Director Neill Blomkamp is known for inventive depictions of extraterrestrial warfare, like in District 9 (2009) and Elysium (2013). True to form, his latest short, Rakka, features a richly textured post-apocalyptic world where humans and otherworldly creatures battle over their entwined fates. And in keeping with sci-fi tradition, the queen of alien ass-kicking, Sigourney Weaver, leads a group of people who have planned a rebellion against the creatures who “came here to exterminate us.”
Rakka does feel somewhat like an extended trailer, and that is by design. The film is the first release from Blomkamp’s new venture, Oats Studios, which is an experimental incubator for feature-length ideas and new storytelling formats. The studio has released the film for free, but asks audiences to support its future work by voluntarily paying for the work in return for some digital assets like scripts, concept art, and 3D models.
Blomkamp told The Verge that Rakka is just the seed of a larger project, whose form is yet unknown. “Rakka feels like it could almost be more of an episodic thing,” he said, “because there’s a lot of avenues to explore. The footage is too unconventional and weird [for a mainstream feature], and the audience has to think of the footage as a snapshot of the window of this world.”
Mondo Tees has announced the THE THING ™ INFECTION AT OUTPOST 31, their very first board game in collaboration with USAopoly’s designer games division, Project Raygun. The regular version of the game will be in stores and online nationwide this October, and a limited edition Mondo exclusive version will be available at MondoTees.com.
Sign up for the INFECTION AT OUTPOST 31 newsletter here to stay up-to-date with release info.
An alien lifeform has infiltrated a bleak and desolate Antarctic research station assimilating other organisms and then imitating them. In the hidden identity game THE THING ™ INFECTION AT OUTPOST 31, you will relive John Carpenter’s sci-fi cult classic in a race to discover who among the team has been infected by this heinous lifeform.
The game has been designed to be as authentically cinematic as possible, ensuring that the players will experience the paranoia and tension that makes the film so great.
“Mondo brought more than their storied design acumen to the table,” said Joe Van Wetering, Creative Design and Game Development at Project Raygun. “Thanks to their deep understanding and reverence for THE THING, they helped define the tone and shape the game play itself. INFECTION AT OUTPOST 31 reflects a true collaboration between our two brands resulting in a game that will excite table top and film aficionados alike.”
The regular version of the game features artwork and designs by Justin Erickson of Phantom City Creative. The Mondo exclusive version, sold exclusively through MondoTees.com, is limited to 1,982 copies, and features different packaging artwork by Jock. The limited edition game will also come with a Mondo print, enamel pin and two additional sculpted movers: the Norwegian character and the Palmer Thing.
Commenting on the design, artist Justin Erickson said, “with THE THING box art, I wanted to focus on the isolation of Outpost 31 and hint at the hidden alien dangers that lurk around every corner. The title of the game cut out of the ice/snow is a call back to the Thing originally being cut out of the ice by the Norwegians.”
The Thing™ Infection at Outpost 31 Gameplay
It is the start of the bleak, desolate Antarctic winter when a group of NSF researchers manning the claustrophobic, isolated U.S. Outpost 31 comes into contact with a hostile extra-terrestrial lifeform. Bent on assimilating Earth’s native species, this being infiltrates the facility—creating a perfect imitation of one of the Outpost 31 crew. The staff frantically begin a sweep of the base, desperate to purge this alien infection before escaping to warn McMurdo Station that somewhere, out there in the frigid darkness, something horrible is waiting.
In THE THING™ INFECTION AT OUTPOST 31, relive John Carpenter’s sci-fi cult classic as a hidden identity game designed to push you to the edge. Play as one of a dozen characters like helicopter pilot MacReady, mechanic Childs, or station manager Garry. Face sabotage and infection as you investigate the facility—gather gear, battle The Thing, expose any imitations among you, and escape Outpost 31!
Sir John Hurt, who won a BAFTA and an Oscar nomination for his iconic portrayal of the Elephant Man, has died. The star, one of Britain’s most treasured actors, died aged 77 at his home in Norfolk after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, it was revealed yesterday.
