A Salute To Ridley Scott
A birthday tribute to the Alien and Gladiator director! November 30, 2004 - birthday salute to director Ridley Scott! The Oscar-nominated filmmaker turns 67 today..
Here are some of movies by
The Duellists, 1977. The feature directing debut of Ridley Scott is a drama set during the Napoleonic wars. It recounts a years-long rivalry between two French officers (Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine) over an insult one made against the other. Over the years they meet to duel but events continue interrupting Keitel's vengeful pursuit, dragging the feud out for decades. Albert Finney, Edward Fox, and Tom Conti co-star.
Alien, 1979. Essentially a haunted house movie in space, this sci-fi classic was Ridley Scott's first big hit. It's a relatively simple horror-thriller about an alien that is systematically killing off the crew of a spaceship. It may be short on character development but Alien remains a chilling and atmospheric monster movie. The cast includes then-newcomer Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Ian Holm, John Hurt, Yaphet Kotto, Harry Dean Stanton and Veronica Cartwright.
Blade Runner, 1982. This cult favourite, set in 2019, depicts a bleak, overcrowded, hi-tech L.A. complete with flying cars and holographic advertisements. The film's Oscar-winning visual design has influenced (and been ripped off) by dozens of later films. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) was once a "blade runner" or cop assigned to locating and terminating "replicants" (artificially created humans). He's pulled back into his old job when a band of replicants escape from an off-world colony.
Deckard's case leads him to the lovely replicant Rachel (Sean Young) and to Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), the leader of the renegades. The substantially revised director's cut of this visually stunning hybrid of sci-fi and Film Noir was released in 1992, and it goes further in both exploring and obscuring the film's study of the nature of humanity. Blade Runner was based on the story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, author of Minority Report, another bleak vision of the future.
Thelma & Louise, 1991. Callie Khouri's Oscar-winning yarn stars Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon as the respective title characters, two very different women who go on the run after Louise kills a lout who tried to rape Thelma. While they are chased across the desert by a sympathetic cop (Harvey Keitel), Thelma and Louise enjoy their newfound liberty even as they realize they're headed for a bad end. Brad Pitt has a star making turn as a charming drifter who has a fling with Thelma, while Michael Madsen co-stars as Louise's estranged musician boyfriend.
1492: Conquest of Paradise, 1992. This handsomely produced but muddled epic about Italian explorer Christopher Columbus (Gérard Depardieu) presents a complex but not entirely sympathetic look at the man and his fateful journey to the New World. Columbus is portrayed as an obsessed visionary who risks everything to achieve his dream of finding a new route to the West Indies (but landing in the Americas instead).
The subsequent plight of the natives is explored, as is Columbus' ignominious twilight years. Despite its striking visuals and fine cast – including Sigourney Weaver as Queen Isabella, Armand Assante, Michael Wincott, and Frank Langella – greatness eludes 1492 because of its plodding narrative. Still, there's enough interesting aspects to recommend checking it out.
Gladiator, 2000. This Best
Picture-winner follows battle-weary Maximus Decimus Meridus (Oscar-winner
Russell Crowe) who is ailing emperor Marcus Aurelius' (Richard Harris) most
loyal general and surrogate son. After Marcus is murdered by his madly jealous
son Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), Maximus refuses to swear allegiance to the new
emperor and is then arrested and marked for execution. The ex-general escapes
death only to find that his family has been murdered by Commodus' troops. A
wounded Maximus is later discovered and enslaved as a gladiator by the shifty
Proximo (Oliver Reed).
Maximus gains fame in the gladiator arena for his skill, wits and courage. If Maximus can win the crowd, Proximo tells him, he can win his freedom. But the general who became a gladiator is more interested in getting his revenge on the emperor. Commodus' sister Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) plots her demented brother's demise and Maximus will play a key role in it. Things don't go according to plan, however, and tragedy ensues.
Black Hawk Down, 2001. BHD recounts the bloody October 3rd, 1993 battle in Mogadishu, Somalia that claimed the lives of 18 American soldiers and wounded 84 others. (Conservative estimates suggest at least 500 Somali casualties with the wounded climbing into the thousands.) This is the story of how a supposedly simple mission to arrest two lieutenants of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid's went horribly awry, landing U.S. troops in the worst land battle since the Vietnam War. For about 18 hours, outnumbered elite U.S. soldiers were pinned down in a hail of gunfire by thousands of militia and civilians.
Obviously, many Somalis despised the American and U.N. forces that were stationed in their country and were now after their self-proclaimed leader. It was into this already volatile political situation that Task Force Ranger and a contingent of Delta Force commandos were sent to capture and arrest two top Aidid cronies near the Olympic hotel in downtown Mogadishu. The mission, code-named "Irene," was only supposed to last an hour. It didn't take long after the mission commenced for everything to go to hell. During this battle, Somali militia succeeded in downing two Black Hawk choppers.