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Posts tagged “Sigourney Weaver

Rakka by Neill Blomkamp

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.”


Alien – Neca Series 4

Alien_Ripley_Neca_series-4Neca are releasing Alien series 4 next year, featuring Ripley in Nostromo Jumpsuit comes with flamethrower and Jonesy the cat. Dallas in Nostromo Spacesuit comes with removable helmet, pistol and flashlight. Ripley in Nostromo Spaceuit comes with removable helmet, harpoon gun with two different attachments, and a frightened version of Jonesy the cat. Each fully articulated figure stands approximately 7″ tall and comes in special 35th Anniversary packaging.

 


Alien: Isolation

Alien-Isolation_bannerSEGA of America, Inc., SEGA Europe, Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products have announced Alien: Isolation, a thrilling first-person survival horror experience that will focus on capturing the horror and tension evoked by the Ridley Scott 1979 classic film.

On a decommissioned trading station in the fringes of space, fear and panic have gripped the inhabitants. Players find themselves in an atmosphere of constant dread and mortal danger as an unpredictable, ruthless Xenomorph is stalking and killing deep in the shadows. Underpowered and under prepared, you must scavenge resources, improvise solutions and use your wits, not just to succeed in your mission, but to simply stay alive.

“In Alien: Isolation, we have taken the series back to the roots of Ridley Scott’s 1979 movie, the original survival horror,” said Alistair Hope, Creative Lead at Creative Assembly. “Our Alien is a truly terrifying creature, as intelligent as he is hostile, relentless, brutal and unstoppable. This is the Alien game fans of the series have always wanted.”

“Creative Assembly has created a truly incredible gaming experience, capturing perfectly the very core of what has made the Alien franchise remain relevant after 35 years,” said Jeffrey Godsick, president of Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products. “This partnership has led to the creation of a game that is simply outstanding and sets the tone for what is to come this year for the 35th anniversary of Alien.”

Developed by Creative Assembly, Alien: Isolation is due for release in late 2014 on PlayStation4, Xbox One, PlayStation3, Xbox 360 and Windows PC.


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LEGO John Hurt Chestburster scene from Alien

Lego Alien


Red Lights

Rodrigo Cortés made a name for himself with a film that premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival: Buried, based on Chris Sparling’s black list script about a man buried alive who has to figure a way out of his coffin before his air supply is used up. The film starred Ryan Reynolds, and was critically praised for it’s direction, a tough task considering the 95-minute film takes place completely inside a casket.

Cortés returned to Sundance two years later with the $15 million thriller Red Lights, which he also wrote. The story follows Psychologist Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and her assistant Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy) as they study and disprove paranormal activity, parascience and psychics. But can they take down world-renowned psychic Simon Silver (Robert De Niro), who has come out of retirement after three decades?

According to /Film: “Red Lights has great fun building your expectations with sound science and skeptic-based theories, and later playing with these ideas, making you question if extrasensory perception might be possible (if only in this movie). The film also sets up a few great scares and jumps, which had the Eccles theatre screaming.”


Ridley Scott – Part 1

Sir Ridley Scott (born 30 November 1937) is an English film director and producer. His most famous films include ‘Alien’ (1979), ‘Blade Runner’ (1982), ‘Thelma & Louise’ (1991), ‘G. I. Jane’ (1997), ‘Gladiator’ (2000), ‘Black Hawk Down’ (2001), ‘Hannibal’ (2001), ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ (2005), ‘American Gangster’ (2007), ‘Body of Lies’ (2008), and ‘Robin Hood’ (2010).

Scott was born in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, England, the son of Elizabeth and Colonel Francis Percy Scott. He was raised in an Army family, meaning that for most of his early life, his father — an officer in the Royal Engineers — was absent.

He went on to study at the Royal College of Art where he contributed to the college magazine, ARK, and helped to establish its film department. For his final show, he made a black and white short film, ‘Boy and Bicycle’, starring his younger brother, Tony Scott, and his father. The film’s main visual elements would become features of Scott’s later work; it was issued on the ‘Extras’ section of The Duellists DVD. After graduation in 1963, he secured a job as a trainee set designer with the BBC, leading to work on the popular television police series ‘Z-Cars’ and the science fiction series ‘Out of the Unknown’. Scott was an admirer of Stanley Kubrick early in his development as a director.

He was assigned to design the second Doctor Who serial, ‘The Daleks’, which would have entailed realising the famous alien creatures. Working with Alan Parker, Hugh Hudson and Hugh Johnson at RSA during the 1970s, Scott made television commercials in the UK including most notably the popular 1974 Hovis advert, “Bike Round” (New World Symphony), which was filmed in Shaftesbury, Dorset.