His widow, Anwen Hurt, today said it will be ‘a strange world’ with out the actor, whose death has prompted an outpouring of grief from the showbusiness industry, with director Mel Brooks and J K Rowling among those paying tribute. Mrs Hurt added: ‘John was the most sublime of actors and the most gentlemanly of gentlemen with the greatest of hearts and the most generosity of spirit. He touched all our lives with joy and magic and it will be a strange world without him.’
Despite revealing that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the summer of 2015, Hurt was matter-of-fact about his mortality.
Speaking to the Radio Times, he said: ‘I can’t say I worry about mortality, but it’s impossible to get to my age and not have a little contemplation of it. We’re all just passing time, and occupy our chair very briefly,’ he said.
Born in Derbyshire in 1940, the son of a vicar and an engineer, Hurt spent what he described as a lonely childhood at an Anglo-Catholic prep school before he enrolled at a boarding school in Lincoln.
His acting aspirations were almost shattered forever by his headmaster’s insistence that he did not stand a chance in the profession. He left school to go to art college but dropped out, impoverished and living in a dismal basement flat.
He finally plucked up enough courage to apply for a scholarship and auditioned successfully for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, although he later recalled being so hungry he could hardly deliver his lines.
Hurt played a wide range of characters over the course of 60 years, was well known for roles including Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant, the title role in The Elephant Man and more recently as wand merchant Mr Ollivander in the Harry Potter films. However, John Merrick notwithstanding here are a few of my personal favourte John Hurt roles:
Playing Timothy Evans, who was hanged for murders committed by his landlord John Christie, played chillingly by Richard Attenborough in 10 Rillington Place (1971), earning John Hurt his first BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor/
Hurt was fantastic in Midnight Express (1978), for which he won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Around the same time, he lent his voice to Ralph Bakshi’s animated film adaptation of Lord of the Rings, playing the role of Aragorn. Hurt also voiced Hazel, the heroic rabbit leader of his warren in the exceptional film adaptation of Watership Down (both 1978) and later played the major villain, General Woundwort, in the animated television series.
His other role at the turn of the 1980s included Kane, the first victim of the title creature in the Ridley Scott film Alien (1979, a role which he reprised as a parody in Spaceballs). Gilbert Ward “Thomas” Kane is the Nostromo‘s executive officer, who during the investigation of a wrecked ship, moves closer to an egg to get a closer look. The now iconic ‘facehugger’ attaches to him and, unbeknownst to him and the crew, impregnates him with an Alien embryo. Kane remains unconscious until the facehugger dies and falls off. At dinner afterwards, Kane goes into convulsions; an infant Alien bursts through his chest, killing him in one of cinemas most famous scenes.
Hurt played Winston Smith in the film adaptation of George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eigthy-Four (1984). Also in 1984, Hurt starred in The Hit an under-rated British crime film directed by Stephen Frears which also starred Terence Stamp and Tim Roth.
Dead Man (1995) a twisted and surreal Western, written and directed by Jim Jarmusch which also starred Johnny Depp, Billy Bob Thornton, Iggy Pop, Chrisin Glover and Robert Mitchum (in his final film role).
He also featured in a few graphic novel adaptations before they became big business for everyone, Hellboy (2004) and it’s sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) based on the graphic novels by Mike Mignola are great fun. He also took a similar role to that of Big Brother in the film V For Vendetta (2006), when he played the role of Adam Sutler, leader of the fascist dictatorship.
More than thirty years after The Naked Civil Servant, Hurt reprised the role of Quentin Crisp in An Englishman in New York (2009), which depicts Crisp’s later years in New York. Hurt also returned to Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, playing the on-screen Big Brother for Paper Zoo Theatre Company’s stage adaptation of the novel in June 2009.
