Sunday, 27 July 2014

Aliens Double Bill

Perhaps Aberdeen is not the centre of the cultural universe, but as long as the excellent Belmont Filmhouse keeps putting on events and screenings of classic films, then I'll be happy.  My cinema going isn't as frequent as it used to be, but in recent years I've enjoyed an Indiana Jones double bill, Metropolis, Nosferatu, Labyrinth, The Thing, Robocop, Tron, The Big Lebowski Wii ten pin bowling night and now an Aliens double bill.

When I first saw the advert for the event, there was nothing that was going to stop me going.  I've seen Alien before on the big screen, I think it was on the 25th anniversary (I was only 3 when it was first released); but I've never seen Aliens in large format.

Needless to say, both films were utterly brilliant; seeing them on the big screen shows up a level of detail that is lost on TV, and in Aliens in particular the practical effects look tremendous.  The sound design in Aliens (that freaked me out so much playing AVP on the PC in the dark) is superb and so atmospheric at volume, as is James Horner's score.  Being part of an audience who are all fans enhances the viewing; there is almost palpable excitement as the Alien logos come up on the screen (sublimely understated), and a lot of humour that is lost when viewed at home suddenly works like you're seeing it for the first time.

Of course this was an event as much as a showing of two amazing films, and as such was a great success.  Posters and T-shirts had been kindly provided by the excellent Last Exit to Nowhere, and before each film, Dallas (Marketing and Events manager at The Belmont - not actually beardy Tom Skerrit) asked Alien-related questions handing out Alien Kinder eggs as prizes.

Having simply worn a dressing gown and sandals to the Big Lebowski night, I thought I'd make more of an effort this time, and through a combination of old clothes, charity shops and eBay, I thought that I came up with a fairly convincing Brett costume.

Dallas (centre, complete with chestburster) thought so too, and I am very thankful for my complimentary Filmhouse tickets and my Blu-Ray boxed set of the 4 Alien movies + Prometheus prize.

Brilliant event, a great time had by all, and I'm looking forward to the Back to the Future Trilogy.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Top Gun (1986)

During our stay in Lawers this year, amid glorious weather we went to the excellent Birks of Aberfeldy cinema.  A brilliant and very friendly community-owned cinema.  There was no real question of what we wanted to see: having never seen it on the big screen Top Gun was the obvious choice.

There is little I can really say about Tony Scott's classic tale of fast planes, fast living and homo-eroticism.  Sure I could mention the fantastic cast featuring Tom Skerrit, Daryl Revok Michael Ironside, Mr Strickland James Tolkan as well as the up and coming Tom Cruise.  Or I could mention how great the aerial photography is, and how amazing the soundtrack is (it won Academy, Golden Globe and BRIT awards).  I could also witter on about the excellent pairing of Anthony Edwards and Tom Cruise, and how they play perfectly off each other; as well as how quotable the whole film is. But I thought I'd be lazy and simply embed the Facebook conversation I started just after we seen it.  So without further ado, here it is.

For all the realism of the movie, I can't help but think that Goose's polaroid of the MIG wasn't quite as good as this selfie:

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Forbidden Planet (1956)

The central premise of Forbidden Planet, that there is a darkness in all of us, lends itself perfectly to Sci-Fi; but for all the excellent sets and realised alien landscapes, I thought that I would have been more whelmed!

It was not the ravages of time that got to me (though it was particularly un-dynamic the way everyone shot at the Disney-rendered monster), rather that I just didn't buy the key relationship.  Of course Robbie the Robot is the real star of the show, his whirring and blooping is completely brilliant and the real stuff of Sci-Fi legend.  Walter Pidgeon is good as the stand-offish Dr Morbius and Anne Francis is suitably naive and uninhibited as Altaira.  An unrecognisable Leslie Nielsen is uncharismatic as Commander Adams, and it is the relationship between him and Altaira that just wasn't believable.  And that's rather crucial in terms of plot resolution.

This, and a rather ponderous tour of some excellent Krell technology means that Forbidden Planet fell short in my expectations of this cult classic.  But, well, you know, that’s just, like, er, my opinion, man.