Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events of 2012's Prometheus. And while this film carries on with the bigger themes about creation and identity, at its heart it actually has much more in common with the film in which he kicked off the franchise, 1979's Alien. Yes, this is a horror movie. It's slickly made and packed with engaging characters, and it gets gruesomely scary too.
The setting is somewhere in space in 2104, as the colonising ship Covenant carries a few thousand sleeping earthlings to a new world, tended to by the android Walter (Michael Fassbender). Then a space flare awakens the 15-person crew, and they hear a rogue radio transmission from a nearby planet that's eerily perfect for colonisation. Captain Oran (Billy Crudup) thinks it's worth checking out, potentially shaving seven years off their journey. First officer Daniels (Katherine Waterston) isn't so sure. But off they go, exploring the spectacular mountainous terrain, where they find a crashed ship and a city populated only by the Prometheus' android David (also Fassbender) and some creepy, acid-salivating creatures that he has something to do with.
The plot plays out like a slasher movie, as the crew members are picked off one by one, starting with the ones we don't know and building up to the starrier cast members. Each main actor gets to invest some back-story into his or her role, establishing relationships and personality quirks that hold the interest. Waterston is clearly the protagonist from the start, grieving over the death of her husband (James Franco in video clips) and showing natural leadership skills. Crudup is the impulsive captain who mellows into someone much more intriguing as the story progresses. And McBride has the other standout role as a tenacious pilot. But of course it's Fassbender who walks off with the film, excelling in scenes in which Walter and David engage in a kind of twisted bromance with nasty sibling-rivalry undertones.
Continue reading: Alien: Covenant Review
When archaeologists Shaw and Holloway (Rapace and Marshall-Green) figure out that ancient civilisations share a map to a specific star system, the Weyland CEO (Pearce) funds a two-year mission to get answers about the origin of humanity. Led by Weyland crony Vickers (Theron) and Captain Janek (Elba), Shaw and Holloway are accompanied by a helpful android (Fassbender) and a team of not-so-enthusiastic scientists. But what they find on this distant moon isn't what they expected, and the remnants of this civilisation aren't as dead as they seem.
Continue reading: Prometheus Review
AVP:R starts off on what should be an engaging note. We're aboard a predator spaceship zooming away from Earth when the body of a deceased predator (killed in AVP) bursts open to reveal an alien baby. Only, and here's where things start to slide downhill, this chestburster has predator-styled dreds. Or maybe those are Hasidic payos. This little booger tears the crew apart and the ship crashes into the mountains of Colorado (though the forest is decidedly deciduous). Within minutes the woods are teeming with alien spawn and the human population of Gunnison, Colorado is minutes from annihilation. Good thing the predators have sent their equivalent of John Wayne to clean up the mess. Is he powerful enough to stop not only the wave of xenomorphs overrunning the town but also the "predalien" hybrid (seriously, I wish I made that up) leading the invasion? It only takes 86 minutes to find out.
Continue reading: Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem Review
And thus the trilogy comes to a sweaty, silly end, with this remake of, believe it or not, 1943's I Walked with a Zombie. Here we have Jennifer Grey, still sporting the same hairdo from Ferris Bueller after all these years, as a disgraced medical doctor who, out of desperation, takes a job in Jamaica as a personal physician to a wealthy tycoon (Craig Sheffer) and his mysteriously sickly brother (Daniel Lapaine). What follows is -- you guessed it -- a ridiculous swirl into the world of voodoo done up the way only Hollywood can.
Continue reading: Ritual Review
Alien 3 continues with the series tradition, beginning exactly where Aliens concluded. When we left Lt. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the android Bishop (Lance Henriksen), Cpt. Hicks (Michael Biehn), and Ripley's surrogate daughter Newt (Danielle Edmond), they managed to destroy the creature, board a spacecraft, set course for Earth, and fall into deep sleep. Unfortunately, another alien has found its way onboard with them.
Continue reading: Alien 3 Review
The film is based on Gore Vidal's bestselling 1968 novel, which gave us Myra as a magnificently over-the-top symbol of changing sexual mores, greed, revenge, Hollywood, and how they all intersect. In the hands of director Michael Sarne, the story became a messy sex farce; Vidal stepped away from the project, and for good reason. In the book, Myra romanticizes the great movies of the 1930s, arguing, in fact, that it was the best decade ever for movies. This inspires Sarne to raid the 20th Century Fox vault and cram in seemingly dozens of clips from Laurel & Hardy and Shirley Temple films, sometimes ironically, but mostly sitting there like a bad joke told at a dinner party. (It may be that Myra's sole usefulness is that it inspired a similar idea in the HBO TV series Dream On, actually done well.)
Continue reading: Myra Breckinridge Review
Continue reading: The Parallax View Review
Ten years ago, rising boxing superstar Monroe Hutchen (Wesley Snipes) was sent up for life imprisonment due to a fit of passionate and murderous rage. He's serving time in Sweetwater Prison in the Mojave Desert and continues to box in the Inter-Prison Boxing Program with a flawless record and the title of undisputed champion. To prove that he could have amounted to something outside the prison walls, Hutchen unexpectedly gets his chance to fight the undisputed World Heavyweight Champion, George "Iceman" Chambers (Ving Rhames), an arrogant megalomaniac who has recently been sent up for six to eight years for a charge of rape. Hmm, who does that sounds like?
Continue reading: Undisputed Review
As for the bad news, well, there really isn't any. Alien, first released in 1979 and in theaters right now, has stood the test of time remarkably well. The beautiful and ballsy Weaver is a heroine for all seasons, the movie is suspenseful in all the right spots and it plays beautifully on the big screen with big sound.
Continue reading: Alien Review
Who cares!? This movie is so bad that the ending (which, by the way, is just about the worst part of the film) slips out of mind as soon as the disc pops out of your DVD player. Made for TV way back in 1994 and only now getting its DVD and home video release because Wagner and Cruz have become minor stars, you won't see any hint of the performing ability you might find from them today, simply because the story is so poorly written it couldn't have been saved by Cary Grant. Just about the only joy to be found in the film is from a grizzled Traci Lords, playing the hooker next door whom our scruffy hero likes to spy on through the enormous hole in the wall.
Continue reading: Dragstrip Girl Review
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