Of his latter years I particularly enjoyed his portrayal of the crotchety and bigoted Old Man Peanut in 44 Inch Chest (2009), and his support roles in Brighton Rock (2010) and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011).
Rest in Peace.
I belatedly write this after hearing the sad news yesterday of the passing of Swiss surrealist painter and sculptor who created the Xenomorph alien design for Ridley Scott‘s 1979 sci-fi classic Alien died Monday after suffering injuries in a fall. He was 74. H.R. Giger‘s name became synonymous with his iconic Alien design, which originated from his own lithograph Necronom IV and went on to nab him an Oscar for Best Visual Effects.
Giger’s sexually charged “biomechanical” designs got him on Scott’s radar in the 1970’s when the artist had been working on Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s doomed version of Frank Herbert’s Dune (later directed by David Lynch). After Alien co-writer Dan O’Bannon showed Giger’s nightmarish designs to Scott, the helmer tapped Giger to design the Alien creature, eggs, planetoid Acheron AKA LV-426, and Alien ship for the film. He would go on to contribute designs to Aliens, Alien 3, Alien: Resurrection, Poltergeist II: The Other Side, Species, and Tokyo: The Last War, and was credited for original designs used in 2012′s Prometheus.
Giger, who directed his own documentary shorts in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, appears in the new Sony Classics docu Jodorowsky’s Dune.
Yaphet Frederick Kotto (born November 15, 1937) is an African-American actor, known for numerous film roles including the science-fiction/horror film Alien, the science-fiction/action film The Running Man and as the main villain in the 1973 James Bond movie Live and Let Die. He is also a music producer who is a part of Legendary Inc., founded by Young L of The Pack.
Kotto was born in New York City, the son of Gladys Marie, a nurse and army officer, and Avraham Kotto (originally named Njoki Manga Bell), a businessman from Cameroon. In his autobiography titled Royalty, Kotto writes that his father was “the crown prince of Cameroon.” Kotto stated that he found out that his family was royal in adult life while studying his family’s lineage, and also stated that he is a descendant of Queen Victoria, which has been denied by the Buckingham Palace press office.
Kotto’s father, who emigrated to the U.S. in the 1920s, was, according to Kotto, an observant Jew who spoke Hebrew. Kotto also stated that his great-grandfather King Alexander Bell ruled the Douala region of Cameroon in the late-19th century and was also a practicing Jew. Kotto has said that his paternal family oriinated from Israel and migrated to Egypt and then Cameroon, and have been African Jews for many generations.
Being black and Jewish gave other children (both whites and blacks) even more reason, he has said, to pick on him growing up in New York City. “It was rough coming up,” Kotto said. “And then going to shul, putting a yarmulke on, having to face people who were primarily Baptists in the Bronx meant that on Fridays, I was in some heavy fistfights.”
By the age of 16, he was studying acting at the Actor’s Mobile Theater Studio, and at 19, he made his professional acting debut in Othello. He also was a member of the Actors Studio in New York. Kotto got his start in acting on Broadway, where he appeared in The Great White Hope, among other productions.
His film debut was in 1963 in an uncredited role in 4 For Texas. He performed in Nothing But a Man in 1964 and played a supporting role in the 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair. In 1973 he landed the role of the James Bond villain Mr. Big in Live and Let Die, as well as roles in Across 110th Street and Truck Turner. Kotto portrayed Idi Amin in the 1977 television film Raid on Entebbe. He also starred as an auto worker in the 1978 film Paul Schrader film Blue Collar.
The following year he played Parker in the sci-fi horror film Alien. Kotto and Harry Dean Stanton played ships Engineers Brett (Harry Dean Stanton) and Parker (Yaphet Kotto) who stay behind to monitor their progress and make repairs while the crew check out the planetoid.. which results in all hell breaking loose. Alien garnered both critical acclaim and box office success, receiving an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, Saturn Awards for Best Science Fiction Film, Best Direction for Ridley Scott, and Best Supporting Actress for Cartwright, along with numerous other award nominations. It has remained highly praised in subsequent decades, being inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2002 for historical preservation as a film which is “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
He followed with a supporting role in the 1980 prison drama Brubaker, featured in The Star Chamber (1983), and Terror in the Aisles (1984). In 1987, he appeared in the futuristic sci-fi movie The Running Man and in the underrated 1988 action-comedy Midnight Run, in which he portrayed Alonzo Mosely, an FBI agent. He also had a supporting role in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991).
