Ridley Scott

In this reel of COL Movies, It’s Pride Month, so the boys take a look at Malcolm Ingram’s 2007 documentary, “Small Town Gay Bar”. After leaving Mississippi, they head to deep space with the crew of Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus”. From there, it’s on to Middle Earth to find out if Peter Jackson’s trailer for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” tickles their fancy. In movie news, House joins Robocop, Valve gets into the movies, and Rian Johnson gives us his thoughts on 3D.

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The Past: Small Town Gay Bar
Rotten Tomatoes: No Score; 66% Audience

Small Town Gay Bar

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Director: Malcolm Ingram

Featuring: Jim Bishop, Terry Capps, Jackie Cox

Trivia:

  • The story of community in the Deep South that is forced to deal with the struggles of ignorance, hypocrisy and oppression, Malcolm Ingram’s “Small Town Gay Bar” visits two Mississippi communities and bases those visits around two small gay bars, Rumors in Shannon, Mississippi, and Different Seasons/Crossroads in Meridian, Mississippi.
  • Kevin Smith, executive producer of Small Town Gay Bar and also of “Silent Bob” fame: “It’s a film that is a portrait of small-town gay bars in rural Mississippi,” Smith said, straightening up. “Which is probably the hardest place in the world to be gay. It’s a portrait of how people will create their own community, even in the middle of a community that ostracizes them and wants nothing to do with them. They can still collectively come together and create an oasis for themselves to just chill out and be themselves and be who they can’t be in this particular buckle of the Bible Belt.”
  • David Rooney of Daily Variety Magazine: “Ingram illustrates how gay bars function as oases of acceptance and alternative families for his good-humored, enduring subjects.”
  • Philip Martin of Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: “Ingram’s movie not only makes it clear that people can be brave and resourceful in the face of intolerance, they can also throw a great party.”
  • Additionally the film visits Bay Minette, Alabama, to look at the brutal hate crime murder of Scotty Joe Weaver. The film focuses on a group of folks who are less concerned with the national debate over gay marriage than they are with the life risks they take being openly gay in small Southern towns.

Talking Points:

  • Rumors is apparently still operating, Different Seasons closed in Spring 2008
  • Did you watch the “trailer”?
  • Fred Phelps

Critic Notes

  • Positives: Ingram is able to show how small bars can provide support and community rather than just focus on big cities; Endearing stories and subjects
  • Negatives: No negatives noted by critics

What We Learned:

  • Drag queens will tell you how it is, no matter where they’re from.

Trailer – no trailer available online, but there is this introduction made by the Director and Kevin Smith:

Recommendations:
Jeff: After watching Bear Nation at SXSW a couple of years ago I wanted to check out his previous documentary Small Town Gay Bar. That was the first time I watched it and fell in love with it. Watching it again is always enjoyable except for Fred Phelps. I just can’t help but lp but get angry just hearing him talk. I just can’t believe how hateful someone can be. The rest of the film brings you into the small towns and shows you the connection those areas have to having this type of bar near them and how free it makes them feel. I can’t recommend this film enough.
Ray: This is my 4th or 5th viewing of this documentary, I really think everyone should watch this at least once just to get a feel for what it is like for a LOT of people in this country. Thank you Malcolm for having the courage to interview a man like Phelps, it is truly one of the most chilling things I have ever seen.
Steve: I’ve seen this many times now and can almost never make it through without tearing up. It really brings me back to the times of living in small towns in upstate NY and South Carolina where I was literally scared to go to the trailer-looking bars, afraid of what may happen. I can relate to them a lot, but am glad that I’m in a more progressive community these days. Thanks Malcolm for bringing this out and showing something besides NYC and LA!

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The Present: Prometheus
Rotten Tomatoes: 73% Fresh; 74% Audience

Director: Ridley Scott

Starring: Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Logan Marshall-Green, Michael Fassbender

Trivia:

  • Gemma Arterton, Carey Mulligan, Olivia Wilde, Anne Hathaway, Abbie Cornish and Natalie Portman were considered for the role of Elizabeth Shaw.
  • James Franco was considered for the role of Holloway.
  • Was originally conceived as a prequel to Ridley Scott’s Alien, but Scott announced his decision to turn it into an original film with Noomi Rapace (who was already set to star) still in the cast as one of five main characters. Some time later it was confirmed that while the movie would take place in the same universe as Alien and greatly reference that movie, it would mostly be an original movie and not a direct prequel.
  • Michelle Yeoh was originally considered for the role of Meredith Vickers.
  • Designer H.R. Giger, who worked on the original design of the Xenomorph Alien, was brought in to assist in reverse-engineering the design of the Aliens in the film.
  • To prepare for his role as the android David, Michael Fassbender watched Blade Runner (a Ridley Scott film), The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Servant and Lawrence of Arabia (mentioned by Peter Weyland). Fassbender also studied Olympic diver Greg Louganis, drawing inspiration from Louganis’s physicality.
  • Ridley Scott instructed Charlize Theron to stand in corners and move in lurking movements, in order to accentuate Vickers’s distant, enigmatic nature.
  • Director Ridley Scott named the film “Prometheus”, seeing the name aptly fit the film’s themes: “It’s the story of creation; the gods and the man who stood against them.” In Greek mythology, the Titan Prometheus was a servant of the gods, who stole and gave to mankind the gift of fire, an immeasurable benefit that changed the human race forever (for better AND worse).
  • Ridley Scott decided against featuring Xenomorphs (the titular Alien of the film series) in the film, as “the sequels squeezed him dry, he did very well… and no way am I going back there.” Instead, this being an indirect prequel to Alien, he decided to feature a Xenomorph ancestor/parent.
  • During production, Ridley Scott kept the use of computer-generated imagery as low as possible, using CGI mainly in space scenes; Scott recalled advice VFXpert Douglas Trumbull gave him on the set of Blade Runner: “If you can do it live, do it live”, and also claimed that practical VFX was more cost-effective than digital VFX.
  • According to Ridley Scott, the film’s plot was inspired by Erich von Däniken’s writings about ancient astronauts: “Both NASA and the Vatican agree that it is almost mathematically impossible that we can be where we are today, without there being a little help along the way. That’s what we’re looking at: we are talking about gods and engineers, engineers of space. Were the Aliens designed as a form of biological warfare, or biology that would go in and clean up a planet?”
  • The “beginning of time” sequence that opens the film was shot in Iceland. The whole shoot took two weeks to complete.
  • An innovative viral campaign was used to promote the film, consisting of several videos depicting the near future world from the film. The first was a fake TED Talk given by Peter Weyland (played by Guy Pearce), dated 2028. Later, two different versions of a commercial promoting the David 8 android (played by Michael Fassbender) were released. These viral videos were designed by Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof themselves, and were directed by Scott’s son, Luke Scott.
  • While Ridley Scott suggested that the cast could have slept and effectively “lived” on the Prometheus interior set during initial filming, this didn’t happen due to health and safety precautions.
  • The Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, who plays British character Shaw, worked on set with a dialect coach to help her achieve an appropriate accent.
  • Logan Marshall-Green described his role of Charlie Holloway as “an ESPN X-Games scientist” who looks before he leaps.
  • Charlize Theron found herself struggling during her action scenes due to her smoking habit, particularly the segments that required her to run through sand in boots weighing 30 pounds (14 kg).
  • The film was originally to be called “Paradise” (December 2010).
  • Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski convinced Ridley Scott that it would be possible to shoot the film in 3D with the same ease and efficiency of typical filming. 3D company 3ality Technica provided some of the rigs and equipment to facilitate 3D filming, and trained the film’s crew in their proper operation. Since 3D films need high lighting levels on set, the traditional dark shadowy atmosphere of the Alien films was added in post-production through grading processes, while the 3D equipment was based on post-Avatar technology.
  • The film contains approximately 1300 digital VFX shots.
  • Ridley Scott stated that he was filming “the most aggressive film [he] could” by not caring about MPAA ratings, having support for such bold movement from 20th Century Fox CEO Tom Rothman, who addressed Alien fans by saying that he was “very aware of their concern”, and that “they can take it that the film will not be compromised either way. So if that means that the film is R, then it’ll be an R. If it’s PG-13, then it’ll be a PG-13, but it will not be compromised.” Scott shot the film with both adult-only R and more accessible PG-13 film ratings in mind, allowing the more adult content to be cut if necessary without harming the overall presentation, given the case it was asked to be cut down. Eventually, the film was rated “R for Sci-Fi violence including some intense images, and brief language”, and it was released without any demanded cuts.
  • Producers Walter Hill and David Giler rejoin Ridley Scott for the first time in over 30 years since they first collaborated on Alien.
  • The first shot of the cave paintings at the beginning of the film, which showed a horse in motion, originate from the Chauvet Cave in the South of France, which was the subject of the Werner Herzog Documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams, also shot in 3D.
  • This is not Ian Whyte’s (who plays the Last Engineer) only attachment to the “Alien” films. Whyte also played the Predators in the “AVP: Alien vs. Predator” film series.
  • When Shaw is discussing her finds around the world in the conference, the words “Eilean a’ Cheo” can be seen in the background. This means “The Island of Mist” in Scottish Gaelic, and is a nickname for the Isle of Skye, properly called “An t-Eilean Sgitheanach”.
  • The three-triangle logo of the Weyland corporation (while visually similar to that of the actual Weinstein Group) is actually derived from a pattern appearing on the wall in the background of an early Ron Cobb production painting of the “Space Jockey” for the original Alien film. the logo can be seen as part of David’s fingerprint.
  • The androids’ names in the Alien films follow an alphabetical pattern: in Alien it’s Ash, in Aliens and Alien³ it’s Bishop, in Alien: Resurrection it’s Call and in this film it’s David.
  • In May 7th, 2012, Guillermo del Toro declared that his long proposed adaptation for “At the Mountains of Madness” was indefinitely delayed as he felt Ridley Scott’s film was extremely similar to the approach he penned for H.P. Lovecraft’s novella, even to the point of having “scenes that would be almost identical. Both movies seem to share identical set pieces and the exact same big revelation (twist) at the end.”
  • Ridley Scott approached SOAS, University of London, in 2011 to find experts who could help create a new language for the film. Anil Biltoo from SOAS’ Language Centre worked to create the language, as well as the alien script, which can be seen throughout. Anil Biltoo can be seen briefly in a scene with Michael Fassbender. Other SOAS staff members appear briefly and are credited, including Wambui Kunya, Sonam Dugdak, Shin Okajima, Kay Rienjang, Zed Sevcikova and Reynir Eggertsson.
  • As mentioned in the film, the original Prometheus was a character from Greek mythology. He was a Titan (an immortal older god), who gave the gift of fire to human beings. Prometheus was punished for this by being bound to a rock in Hades (the Greek underworld), where each day an eagle, the emblem of Zeus, was sent to feed on his liver, only to have it grow back to be eaten again the next day. In some stories, Prometheus is freed at last by the hero Heracles (Hercules). Among the ancient Greeks, Prometheus was venerated as a deity. Prometheus may derive from the Greek for “forethinker”, or the Proto-Indo-European for “thief”, Prometheus also tricked the gods, which is of relevance to this film.

