By Rich and Ann Bates
Summer blockbuster movies are at hand and seem to be released on a one-per-week basis since early May with The Avengers.
Prometheus, directed by Ridley Scott, is our film pick for this month. It is Scott’s long-awaited supposed prequel to his 1979 film, Alien. The prologue, often bewildering, attempts to offer an explanation of the rebirth of humankind through the use of magnificent images, mind-boggling sets, and special effects, all the while drawing on the Greek legend of Prometheus.
The plot develops around a group of scientists headed into space in search of the origin of man as depicted in ancient art forms, with some dating back to cave drawings, and all uncannily sharing the same planetary formations from another universe.
Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace from the Swedish trilogy The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) is the central character, along with boyfriend, Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) and six other scientists, each with different expertise. The corporate interest is represented by Vickers (Charlize Theron) with her icy cold manner and her mysterious treatment of the crew. It is very apparent that her goal for the mission is much different from that of the scientists.
The standout performance is that of the robotic synthetic life form of David (Michael Fassbinder) who is at once considerate and thoughtful, while at other times unflinchingly amoral, solidly bound to the goals of his creator, Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), who also has a secret or two. Once the spaceship arrives at the galaxy depicted in ancient art the true conflict begins with hair-raising, gross-out, edge of your seat suspense. The story seemed thin since we expected more, but the CGI and art direction were standouts. Yet nothing compared to the classic Alien. Prometheus is rated R and is in wide release.
Headhunters, directed by Morten Tyldum, is another recommendation along the same lines of tension and conflict. Headhunters deals with corporate corruption and how far people will go to impress others, even a loved one. This subtitled Norwegian film is being compared to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, and it has already been picked up by Hollywood for an American version.
The plot, with its twists and turns, makes this film one of the better films of the year in our estimation. The film is truly original and crammed with the “who-do-you-trust” questions of a good suspense film, making it feel, at times, like a good Hitchcock film.
The characters seem to be archetypes of competitive drive and corporate greed. Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is the headhunter of the title who falls victim to a potential employee, Clas Greve (Nikolai Coster-Waldau). This turns the story upside down by involving the wife, Diana Brown (Synnove Macody Lund). Again, nail-biting suspense follows with scenes that drop clues and hints along the way. The scene we will never forget involves an outhouse and you know what is going to happen from the moment Roger hides from Clas, who is in pursuit! This film is definitely not for children, carrying as it does an NR rating. It is currently playing at The Loft.
Also recommended is Snow White and the Huntsman (PG13) with Charlize Theron as the wicked witch who is unbelievably evil and along the lines of the TV show Grimm. It is very dark, and be cautioned: this is not Uncle Walt’s Snow White!