‘The Duellists’ (1977) was Ridley Scott’s first feature film. It was produced in Europe and won a Best Debut Film medal at the Cannes Film Festival but made limited commercial impact in the US. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, it featured two French Hussar officers, D’Hubert and Feraud (played by Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel). Their quarrel over an initially minor incident turns into a bitter, long-drawn out feud over the following fifteen years, interwoven with the larger conflict that provides its backdrop. The film was lauded for its historically authentic portrayal of Napoleonic uniforms and military conduct (often compared to the Stanley Kubrick film, ‘Barry Lyndon’), as well as its accurate early-19th-century fencing techniques recreated by fight choreographer William Hobbs. 

Scott’s box office disappointment with The Duellists was compounded by the success received by Alan Parker with American-backed films — Scott admitted he was “ill for a week” with envy. Scott had originally planned to next adapt a version of Tristan and Iseult, but after seeing ‘Star Wars’, he became convinced of the potential of large scale, effects-driven films. He therefore accepted the job of directing ‘Alien’, the ground-breaking 1979 horror/science-fiction film that would give him international recognition.

While Scott would not direct the three Alien sequels, the female action hero Ellen Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver), introduced in the first film, would become a cinematic icon. Scott was involved in the 2003 restoration and re-release of the film including media interviews for its promotion. At this time Scott indicated that he had been in discussions to make the fifth and final film in the Alien franchise. However, in a 2006 interview, the director remarked that he had been unhappy about Alien: The Director’s Cut, feeling that the original was “pretty flawless” and that the additions were merely a marketing tool.

After a year working on the film adaptation of ‘Dune’, and following the sudden death of his brother Frank, Scott signed to direct the film version of Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Renamed ‘Blade Runner’, starring Harrison Ford and featuring an acclaimed soundtrack by Vangelis, the movie was a disappointment in theatres in 1982 and was pulled shortly thereafter. Scott’s notes were used by Warner Brothers to create a rushed Director’s Cut in 1991 which removed the voiceovers and modified the ending. Scott personally supervised a digital restoration of Blade Runner and approved the Final Cut. This version was released in Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto cinemas on 5 October 2007, and as an elaborate DVD release on 18 December 2007. Today, Blade Runner is often ranked by critics as one of the most important science fiction films of the 20th century and is usually discussed along with William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer as initiating the cyberpunk genre. Scott regards Blade Runner as his “most complete and personal film”.

In 1985 Scott directed ‘Legend’, a fantasy film. Having not tackled the fairy tale genre, Scott decided to create a “once upon a time” film set in a world of fairies, princesses, and goblins. Scott cast Tom Cruise as the film’s hero, Jack, Mia Sara as Princess Lily, and Tim Curry as the Satan-horned Lord of Darkness. A series of problems with both principal photography, including the destruction of the forest set by fire, and post-production interference (including heavy editing and substitution of Jerry Goldsmith’s original score with a score by Tangerine Dream) hampered the film’s release. Legend received scathing reviews and was a box-office failure, however the movie found a cult following on VHS, largely due to Curry’s incredible demon.


Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Jean-Pierre Jeunet (; born September 3, 1953) is a French film director. Jean-Pierre Jeunet was born in Roanne, Loire, France. He bought his first camera at the age of 17 and made short films while studying animation at Cinemation Studios. He befriended Marc Caro, a designer and comic book artist who became his longtime collaborator and co-director.

Together, Jeunet and Caro directed award-winning animation. Their first live action film was ‘The Bunker of the Last Gunshots’ (1981), a short film about soldiers in a bleak futuristic world. Jeunet also directed numerous commercials and music videos, such as Jean Michel Jarre’s Zoolook (together with Caro).

Jeunet and Caro’s first feature film was ‘Delicatessen’ (1991), a pitch-black comedy set in a famine-plagued post-apocalyptic world, in which an apartment building above a delicatessen is ruled by a butcher who kills people in order to feed his tenants. The story focuses on the tenants of the building and their desperate bids to survive. Among these characters is the newly arrived Louison, who arrives to replace a tenant whose reason for departure is initially unclear. The butcher, Clapet, is the leader of the group which strives to keep control and balance in the apartment building. It is largely a character-based film, with much of the interest being gained from each tenant’s own particular idiosyncrasies and their relationship to each other.

