Month: June 2017

Alien: Covenant – Review #77

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kk9e6ddko5ny.jpgCue the jingle.

Alien: Covenant, directed by Ridley Scott, is the newest part of the Alien franchise and stars Michael Fassbender, Michael Fassbender, Katherine Watherson, and Danny McBride among others. Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, members of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think to be an uncharted paradise. While there, they meet David, 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.

How must it feel to see a franchise you love go above and beyond the wild curve?

I didn’t grow up with the Alien movies. By the time I watched the first movie, I have seen the xenomorph in countless other pop culture, and it wasn’t scary anymore.

I bring that up because that may be a key component of why some people absolutely despise this movie, while I for the most part thought it was alright.

Alien: Covenant is not an Alien movie. It’s a weird diatribe on humanity and life. What Ridley Scott has done is take a beloved franchise he himself created, and turned it into his own loudspeaker to the world. I refrain from calling it a “bastardization” of the *Alien* series on the sole belief that he didn’t do it under any motion studio’s will; it’s his own choice.

With that said, I completely understand anyone that hates this movie. Whatever terror the classic creature could’ve instilled has been completely thrown aside for Scott’s ramblings on man. I never found the xenomorph scary in the movie, because the xenomorph was exposed to the point of redundancy.

Looking at it, it runs deeper than just the xenomorph. The central characters, the ones that we should care about, felt like last minute additions. The actors themselves weren’t the problem, it was the script. The colonists in this movie are stupid people who do stupid shit and get themselves into stupid situations where they eventually die because of their own stupidity. God bless Katherine Waterson and the others for trying her absolute best, their efforts deserve a better movie.

So, do I hate this movie? I probably should, but goddamn does Ridley know how to shoot a scene. At least he stills has that. Seeing this old man musing about philosophy is utterly fascinating to watch. I’ll admit I was bought in by it, I was along for the ride. But then I get reminded how utterly inane the characters are, and I get thrown off.

So yeah, I should hate this movie, but goddamnit it’s so fascinating.

In conclusion, Alien: Covenant is definitely an experience. It is an experience to go through it, and you get off on the other end a changed person. On most accounts it blows chunks, and they have a point, but to this humble reviewer it was just too mind-boggling to completely dismiss it. I’d say…wait for the Blu-ray. When it’s on sale.


Wonder Woman – Review#76

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wonder-woman-final-poster.jpgCue the jingle.

Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, is the newest film in the DC Extended Universe, and stars Gal Gadot in the title role, with Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya and a flurry of others in a huge cast. Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, Diana meets an American pilot Steve trevor who tells her about the massive conflict that’s raging in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home for the first time. Fighting alongside men in a war to end all wars, she finally discovers her full powers and true destiny.

Now we all know that DC’s track record of films has been…inconsistent, especially when comparing to its counterpart, Marvel. I don’t believe I’ve seen Man of Steel fully, and I didn’t completely hate Batman v Superman however flawed that movie may be.

No comment on Suicide Squad.

So yeah, I didn’t have too high a hope for Wonder Woman. It’s not like I wanted it to be bad-hell knows who’d willingly want that-but let’s just say that I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw negative reviews.

So imagine my surprise when the movie received unbelievably good reviews. I thought it was too good to be true, and maybe there was a bias, considering the whole “female-director” thing.

Well call me a misogynistic prick, this movie rocks.

Throwing all the female thing aside, this is a genuinely good superhero origin story, showing how Diana is brokered in from a world of beauty and prideful gleam to WWI, which was…less than pretty. I have a particular liking to stories about people losing their innocence, so maybe that helped, but anyways.

The movie did what an origin story is supposed to do; show who the star is and what she stands for, and give her a story to show that stand. I really have nothing but praise for the movie.

The main star, Gal Gadot as the titular Wonder Woman; Diana, Princess of Themyscira. People have criticized her thinner and lankier body perhaps not fitting for the Amazon warrior, but in the movie it surprisingly works. She’s able to carry this tremendous weight on her shoulders and make the audience believe it.

Chris Pine as basically the co-star Steve Trevor is surprisingly good as well, giving character to the generic bland looking good guy. Really most of the cast does a fine job with what they’re given. Elena Anaya as one of the villains had one of the coolest designs I’ve seen for a supervillain, be it DC or otherwise.

The only dragging force regarding the cast is Lucy Davis’ character. The whiplash between the tones of her character and the rest of the movie is simply astounding. It’s not that her type of character won’t work in a movie like this, it’s how overboard they do it that does it.

But overall, I think this movie does good. It’s not just “good enough”, it’s actually good. Finally there is a good superheroine movie that’s showing on the big screen, and this time DC beat Marvel to the punch on that. So you did good, DC, you did good. Pat yourself on the back for this one.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – Review #75

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17015800_10154981836668830_529268610073059017_o.jpgPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, directed by Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg, is the 5th installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean series and stars Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Kevin McNally, with Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario in new roles. Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Capt. Jack Sparrow feels the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost sailors led by his old nemesis, the evil Capt. Salazar, escape from the Devil’s Triangle. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it, he must forge an uneasy alliance with a brilliant and beautiful astronomer and a headstrong young man in the British navy.

Okay, regarding the Pirates franchise. I find myself being more lenient towards it than other reviewers, what with some critics saying that it sucks and it’s terrible and whatnot. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t really seen the previous 4 movies in years now, so whatever call of similarities or the movie drudging the same path is lost on me.

With that said, I’ll still defend the movies. When I go into a Pirates movie, I expect to see some cinematic swashbuckling adventure, and nothing much more, and for the most part I think the series does that pretty well. The series has always been cinematic by design, what with all those wide shots and all, and there’s just enough there to keep me concentrated throughout the movie.

I haven’t been soiled by the repetition of the other movies and had a good time in the theater is what I’m trying to say.

Cast-wise, it’s all good as always. Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow is what you’d expect, but there was a bit more of depth and exploration of his character that I did not expect and found actually interesting. From what I heard it contradicts past movies though, so…I guess I shouldn’t give it too much credit.

I also like that they tried to separate the two new photogenic leads from just being “Will and Elizabeth Lite”. I believe they succeed to some extent, doing their darndest to make these characters unique in their own way, but somewhere at the end of the 2nd act there’s a…plot discovery that just drives it down.

Javier Bardem as the new villain I actually find interesting as well, until once more in the third act when the movie has to wrap things up. I don’t know if it’s because of Javier himself or genuinely good character writing, but I was drawn in to his story.

The flaws of the movie are strewn about in small bits and moments, with some quick appearances of new characters that we don’t ultimately learn much or care about, some tedious jokes, and some strange callbacks, basically anything that might’ve been fixed with a script rewrite. Except perhaps again, the rush of a climax. The speed of the movie was somewhat quick already, but at the ending it really seemed to shift from 5th to 6th gear, just quickly trying to settle everything.

If this really is the supposed last installment of the series-I’ll believe it when I don’t see it-I suppose it could’ve ended on a worse note.

In conclusion, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is a Pirates movie. That along should deem whether you want to see it or not. Personally I had fun with it; it’s a good weekend watch. Soft recommendation.