Alien

Prometheus Weyland TED Talk

In film, we tend to focus on the underdogs and their struggles, but what about the big guys up at the top who make it so good to be bad? The largest, most evil corporations in film don’t give a damn about the little guys; they don’t really care about anything at all except money power, and staying successful no matter what it takes — or how many feet they need to trample. It’s time to celebrate that by featuring the best of the worst. Here are the most evil corporations in movies.

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Alien Queen

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Bechdel Test

All this week, Film School Rejects presents a daily dose of our favorite articles from the archive. Originally published in September 2011, Ashe Cantrell applies the simple, ever-relevant Bechdel Test to a number of high profile movies…  The Bechdel Test, if you’re not familiar with it, is a benchmark for movies developed by Alison Bechdel in 1985. For a movie to pass The Bechdel Test, it must contain just one thing – a scene in which two or more named female characters have a conversation (that is, back and forth dialogue) about anything at all besides men. Anything, even if it’s something stereotypically feminine, like shopping or shoes. It could be about dog poo. It doesn’t matter. Sounds simple, right? Then it might be kinda shocking to find out that out of 2,500 movies, only about half pass the test. And to be clear, passing doesn’t mean the movie’s good or bad. Failing the test doesn’t mean the movie’s evil or anti-woman, or that passing makes it some sort of strongly feminist movie. It’s just to get people thinking about gender and how it’s presented in film. In fact, the example Bechdel gave as a film that passed the test was Alien, simply because Ripley and Lambert have a brief conversation about the alien. (Let’s ignore the fact that the alien was a walking penis-monster, as this was before the Xenomorphs had established sexes – the Queens weren’t introduced until 1986’s Aliens.) But it’s still surprising to find out that some of the […]

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prometheus-truth1

When Prometheus came out in the summer of 2012, it wasn’t just the die-hard Alien fans that took issue with it. People with an interest in real science also had some problems with the film. Granted, there were plenty of silly actions in the movie by brilliant so-called scientists, like taking off their helmets on potentially hostile alien worlds, trying to make friends with an evil cobra-headed acid worm, and being unable to run in any direction but a straight line. However, the question of a DNA match between humans and Engineers is maybe the most interesting element. For a film that should have been grounded at least partially in hard science, there seemed to be some problems with its basic presentation of high school genetics. After Dr. Shaw (Noomi Rapace) brings the head of an Engineer back to her lab, only to have it spontaneous wake up and explode, she runs a DNA test on the head’s genetic material. A few seconds later, the computer screen comes alive with a graphic comparison, declaring a “DNA Match” to human beings. So that got us thinking. If we ever find ourselves with an exploded kind-of-human head in our lab, what are the chances it will be a genetic match to our own DNA?

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Whether you loved Prometheus or hated it with every fiber of your being, you can’t deny the fact that it was at least successful in continuing a cinematic conversation about it long after it debuted in theaters. After the film’s Blu-ray release in October, the original script was leaked online, sparking a slew of articles to be written about the differences between it and the final film. (For a look at FSR’s take on that, check out J.F. Sargent’s The 8 Worst Parts of Prometheus Made Sense In the Original Script.) This week, coinciding with the leaking of that script, we’re going straight to the horse’s mouths about the writing of Prometheus. As interesting as Ridley Scott is, let’s lend an ear to the writers of the film as they discuss the differences in the many drafts of the film. If you haven’t seen the film yet, be warned: there are many spoilers in the discussion below. And on to the commentary…

