An Alien Atmosphere

ALIEN
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I consider Alien the greatest horror film of all time. The absolutely masterful duo of HR Geiger and Ridley Scott speaks volumes in this film. It’s a perfect combination of set and atmosphere, nothing is getting in the way of each other. It creates it’s own world with a highly comic future featuring clunky, inefficient technology visioned from the 70’s (that may look cheesy now but stands the test of time with it’s charm) and terrifying atmosphere. It’s a minimalistic design with such thought put into it; even for the late 70’s, the plot seems extremely cliche. “ALIEN: A highly aggressive extraterrestrial creature  stalks and kills the crew of a spaceship”. How boring does that sound? Even the title lacks creativity. But, with extreme attention to detail and a mysterious subplot, this movie has a huge amount of depth. What is most notable is the imagery of rape in this movie.

It has constantly been called a feminist movie, with a female protagonist dodging male aggressors left and right. While that is true, I believe this film was explicitly crafted to make both genders, specifically male, uncomfortable. The large hand creature represents a oral phallic rape and evidently, the first victim is a male. This was deliberate, to make a homophobic male audience extremely uncomfortable. Of course, any male would feel uncomfortable, but an ultra alpha male who might fear the homosexual will be squirming in their seat during this scene. This is real fear, it mixes sci-fi with insecurities, veiling it with a female insecurity but really, preying on the male audience.

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Terrifying Accuracy

OFFICE SPACE

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Mike Judge, the genius behind Beavis and Butthead took what Dilbert could never portray, the real loathing of the office. He gets everything right, the ridiculously annoying next door neighbor cubicle, staring at your computer, the corporate talk bosses that need to clarify everything, the challenge of explaining your own job to another person, the cat and mouse games between you and your manager, “PC LOAD LETTER? THE FUCK DOES THAT MEAN?”. This movie takes the mundane and kicks it up a notch by showing every moment of what it means to be an expandable employee in an industry that favors profit and efficiency. It’s a scary reality for the white collar working force and shows how backwards it can be, especially when you act just like your superiors.

A Sad Man

I’m not sure this man loves what he does. I mean everything he does is a parody of himself, he’s a corporate old man trying to connect with the younger generation. Getting Imagine Dragons for the score? Getting Skrillex to make robot dinosaur sounds? Really? He puts so much effort on making sure he can outdo the last movie he’s made; making sure each shot, piece of dialogue and continuity are absolutely perfect just to keep the audience happy. Michael Bay looks like a lost, lonely old man who isn’t sure how much money will keep him happy. He looks like there are suits breathing down his neck every step of the way to make sure he has carefully studied each move he makes. Remember Bad Boys? I bet Michael Bay had fun doing that. Of course it wasn’t anything brilliant or even that great for any matter, but at least it looked like it was fun to make. Now Michael Bay is trapped in a little room making sure his dubstep robots and amphibian freaks don’t get stale.

Film Unchained

QUENTIN TARANTINO

“A Face for Radio”

Quentin Tarantino is one of my favorite directors of all time, in each of his movies he creates this alternate universe where everyone is smart, witty, animated, violent and full of character. Whenever you watch one of his movies you become transported his world of extreme satire. His movies are hyper violent and packed with humor; the point being that each movie lives outside of reality. Tarantino knows how outrageous his films are and makes a point to completely throw you off for at least one scene in each movie. It’s a strange technique, especially when you’re extremely engrossed in the film’s world. It’s always something simple, but there’s always a scene in each movie that will take you out of the experience completely and remind you that you’re watching a film. And that’s the beauty of it, Tarantino is no Kubrick. He’s not some indie art house director, he’s Quentin Tarantino. The king of film, the master of dark humor, the hyper violent freak. He wants you to know there’s no deeper meaning, that the only reason he made this film was to make a film. Not for some cause or for a deeper metaphysical understanding for each human being, he just wants to have fun. The best example of this is in Django Unchained, in the scene where Django tells the cooks to say goodbye to Mrs. Lara.

Obviously he shot from a completely different angle, obviously his revolver would never make her fly backwards, obviously she wouldn’t scream like that, obviously Tarantino did this on purpose. To surprise the audience with a humorous effect and remind them to have fun.

Another example might be in Pulp fiction, when Butch Coolidge picks his weapon:

Why would he take so long? Is he any good with a sword? A CHAINSAW ISN’T A BETTER OPTION? No, its the coolest option.

Another example, in Inglorious Basterds:

Why are they meeting in such a big, empty room? Why are they standing so far from each other? Why is Winston Churchill sitting by a piano being so quiet? Because it’s off putting, funny and exciting in a weird way.

