Greetings programs, and welcome to a special episode of the podcast. This week we’re doing something a little different and taking a look at three versions of the same film. 1951’s The Thing From Another World, 1982’s John Carpenter directed horror classic The Thing, and the 2011 remake/prequel thereof, also titled The Thing.
There’s no one moment that will let you know that The Green Knight is going to be something special. It is apparent from the beginning that you are about to watch something excellent, both the production design and casting tell you that, but it’s not until nearly in the second half that you may realize you’re watching something truly great.
A knightly quest, and a chivalric romance, The Green Knight is a film that has so many questions and diversions that it could have been a mess, but instead is one of the most purposeful and human films of the year, and one of the best, too.
Hot on the heels of the terrible posters here’s the trailer for Ridley Scott’s Ridley Scott Epic Slow Burn Thinking Mans Biblical Action Movie.
Wow. These are Awful. I mean just look at the poster above. Awkward poses. Black with gold detail. Over the top makeup. These seriously look like the ads you see when you’re flipping through the first million pages of an issue of Vanity Fair looking for some actual content. That’s not a good thing, in case I wasn’t clear.
Setting aside, for now, the issue of Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton (English and Australian, respectively) being cast to play characters who in all likelihood weren’t white, they just look terrible. Also, I dunno if it’s the lack of hair, the makeup, or what, but I’ve seen several images of Joel Edgerton in this movie and didn’t recognize him until someone pointed out that it was him to me. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but there it is. Hit the jump for two more posters.
I feel like Baz Luhrman has the potential to be an amazing film maker. He has a strong and distinct artistic and aesthetic voice, he can get Oscar calibre performances out of the actors cast in his his films and his films are often entertaining (except for Australia, which was boring).
Luckily The Great Gatsby is one of the entertaining ones, but as with his Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge I came away thinking “that was pretty fun!” But feeling like something was missing.
Another of my most anticipated of the year get a new trailer.
I really like the shift in this one. All the other trailers have been about the partying and the excess and this one is about the character relationships and the passions therein. Baz Luhrman certainly has a visual flare, I’m hoping that it’s not quite over the top. I’d hate so see this movie end up hampered by cheesiness, but I think it might work really well if it’s just cheezy enough.
I’m also really digging the Back in Black cover by Beyonce.
This one comes out next month right in between Iron Man and Star Trek. May is going to be a good month.
Zero Dark Thirty might seem like it’s come and gone already, but since it finally came out in wide release this past weekend, I finally had a chance to see it. It seems like the best place to start is the beginning, so let us start there.
A few years ago, Kathryn Bigelow was developing a movie about the search for Osama bin Laden. To that point, he had eluded all efforts to find him, and the film was meant to end at the [Battle of Tora Bora](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tora_Bora “Battle of Tora Bora on Wikipedia”) where they had thought he was hiding, but ultimately they failed to find him.
The film was meant to end on an ambiguous note, sort of a “what do we do now?” type feel, but one day, the world found out that US Special Forces killed Osama bin Laden. Interestingly, the film wasn’t reworked that much, wasn’t turned into propaganda “America, FUCK YEAH!” movie.
And the result is pretty spectacular.
Zero Dark Thirty is a spy film but not what you’d normally expect from a spy film because the main character, Maya, isn’t jumping from rooftop to rooftop or saving the world from a mad man or ferreting out a mole; she’s diligently and tirelessly searching for a single man, using all the resources available to her.
As if we needed reminding of the situation, the film starts with a black screen with radio communications playing from 11th September 2001, something I found particularly effective. I’m not American, but I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when it all went down, as I expect all of you do as well.
The film then plays out the entire ten-year search in its gritty, gruelling and bureaucratic detail, spearheaded by Maya.
To say it’s an effective movie would be the understatement of the year. Simultaneously showing what they had to do, including torture, groundwork, and long sleepless nights, shows the toll on us all through Maya and Jessica Chastain weathers it like a champ. She’s already won a Golden Globe for the role, and she deserves her Oscar nod more than anyone else I’ve seen so far for the upcoming ceremony. But, make no mistake; the Oscar is hers to lose.
Everything in this film is utterly compelling. When we finally get to the final act of the raid on bin Laden’s compound by Navy Seals, the idea that realistic military tactics and execution thereof isn’t filmable in a meaningful way is shown to be false. In fact, any time anyone says this to you from now on, tell them to watch Zero Dark Thirty.
This film deserves to win all the awards it’s nominated for. It probably won’t win them all, but it should, and in addition to everything above, because it tells us what happened but doesn’t tell us how we should feel about it. The torture and humiliation is on screen, but there’s no heavy-handed speech about how it’s terrible but necessary or how it is destroying the country’s soul or any of that. Just, here it is, feel how you feel.
That, in and of itself with such talked about yet delicate subject matter, is a pretty major achievement.