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Prometheus Engineer

Whether you loved it or hated it, there’s no denying the fact that Prometheus was pretty polarizing — most obviously because everyone reading this probably either loved it or hated it. Among those who hated it, the criticisms are generally focused on the script. Character motivations were unclear or nonexistent. People reached out to lovingly pet blatantly malicious monsters. DAVID, the most interesting character by far (largely due to Michael Fassbender’s amazing performance) is never explained, even though he incites the core conflict of the film. So naturally those who hated it (like me) are pretty upset with Damon Lindelof (Lost) for messing up what could easily have been a really great movie. Because as much as Prometheus sucked (for some people), it’s also pretty clear that the ghost of greatness is lingering just beneath the surface. So when we learned that Lindelof had done major revisions to the original script written by Jon Spaihts (The Darkest Hour, the unproduced Passengers), many assumed that the original script had been brilliant before Lindelof came along and Lost’d it all up. Because that’s a far more palatable reality. Turns out, we were right. The original script for Prometheus (then called Alien: Engineers) has been leaked, and it solves virtually all the problems with the original. Is it perfect? By no means — but at least it achieves a lot that the finished version doesn’t. Here are 8 terrible examples:

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The Scariest Movie Ever

And then there were four. After the tournament’s closest battle came to an end with a come-from-behind winner, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre eked its way into The Final Four alongside The Thing, Alien and The Exorcist. Essentially we’re down to the impossible choices, but while a horror movie tournament is one thing, figuring out with of these baddies would best each other in real life is a bit easier. Today’s match-up sees Ridley Scott‘s hallway of terror go up against the devil in Ms. Blair, but if the mutli-mouthed E.T.s actually had to fight off a demon, it seems obvious that evil would prevail (unless The Queen had the courage to jump out of an airlock after getting possessed). On the same front, a family of cannibals with their own meat locker is terrifying, but they’d be quick work for the body-stealing Thing, especially since Grandpa’s offspring don’t seem all that bright. How long would it take for one of them to hit themselves with a hammer in order to stop the invasion? Over/Under is twenty minutes. Speaking of which, someone should make a movie where horror icons fight each other. Especially if it involves Alien. How could that miss? And since both Freddy and Jason have been knocked out of the tournament, they’ll have plenty of time to collaborate on a project like that. VOTING FOR THE FINAL FOUR IS NOW OPEN

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The Scariest Movie Ever

After laughing about the completely unplanned, totally-done-by-your-votes match-up between The Ring and The Thing in the Axe-Wielding Eight Round, I’d like to talk about two types of movies that didn’t make the cut. There are. of course, the 24 movies so far that have been chopped off the block by you clicking a Facebook button, but there are also a bunch of movies that didn’t get placed on the original bracket to begin with. There are two reasons that your favorite scary movie didn’t make it. One, it’s a finite list (and a small one at that). Two, we aren’t mind readers. For the most part, our bracket was conventional in honoring the classics, but we also tried to spice things up by including newer films and even a few that maybe weren’t seen by wide audiences (Session 9, you will be missed…). Today’s post will seek to celebrate some of those movies you suggested we were morons for leaving out. We’ll also run down the numbers, laugh some more about the rhyming Ring/Thing battle, and get serious about the predictions. We’re down to 8 insanely strong horror flicks, so it’s even more important to get out the vote because the margins are going to be razor blade thin. Or you can vote first and then read all this

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“Newsweek,” the 79-year-old magazine is stepping into the present by axing their print edition to go fully digital in 2013. Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown announced the shift yesterday (tellingly on the Daily Beast site), and the polarized responses of crushing nostalgia, predictions of ultimate failure and it’s-about-time praise came from all corners of (again tellingly) the internet. Whether it’s a signal of internal trouble or not, it’s where our world is heading, which is why it’s particularly encouraging in this time of transition to look back on some of the “Newsweek” covers of the past to discover that history tends to repeat itself. Someone should package that up and coin a phrase about it. Of course, all of our choices are movie-themed, but as you’ll see from the selections, the ghost of the present seems to haunt the past even in the examination of the popular art. Even without the deep sentiment, it’s still fascinating to let nostalgia well up for the times gone by caught by these covers.

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Jurassic Park Mosquito

Movie trailers are one of the few things in the industry that you really can’t improve upon with technology. It’s just editing – that’s it. Nothing else can make a trailer better besides skill. This is also why it seems like they generally get better every year (not always the case though). It’s difficult to nail down exactly what makes a teaser trailer effective, which is why we’re going to focus simply on intensity. It’s the best part, especially when a film is already anticipated from the start due to being an adaptation or a sequel. So here we go – fifteen movie teasers that have your heart pounding before the feature presentation even begins.

