Blade Runner 2049

With director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) and cinematographer Roger Deakins behind the camera for Blade Runner 2049, you can bet even photos from the Ridley Scott-produced film have a little “wow” factor. Two visionaries stepping into the stunning, highly influential world Scott and his team created 35 years ago – that’s most going to yield some gorgeous results. Based on the trailers and everything we’ve seen so far from the sequel, Deakins and Villeneuve have made the iconic world familiar, new, and even more hostile.

Below, check out the new Blade Runner 2049 photos.

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Blade Runner 2049 featurette

“We want people to look at it and say, ‘Wow that’s a beautiful shot. How did they get it?'” visual effects supervisor John Nelson says in the new featurette for Denis Villeneuve‘s Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to the 1982 sci-fi classic, Blade Runner.

That’s how I spent much of the time watching the featurette, which showcases more of the film’s stunning cinematography, courtesy of Roger Deakins, and establishes Blade Runner 2049 as the most visually breathtaking movie of the year. New footage delves into the story of Officer K (Ryan Gosling) and Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford, returning to his famous role), as well as gives us a hint at characters that we hadn’t yet seen.

Watch the Blade Runner 2049 featurette below.

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Alien Covenant Questions

We’re one month into blockbuster summer, and right now the most divisive film seems to be Alien: Covenant. Some fans of the franchise that started with Ridley Scott‘s original sci-fi thriller back in 1979 have been happy to see the franchise evolve in recent years to combine the usual blood, gore and suspense with more philosophical and intellectually stimulating questions about the creation of life. Others just don’t find themselves interested in the story that Ridley Scott is now trying to tell all these years later.

No matter which side you find yourself on, you might be interested in this video put together by Red Letter Media which asks more than a few important questions about how Alien: Covenant impacts the rest of the franchise. Furthermore, they also point out a lot of unresolved problems and unanswered questions that make the movie feel even more sloppy than it did initially.

Watch and listen to  Red Letter Media’s Alien Covenant questions after the jump, but beware of massive spoilers. Read More »

Five Great Ridley Scott Audio Commentaries

Ridley Scott commentaries

In 1965, Sir Ridley Scott made his directorial debut with the short film, Boy and Bicycle. His illustrious filmmaking career began with a short that cost him $120 and starred his brother, the late Tony Scott. It led to a career that is nothing short of spectacular, one never lacking passion or permanence. He’s a filmmaker who’s been ahead of the curve, created trends, and made movies that’ll last forever.

Thankfully, he’s been game to talk about almost every one of his films in audio commentaries. He’s always candid, ready to share his wealth of knowledge, and keep you hanging onto his every word, whether it’s for a two-hour drama or one of his three-hour epics. The master filmmaker is, without question, a master of audio commentaries.

With the recent release of Alien: Covenant, it felt like the right time to listen to some of Scott’s commentaries. His tracks for Alien and Blade Runner are must-listens, and the same goes for his tracks about demons, kingpins, two legends on the road, and con artists. Here are the five you really need to seek out.

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Alien Covenant

(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant.)

In 1979, Ridley Scott unleashed Alien on unsuspecting moviegoers, creating something that would end up becoming iconic in the process. Scott, a filmmaker with a background in graphic design, took what was essentially the type of B-movie that cluttered up drive-in theaters and turned it into something greater – a haunted-house picture set in space, dripping with atmosphere and dread, heightened by grotesque creature designs from nightmare-expert artist H.R. Giger.

Alien would turn into a franchise, although Scott stayed away for most of it. He returned for the sort-of prequel Prometheus, one of the most polarizing films of his career. Fans expecting another Alien were sorely disappointed, as Scott no longer seemed interested in the simple, dread-inducing terror of his 1979 film. Instead, the filmmaker wanted to use the Alien mythology as a framework on which to build a more complex, existential examination of the origins of humanity.

Scott could’ve walked away from the Alien franchise after Prometheus, but instead he seems committed to riding this out to see how far it will go. He has returned with Alien: Covenant, which loaded its trailers and promotional material with the familiar xenomorph alien that fans are familiar with. This film, Scott seemed to be saying, would be the Alien-type film Prometheus was not. It was a trick, though. The filmmaker had more complicated, complex ideas in mind. They don’t always work, but you have to at least appreciate his willingness to experiment with them at this stage in his career.

Spoilers follow.

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Alien Covenant

After questioning where human life came from in Prometheus, director Ridley Scott continues the narrative in the prequel sequel Alien: Covenant. But the trailers have indicated that this is an Alien movie that also goes back to the monstrous roots of the original 1979 movie that introduced audiences to xenomorphs. The truth is that it’s both. The question is whether that results in a cohesive, thoughtful, suspenseful sci-fi flick that’s worth your time.

After the jump, those of us on the /Film crew who saw the movie already offer their own thoughts. Read More »

ridley scott director's cuts

Few filmmakers have embraced the extended director’s cut as much as Ridley Scott. Plenty of other directors dabble in the form, but results vary. When George Lucas revisited the original Star Wars trilogy, adding new special effects and splicing in scenes that were originally left on the cutting room floor, fans grew irate. When Steven Spielberg digitally swapped-out rifles for walkie-talkies in a re-release of E.T., it was viewed as pointless. In the cases of Lucas and Spielberg, the filmmakers were attempting to improve on things that perhaps didn’t need improving, leading to the age-old question, “If it ain’t broke why fix it?”

But for Scott, the director’s cut is something of an art form. The Post-Impressionist artist Paul Cézanne was famous for frequently not signing his name to his paintings, because he didn’t want to admit the work was done. He recreated the same painting again and again, sometimes even destroying canvases, in an elusive quest for perfection. Perhaps this is what Scott is doing as well; leaving the corner of the frame blank, delaying the final signature.

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Alien Covenant

(Because of the mixed reactions to the film from critics across the internet, we are running two reviews of Alien: Covenant. Here’s a negative take on the movie. For a different take, you can read Karen Han’s positive review.)

Ridley Scott has made two great films: Alien and Blade Runner. In spite of the sequel to the latter coming this fall, Scott has chosen to cross-breed these two science-fiction classics in making Alien: Covenant. Based on that title, you might hope that this will right whatever wrongs were incurred by his 2012 film Prometheus, which professed to start the origin story of the feared xenomorphs while populating that story with some of the dumbest characters in recent memory. You would be wrong. Alien: Covenant is basically the answer to a question that shouldn’t have been asked: what if Roy Batty was the lead of an Alien movie?

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alien covenant

(Because of the mixed reactions to the film from critics across the internet, we are running two reviews of Alien: Covenant. Here’s a positive take on the movie. For a different perspective, you can read Josh Spiegel’s negative review.)

The planet upon which most of Alien: Covenant unfolds is not unlike the movie itself: it’s a vast and beautiful thing, though not without its share of dangers and unexplored territory. Covenant is an epic that sprawls across genres and ideas, some of which are better addressed than others, but in its final act, it shines just two beacons through the darkness. There’s its base DNA in the self-contained drama and horror of 1979’s Alien, and there’s the near-biblical story that director Ridley Scott now wants to tell about man and post-humanity, and the creation of life. The resulting mix is a thrill, in no small part because — for a franchise that seems so determinedly nihilistic — it’s surprisingly earnest.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Jordan Peele header

In this edition of TV Bits:

  • Get Out director Jordan Peele is making an HBO show with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions
  • AMC’s Preacher gets an explosive new season 2 trailer
  • The Young Pope gets a second season and a new name
  • ABC heads under the sea for The Little Mermaid Live!
  • And more!

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