it's still one of the best films ever

Atomic Blonde (and why I’m a Sapphic who adored it)

Okay, first off…WOW! What a ride that film was! After having a full 24hrs  to really digest this film, I can honestly say that this film really blew my  expectations, in so many different ways. Since there seems to be so much  discourse over this film, I thought I would post a POSITIVE list of all the  reasons why this film is as important and special to me as it is, even with  That Scene. As Lorraine Broughton would say, “ Shall We?”

Okay first off, the obvious…

  • 80′s soundtrack with phenomenal remixes.
  • Charlize Theron, playing a truly Bad-Ass Bisexual MI6 Agent while still looking sexy as Hell!
  • The action was some of the best I have ever witnessed!
  • The general setting of this film, Communist Berlin, gives a remarkable window into just what the Cold War in its later stages entailed. The Cold War was perhaps one of the most deceitful wars in history, and when you figure in just how sensitive the situation was, you realize that Every. Move. Counts.

Lorraine Broughton

  • She owns my ass.
  • Again, we have an Openly-Bisexual Female Lead, who’s only main love interest is another woman!
  • Charlize Theron not only did 98% of all her own stunts, but she sustained injuries because of it.
  • I loved her characterization, it was one of the highlights of this film. We often forget that movies like this are hardly ever realistic, but in this film the opening scene is of Lorraine, MI6′s Top Agent, wearily trying to attend to her beaten body. She is barely alive, and as the film goes on we see just how much of a toll her physical and emotional well-being takes due to the nature of her job. As the film progresses we see her grow more cold and disconnected to the point where she is practically numb to those around her (her interrogation, mostly).
  • She wins all her fights, but not without repercussions. Her body takes. A. Beating. And unlike most films her wounds don’t just magically disappear or just “get better”. No, they are there for weeks, in all their ugliness, to display just how vulnerable as a person she is, whilst also reminding those who see her how tough and strong she has to be just to merely survive.

Lorraine and Delphine

  • Okay, first off…OMG THESE TWO!
  • Sofia Boutella was adorable as Delphine, and the way her innocence and naive-ness abolutely melted Lorraine was so cute!
  • The way Lorraine looked at Delphine with such intrigue, and the way Delphine looked at Lorraine with such awe.
  • The whole “Harold, they’re Lesbians”-like scenario with the dude at the bar (even tho Lorraine is Bi).
  • Again, we get another glimpse into Lorraine’s characterization here, which is basically she gets distracted by pretty girls we see that, even though Lorraine is still skeptical of Delphine at first, she very easily falls for her, a softness that we up until that point had yet to see in her.
  • Delphine’s slight hesitance when she gives Lorraine that adorably soft kiss and Lorraine’s shyness in returning it!
  • The way we see Lorraine follow Delphine into a more private place and being so dazed and transfixed by this tiny French Girl is mesmerizing and makes my heart skip a beat!
  • OMG their wicked make-out session and the slamming against the wall and the WHOLE SCENE THAT FOLLOWS I COULD NOT BREATH!
  • “…So you made contact with the French Operative?” “Obviously”
  • Lorraine in nothing but a sweater looking over Delphine as she sleeps-watching, wondering, worrying about what will happen to her.
  • Honestly, them snuggling was one of the most tender moments in the whole film. For once it feels as though Lorraine is being genuine with Delphine, which she picks up on.
  • Lorraine stroking Delphine’s hair while Delphine nudges her head in Lorraine’s neck is so precious. The way Lorraine is so gentle with her and laughs and smiles at her makes my heart melt so much! She cares so much for this one woman she just met and it is so beautiful!
  • Tiny Soft Nose Kisses!
  • The fact their relationship, no matter how brief, is actually a small subplot means so much because it really feels like this was for us Sapphics, despite what happens later.

That Scene among other things

  • Oh boy, here we go. In my opinion, I did not see this as partaking in the horrid “Kill Your Gays” trope.
  • We saw it coming in the trailer you guys, and I was fully prepared for this scenario.
  • She was a naive, inexperienced spy who got too close to Lorraine, and suffered the ultimate price for it. This happened to all of Lorraine’s lovers (although I honestly think she was just using her first one for information, where as she truly cared for Delphine).
  • Delphine Fought. Back. Hard! And she did a damn good job at keeping up. But unfortunately she did not have the skill nor the experience to win that battle. She is not Lorraine, who barely came out the mission alive!
  • This is a spy film about the Cold War, there were going to be many, many casualties. Lorraine (Another Queer) was the only one to make it out alive.
  • When Lorraine found Delphine, I truly felt for her then. This is the first time we see her fully shut down as she Empathetically mourns her girlfriend (which we hardly get to see in general, the LGBT Hero mourning the death of their lover).
  • At this point, after all that she has gone through (the beatings, the betrayals, the loss of intelligence, etc) this is the one thing that finally breaks her, and LORRAINE. IS. FUCKING. DONE.
  • She is done with everything around her, and we see this as she goes from on-the-ground vulnerable to STONE. COLD. NOTHING. And she goes out for blood, and Damn-It does she get it! She shows no mercy for Delphine’s killer, and it is obvious that this is revenge in its most raw form.
  • In the end this is a story about a spy in the Cold War, and in a genre like this things are going to be very brutal. We see this brutality play out on Lorraine, and how it affects her and all of those involved. She made it out with her life, and that was her reward. 
  • So Delphine’s death, to me, was the final Plot Point to move us into the final act, as it was portrayed as the one act of Evil that Crossed That Line, and to further the Characterization of Lorraine.
  • I could go one about the phenomenal action sequences, because I have never witnessed such raw and realistic fighting in an action movie, and to have a Female Bisexual as the lead taking as much as she dishes out was both horrifying yet empowering!

Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion, and if you think this film will seriously trigger you, then by all means please take care of your well-being, because that is ultimately the most important thing.

Was I sad that Delphine died? Yes, of course! Did I see it as strictly because she was gay? No, I did not. Do I see this as good representation? Ultimately, yes because I still felt incredibly valid as a Bisexual in more ways than one with this film, and the last time I felt this good about myself was when I first saw Carol (2015) dir. Todd Haynes in theaters (which nothing will ever top that film).

But for everyone else, please GO SEE THIS FILM. For the one negative we must also see all it’s Astonishing Positives this film has, and for it to get the attention and praise that it has is such a big deal for all of us, because if we show our support for this truly Rare Gem then they will make a sequel, and other films like it! Only then can we move forward!