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Simply put, Prometheus is the most divisive film of the summer. The Internet’s anticipation had been at an all-time high for years leading up to its release, so when the film didn’t end up being “the greatest thing ever!” more than a few people came away disappointed. From a wonky third act to a few head-scratching character decisions, much of the film’s problems were laid upon co-writer Damon Lindelof‘s Twitter feed. In terms of what didn’t work, many labeled the movie “Lostian.” Now, Lindelof is discussing those issues and critics, with the exception of the ones that actually matter. There’s been some legitimate criticisms made over Ridley Scott‘s return to science fiction, but Lindelof doesn’t appear to be all that interested in discussing them…or perhaps no one has simply asked him about them yet. In an interview with the SpeakEasy blog at the Wall Street Journal, Lindelof (kind of) talked about the reception of Prometheus. Unfortunately, he never went beyond declaring the divisiveness a case of “I love ambiguity and you guys just, I dunno, don’t!” Even as a big fan of Prometheus who has no problems with the film’s ambiguity, Lindelof’s stance comes off mildly dismissive of the film’s biggest critics.

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Mmmm. Grab a snack and get ready for some hot viscid action because we’ll be talking about movie sludge today! We’re talking creeping and colorful gunk – the thicker and scarier the better. Why? You ask? Because behind every adult – every respectable member of working society – is a little kid, morbidly fascinated with the creepy and slimy. This is why Reality TV thrives like it does.

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One of the biggest complaints people had coming out of Ridley Scott’s epic in scope sci-fi spectacle Prometheus was that it raised more questions than it answered. Well, today brings good news for those of you looking for closure. It turns out Scott knew what he was doing all along: he raised a bunch of questions about the origins of humanity, got us on the hook for wanting answers, and now he’s going to sell us all tickets to a sequel. Pretty clever, movie industry. Confirmation of a Prometheus 2 comes from THR, who have published a comprehensive look at which of the big movies from this summer are likely to spawn sequels. In addition to the Prometheus confirmation, they reveal that movies like Ted, Magic Mike, American Reunion, and Snow White and the Huntsman are all likely to be given follow-ups as well.

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Alien and Prometheus Movie Books

Tired of hearing about Prometheus? If your answer is yes, consider moving on. If you’re still coming to grips with the film or if you’re a huge fan of the Alien universe, then read on, because we get our dirty little mitts on three books that will take you deeper into the movies than ever before. From Titan Books, Ridley Scott’s newest, Prometheus, gets a wonderful hardcover “The Art of the Film” treatment from author Mark Salisbury, while the original film is highlighted in the recently re-published The Book of Alien. Space Marines, form up, as the stars of James Cameron’s installment are highlighted in the re-published Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual.

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Junkfood Cinema - Large

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; always out of order. Every week, we throw the book at an especially, unlawfully bad movie. But just when it seems the movie has absolutely no case, we sweep in as champion defenders and get the charges against it dismissed on a few rose-colored technicalities. We then take everybody out for ice cream…or 3lb cinnamon rolls…or whatever we can wrangle. The last few weeks, we’ve thrown the book out (seriously, we are gonna lose that damn book if we keep throwing it) and abandoned our usual format. This week is no exception…nor is it exceptional…which is also no exception. Recently, we were able to get our hands on the stenographer’s report from one of the most landmark cases in American history. No, we’re not talking about some white collar stockbroker who shorted millions from the poor, nor are we talking about some drunk driving celebrity who may or may not have gotten wasted and careened into a roadside shark tank. We are in fact talking about a heated trial in the court of public opinion against a 2004 film which melded two beloved franchises. Here now is the recap of case #LV426-PRD; The People vs. Alien vs. Predator. 