He then played Lieutenant Al Giardello in the television series Homocide: Life on the Street (1993-1999). He has written two books: Royalty, and The Second Coming of Christ, and also wrote scripts for Homicide: Life on the Street.
Harry Dean Stanton (born July 14, 1926) is an American actor, musician, and singer. Stanton’s career has spanned over fifty years, which has seen him star in such films as Cool Hand Luke, Kelly’s Heroes, Two-Lane Blacktop, Dillinger, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, The Godfather Part II, The Missouri Breaks, Alien, Escape from New York, Paris Texas, Repo Man, The Last Temptation of Christ, Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Green Mile, and The Pledge. In the late 2000s, he played a recurring role in the HBO television series Big Love.
Stanton was born in West Irvine, Kentucky, the son of Ersel (née Moberly), a hair dresser, and Sheridan Harry Stanton, a tobacco farmer and barber. Stanton attended the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky, where he studied journalism and radio arts. Stanton is a US Navy veteran of World War II, he served as a Navy cook during the Battle of Okinawa.
Coming to acting late, he had many supporting roles in some excellent films for almost 30 years before his breakthrough part came with the lead role in director Wim Wenders’ film Paris, Texas (1984). The movie’s screenwriter Sam Shepherd, had spotted Stanton at a Santa Fe, New Mexico, bar in 1983 while both were attending a film festival in that city, and the two fell into conversation. “I was telling him I was sick of the roles I was playing,” Stanton recalled in a 1986 interviews. “I told him I wanted to play something of some beauty or sensitivity. I had no inkling he was considering me for the lead in his movie.” Not long afterward, Shepard phoned him in Los Angeles to offer Stanton the part of protagonist Travis, “a role that called for the actor to remain largely silent … as a lost, broken soul trying put his life back together and reunite with his estranged family after having vanished years earlier.”
Other notable roles include as ship engineer Brett, (Stanton), who with Parker (Yaphet Kotto), almost steals the show in the Ridley Scott classic Alien (1979); if it wasn’t for a certain ‘chestburster’ scene with John Hurt they most certainly would have. The set the standard for grumpy, complaining blue-collar workers for the last 3 decades. However, my favourite Stanton role is that of Bud, a seasoned repossession agent, or “repo man”, working for the “Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation” (a small automobile repossession agency) in the Alex Cox cult classic Repo Man (1984). Bud takes under his wing, Otto Maddox (Emilio Estevez), a young punk rocker who gets fired from his boring job as a supermarket stock clerk. He has also made several appearances for David Lynch, notably in Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me and Inland Empire.
In 2011, the Lexington Film League created a festival to honor Stanton in the city where he spent much of his adolescence. The first annual Harry Dean Stanton Fest was three days of film screenings and the premiere of a PBS documentary by director Tom Thurman entitledHarry Dean Stanton: Crossing Mulholland.
In 2012, he had a brief cameo in the superhero blockbuster The Avengers in a scene with Mark Ruffalo. Always watchable, he should still be on everyone’s casting list of exceptional character actors.
Whatever you may think of Prometheus, one thing is certain, visually it is a stunning film… We all want the toys! Now the inevitable NECA figurines will make their appearance in September of this year. Here are the prototype models for the first two, The Engineer (Pressure Suit) and Engineer (Chair Suit).