The Greatest Film Never Made

JODOROWSKY’S DUNE

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“I wanted to make a film that gives LSD hallucinations without taking LSD.” The crazy man Alejandro Jodorowsky behind The Holy Mountain and El Topo finally releases secrets about the greatest film never made. Jodorowsky gives us insight on his insanely ambitious movie and what could have been. What is most interesting about Dune is that if it came to fruition, it may have came out 5 years before Star Wars. Star wars changed the film industry because of the special effects it invented and showed producers what audiences wanted in a general film. We see these massive Hollywood productions with thousands of special effect and green screens all with a basic hero vrs. evil plot directly relating to the success of Star Wars. Jodorowsky’s Dune would have had the same amount of practical effects never done before, much before Star Wars and not long after 2001: Space Odyssey. Would a film this massive change the way Hollywood pushes massive movies? It’s extremely possible, as the impact of this movie would have been for decades, just like his other films. The difference between Jodorowsky’s other films and Dune was the innovation in technicality mixing with his insane vision of art. Maybe Transformers would end up being an avante-garde midnight show at Sundance?

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This is a Movie About a Psychic Killer Tire.

RUBBER

People hate this movie, like really hate this movie. I love this movie, really love this movie. It’s obviously a matter of opinion as this movie obviously thought it was extremely intelligent and witty when it just comes off as pretentious art house film making. But if you just take it for what it is on the surface, clear your head and just let it happen, you might just enjoy it. This movie basically tries to be extremely meta as it depicts an audience watching the events unfold involving the tire. The characters of the movie are constantly interacting with the audience and even murder the audience at one point. The audience even tries to resolve the plot at one point. This is some serious off the wall thinking, it’s still a script you could write over the weekend but Quentin Dupieux made a movie about his shower thought and I respect that. He thought of a plot more ridiculous than any seventies B-movie you have ever seen and delivers with awesome framework, acting (sometimes intentionally bad) and music.

This movie starts off with a monologue about the plot’s theme: “No Reason”.

“In the Steven Spielberg movie “E.T.,” why is the alien brown? No reason. In “Love Story,” why do the two characters fall madly in love with each other? No reason. In Oliver Stone’s “JFK,” why is the President suddenly assassinated by some stranger? No reason. In the excellent “Chain Saw Massacre” by Tobe Hooper, why don’t we ever see the characters go to the bathroom or wash their hands like people do in real life? Absolutely no reason. Worse, in “The Pianist” by Polanski, how come this guy has to hide and live like a bum when he plays the piano so well? Once again the answer is, no reason. I could go on for hours with more examples. The list is endless. You probably never gave it a thought, but all great films, without exception, contain an important element of no reason. And you know why? Because life itself is filled with no reason. Why can’t we see the air all around us? No reason. Why are we always thinking? No reason. Why do some people love sausages and other people hate sausages? No fuckin’ reason.”

Quentin Dupieux is making the most unsubtle, in your face way of saying “FUCK YOU. I MAKE FILMS”. He knew this movie was going to be received poorly. I don’t think he cares. He just wanted to express himself in the strangest fashion. He made a movie about a killer tire work. A lot of people may not agree, but it had a consistent tone, a plot and characters. It didn’t try to be the next epic blockbuster or even really something meaningful indie classic. He just made an original, pure film. That’s all.

Interstale

INTERSTELLAR

Let me get a few things out of the way before I start: This movie is entertaining. It’s not bad, it’s not great but it falls somewhere in the middle because of the fact it is so all over the place. I hate a lot of it and I loved a lot of it and obviously Christopher Nolan put a lot of love into making this film and I appreciate that. Every set was amazing, the pacing was perfect, the practical use of props and sets made it feel authentic, during the climax I felt as if I was there, Matthew McConaughey is fantastic, parts of the script are clever and beautiful. I do not regret seeing this movie.

But:

  • It did not to be 3 hours long
  • Characters explain every little detail of the plot
  • The trailer gave away the best parts
  • Child actors are horrible
  • The ending was way too ambitious and seems like it was written in 5 minutes
  • So many ideas are used from Arthur C. Clarke books
  • Movie couldn’t decide between a sci-fi or drama genre

