Prometheus

Prometheus Spaceship

Astronomical expectations for Prometheus were inevitable. Because, come on, not only did the film mark Ridley Scott’s return to the Alien franchise after thirty-three years, but he was specifically returning to make a movie set chronologically before Alien. Scott could hem and haw all he wanted about Prometheus not being a prequel, to varying degrees we all had expectations for what potential answers we’d be given to explain the xenomorphs, the Space Jockey, and the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. While struggling – like many of us – with the taste of disappointment the movie left behind, an idea struck me: Prometheus, as it turns out, knows exactly what it’s dealing with. It’s no accident that the film’s narrative revolves around its central characters seeking answers to questions of origins. Peel away at its corners and it reveals itself to be an inversion of the traditional fan/movie relationship: Prometheus is all about its answer-expecting audience and what it wants and expects from them.

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! Hope you have some time cleared on your schedule this week… As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Bedevilled Hae-won leaves the big city on a forced vacation and heads to her childhood home on a remote island, but the years have not been kind to the place or her once best friend, Kim Bok-nam (Seo Yeong-hie). She’s little more than an abused workhorse for an ungrateful husband and community of seven, and understandable fears that her daughter may suffer the same fate lead her to beg Hae-won for help. The dangers of isolation, abuse and irresponsibility come home to roost in this darkly menacing and eventually bloody dramatic thriller from South Korea. Part social commentary, part violent and bloody as hell revenge thriller, this was one of my favorites from Fantastic Fest 2010. The extras are sparse, but I highly recommend the making-of doc after watching the movie if only to see Seo smiling along with the other actors in between takes. Also available on DVD. [Extras: Behind the scenes, trailer]

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Continuing a yearly tradition that began at the defunct movie blog Spout, this is my 5th annual list of mostly original yet highly unlikely Halloween costume ideas. You can take any of these suggestions if you want, especially if you want to avoid having the same outfit as another person at the party you attend, and particularly if you want something that needs a lot of explanation — these tend to be good conversation starters for people looking for excuses to hit on you. Mostly, though, the following ideas are not to be taken too seriously. Some are really just stupid jokes. But they’re primarily intended to visually remind us of some of the trends, criticisms, immediate icons and zeitgeist of the past year in film. For instance, last year‘s “Forrest Gump wearing an X-Men uniform” costume illustrated 2011′s penchant for Gump-like revisionist history in blockbuster movies. And back in 2008, there was a costume called “Nuke the Fridge.” Sadly, in looking over 2012 for this year’s ideas, I realized that it’s been a very weak year for movie references worth calling back. Where are this year’s “nuke the fridge,” Antichrist fox, “Why cookie Rocket?” and “Winklevi”? Before too long, I might need to spin-off a TV version of this tradition to make it easier on me and more interesting to readers. Because we all know film culture is dead anyway, right?  

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The Presidential Debate

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that isn’t so political. Unless you consider watching the Presidential Debate and imagining the candidates as Muppets to be political… We begin this evening with the nation’s top story — no, not Saturday Night Live — the Presidential Debate. That will undoubtedly be the reason why tonight’s column is coming in late. And because I love hyperbole, I’m not only watching the debate, but also reading Andrew Sullivan having an aneurism and watching CNN’s talking heads go crazy. Also, someone said Lincoln. That movie is out in November. But enough politics, lets do the movie news…

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Rian Johnson’s new film, Looper, is a pretty awesome time travel flick, one with as many elements that are clever and original as there are purposefully derivative and influenced. It’s the kind of smart and stylish sci-fi cinema we expect every once in a while on the festival circuit, like Sound of My Voice (which hits DVD and Blu-ray this Tuesday), rather than from a major Hollywood studio. Looper does fit the indie model, though, since Sony/Tristar picked it up for distribution only after it was done shooting, yet as Brian’s review of the film attests, we can still consider it a good sign for mainstream movies of this genre, and we can hope that Hollywood will see Johnson as the sort of directorial talent they need. But is it the best science fiction film since The Matrix? That’s a question posed in a headline from Time magazine yesterday, though its respective post doesn’t address such a discussion let alone attempt to answer the inquiry. Well, if we exclude superhero movies, animated features (Pixar, Miyazaki and The Iron Giant among them) and the Star Trek reboot, Looper is currently one of only two original studio films of its order to be battling for the status of best reviewed since the Wachowskis’ groundbreaking modern classic. The other is Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men.

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It has been a real treat, hanging out with you all here on Film School Rejects this week, but today I head back home to CriterionCast.com. I won’t be leaving you empty handed, as there have been some excellent links, images and clips going around today that you all should certainly check out.

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Now that Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master is in slightly wider release than it was in its opening weekend, perhaps it is time to discuss this period drama, which is perplexing both critics and regular moviegoers alike. More than the fact that a lot of people are now able to finally see the film, the interesting thing is that many have now watched it two or three times (at least) in an attempt to get more out of the thing. Countless reviews have pointed out that The Master is difficult to fully understand on a single viewing, and audiences of all levels of intellect are coming out declaring that they need to see it again. Plenty are doing so, but are they any closer to finding answers? No film requires or should require multiple viewings, and pretty much any film watched more than once can deliver previously unseen pieces and welcome new considerations. But The Master, whether constructed out of certain meaning or, as might be hinted through a significant line from the film, Anderson just made it all up as he went along without too much thought, is the sort of glorious cinema that we look at as a fun puzzle. We can imagine that one day a documentary similar to Room 237 will present obsessive PTA fans over-analyzing everything from the commanding performances to the film’s subtler nooks and crannies.

