Just Announced: Redford as Rather and Another Biblical Epic from Ridley Scott

Posted on July 12, 2014 at 8:00 am

Two intriguing new announcements about upcoming films:

As the first trailer for his Moses epic is released, starring Christian Bale (and a lot of other actors who are not of Middle Eastern ethnicity), Ridley Scott has announced that he will also be making another Biblical epic, this one about David.

And Robert Redford will play CBS newsman Dan Rather in “Truth,” the story of the disastrous presentation of a story about President Bush’s military service that turned out to be based on falsified documents.  Cate Blanchett has been cast as Rather’s producer, Mary Mapes.

Related Tags:

 

Behind the Scenes In Production

Prometheus

Posted on June 7, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Is it possible that all of the elements of life on earth, from the protozoa to the human, were the gift of god-like creatures who came to a barren planet to create us in their image? And that they stayed long enough to teach our prehistoric ancestors, leaving evidence behind in cave drawings that date back 35,000 years, seven times as far from the present as we are from the earliest days of the Old Testament?  Hard to say.

On the other hand, it is not hard to see the evidence of the DNA building blocks in this film that trace directly back to its predecessors, the Aliens “In space no one can hear you scream” series.  It wavers at times between enthralling variations on the themes of the originals and over-reliance on repeating and reinforcing them.

One of those building blocks is stunning visuals and it is a tribute to the earlier films (which take place after this one) that the special effects and design were were so prescient that the connection feels seamless.  This is not like those early “Star Trek” episodes where the computers look like shoeboxes with blinking lights.  Scott is meticulous about making sure that all of the technology in his films looks both amazing and believable and the visuals here are enthralling.  The rolling 3D probes feel as immediately real and indispensable as Dekard’s then-not-yet-invented scalable computer display.

“Prometheus” is the name of the spaceship that is taking a crew in search of the very origins of life on earth.  Archeologists have decoded ancient pictures (like the Chauvet cave paintings documented in Cave of Forgotten Dreams).  They believe it is an “invitation” to find the beings who brought the original genetic building blocks to our planet.  A monumentally wealthy man who is very old (Guy Pearce) funded the voyage, knowing he would not live to see the results.  The expedition is led by the fiercely disciplined Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), who lives in Captain Nemo-like luxury quarters while the scientists on board sleep their way through space travel.  As they approach the target planet, they are awakened and prepare to land.

The archeologists are thoughtful seeker Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace of the Swedish “Dragon Tattoo” movies) and excitable, impetuous Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green of “Dark Blue”), who are a couple.  Along for the expedition are some other scientists you don’t have to worry about getting to know very well and an all-knowing and extremely polite and handsome android named David (a well-cast Michael Fassbender) who seems like a combination of Data, C-3PO, and the “Danger, Will Robinson” robot from “Lost in Space.”  The captain of the ship, Janek (“The Wire’s” Idris Elba) has a different mission from the others.  They are seeking what is out there.  He is there to make sure nothing gets back to earth that could be destructive.

Interruption for an important safety tip: no matter what your instrument readings tell you and how excited you are, when you are exploring a new planet, keep your helmet on.

Things are exciting, things are promising, and then things start to go very, very wrong.  As in previous Scott films, we end up with a woman in her underwear being chased by something pretty appalling.  And the call is, if you know what I mean, coming from inside the house.

Scott and his screenwriters, Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof, are not afraid to take on the big, big questions, and this movie gets credit for making room for Shaw’s insistence on wearing a crucifix despite Holloway’s claim that what they have found invalidates her faith.  “It’s what I choose to believe,” her father tells her about heaven in a flashback.  The movie leaves some questions open (wait until the very end of the credits for an enigmatic clue relating to “Alien”), but the answers it does give are disappointingly superficial and a little silly.  (See point about helmets above.)  Instead of Prometheus (the Greek mythological figure who was thought to have created man from clay and stolen fire from the gods to give to humans), they could have just named the spaceship “The Hubris.”  But without some audacity, no big undertaking would ever be attempted and this one succeeds in so many categories that the suggestion that another chapter is to come allows us to hope it will be as good as “Aliens.”

(more…)

Related Tags:

 

Action/Adventure Science-Fiction Series/Sequel

‘The Good Wife’s’ Promising Newcomer: Mamie Gummer

Posted on October 25, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Mamie-Gummer.jpg“The Good Wife” has engrossing drama, fascinating characters, glossy production values, and superb performers. Recently making her second appearance on the show as attorney Nancy Crozier is an exceptional young actress named Mamie Gummer. Nancy Crozier likes to appear charmingly naive but she is calculating and ruthless. Gummer makes her complicated and believable, a type we have all met yet a distinctive and very particular character.
Gummer learned a lot from her mother, Meryl Streep, but has really come into her own as a performer and not coincidentally, resembles her mother less with each new role. I am delighted to hear that she will be a regular on “Off the Map,” a new medical series from “Grey’s Anatomy’s” Shondra Rimes, scheduled to begin in the mid-season.

Related Tags:

 

Actors Breakthrough Perfomers Television
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2024, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at Rogerebert.com, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik