Alien: Covenant is out today. Directed by Ridley Scott this is a prequel to 1979’s Alien, and 1979 was a vastly different time to today. Today film trailers force feed you the same stuff as all trailers are the same…
1979 was a different world. Computers were the size of a room, flares were still being worn without the aid of drugs and beige was the colour of choice of parents of all schoolchildren in the UK. Film trailers were different too and in Alien’s case, it produced one of the greatest trailers for a film I’ve ever seen.
Brilliant isn’t it.
Mulllholland Drive is one of the best films of this century and arguably David Lynch’s best film. With the return of Twin Peaks in May, it’s worth looking back at what Mullholland Drive as before the film which was a TV pilot which was never broadcast but one of the great things about the internet is that very little stays hidden from it. The unbroadcast pilot is on YouTube and it’s a very odd affair if you’re familiar with the film as although much of it makes up most of the first half of the film there’s enough differences to make this a very essential bit of viewing for Lynch fans.
I always wanted to write a romantic comedy called Godzilla in Love which would feature Godzilla (metaphor for the nuclear bomb and large Japanese monster famous for smashing up Tokyo and being played by men in rubber suits) falling in love with the girl of his dreams, only to be thwarted by the massive differences in scales, Godzilla’s lack of observable genitalia and the fact he fell in love with a vegan while Godzilla would do anything for love, but he’d not give up eating buildings full of meaty people.
Sadly it never developed beyond this initial idea and I don’t think anyone barring myself would want to watch a film where a foppish Hugh Grant-esque radioactive monster sings Partridge Family songs to the girl of his dreams while raining down radioactive fire on Notting Hill. Though radioactive fire raining down on Notting Hill might at least cull the media class down a notch or two.
This all comes to mind as today is Valentine’s Day; the one day where men of all ages fight to the death in Lidl trying to get the last bunch of lilting lilies for their partner. You’ve not lived til you’ve seen someone beaten to death with a Findus roast beef frozen dinner for two and a bottle of £0.99 cava, and today is the day where dreams are barely lived up to and card manufacturers end up choking to death on Everest-sized piles of cocaine.
So today cast a thought for all those Godzilla’s out there with their city smashing antics and lack of discernable genitalia.They need love too. Perhaps one day I’ll get my shit together and write about it?
No, I’m not cheering on the actual historical atrocity, I’m talking about the excellent 1964 film, Culloden, made by Peter Watkins who made one of my top ten ever films, Punishment Park.
Made 53 years ago for the BBC, looking at it now it looks as if it could have been made today as in style, as well as tone, it seems fresh and at the time was hugely adventurous in presenting the battle of Culloden in a docudrama style which at the time wasn’t even a genre of film-making. As a film, Culloden is a flawless gem. As a piece of history it follows the account of the battle by the historian John Prebble making it as accurate (though Prebble is accused of himself missing out facts to support his point of view) as possible which when talking about a battle which even today is shrouded in myth and lies, is some achievement.
So, here’s 70 minutes of groundbreaking television.
John Hurt has passed away, and the world is a wee bit darker today. I’m not going to go on as there’s better than me doing tributes for the man, but this is a little tour through what Hurt meant to me.
I first saw him as a kid in the superb I, Claudius, and I think at that point he became an actor who I deeply admired and over the years from there even as a young lad often unable to get into see his films I tried to keep up with his work but the man was prolific. It was however Alien that cemented Hurt in my mind forever in a scene that’s a classic in horror cinema.
From there Hurt seemed to pop up everywhere from the splendid Elephant Man, to even taking the piss out if his death in Alien in Mel Brooks Spaceballs.
Hurt dabbled with science fiction often his role as Winston Smith in 1984 is for me, utterly perfect, and although he ended up doing stuff like Harry Potter and Doctor Who, this just showed how astonishingly a versatile actor he was.
So cheerio to John Hurt, we quite literally will never see another like him again.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is the bastard child of the Indiana Jones series of films as it’s the film where creators George Lucas and Steven Spielberg were in exceptionally dark places personally which poured over into their work. In the case of Temple of Doom, it resulted in a film more influenced by the films of Lucio Fulci and Cannibal Holocaust ( tell me there isn’t some influence on Temple of Doom) than the bright adventure serials of their youth.
As you’d imagine Temple of Doom suffered heavy censorship on both sides of the Atlantic, and the film (as far as I know) has never been shown uncut on British television. Cutting Edge is a series of splendid YouTube documentaries outlining censorship in a number of films and it really deserves more views than it currently gets. Their episode on Temple of Doom is one of the most exhaustive, and best, examples of what they do. Their work really is wonderful and I recommend once you’ve watched this to go through their channel and see their other films as this sort of archive is essential for film fans interested in censorship.
Blade Runner is my favourite film of all time. Well, most of the time, but regardless the film I’ve loved ever since seeing it at the old ABC cinema in Glasgow in 1982. I’ve given up even thinking about how many times I’ve seen it over the decades, fuck, I even had an old VHS tape break on me that I played it so often back in the day.
A sequel has been thrown around for years, and now we’ve got a trailer for it. It’s actually real which as someone who thought it’d never, ever happen. Ridley Scott won’t be directing this time, he’s just producing. The director this time is Denis Villenuve, currently on a high with Arrival, and stars Ryan Gosling with a grizzled Harrison Ford returning to croak and look generally grizzled.
The trailer doesn’t give much away. It does look good, but until we get an idea of plot this is our first taste of what’s coming next year.