain Dallas.
Captain Dallas played by the ever dependable Tom Skerrit is memorable not only for being the brunt of Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) anger many times, but also for his death scene. Climbing through the small ventilation shafts of the Nostromo he tries to track the Xenomorph and dispose of it. The first time we really get a good view of the creature, it proves that Dallas, and the other humans are no match for the alien.
While the Xenomorph figurines are my favourite of the ones I’ve reviewed so far, Dallas may be the top human figurine. There is an impressive level of detail in his space suit, which has »
- Paul Metcalf
In 1997, a film cynic was born.
Seeing Star Wars ruined should have been a sign that 1997 would be the worst year ever for blockbusters. George Lucas’s Special Editions, intended to “improve” the original trilogy but mostly doing the opposite, started arriving in January. By the time of the release of the new version of Return of the Jedi in March, my anticipation for anything ought to have been demolished. But I couldn’t have imagined that was only the beginning.
Actually, the first steps towards the end of an era were made in the early ’90s. That just wasn’t a great time for big movies compared to the prior decade. Some of my biggest letdowns of all time included Hudson Hawk in 1991 and Death Becomes Her in 1992. Jurassic Park wasn’t good enough for me, having read the book. Independence Day put me to sleep in the theater. Beloved »
- Christopher Campbell
“Alien” and its many sequels and prequels have always been about transformation. The creature itself is constantly changing, as are those unfortunate enough to encounter it. As you celebrate Alien Day — celebrated on April 26 because the original film is set on the planet Lv-426 — take a moment to revisit the many forms Sigourney Weaver’s greatest screen partner has taken on in the nearly 40 years since H.R. Giger and Ridley Scott first introduced us to it.
The facehugger (“Alien”)
Our first exposure to the otherworldly creature known among fans as the xenomorph remains the most quietly unsettling. “It’s got a wonderful defense mechanism,” Parker (Yaphet Kotto) says after noticing the facehugger’s acidic blood: “You don’t dare kill it.”
Almost reminiscent of a scorpion in its appearance, the facehugger was initially intended by Giger to be larger and possess eyes; screenwriter Dan O’Bannon had imagined it as an octopus-like being with tentacles. »
- Michael Nordine
Either an artistic environmentalist or an environmental artist, Cheshire native Andy Goldsworthy has spent the better part of his life using natural resources (and almost nothing else) to create site-specific works that are built to fall apart. He wraps icicles around shrubs like ribbons, and leaves before they melt. He lies on the ground at the first hint of rain in order to leave a dry silhouette amidst the drops. Some of his projects disappear in seconds — he’s known to wrap flower petals around his hands so tight that they look like engorged flesh, and then dip his hands into a stream to watch the petals shed off and float away. Others will surely outlive him — he’s fascinated by rock walls, and will carve trenches between them in order to foster the sensation of being inside the earth — but on a long enough timeline, even those more enduring »
- David Ehrlich
Twenty years ago, audiences were dazzled by the visionary images and epic adventure of “The Fifth Element.” To celebrate the 20th anniversary of director Luc Besson’s groundbreaking film, Fathom Events and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will present a 4K restoration of the film in movie theaters nationwide for two days only, on Sunday, May 14 and Wednesday, May 17 at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. (local time) both days. Following its two-day-only theatrical presentation, “The Fifth Element” will debut on 4K Ultra HD July 11.
As an added bonus, the theatrical presentation will also offer audiences a brand-new, exclusive look at Besson’s upcoming film, “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” which opens in theaters nationwide July 21, 2017. This new film stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne as special operatives who must protect the astonishing city of Alpha from a marauding menace that threatens not just the city but the future of the universe. »
- Michelle McCue
Although it may be hard to believe, this year marks the 20th anniversary of Luc Besson's seminal sci-fi film The Fifth Element, and Fathom Events and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will be celebrating in style by screening a new 4K restoration of the film in theaters across the Us for two days this May, along with a new look at Besson's next movie, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Following its return to theaters this May, The Fifth Element will be released on 4K Ultra HD on July 11th. For more information, we have the official press release below with full details:
Press Release: Denver – April 7, 2017 – Twenty years ago, audiences were dazzled by the visionary images and epic adventure of “The Fifth Element.” To celebrate the 20th anniversary of director Luc Besson’s groundbreaking film, Fathom Events and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will present a 4K restoration »
- Derek Anderson
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When Ian Holm’s Ash was quizzed about the Alien back in ’79, Holm’s unruly synthetic famously described the Xenomorph as the “perfect organism,” stating in no uncertain terms that “its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.” And in those intervening years, Ridley Scott and H.R. Giger’s biomechanical nightmare cemented its status as a cornerstone of the horror genre – even if those Predator crossovers threatened to tarnish its unparalleled legacy.
Five years ago, Ridley Scott took his prized franchise in a new direction to raise some lofty questions regarding both the Alien’s creation and the existence of humanity itself. The end result was Prometheus, a decidedly divisive prequel-sequel that still managed to rake in more than $400 million at the international box office despite all its flaws. Scott and his team have taken most, »
- Michael Briers
Written by Fernando Esquivel
Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, members of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think to be an uncharted paradise. While there, they meet David (Michael Fassbender) the synthetic survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition. The mysterious world soon turns dark and dangerous when a hostile alien life form forces the crew into a deadly fight for survival.
Michael Fassbender returns in Alien: Covenant as David and has also acquired a new role as Walter, another android. New to the franchise is Billy Crudup, the film's antagonist. We spoke to both of them about their roles, their conflicts and how its is to play two characters in the film.
Michael, you’re playing two distinct characters in this film. Is it almost like doing two movies at once?
Michael Fassbender: Not really. Just different costumes. [Laughs.] It’s pretty »
No one will hear you scream on Saturday nights this February as Horror Channel launches a Sci-Fear Season with four ultimate science-fiction shockers, including the UK TV premiere of William Eubank’s The Signal starring Laurence Fishburne.
There are also network premieres for Christian Alvart’s Lovecraftian survival thriller Pandorum, starring Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster, and John Bruno’s visually stunning chiller (and underrated classic) Virus, based on the comic book by Chuck Pfarrer, starring Jamie Lee Curtis, William Baldwin and Donald Sutherland. Plus there’s another showing of eXistenZ, David Cronenberg’s enigmatic body horror, starring Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Willem Dafoe and Ian Holm.
The Sci-Fear Season runs from Sat 4th Feb to 25th Feb at 9pm.
- Phil Wheat
Ryan Lambie Jan 4, 2017
See related Tom Hiddleston interview: The Avengers, modern myths, playing Loki and more Tom Hiddleston interview: The Avengers, War Horse, Greek mythology and more Marvel Studios movies: UK release date calendar Why Thor: Ragnarok may be a pivotal film in Marvel's phase 3
One of the best bits in 2012's Prometheus was one of the quietest: an early sequence where Michael Fassbender's android, David, pads around a deserted ship, alternately watching Lawrence Of Arabia, styling his hair after Peter O'Toole and watching over the slumbering humans in their cryo chambers.
20 items from 2017
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