13 items from 2014
The bowels of the Nostromo meander seemingly without end. Brett, the vessel’s monosyllabic engineer, is searching the dimly-lit corridors and echoing atriums for Jones, a missing tabby cat. But here among the pipes and dank, dangling chains, a much larger and deadlier predator lurks. We haven’t seen it yet, and Brett's currently unaware of it, but we can sense that it’s waiting here somewhere in the shadows.
This, of course, is Alien, Ridley Scott’s seminal outer space nightmare. The scene sketched out above is an example of why the film has endured: it’s cut to a tense, prowling rhythm, uncannily - and appropriately - like a deadly creature waiting to strike.
One of the key elements in achieving that predatory rhythm was Terry Rawlings, »
The ideal place to meet Ridley Scott would be on a raging battlefield, in the furthest reaches of outer space, or in the midst of any of the other vast canvases on which he creates his movies.
Instead, we’re sitting in a basement salon at London’s trendy Ham Yard Hotel, where the 76-year-old director has parked himself, however briefly, to discuss his new biblical epic “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” and to ruminate on his long career.
“You’re probably going to be sitting down, so you’re not going to get a proper sense of him,” actor Christian Bale, who stars in Scott’s new film as Moses, warned this reporter a few days earlier. “You’ve got to see Rid on the move to understand him. He’s totally kinetic. I’m absolutely sure he springs out of bed at 10 times the speed I do.”
Australian actor Joel Edgerton, »
- Scott Foundas
The Royal Television Society has announced its shortlist for the Rts Craft & Design Awards. The prizes are spread across 25 categories, recognizing the variety of skills and processes involved in program production. Among the most-nominated are Channel 4 series Utopia (not to be confused with the recently cancelled Fox show in the U.S.) in the Costume Design, Effects, Music, Production Design and Photography categories. Also up for multiple prizes is BBC Two’s Peaky Blinders in Costume Design, Make-Up and Production Design. Sherlock has mentions in Graphic Design and Photography, and Da Vinci’s Demons is noted for Effects. Winners will be announced December 1 in London at a ceremony hosted by Jennifer Saunders. A full list of nominees is here.
- Nancy Tartaglione
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has announced that editor Terry Rawlings will be the subject of a BAFTA Tribute on Dec 7 at the organisation’s Piccadilly headquarters in London.
‘A BAFTA Tribute: Terry Rawlings’ will honour his contribution to picture and sound editing, and will celebrate a career spanning 50 years.
“For more than half a century his work has been admired by all – not least the huge audiences who have, maybe unknowingly, experienced his influence on films like The L Shaped Room, Women in Love and Bedazzled in the 1960s, The Duellists, The Great Gatsby and The Devils in the 1970s, through to classics such as Watership Down, Alien, Chariots of Fire, Yentl, [link »
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
Warning; this post is long... if you watch all the links, you'll have an hour of entertainment.
When I was 10, my school screened a 16 mm print of the The Mark of Zorro - 1940 version, starring the dashing Tyrone Power. The clash of steel, the dynamic yet graceful athleticism of the hero as he righted wrongs, attracted me, as it did many boys of my age... I wanna do that. Luckily my next school offered fencing lessons from an instructor at the nearby Sandhurst Military Academy, and my inner Basil Rathbone was set free to ultimately Captain the school team. I saw every sword fighting movie I could and still do. Yet the only duel I have ever filmed had to be shot in 3 hours... The history of the genre could fill many volumes, but here is a short introduction to Sword Cinema.
La physician reverts to childhood - La filmmaker never left… »
- Brian Trenchard-Smith
On tap right now to help you get through your Tuesday are three clips from Walter Hill's backwoods masterpiece Southern Comfort, which is on its way to Blu-ray and DVD from the lovable sickos from at the Shout! Factory. Check them out!
Southern Comfort Release Details
Shout! Factory brings you the 1981 thriller Southern Comfort on Blu-ray for the first time, featuring a new high definition transfer, with bonus features including a theatrical trailer, stills gallery, and ‘The Making of Southern Comfort.’
From Walter Hill, the director of The Warriors and 48 Hrs., comes this gut-wrenching tale of backwoods terror that "draws you into the eerily beautiful Louisiana bayou...then has you running for your life" (Pauline Kael, New Yorker)! Keith Carradine (The Duellists) and Powers Boothe (Sin City, The Avengers) lead a "first-rate ensemble" (Newsweek) in this "exciting, arresting, and tautly told suspenser" (Variety).
Nine National Guardsmen enter the Louisiana swamp for routine training, »
- Steve Barton
Most filmmakers love technical toys, and Peter Jackson is a shining example of that. The New Zealand director aggressively pursues the latest in technology for his films, sometimes resulting in advancements for filmmaking across the board. Mostly it works, pretty much everything Weta has done has been gold for example, but sometimes it doesn't such as the push for higher frame rates.
