Sunday, May 21, 2017
Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, members (Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup) of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think to be an uncharted paradise. While there, they meet David (Michael Fassbender), the synthetic survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition. The mysterious world soon turns dark and dangerous when a hostile alien life-form forces the crew into a deadly fight for survival.
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir
Release Date: May 19, 2017
Rated R for sci-fi violence, bloody images, language and some sexuality/nudity
Runtime: 2 hr. 2 min.
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama
Alien: Covenant is best described as Ridley Scott plays all the hits. On Prometheus, Scott tried for some headier sci-fi, even if the human decision weren’t, but fans complained about its lack of outright Alien connections. Publicly, Scott’s been on record as saying he’s heard these complaints and delivered Alien: Covenant. Fans of the series will find plenty of call back to the original film all the while Scott continues threads from Prometheus. The film itself looks beautiful, even if the scares never really come since the beats are so familiar. Katherine Waterston is primed to be the heroine in this entry but she’s never magnetic enough to completely captivate your attention. Michael Fassbender more than makes up for the slack while playing duel roles. Fassbender is clearly having a ball throughout and its audience benefit as he’s the most interesting thing on screen during the entire film. The supporting cast is made up of familiar faces but their clearly just cattle being lead to the slaughter with only Danny McBride leaving an actual impression. Alien: Covenant is a solid entry into the prequel series that sure to leave plenty of fans happy while others will complain about certain story decision.
Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for the latest installment in the Alien franchise, Alien: Covenant.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
Alien life forms are sometimes very dangerous. Who'da guessed??
Dear reader(s), in the interest of full and fair disclosure, I'll confide that I don't like the Alien movies...ANY of them. I keep giving them chances because people who like the things that I do seem to love and even revere at least some of them but...welp...let's just say this latest installment finally may have cured me of my need to figure out what I'm missing.
If I heeded that old adage, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all," this review would be a blank page; however, since I paid the cost of admission expressly for the privilege of writing about the movie, I shall briefly disregard that sage advice to tell you Alien: Covenant sucks so hard. I might say it was worse than Prometheus, except I didn't fall asleep in this one. Maybe I just wasn't tired yesterday, but I'm gonna be generous and concede that point. Katherine Waterston is terrible, all teary eyes and quavering voice; in fact, for a team of scientists and explorers, the minute something goes a little sideways these people lose their s**t faster than the slutty girl in those teen horror flicks. Many of the choices they make are about as stupid, too. Cardinal rules: When in doubt, don't split up and don't have sex. Pretty simple, right? This crew is so dumb it's hard to invest in any of them...more fun to try guessing in what order they'll (deservedly) be picked off. The writing is so predictable I was finishing lines in my head like a movie I'd seen a hundred times. Covenant features some lovely locations and decent effects, but the "horror" is limited to gore and cheap jump scares that you'll see coming a mile out. There's a minor, but weird and unnecessary, reference to a character thinking he's considered untrustworthy for being "a person of faith." That probably got under my skin more than it should have, but it stuck out as one of the most offensively pointless spots on an almost-entirely pointless movie landscape.
Alien: Covenant clocks in at 122 minutes and is rated R for "sci-fi violence, bloody images, language, and some sexuality/nudity."
With a top-notch cast, mammoth effects, and spectacular sets, it's clear the makers of Alien: Covenant weren't shy about throwing money at the screen; however, in the immortal words of Butthead: "You can't polish a turd, Beavis." Or, as the lady behind me stage-whispered about the halfway point: "This movie stinks." Of a possible nine Weasleys, Alien: Covenant gets one.
Fangirl points: Billy Crudup! Country Roads! Dariusz Wolski!
Until next time...
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy - whether he likes it or not.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana
Release Date: May 12, 2017
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some suggestive content and brief strong language
Runtime: 2 hr. 6 min.
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword isn’t a terrible movie by any stretch of the imagination. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of missteps made throughout. It’ll take you a few minutes to figure out that Guy Ritchie isn’t out to replicate John Boorman’s classic Excalibur. Ritchie delivers a fantasy movie that’s lifted some of the names from the Arthurian legends and uses them solely for name recognition. They’re very little that feels familiar to anyone who has more than a passing knowledge of the story. Thankfully there are inspired moments to be had throughout even if they are never consistent enough to make for a strong film. Ritchie can’t seem to decide if he wants to make a full on fantasy film or a more gritty on the ground take. It makes for a jarring viewing experience since some of the great moments from the cast are immediately followed by some frantic overly CGI’ed action sequences. These sequences detract from the overall enjoyment because the film doesn’t let its strong cast shine. As such, most of the actors are lost in the overall scheme of things creating a film that feels long and rushed at the same time. It’s a real shame Guy Ritchie couldn’t choose a lane because there’s bit and pieces in the film that shine and could have made up a better film.
Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for the latest proof that Hollywood is out of new ideas: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you haven't seen in the trailers.
A young King Arthur is forced to reclaim his birthright from his traitorous uncle.
As I'm sure you've heard (and heard and heard), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword has many problems. In the interest of finishing strong, we'll get those out of the way first. The movie's biggest issue is that it isn't comfortable in its own skin. It desperately wants you to take it seriously, but offers you no real reason to do so. Modern language, clothing, and haircuts constantly belie its medieval setting...never mind some astonishingly white teeth! Charlie Hunnam--bless his beautiful, beautiful self--is just not that great a dramatic actor. Don't misunderstand me, dear reader(s), I love this guy and have seen and will continue to see everything he does, but he'd be better served by taking more interesting roles in smaller movies than by attempting to carry huge expectations on his strong, broad shoulders. Wait...what? Sorry, I was distracted by the thought of Charlie's shoulders. The supporting cast is reasonably solid, but only Jude Law seems to grasp the silliness of this retelling of the classic tale, delivering a baddie who's a mere moustache-twirl shy of cartoonish. That's the bad news, and I'm surprised and delighted to report none of it is fatal.
On the plus side, Legend of the Sword features some pretty nice creature and battle effects. A couple quick-cut narrative bits are hilarious--the movie's best parts, really--though they seem out of place with the intended tone. The film runs a hair long for what it is, but it never seems too long...which regular readers will know is quite a compliment coming from me! Daniel Pemberton's score is utterly magical. Do get out and buy or download or stream it or whatever you kids do with your music these days. Finally, SPOILER ALERT: Charlie Hunnam is shirtless. More than once. Feel like that's worth the price of admission any ol' day.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword clocks in at 126 minutes and is rated PG13 for "sequences of violence and action, some suggestive content, and brief strong language." King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is less authentic legend than it is garden-variety action fantasy, but it's a surprisingly good time with some lovely eye candy. Of a possible nine Weasleys, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword gets six.
Fangirl points: Aidan Gillen (*swoon*)! Freddie Fox! Annabelle Wallis!
Until next time...