UPDATE: So I just saw Atomic Blonde today for the second time in one week, and upon my second viewing I’ve come to realize just how much I love this film, and why it beat out my expectations originally! And it mainly falls back to what I discussed earlier, about Lorraine and Delphine’s romance and Lorraine herself, for instance:

  • Again, I love Lorraine’s characterization! Being more aware of the story my second time-round, I got to focus more on Lorraine herself, and I think I underestimated just how cold and numb and positively DONE she is by the “end” of her mission (again, in reference to her interrogation).
  • The physical and emotional toll on her and her body really is just as prominent as I remember, and my goodness I cannot recall another film where I actually left the theatre physically exhausted by what I just watched. Everything she’s endured sort of rubs off on you, and if that isn’t the most engrossing experience a character can portray, than I do not know what is.
  • Delphine and Lorraine, my god I love their relationship! It is the only relationship in the whole film solely built on attraction and Mutual Trust, so much so where they would rather protect each other over their mission.
  • In fact, going in this movie the first time all I was expecting between them was the “One Night Stand” that was so heavily portrayed in the trailers-which I would of been happy with-and, (just like in the trailers) I prepared myself for Delphine’s demise soon after-But we had an entire subplot dedicated to their relationship, right up to the very end!
  • Because of this Lorraine’s and Delphine’s romance felt genuine, filled with love and tenderness and worry and drive to protect each other-and that really is beautiful representation.
  • Which, I believe, is why Lorraine truly shuts down when it all goes south, and why we see the Lorraine we do in her interrogation. SHE IS COLD. SHE IS BEATEN. AND SHE IS TIRED.
  • In the end, I do think she cared more for Delphine than past lovers, which is why she seems so utterly broken when we first see her. She went back to Delphine even after her superiors threatened to end her, and she lied about Delphine to protect her from them, even though she was gone.

Anyway, as you can see this film really did a number on me, and I am absolutely fine with that! I apologize for making my crazy long post even longer, but there were things I still wanted to get off my chest, because this really is a Dream Film-a Queer, Female Lead 80′s Spy Film actually exists, and I think Atomic Blonde really hit it out of the park-and has ruined all other action films for me here-on out!

Lili Reinhart is one of those actresses who I could watch act in literally anything and think that the movie/show and Lili herself, were the best things to ever be created. She could be the lead actress in a breakout romantic comedy, dead girl number #3 in a slasher film, or promoting a knockoff brand of Doritos in a YouTube AD and I’d still support and cheer for her like she was about to win a freaking Academy Award. I love her that much.  

Pre-Code Hollywood recs courtesy of my blog

Originally posted by patriciadeville

The pre-code era was a period lasting roughly between 1929 to 1934 in which Hollywood censors was a thousand times more lax. Of course, the naughtiness is not the only thing which makes pre-code Hollywood interesting, as these films coincided with the advent of talkies and the cynicism brought on by the Great Depression. Many of them featured social commentary on the economy, the changing role of women in society, the sexual double standard, the lingering traumas inflicted by World War I, abuse of power within politics, and religious hypocrisy. If you’ve never delved into this period, here are some films I would recommend to get you started:

Baby Face (1933)

Barbara Stanwyck plays a destitute young woman who sleeps her way through the business world hierarchy in order to grasp power and money, the bare essentials of the American Dream—but does this guarantee happiness or even a stable future? A great introduction to just how much pre-code Hollywood could get away with as well as being a satirical look at the American values.

Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Once banned for being “against nature,” this cult horror film deals with science sans morality. The hot, sticky atmosphere and gross subject matter allow the film to remain scary even to a 21st century viewer.

The Divorcee (1930)

A thorough take down of the sexual double standard. When her husband casually cheats on her, a woman sleeps with his best friend to “balance the books.” At that, her allegedly liberal husband shows just how backward he is by claiming women are supposed to be better behaved than men, which leads to a nasty separation and numerous sexual escapades on the part of the wife. Even eighty-seven years onward, this film remains a mature look at marriage and sexuality, daring for its time and still touching today.

The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933)

Amidst civil war and treachery, an American missionary and a Chinese warlord fall in love despite their differing philosophies (not to mention the whole race thing). While the theme of miscegenation might not be too controversial today, I imagine its heavy criticism of religion still would be. (Alas, the film’s argument for racial tolerance is undercut by the casting of the very white Nils Asther as the titular Chinese general, but it’s still a good film to check out, one of director Frank Capra’s best movies.)

The Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

A musical about out-of-work chorus girls trying to nab wealthy husbands. Aside from being very funny and naughty, the musical numbers are all superbly choreographed by Busby Berkley, culminating in “Remember My Forgotten Man,” a piece highlighting the plight of WWI veterans. (It also features the best way you could ever call someone a ho: “As long as they’ve got sidewalks, you’ve got a job!”)

Employees’ Entrance (1933)

Malcolm McDowell once said he felt movies before the 1970s did not have truly evil characters in the lead. He never watched Employees’ Entrance, a movie where the central figure is a corrupt, raping, heartless, tyrannical department store manager who not only never answers for his crimes, but is even presented as something of a heroic figure in the context of the Depression due to his opposing the insistence from the higher-ups that he lay off his lower level employees. Complete with suicide (both attempted and successful) and despair, this movie is kept from being unbearable with doses of comedy and lively direction.

anonymous asked:

I'm kind of concerned by how inspiring I found Wonder Woman. I didn't realize how much I was missing this in my life.

Think about how great little girls are going to feel watching this!!! Like I’m a grown ass 20 year old and I’m like, genuinely so inspired by seeing a woman leading her own superhero movie - and it’s a damn good movie! But imagine the little girls that go and see it, the films we see when we’re younger have such an effect on us, they’re going to be the personification of !!!!!!! when they come out of this film and I’m so happy. I can’t believe I’m a DC stan now, but they Did That!!! They actually went and Did That. They out here living in 2017 whilst Marvel still in 1956.

Unbroken and 10 More Great Movies About World War II

Based on the best-selling non-fiction book “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption" by Laura Hillenbrand, Angelina Jolie’s acclaimed film “Unbroken” joins a long tradition of cinema’s interest in the intricate details of World War II.

Unlike many of the other films, however, “Unbroken" narrows its focus on the impact that one individual, USA Olympian and athlete Louis Zamperini, had on the hearts and minds of hundreds of other people in and around the war. For that reason, the film stands as an interesting look at one of the world’s most fascinating events and individuals.

With Unbroken available on Digital HD now, and arriving on Blu-ray, and DVD on March 24, we’ve put together a list of 10 moregreat movies about World War II that you need to check out.

Keep reading

13 Days of Outlander - Revisited

Episode 2.04 La Dame Blanche

Cloaked - So without doubt this episode features my favourite of all Claire’s Parisian couture costumes - the Blueberry cloak/coat.

I just don’t have enough superlatives to express just how much I adore this outfit. Claire looks incredibly beautiful but also a little mysterious dressed in it too, perfect for La Dame Blanche. In fact she looks like she stepped straight out of a grown up version of Little Red Riding Hood, only in purple. The colour is divine, such a rich jewel violet, which is then brilliantly offset by the bright deep pink of the flower/leaf embroidery.  Its just sheer perfection, a masterpiece of costumery.

And I am so proud of my copy - I do think it is one of the best recreations I have ever sewn.

