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items tagged with Ridley Scott

Ridley’s Believe It or Not: "The Martian" and "Sicario"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-10-03 22:01:02

Matt Damon in The MartianTHE MARTIAN

If you, too, are a devotee of Ridley Scott’s Alien, you’ll no doubt remember how its title came into view during the opening credits: as a series of vertical, diagonal, and horizontal white lines that slowly appeared, beginning with the “I,” one or two at a time until the capitalized “ALIEN” was wholly spelled out. Thirty-six years later, the title for Scott’s sci-fi tale The Martian is revealed in the exact opposite manner: as a full, capitalized “THE MARTIAN” that gradually fades away, one portion at a time, until only the “I” remains.

Obviously, that disappearing act is a decidedly minor touch, especially in a film that runs just shy of two-and-a-half hours. But it might also be Scott’s most quietly clever touch, and not merely because The Martian’s chief narrative concerns an “I” that winds up left all alone. By offering a literal reverse of his 1979 achievement’s opener, Scott seems to be suggesting, with an wink, that his new endeavor will be 180 degrees removed from the claustrophobic, stomach-bursting horror of Alien, and that proves decidedly to be the case. While this adaptation of Andy Weir’s bestseller (with its script by Drew Goddard) does share some of Alien’s themes, principally the life-and-death imperatives behind deep-space problem-solving, Scott’s latest is expansive instead of spare, chatty instead of terse, heartening instead of nihilistic. It’s also, far and away, and from beginning to end, the most sheerly likable movie Ridley Scott has yet made – an exciting, moving, and altogether glorious sci-fi bear hug that leaves you feeling almost ridiculously happy. Given a career that’s found him exploring every conceivable shade of dark, it turns out that Scott looks pretty great in the light.
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Holy Moses!: "Exodus: Gods & Kings" and "Whiplash"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-12-12 20:44:20

Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods & KingsEXODUS: GODS & KINGS

You can tell a lot about a movie by its trailers. I don’t mean the trailers for the movie itself, although that’s also, usually, the case. I’m talking about the ones that play before the main attraction – the previews for future releases that generally share a genre or overall flavor with whatever film you’re paying to see, collectively acting as a sort of “Because you watched ______” recommendation list on Netflix.


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Godz Not Dead: "Godzilla" and "Million Dollar Arm"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-05-18 14:16:28

GodzillaGODZILLA

To get the inarguable out of the way, director Gareth Edwards’ new take on Godzilla is an incalculably stronger piece of work than Roland Emmerich’s woebegone 1998 version. Its visual effects are superb, and occasionally stunning. Its supporting cast boasts some obscenely gifted actors. It has been crafted with professionalism, confidence, seriousness of purpose, and obvious respect for its cinematic forebears. And taken overall, I found the experience so deathly boring that in the midst of its incredibly loud, debris-strewn action finale, I actually fell asleep. On two separate occasions.


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Over the Hill, Under the Gun: "Bad Grandpa" and "The Counselor"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-10-27 17:24:54

Jackson Nicoll and Johnny Knoxville in Bad GrandpaBAD GRANDPA

This might surprise a grand total of none of you, but Bad Grandpa – which also goes by the more telling title Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa – isn’t much of a movie. The first Jackass release to feature an actual narrative, and actual characters, in place of the usual parades of comically vile, violent challenges and stunts (though there are a few of those, too), director Jeff Tremaine’s road-trip slapstick is mostly shapeless and certainly obvious, and nowhere near as hilarious as you want it to be.

Yet it’s also a continually interesting and, in the end, rather sweet sociological experiment reminiscent of Borat, but a Borat without the mean-spiritedness. If Sacha Baron Cohen’s outing, with its Candid Camera-style employment of “real people” clearly not in on the joke, reveled in displaying how crass and ignorant Americans could be, Tremaine’s suggests just how tolerant and polite we can be – and given the circumstances presented here, that’s apparently mighty tolerant and polite indeed.


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In the Beginning … : "Prometheus" and "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-06-11 13:42:37

Logan Marshall-Green, Noopi Rapace, and Michael Fassbender in PrometheusPROMETHEUS

After many months of speculation, the question of whether Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is, in fact, a prequel to the director’s Alien can finally be answered: Hell yeah it is. And a good thing, too, because the enticing echoes of that 1979 sci-fi/horror essential are among the scant few elements that truly resonate in this visually extraordinary but only fitfully engaging endeavor.


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