Tony Scott

boy-and-bicycle

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. It’s not often we see a short film debut by someone of Ridley Scott‘s generation. And even if one does exist and is made available on the Internet, the copy tends to be poor quality. Check out the film school works of Spielberg and Scorsese on YouTube and see what I mean. And those guys seem most likely to have preserved that early amateur stuff, or else embarrassingly kept it hidden away. Scott’s first film, though, still looks amazing after more than 50 years and even transferred to non-HD video. It’s not a total surprise. The 27-minute black and white short, Boy and Bicycle, was ultimately paid for by the British Film Institute, which probably retained a good print. So when it was time to include it on the DVDs for Scott’s first feature, The Duellists, it looked as well-cared for as any classic piece of cinema. Whether we can consider it a classic piece of cinema is something else entirely. Boy and Bicycle is about a boy and, yes, his bike. Played by Ridley’s younger brother, fellow future filmmaker Tony Scott, he’s almost the only character on screen. The parents we hear fighting off camera are Ridley and Tony’s parents and I think the old man at the end is their father. The plot sees the boy playing hooky and navigating the city of Billingham, UK, on […]

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true romance hopper

Tony Scott‘s True Romance is probably one of my top ten all-time favorite movies, which is kind of weird since Badlands is one of my top five all-time favorite films. Or maybe it’s appropriate that this is the case. I’m sure that one of the reasons I fell in love with this movie is because of how directly it’s inspired by and references the earlier Terrence Malick film. Notice I make the distinction between movies and films. Scott made movies, Malick makes films. Scott also made a movie I like that directly references another of my all-time favorite films (Enemy of the State –> The Conversation). I was sad when Scott died particularly because I was hoping he’d eventually cover all my top shelf titles (just imagine what he could have done with Duck Soup!). Then again, maybe he’d have just redone himself, the way he did with Domino, which is like a bad remake of True Romance. Anyway, True Romance turns 20 years old this week. Warner Bros. released the movie on September 10, 1993, and it came in at #3 for its opening weekend, behind reigning champ The Fugitive and fellow newcomer Undercover Blues (uh?). In honor of the anniversary, let’s take a look at some scenes we love. It was hard to narrow down, of course, so we went with major character moments.

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Top Gun

Why’s this guy so agressive? Why is he taking pictures while flying that plane upside down? Will he and his partner find love in the blood-sprayed midst of war? It’s really impressive that studio re-releases are meant for fans, but that there’s also another audience out there that’s never seen the films (no matter how old or iconic) that get a decades-later shot at bringing in money on the big screen. Imagine for a second that you know nothing about Top Gun, and try to picture what it would be like to step into a theater and watch it for the first time 30 years after it’s made its impact. It’s weird, right? Like hearing REM’s “Losing My Religion” in a Major key or putting on a wet swimsuit. At any rate, Tom Cruise is back from the past to flaunt the authority of the Navy, blow some stuff up, and hopefully get a little romantic payoff for all the chest grease he invested in. The movie is now in IMAX and 3D, which should make for some very special volleyball action and remind everyone of how much we miss Tony Scott. Check out the new trailer for yourself:

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That strangely obvious Top Gun IMAX 3D re-release news was announced way back in September of 2011, but we’ve heard scarce little about just when we’ll get to see everyone’s favorite volleyball scene play out in the biggest cinematic format possible since then. Until now! Good news, fans of classic ’80s schlock cinema, as Paramount has just announced that the re-release will hit screens for a limited, six-day-only engagement on Feburary 8, 2013. The film will only be available in select IMAX theaters, so perhaps start thinking about your tickets now (also, perhaps you should also start planning your cosplay look, while you’re at it). The re-master was overseen by the late Tony Scott, and the conversion is promised to “reveal extraordinary depth and clarity, allowing viewers to explore every detail of the action.” Is six days just not long enough for you? Never fear, the Top Gun Blu-ray 3d and Blu-ray 2D sets arrive on February 19, 2013.

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Donuts Bitch

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that brings you only the best. Or the rest. At this point, it could go either way. It’s important to start your day off right with a hearty breakfast. After a long night of binge drinking and carefully placing typos in this very column (I know you’re watching), I often wake up feeling pretty rough. So a good breakfast is huge in my world. What could be better than some Breaking Bad blue meth donuts? No one motivates like Heisenberg. Donuts, bitch.

