Reconsidering Vanilla Sky

Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky

Some thoughts on rewatching Vanilla Sky twenty years after its release

Normally I disapprove of Hollywood remakes, especially when the original film was (a) not a direct adaptation of a novel, (b) released only a few years earlier, and (c) a well-regarded foreign language movie. However, having never seen Alejandro Amenábar’s 1997 Spanish film Abre los ojos (Open Your Eyes), I feel entitled to review Cameron Crowe’s 2001 version starring Tom Cruise (who also produced) on its own terms. In fact I had seen it before, around the time of its release, but had only the vaguest recollections of the movie, and not wholly positive ones. Continue reading

“The mutations were subtle at first”

Entering “The Shimmer”

 

Some thoughts on Alex Garland’s horror sci-fi movie of 2018: Annihilation

I have got a backlog of Letterboxd reviews of varying depth and quality that I haven’t shared anywhere else. The last one I did, below, is of Alex Garland’s horror sci-fi movie of 2018: Annihilation. Continue reading

Bladerunner and the Esper machine

M. C. Escher, Still Life with Spherical Mirror, 1934

Communicative English class on perspective & optical illusions featuring the Esper Machine scene in Bladerunner & its inspirations in art

My previous post about Blow-Up, and especially the scene in which the hero enlarges the photographs in his dark room to reveal that he had unwittingly witnessed a murder, put me in mind of another great scene from cinema. Among the many evocative scenes from Ridley Scott’s sci-fi opus Bladerunner that could be used in language teaching (indeed, I hope to come back to the film in future posts) is this one in which the hero Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, runs a photo through his Esper machine, a rather dated-looking bit of kit with highly prescient technological capabilities. Continue reading