Joel Mayward

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About Joel Mayward

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    pastor | writer | youth worker | film guy

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    Portland, OR

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    Pastor, Writer

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  1. I hope this isn't true, and I bet DDL is as retired as Steven Soderbergh. Which is to say, he isn't.
  2. Based on the reviews--those listed above and a few more I've read via Twitter--this film sounds absolutely atrocious...and I kind of want to see it now.
  3. The first trailer is here:
  4. Really, really good stuff, Evan.
  5. Ah, I didn't look at those exact dates. I don't know much of the relationship between the two Scotts, or how Tony's death affected Ridley, but the latter's most recent films seem to wrestle with philosophical and theological questions or ideas with an openness and some ambition. In my previous comment about how much time elapses in Alien, I almost wrote, "This seems like something Peter would know." Made me wonder about Aliens and Alien3 as well, figuring out the lifecycle of a xenomorph and how long those events last within the context of each film.
  6. I re-watched Alien this past weekend, with the director's commentary on. Three observations relevant to A:C: 1) Scott explicitly describes Ash as "basically a replicant," which is interesting to consider re: David in Prometheus and A:C as a precursor to Ash. 2) Scott repeatedly spoke of being uninterested in sci-fi or horror and how much of it was unoriginal, and how he would only revisit that world if there was a really great script. I think the commentary was recorded in 2003, so it feels like a time capsule capturing his sentiments at that particular moment--in a post-Tony Scott world, Ridley has made Prometheus, The Martian, and A:C, the only sci-fi he's done since Blade Runner. 3) It's difficult to discern just how long time elapses on the Nostromo from the crew awakening to Ripley's escape, but perhaps my recollection of the xenomorph's growth would, in fact, be in mere minutes even back then. The pacing (and thus the dread) of the original film is much slower, and we don't see the actual growth like we do in A:C, but I'm now wondering if my previous comments here were too quick, that the gestation period within Kane could have been an hour or two, which is admittedly much shorter than what happens in A:C, but it's not like it's happening over the course of a week--the events in Alien seem confined to a day, even hours.
  7. Yeah, he does. Oram makes a similar remark to the nameless soldier (the guy who goes off for a smoke) about not messing with his wife when she leaves the main group to do some sort of research/study. It's not that the couples aren't revealed or "discovered" by the audience over the course of the film, but that the premise itself--that this entire crew is made up of couples--is not stated or truly explored. There were all sorts of interesting ideas the filmmakers could explore about a large group of couples trying to navigate a dangerous encounter with an alien life form (questions about group ethics and norms, roles one plays as both a leader and a spouse, etc.). I actually expected Tennessee to break protocols and fly the Covenant ship onto the planet despite the weather warnings because he knew his wife was in danger. But the film never really went there.
  8. Yeah, I recall this being a significant surprise and part of the horror of Alien--they're chasing what they perceive to be a cat-sized creature, only to find that it's grown significantly and is even bigger than a human. What Alien: Covenant shows is that the growth is almost immediate, and has little to do with food or oxygen. It just...grows. This further reduces the scare factor (something A:C is really lacking is the dread of the original) because the audience sees everything, and our imaginations aren't allowed to fill in the gaps.
  9. Absolutely. This is going to sound kinda nerdy, but another not-very-scientific aspect of Alien: Covenant is this rapid growth without any evidence of consuming food or other fuel in order to grow so quickly. I recognize that some species of bugs are born/emerge essentially as fully adults and die within hours or days, but this was near-instantaneous growth from cat-sized to human-sized in moments. Muscles, brain development, coordination, etc.--all need some time and fuel to mature properly. Yes, I suppose this was my question behind the original question--why include a male same-sex couple on a colonization crew? Related: a lot of reviews on Letterboxd are highlighting the not-too-subtle gay subtext of David and Walter's recorder scene and kiss, especially the line, "You blow; I'll do the fingering."
  10. Sir Roger Moore has passed away at age 89.
  11. I had this same question. When you have an airborne pathogen weapon that kills its host almost instantly, like David does with the Engineer genocide, why go to so much trouble creating the facehugger eggs which have to implant within a human host? I wonder if the answer (at least the one David would give) is "creativity." David doesn't want to do what's efficient; he wants to do something more experimental and innovative and uniquely him, even if it's unnecessarily complicated. Perhaps the final xenomorph is meant to be David's eikon or poema, his living work of art.
  12. The film itself *never* mentions that the Covenant crew is made up of couples, nor does it clearly delineate who those couples actually are. If I had not watched the trailer for this film, which explicitly mentions "this crew is made up of couples" and has a long scene where Daniels thanks the crew for their sacrifice, the film does essentially nothing to establish who any of these characters actually are or why their relationships matter. Case in point: why is James Franco in this film? Spoiler alert: Speaking of couples, beyond the Fassbender kiss scene, was there a gay couple on the ship's crew? I noticed a moment between the two soldiers who hunt after David in the later sequence, one of which is played by Demian Bichir (the sergeant whose face gets burned by acid) when Bichir's character holds the other dead man in his arms and the camera focuses on his hand stroking a wedding ring on his finger. I think this is about where I land. Prometheus has script problems and its characters are incredibly stupid, but at least it *had* characters and some crazy ambitious ideas to go along with its visuals. Given a chance to re-watch either of these films right now, I'd choose Prometheus. Update: Prometheus is David; Alien: Covenant is Walter. The former is an ambitious, philosophical, terrifying mess. The latter, in an attempt to "improve" upon its predecessor, essentially trades in its creative ambition for stodginess and familiarity.
  13. Second Spirited Away, The Way.
  14. Regarding Coates and black bodies, I think this is why the third act is so compelling for me, as Little's body has become Black's body, and not without purpose or intentionality. It's so surprising to see Trevante Rhodes appear as Chiron in that final act, because he's all muscle and masculinity, which the young Chiron lacks. It's a young black man taking/owning his body, a body which has been predetermined by the cultural narrative of racism (especially in the American South), while still being caught up in a slavery and performance of sorts, where he cannot fully be himself romantically or sexually without arousing suspicion or disapproval. The second act still isn't as interesting as the bookends, but I wouldn't count the final act out--Rhodes' performance is uniquely powerful in that he manages to still be Little while also being Black, embodying both personas/identities with his posture and eye contact.