7:00 PM, 25th November, 2017
Whilst on a case, an LA cop named ‘K’ (Gosling, whose deadpan style is far better suited to this than to musicals) makes a discovery that threatens to tear apart what’s left of society. His only hope is to track down a former member of the LAPD’s elite Blade Runner unit – Rick Deckard (Ford) – who’s been missing for thirty years.
Released 35 years ago in 1982, Blade Runner actually had a relatively tiny number of special visual effects shots. But they, as well as the film, became icons of science fiction. And now that shadowy, hypnotising dream continues in this long-anticipated sequel.
Director Denis Villeneuve, who cites Blade Runner as one of the reasons he got into film directing in the first place, is the auteur of films like Sicario and Arrival. Cinematographer Roger Deakins (Skyfall, No Country for Old Men) has thirteen Oscar nominations.
Needless to say, these ingredients and more combine to make Blade Runner 2049 an indelible future-noir visual feast, as well as a profound exploration of its themes. It will draw audiences into a gorgeously realised dream you may not want to wake from.
9:53 PM, 25th November, 2017
Those of us who were around back in the day may remember a film from the 1990s called Flatliners. It was a highly original sci-fi horror film, which starred an ensemble cast including Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, Oliver Platt, William Baldwin and everyone’s favourite ’80s icon, Kevin Bacon. Fast forward to 2017 and – no surprise here – Hollywood is up to its old tricks once again.
Part-sequel, part-reboot, the new Flatliners again follows a group of medical students who start investigating brain function after death. One by one they take turns stopping their heart for a period of time, before being revived, in order to document their experiences of near death. The incredibly risky experimentation quickly becomes competitive, with each of them wanting to see who can go longer and longer before being revived. Things take a turn for the worse when their repressed pasts come back to haunt them.
Much like the 1990 film, Flatliners is a thought-provoking look at medicine gone wrong, trading in the original’s cast for a younger, hipper version led by Ellen Page and Diego Luna – but not without the obligatory returning familiar face. I really enjoyed the original, and state of the film industry aside, I am totally on board to embrace this 2017 version.