Uncovered - This episode also featured the most exquisite reconnection of Claire and Jamie and it was so beautifully crafted. I love how it was filmed, bathed in blue light within the blue alcove. 

(stills from pinterest)

And how bold and brave Claire is, going to Jamie in only her lovely yellow robe, which she slowly lets fall.

( with thanks to primrosesandrues16 for above image)

This follows their confrontation, in which certain truths were set forth and laid bare, and here in this scene, she lays herself bare for him, uncovers herself for him, to show how there *is* nothing separating them, that he can *find them* again if only he would try.  And he does. And they do. And it is glorious.

anonymous asked:

so, i think it's become clear that ridley scott wasn't everything behind alien; his attempts at reclaiming the franchise have been not that great. who do you attribute the success of the original alien to?

I don’t know if I’d attribute it to one person specifically so much as I would credit the circumstances and limitations surrounding its production. Being made in the late 70s by a director who only had one work to his name at the time, there was a lot that they planned to do in Alien that they couldn’t for one reason or another. The best example is the Big Chap itself - the costume was this unwieldy monstrosity of foam and car parts and oysters that was difficult to move in. Since the costume’s movements were frankly pretty doofy in full view, they had to work around that by playing with the cinematography, ensuring that audiences never got a full glimpse of the creature and had to slowly piece it together themselves. But in 2012/2017, Ridley is a renowned director with the resources to do just about anything he wants, and special effects technology has advanced to the point where just about anything can be visualized effectively.

Another factor is the novelty, plain and simple. Alien still holds up as one of the best horror films ever made, but it’s been a part of the public consciousness for nearly 40 years now. Between sequels and spinoffs and pop-culture nods, the idea of a parasitic alien that rips its way out of a living host is pretty familiar at this point. In 1979, though, it was fucking wild. Like, imagine going to some random movie in early 1979 and seeing this trailer, with literally no idea what it is aside from what that stressful trailer shows. And then you go to see it, and you’re bombarded with warped Giger imagery and things like the birth scene. But decades later, we know what the Alien franchise is about, so attempts to continue the franchise have had to experiment with new ideas. Some of these experiments work better than others. In that regard, I’m a little disappointed that Neill Blomkamp’s proposed Alien movie was shelved - if nothing else, the guy would’ve injected some new blood into the series.

But yeah, I don’t think we’ll ever get an Alien movie that packs the same punch as the original at this point, simply because the original exists. Familiarity makes just about anything less scary, which means that sequels are pushed to introduce more and more outlandish ideas, which often clutter the narrative if not making things downright silly (see: Prometheus and its unexplained Dolphin Fetus). There’s also the fact that the franchise has the means to depict just about anything it wants now - while this has led to some beautiful sets and cinematography (Prometheus in particular was a delight on the eyes if nothing else), it also means there’s nothing to stop them from going with first ideas rather than having to fine-tune them just to make them possible to film.

the-last-alicorn  asked:

(Going forward with the understanding that miniseries like Kamen Rider 4 and Gorider count as movies) What are your favorite Kamen Rider movies? Can be a top ten, top five or general format.

As I am still riding the high from finishing Kamen Sentai Gorider (OMG SO GOOD SO GOOD) I won’t include it because that’s like asking someone what their favorite Star Wars movie is right after they get out of the newest one (for the record it’s still Empire Strikes Back for me though Rogue One is now second). I wonder how much better Gorider will be once I’ve seen the movie it ties into.  I’ve been waiting for a proper Super Hero Taisen that wasn’t just a Kamen Rider movie with a glorified Super Sentai cameo since Super Hero Taisen Z.

Anyway, as to my favorite Kamen Rider movies, I am going to include both Heisei and Showa movies here and that weird in-between period that still gets lumped in with Showa because Shotaro Ishinomori was still alive for them. Let’s get started, shall we?

5. Kamen Rider 555: Paradise Lost

This is a weird one for me.  I was not a fan of the strange, out of continuity early Heisei Kamen Rider movies.  I felt they went places they shouldn’t or were utterly irrelevant to the TV series that spawned them.  However, I still loved this movie when I first saw it and watch it again every now and then.  This film is basically a worst case scenario for the TV show, where the Orphenochs have conquered the world and humanity is dying off and clustered together in tiny enclaves.  Kamen Rider Faiz has been missing for years and it falls to the dickish Kamen Rider Kaixa to protect the remaining humans. I just really liked the designs for the two new, movie only Riders (Psyga and Orga) and the action was really well done.

4. Kamen Rider Hibiki and the Seven War Oni

Yes, this movie was made post studio meddling that pretty much doomed a promising, if slow, series to a mediocre and unsatisfying conclusion.  However, it’s basically a tokusatsu version of the Seven Samurai!  It’s even set in the Edo period and features 7 different Riders (Oni) banding together to defend a small village against a monstrous force no one person could defeat alone. It also features the amazingly designed Kamen Rider Kabuki.  That alone score it major points in my book!

3. Let’s Go Kamen Riders!

This was the 40th Anniversary movie and one of the crossover films ostensibly between the then current Kamen Rider OOOs and the few seasons past but still popular Kamen Rider Den-O.  It was also the first time they used the now cliched plot of Shocker taking over the world thanks to time manipulation.  It’s also the best time that plotline was ever used in my opinion.  It’s a fun story though and ends with a huge gathering of every Rider up to that point fighting to restore history to its proper course through the power of kicking and punching evil monsters.  It’s a celebration of everything Kamen Rider and for that, I can’t help but love it to death.

2. Kamen Rider vs. Shocker 

This is the very first original Kamen Rider movie (the film before this Go Go Kamen Rider was a movie expansion of episode 13).  This was the first movie of the original series I ever saw, long before I got my hands on the entire first series. It got me so interested in the old Kamen Rider shows made before I was born and before Super Sentai was even a thing.  It was also my introduction to the amazingly evil Dr. Shinigami, one of my all-time favorite Kamen Rider villains.  Here is the trailer:

1. Kamen Rider ZO

This was the first piece of Kamen Rider media I ever got to see in Japanese with English subtitles.  I watched it because I was already a fan of its director, Keita Amemiya thanks to his Zeiram films. What ZO did was quite frankly blow my mind. The suit designs were spectacular, the action tense and brutal and the effects work imaginative and engrossing.  The high point for me has always been the fight with the Spider Kaijin, the use of stop motion animation and just the completely alien design of the spider-thing sticks with me to this day.

This movie turned me from a pretty straight up Super Sentai fan into a broader fan of tokusatsu and tossed me head first into the awesome world of Kamen Rider. It remains my favorite movie in the franchise and not just for nostalgia reasons.  It’s a great first film to show people as it is a one and done tale that combines all of the hallmarks of the franchise in a unique and engaging way.  

Blade Runner 2…………… was very good.