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Over Under - Large

Walter Hill’s pairing of Nick Nolte’s grizzled growl and Eddie Murphy’s ludicrous laugh, 48 Hrs., is often thought of as being the genesis of the buddy cop genre, and it’s still widely considered to be one of the best films to come from the category as well. What we’ve come to expect from these movies, what has come to feel old hat, was fresh and inventive back when Hill and the gang were putting this project together, and the formula they used was so successful that we can now expect to get at least a couple high profile buddy cop movies released every year. That gives 48 Hrs. a certain amount of clout. And heck, Hill’s name alone provides it with an amazing pedigree. He was a genre master in the 80s, and these days he gets looked back on as being some sort of film geek deity. It’s no wonder 48 Hrs. still gets shown so much respect. One buddy cop movie that doesn’t often get spoken of with reverence, however, is Tony Scott’s The Last Boy Scout. While trying to process the recent passing of the famed director, it feels nice to look back on this – not one of his better-loved works – give it a reevaluation, and decide whether or not it’s something the film geek community has given enough appreciation to. This wasn’t a well-reviewed film, it wasn’t one of the biggest money-makers of its year, and people don’t look back on it as being […]

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Fringe: Season 5

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that welcomes your feedback. Or your blind allegiance. Whichever you prefer, dear reader. We begin this evening with a new shot from season five of Fringe, a show I’ll dearly miss once it makes its exit after this upcoming season. The bastard son of a generation of J.J. Abramses raised on The X-Files, Fringe is still one of the most consistently interesting and energetic sci-fi shows on television. And it’s got John Noble, so that helps.

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In The Words, Bradley Cooper stars as a writer who builds a bit of success off of another man’s work and sees that decision spiral outward (and downward). With Jonah Lehrer and Fareed Zakaria making headlines for not being completely honest with readers, plagiarism is a hot topic in our information-fueled culture, so writer/directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal join me to discuss their new movie where theft becomes a metaphor for ambition in a society short on patience. They also pass down the lessons they learned making their first feature and reveal the one item every director should own. Download Episode #146

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The moviegoing world was saddened earlier this week when it was learned director Tony Scott had died. Despite the manner of his death, it’s no less sad when a filmmaker such as Scott, who continued making films well into his 60, had many more films to helm. We felt it was time to hear some filmmaking insight from the man himself, which leads us to True Romance. The movie itself is a modern classic, an energetic tale of love, drugs, and a whole bunch of bullets courtesy of fledgling – at the time – screenwriter Quentin Tarantino. He also provides a commentary for the film, a rarity for the Pulp Fiction writer/director, but we’ll cover that another time. This is Tony Scott’s time, and here, without further ado, are all the things we learned listening to him speak about his film, True Romance.

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Tony Scott

This is a celebration. It’s come about because of a terrible situation, but it’s a celebration nonetheless. It’s undeniable that Tony Scott affected the filmmaking world at large. Perhaps it wasn’t a revolution or a primordial yawp of a momentum shift, but he opened doors for commercial directors in a big way, continued to innovate when he could have been settling in, and he refused to keep still. Or to keep the camera still. Seriously. Guy did not like a static camera. He gave us absurdity that we took seriously (Top Gun), action films that hopped across genre lines (like The Last Boy Scout) and gut punches that we’re still taping up (Crimson Tide, True Romance, and more). Here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a rebellious director/producer who will be missed.

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The Rocketeer

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the nightly movie news that is always on time, even if it’s running late. Just think about it… Disney may reboot The Rocketeer. Luckily, the original movie is said to be still in existence. So we’ve got that going for us.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? It’s tragic that Tony Scott took his own life, but this short film is more than just a reminder of the creative spirit that’s left. It’s a sumptuously shot black and white story of a Civil War soldier and the gunsmoke-filled fields that surround him. It’s a steady burn – not at all an indicator of his future quick-cut style. Still, it gets experimental with a disorientating camera effect near the end that’s played evenly with a serene shot of rolling hills. It’s expressive and aggressive – there’s the Scott we all know. This was his first film, and he pulled writing, directing, editing and DP duties on it. Plus, his brother Ridley Scott plays a Union soldier who you can see man-handling a horse. Hat tip to Scott Weinberg for sharing it. What will it cost you? Only 24 minutes. Skip work. Watch more short films.

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Tony Scott

Tony Scott – the director of Top Gun, True Romance, Man on Fire and many others – has died. According to USA Today, the filmmaker jumped off of the Vincent Thomas Bridge at the Port of Los Angeles, leaving a suicide note in his parked car.  He was a husband and father to two young children. Scott was certainly a trailblazer – creating a model for other commercial directors to break into feature film production – and he was also a fierce creator who rose to the top of the Hollywood list when it came to action directors. He was known for frequently partnering with the same group of actors including Denzel Washington, Christopher Walken and James Gandolfini. Of course, he also produced much of his work alongside brother Ridley Scott and was perhaps the only man on the planet who could make a washed-out red baseball cap look cool. He leaves behind a lot of stories, but that’s never quite enough is it? Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

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Science fiction has long been considered by some experts to be a lesser genre than traditional dramas and character studies. Because it lends itself so easily to exploitation, science fiction isn’t always given the respect it deserves. Sure, it tends to be a box office winner, as evidenced by the fact that more than half of the all-time domestic grossing films fit easily in that genre (with at least two more – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Shrek 2 – marginally related as genre films). Still, some still consider science fiction something not to be taken seriously. It is for this reason that “legitimate” film directors might shy away from science fiction in lieu of more important or significant projects. However, many directors got their start or their earliest fame from working in science fiction and other allegedly exploitative and pulp genres. This week’s release of Prometheus reminds us that even though Ridley Scott has directed historical epics (Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven), military action films (Black Hawk Down), crime thrillers (American Gangster) and straight dramas (Thelma & Louise), he got his start in science fiction with Alien and Blade Runner. Scott isn’t the only director to begin a successful career in science fiction. Here are seven other directors who started out or received some of their earliest success in this genre.

