Starman (USA, 1984)
Directed by John Carpenter
Starring Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Charles Martin Smith, Richard Jaeckel
The vast majority of film directors are specialists. They are extremely adept at telling one kind of story, or are good at handling one aspect of production in particular. When they attempt to work outside of this specialty, they tend to come a cropper. Steven Spielberg, for instance, is brilliant at making light-hearted, family friendly popcorn blockbusters with a sentimental edge. When he attempts something more serious, the result is often technically sound but found wanting emotionally.
The Man Who Fell to Earth, with Jeff Bridges sharing David Bowie's twin obsessions of getting home and obtaining vast amounts of information about us.
The Thing. These scenes reflect Carpenter's horror heritage, with the dramatic explosion and eerie blue light putting us on edge - complimented, in horror fashion, by Karen Allen being in her underwear when Jeff Bridges arrives.
Raiders of the Lost Ark. She's completely natural and believable in every scene, which makes it all the more perplexing that her career never reached the heights of many of her contemporaries.
The Thing, or They Life, or this film. Even when the film draws on familiar tropes, it takes care not to pander directly to cliché. The military have their agenda, but Fox is not entirely a gung-ho, Major Kong-type character, nor is Charles Martin Smith so geeky that he's unlikeable. They all feel like real people making rational decision on their own merits, not the merits of the plot.
Prometheus, exploring the direct influence of aliens over mankind.