Already from just a first viewing, I much prefer it to the original. The second film is still incredibly flawed (MY GOD it’s white, and there will undoubtedly be MANY thinkpieces to read on its handling of women), but the writing is truly above and beyond the first one.

I was mostly happy with how they handled Deckard. They didn’t ‘Han Solo’ him as I feared they would, but the presentation of his relationship with Rachel as being one of 'love’ is still gross.

The visuals and soundtrack are among the best I’ve ever seen. The scale of Blade Runner’s immense arcologies and neon-lit tower blocks was one of the most 'viscerally depressing’ looks at a dystopian world. This is, without a doubt, one of the most awful settings ever conceived for humanity and this film gets that across with a lot more punch than the original.

The story was good too, it didn’t rely on the first film too much which I really liked - it tells a unique story that’s on the periphery of Blade Runner 1.

I don’t really have many coherent thoughts right now, it’s a film that needs digesting and rewatched because there were a couple of elements within it (like Jared Leto’s character, who is like every neckbeard Internet atheist youtuber combined into one man with a god complex) that even I had trouble following along.

But it was good. I still feel DEEPLY divided about the original, but I got to the end of this one without feeling anything like that. Its narrative problems aren’t anywhere near as icky.

A post wherein film writer Kimberly Luperi spotlights the career of beloved, although often overshadowed, acting great Claude Rains.

In my mind, Claude Rains was sort of an “Invisible Man”: a marvelous performer who I’ve felt was rather underrated and overshadowed by bigger stars, as character actors often are. Rains even likened himself to one during a 1933 New York Times interview discussing THE INVISIBLE MAN (’33): “I daresay it was the best thing they could do with this face,” he quipped. “Now if they could keep it invisible, I might get by in the cinema.”

Tinseltown didn’t keep Rains concealed for long, but I’d say he got by pretty well in the movies nonetheless. See: his string of compelling performances in classics like THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (‘38), CASABLANCA ('42), NOTORIOUS ('46) and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA ('62), to name but a few.

Trained extensively on the stage in England and America, the London-born Rains made the leap to film late in his career. Technology of the time kept his expressive voice hushed in his first screen outing, BUILD THY HOUSE (’20), but Rains’ brogue played a crucial role in landing his next picture 13 years later across the pond, THE INVISIBLE MAN (’33).

James Whale, famous for contributing FRANKENSTEIN ('31) and BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN ('35) to Universal’s classic horror canon, took the reins on THE INVISIBLE MAN (’33). Though one legend has it that Whale overheard Rains’ RKO screen test and exclaimed, “I don’t care who that actor is, but I want that voice!” the fact is that Whale was familiar with Rains’ tenure teaching at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (where Laurence Olivier and Charles Laughton were among his students) and lobbied for Rains from the beginning. Luckily for the director, Universal’s first choice Boris Karloff dropped out after producer Carl Laemmle Jr. repeatedly pushed Karloff to take a salary cut, and Whale slyly dissuaded second choice Colin Clive so Rains could step in. Though Laemmle objected to the casting of an unknown, Whale prevailed.

THE INVISIBLE MAN (’33) may seem an odd Hollywood debut for a well-known stage star because the lead receives mere seconds of screen time, but the picture made Rains incredibly visible. The New York Times praised Rains and noted that “no actor has ever made his first appearance on the screen under quite as peculiar circumstance,” while other notices hailed the movie as “one of the best yet produced” and a “remarkable achievement.” Indeed, Rains’ menacing performance, Whale’s masterful direction, R.C. Sherriff’s meticulous adaptation of H. G. Wells’ novel and John P. Fulton’s cunning special effects unanimously earned rave reviews and helped the film smash a three-year attendance record at New York City’s Roxy Theatre. Though visual wizardry has progressed leaps and bounds in the 83 years since its original release, THE INVISIBLE MAN (’33) still retains the ability to awe and delight viewers today, in part owing to the scrupulous balance between its visual trickery, drama and a “generous quota” of comedy.

Following THE INVISIBLE MAN (’33) success, Variety reported that Universal "figures the curiosity aroused by the first pic…will act as an effective buildup” for Rains’ next outing for the studio, which would provide audiences their first full view of the actor. But Paramount actually beat them to the punch by releasing Rains’ CRIME WITHOUT PASSION ('34) in between those two Universal pictures. Had Paramount held off, the aforementioned Universal film, THE MAN WHO RECLAIMED HIS HEAD ('34), would have been an ironic, apropos follow-up for the formerly invisible man.

Epic Movie (Re)Watch #97 - Alien Anthology: Aliens

Originally posted by vhsthings

Spoilers below.

Have I seen it before: Yes.

Did I like it then: Yes.

Do I remember it: Yes.

Did I see it in theaters: No.

Format: Blu-ray.

1) I think Aliens is as good a film as Alien is but they work in different genres. Aliens is much more action than Alien was and that’s part of the reason I prefer it (because I prefer action over horror). James Cameron brings his signature adrenaline fueled, profanity filled, layered characters to the film and the world set up by Ridley Scott’s masterpiece and it works wonderfully.

2) The music of this film I think works even better than Jerry Goldsmith’s score for Alien, but maybe that’s just me. From the get go it sets the ominous tone of the film but later on it is able to help balance out the action and suspense beautifully. Strangely enough James Cameron and James Horner did not see eye to eye on this film and did not work together again until Titanic eleven years later (after Cameron was impressed by Horner’s work on Braveheart).

3) Paul Reiser’s Burke.

Originally posted by a-ripley

Much like the original Alien played on established tropes, Burke is an inversion of the “nice guy” trope. Anyone who is a fan of “Veronica Mars” particularly knows that a lot of times the “nice guy” character can really be kind of a jerk and Burke is that. He appears as a friend, as someone who cares, as a nice, sensitive guy…but he’s fucking slime. He’s not levelheaded, he’s not smart, he’s not selfless, he’s a self centered prick who acts more like a robot than Bishop (the actually robot in this film). Paul Resier plays this role with delicious assholery and it’s wonderful.

4) People had to wait seven years for an Alien sequel. Ripley had to wait fifty seven years. Ripley has bigger problems than you. Get over it.

5) Instead of doing a lengthy post about how Ripley works as a character, I’m going to talk about it as I go along with the recap. Because Ripley develops throughout the film, so talking about her at one point and acting like she’s the same throughout the movie would be inaccurate.

6) For one thing: she’s dealing with trauma. She was strong in the first film, but we saw her vulnerable at times and that remains true for this movie. We see her vulnerable, we see her scared, and that doesn’t undermine her strength or skill it just reinforces her bravery.

Originally posted by gameraboy

She’s dealing with nightmares all the time about what happened in the first film, and she should! IT WAS WILDLY TRAUMATIC! But that doesn’t stop her. And that’s what’s awesome.

7) In keeping with the idea that the first film was as much a rape story as much as it was an alien one, Ripley totally gets victim blamed in this movie!