Talking Points:

  • Definitely not a direct lead into Alien.
  • The Space Jesus theory
  • Performances
  • Did your theaters get huge (uncomfortable) laughs when the alien worms went into the mouths of the crew members?

Critic Notes

  • Positives: Visually amazing; some outstanding performances; demands to be seen on the best screen possible; definitely adds to the “Alien” storyline
  • Negatives: Not the masterpiece everyone expected; lacked substance; poor storytelling; posed more questions than answered; ending left much to be desired

What We Learned:

  • Big things have small beginnings.
  • A king has his reign, and then he dies. It’s inevitable.
  • The Engineers are kinda hot.
  • When hiring a Biologist, it might be a good Idea to find one who finds the idea of discovering a 2000 year old dead alien somewhat interesting.
  • When trying to avoid being crushed by an incredibly long, but somewhat narrow object….go sideways.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: Wow, that movie was . . . whelming. Maybe it felt more incomplete. It really felt out of the blue that they had the answer, “They created us and now they want to destroy us.” While I can understand the conclusion, I don’t see the supporting elements in the movie. For all intents and purposes, this really should have been called “Alien: Prometheus” As this didn’t just have Alien DNA, it was an Alien movie. I thoroughly felt lied to and very disappointed in the movie. Still though, was fun to watch. Don’t pay too much, watch in 2D.
Ray:It left me and what seems like most of the Internet having more questions than getting answers, I would warn anyone who listens to Jeff, that while there is Alien stuff in this movie, it is not in my humble opinion what can be qualified as an “Alien” movie, it is most definitely related, but it’s more of at 2nd cousin twice removed type of related. If you are easily frustrated or don’t like to watch movies that require “Philosophical” math, then wait for the Blu-ray with the extra 30 minutes and director commentary in it. I thought the 3D was excellently used in this film. It added depth without the annoying OMG IN YOUR FACE that most try to achieve.
Steve: This is one I had to see in IMAX 3D and it was completely worth it! I loved the visual nature of the movie and no expense was spared to make it stunning. I still have tons of questions about it and don’t understand why some things happened that don’t fit into the typical Alien DNA (like reanimated corpses), but I went with it and just enjoyed the experience. If you like the Alien franchise, you have to see it!

The Future: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Release: December 14, 2012

Director: Peter Jackson

Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage

Summary:

A curious Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, journeys to the Lonely Mountain with a vigorous group of Dwarves to reclaim a treasure stolen from them by the dragon Smaug.

Talking Points

  • The 48fps controversy
  • Badass Digest’s Devin Faraci “…Here’s what The Hobbit looked like to me: a hi-def version of the 1970s I, Claudius. It is drenched in a TV-like – specifically 70s era BBC – video look. People on Twitter have asked if it has that soap opera look you get from badly calibrated TVs at Best Buy, and the answer is an emphatic YES.”
  • The Hobbit – 1977

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: I’m a sucker for a well done fantasy story. If I have to watch something for 3 hours to see the whole movie, I’m there. I totally prefer the Extended cuts of the Lord of the Rings movies over the theatrical editions as it’s a classic epic tale. I’m so glad that Peter Jackson is taking on The Hobbit. Although if Guillermo Del Toro actually stayed on, I’d suspect this would be just as good. I can’t wait.
Ray: I will watch this, but the whole super extra frame rate deal has me super extra expecting to hate it. Everyone should keep in mind that The Hobbit was a children’s book, and by the looks of the trailer they are keeping some of that tone in the movie. I would have been happier if someone decided to Re-Animate the cartoon version rather than make a film.
Steve: I never made it past “Lord of the Rings” because I find the movies way too long and drawn out. I love the stories from my youth, but have not gotten into seeing them translated on the big screen. For me, “The Hobbit” is a 1980s cartoon…so this is just another one I’m personally not excited about, although it looks to be visually stunning.

