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.
- Dr. House to be in Robocop!
- Valve software getting into the movie business?
- Rian Johnson’s opinions on 3D
- Rian Johnson’s Tumblr Post
The Past: Small Town Gay Bar
Rotten Tomatoes: No Score; 66% Audience
Director: Malcolm Ingram
Featuring: Jim Bishop, Terry Capps, Jackie Cox
- 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.
- Rumors is apparently still operating, Different Seasons closed in Spring 2008
- Did you watch the “trailer”?
- Fred Phelps
- 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:
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
- 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.
- What you expected?
- Lots of plot holes
- Definitely not a direct lead into Alien.
- The Space Jesus theory
- Did your theaters get huge (uncomfortable) laughs when the alien worms went into the mouths of the crew members?
- 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.
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
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.
- 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
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.