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Monday, June 5, 2017

Film Club Summer Series: June

Ok, let the Summer Series begin!

For the month of June our two films will be: 2001: A Space Odyssey and Alien

Thursday, June 15th at 6:15 pm

2001: A Space Odyssey (click for trailer)

2001A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science-fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick.  The screenplay was written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, partially inspired by Clarke's short story "The Sentinel".  Clarke concurrently wrote the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, published soon after the film was released.  The film follows a voyage to Jupiter with the sentient computer HAL after the discovery of a mysterious black monolith affection human evolution.  It deals with the themes of existentialism, human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence and extraterrestrial life.  It is noted for its scientifically accurate depiction of space flight, pioneering special effects, and ambiguous imagery.  It uses sound and minimal dialogue in place of traditional narrative techniques; the soundtrack consists of classical music such as Gayane Ballet Suite, The Blue Danube, and Also Sprach Zarathustra.

2001: A Space Odyssey initially received mixed reactions from critics and audiences, but it garnered a cult following and slowly became the highest-grossing North American film of 1968.  It was nominated for four Academy Awards and received one for its visual effects.  Today, 2001: A Space Odyssey is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made.  In 1991, it was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the Nation Film Registry.

It currently holds a 94% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and Roger Ebert awarded the film 4/4 stars later adding it to his list of "Great Movies", he said this in his review, "Only a few films are transcendent, and work upon our minds and imaginations like music or prayer or avast belittling landscape.  Most movies are about characters with a goal in mind, who obtain it after difficulties either comic or dramatic.  2001: A Space Odyssey is not about a goal but about a quest, a need.  It does not hook its effects on specific plot points, nor does it ask us to identify with Dave Bowman or any other character.  It says to us: We became men when we learned to think.  Our minds have given us the tools to understand where we live and who we are.  Now it is time to move on the next step, to know that we live not on a planet but among the stars, and that we are not flesh but intelligence."

Thursday, June 29th at 6:15 pm

Alien (click for trailer)

Alien is a 1979 British-American science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto.  The film's title refers to a highly aggressive extraterrestrial creature that stalks and kills the crew of a spaceship.  Dan O'Bannon wrote the screenplay from a story he wrote with Ronald Shusett, drawing influence from previous works of science fiction and horror.  The eponymous Alien and its accompanying elements were designed by Swiss artist H.R. Giger, while concept artists Ron Cobb and Chris Foss designed the human aspects of the film.

Alien received both critical acclaim and box office success, receiving an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.  It has remained highly praised in subsequent decades, being considered one of the greatest films of all time.  In 2002, the film was deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

The film holds a 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and Roger Ebert awarded the film 4/4 stars later adding it to his list of "Great Movies", saying this in his review, "One of the great strengths of Alien is its pacing.  It takes its time.  It waits.  It allows silences (the majestic opening shots are underscored by Jerry Goldsmith with scarcely audible, far-off metallic chatterings).  It suggests the enormity of the crew's discovery by building up to it with small steps: The interception of a signal (is it a warning or an SOS?).  The descent to the extraterrestrial surface.  The complaining by Brett and Parker, who are concerned only about collecting their shares.  The masterstroke of the surface murk through which the crew members move, their helmet lights hardly penetrating the soup.  The shadowy outline of an alien ship.  The sight of the alien pilot, frozen in his command chair.  The enormity of the discovery inside the ship.  The result is a film that absorbs us in a mission before it involves us in an adventure, and that consistently engages the alien with curiosity and logic, instead of simply firing at it.  Alien has been called the most influential of modern action pictures, and so it is.  A few more ambitious and serious sci-fi films have also followed in its footsteps, but the original still vibrates with a dark and frightening intensity."

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