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Entries in Ridley Scott (17)


Familiar Faces: The Ridley Scott Players... do any exist?

Ridley & Giannina on the red carpet last yearThe Film Experience recently had the chance to sit down with director Ridley Scott, currently enjoying one of the warmest receptions (great box office and reviews, of his career, for The Martian. We'll share that interview later in the season but here's one detail up for discussion right now that you won't get elsewhere.

We've always been fascinated at The Film Experience by the familiar faces that pop up in the filmographies of famous auteurs. The average moviegoer knows, for example, that De Niro and DiCaprio are Scorsese pets and that Tim Burton has trouble leaving his bed if it doesn't involve putting a camera and weird makeup and Johnny Depp. But do we really think of any particular faces when we think of Ridley Scott? His tightest collaborations are behind the scenes. The editor Pietro Scalia, and the production designer Arthur Max, both of whom he started working with on G.I. Jane (1997) have worked on most if not all of his films since that Demi Moore military pic. Costume Designer Janty Yates won an Oscar for their first collaboration on Gladiator and she's costumed nearly ever picture since. Ridley's cinematographer of choice at present is Darius Wolski who has shot every feature since Prometheus (2012) but he switches DPs from time to time. He switches casting directors even more regularly which could also contribute to the lack of "familiar faces" that we like to point out in this intermittent series of course. 

I asked him about this in our interview and he quickly cited his most well known collaborations (Russell Crowe and Sigourney Weaver) but shrugged the lack of general repetition off, diplomatically, as a matter of timing. If he made smaller pictures, he explained, he'd jump at the chance to work with actors he enjoyed the first time around again. Before we switched topics he name-checked Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender as happy repeats. Perhaps as a result of the scarcity of examples, any repetition of actors in his filmography feels like something of a happy accident to we moviegoers rather than an intentional choice. 

Let's look at Ridley's repeat actors after the jump... who would you like to see him work with again? 

Click to read more ...


Yes/No/Maybe So: The Martian

Manuel here to talk space trailers. It’s been a week since the trailer for Ridley Scott’s latest project about Matt Damon getting stranded in Mars dropped, and we have been mum about it here at TFE. Is it because we have no Fassy to look forward to this time around? Or because we prefer our Scott vehicles better when they involve a certain Ms Weaver? The Martian centers on Watney (Damon), an astronau that finds himself stranded in the red planet when a NASA mission is forced to quickly retreat. Alone, unable to contact Earth and armed only with a month's worth of food, he sets out to survive in a planet where, as he says in the trailer, nothing grows. Will his science-know how keep him alive long enough for him to call for help and wait for his team to rescue him from Mars? We'll have to wait until November to find out! 

In the meantime, let's break down the trailer in true TFE-fashion:


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Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings

Michael C here to look at an embattled new wide release. 

Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings is so dead in the water, so consistently baffling in its choices, that it is difficult to know where to begin. How about the simple fact that when one is adapting the Old Testament there is no getting around God? 

Gods and Kings doesn’t go so far as to omit God altogether. The Lord is present (sort of) in the form of a petulant eight-year old child who first appears from behind the burning bush to issue vague marching orders to Moses. What Scott and his quartet of screenwriters do attempt is an end-run around the almighty in the form of an ill-considered attempt to wedge the Book of Exodus into the Batman Begins mold where all the miraculous events are brought down to Earth with realistic explanations, or at least semi-plausible interpretations.

Is God really talking to Moses or is Moses talking to himself because his exile knocked a screw loose? Does God intervene at the Red Sea or did the Jews get lucky with a fortuitous low tide? [more...]

Click to read more ...


