Nick Leshi

Nick Leshi
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Bronx, New York, United States of America
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December 13
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Writer, actor, media professional, fan of entertainment, pop culture, and speculative fiction. Contact nickleshi@aol.com for more info.

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FEBRUARY 12, 2013 10:28PM

The Great Director Ridley Scott

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The Syfy channel continued its recent string of interesting projects by announcing that it will air a series adaptation of The Man in the High Castle, one of the most acclaimed books by Philip K. Dick. The story is a groundbreaking tale of alternate history set in an America ruled half by Imperial Japan and half by Nazi Germany after the Allies lost World War II to the Axis powers. What makes the project even more interesting is that Ridley Scott is part of the creative team responsible for bringing it to life.

Scott is one of the finest directors of the modern age. He began his career as a television director, and although he has produced Prophets of Science Fiction and other television shows, his greatest claim to fame has been his illustrious track record of helming motion pictures for the silver screen.  Here's a look at what he's done over the years.

The Duellists - His first film in 1977 was a period piece set in the Napoleonic age, starring Keith Carradine, Harvey Keitel, and Albert Finney. It quickly established his signature elements, such as grand visuals and strong performances by talented actors under his direction.

Alien - Two years later in 1979 he gave us his first true classic, a revolutionary blend of science fiction and horror, with Signourney Weaver in her break out role. Many movies have tried to replicate the thrills and character arcs showcased here, but few have come anywhere close to Scott's accomplishment.

Blade Runner - In the great year of 1982, Scott delivered one of my favorite movies of all time, with Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard hunting down the excellent Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty and the other artificial Replicants. The terrific cast was rounded out by Sean Young, Daryl Hannah, Brion James, M. Emmet Walsh, Edward James Olmos, Joanna Cassidy, Joe Turkel, James Hong, and William Sanderson. It was a stunning work of art ahead of its time. Although there have been various "cuts" and different edited versions, I can still watch this over and over again.

Legend - Though cheesy and campy in the eyes of some, I still enjoyed this outright fantasy adventures before fantasy films became all the rage. In one of Tom Cruise's earliest roles, he plays a hero named Jack who battles the scary Lord of Darkness, played by Tim Curry, and tries to save his love, Lili, played by Mia Sara.

Someone to Watch Over Me - This crime drama about a police officer who falls in love with a socialite crime witness under his protection may not be one of Scott's biggest or most memorable hits, but it has its moments. The cast includes Tom Berenger, Mimi Rogers, Lorraine Bracco, and Jerry Orbach.

Black Rain - I love the look of this film, about two New York cops caught up in a gang war with the Japanese mafia. It starred Michael Douglas in his prime, alongside Andy Garcia and Kate Capshaw.

Thelma and Louise - One of the most iconic movies of all time, this tale of a waitress and a housewife on the run after shooting a rapist featured some of the finest works by Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Christopher McDonald, and a young Brad Pitt.

1492: Conquest of Paradise - Although dismissed by some, this bio-flick of the legendary voyage of Christopher Columbus, here played by Gerard Depardieu, and co-starring Armand Assante and Sigourney Weaver, is still better than some other attempts by others to bring this chapter of history to cinematic life.

White Squall - This adventure set on a sailing trip gone wrong starred Jeff Bridges, John Savage, Scott Wolf, Jeremy Sisto, and Ryan Phillippe. Ridley Scott does a fine job again of bringing out the best in his cast, while making it all look amazing.

G.I. Jane - Here's another visually stunning film, even if the story was a bit unimpressive. It starred Demi Moore, Viggo Mortenson, and Anne Bancroft.

Gladiator - This excellent sword-and-sandals epic was so great it made one of my sisters cry. It was one of Russell Crowe's most memorable roles and also included stellar performances by Joaquin Phoenix, Oliver Reed, Richard Harrison, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, and others.

Hannibal - Although nowhere near as great as the incredible Silence of the Lambs, Scott proved once again that he could deliver a competant, moneymaking sequel with an all-star cast that included Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Ray Liotta, and Giancarlo Giannini.

Black Hawk Down - This fine military drama starred Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, William Fichtner, and Sam Shepard.

Matchstick Men - Although not one of my favorites, Scott still manages to draw out some good performances from Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell in this con artist tale.

Kingdom of Heaven - Set during the Crusades, this action adventure film fell a little short for me, although I did like the acting jobs by Michael Sheen, David Thewlis, Liam Neeson, and Orlando Bloom.

A Good Year - In one of his more intimate films, Scott works once again with Russell Crowe and albert Finney.

American Gangster - Denzel Washington plays a drug smuggler in the 1970s, with Russell Crowe, Josh Brolin, and John Hawkes also in the cast.

Body of Lies - A C.I.A. agent hunts down a terrorist in this thriller that stars Leonardo DiCaprio and, once again, Russell Crowe.

Robin Hood - If it wasn't evident that Russell Crowe is likely Ridley Scott's favorite actor, this production cements it as the legendary tale of the prince of thieves is retold in a realistic manner. The supporting cast includes Cate Blanchett, Max von Sydow, Mark Addy, and William Hurt.

Prometheus - It may have disappointed some, but I truly liked this science fiction adventure starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, and Guy Pearce.

Some other work he has in the pipeline includes Cormac McCarthy's The Counselor starring Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, John Leguizamo, and Rosie Perez, about a lawyer caught up in a drug smuggling ring, as well as a TV project titled The Vatican and another Blade Runner movie.

Even his lesser projects have been a visual delight. I look forward to anything that has his name attached to it.

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Comments

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I need to watch "Black Rain" again.
I have seen most of these films. I so admire creativity, be it writing, painting, music or films.
R.
Ridley Scott is one of the best. I hope he has many more projects up his sleeve.
Great movies all...and I expect most people join you in looking forward to his future products.

Blade Runner Rules!
Yes it does. And I hope they don't screw up "The Man in the High Castle."
He gets the bucks now and the control, which is why Prometheus was so strange. All those bucks, all the time, and the script sucked. But that's how it goes. Movie making isn't a science.
Do you mean Wiggley Scott?
It's difficult to comment on Ridley's life without including commentary about his brother, Tony Scott, who was his closest professional collaborator in life, and apparently still in death as his name continues to appear on The Good Wife credits each week, despite his death in August, 2012.

Tony's productions include Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop, Days of Thunder, Crimson Tide, Enemy of the State, Spy Game, Man On Fire, The Taking of Pelham 123, and other full length movies, in addition to telvision and movie shorts. There still is no information confirming why he jumped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge, in spite of two notes he left -- neither of which informed his family of why he did it. No illnesses were found on autopsy, so perhaps it will remain one of life's mysteries to the public and perhaps even to his big brother Ridley.
Gabby, yes, like all suicides, the death of Tony Scott was a tragic loss. I wrote about him in August after hearing the sad news. Here's the link:

http://nickleshi.blogspot.com/2012/08/remembering-tony-scott.html