Originally posted by retro-hunter

She gives her report, a recap to the company about how everyone died and why she had to blow up the Nostromo, but all they care about is the money they cost them. They don’t believe her, at all. Because she’s just totally making this up, she jettisoned herself into a 57 year old coma for the hell of it.

8) Burke calls Ripley, “kiddo,” and I about lose my shit because she’s older than him, has more experience than him, and his superior in about every way imaginable. Quick note: I watched this after the election so Burke was pissing me off more than usual.

9) James Cameron is the master of telling people to fuck off.

Apone [after Hudson is a jackass, holding his eye open with his middle finger]: “Look into my eye.”

10) A film with great characters usually has a way to establish who that character is and their relationships right off the bat. This film is no exception, as right away after meeting the space marines you get a sense for who they each are as individuals and their relationships with each other.

Originally posted by leofromthedark

Vasquez is probably the one established earliest/best (out of her, Hicks, and Hudson). She’s one of the marines to survive the furthest into the film and she’s just this total badass who isn’t afraid of connecting with someone. You get the sense that she and Drake are best buds (maybe more), so when Drake dies you feel for Vasquez (kinda like Parker and Brett in the first film).

11) The freaking knife trick.

Originally posted by alienanthology

The knife trick scene was not in the original shooting script. According to Lance Henriksen, the adding of Hudson’s hand to the knife trick was discussed with almost everyone, except Bill Paxton.

How many people reading this have tried to recreate the knife trick? Seriously. I do it with my pen all the time.

12) Bishop.

Originally posted by marana23-blog

Lance Henriksen is a wonderful character actor who has appeared in countless sci-fi and horror films, even having the lead role in Chris Carter’s “Millenium” series.

Bishop is interesting. You’re not supposed to trust him because he’s an android like Ash was in the first film, and that is always looming over the audience as it is Ripley. But he ends up being honest and a good companion, with Burke being more of a robot (metaphorically speaking). Henriksen is great in the role, bringing a sense of kindness, warmth, and sensitivity to what is literally a cold machine. It may be his best role ever, one he reprised in Alien 3 and Alien VS Predator (sort of).

13) Remember how I said this film twists standard film and horror tropes? Well ladies and gentlemen, it still has its damsel in distress: Bill Paxton as Hudson.

Originally posted by madfilmstudent

Paxton is another A+ character actor and frequent collaborator of James Cameron’s. He gives us the famous line of, “Game over, man. Game over!” and spends most of the movie losing his shit. Paxton has the unique distinction of being the first actor to be killed by a Terminator, an Alien, and a Predator (something which he would later share with Lance Henriksen). Paxton’s hysteria is simultaneously hysterical and nerve racking, as it just makes things worse. He’s really just wonderful in the part.

14) This film gives the alien a name: xenomorph. But it makes me wonder…

If this thing wasn’t supposed to exist and there was no record of it, why are the marines so ready with a name?

Originally posted by gamerzlove

15) A scene which perfectly illustrates Ripley’s ability to be both vulnerable and strong is when she’s briefing the marines on the xenomorph. She is obviously still dealing with what happened, and they ridicule her a little for it. But then the leftenant proceeds to stare down the marines and scare them shitless with what they’re facing.

16) Chekov’s mech suit.

Ripley takes the mech suit when Sgt. Apone asks her if there’s anything she can do and manuevers it perfectly, showing that she knows her own worth. I always appreciate that.

17) Michael Biehn as Hicks.

Originally posted by mastersofthe80s

Hicks is a lot like a better version of Dallas (better from a moral standpoint): he comes off as slick, cool, distanced, and uncaring, but when it comes down to it he trusts those around him and cares for the safety of those in his charge. Because unlike Dallas, who’s role as captain was just a job, Hicks ENLISTED. He chose this life, and Michael Biehn (a regular collaborator of Cameron’s) is wonderful in the part. Without his charisma Hicks could’ve easily been a distant jerk, but Biehn brings a kindness to him which the part needs.

18) At one point a character says, “We’re in the pipe, five by five,” when landing and this is all I could think of:

(GIF source unknown [if this is your GIF please let me know].)

19) Place and atmosphere are as important to this film as it was to the original Alien, being portrayed by the desolate landscape of LV-426 (the planet the crew ends up landed on) and the claustrophobia created by the colony.

Originally posted by vhs-ninja

James Horner’s atmospheric score also helps build the tension in tandem with these elements, all forming a perfect marriage of ominous fear.

20) Ripley jumping at every little thing is another great way of showing how she is scared and vulnerable, but the fact that she is there and can take charge when needed enforces her strength.

Originally posted by marana23-blog

21) Fun fact: in every film he’s been in directed by James Cameron, Michael Biehn’s hand gets bitten by someone (in this film, Newt). James Cameron was developing a Spider-Man movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Doc Ock and Michael Biehn as Spider-Man where - once again - his hand would’ve been bitten (this time in a super important way)!

Originally posted by spideycentral

22) Newt.

Originally posted by alienanthology

It is remarkably easy for a child character in a horror or sci-fi film to come off as annoying and that’s usually because they’re not written or performed in an honest way. Newt is not annoying and is incredibly realistic. Both smarter and more capable than most people give her credit for as a child, this strong little girl is able to hold her own against the monstrous xenomorphs where everyone else has failed. Her relationship with Ripley (a strongly maternal one on Ripley’s part) is the beating heart of this film, adding a dose of realism and human connection which catapults it above typical sci-fi/horror fare. Carrie Henn is great in the role, being just wonderfully honest, but unfortunately didn’t act again after being bullied for her part in the film.

People suck.

23) The fact that Ripley can be strong and loving/maternal/kind is great. So many times a strong woman in films is done so at the expense of stereotypical female traits like maternal instincts, as they’re seen as sexist. But a character can be badass AND maternal like Ripley is in this film, they don’t contradict each other and in fact feed off each other. It’s something I truly appreciate.

24) Much like the first movie, it’s an hour before we actually see an alien. The Hitchcokian building sets up place, characters, and suspense before having the shit hit the fan when the marines venture into the alien nest.

Originally posted by gameraboy

The scene is terrifying, high on suspense and great action and one of the best parts of the film. I just love it. Also Ripley - someone who is not a marine and didn’t even want to come along - fucking takes charge so she can save everyone’s ass. Despite the orders from the officer in charge. Did I mention Ripley is awesome?

25) You want a truly haunting and creepy line which is iconic to this day?

Newt [when it’s getting dark out]: “They mostly come at night. Mostly.”

26) Hicks and Ripley have good chemistry. It could be romantic (or at least lead to something romantic) but is instead based on mutual respect and admiration, therefore leading to something which is deeper than romance. Not often you get a relationship between a man and a woman like that in a movie.

Originally posted by gameraboy

27) Bishop volunteering to crawl through the airducts to hail their ship from atmosphere is the scariest part of the movie to me and they don’t even show much of it. I’m very claustrophobic.

