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My 12 for ’12: Prometheus, Faith, Treachery & The Great Beyond…

I’m counting down my top twelve films of the year between now and January, starting at #12 and heading to #1. I expect the list to be a little bit predictable, a little bit surprising, a little bit of everything. All films released in the UK and Ireland in 2012 qualify. Sound off below, and let me know if I’m on the money, or if I’m completely off the radar. And let me know your own picks or recommendations.

This is #5

In the year 7510,
If God’s a-comin’, he ought to make it by then.
Maybe he’ll look around himself and say,
“Guess it’s time for the Judgement Day.” 

In the year 8510,
God’s gonna shake his mighty head.
He’ll either say “I’m pleased where man has been”,
Or tear it down and start again.

-Zager and Evans, In The Year 2525

Faith is a funny thing. If you don’t have it, it’s impossible to explain. If you do have it, it needs no explanation. Ridley Scott’s Prometheus feels a little bit ham-strung by the Alien DNA” that it carries. As a prequel to the iconic film series, it’s hardly the most successful endeavour. Indeed, the film’s references to everybody’s favourite chest-bursting extra-terrestrial feel almost forced. Like the discussion about the Scientology influence on The Master, focusing on the instantly recognisable xenomorph tends to obscure the unique strengths of Prometheus as its own film.

Interestingly, the strongest connection to Alien is thematic rather than literal. Like Ridley Scott’s first science-fiction masterpiece, Prometheus postulates a cold and uncaring universe, one that is inherently alien, incomprehensible and hostile. The human condition causes us to question, but Prometheus suggests that there can be no answers – no satisfactory answers at least.

prometheus16

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Non-Review Review: Alien vs. Predator

To celebrate the release of Prometheus in the United States this week, we’ll be taking a look at the other movies in the Alien franchise.

I like cheesy movies. I have a fondness for those old fashioned mix-and-match creature features from back in the day. I have a remarkable tolerance for some of those incredibly awkward B-movie adventures featuring relatively bland characters trapped in a strange and slightly illogical situations. As such, I’m probably a bit fonder of Paul W.S. Anderson’s creature-feature fight-night beat-’em-up schlock-fest Alien vs. Predator. I’m not so fond that I’d argue it’s a good movie – in fact, I’d readily concede that it’s a disappointing lifeless husk of a movie. However, I will concede that there are some interesting concepts and ideas buried quite deeply in the middle of that film.

Natural born predators…

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Non-Review Review: Alien

I had the pleasure of attending of the Jameson Cult Film Club’s screening of Ridley Scott’s 1979 Alien. It was a great evening for all concerned, and it was great to see a classic film like that projected on a huge screen, blasted out of a superb sound system. The screening seemed to coincide with the build-up to the release of next year’s Prometheus, a sci-fi thriller from Ridley Scott with “strands of Alien DNA”, but Scott’s film is one of those rare pieces of cinema that continues to give, even thirty years after the original release. It’s rare to point to a film that seems to offer new nuance and depth on each viewing, especially within the horror genre. Alien is a movie that’s absolutely fascinating in its complexity.

A bad egg…

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Non-Review Review: The Thing (1982)

John Carpenter’s The Thing is almost the perfect late-night Halloween viewing experience. It’s one of those movies that is gloriously trashy entertainment, with any number of visceral thrills, but also more deeply unnerving. Updating the 1951 The Thing From Another World, and arguably remaining truer to the original story, Who Goes There?, John Carpenter’s adaptation perfectly captures the unnerving paranoia of a world where there’s no promise that anybody is exactly what they claim to be. In space, nobody can hear you scream, but your odds aren’t too much better in the white Antarctic tundra.

What sort of Thing could do that?

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