This movie could have been way shorter and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with a 3 hour movie, just that this movie basically has a good hour of filler. Did Cooper really need a son in the script? I mean there are a lot of things in the movie that were great and necessary to the plot but honestly, every part could have been rewritten for the daughter or another character. I say this, because once his usefulness for the plot is over, he literally does not exist anymore. Cooper completely forgets about him, even when seeing his daughter at the end. Even a quick mention of his son to Merth at the very end could have tied it up a little, but even then he still seems like filler and almost like Cooper disowns his son. Cutting him out could have saved 20 – 30 minutes at least. Other than that there was so many unnecessary little things that could have saved time for the real movie, all that time spent on Earth just felt like waiting. If Nolan wanted this to be such a huge movie, why didn’t he just extend every shot? He and his crew put their heart and soul into building these sets and making space feel so real, they could have had long quiet shots of their ship, the planets, the black hole or anything via 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Which brings me to Arthur C. Clarke. Now, it’s awesome that Christopher Nolan brought some ideas from “Rendezvous With Rama” or The “Space Odyssey” series to life, but it felt a bit cheap. Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” was one of the most astounding things on the big screen in the 70’s and Nolan used the big moments in it. The black hole felt like Dave’s descent into the Monolith, the spaceship design looked like it was part of the same set, the entire scene when Cooper is in the tesseract felt like Dave’s transcendence into a higher being; but it felt cheap. Everything is delivered with such clumsiness and exposition. Soooo much exposition. It could have felt like an homage to the classic film and books but Clarke and Kubrick deliver their art in such a unique way. Kubrick will allow the visuals to the speaking while Clarke can paint a picture with words without getting to ahead of himself. Nolan falls flat in between both.

I get that Nolan’s writing has always been a bit out of reality and that’s fine, in fact it’s awesome. People would never say the things in the script in Batman or Inception in real life, but it’s fun and cool in a movie. But when the entire dialogue is spent on holding the audience’s hand through a plot, it’s a frustrating and boring experience. I also get that Nolan wanted to make something epic and huge and I’m not denying that it wasn’t an experience, but that’s all it was. It was thrill without much depth or anything to stick with me.

“Rendezvous with Rama Concept Art”

looks familiar…?

 

The Excess of Greed

SCARFACE

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If you haven’t seen Scarface, you might recognize the poster above as a blanket sold at the corner of strip malls out of an RV next to the Playboy Bunny, Bob Marley and whatever other tacky product you could think of. Tony Montana is the symbol of money, power and crime. Rappers idolize him, thinking he is the ultimate crimelord. Yet, this movie, immortalized by the coolness of the character, is a movie about anger, greed and excess. Tony wants more and more until he completely destroys himself. Tony is smart and strong, he moved to America with absolutely nothing but with his wits and help of his friends he became a millionaire. He wants to be the ultimate alpha male and for a while the movie seems to celebrate masculinity and greed, but in the end, every quality of his masculinity turns on him. His want for power turns into greed and addiction, his love for his sister turns into a need to control her life, everyone in the end hates him and is being destroyed by him. Everything Tony does is poison, and at one point in the movie, his conscious gets the best of him and in the process he self destructs.

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The Man Behind The Mask

DRIVE


Before I start – do you know how hard it is to choose a poster for this? There’s so many awesome fan made ones.

People often wonder what the hell the significance of Ryan Goslings stunt man mask is. Obviously it’s used to conceal his identity and mimic the actor’s appearance. But why does he wear it when he murders Ron Perlman’s character? Well there’s a few reasons – One is to keep a low profile while following him by car. But obviously Nicolas WInding Refn had a deeper meaning here. When Ryan Gosling’s character meets an arc in his character it’s the scene where he kisses Carey Mulligan and murders the thug in the elevator. Carey Mulligan’s character is appalled and shocked at seeing his true violent nature and that he may not be as calm, cool and collected as she thought. They stare at each other as the elevator closes and he leaves her life, signifying the disconnection between The Driver and society. When he decides to set things right, he goes to his studio and puts on his stunt man mask and now his true nature is out in the open. Does he feel his real face is a mask? Is this his escape from containing his violence? Does he think he can release his guilt and morals when he puts on the mask?

The Childhood Awakens

I’ve been waiting years for this, the New Hope for Star Wars. If you know me well, I’m a huge Star Wars fan. No, not the extended universe nerd who reads all the books and the comics; I’m a Star Wars trilogy fan. This trailer is absolute perfection, from the first frame it sets the tone. It introduces new characters, props and settings, showing that Abrams is going to show us a new story in the universe, possibly involving the empire. This makes so much sense, with the empire falling and the rebels becoming an actual powerful force, it makes sense to show what the empire may be feeling on their side. After showing us a plethora of newness it backs off and gives our hearts a trophy for our patience and we get to see the Millennium Falcon doing a barrel roll. I think we’re in for a ride. AND DID YOU SEE THAT LIGHTSABER? WHAT IF IT GETS TOO CLOSE TO HIS HANDS? WHATS THE POINT OF THAT THING?