That scares me shiltess.

28) Remember how I said Burke was pissing me off more than usual after the election? This really came to fruition when he tried to get Ripley and Newt implanted with facehuggers so he could get an alien through customs, even planning to kill of the surviving marines to do so.

Originally posted by 50-shades-of-fuucked-upp

But god bless Ellen Ripley for this line.

Ripley: You know, Burke, I don’t know which species is worse. You don’t see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage.

29) Just because this movie is more action than horror doesn’t mean it can’t be scary as fuck. Notably when the alien swarm is approaching the baracade and the sensors show they’ve already made it through despite not one showing up. So guess where they are? THE FUCKING CEILING!!!

Originally posted by whiteguykarate

30) This shot is both gorgeous and scary as hell.

Originally posted by horrorgorewhore

31) At one point in the film Ripley and Hicks are trying to get to their ship and get in the elevator, they press the up button and wait a second. It doesn’t go. Hicks then has to press the button again and it goes.

This is hysterical to me and I have no idea if it was a goof on the part of the filmmakers they decided to keep or something deliberate, but I just break out laughing every time I see it.

32) Ripley going into the belly of the beast is incredibly Hitchockian.

Originally posted by retro-hunter

There’s little to no dialogue, I don’t think any music, it’s all in real time, the stakes are high because she literally has fifteen minutes to find Newt or they both die (the planet is already blowing up), and she’s literally heading into the alien nest to find her. Although maybe not the scariest moment, it is probably the tensest moment in the movie.

33) James Cameron introduces a significant part of Alien lore into this film with the alien queen.

Originally posted by mirkokosmos

The design is incredible, taking what is already terrifying about the xenomorph and dialing it up to eleven. Its scale, its ferocity, its insect like nature, its maternal instincts, this is the true alien equivalent to Ripley. It is scary as hell and a great addition to the mythology of the series.

34) Rule of thumb: it’s never over when you think it is. The entire planet still blows up but you still have one final confrontation with the queen.

Originally posted by diablito666

The final fight between Ripley and the queen is great. While not The Matrix with quick kung fu and pacing, it’s sloppiness and slowness adds to the tension and sense of realism. It’s claustrophobic, ugly, and frightening as hell until Ripley finally winds and blows the queen out of the airlock. A worthy climax to the already great film.

35) Next calling Ripley, “mommy,” is great because it feels EARNED. It’s not out of the blue, it’s not weird or random, that’s their relationship at this point. It’s natural and speaks to the depth the writers, actors, and director brought to the two.

36) Another optimistic ending.

Newt [on their way back to earth]: “Can I dream?”

Ripley: “Yes honey, I think ew both can.”

Too bad Alien 3 had to fuck that up.

Aliens is phenomenal, and I think maybe the last film in the franchise this great. You really don’t need to see Alien to understand this movie (in fact, I first saw this on TV before I saw the original Alien) and it all just works. The writing, the acting, the horror, the action, the monsters, it all is just one amazing cocktail of awesome.

Up next: Alien Cubed (more commonly known as Alien 3)

Besting 'The Lego Movie': How Two Little-Known Animated Films Landed Oscar Nods

Song of the Sea

You don’t have to be living in Cloud Cuckoo Land to think that the Oscars’ snubbing of The Lego Movie is crazy. The Warner Bros. release was one of 2014’s most-loved and best-reviewed movies, and yet it failed to make the Oscars cut alongside other popular animated hits like Big Hero 6, The Boxtrolls and How to Train Your Dragon 2.

Related: Why Didn’t ‘The Lego Movie’ Get An Oscar Nomination?

Instead, the final two slots in the Best Animated Feature category — one of which might otherwise have gone to Lego — are occupied by a pair of little-known international imports, Song of the Sea from Ireland and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya from Japan. Incredibly, both films also came from the same distributor, GKids, an upstart independent company that in recent years has brought some of the finest examples of world animation to American shores. “I love The Lego Movie; I saw it twice,” says GKids head, Eric Beckman. “There’s this idea that Oscar voters get together as a cabal [and decide] who to snub and who not to snub, but I think it’s really a personal thing. People might say that [our films] are a surprise, but I think anyone who saw them aren’t surprised at all.” 

Watch the trailer for The Tale of the Princess Kaguya:

If it’s any consolation, the two films that arguably leapfrogged over Emmett, Wyldstyle and Batman aren’t just good movies — they’re exceptionally good movies. Based on a centuries-old Japanese legend, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya hails from Japan’s premiere animation company, Studio Ghibli, the home of revered filmmakers Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. Takahata spent seven labor-intensive years making the hand-drawn Kaguya, and it’s likely to be his final film — a grand summation of a career that has also yielded such classics as Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbors the Yamadas. Song of the Sea, meanwhile, is the second feature from Irish animator Tomm Moore, and draws on the Celtic myths about selkies — magical seals that take human form when they emerge from the waves — to construct a deeply moving story about childhood and grief. “These are two of the strongest films we’ve ever released, and to have them both in the same year has been really, really great,” says Beckman.  

 Watch the trailer for Song of the Sea

Both films illustrate the still-young company’s ability to form strategic, fruitful relationships with overseas animators. GKids has enjoyed a strong partnership with Studio Ghibli since 2011, when they acquired the U.S. theatrical rights to select titles from the company’s back catalogue, as well as their newest release, From Up on Poppy Hill. And Moore’s debut feature, 2009’s The Secret of Kells, became one of GKids’s first success stories by bringing the studio its first-ever Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature. At the time, Beckman and his partner Dave Jesteadt had just created the GKids distribution label. Rather than rely on costly trade ads, Beckman and Jesteadt mounted a small, but targeted campaign directed at the Academy’s animation branch. “The films have to speak for themselves, and that film spoke for itself,” Beckman says, adding that Kells earned high scores on the 1-10 scale used by Academy voters during the nominations process. “We were a really small company back then, and put a lot of blood and sweat into that film.”

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The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Since 2010, GKids has built an Oscar track record that rivals some of Hollywood’s bigger, better-funded animation houses. In 2011, they received another double-nomination for the French film A Cat in Paris and Chico & Rita from Spain. And last year, the whimsical French fantasy Ernest & Celestine was in the Oscar mix alongside studio blockbusters like The Croods and Frozen. Both Beckman and Jesteadt credit the quality of the films themselves for making the final cut, but they’ve also honed their Oscar strategy over the years. “This is the first year we’ve had films actively positioned around the awards [season],” explains Jesteadt. “We placed Princess Kaguya in the fall right against movies like Whiplash and The Imitation Game and all these other Academy contenders.”

Both movies can also benefit from the publicity an Oscar nomination brings. Princess Kaguya has been playing in theaters since October, while Song of the Sea started its run in late December and will have a major expansion towards the end of January. “The Oscars are a great platform to get the word out to an audience that are clearly very curious about what the films are.”