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On this reel of COL Movies the boys get ready for the summer blockbuster Prometheus by stepping back into 1979 and to what some consider the Birth of modern sci-fi horror Ridley Scott’s “Alien”. We jump to the present to discuss Sasha Baron Cohen’s next attempt to offend as many people as possible, “The Dictator” Will Jeff have anything to say about it? Last but certainly not least we take a look at a little known indie film released at this years Sundace Film Festival “Safety Not Guaranteed” to discuss what happens when you base a film on a 1997 Internet meme. All this plus lots of news about movie villains and a followup to the recent postponement of G.I.Joe. Join us for the 107th Reel of COL Movies: Come in were Aladeen.

Warning: Some parts of this episode has been censored by our Supreme Leader of Wadiyan Aladeen. Some. I mean all. Enjoy.

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The Past: Alien
Rotten Tomatoes: 96% Fresh; 90% Audience

Alien Anthology [Blu-ray]

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Director: Ridley Scott

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt

Trivia:

  • Originally to be directed by Walter Hill, but he pulled out and gave the job to Ridley Scott.
  • Veronica Cartwright was originally auditioned to play Ripley, but producers opted for Sigourney Weaver.
  • An early draft of the script had a male Ripley, making this one of at least three films where Sigourney Weaver played a character originally planned to be a man. The second is The TV Set and the third is Vantage Point.
  • All of the names of the main characters were changed by Walter Hill and David Giler during the revision of the original script by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. The script by O’Bannon and Shusett also had a clause indicating that all of the characters are “unisex”, meaning they could be cast with male or female actors. However, Shusett and O’Bannon never thought of casting Ripley as a female character.
  • Conceptual artist H.R. Giger’s designs were changed several times because of their blatant sexuality.
  • Much of the dialogue was developed through improvisation.
  • The front (face) part of the alien costume’s head is made from a cast of a real human skull.
  • During production an attempt was made to make the alien character transparent or at least translucent.
  • Three aliens were made: a model; a suit for seven-footer Bolaji Badejo; and another suit for a trained stunt man.
  • The models had to be repainted every evening of the shoot because the slime used on-set removed the acrylic paint from their surfaces.
  • The rumor that the cast, except for John Hurt, did not know what would happen during the chestburster scene is partly true. The scene had been explained for them, but they did not know specifics. For instance, Veronica Cartwright did not expect to be sprayed with blood.
  • “Nostromo” is the title of a Joseph Conrad book. The shuttlecraft is called the “Narcissus”, from the title of another Joseph Conrad book. See also Aliens.
  • Many of the non-English versions of the film’s title translate as something similar to “Alien: The 8th Passenger”.
  • The alien’s habit of laying eggs in the chest (which later burst out) was inspired by spider wasps, which are said to lay their eggs “in the abdomen of spiders.” This image gave Dan O’Bannon nightmares, which he used to create the story. But spider wasps (pompilidae) lay eggs on their prey, not inside them, after which the wasp maggots simply snack on the sting-paralyzed spiders. O’Bannon may instead have been thinking of either ichneumon wasps or braconid wasps. The ichneumon drills a single egg into a wood-boring beetle larva, whereas braconids inject eggs inside certain caterpillars. Both result in fatal hatch-outs more alike to O’Bannon’s alien.
  • 130 alien eggs were made for the egg chamber inside the downed spacecraft.
  • Conceptual artist H.R. Giger would successfully sue 20th Century Fox 18 years later over his lack of screen credit on Alien: Resurrection.
  • Ridley Scott’s 2003 director’s cut largely came about when over 100 boxes of footage of his 1979 original were discovered in a London vault.
  • Many of the interior features of the Nostromo came from airplane graveyards.
  • For the awakening from hypersleep segment, Veronica Cartwright and Sigourney Weaver had to wear white surgical tape over their nipples so as not to offend certain countries.
  • To simulate the thrust of engines on the Nostromo, Ridley Scott had crew members shake and wobble the seats the actors were sitting in.
  • H.R. Giger’s initial designs for the facehugger were held by US Customs who were alarmed at what they saw. Writer Dan O’Bannon had to go to LAX to explain to them that they were designs for a horror movie.
  • The chestbursting scene was filmed in one take with four cameras.
  • To get Jones the cat react fearfully to the descending Alien, a German Shepherd was placed in front of him with a screen between the two, so the cat wouldn’t see it at first, and came over. The screen was then suddenly removed to make Jones stop, and start hissing.
  • Dallas’ pursuit of the alien down the ventilator shafts, and the intercut scenes of the rest of the crew urging him on, was shot in one day.
  • It was conceptual artist Ron Cobb who came up with the idea that the Alien should bleed acid. This came about when Dan O’Bannon couldn’t find a reason why the Nostromo crew just wouldn’t shoot the Alien with a gun.
  • Ridley Scott did all the hand-held camera-work himself.
  • The creature is never filmed directly facing the camera due to the humanoid features of its face. Ridley Scott, determined at all costs to dispel any notion of a man in a rubber suit, filmed the beast in varying close-up angles of its ghastly profile, very rarely capturing the beast in its entirety.
  • Carlo Rambaldi constructed three alien heads based on H.R. Giger’s designs: two mechanical models for use in various close-up work, and an elementary model for medium-to-long shots. Rambaldi was not available to operate his creations on the actual shoot, though he did spend two weeks in the UK as a technical advisor to Ridley Scott and his crew.
  • According to Ridley Scott, the mechanism that was used to make the alien egg open was so strong, that it could tear off a hand.
  • Jerry Goldsmith was most aggrieved by the changes that Ridley Scott and his editor Terry Rawlings wrought upon his score. Scott felt that Goldsmith’s first attempt at the score was far too lush and needed to be a bit more minimalist. Even then, Goldsmith was horrified to discover that his amended score had been dropped in places by Rawlings who inserted segments from Goldsmith’s score to Freud instead. (Rawlings had initially used these as a guide track only, and ended up preferring them to Goldsmith’s revised work.) Goldsmith harbored a grudge against the two right up to his death in 2004.
  • The character of Ash did not appear in Dan O’Bannon’s original script.
  • Dan O’Bannon first encountered H.R. Giger’s unique style when the two were briefly working on Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ill-fated attempt at making “Dune”.
  • The screen test that bagged Sigourney Weaver the role of Ripley was her speech from her final scene.
  • The genesis of the film arose out of Dan O’Bannon’s dissatisfaction with his first feature, Dark Star which John Carpenter directed in 1974. Because of that film’s severe low budget, the alien was quite patently a beach ball. For his second attempt, O’Bannon wanted to craft an altogether more convincing specimen. The goofiness of Dark Star also led him in the direction of an intense horror movie.
  • The writing partnership between Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett came about when Shusett approached O’Bannon about helping him adapt a Philip K. Dick story that he had acquired the rights to. That was “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” which later became Total Recall. O’Bannon then said that he had an idea that he was stuck on about an alien aboard a spaceship and that he needed some assistance. Shusett agreed to help out and they tackled the alien movie first as they felt it would have been the cheaper of the two to make.
  • The original title was “Star Beast”.
  • Walter Hill and David Giler’s contribution to the script was to make Ash a robot.
  • There is no dialog for the first 6 minutes.
  • 20th Century Fox doubled the budget from $4.2 million to $8.4 million on the strength of seeing Ridley Scott’s storyboards.
  • Ridley Scott was keen to take on the project as the one that he had been previously working on at Paramount, Tristan + Isolde, was stuck in development hell.
  • Three Nostromos were built for the production: a 12″ version for long shots, a 48″ version for the landing sequence and a seven ton rig for showing the ship at rest on the planet’s surface.
  • The producers of the 1950s potboiler It! The Terror from Beyond Space considered suing for plagiarism but didn’t.