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Culture Warrior

For filmgoers frustrated with a visionary filmmaker whose films’ quality provided diminishing returns as he became ever more prolific, Prometheus was anticipated as a welcome return to form. For those hungry for R-rated, thinking person’s science fiction, Prometheus provided a welcome respite from a summer promising mostly routine franchise continuations. For those who see the 1970s and 1980s as the height of modern Hollywood filmmaking, Prometheus promised a homecoming for a type of blockbuster that was long thought to be dead. Prometheus even beat out The Dark Knight Rises as the most anticipated summer film of 2012 on this very site. But then the reviews came in. And thus began the qualifying, criticizing, parsing out, hyperbolizing, dissecting, backlashing, and disappointed exhaling. There were many responses to Prometheus, but very few of them were the songs of praise that a film this hotly anticipated – and highly desired – by all means should have satisfyingly warranted.

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Even though the release of Prometheus has been a polarizing one for movie fans, the overall consensus is that it is a brilliantly made movie from a technical perspective. Even the haters and mediocre reviews point out the striking visuals and classy use of 3D. What often gets lost in this discussion is the sound design and mix, which is as important to making a film as any visual elements. The good folks at Soundworks Collection have released a brief-yet-detailed look into the sound of Prometheus, presented by Dolby. Included in the video are Supervising Sound Editors Mark Stoeckinger and Victor Ennis, Sound Re-recording Mixers Ron Bartlett and Doug Hemphill, Sound Designers Ann Scibelli and Alan Rankin, and Sound Effects Researcher Charlie Campagna. Fans of sound design will enjoy hearing about the creative and often low-tech elements that inspired the high-tech sound mix. The sound team talks about how they preserved the sound from Ridley Scott‘s original Alien and found inspiration in everyday items like soda, pop rocks, and a blue-fronted Amazon parrot to create the sound landscape heard in the film. Check out the video after the break.

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Prometheus

It was perhaps the most anticipated movie of the year after The Dark Knight Rises, but Ridley Scott‘s return to the Alien world in Prometheus has been anything but universally embraced. While many enjoyed the film, an equal (at least) amount disliked it. Regardless of what camp you fall into, I think we can all agree that the crew of Prometheus the ship and Prometheus the movie were pretty stupid, for being future geniuses and all. Here, we count down the ten stupidest decisions and actions made by the crew in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. Of course, there are tons of spoilers inside.

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Boiling Point

Editor’s Note: The following article contains discussion of events from the third act of Prometheus. You’ve been warned.  Prometheus just can’t get a break. From poor reviews to my upcoming list of the 10 Dumbest Crew Member Mistakes, you’d think we’d have picked on Ridley Scott’s revisit enough. But we haven’t! This just isn’t about Prometheus though. Hollywood has a long history of illustrating stupid people doing stupid things. One that has always bothered me is when people are fleeing gigantic objects. Whether it’s a falling spaceship, a collapsing building, or a gigantic beast, there’s one tried and true method of escaping – and it ain’t running in a straight line.

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Scenes We Love: Alien

If you haven’t guessed it by know, this weekend is all about the release of Prometheus. With Ridley Scott’s long-awaited return to the genre where he got his beautifully executed start, the Alien franchise has been reborn with a prequel/side-story that is a clear beneficiary of modern visual technology. In short, Prometheus is a gorgeous film filled with all kinds of sci-fi visual pornography. It even looks great in 3D. But to truly enjoy what has come to pass this weekend as 20th Century Fox rakes in the cash from Scott’s return to Alien, it’s important that we look back to where it all began — to a sci-fi/horror franchise so iconic that mere mention of its name drives nerds into fits of heated discussion. What were the greatest moments in the films by Scott, Cameron, Fincher and Jeunet? What are the great scenes from each of the Alien films? We sat our resident experts, Robert Fure and Rob Hunter, down in a room and refused them food and water until they emerged with the answer. In legit geek fashion, they emerged five minutes later. Because even with so many great moments in this franchise, the answers all seemed quite clear… Obligatory Spoiler Warning: If you have not seen the entire Alien franchise and would rather not have these decades old films spoiled for you, do not read any further. Many of our favorite scenes are the likes that you should see within the context of the film the first time.

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