Even though they remain winless on Oscar night, GKids has carved out a niche as a go-to company for international and independent animated features that otherwise might remain unseen in America. And they’ll likely be back among next year’s nominees, with Studio Ghibli’s latest (and quite possibly last, as both Miyazaki and Takahada are retiring) film, When Marnie Was Theredirected by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, which will be released stateside later in 2015. “After The Secret of Kells, people could have assumed that it was a fluke, but [we’ve got] six nominations now,” says Beckman. “The films themselves have to be worthy of the attention they’re getting. Once the films are there, we just have to figure out how to share what we love about them with other people.”

Image credit: @Everett Collection, @Twitter

White Christmas
Bing Crosby & Marjorie Reynolds

Written by Irving Berlin, “White Christmas” has become one of the most famous Christmas songs ever recorded. It made its’ debut in the 1942 film Holiday Inn, where Bing Crosby sung it as a duet with Marjorie Reynolds. This is the version found in the final cut of the film. The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song that year, becoming a huge hit, and it still remains one to this day.


Rather than hierarchize a list of films that released this year, which would inevitably take me excruciating hours on end trying to organize, instead I’ll select what I thought were the year’s best films, and a short description of why they stood out. Here goes:

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Best Stylized Thriller / Stoker (dir. Park Chan-Wook)

Stoker is the epitome of ‘no such thing as being over-stylized’, as Chan-Wook takes control over a mildly suspenseful, incestuous, and murderous drama, and puts it in the middle of a beautiful arrangement of cuts, editing, music, camera work, and overall captivating, moody aesthetic.

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Best Intense Drama / The Hunt (dir. Thomas Vinterberg)

This film from Denmark about a man accused of molesting a young girl is fraught with ambiguity and tense performances. The story is less about justice and determining the verdict of his guilt, and more about the moral complexities and profound implications of such accusations, on a man’s conscience and the lives of the community he lives in. 

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Best Real Life Romance / Before Midnight (dir. Richard Linklater)

The passion and charisma between the two leads has not dissipated in the least, and Before Midnight proves that the most intellectual and stimulating conversations are enough to captivate an audience (and consequently, lead to one of the most interesting, nuanced, and genuine characters ever written for film–in a span of 18 years). 

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Best Teenage Romance The Spectacular Now (dir. James Ponsoldt)

Maybe there isn’t any way to view this movie objectively, without being affected by your own high school/romantic experiences, but even if this is a matter of perfect timing with my own life, I still believe The Spectacular Now works because of its natural leads and because of a script and director that is able to see through the perspectives of teens, see right through them, and then also observe empathetically on the outside, all at once. It’s magic.

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Best Familial Drama with Twists and Turns / The Past (dir. Asghar Farhadi)

What Farhadi also does with painstaking precision, is he enters a story haphazardly in a seemingly random point in time, much like we do in people’s lives whom we’ve just been acquainted with. And along the 2 hour journey, revelations are revealed and the woefully enigmatic story takes genuinely surprising paths, so that the audience comes to appreciate his method of narration. It’s a mastery of nuance in the narrative, in the characters, in the actors and actresses, and in the director’s vision. 

It’s a terrible, terrible shame–let me repeat: TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE, SHAME–and sincerely a huge failure on the Academy’s part, in its exclusion for the Foreign film short list this year. With Blue is the Warmest Color unable to contend this year, The Past should’ve been a clear winner.

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Best Technical Achievement and Emotional Storyline / Gravity (dir. Alfonso Cuaron)

No matter what anybody tells you, this film is not about Sandra Bullock floating in space, and it’s certainly not only notable for its triumphant cinematography and scoring. While it excels in those two directions, its understated narrative is ultimately what consummates its success as a film, and as a story about faith, hope, fear, adversity, solitude, and life. It’s not only one of the best films of the year–it’s one of the grandest movies in cinema.

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Best Intimate Portrait of Love / Blue is the Warmest Color (dir. Abdellatif Kechiche)

Provocative, sensual, and captivating, Blue is the Warmest Color is an achievement in honest and fearless filmmaking. This is a film that addresses overt sex and sexuality as integral to life, and as an expression of a human truth. In retrospect, Kechiche, Seydoux, and Exarchopoulos’s commitment to this film and its explicit and intimate portrayal of love, is admirable and I respect so much the way in which Adele’s life is the most true, and the most accurate narrative of sexual fluidity, questioning, and passionate desire for love. This is a film that transcends its medium; transcends its actors; and transcends its director. This is a story, whose characters asks us not to be afraid or terrified by sex and sexuality, but rather to embrace the beauty when it’s regarded by love.

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Best Blockbuster with a Political Intent (and the better Lawrence performance) / The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (dir. Francis Lawrence)

Lawrence’s new direction of the Hunger Games trilogy is more steadfast and more incredible than its predecessor. The brisk pace and captivating action is in no small part due to its masterfully adapted source material. Jennifer Lawrence’s (and Jena Maloney’s, as well) lead performance is powerful, and this role highlights the vulnerability and evocativeness of her ability as an Oscar winning actress.

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Best Romantic Comedy about the Future (and of the human spirit) / Her (dir. Spike Jonze)

While simple in its premise, Jonze delves perceptively into the complex dynamics of love, humanness, emotion, sex, and the grandness of life, through one man’s relationship with his ‘computer’. It elicits a lot of laughter, which complements the melancholic philosophy that underlies the film. In 2 hours, Jonze lays bare the joys and turbulence of being in love—of living life. But surely, without a doubt, it is worth it. In its depiction about man’s relationship to technology, and the ever changing boundaries of friendship, love, and loneliness, Her opens up a profound conversation about how we relate to one another, whether human or not. For that, it’s the most affecting film I’ve seen in a long time. 

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Best Melancholic Musical / Inside Llewyn Davis (dir. Ethan and Joel Coen)

Another definite and assured character account by the Coen brothers. Though it’s set in an older time, it’s a story about a type of person that is universal and transhistorical; the qualms of living for what you love. It features a talented breakout performance by Oscar Isaac as Llewyn Davis, who through the music we get inside, if only ever so sliightly.

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Best Hypnotic Animated Documentary / Is The Man Who is Tall Happy? (dir. Michel Gondry)

This animated conversation between political radical and linguist, Noam Chomsky, and director Michel Gondry is fascinating and intellectually engaging. Although the art isn’t essential and proves tedious to follow at times, the documentary could be listened to as a podcast and still remain just as enlightening.