Linkman & Emmywoman

First Things First: at Movie City News the "Gurus of Gold" have begun (yes, I'm a part of it again) and as David Poland points out there are seven films that made almost every list: Birdman, Gone Girl, Boyhood, and Unbroken tied at 1st place with Foxcatcher, Selma, and Interstellar just behind themMost pundits are feeling these as Best Picture threats. Look at the whole chart though to see how everything fared. The highest ranking films that were not on my list (we were asked to submit 15 films) are Wild and Inherent Vice

Birdman Flies
Early rave reviews at the Venice Film Festival from The TelegraphVariety and THR and a couple positive but not ecstatic reviews from The Guardian and The Film Stage are up and surely bode well for the film.  I'm holding off on reading them as I want the movie fresh when I see it. But others may want to dive right in.

Anger Making
Yahoo talks to Tyler Perry. The Madea franchise star/director claims he didn't know who David Fincher was when he signed on to Gone Girl and he wouldn't have done it if he knew how "mainstream" he was. What the F'in hell? Yes, Tyler Perry a bastion of "edgy" cinema. He's also been a voting member of the Director's branch of the Academy since 2009 which means he's been asked to judge and vote on Fincher's work twice. Way to be a conscientous voter!

Other Linkage
The Playlist 10 overlooked greats from the 1970s. I gladly support the inclusion of Girlfriends (1978) but I haven't seen the others
HitFix Deborah Ann Woll talks about moving on to Daredevil and the difficulty of leaving True Blood's Jessica behind
Pajiba Ridley Scott is 76 years-old but his plate is super full. How many more films is he planning to make exactly? 
Cinematically Insane will layoffs and monetization at Turner Broadcasting affect TCM? 
My New Plaid Pants Superman takes the ice bucket challenge 
The Dissolve Mike D'Angelo looks back at "Best Actress" of 1989 -- we all know that shoulda been Michelle Pfeiffer but others are discussed, too. 
VF Neil Marshall (The Descent) wants to direct a Black Widow movie. Also talks Game of Thrones

Emmy Hangover
The Nib Liza Donnelly's caricatures from the evening 
Pajiba's liveblog with Courtney Enlow icymi
We Recycle Movie's "lateblog" with Anne Marie and Margaret 
Towleroad icymi it on Emmy night, Billy on the Street's Emmy dash was the most hilarious of few hilarious things that night 
Showtracker wonders if Game of Thrones can rise in Emmy estimation with Breaking Bad moving out of the way 
Salon what the Emmys revealed about the broadcast vs cable war on television 

Vulture Mark Harris has a long read on "The Making of Foxcatcher" - so much Mark Harris to read. (I'm reading "Five Came Back" very slowly because I am learning so much about late 30s/early 40s Hollywood on every page.)
Funny Or Die Mark Duplass and Ted Danson go to couples therapy over Prince's Purple Rain suit

Fun Interview
Assignment X talks to one of our favorite British thespians, Olivia Williams about her new series, films (very briefly), makes fun of her own accent work and this, my favorite part, on her stellar role in Joss Whedon's Dollhouse:

Joss legendarily starts to adapt your character as the series goes on to how you really are, and I started off as sort of a calculating bitch and ended up being rather motherly and a bit of an alcoholic, and I can’t think where he got that from.




My Favorite Moment in the "Exodus" Teaser

New Policy. Though The Film Experience invariably prefers teasers to full trailers on account of our spoiler aversion our Yes No Maybe So is one of our most popular features. So herewith we shall always do Yes No Maybe Sos on only the teaser for films we very much want to see and don't want spoiled and we'll just skip the trailers altogether (I am so grateful I did with Snowpiercer). Other films, we'll wait on the full trailer to do our full duty... especially those movies that were spoiled centuries ago like Exodus: Gods and Kings. 

 FYI for those of you who haven't read it, the Bible is full of spoilers. It's practically a reality TV show it's so fond of telling you what's coming up next and then what just happened recapping. [More...]

Click to read more ...


