Blade Runner (The Final Cut): A retired replicant hunter (aka a Blade Runner) must return to track down four fugitive android impostors in 2019 Los Angeles. It’s unbelievable to think that this was released in 1982 as everything about it looks and feels like a ‘modern’ movie: it’s still breathtaking, brimming with scenes and imagery that are nothing short of pure spectacle. Almost every shot is striking; and the scale/intricacy of the sets & worldbuilding is unbelievable. Despite all of this, Ridley isn’t above some tremendously naff product placement: Coca Cola billboards, Budweiser signage, Atari holograms, and a final fight illuminated by a humongous neon TDK sign… classy! There’s also a questionable sex scene and dubious mis-use of midget actors – to give the film a little edge and distraction. If imitation truly is the sincerest form of flattery; you know that Blade Runner is a top-drawer sci-fi, as the future-metropolis aesthetics and theme of ‘what makes us human’ are echo through pretty much every subsequent Sci-Fi classic: Ghost in the Shell, The Fifth Element, Minority Report, The Matrix, Dark City, Total Recall, Brazil, Looper, Akira, Ex Machina… the list is endless. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the starting point for the movie (Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dear of Electric Sheep?” is a SF masterpiece). Overall, Blade Runner is a parodically boilerplate pulp/noir story; yet the world created & proto “cinema du look” style paired with the outstanding source material & sci-fi twists, propel this film into classic territory.
Indie Game, The Movie: [I am not a ‘hardcore gamer’ – regular, but haven’t bought an ‘Indie’ title since the days of PS2] – focuses on a handful of independent games developers and their hugely anticipated titles. What put me off this from the get-go is that the four main developers featured come across as such a rather whiny bunch: “my [universally acclaimed] game [that made me rich] wasn’t enjoyed by users on the level that I had intended it to…”, “In order to be a world-class games dev I’ve had to sacrifice my social life…”, “If I couldn’t release this game I’d kill myself… “My INDIE game isn’t being advertised on the Xbox Live front page…” – wise up! You’re doing this fringe hobby/lifestyle as a choice, like every other struggling actor, photographer, painter & musician that anyone has ever met. The visuals are shoe-gazingly artsy – wide-aperture super-blurry slow-panning shots, accompanied by an equally cutesy, offbeat minimal score. This style echoes the outlook of the film; focusing solely on just three games, and blurring out the entire history (and future) of computer gaming. While IGTM is an interesting look behind the curtains at a small section of that particular gaming scene, it doesn’t show you anything that you couldn’t have guessed beforehand… games developers are socially awkward / misunderstood ‘nerds’ that live with their parents and program all day? No way!?!? For me, the best thing about this was that Charlie Brooker got to make a complimentary 90-minute doc that covered the entire history of gaming – from Pong to Twitter – called “How Video Games Changed The World.” IMHO, seek that out instead.