The fact that I have never watched Alien nor its beloved sequel Aliens must surely influence the fact that I do not comprehend the hate Alien:Covenant and the prequel Prometheus seem to receive on the internet.
I will make my way to the remaining two movies eventually, but I wanted to begin with what Ridley Scott said was the start, and so far I have not been disappointed. I loved the idea that the director set out to explore in Prometheus-where does humanity come from?-, and while his reach certainly exceeded his grasp, it felt good to see a million dollar blockbuster film tackle such a complex theme.
Similarly, I also enjoyed Alien:Covenant, and how it turned David (Michael Fassbender) into some sort of Wagner loving, Shelley quoting Dr. Frankenstein, pitying humankind while at the same time envying them. The creature action was certainly fun, but not as much as seeing David destroy an entire city, or seeing him teach how to play the flute to Walter (Michael Fassbender).
The problem with both of these movies is that a). they cost a pretty penny to finance, and thus b). the studio needs its money back. Had Prometheus been advertised as simply another science fiction, space exploration movie, perhaps it would have been better received by all those disappointed that it did not live up to the first two in the series, let alone even feature the famous alien. But this seems to be the current trend in Hollywood. Nothing that has no prior fan recognition can get green lit anymore, which should be immensely more troubling and depressing than a movie not featuring enough of the space monsters fans grew up with.
This far into Hollywood’s mania with superheroes, and the audiences corresponding embrace of it, it should really come as no surprise that a highly awaited sequel to a beloved space adventure turns out to coast on the goodwill from the first one, and nothing more.
And yet, why am I always disappointed?
Telling somebody that it is hard to succeed in show business is like telling them that eating uncontrollably leads to an increase in weight. This is a boring fact of life, which is why perhaps there are not that very many films on the subject matter. And the ones that do deal solely on the aspect of audition, fail, repeat until you get the lucky break. La La Land had a nice twist on this aspect, although the resolution was similar to all others.
But what happens when you audition and luck never comes your way? What happens when you pour your heart, soul and savings into your dream, but all you get is rejection?
Don’t Think Twice is beautiful in its insight-funny and painful, sometimes at the same time-because it recognizes that some of us will simply not make the cut in the end. In a culture in which everybody gets a participation trophy, it not only feels refreshing, but honest.
I am tired of the end of the world.
Trailer after trailer promise scenes of destruction on a more massive scale than the previous blockbuster, each escalating the threat on humanity, and beg the audience to pay 10 bucks to witness their extinction up on the big screen. When I watched the trailer for Arrival I was immediately put off. I only went into the cinema because my friend invited me, as he usually does. Except this time we were not going to see a superhero movie or a generic action picture, as is the case. He had watched the same trailer as me, and while I had decided I’d had enough of alien invasion flicks, he wanted to see some aliens invade the planet again.
Two hours after the movie began, I remained on my seat, jaw wide open, enthralled at what I had just witnessed.
If I left Doctor Strange disillusioned with the prospects of current Hollywood, Arrival was the shot of adrenaline my heart needed to bring me back to life and believe in the sheer beauty of cinema.
If Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color is not the best picture I have ever seen, it is certainly up there in the pantheon of spectacular, once in a lifetime cinematic experiences.
I watched Upstream Color two years ago and it placed first on my end of the year Favorite list, flanked by We Are What We Are and Barry Lyndon.
And tonight, I watched Carruth’s first movie experiment: the time travel discourse Primer.
While not as endlessly fascinating as Upstream Color (but then again, what movie is?), Primer possesses and makes use of such intelligence that my intellect felt invigorated even as it struggled to keep track of every curve and turn the plot goes into.
It is safe to say I did not comprehend everything that appeared on screen, or those that were implied off for that matter.
Yet, even though I could not step up to the challenge the movie presented me with, I welcomed it gladly, because how many movies think that highly of the audience that they do not feel the need to hold your hand through the whole ordeal?
I do not really have a favorite director, actor or producer, but if I were to decide, I would say that I have nothing but profound admiration for Shane Carruth. Here is a director/writer/producer/photographer/editor/musician whom I really, really wish would put out a movie every other year, instead of the usual decade he seems to take.
How many more movies directed by Shane Carruth will the world be able to see? Or have we already seen the last of him, and cinema history will have to do with a mere two entries into its annals?
Nobody knows, but here’s hoping we at at least get one more.
Hollywood will be a richer place for it.