7 items from 2017
Streaming services are really making their mark on the cinematic world. Between Amazon and Netflix, the film festival circuit has seen some big time buys from these would be studios. Netflix has gone a step further, funding some huge projects. One such movie is War Machine, a hugely baity satire that the service forked over heavy money to produce. Starring Brad Pitt and hitting on timely material, this really seemed like it would be an opportunity for the service to contend for some Oscars. Sadly, it isn’t up to snuff in that regard. Still, audiences might be interested in seeing Pitt don the fatigues once again. The film is a satire about military bureaucracy. Initially positioned to be about General Stanley McChrystal since it’s an adaptation of the non fiction book The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan, which is about the General. »
- Joey Magidson
Say what you will about his final products, but Ridley Scott has spent quite a bit of time in the Alien world. From the aforementioned Alien to Prometheus, he has dabbled with xenomorphs more than anyone else. This week, he returns to the world once again with Alien: Covenant, a franchise outing that attempts to split the difference. It’s Scott trying to have his cake and eat it too. As you might have seen hinted over the past week or two by yours truly, I didn’t think it worked, but reviews so far have been divisive. Some love this flick, while others aren’t fans. In other words, it’s very much a Scott outing and a summer blockbuster. The film is both a sequel to Prometheus as well as a prequel to Alien. Here, we follow the crew of the colony ship Covenant. Filled with sleeping settlers »
- Joey Magidson
The numerous financial forces that conspired to put Alien: Covenant on thousands and thousands of screens the world over have ensured that their investment will be sold, from the title on down, with more clarity and promise than its predecessor. Whereas 2012’s Prometheus was able to get by plenty well through mysterious marketing, a very rare is-it-or-is-it-not play with decades-old iconography, Covenant is being sold, in posters and trailers and TV spots, as everything you’d expect and just about nothing that would really raise any eyebrow. Except, of course, why the nearly octogenarian Ridley Scott, after having the opportunity to go balls-out weird with his flawed, sometimes majestic sci-fi epic, would commit such time and energy to what is, at first glance, clearly a retread.
Then you get a bit deeper into the thing — such as, say, actually seeing the movie, which I think counts for a lot — and »
- Nick Newman
For nearly 40 years now, audiences have been terrified by the cinematic universe Sir Ridley Scott first brought to life in his brilliant Alien. We have been enraptured by the Xenomorphs and all their iterations through three sequels, two Predator-inclusive offshoot films and Scott’s previous effort, Prometheus, which took us even further back to the events that happened prior to Alien. With Alien: Covenant, Ridley looks to start bridging the mythologies established in both films, and overall finds moderate success.
While I definitely enjoyed Covenant more than its direct predecessor, I do feel like this latest entry into the Alien franchise loses focus in its third act, giving us more of the same and nearly squandering some of the really great stuff that precedes it. Alien: Covenant also suffers from a lack of defined secondary characters and some not-so-awesome CG creatures, but Michael Fassbender delivers yet another brilliant performance that »
- Heather Wixson
Forty years ago, two movies rewrote the rules for science fiction. The first, of course, was 1977’s “Star Wars,” which made every child dream of space, introducing cuddly, nonsense-spouting aliens that could be brought home as toys. Two years later, Ridley Scott took the opposite approach, conjuring a nightmarish worst-case scenario of the unknown life — and death — that might be awaiting us out there in the void in “Alien.” The franchise has gone through a number of permutations since, but “Alien: Covenant” is, if nothing else, a return to form for both Scott and the series: a hard-r horror movie, featuring ferocious, acid-dripping space crustaceans, a tough female lead and a bunch of dead-meat crew members.
In short, it’s more of the same, which is both a relief to fans and a letdown to those hoping it might pave new ground. The personal enjoyment you derive from the film »
- Peter Debruge
Will we ever get the closure we deserve?
The Deadwood movie is pretty much HBO’s version of Chinese Democracy. Fans of David Milch’s swear-laced western drama have been clamoring for a resolution to the series ever since it ended abruptly after its third season way back in 2006, and for years now producers and cast have kept this dream alive by teasing the idea of a feature film to wrap things up. But that’s all it’s really been, a tease. Seems like once a year there’s an obligatory update about how everyone’s still interested — cast, crew, creator and network — and a vague promise that any day now the ball will get rolling. Late last year we received the most promising news yet from series lead Ian MacShane, who reported that Milch was ready to write and the cast was prepping for returns to their roles. Great news »
- H. Perry Horton
Ryan Lambie Jan 25, 2017
At a recent preview, we saw about 15 mins of Alien: Covenant. Here’s why we’re hopeful it’s the horror we’ve been waiting for...
Nb: The following contains a few spoilers for Alien: Covenant’s first act. Nothing massive, but do turn back if you want to watch the movie cold.
Bad weather. Body horror. Terrified mortals fleeing in terror from a slippery nightmare. In some respects, 2012‘s Prometheus had plenty of things you’d want in an Alien movie. But like a distorted reflection in a hall of mirrors, Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror prequel felt somehow askew: its characters had little of the earthy believability of the 1979 movie that ignited the franchise, and while some of the scenes were undoubtedly intense, Prometheus was, for the most part, »
7 items from 2017
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