  • The original name for the spaceship was Snark. This was later changed to Leviathan before they finally settled for Nostromo.
  • According to John Hurt in the DVD Documentary, he was considered at the beginning of casting to play Kane but had already committed to another film that was set to take place in South Africa, so Jon Finch got the role instead. However, two separate incidents occurred which got Hurt the role. First was the fact that he was banned from South Africa because the country mistook him for actor John Heard who strongly opposed the Apartied (Hurt points out that he was opposed to it too, but was lucky enough not to get blacklisted) so he was unable to do the other film. Second, Finch became seriously ill from diabetes and had to pull out. Ridley Scott immediately contacted Hurt, pitched him the script over a weekend and Hurt arrived on the set Monday morning with little to no sleep to begin filming.
  • The blue laser lights that were used in the alien ship’s egg chamber were borrowed from The Who. The band was testing out the lasers for their stage show in the soundstage next door.
  • The stylized artwork that Ridley Scott used to create the storyboards that got Fox to double the budget were inspired by the artwork of famed comic book artist Mobius.
  • The screech of the newborn alien was voiced by animal impersonator Percy Edwards. He was personally requested by director Ridley Scott to do the sound effect and it was recorded in one take.
  • Veronica Cartwright only found out that she wasn’t playing the part of Ripley when she was first called in to do some costume tests for the character of Lambert.
  • The Nostromo is supposed to be 800 feet long, while the craft she is towing is a mile and a half long.
  • The spacesuits worn by Tom Skerritt, John Hurt and Veronica Cartwright were huge, bulky items lined with nylon and with no outlets for breath or condensation. As the actors were working under hot studio lights in conditions in excess of 100 degrees, they spent most of their time passing out. A nurse had to be on hand at all times to keep supplying them with oxygen. It was only after Ridley Scott’s and cinematographer Derek Vanlint’s children were used in the suits for long-shots and they passed out too, that some modifications were made to the costumes.
  • At the start of production, Ridley Scott had to contend with 9 producers being onset at all times, querying the length of time he was taking over each shot.
  • The first day that she shot a scene involving Jones the cat, Sigourney Weaver’s skin started reacting badly. Horrified, the young actress immediately thought that she might be allergic to cats, and that it would be easier for the production to recast her instead of trying to find 4 more identical cats. As it transpired, Weaver was reacting to glycerin sprayed on her skin to make her look hot and sweaty.
  • After the first week of shooting, Dan O’Bannon asked if he could attend the viewing of the dailies, and was somewhat staggered when Gordon Carroll refused him. To get past that ban, O’Bannon viewed the dailies by standing beside the projectionist whilst he screened them for everyone else.
  • Among some of the ingredients of the alien costume are Plasticine and Rolls Royce motor parts.
  • While he was working on the visual effects for this film, Brian Johnson was simultaneously working in the same capacity on Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.
  • The space jockey prop was 26 feet tall.
  • In the wide shots of the Space Jockey prop, Ridley Scott used his two sons to make the prop seem bigger.
  • A sex scene between Dallas and Ripley was in the script, but was not filmed.
  • A scene originally cut, but re-inserted for the Director’s Cut shows Lambert slapping Ripley in retaliation for Ripley’s refusal to let her, Dallas, and Kane back on the ship. According to both Ridley Scott and Veronica Cartwright, every time she went to slap Sigourney Weaver, Sigourney would shy away. After about three or four takes of this, Scott finally told Cartwright “Not to hold back. Really hit her.” Thus the very real shocked reactions of Weaver, Yaphet Kotto, and Harry Dean Stanton.
  • The dead facehugger that Ash autopsies was made using fresh shellfish, four oysters and a sheep kidney to recreate the internal organs.
  • The decal on the door of the Nostromo is a “checkerboard square”, the symbol on Purina’s pet food label; it designated Alien Chow.
  • According to a quote from Veronica Cartwright in a film magazine, in the scene where the alien’s tail wraps around her legs, they are actually Harry Dean Stanton’s legs, in a shot originally filmed for another scene entirely.
  • The embryonic movements of the facehugger, prior to bursting out of its egg, were created by Ridley Scott using both his rubber-gloved hands.
  • In The Blue Planet, David Attenborough said the Alien monster was modeled after the Phronima, a creature spotted by submersibles at great depths. However there is little evidence to support this claim – the original Alien design was based on a previous painting by H.R. Giger, Necronom IV, which bears little resemblance to the Phronima. Giger’s agent, Bijan Aalam, claims “He never inspired himself by any animals, terrestrial or marine”.
  • The computer screen displaying Nostromo’s orbit around the planet contains a hidden credit to Dr. Brian Wyvill, one of the programmers for the animation. Within the top frame entitled Deorbital Descent, it is possible to isolate the letters “BLOB”, Dr. Brian Wyvill’s common nickname.
  • The grid-like flooring on the Nostromo was achieved using upturned milk crates, painted over.
  • In an interview for Métal Hurlant, Ridley Scott revealed that to make the action more realistic, the flight deck was wired so that flipping a switch in at one console would trigger lights somewhere else. The cast then developed “work routines” for themselves where one would trip a switch, leading another to respond to the changes at his work station and so on.
  • The original design for the Alien by H.R. Giger had eyes, which were eliminated to make the creature look even more menacing.
  • Originally, no film companies wanted to make this film, 20th Century-Fox had even passed on it. They stated various reasons, most being that it was too bloody. The only producer who wanted to make the film was Roger Corman, and it was not until Walter Hill came on board that it all changed. 20th Century-Fox agreed to make the film as long as the violence was toned down; even after that they still rejected the first cut for being “too bloody”.
  • The original cut of the film ran 3 hours and 12 minutes.
  • Despite releasing a new version of the film titled “Alien: The Director’s Cut”, Ridley Scott wrote in a statement in the film’s packaging that he still feels the original Alien was his perfect vision of the film. The newer version is titled “The Director’s Cut” for marketing purposes, featuring deleted scenes many fans wanted to see incorporated into the film (such as the scene where Lambert and Ripley discuss whether or not they’ve slept with Ash, suggesting there’s something not quite right about Ash). He also deleted as much material from this cut to maintain the movie’s pacing.
  • Director Ridley Scott and composer Jerry Goldsmith were at odds with each other on the usage of the original music score. As a result, many crucial cues were either rescored, ill-placed, or deleted altogether, and the intended end title replaced with Howard Hanson’s “Symphony No. 2 (Romantic)”. The original intended score was featured as an isolated track on the now out-of-print 20th Anniversary DVD.
  • The vapor released from the top of the spacesuit helmets (presumably exhausted air from the breathing apparatus) was actually aerosol sprayed from inside the helmets. In one case, the mechanism broke and started spraying inside the helmet.
  • A closer look at the alien eggs in the scene right before the facehugger reveals that slime on the eggs is dripping from bottom to top. Ridley Scott did this intentionally by shooting with the camera upside down.
  • 20th Century Fox Studios almost did not allow the “space jockey”, or the giant alien pilot, to be in the film. This was because, at the time, props for movies weren’t so large and it would only be used for one scene. However, conceptual artist ‘Ron Cobb (I)’ convinced them to leave the scene in the movie, as it would be the film’s “Cecil. B. DeMille shot”, showing the audience that this wasn’t some low-budget B-movie.
  • Yaphet Kotto (Parker) actually picked fights with Bolaji Badejo who played the Alien, in order to help his onscreen hatred of the creature.
  • Bolaji Badejo beat Peter Mayhew to the part of the alien.
  • Copywriter Barbara Gips came up with the famed tagline: “In space, no one can hear you scream.”
  • The engines of the Narcissus coming to life was created by having water pour out of showers with strong arc lights around it. This gave the illusion that it was plasma.