In 2089, a team of scientists led by Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover cave drawings that appear to form a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth. Shaw believes that the beings indicated on the paintings have visited Earth and are inviting us to their planet. Cut to 2093, on board the spaceship Prometheus (named after the Greek god who gave fire to mortal man), the scientists and small crew are heading towards the distant star system. As the crew awake from hyper sleep we are introduced to Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), the chief executive of the Weyland Corp., the mega-corporation funding the mission, Janek (Idris Elba), the ship’s captain, and other token crew members. Vickers is the corporate face of Weyland Corp., she’s remote, cold and dismissive, mainly of the Shaw and Holloways theory.
Shaw and Holloway disagree on precisely where we came from and how, they believe these visitors hold the key. At stake is the origin of human creation itself.
When they arrive at moon LV-233 they find a huge alien labyrinthine construction in which they hope to find answers… however, they must fight to save the future of the human race.
Ridley Scott, director of Alien and Blade Runner, returns to the genre he helped define with those early landmark films. With Prometheus, he creates another beautifully rendered near future. The cinematography, sets, props and costumes are all superb and set a new bench mark, as do the exemplary special effects which blend beautifully .
Its Scott’s best movie since American Gangster (2007), however it doesn’t quite manage to reach the heights achieved by his breakthrough original. Having said that, Prometheus came pre-loaded with so much hype and expectation, partially tempered by Ridley denying this was a direct prequel to Alien, that it would be almost impossible for the film to deliver on all fronts. There are a few incredible set-pieces unlike anything you’ve ever seen before that have to be seen to be believed. No spoilers here.
The cast are good, Noomi Rapace is a strong, believable lead, Theron is suitably cold, however Michael Fassbender steals the movie, his android is not as cold as HAL (2001), or Ash (Alien) or as likeable as Bishop (Aliens), he reminded me more of David from Spielberg’s Artificial Intelligence, I can’t recall him blinking. After the film ended I wondered how his character would/could fare in Scotts proposed Blade Runner sequel.
The script was reworked from a direct Alien prequel into a standalone effort that remains firmly within the same universe. This is the film’s smartest idea, as it immediately removes the usual prequel shortcomings of your audience knowing exactly how it’s going to end. However, while striving for its own identity, it still references to both Alien and James Camerons sequel Aliens. The screenplay, credited to both Jon Spaihts (who apparently wrote the first, more prequel-like draft) and Damon Lindelof (who revised the story and mythology), is an uneven affair. The general plot structure is solid, but some characters are underdeveloped and given some poor dialogue. Not all bad, however, as Scott is so adept at creating incredible imagery that it is easy to ‘go along for the ride’ and enjoy the film as a visual spectacle.
Big ideas are thrown around, the creation of human life, God, Darwinism and more; there are more questions posed than answered, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, although I’d expect answers from the inevitable sequel, to the not-direct-prequel.
I can see it annoying some viewers, I really enjoyed it and overall I loved it as a spectacle; it’s not as smart as it set out to be, but it’s still better than most of the other sci-fi we’ve seen lately, and the 3rd best Alien movie of the franchise.
Quality: 3 Stars
Any Good: 4 Stars
Check out this new featurette that spotlights the director of the film, Ridley Scott. The clip, has some new footage, as well as interviews with the cast and crew about Scott’s vision and what to expect from the film once it hits theatres. Also included are soundbites from the director himself expressing his intentions to give the audience bad dreams and “scare the living shit out of [them]”. Courtesy of Fox Malaysia.
Ridley Scott, director of “Alien” and “Blade Runner,” returns to the genre he helped define. With PROMETHEUS, he creates a groundbreaking mythology, in which a team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a thrilling journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.
Check out the Prometheus Electronic Press Kit and new International Launch trailer.
International UK trailer for Ridley Scott’s sci-fi, Prometheus. 17 seconds longer than the international version from yesterday. Starring Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender and Idris Elba.
Although Ridley Scott has been playing down quite how closely connected his new film, Prometheus, is to Alien; Scott gave an interview at the back end of last year, where he discussed the connection between the two films, which seem to hinge on the ‘Space Jockey’, the giant alien pilot whose body the crew of the Nostromo found on the derelict spaceship in Alien. But he was pretty emphatic that was where the connection ended.
