Ridley Scott on the set of The Martian

(Welcome to The Unpopular Opinion, a series where a writer goes to the defense of a much-maligned film or sets their sights on a movie seemingly beloved by all. In this edition: Ridley Scott has only made two good movies…and the reason why they’re good explains the rest of his weaker filmography.)

Sir Ridley Scott’s 40-year career is marked as much by its successes as it is by his chameleonic willingness to jump from genre to genre on an almost annual basis. This year alone, Scott has directed the grim sci-fi film Alien: Covenant and is following it up in December with All the Money in the World, a true-story crime drama about kidnappers trying to extort industrialist J. Paul Getty. His past films include the nihilistic thriller The Counselor, the light dramedy A Good Year, the con caper Matchstick Men, the sci-fi adventure The Martian, and on and on and on.

But the films that loom largest over Scott’s career are two of his earliest: Alien and Blade Runner, the latter of which received a long-awaited sequel last week in the form of Blade Runner 2049. Considering that both Alien and Blade Runner have gotten second lives of sorts in 2017, I feel compelled to come clean to my fellow cinephiles: for me, these are the only good Ridley Scott movies.

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Top Gun 2 drone

Before his death in 2012, director Tony Scott promised Top Gun 2 would be “a very different movie” from the 1986 original and hinted at the idea of involving drones in the high-flying sequel. In the subsequent years, the project has undergone numerous rewrites – so much so that it seems the drone idea has been scrapped altogether.

And speaking of a director with the last name of Scott, Ridley Scott  – Tony’s brother – recently spoke about his plans for the still-untitled follow-up to Alien: Covenant and how it’s going to center more on artificial intelligence characters than the actual aliens themselves. Read more about both of these projects below.
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Denis Villeneuve interview

With Blade Runner 2049, which arrives in theaters 35 years after Ridley Scott‘s classic, Denis Villeneuve has pulled off no small feat. The filmmaker behind ArrivalIncendies, and Sicario has made a sequel that doesn’t stand an inch in the shadow of Scott’s masterpiece. He’s made this iconic depiction of the future feel as new and as awe-inspiring as the 1982 film.

Just like the original, every frame of Blade Runner 2049 is a visual marvel, which should come as no surprise considering the talent Villeneuve surrounded himself with on his largest film to date. The director reuinited with legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins on the sequel, and together they’ve again crafted such dense, emotional and dazzling images and created a hypnotic atmosphere. When we spoke with Villeneuve, he told us about their work together, what original Blade Runner director Ridley Scott told him to keep in mind, and why Blade Runner 2049 is a more hopeful story than the original film.

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The Morning Watch: ‘Blade Runner’ Edition

Blade Runner 2049 - Morning Watch

(The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.)

In this edition, we have videos that are entirely dedicated to discussing the original 1982 sci-fi noir Blade Runner from director Ridley Scott, and this week’s forthcoming sequel Blade Runner 2049. Below, the sequel’s director Denis Villeneuve talks about seeing the original for the first time, and you can find out some interesting trivia about the movie that you might not have known about. Plus, go behind the scenes of Blade Runner 2049 with an extensive featurette looking at the making of the movie. Read More »

Where Is It - The Morning Watch

(The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.)

In this edition, a new video essay explores how Ridley Scott combined the thematic elements of classic film noir and mixed them into a sci-fi, dystopian future. Plus, watch a suspenseful horror short called Where Is It as the Halloween month of October inches closer, and see what wackiness Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim are up to now on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Read More »

Stephen King's It - Pennywise - Morning Watch

(The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.)

In this edition, director Ridley Scott breaks down his favorite scene from the original Blade Runner. Plus, see a fanmade trailer that pits Batman against the monstrous Pennywise the Dancing Clown from the new adaptation of Stephen King’s It, and see what it would have been like if Bender from Futurama were HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Read More »

blade runner 2049 behind the scenes

Blade Runner 2049 is getting closer and closer to its release date, yet much of the film is still shrouded in secrecy. In an era where most high-profile films have almost their entire plot-lines spoiled before they hit theaters, it’s fairly impressive that director Denis Villeneuve and company have managed to play things so close to the vest.

Now, a series of behind-the-scenes features totaling over 20 minutes have arrived to give us our best look yet at the futuristic world Villeneuve has created. See the extensive Blade Runner 2049 behind the scenes clips below.

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all the money in the world trailer

Ridley Scott has been hard at work, with two high-profile films released this year. While Alien: Covenant met with mixed reactions from fans of the beloved sci-fi franchise that he begat, All the Money in the World arrives with virtually no expectations from movie goers.

It’s a wonder that this film wasn’t on our radar sooner. Starring award-winning actors like Kevin Spacey, Michelle Williams, and Mark Wahlberg, and based on the real-life kidnapping of billionaire J. Paul Getty’s grandson, it’s the type of buzzy fare that will immediately get audience attention, if not awards attention. That’s likely what the recently released trailer is aiming for.

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Sequel Bits AC

In this edition of Sequel Bits:

  • Alien: Covenant gets a cool special effects video
  • Edgar Wright talks about the potential for Baby Driver 2
  • Wet Hot American Summer is getting the comic book treatment
  • M. Night Shyamalan provides an update about his progress on Glass
  • Is Annapurna Pictures poised to scoop up the James Bond franchise?
  • Noomi Rapace comments about a possible return to the Alien franchise
  • The animated sequel Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars gets a new trailer
  • And more!

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Denis Villeneuve interview

Making a satisfying sequel to a beloved, inspiring science-fiction classic is a tall order. But if there’s a filmmaker up to the hefty task, it’s Denis Villeneuve. The director behind ArrivalSicarioEnemy, and Incendies has been turning out exceptional work. He can create an immersive and wholly tangible atmosphere, which is the kind of director a project like Blade Runner 2049 calls for.

For the sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 film, Villeneuve is again working with cinematographer extraordinaire Roger Deakins, who shot Sicario and Prisoners. As Scott told the filmmaker, their vision of Los Angeles 2049 “was able to extend that atmospheric quality that the first movie had.” During a recent roundtable interview to promote the film at Comic-Con, Villeneuve told us about his collaboration with Scott and Deakins, why he wanted to make a sequel to Blade Runner, capturing the spirit of the original, and more.

Below, check out the Denis Villeneuve interview.

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