  • Bolaji Badejo who plays the Alien in the movie was a graphic artist who was discovered at a pub by one of the casting directors. He was about 7 feet tall with thin arms – just what they needed to fit into the Alien costume. He was sent for Tai Chi and Mime classes to learn how to slow down his movements. A special swing had to be constructed for him to sit down during filming as he could not sit down on a regular chair once he was suited up because of the Alien’s tail.
  • The slime used on the Alien was K-Y jelly.
  • During the opening sequence, as the camera wanders around the corridors of the Nostromo, we can clearly see a Krups coffee grinder mounted to a wall; this is the same model that became the “Mr. Fusion” in Back to the Future.
  • Many producers have professional “readers” that read and summarize scripts for them. The reader in this case summarized it as “It’s like Jaws, but in space.”
  • Roger Dicken, who designed and operated the facehugger and the chestburster, had originally wanted the latter to pull itself out of Kane’s torso with its own little hands, a sequence he felt would have produced a much more horrifying effect than the gratuitous blood and guts in the release print.
  • A lawsuit by A.E. van Vogt, claiming plagiarism of his 1939 story “Discord in Scarlet” (which he had also incorporated in the 1950 novel “Voyage of the Space Beagle”), was settled out of court.
  • Potential directors, who either were considered by the studio or wanted to direct, included Robert Aldrich, Peter Yates, Jack Clayton, Dan O’Bannon and Walter Hill. Aldrich in particular came very close to being hired, but the producers ultimately decided against it after they met him in person, and it quickly became apparent that he had no real enthusiasm for the project beyond the money he would have received. According to David Giler, the moment when Aldrich talked himself out of the job came when they asked him what kind of a design he had in mind for the facehugger; Aldrich simply shrugged and said “We’ll put some entrails on the guy’s face. It’s not as if anyone’s going to remember that critter once they’ve left the theater.”
  • The inside of the alien eggs as seen by Kane was composed of real organic material. Director Ridley Scott used cattle hearts and stomachs. The tail of the facehugger was sheep intestine.
  • Bill Paterson turned down a part.
  • When casting the role of Ripley, Ridley Scott invited several women from the production office to watch screen tests, and thus gain a female perspective. The women were unanimously impressed with then-unknown actress Sigourney Weaver, whose screen presence they compared to Jane Fonda’s.
  • Ridley Scott cites three films as the shaping influences on his movie: Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and 2001: A Space Odyssey for their depiction of outer space, and Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) for its treatment of horror.
  • Shredded condoms were used to create tendons of the beast’s ferocious jaws
  • Entertainment Weekly voted this as the third scariest film of all time.
  • While the crew is eating, if you freeze the frame, you can clearly see the “Weyland-Yutani” brand on the can Dallas is drinking from. This is the name of the company that they work for.
  • The chestbursting scene was considered the second scariest movie moment of all time on Bravo’s The 100 Scariest Movie Moments.
  • A green monitor visible behind Ripley while the crew discusses Kane’s condition outside the kitchen shows nonsense characters as well as the word “Giler”, obviously a nod to producer David Giler.
  • Ridley Scott stated that in casting the role of Ripley, it ultimately came down to Sigourney Weaver and Meryl Streep. The two actresses had been schoolmates at Yale.
  • Ranked #7 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Sci-Fi” in June 2008.
  • During this production, only H.R. Giger and Bolaji Badejo were permitted to view the rushes with Ridley Scott, enabling them to better discuss and refine aspects of the beast’s look and movements.
  • Ridley Scott’s first exposure to early Alien drafts were sent to him by Sanford Lieberson, then head of 20th Century Fox’s London headquarters. Lieberson had seen Scott’s The Duellists and was adequately impressed to consider the neophyte filmmaker.
  • The literal translations of some of this film’s foreign language titles include Alien: The Eighth Passenger (Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Canada, Denmark and France) and Alien: The Uncanny Creature from a Strange World (West Germany).
  • In H.R. Giger’s original illustrations the creature has eyes. For the movie, Giger insisted that the creature have no eyes, thus giving the bleak appearance of a cold and emotionless beast.
  • The Hungarian translation of the title translated back is “The 8th passenger is the Death” and from that on, all 3 other Alien movies had such titles that end with the word “death”. Aliens: “The name of the planet: Death”; Alien³: “Final solution: Death”; Alien: Resurrection: “Reawakens the Death”. Furthermore, the alien is referred to as “death” in the Hungarian title of AVP: Alien vs. Predator: “The Death against The Predator”.
  • For the scene in which the facehugger attacks, the egg was upside down above the camera, and the operator thrust it down toward the lens like a hand puppet.
  • The production designers, in an attempt to cut costs while still remaining creative, constructed several of the sets in such a way as to make them usable in more than one scene. A good example of this can be seen in the “Space Jockey” room (the room in which to away team discovers the skeletal remains in the alien ship) and the “egg chamber.” The sets were designed so that the skeleton and the revolving disc on which it sits could be removed and the empty space then redressed with the “eggs,” creating, combined with a matching matte painting, a vast cavern full of potential alien spawn.
  • Kay Lenz auditioned for the role of Ripley.
  • As a child, Veronica Cartwright had appeared in The Birds, opposite Doodles Weaver, who was Sigourney Weaver’s uncle.
  • The first of four Alien movies starring Sigourney Weaver.
  • When the movie was broadcast in Israel, its title was changed to “The Eighth Passenger” in Hebrew.
  • The large Space Jockey sculpture was designed and painted by H.R. Giger himself, who was disappointed he couldn’t put any finishing touches on it by the time filming came about for the scene. Also, the Space Jockey prop was burned and destroyed by a burning cigarette left on the model. Los Angeles. The unfortunate event was covered by local TV news stations that evening.
  • Nostromo’s identification number is 180924609.
  • In a preview of the bonus feature menus for the “Alien Legacy” box set posted to USENET, the bio for Dallas had him as being born female and Lambert as being born male, suggesting gender reassignment before the events in the film. Fan reaction prompted this to be changed before production of the DVDs.
  • After the crew awakens from hyper-sleep, the navigator Lambert announces that the ship is “just short of Zeta 2 Reticuli”. Zeta Reticuli is a real double-star system about 39 light-years from Earth, and has figured prominently in UFO lore. In the 1960s, Barney and Betty Hill claimed to have been abducted by “gray” aliens from Zeta Reticuli.
  • According to Ridley Scott in the DVD commentary, he had envisioned a moment in the ending scenes of Ripley and the alien in the space shuttle in which the alien would be sexually aroused by Ripley. Scott says that in the scene, after Ripley hides in the closet, the alien would find her and would be staring at her through the glass door. The alien would then start touching itself as if comparing its body to Ripley’s. The idea was eventually scrapped.
  • Dan O’Bannon was hyper-critical of any changes made to his script and, to be fair, he defended some aspects of the film that ended up being most iconic (including H.R. Giger’s designs). Although he would come on set and nitpick, O’Bannon was generally welcomed by Ridley Scott until O’Bannon lost his temper and insulted Scott in front of the whole crew. The producers, including Walter Hill, had minimal respect for O’Bannon and largely ignored him, giving him little credit once the film became a success.
  • Dan O’Bannon requested that Ridley Scott and producer Walter Hill, both of whom had little knowledge of horror or science-fiction cinema, screen The Texas Chain Saw Massacre to prepare for shooting the more intense scenes. Scott and Hill were stunned by the horror film and admitted it motivated them to ratchet up the intensity of their own film.
  • Walter Hill’s re-write included to make two of the characters female (and to add a romantic subplot that was deleted) and to alter much of the dialogue written by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. The original dialogue has been described as poetic but Hill assessed it as pretentious and obscure.
  • Director Trademark
  • Ridley Scott: [mothers] The Nostromo’s computer is named “Mother”. The incubation of the alien has also been interpreted as a metaphor for pregnancy.