Box Office: The Right Country For Old Men

It's Amir here, bringing you the latest box office report. Here's a pop quiz for you dear readers: when was the last time that the top film in both wide and limited releases revolved around an old man on a journey to overcome ridiculously difficult obstacles? By my estimation, it was never. On the face of it, saving one's life from the clutches of the sea and saving one's testicles from a vending machine may seem entirely different but both struggles appealed to their audience this weekend nonetheless. Bad Grandpa coasted on the Jackass brand to dethrone Gravity from the top spot, though if we were thinking Alfonso Cuaron's film is going away, we were proven wrong emphatically.

01 BAD GRANDPA $32 *new* 
02 GRAVITY $20.3 (cum. $199.8) Sandy B & Review
03 CAPTAIN PHILLIPS $11.8 (cum. $70) Podcast & Hanks For All Ages
04 THE COUNSELOR $8 *new*  Podcast 
05 CLOUDY WITH CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 $6.1 (cum. $100.6)
06 CARRIE $5.9  (cum. $26)
07 ESCAPE PLAN $4.3 (cum. $17.4)
08 12 YEARS A SLAVE $2.1 (cum. $3.4) Slavery in Cinema & Podcast
09 ENOUGH SAID $1.5 (cum. $13) Podcast
10 PRISONERS $1 (cum. $59.1) Podcast & Review

Gravity has now earned twice its production budget, is in the top ten grossers of the year, and with $250m well within reach, should remain there when all is said and done. Fellow Oscar hopeful Captain Phillips is also enjoying high times as it keeps trailing Gravity. The Tom Hanks vehicle is following the footsteps of similar prestige October releases that were gunning for the awards season in previous years - the likes of Argo, Ides of March and to a lesser extent The Social Network - and is doing better than all of them at this point in their runs. That's gotta count for something with the voters. And while we're on the topic of awards, let's have a round of applause for 12 Years a Slave. Steve McQueen's film entered the top ten and also had the highest per screen average of any film this weekend, with the exception of one French lesbian epic.

The elephant in the room, and the most interesting question of the weekend, is The Counselor. For several reasons - "stars" that aren't really stars in box office terms, a weak marketing campaign, terrible reviews, etc. - expectations were low for this crime thriller. Unfortunately for 20th Century Fox, the numbers did not exceed those projections, which brings up the question: has Ridley Scott finally lost his mojo completely? Depending on how you define critical and box office success, it can be argued that only two of his films have managed to perform well in both regards this side of the century: Gladiator and American Gangster. In incredibly simplified terms, let's assume that a director's box office cache can be gauged by how excited his name can get the public at large. Does anyone really get excited for another Scott film anymore? I certainly hope there's another Alien in him, but the signs are becoming fewer with each film.

01 ALL IS LOST $.5 *new* (cum. $.6) Podcast & Review
02 WADJDA $.1 (cum. $.9) Foreign Film Oscar Predictions
03 BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR $.1 *new* controversies
04 INEQUALITY FOR ALL $.08 (cum. $.9)

Finally, at the specialty box office, Blue Is the Warmest Color managed a respectable $100k on only four screens. With all the controversies surrounding the film's production and given the fact that those four screens are located in cities where audiences care about such things as Palme d'Ors, I have to say I was expecting better, but it was always going to be an uphill climb. My beloved Wadjda - it's one of the best films of the year; go see it! - is slowly reaching the million dollar threshold. Meanwhile, Metallica Through the Never, a film that a grand total of three people have ever talked about has inexplicably grossed more than $3.4m. Metallica are still a thing apparently. Good for them! Rock on! Have you seen their film? What did you see this weekend?


Today's Watch: "The Counselor"

We don't do "yes no maybe so"s for teasers (and I realize we're behind on a couple juicy trailers) but here's the new tease going around for a legal drama (? & zzz) with an all star cast (drool) directed by the still unOscared Ridley Scott (yay... sort of). Do you think this'll win Oscar traction this year or just drama for the multiplexes? What'cha think?

A delicious collection of actors at least, right? So let's do an impromptu poll!