It might all be a smokescreen to deflect from some deeper truth about how Prometheus fits into the Alien universe. Truth be told, I’m kind of reluctant to dig too deep into all this: I’d quite like some surprises when I eventually get to see Prometheus, however, I was pretty excited when I clicked on the link to the Prometheus viral. In the clip, over at weylandindustries where you can see Guy Pearce’s Peter Weyland, CEO of Weyland Industries, delivering a TED talk in 2023, and handily getting out of the way a lot of exposition about the myth of Prometheus, which presumably will be referenced in some way in the film.
In an interview somewhere with Scott recently, he talked about how, in the late Seventies, he always imagined the future would be run by big corporations – hence, Weyland-Yutani in Alien (never mentioned by name, but you see their logo everywhere) and the Tyrell Corporation in Blade Runner. Of course, Weyland-Yutani took on a larger and more sinister role as the Alien series developed. So it’s great to see Pearce’s Peter Weyland delivering his lecture.
Walter Hill (born January 10, 1942) is an American film director, Producer and screenwriter. Hill was born in Long Beach, California. Growing up in southern California, Hill was asthmatic as a child and, as a result, missed several years of school. He spent much of his time daydreaming, reading comic books, and listening to radio serials. Hill worked in the oil fields as a roustabout on Signal Hill near Los Angeles during summers of the latter part of his high school years and several more years while in college.
Hill is known for male-dominated action films and revival of the Western. He said in an interview, “Every film I’ve done has been a Western,” and elaborated in another, “The Western is ultimately a stripped down moral universe that is, whatever the dramatic problems are, beyond the normal avenues of social control and social alleviation of the problem, and I like to do that even within contemporary stories.”
Hill began his career in the training program of the Directors Guild of America, graduating to work as second assistant director on Steve McQueen hit ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ in 1968. He went on to work as the uncredited second assistant director on ‘Bullitt’ in the same year. In 1969, he was the second assistant director on a Woody Allen film, ‘Take the Money and Run’, but says he remembers doing very little except passing out the call sheets and filling out time cards.
Hill’s first screenplay, a Western called Lloyd Williams and His Brother, was optioned in 1969 by Joe Wizan, but it was never made. At one point, Sam Peckinpah expressed interest in filming it after ‘The Getaway’ (1972) which became the first of Hill’s screenplays to be produced as a film. Peckinpah ended up doing ‘Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid’ instead.
Peter Bogdanovich’s ex-wife Polly Platt, a film editor, had read Hill’s script for ‘Hickey & Boggs’ and recommended him to co-write ‘The Getaway’ with Bogdanovich. They worked on the script together in San Francisco while Bogdanovich was directing ‘What’s Up Doc?’ They had completed 25 pages when they went back to L.A., whereupon Steve McQueen fired Bogdanovich without reading any of their work. Hill started from scratch and wrote his own script in six weeks.
Hill went on to write a pair of Paul Newman films, ‘The Mackintosh Man’ which by Hill’s own admission, “wasn’t much”; and ‘The Drowning Pool’. He and director John Huston disagreed on how closely to stick to the book on which it was based. Producers Larry Turman and David Foster asked Hill to adapt the novel The Drowning Pool for Richard Mulligan to direct as a sequel to a previous Newman film, ‘Harper’. The producers did not like the direction Hill took with his script, so he left the project to write ‘Hard Times’ for Larry Gordon at Columbia Pictures.
Certain Producers, Directors and Writers are lauded as auteurs, their names often appear above the title, some have even become household names well known to more than the casual film magazine reader. Consider then a Producer, Director and Writer responsible in various guises for cult classics and box office hits such as ‘The Driver’; ‘Alien’ and ‘Aliens’; ‘The Warriors’; ’48 HRS’ and its sequel as well as having a huge influence on the resurgence of the western with his work on ‘Deadwood’.