Talking Points:

  • The importance of sound in this move.
  • Pacing – Nothing happens for about 45 minutes.
  • Does Ripley call someone a bitch in every movie?

Critic Notes

  • Positives: Doesn’t look it’s age, Proved that B-Movie Fodder can be handled with Finesse ; An old-fashioned story updated to space, Remains a Benchmark for extra-terrestrial Horror; Has stood the test of time and so much has been based on it…a pop culture phenom.
  • Negatives: empty headed horror movie filled with gimmicks; only made to score big bucks at the box office

What We Learned:

  • ​In the future, computers are incredibly noisy!
  • In the future, smoking in an oxgenated spaceship is totally ok. Guess it’s like it used to be on planes.
  • Star ships are designed with a minimum of normal lighting
  • Self Destruct sequences are way too complex.
  • Always double check your navigational heading before putting yourself in suspended animation.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Uber classic sci-fi movie but too slow. Not my favorite movie but it’s a total must see and definitely worth a buy.
Ray: This was my first exposure to sci-fi horror, and although some of the creature effects don’t quite hold up.. it can still scare the living crap out of you. This is a highly recommended one in my eyes, and probably always will be.
Steve: This was a film that really got me into scary movies. It still remains the standard that all of these types of films have to live up to. Beyond the look, it really established female heroines can be as tough as males.

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The Present: The Dictator
Rotten Tomatoes: 59% Rotten; 58% Rotten Audience

Director: Larry Charles

Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley

Trivia:

  • ​The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Admiral General Aladeen reveals Aladeen’s first name to be Shabazz.
  • The photos of Aladeen’s other financially procured lovers in addition to Megan Fox include Lindsay Lohan, Halle Berry, Ellen DeGeneres, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • The language that Aladeen and Nadal speak on the helicopter tour is actually Hebrew, and not Arabic
  • In the film, the Republic of Wadiya location is actually the real country of Eritrea
  • In February 2012, Internet rumors claimed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had banned Baron Cohen from attending the 84th Academy Awards in his role as Admiral General Aladeen, but the Academy said the rumors were unfounded, saying, “We haven’t banned him. We’re just waiting to hear what he’s going to do,” and specifying of the publicity stunt, “We don’t think it’s appropriate. But his tickets haven’t been pulled. We’re waiting to hear back.”
  • Sacha Baron Cohen attended the 84th Annual Academy Awards in character and full costume as Aladeen, accompanied by his “virgin guards”. While giving an interview on the red carpet to an unsuspecting Ryan Seacrest he brandished an urn he claimed to contain the remains of deceased North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. Cohen then spilled the ashes all over Seacrest’s tuxedo. The ashes were discovered to be pancake mix.
  • Paramount said the film was inspired by the novel Zabibah and the King by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, though The New York Times later reported this was not true.
  • Baron Cohen, who also plays Efawadh in the film, based his performance primarily on the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
  • Kristen Wiig and Gillian Jacobs had been considered for the role that Anna Faris eventually played and which Variety said “calls for strong improvisational skills”.
  • Baron Cohen said the United Nations refused to let him film scenes inside the UN Headquarters and claimed they explained this by saying, “we represent a lot of dictators, and they are going to be very angry by this portrayal of them, so you can’t shoot in there.” Asked about it, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman commented by saying only, “Sacha Baron Cohen has a wonderful sense of humor.”
  • Archive news footage of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and David Cameron in the beginning of the trailer are excerpts of their 2011 speeches condemning Colonel Gaddafi.
  • Baron Cohen appeared in character on the May 5, 2012, episode of Saturday Night Live during the “Weekend Update” segment, in which he appeared to torture movie critics A. O. Scott and Roger Ebert to give the film positive reviews, as well as seemingly holding director Martin Scorsese hostage.
  • The film has been informally barred from showing in Belarus,,officially banned in Tajikistan, described as “unlikely” to be shown in Turkmenistan, and shortened to 71 minutes by the censorship in Uzbekistan.

Talking Points:

  • WTF?
  • Compared to his normal ambush style? is this better or worse?
  • Soundtrack

Critic Notes:

  • Alladeens: Sharp and smart; Pushes the envelope; Timely and brings real issues to life; Cohen is effective in putting his crazy characters into the real world
  • Alladeens: “I didn’t laugh, I didn’t care, just stared at the screen”; rhythm was off, so the comedic timing didn’t quite work; It’s crass, disgusting, and vulgar; Time for Cohen to take on a serious role

What We Learned:

  • America was built by the blacks, and is owned by the Chinese
  • Anyone not from America is an “a”-raab
  • Mac Geniuses spend most of their time cleaning semen out of laptops
  • Crocs are a symbol of a man who has given up hope.
  • An educated woman is like a monkey in rollerskates, for us it is cute to watch, but they have no idea how ridiculous they are.
  • Ben Kingsley is obviously desperate for work.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: I found a new category of movie for me. Movies I Refuse to Watch Again. This one is in that category.
Ray: I think this movie is Aladeen! :O) I love comedy that pushes the boundaries of offensive. Done wrong it can be horrible, but I think SBC manages to pound enough of a message while making us laugh at ourselves and our own social morays. If you don’t like his style of humor this is definitely not for you..or for anyone easily offended. I thought it was great though, I liked it much more than Borat or Bruno.
Steve: Truthfully, I was just bored. I love Anna Farris, but even her vacant surprise eyes throughout the entire movie didn’t do anything for me. I get what Cohen was trying to do with this, but it just didn’t resonate with me. I agree with the critics who say that they just watched it and didn’t laugh or cry…just felt “eh”.

The Future: Safety Not Guaranteed

Release: Limited release, US Date not announced

Director: Colin Trevorrow

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Jake M. Johnson, Karan Soni

Summary:

Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel.

Talking Points

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Dude, a minute into the trailer and I’m sold. Something about this just appeals to me and I’m really not sure what. Damn it for being limited release.
Ray: I thought this looked really interesting, and I hope that it comes out in wider release sometime. It seems to be getting great press and reviews!
Steve: Seems like an interesting movie. Makes me think of other movies like “The Fisher King” that helps someone “rediscover” themselves by thinking differently. Doubtful it’s really about time travel…but it’s an interesting concept. More something I’d rent than see at the theater, though.

