But there’s more.
In fact, when you measure Scott’s entire career, you see that he’s dedicated his craft to tell all kinds of stories. Big and small, war-torn and love-ravaged. There’s simply no topic Ridley Scott is shy of tackling. Over the years, Scott’s dedication for reinvention has made way for a number of substandard films. When making such large genre leaps from picture to picture, missteps are bound to occur. But thankfully, Scott will always be remembered for his achievements. Those genre-bending masterpieces that continue to change the game.
Feraud simply can’t let it go, so he constantly antagonizes d’Hubert into battle. The two stalemate competitors engage in many duels over the years, before an extended and thrilling climax finally puts the duels to rest.
The story is an interesting concept, both Keitel and Carradine put in great work, and the photography is stunning, but I can’t say I’ll have a need to rewatch the film anytime soon. Either way, it’s always a pleasure to trace back to the start of a great career, and explore hints of the genius that was to follow. B
I’ve always felt that James Cameron’s follow-up, Aliens, was a superb sci-fi action film, while Alien is a superb science fiction suspense film. The argument of which is better is best debated by dedicated sci-fi enthusiasts. Me? I’m just a sucker for the slow burn. A+
Blade Runner (1982)
So, while preparing this post, I faced a dilemma. Do I review the original 1982 version, the 2007 Final Cut version, or another version entirely? I opted for the original, and shortly after I began my DVD, I read the back cover and realized I owned the 1992 Director’s Cut. I’ve never even seen the damn 1982 version. So I watched the 1992 Director’s Cut and the 2007 Final Cut back to back, and my thoughts on the film stayed more or less the same. My conclusion: while I appreciate Scott’s steadfast dedication to delivering the Blade Runner he always envisioned, it’s really the heart of the thing that matters. And this film’s cynical, gloomy, hellish heart is as in tact as it has always been. A
Lili, along with the unicorns, are soon captured by goblins, and Jack travels to the demon’s darkness to find her. Highlights of the film include incredibly detailed production value, believable demon make-up (is that really Tim Curry under there?), and, well, that’s about it. Legend is an ordinary children’s fairy tale illustrated by a master, but executed dully. It’s the kind of tale you can tell your kid in the 10 minutes it takes them to fall asleep. Problem is, Scott stretches it out for two painstakingly long hours. C-
Someone to Watch Over Me (1987)
Black Rain (1989)
Thelma & Louise (1991)
Assurance that proved true. The film never plays like a timid man making a female-empowered film. It drifts along with the confidence and exactness of Scott’s best work. Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis have simply never been better (and are largely responsible for how effective the film is) while Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Brad Pitt and a never-better Christopher McDonald deliver pitch perfect, supporting roles that never falter. I emphasized the word supporting there because it is crucial to note that Thelma & Louise is a film dominated by women. The fact that one of cinema’s manliest men helmed it only adds to the film’s charm. A+
1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)
1492 is a solid technical achievement, which is a kind way of saying it looks pleasing and sounds good. I see where the $47 million went to make it, but I can also see why the film only grossed $7.1 million. I actually hadn’t watched 1492 before this post, and it was exactly the kind of movie I thought it was going to be. Which was rather unfortunate. C-
White Squall (1996)
During these early scenes, White Squall is an effective drama of adolescent angst, and man’s continual desire to break through it. And while the title storm presents a thrilling and devastating sequence, the film quickly bogs itself down with cheap melodrama. It’s still a fine effort, but I wish Scott had cut out a little sooner. B
G.I. Jane (1997)
“The ebb and flow of the Atlantic tides. The drift of the continents. The very position of the sun along its ecliptic. These are just some of the things I control in my world,” Mortensen’s Command Master Chief says during his introductory scene. And I just goddamn love it. B+
Black Hawk Down (2001)
Every member of the film’s eclectic cast is perfect; they portray fear, confidence, angst and terror with appropriate specificity. The movie is violent because it has to be, politically accepting because it wants to be, and thrilling because it needs to be. The extended action scenes may be the finest Scott has ever put on screen, as cinematographer Sławomir Idziak proves masterful at putting the viewers directly in the heart of the battle, making us a participant in the ceaseless clusterfuck of a fight.
Think about how many of these films are made today. The Middle Eastern war epics that are so common, their titles and plots blend together. Black Hawk Down has always managed to stand out because of its realism, sure, but also because of its intelligence. It’s a smart, rapidly paced war picture that never hints at growing dull. Even in its quiet moments, the film hits in the most effective way possible. A
Matchstick Men (2003)
From Hans Zimmer’s whimsical, jazzy score, to Nicolas Cage’s hilariously dedicated (and appropriately melancholic) performance, to the Griffin brothers’ sneaky script – everything works in harmony to create a uniquely satisfying little flick. Matchstick Men isn’t the best film Ridley Scott has made, but it’s certainly one of the most entertaining. In terms of rewatchability, it simply never grows old. A
Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
A Good Year (2006)
American Gangster (2007)
Body of Lies (2008)
While both of the men involved put in good work (but not as good as they’re capable of), Body of Lies amounts to a collection of weakly put together scenes that results in a dull experience. It’s clear that talented people are responsible for it, but there’s not enough going on for me to fully invest. C
Robin Hood (2010)
As a handful of doctors and scientists attempt to discover the origins of human existence on a seemingly isolated planet, obstacles are thrown into the mix, which develop to be fatal and unforgiving. Noomi Rapace is marvelous as Elizabeth Shaw, the head doctor trying to sort the mess out, while Michael Fassbender steals scenes as a Lawrence of Arabia-obsessed robot controlling everyone’s strings.
From the moment I saw Prometheus, I considered it a great science fiction film that didn’t pull its punches. Many scenes from this film, namely an impromptu C-section, still give me chills. No, it isn’t perfect, but I’m definitely curious to see if Scott will pick the material up again and continue the story. A-
The Counselor (2013)
read my full review here), I respect Scott and McCarthy for the unique tone they gave this film. Ridley Scott has never made a movie like this before, and I’m always game to watch him try something new. B
Thelma & Louise
Black Hawk Down
Someone to Watch Over Me
1492: Conquest of Paradise
Kingdom of Heaven
A Good Year
Body of Lies
Just Plain Bad