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#056 Alfonso Cuaron: Children of Men vs. Great Expectations




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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Alfonso Cuaron’s best and worst rated films, Children of Men (2006) and Great Expectations (1998), respectively. Nate came with low expectations and was still disappointed, Austin decides he he’s not a fan of the book either, and they both oggle over Children of Men.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind (2001) and The Dilemma (2011), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this behind the scenes footage of how they shot the car scene in Children of Men:


Great Expectations Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: Modernization of Charles Dickens classic story finds the hapless Finn as a painter in New York pursuing his unrequited and haughty childhood love.

  • Ratings: IMDb 6.8 | RT 38% C / 78% A
  • Released: 1998
  • Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity, Y Tu Mama Tambien)
  • Writer(s): Charles Dickens (novel), Mitch Glazer (screenplay)
  • Cinematographer: Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity, The Revenant, Birdman)
  • Notable actors: Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hank Azaria, Chris Cooper, Anne Bancroft, Robert De Niro
  • Budget: $25 million
  • Box office: $55 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • In his book, “What Just Happened?”, producer Art Linson reveals that the narration in the movie was written by David Mamet. It was done for free, on the condition that nobody ever find out he did it.
    • The main character is named “Pip” in Charles Dickens’s novel. But it was felt that the name would sound strange in modern times. The character was named “Finn” after Ethan Hawke’s dog.
    • Alfonso Cuarón always uses green (he even auditioned green eyed girls for A Little Princess (1995)) as the main color of his movies. He uses red and orange (complimentary and opposite colors) to make some remarks.
    • Ethan Hawke later dissed the film, calling it “a lousy experience”. He added that he felt he had been talked into making the movie, something he realized about a month into shooting which was then too late for him to pull out.

Children of Men Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: In 2027, in a chaotic world in which women have become somehow infertile, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea.

  • Ratings: IMDb 7.9 | RT 92% C / 85% A
  • Released: 2006
  • Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity, Y Tu Mama Tambien)
  • Writer(s): Alfonso Cuaron & Timothy J. Sexton (screenplay), David Arata (screenplay), Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby (screenplay), P.D. James (novel)
  • Cinematographer: Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity, The Revenant, Birdman)
  • Notable actors: Clive Owen, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julianna Moore, Charlie Hunnam, Danny Huston
  • Budget: $76 million
  • Box office: $70 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • In the movie, the infertility crisis is the result of all women being infertile. In the original novel by P.D. James, it’s the result of all men producing no sperm.
    • The street battle where Clive Owen has to take cover in a battered building caused concern for the studio as it took fourteen days to prepare this one shot, with a delay of five hours every time it had to be reshot. It was shot over the course of two days, but only one complete take was actually captured on film. In the middle of one take, some blood spattered on the camera lens. Alfonso Cuarón nearly ruined this take by shouting “Cut!” but his voice was obliterated by the sound of tank and gunfire. Looking at the footage, Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki persuaded Cuarón to leave it in, and that is the shot that appears in the final film.
    • Sir Michael Caine based his performance on John Lennon.
    • When Miriam is taken off the bus in the refugee camp you can hear the song “Arbeit Macht Frei” by The Libertines. “Arbeit macht frei,” meaning “Work shall set you free,” was written above the entrances of all Nazi death/concentration camps of World War II (with the exception of Buchenwald, where the entrance read “Jedem das Seine”, engl.: “to each his own”).
    • Theo never gets to smoke an entire cigarette.
    • Almost every shot contains an animal, usually a dog.
    • Clive Owen’s character, Theo, does not use or even touch a gun at any point throughout the entire movie.

Intro music: Calm The Fuck Down – Broke For Free / CC BY 3.0


 



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