Next Month = we kick off our annual June pride month tribute to LGBT movies for the Past

The Past:

Sordid Lives

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The Present:

The Future:

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Join Jeff, Steve, and Ray on the inaugural reel of 2012 as the boys take a jump back to 1942 and watch Casablanca, exploring all the ways that this movie has influenced popular culture. Is it worth the hype and stand the test of time? From one world war to the next, the boys jump over the Mediterranean and back into the trenches of World War 1 to discuss Spielberg’s take on the 1982 Children’s novel, War Horse. Is this trip into No Mans Land worth the price of admission? Finally from the distant past we warp into the future to look at the new trailer for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. The long anticipated return to a genre he helped define in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Is it enough to get our butts into the seat? All this and news about Akira’s development nightmare, Zombie Trilogies, and the return of the debate, to post convert or not on this 86th reel of COL Movies “Be Brave, Fear God, Honor the King”

News:

The Past: Casablanca (1942)
Rotten Tomatoes: 97% Fresh, 94% Audience

Casablanca

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Director: Michael Curtiz

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid

Trivia:

  • The Allies invaded Casablanca in real life on 8 November 1942. As the film was not due for release until spring, studio executives suggested it be changed to incorporate the invasion. Warner Bros. chief Jack L. Warner objected, as he thought that an invasion was a subject worth a whole film, not just an epilogue, and that the main story of this film demanded a pre-invasion setting. Eventually he gave in, though, and producer Hal B. Wallis prepared to shoot an epilogue where Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains hear about the invasion. However, before Rains could travel to the studio for this, David O. Selznick (whose studio owned Bergman’s contract) previewed the film and urged Warner to release it unaltered and as fast as possible. Warner agreed and the premiered in New York on November 26. It did not play in Los Angeles until its general release the following January, and hence competed against 1943 films for the Oscars.
  • Michèle Morgan asked for $55,000, but Hal B. Wallis refused to pay it when he could get Ingrid Bergman for $25,000.
  • The script was based on the unproduced play “Everybody Comes to Rick’s”. Samuel Marx of MGM wanted to offer authors (Murray Burnett and Joan Alison) $5,000 for it, but MGM boss Louis B. Mayer refused; Irene Lee of the Warner Brothers story department praised it to Jack L. Warner, who agreed to buy it for $20,000.
  • Dooley Wilson (Sam) was a professional drummer who faked playing the piano. As the music was recorded at the same time as the film, the piano playing was actually a recording of a performance by Elliot Carpenter who was playing behind a curtain but who was positioned such that Dooley could watch, and copy, his hand movements
  • Captain Renault’s line, “You like war. I like women,” was changed from “You enjoy war. I enjoy women,” in order to meet decency standards
  • Reportedly, many of the shadows were painted onto the set.
  • In the German version, the immortal line “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid”, became, “Ich seh’ Dir in die Augen, Kleines” which translates as “I look in your eyes, honey”.
  • Many of the actors who played the Nazis were in fact German Jews who had escaped from Nazi Germany
  • The letters of transit that motivate so many characters in the film did not exist in Vichy-controlled France – they are purely a plot device invented by the screenwriters.
  • In the famous scene where the “Marseillaise” is sung over the German song “Watch on the Rhine”, many of the extras had real tears in their eyes; a large number of them were actual refugees from Nazi persecution in Germany and elsewhere in Europe and were overcome by the emotions the scene brought out.
  • Casablanca, Morocco, was one of the key stops for refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe, which is why the original playwrights chose the city for the setting of their play (though initially they had opted for Lisbon)
  • Rick’s Cafe was one of the few original sets built for the film, the rest were all recycled from other Warner Brothers productions due to wartime restrictions on building supplies
  • Humphrey Bogart had to wear platform shoes to play alongside Ingrid Bergman.
  • It is never revealed why Rick cannot return to America. Julius J. Epstein later said that “My brother and I tried very hard to come up with a reason why Rick couldn’t return to America. But nothing seemed right. We finally decided not to give a reason at all.”
  • It is unclear where the line, “Here’s looking at you, kid,” originated, but it definitely predated both Casablanca and earlier stage work by Bogart. On March 9, 1932 – 10 years before Casablanca – Eddie Cantor signed his name in cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theater and wrote, “Here’s looking at you, Sid” (referring to Sid Grauman, owner of the theater). Cantor certainly meant it as a take-off on “Here’s looking at you, kid”, which evidently was a line in circulation at the time.
  • Given the extraordinary chemistry between the two leads, it’s curious that Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman never appeared in another movie together, this being their one and only joint venture.
  • No one knew right up until the filming of the last scene whether Ilsa would end up with Rick or Laszlo. During the course of the picture, when Ingrid Bergman asked director Michael Curtiz with which man her character was in love, she was told to “play it in between”. Since the ending was not the final scene shot, there are some scenes where she *was* aware of how everything would turn out, and these include the scene in the black market with Rick and the scene in the Blue Parrot where Ferrari offers the Laszlos one exit visa.
  • Ingrid Bergman considered her left side as her better side, and to the extent possible that was the side photographed throughout the film, so she is almost always on the right side of the screen looking towards the left regardless of who is in the shot with her. However, there are several shots where she is to the left and Humphrey Bogart is on the right

Talking Points:

  • All the pop culture items from this movie -
  • Play it again Sam – was never said in the movie.
  • Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” #65/100 greatest, #20 by AFI – often misquoted
  • “Round up the usual suspects” #32/100 by AFI
  • “We’ll always have Paris” #42/100 greatest movie lines.
  • “Here’s looking at you kid” #1/100 greatest movie lines. , #5 by AFI
  • “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine” #67/100
  • “I Stick my neck out for nobody” #42/100 greatest movie lines – dont recall this one being as famous
  • “As Time Goes By” #2 on AFI’s 100 years / 100 Songs.
  • AFI 100 Years lists – http://www.afi.com/100years/
  • If this was made today – In the 1980s, this film’s script was sent to readers at a number of major studios and production companies under its original title, “Everybody Comes to Rick’s”. Some readers recognized the script but most did not. Many complained that the script was “not good enough” to make a decent movie. Others gave such complaints as “too dated”, “too much dialog” and “not enough sex”.
  • A lot of the extras and actors had actually fled from Nazi Germany.

What We’ve Learned:

  • Morocco is full of vultures…vultures vultures everywhere.
  • Its ok to be a parasite, just not a cut-rate one
  • The winning side pays much better…maybe
  • Drunkard makes you a citizen of the world
  • You get much more than a penny for your thoughts in France.
  • No one is supposed to sleep well in Casablanca
  • Friends of Rick get the special discount!
  • The problems of three little people don’t mount to a hill of beans in this crazy world

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: There’s a reason this is #2 on AFI’s Top 100 movies and #3 on the 10th Anniversary Edition of the list. Brilliant story telling of the era and the acting was wonderful. Everyone should see this at least once. Some people may be turned off due to the black and white style and the acting style but it’s definitely earned it’s place on AFI’s list.
Ray: “I attempted to watch this movie once before when i was much much younger..and didn’t make it. I think now that I’m older I enjoyed this movie a lot more. I think everyone should watch or at least attempt to watch. If only for seeing where so many of these little influential pop culture things came from.
Steve: First time I’d watched this from beginning to end. I liked being able to see where some of the popular lines actually fit in with the actual movie! I liked it and actually found myself rooting for Rick.

The Present: War Horse
Rotten Tomatoes: 77% Fresh, 77% Audience

Director: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis

Trivia:

  • Steven Spielberg’s first film to be edited digitally. He has famously held onto editing traditionally, by cutting films manually on a flatbed editing table.
  • Based on both a children’s novel of the same name set during World War I, by Michael Morpurgo, first published in the United Kingdom in 1982, and the 2007 stage adaptation, also of the same name.

Talking Points:

  • The First 30 minutes or so.. too slow? or necessary
  • The “Hidden” Violence leading up to the Front.
  • The Barbed Wire scene.
  • The Private

What We Learned:

  • If you’re going to plow, you need something solid.
  • There are big days, and there are small days.
  • There aren’t words for some things.
  • It’s good to be proud, when you done something good.
  • I might hate you more, but I’ll never love you less.
  • Time spent on reconnaissance is time rarely wasted.
  • The Germans spent their time in trenches reading books and knitting sweaters.
  • The women in Italy, are not as good as the food.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: Brilliant epic and I think a return to form for Spielberg . . . in the live action sense considering he did come back to form with Tin Tin but that was animated. Definitely a worth see . . . but maybe more of a movie night at home verses the theatre, but that’s just because this isn’t my style of movie.
Ray: Beautifully shot, and if you give the movie enough time to actually engage you, it’s a pretty emotional flick, and I don’t even like horses!
Steve: OK, scenery was amazing. Story was annoying. I didn’t hate it like I thought I would, but I felt emotionally raped afterward because it was forcing an emotional response from the audience. Felt like Crash with horses.

