FILM by Shane “I’m Going To Count To Three” Hnetka

In one crappy January week we lost both Alan Rickman and David Bowie. Rickman was probably best known as Harry Potter’s potions professor Severus Snape, but to me he’ll always be Die Hard villain Hans Gruber. As for Bowie, obviously he was a rock legend whose influence is staggering. But Bowie was also an actor in films including Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, The Last Temptation Of Christ, The Hunger and the classic Labyrinth.

But to me, his first movie was his best.

The Man Who Fell To Earth

Director Nicolas Roeg made some brilliant movies: Walkabout, Performance, Don’t Look Now and the terrifying Jim Henson movie The Witches. He also made the 1976 David Bowie cult masterpiece The Man Who Fell to Earth. Bowie stars as an alien looking for water for his drought-stricken planet and dying family. He “invents” several devices (using advanced alien knowledge) and becomes rich, planning to use the money to build a spaceship to bring water to his homeworld. But when he meets a girl who introduces him to earthly pleasures like alcohol, sex and TV, everything falls apart.

Bowie was blasted on cocaine while filming the movie, and the insecure, confused result — combined with his unusual looks — made for a perfect alien without much makeup or special effects. The Man Who Fell To Earth is trippy and pretty experimental, and it’s all held together by Bowie. It’s hard to imagine we’ll ever see anyone like him again.

Hiding In Plain Sight

Remember Cloverfield, the 2008 giant monster movie produced by J.J. Abrams and directed by Matt Reeves in a found-footage style? Turns out Abrams has secretly produced a spinoff/sequel/prequel/“blood relative”/??? called 10 Cloverfield Lane that opens in a few weeks, which somehow nobody knew about. The first trailer dropped unannounced on Jan. 14, and from the look of it, it’s about three people hiding in a bomb shelter while something bad happens outside (giant monster attack?). Other than the three leads (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr.), the director, writers and crew, we don’t know much. Up until last week the film was listed on IMDb by the code name “Valencia”, a story about a woman who wakes up in a bomb shelter with a man who claims to be protecting her.

So what’s going on? We’ll have to wait for March 11 to find out. But 10 Cloverfield Lane will be playing in IMAX theatres, so you’d think there’s more going on here than a claustrophobic psychological thriller in a confined bomb shelter (which would be cool, but not really IMAX-worthy).

Shane Hnetka is a professional film and comic book nerd.