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Best Insane and Sensational Performance and Great Direction / The Wolf of Wall Street (dir. Martin Scorsese)

Corrupt, perverse, and charismatically virulent, the destructive biography of Jordan Belfort is a despicable one; one that doesn’t elicit much ambivalence: you’re either enamoured by the outrageousness of his wealth, or you’re disgusted by his depraved nature. And make no mistake, Wall Street isn’t a character study about how a poor man becomes immoral when he assumes the status of a millionaire with unimaginable money—it’s more of a study of how the nature of such immorality in men come to light when circumstances, of money that is, allow those men to believe they’re invincible. Belfort was clearly a man of high octane thrill and materialistic fascination right from the start—or so Scorsese and DiCaprio depict him to be. If you can forgive the film for its 3 hour duration, you’ll recognize the enormity of DiCaprio’s all out, sex crazed, heavily drugged performance that anchors nearly every second of the film. Scorsese also directs Wall Street with a comedic flair and a truly cinematic, sensationalized intensity, that somehow makes seeing 4 different kinds of orgies on screen worth your while. 

P.S.: As I catch up on the rest of the year’s documentaries, dramas, comedies and what have you, I may or may not edit this list to include major ones. For now, these are the films, stories, performances that I’ll remember from this memorable year (that consisted of more than a few great nearly 3 hour films!).

Bad or good, movies nearly always have a strange diminishing effect on works of fantasy (of course there are exceptions; The Wizard of Oz is an example which springs immediately to mind). In discussions, people are willing to cast various parts endlessly. I’ve always thought Robert Duvall would make a splendid Randall Flagg, but I’ve heard people suggest such people as Clint Eastwood, Bruce Dern and Christopher Walken. They all sound good, just as Bruce Springsteen would seem to make an interesting Larry Underwood, if ever he chose to try acting (and, based on his videos, I think he would do very well … although my personal choice would be Marshall Crenshaw). But in the end, I think it’s best for Stu, Larry, Glen, Frannie, Ralph, Tom Cullen, Lloyd, and that dark fellow to belong to the reader, who will visualize them through the lens of the imagination in a vivid and constantly changing way no camera can duplicate. Movies, after all, are only an illusion of motion comprised of thousands of still photographs. The imagination, however, moves with its own tidal flow. Films, even the best of them, freeze fiction - anyone who has ever seen One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and then reads Ken Kesey’s novel will find it hard or impossible not to see Jack Nicholson’s face on Randle Patrick McMurphy. That is not necessarily bad … but it is limiting. The glory of a good tale is that it is limitless and fluid; a good tale belongs to each reader in its own particular way.
—  Stephen King

Artists, writers, and creative types, keep this image in mind from the b-movie classic Robot Monster when you’re stuck trying to make something and hit a slight obstruction, agonizing unduly over the creative decisions.

On the surface, this seems like one of the laziest design choices ever: hey, we got a gorilla suit, but the title of the film is Robot Monster, so – oh, look, space helmet!  Sweet!  DONE.

This is literally the equivalent of rummaging through a closet and pulling out the first random things you lay hands on.  Robot Monster writer and director Phil Tucker was twenty-five when he made this film in four days for $16,000 in 1953.  There was no budget for a 'real’ costume that made some – any – kind of sense.  And guess what?

Dumb and bizarre as it is, sixty-plus years later, people are still talking about this image, long after they’ve forgotten about other creations that were the result of a much more painstaking process with more talent involved.. 

People and critics shit all over the movie, and call it one of the worst ever made – and truthfully, it might be hard to argue otherwise – but it did gross over a million dollars in its initial release, and people love it specifically for its oddball warts … which is more than a lot of mediocre films that had higher artistic standards and ambition but for that fact, were ultimately forgettable and don’t appear on any lists, best or worst. 

The audience can’t call you a mad genius or just plain insane if they never see the finished product.  Slap on your gorilla suit and space helmet, call it a Robot Monster, and keep the cameras rolling. 

History will sort it all out later, that’s not really going to be for you to decide.  Your job is to just set the mechano-primates loose on the world.
SXSW Opens With The Fantastic And Hilarious Everybody Wants Some, Here's Our Take
Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused is a truly remarkable film. The movie is one of the best coming-of-age stories that we’ve seen - outfitted with a wonderful collection of great actors, iconic performances, and one of the most endlessly listenable soundtracks we’ve heard – and it still remains as fresh and entertaining as ever. It’s a feature that never really needed a sequel, “spiritual” or otherwise - but somehow Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! - which just premiered at the SXSW Film Festival - still manages to feel like a project that we’ve been eagerly anticipating for the last 23 years.

Set in the fall of 1980 – giving the film a distinctly different flavor than its predecessor while possessing a similar vibe – the story centers on college freshman Jake (Blake Jenner), a baseball player who arrives at his Texas-based school and immediately finds himself mixed in with the ridiculous group of guys who will be both his teammates and housemates. In the days leading up to the first round of classes, Jake quickly assimilates with the tight-knit group of guys, bonding over girls, drinking, smoking weed, and playing ball. There’s no high-drama or strict script structure to speak of – instead playing as more of a “three days in the life” story – but with an eclectic ensemble of fun characters and a large collection of fantastically funny set-ups and situations, it hangs together as a great bit of cinema.

Because of the loose way in which it’s put together, appreciation for Everybody Wants Some!! almost entirely hangs on the audience’s feelings about hanging out with the gang of college baseball players at its center – but this is far from challenging, as you gain an immediate appreciation for their specific brand of rambunctiousness from the opening moments (which involves a ceiling nearly collapsing under the weight of a newly-filled waterbed). It’s a large ensemble to follow – with more than 10 characters playing integral parts in the narrative – but it’s made manageable just because of the wide variety of weird and great personalities that are thrown into the mix – including the disturbingly competitive McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin); the borderline insane Jay Niles (Juston Street); the bad gambler Nesbit (Austin Amelio); the epic pothead Willoughby (Wyatt Russell), and the southern-fried Billy Autrey (Will Brittain). Not only do they stand out as individuals, but just like with Dazed and Confused, there is a legitimate simple pleasure in watching the rambunctiousness of youth, as they constantly find themselves in circumstances ripe for antics and shenanigans.

Ultimately it’s the film’s period setting that legitimately gives it that “spiritual sequel” feel, and just like how Richard Linklater perfectly encapsulated the mid-1970s with Dazed and Confused, Everybody Wants Some!! is a fantastic trip back in time to 1980. The aesthetics are all fantastically on-point, from the various feathered haircuts to the various bars and nightclubs the ensemble frequents, but once again Linklater has also put together a soundtrack that movie-fans will be listening to for decades. Featuring tracks from Van Halen (naturally), The Sugar Hill Gang, The Knack, Foreigner, and even a punk version of the Gilligan’s Island theme song, there is an incredibly mix of diegetic and non-diegetic songs that the writer/director utilizes brilliantly to create a specific and special atmosphere.

In the two-and-a-half decades since Dazed and Confused was released, Richard Linklater has ventured into a wide variety of different genres and visual styles, but Everybody Wants Some!! has the filmmaker prove that you sometimes can go home again. Like his 1993 film, the movie is a celebration of the fun and freedom of youth, and it’s simply in capturing this spirit that makes it succeed.