The Future: Prometheus

Release: June 8, 2012

Director: Ridley Scott

Starring: Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson

Summary:

A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.

Trivia:

  • Was originally intended as a prequel to Ridley Scott’s Alien, but Scott decided to turn it into an original film with Noomi Rapace (who was already set to star in the prequel) still in the cast as one of five main characters. Some time later however it was confirmed that while the movie will take place in the same universe as Alien, and greatly reference that movie, it will, for the bigger part, be an original movie and not a direct prequel
  • For the role of Vickers, Charlize Theron and Angelina Jolie were considered. Theron got the role.

Talking Points:

  • Shared Alien DNA.
  • Title “Scroll”
  • Stone Edifice that look like egg chamber
  • The Space Jockey head / chair
  • Smoking acid in the space helmet
  • The Screaming sound effect
  • The ship.
  • His use of Strong Female Leads

Trailers:

Alien Trailer:

IGN Rewind:

Excitement:
Jeff: I need more. This was just a teaser and I couldn’t get off the fact that Alien was completely implied by the appearance of the title and the flash of a guy holding his helmeted head looking like he was screaming with the scream sound from the soundtrack playing. And it was only for a split second. Applause to Ridley Scott to get people excited by reminding everyone of Alien but I’m not quite buying it yet. Poo poo on this teaser, but HELL YEAH I’m seeing the movie, but not because of this teaser.
Ray: I have a raging sci fi boner for this movie….June cannot get here fast enough.
Steve: Definitely an epic looking trailer and clearly has a lot of similarities to Alien. A must see!

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Do androids dream of electric sheep? Can an identity be stolen completely in just a couple of days? Can you really solve a mystery by jumping back to the last 8 minutes of someone’s life? All this and news on this week’s COL Movies.

News:

The Past: Blade Runner (1982)

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Director: Ridley Scott

Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Howard, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos

Trivia:

  • While the film is loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, the title comes from a book by Alan Nourse called “The Bladerunner”. William S. Burroughs wrote a screenplay based on the Nourse book and a novella entitled “Blade Runner: A Movie.”Ridley Scott bought the rights to the title but not the screenplay or the book. The Burroughs composition defines a blade runner as “a person who sells illegal surgical instruments”
  • Although Philip K. Dick saw only the opening 20 minutes of footage prior to his death on March 2, 1982, he was extremely impressed, and has been quoted by Paul Sammon as saying, “It was my own interior world. They caught it perfectly.” However neither Ridley Scott nor screenwriter David Webb Peoples actually read Dick’s novel.
  • Exasperated crews often referred to the film as “Blood Runner”.
  • Titles considered for the film include ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’, ‘Android’, ‘Mechanismo’, ‘Dangerous Days’, and finally ‘Blade Runner’. After the film had changed its name from ‘Dangerous Days’ to ‘Blade Runner’, Ridley Scott decided he didn’t like the new name, and tried to call the film ‘Gotham City’, but Bob Kane (comic book creator of Batman) wouldn’t sell the rights to the name, so it returned to being called ‘Blade Runner’.
  • Originally, the novel (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) was set in 1992, although later editions brought the date forward to 2021. The film makers initially identified the date as 2020, but settled on 2019 because 2020 sounded too much like the common term for perfect vision, 20:20.
  • Ridley Scott cast Rutger Hauer in the role of Roy Batty without actually meeting the actor. He had watched his performances in Turkish Delight (1973), Keetje Tippel (1975) and Soldier of Orange (1977) and was so impressed, he cast him immediately. However, for their first meeting, Hauer decided to play a joke on Scott and he turned up wearing huge green sunglasses, pink satin pants and a white sweater with an image of a fox on the front. According to production executive Katherine Haber, when Scott saw Hauer, he literally turned white.
  • Ridley Scott actually turned down directorial duties on the project as he was about to begin work on another science fiction adaptation, Dune

Talking Points:

  • All the different versions, deleted scenes not withstanding do you feel the studio was right in insisting Ridley Scott put Harrison Ford’s voice over into the movie?
  • Theatrical Release
  • International Release
  • Directors Cut
  • Final Cut
  • Work-print
  • Was this the Inception of its day? (controversy wise, not popularity wise) Is Deckard a replicant or no? Even the cast doesn’t agree…. Scott says yes, Ford and Hauer say no.

What We’ve Learned:

  • In 8 years, Los Angeles will somehow merge into Detroit
  • In 8 years we will have flying cars
  • The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long
  • Nothing is worse than having an itch that you can never scratch
  • “It’s time to die!”
  • It sucks to only have 4 years to live.
  • Adama is good at Origami

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: A sci-fi classic. Must have for any geek.
Ray: A very cerebral sci-fi flick, I don’t think anyone has nailed sci-fi / noir quite as well as this movie. still holding up after almost 30 years!
Steve: Always an amazing movie. However…this particular cut leaves some WTF moments. All depends on which version you cherish.

The Present: Unknown

Director: Juame Collet-Serra

Starring: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aiden Quinn

Trivia:

  • Principal photography took place in early 2010 in Berlin, Germany, and in the Studio Babelsberg film studios.
  • The bridge the taxi plunges from is the Oberbaumbrücke.
  • The Friedrichstraße was blocked for several nights for the shooting of a car chase.
  • Some of the shooting was done in the Hotel Adlon. Other locations include the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin Central Station, Berlin Friedrichstraße station, Pariser Platz, Museum Island, the Oranienburger Straße in Berlin, and the Leipzig/Halle Airport.
  • According to Andrew Rona, the budget was $40 million. Dark Castle Entertainment contributed $30 million and German public film funds supported the production with €4,65 million (more than $6 million).
  • The film has received mixed to positive reviews, scoring 56% on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 5.8/10, with the general consensus being “Liam Neeson elevates the proceedings considerably, but Unknown is ultimately too derivative — and implausible — to take advantage of its intriguing premise”.
  • Considerable praise has been placed on Neeson in the lead role and the unique premise of the film, and has comparisons with Neeson’s 2008 film Taken.
    * Richard Roeper gave the film a B+, reflecting “At times, Unknown stretches plausibility to the near breaking point, but it’s so well paced and the performances are so strong and most of the questions are ultimately answered. This is a very solid thriller.”

Talking Points:

  • So.. we figured this one out a long time ago.. but there was still a twist.

What We Learned:

  • Ask enough questions and the man who is lying will change his story
  • Germans are good at forgetting
  • Sentiment is always the first thing to go.
  • Don’t get your cyanide mixed up with your afternoon tea
  • There are obviously no patrol cars anywhere in Berlin

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: It’s a movie with a nice twist and resolution. Just wish it was better written.
Ray: Not Brilliant, Not Horrible, Once I got over the whole Total Recall thing and just relaxed.. it was entertaining. actors do a good job,… there is a twist at the end if you can stay entertained long enough to stay to the end.
Steve: I was a bad, bad movie reviewer. Life got in the way… I repent!

The Future: Source Code (4-1-2011)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farminga

Trivia:

  • Topher Grace was considered for lead

Talking Points:

  • A dark version of groundhog day?

Summary:
An action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Interesting, feels like it might be a good movie, but feeling like it might go horribly wrong.
Ray: I think it looks entertaining, enough to go see.. which is why i put it on our list :D
Steve: Very Groundhog’s Day meets Quantum Leap…but with a higher budget. Looks interesting and seems like something I’d enjoy.

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