The worry with any director who loves playing with new toys is if those toys are enough of a distraction that they interfere and/or hamper the narrative they are trying to convey. When the tech stops becoming a tool used for a function and starts being used just for the sake of being used, the result is often bloat or far more important aspects of the film (script, performances, pacing, etc.) suffering a quality drop from lack of adequate attention. The "Star Wars" prequels serve as an excellent example of that problem. »
- Garth Franklin
In an interview with The Guardian, Viggo Mortensen has gotten directly to the point when it comes to Peter Jackson and his films, particularly everything since The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring up to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. He's not exactly saying anything new as he notes Jackson's increasing interest and use of advanced filmmaking technology and how he believes it has replaced his earlier, more subtle work: Mortensen thinks - rightly - that The Fellowship of the Ring turned out the best of the three, perhaps largely because it was shot in one go. "It was very confusing, we were going at such a pace, and they had so many units shooting, it was really insane. But it's true that the first script was better organised," he says. "Also, Peter was always a geek in terms of technology but, once he had the means to do it, »
- Brad Brevet
We pay tribute to the work of the late artist Hr Giger, and follow the making of his masterpiece of design, the Alien...
It’s the summer of 1978, and the UK’s Shepperton Studios simmers in the heat. Secreted away in his own personal workshop, a Swiss artist works feverishly on his paintings and sculptures, either fashioning strange shapes from gigantic blocks of styrofoam or spraying them with his airbrush.
This is 38-year-old Hr Giger, and he cuts an unusual figure. His shock of black hair is slicked back away from his pale forehead. He refuses to take his leather jacket off despite the searing heat. On a bench sits row after row of human and animal bones - skulls, femurs, vertebrae - plus a weird assortment of ribbed hoses, wires and mechanical parts taken from old Rolls Royce motorcars. Quietly, obsessively, Giger is building his Alien.
The story »
Here's the thing... if you make the wrong decision at the wrong place at the wrong time, you can bring down the possibility of ending up on the cold side of the slab. Never has that fact been better illustrated than in Walter Hill's backwoods masterpiece Southern Comfort.
From the Press Release
Shout! Factory brings you the 1981 thriller Southern Comfort on Blu-ray for the first time, featuring a new high definition transfer, with bonus features including a theatrical trailer, still gallery, and ‘The Making of Southern Comfort’ featuring new interviews with director/writer Walter Hill, producer/writer David Giler and actors Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe, Peter Coyote and Lewis Smith.
From Walter Hill, the director of The Warriors and 48 Hrs., comes this gut-wrenching tale of backwoods terror that "draws you into the eerily beautiful Louisiana bayou...then has you running for your life" (Pauline Kael, New Yorker)! Keith Carradine »
- Steve Barton
In order to mark the occasion viewers will be able to watch again the battle of wits between Sheriff Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) and saloon owner Al Swearengen (Ian McShane) who views the town to be his own private enterprise; the speciality channel will be airing all 36 episodes back-to-back commencing Saturday March 15, 2014 @ 10 a.m. (Et/Pt) and finishing Sunday, March 16, at 10 p.m..
Also on April 2, 2014, HBO Signature will be running one Deadwood episode every weeknight, Monday to Friday at 8 p.m. (Et/Pt) starting Wednesday, April 2, 2014. The Western featured historical characters such as Wild Bill Hickok, Sol Star, Calamity Jane, Wyatt Earp, George Crook, E. B. Farnum, Charlie Utter, Jack McCall, and George »
At the peak of her Brideshead fame, she broke her jaw and lost half her teeth. It might have finished some actors, but not Diana Quick. She talks to Kira Cochrane about agitprop, acting couples – and supporting herself with crochet
There was a moment in the early 1980s when Diana Quick looked bound for one of those Hollywood careers synonymous with swimming pools, paparazzi and giant sunglasses. She had been acting professionally since the late 1960s, landed a major role in Ridley Scott's first feature The Duellists in 1977 and, as the 80s dawned, was working on the British TV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited. Her role as exquisite, troubled aristocrat Lady Julia Flyte made international fame seem assured. When the series aired in 1981, headlines wondered if Quick was the world's most beautiful woman.
But between shooting Brideshead and its TV showing, her life changed dramatically. In San Francisco with her boyfriend of the time, »
- Kira Cochrane
Ah, January: the month that sparkles with revived possibility and unspoiled options. Unless, of course, you're a Netflix subscriber. Groggy revellers browsing the streaming service in search of hangover entertainment from New Year's Day onward will have found the selection somewhat smaller: owing to licensing expirations and financial constraints, nearly 500 titles, ranging from Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps to Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream, had vanished from the virtual shelves by 5 January.
The addition of 80-odd new titles, many of them disposable, doesn't exactly cushion the blow. Still, there are some welcome new arrivals, among them Andrea Arnold's stunning formalist revision of Wuthering Heights, Lee Daniels's lovably lurid potboiler The Paperboy and this week's clear streaming highlight: Ridley Scott's The Duellists. An inspired, literate Joseph Conrad adaptation, »
- Guy Lodge
13 items from 2014
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