They next made ‘The City of Lost Children’ (1995), a dark, multi-layered fantasy film about a mad scientist who kidnaps children in order to steal their dreams thus preventing him from aging prematurely. Among them is the little brother of carnival strongman One (Ron Perlman), who sets out to rescue him with the help of a young, orphaned, thieves’ guild member named Miette (Judith Vittet).

The success of The City of Lost Children led to an invitation to direct the fourth movie in the Alien series ‘Alien Resurrection’ (1997). Like his subsequent films, this one is credited only to Jeunet, although Caro did some work on the art design. Set 200 years after the preceding installment, Alien 3, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is cloned and an Alien queen is surgically removed from her body. The United Systems Military hopes to breed Aliens to study and research on the spaceship USM Auriga, using human hosts kidnapped and delivered to them by a group of mercenaries. The Aliens escape their enclosures, while Ripley and the mercenaries attempt to escape and destroy the Auriga before it reaches its destination, Earth. It is the worst of the series and received a mixed critical reception.

Jeunet returned to France. The clout of having a Hollywood film under his belt gave him free rein on his next project, ‘Amelie’ , starring then newcomer, Audrey Tatou. Amélie diverges in tone from his earlier films, as it has romantic and comedic elements and lacks his previous films’ dark mise-en-scene. This story is a whimsical depiction of contemporary Parisian life, about a woman who takes pleasure in doing good deeds but cannot find love herself, was a huge critical and commercial success worldwide and was nominated for several Academy Awards. For this film, Jeunet also gained a European Film Award for Best Director.

In 2004, Jeunet released ‘A Very Long Engagement’, an adaptation of the novel by Sebastien Japrisot. The film, starring Audrey Tautou, chronicled a woman’s desperate search for her missing lover who might have been killed in the Battle of the Somme during the First World War. It’s my favourite film of Jeunet’s, combining all the elements I love from his earlier efforts.

In 2009 he released ‘Micmacs’. The film is billed as a “satire on the world arms trade” and is the only one of Jeunet’s major releases that I’m yet to see. All of Jeunet’s work is visually stylish, obviously influenced by Terry Gilliam, and although filled with both beautiful and grotesque characters, as well as wonderful imagery, his movies always have great heart.


Alien – Released 32 years ago today

32 years ago Alien was released in the United states… ‘In space no one can hear you scream’

The Nostromo, an interplanetary mining ship loaded with ore, is on it’s return voyage to Earth. The crew are woken early from their hibernation tanks by Mother, the ship’s computer, after a radio transmission from an unexplored planetoid has been detected. Company policy requires making contact with alien life-forms whenever possible. Upon landing, crew member Kane (John Hurt) is attacked by a octopus-like parasite. Days later, a hideous alien erupts from Kane’s chest. The alien escapes and the crew start a hunt through the ship’s dark, claustrophobic passageways. The alien grows at an alarming rate and begins picking them off one-by-one. Warrant Officer Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) fights for her life and tries to escape in a shuttle but she discovers that the Alien is also aboard…

32 years ago today, Alien was released (May 25, 1979). The film arrived in between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back as a stylishly malevolent alternative to George Lucas’s space fantasy. The Ridley Scott directed film became an instant classic and set a tone of its own, offering richly detailed sets, ominous atmosphere and relentless suspense. The HR Giger designed Alien was an incredible shioft in style from those in previous space-set movies, Giger so impressed Ridley Scott that he was hired to design the alien fachugger, chestburster and the alien sets. They would become iconic. 

The cast are all exceptional, Sigourney Weaver as Ripley setting the tone for all the action heroines that followed; Ian Holm is creepy as android Ash; John  Hurt almsot steals the movie with his iconic ‘chestbursting scene’; Harry Dean Stanton, Yaphet Kotto, Veronica Cartwright and Tom Skeritt are all good.   

Scott would further enhance the Sci-fi genre a few years later with his equally ground-breaking Blade Runner (1982), though that film was initially not well received it has since become a cult hit.

Alien spawned a further 5 sequels of differing quality. The best of which was James Camerons excellent action movie Aliens (1986);  David Finchers directorial debut Alien³ (1992) and Jean-Pierre Jeunets awful Alien: Resurrection (1997). There were also two cross-franchise movies where the Alien(s) battle with versions of the Predator in Alien Vs. Predator (2004) and Alien vs Predator requiem (2007)… both should be avoided at all costs. Scott is currently filming ‘Prometheus’ a rumoured prequel/sequel/re-imagining of the first Alien. No one is really clear what it is about, but at least with Scott back at the helm of the franchise he started we can at least be reassured that it is in good hands.