A surprise this is. Not. It has been confirmed that Darth Vader will feature in the first of the Star Wars Anthology series films, Rogue One, that is due for release in December. That’s less than six months away. Just thought you’d like to know. About Vader, that is.
While already known that Australian Ben Mendelsohn would appear as an officer with plans to ingratiate himself with the Emperor that might earn the wrath of the supreme commander Darth Vader, it has only now been confirmed by Entertainment Weekly that the black-clad, mask-wearing and not overly sweet-natured dark lord Vader himself would appear in the film.
Terrence Malick film’s are truly a visual experience, and the natural environment, and the wilderness, is very much a part of that. Nature Through Malick, by Vugar Efendi, brings natural scenes from a number of Malick’s works into a single continuum.
Just how smart are artificially intelligent entities? Clever enough to write a screenplay, a good screenplay? Benjamin (I want a URL with the same top-level domain), who is said to be the world’s first automatic screenwriter, recently wrote the script for Sunspring, a short sci-fi film. The premise is intriguing, that much is for sure, but take a look, and see what you think.
It’s about three people living in a weird future, possibly on a space station, probably in a love triangle. You know it’s the future because H (played with neurotic gravity by Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch) is wearing a shiny gold jacket, H2 (Elisabeth Gray) is playing with computers, and C (Humphrey Ker) announces that he has to “go to the skull” before sticking his face into a bunch of green lights.
I’ve linked to the artwork of US artist Adam Lister a couple of times before, and now that he has created a new collection of his signature eight-bit works, this time of scenes from well known films, here we go again.
Born in England in 1868, Gertrude Bell spent the early decades of the twentieth century travelling across the Middle East, in what is now Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Iran, and Jordan. She was a writer, archaeologist, and explorer, and was much respected by both the British, and the peoples of the region. She also played a part in establishing latter day Iraq and Jordan.
In Queen of the Desert, trailer, the Werner Herzog (“Invincible”, “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”) made depiction of her life, she is portrayed by Nicole Kidman. Bell is desperate to flee the clutches of her stifled upper class life, and leaps at the opportunity to leave, when her father (David Calder) offers to send her to stay in Tehran with her uncle, the British ambassador.
Upon arriving, Bell is soon enamoured by the free-spirited way of life in the Middle East, and sets her sights on seeing as much of the area as possible, plus meeting the local inhabitants, and their tribal leaders. She also catches the eye of several British military and diplomatic personnel, including Henry Cadogan (James Franco), and T.E. Lawrence (Robert Pattinson).
Despite the enthralling subject matter, Queen of the Desert fails to excite, and is little more than a perfunctory re-counting of Bell’s exploits in the Middle East. Kidman’s performance is competent, as is Pattinson’s small turn as Lawrence of Arabia. In the end though, audiences will find themselves uncertain as to what sort of film Herzog was trying to make.
Yet part of me loves meeting these unknowable visitors, just as I love darting inside a theater midsummer, pretending for two hours that the sun and its demands no longer exist. The mood of the room inducts you to its conspiracy. I would never shush that father and daughter softly discussing what’s onscreen, even the plastic-bag crinklers, because they’ve granted me license, too. When each stranger fades to a half-presence in the darkness, you’re alone with your feelings yet unable to hide them, a reflective exhibitionist. At Manhattan’s long-gone Bleecker Street Cinema, the house cat Breathless would often escape the office and claw its way up the screen, encouraged by cheers.
The trailer/teaser reveals next to nothing, in fact it’s mostly footage from Trainspotting, but it looks like most of the original cast will be reprising their roles. Fingers crossed that the follow-up will be worth the wait.