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All in all, this was a decent summer. There were plenty of highs and lows, with zero grand achievements for either sides of that scale. We could argue endlessly about what movies lived up to the hype or which ones totally blew it, but where’s the fun in having that conversation for the thousandth time over twitter? What we all should be discussing is the important stuff, like, how sad Damon Lindelof‘s Twitter feed could get this summer or how many ounces of man sweat we think Matthew McConaughey shed in Magic Mike? These are the real topics worthy of discussion, ’cause who cares why Vickers didn’t run a few feet to the right to easily save her life in Prometheus? Or how on earth Batman survived that nuclear blast when we clearly saw him in The Bat before the blast? These are details we all need to let go of. What you all really need to know is who came out as the winners and losers of this summer season, and I’m here to tell you who.

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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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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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This Friday I took a little meander around the Hall early in the morning and snapped some pictures, which turned out to be a secretly and accidentally smart thing to do since I ended up stuck in line for the majority of the day before seeing about three hours of panels. It was the Hall H line from Hell, but that didn’t stop us from getting a ton of cool pictures for you to check out. Come on in to the gallery and see some cool stuff from GI Joe, Iron Man, Prometheus, Gremlins, and a very sexy pin-up of our very own Rorschach!

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What is Movie News After Dark? After inadvertantly taking the night off last night due to a surprise viewing of the extended cut of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (all 4 hours and 10 minutes, baby), it’s a nightly movie news and notes column and is just here to send you off to your weekend with a few fun reads. That’s exactly how many we’ve got tonight. A few. We begin the evening with a shot of a bald, robotically enhanced Matt Damon in a new shot from Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium. For a movie being made with such a low profile, that sure is a big image. A Chem-rail gun (I don’t know what that is, but it sounds fun) and some exoskeletal goodness. Plus, Damon is looking quite militant. Here’s hoping we get more of this one at Comic-Con next week.

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Boiling Point

3D has long been a viable tool in the filmmaker’s arsenal. Sure, it’s not a particularly awesome tool, but it can be a fun tool. My first theatrical experience was a neat showing of Night of the Living Dead 3D. I later really appreciated the in your face fun of My Bloody Valentine 3D. I mean, if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it, right? Plenty of people hate 3D and await its demise. I have never been one of them, but I’m slowly leaning their direction. I’ve previously said that one key to 3D remaining viable is to ditch the gigantic, heavy glasses – that’s still imperative. I hate those things. But really, I think 3D has to get more aggressive and in your face to justify the film being in 3D. I can’t get behind the sentiment that the 3D in Prometheus was good or added more to the experience. The 3D in Prometheus was unobtrusive. I think people liked it merely because it didn’t detract from the experience. Is the lack of failure the new marker of success? Not in my book. What does adding 3D do if you’re not going to exploit the technology?

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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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That

It wasn’t quite the kind of fruitful summer weekend the likes of Adams Shankman and Sandler had hoped for. Running up against a smattering of lackluster reviews and some stiff competition, their films — Rock of Ages and That’s My Boy, respectively — failed to gain momentum in their opening weekend, ending with less than stellar results and a few bumps and bruises, thanks to Ridley Scott and some animated jungle creatures.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a vicious diatribe away from being a vicious diatribe. But mostly it tells you the who, what, where, when and why so serious of the movie world. We begin tonight with a cry for help, from a Mother of Dragons who is without the latter half of her title. Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen needs your help. If you see her dragons, send a raven.

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We rarely get to see movies being watched in other movies – probably because while it’s fun to watch films, it’s fairly boring to watch other people watch films. That being said – there are plenty of characters out there who would no doubt be a blast to watch movies with… Batman, for example. Anyway, when we do see a real life movie being watched in another movie it tends to be a film that most likely inspired the filmmakers either in their own upbringing or as a plot device in the film itself. Because of that one thing is certain – if you see a real movie being watched in the movie you’re watching, there’s a good chance that movie is awesome. Before anything though, I gotta shout out to Mr. Cole Abaius for coming up with the idea for this list. The man is a true demigod, and from what I hear the other half is pretty good too.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column about things that you’ll probably enjoy. It likes to think that it knows you well enough to pick only the best ingredients. We begin this evening with a look at Dreamworks’ Turbo, which may not be entirely new but it’s new to me so deal with it. The story follows a Ryan Reynolds voiced snail who dreams of being a racer. The folks over at /Film have a few new looks at advertising art for this, as well as Blue Sky Animation’s Epic, which is about people who ride birds or something.

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Killing Them Softly

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column about movies that’s been kickin’ ass and takin’ names since the sun came up, but for some reason it still waited until late at night to bring you all the movie news of the day. It’s eccentric like that. We begin tonight with an image of Ben Mendelsohn and Scoot McNairy in Killing Them Softly, Andrew Dominik’s new film based on the adaptation of the novel “Cogan’s Trade.” They are but two of the badass names attached to said project, which includes Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta and Sam Shepard, among others. Not bad.

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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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