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Apocalypse Soon: Top Gun

The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: Top Gun (1986) The Plot: Two renegade fighter pilots, the now iconic Maverick (Tom Cruise) and Goose (Anthony Edwards), are selected to hone their skills as pilots (and as men) at an elite program known as: Top Gun. Veritable underdogs, Maverick and Goose find themselves testing their talent against advisories like Ice Man (Val Kilmer), their charm against love interests like Charlie (Kelly McGillis) and learning from veteran pilots like Viper (Tom Skerritt), all while discovering what it truly means to be the best of the best.

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Fuji TV, Ridley and Tony Scott are asking that the people of Japan pick up a camera on March 11th to tell their own stories for a massive documentary project being called Japan in a Day. The project will join the growing number of crowd-sourced docs like Life in a Day (which was also produced by Ridley Scott) and the burgeoning world of Post-Tsunami filmmaking (which is in part getting started by Sion Sono). The goal, as with other films like it, is to get a ground-level viewpoint of the everyday in Japan to show the beauty of banality. Videos will be featured on their official Youtube page, and their team will assemble clips into a feature length film for a Fall release in Japan to be followed by an international release sometime later. And what about the people who can’t afford cameras? That’s right – rumors that all Japanese people have bionic, recording eyeballs are false – which is why Scott and Fuji are donating 200 cameras to areas hit hardest by the tsunami so that they can share their stories as well. The production has a trailer/call for films that celebrates the exciting world of walking, waiting, looking around, and otherwise going about your day. Check it out for yourself, and see those all-too-familiar things become poetry:

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Momentum has been building behind a potential Top Gun sequel for quite some time now, but up until this point the only news about the project has been rumor and hypotheticals. What’s clear is that every time Tom Cruise talks about the project he sounds enthused to get it started, and he very much wants Tony Scott to come back and direct again. But, despite that enthusiasm, no concrete moves have been made to get the film in production. There were rumors at one point that X-Men: First Class writers Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz had been hired to come up with a script, but nothing seems to have come of that, because now THR is reporting that The Town writer Peter Craig is the guy coming on board to take a crack at getting things started. If that’s true and Craig does actually start and finish a Top Gun script that gets used, then it should be seen as a pretty big coup for a movie about oversexed jet pilots. The Town turned a lot of heads, and it seems like after hitting it big with such gritty work Craig wouldn’t be looking to transition into flashy popcorn stuff. It would be exciting to see what he came up with given the task though.

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If you look at Tony Scott’s IMDB page, the first thing you notice is that he has 31 movies listed as being in development. This is a guy who really likes to talk about what he might be doing next, so whenever his name is involved I generally take the news with a grain of salt. Fact is, Scott hasn’t actually sat down and got to work on directing anything since 2010’s Unstoppable, and any talk about him doing Top Gun 2, a Warriors remake, Hell’s Angels, or what ever else, has so far amounted to just that; talk. With that in mind, Deadline North Shields has their eye on a story that they say seems different from the usual Tony Scott big show and no results. They say that things are heating up around a project called Lucky Strike in a very real way, as Emmett/Furla Films is on board to fund the film’s $80m budget and Vince Vaughn is supposedly attached to star. If Scott signs on officially, the film would look to have a late summer or early fall start date.

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Talks of a sequel to Top Gun have been happening for at least over a year now. It’s clear that at some level, someone from Paramount is trying to make this happen. Details on the project have been pretty lacking, though. What would this sequel be about? Would Tom Cruise star? Would he even appear? Who would be directing? Well, MTV recently sat Cruise down and threw some of these very important questions his way, and his responses we’re actually kind of helpful. When asked about the possibility of this sequel actually coming to fruition Cruise responded, “We’re working on it.” Past that he doesn’t seem to have too many details about what stage the process is in, however. He commented on an old rumor that Christopher McQuarrie was writing the script by saying, “I don’t think Chris [McQuarrie] is going to write it. Chris is directing One Shot right now, which I’m acting in. We’ve got to go back in January and finish it.” Everyone already knew this though, because it’s been widely reported that X-Men: First Class scribes Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz are currently working on the script for the Top Gun sequel. I suppose his input on how far along this project is should be taken with a grain of salt. What this new interview does confirm, however, is that Cruise is the guy firmly in mind to star in this movie, and Tony Scott is definitely the guy who intends to come back to direct. […]

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

We continue our journey through a month of frightening, bloody and violent films. For more, check out our 31 Days of Horror homepage. Synopsis: Miriam and John Blaylock (Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie) share a passionate longtime love affair, traveling the world and indulging their mutual taste for classical music and the blood of the living. Although John’s love for Miriam might last forever, his youthful vigor will not. After centuries at Miriam’s side, he begins aging at an accelerated rate. Like Miriam’s many past paramours, John seems doomed to a fate worse than death. Under the guise of finding a cure, Miriam begins courting her next conquest – sleep researcher Dr. Sarah Roberts (Susan Sarandon).

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