Number 6 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : The crew of the spacecraft, Nostromo, intercepts a distress signal from a planet and set’s out to investigate : although Ridley Scott’s ALIEN is not the best film in the franchise (that in my opinion goes to it’s sequel Aliens) it’s certainly the scariest : filmed on a budget of approximately $12 million and released in 1979 the film was a big hit at the box office, launching Sigourney Weaver’s career whilst setting up a successful franchise : in crafting one of the scariest sci-fi horror movies of all time Ridley Scott turned to Swiss Artist H.R. Giger to assist with the film’s creature design, the Swiss ultimately helped create the face-hugger, chestburster, space jockey & more and was part of the special effects team that won the Oscar for visual design : Alien is full of atmosphere and the jumps come thick & fast, take the chestburster scene (one of the most iconic talked about scenes in movie history), WOW that scene, my god, I nearly jumped through the roof…. and those scenes with Dallas tracking down the Alien inside the belly of the ship, crawling through a labyrinth of air ducts armed with only with a flamethrower, you feel claustrophobic & you find yourself biting your nails as Dallas the hunter becomes the hunted (talk about tension)….. and how about when science officer Ash decides to go batshit crazy and attempts to suffocate one of the crew with a newspaper….. let’s be honest I could fill a telephone directory with so many memorable moments throughout the film that will not only scare you half to death with Scott’s injection of suspense & sheer cruelty but will also make your jaw drop in amazement with how visually beautiful the film looks, those magnificent sets in Alien are something to behold : and let’s not forget Jerry Goldsmith’s sensational score, it’s both creepy yet beautiful & Dan O’Bannon’s imaginative story without which we’d have no movie, his concept is sublime : overall Alien is an astonishing 2hrs of scifi horror that will make you want to scream….. but remember, In space no can hear you scream ★★★★★
“after a team of soldiers enter and don’t return five women scientists enter what is known as The Shimmer essentially a wall between our world and the infected area in hope of discovering what happened to those men and the truth behind this anomaly”
24hrs on and I can’t stop thinking of Alex Garland’s latest Annihilation – firstly it’s nowhere near as as complicated a story as people make out, yes it’s slow, brooding and set to a surreal back drop but when all is said and done it’s quite simply an alien invasion movie and a blooming good one too – music is used sparingly throughout the movie but when used it’s to eerie effect, the strumming of a guitar, a haunting melody really does up the tension and you just can’t help but think something bad is gona happen and soon – along with it’s exciting young cast there’s a certain likeness in Garland’s Annihilation to classic scifi of yesteryear such as The Thing and Alien, there is so much greatness and so many talking points throughout it’s rather short 115 min runtime, those scenes when Anya played by Gina Rodriguez decides to take matters into her own hands by tying the team to their chairs, attempts to interrogate and what happens next is edge of the seat brilliance and lets not forget the aligator attack, that bear like creature and Lena’s own discovery towards the pictures epic finale – if your over thinking about watching this movie then please stop what your doing take a breather and let your movie indulgence be enhanced by Garland’s Annihilation a modern scifi gem that will have you chomping at the bit for a rewatch seconds after it’s conclusion ★★★★½
For those of you who follow me on social media or read this movie blog you will know by now that I adore Ridley Scott, his movies and all things Alien but in recent years I have been quite vocal on this legendary directors fall from the dizzy heights of yesteryear to churning out such ordinary movies, average affairs such as Robin Hood, The Counselor, Exodus: Gods and Kings and the pretty dismal Prometheus – I am so conflicted, the one side of me is so grateful to this legendary filmmaker for giving us so many iconic movies but the other side keeps asking the question “why does Ridley Scott continue to direct such sub par movies? take a leaf out of Tarantino and Cameron’s book, maybe direct a film every few years instead of every year?” it’s my opinion that these films will only tarnish his brilliant reputation – I really had hoped that Ridley had turned the corner back in 2015, I absolutley loved The Martian with Matt Damon this was a real return to form from a director in need of some resurection so when it was announced that a new Alien movie was in production a sequel to the dreadful Prometheus nevertheless I was pumped, excited and looking forward to maybe a new chapter in this great series of scifi indulgence…..
Sadly for me though Alien Covenant was not what I hope it would be, yes it was better than Prometheus (well that wasn’t hard now was it) and yes maybe over the last 10yrs The Martian aside it’s one of his better efforts but overall it was a big screen blockbuster that left me feeling flat, it was way too predictable, contained some shitty CGI that made the overall production feel shoddy and unpolished and although Covenant had it’s moments it’s narrative tried to over complicate things so the reasons why we loved the original movies were lost in this world, a franchise that was slowly becoming more about the androids than anything else – Ridley also thought it was a good idea to go all mystical on our asses so inserted some really strange Obi Wan moments featuring David from Prometheus, living like an old wise hermit in a cave, listening to wind chimes and blowing his flute delivering lines such as “you blow and I will do the fingering” I just found all this mumble jumble embarrassing, out of place and lacking any sort of vision, suspense and was almost laughable at times….
I am not saying that Alien Covenant as a movie is a complete disaster, for me it’s not got that Ridley Scott stamp on it – McBride and Fassbender are both terrific in their respective roles and some of the nice homages to previous movies were great to see but overall Covenant felt like a bad dream a two a penny slasher that felt like a rehash of the original movie that is desperately trying to emulate all the things that worked such as (face huggers, chest bursters, acid for blood and so on) yet delivering it all with no panach and most importantly zero tension, yeah it’s a shit load more violent than it’s predecessors but that’s nothing to be proud about, what made 1979’s Alien so damn good was it’s slow burning tension that’s gnaws away at you but with Covenant you feel nothing – most of the films undoing in my opinion is it’s lack of humanity I felt so disconnected to the crew of the ship, the characters in the movie were not developed enough so when they slowly start getting picked off I actually felt very little for them, I was numb and that overall summed up my experience with this movie at it’s finale – I just hope Ridley doesn’t out stay his welcome and he lets go of the Alien reigns and allows a new filmmaker to bring some fresh ideas to this much loved franchise ……★★★½
Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created with Alien Covenant a new chapter in the Alien franchise. The crew of the colony ship Covenant sits down on what they think is an uncharted paradise, but slowly it becomes apparant that this world is actually a dangerous, unforgiving place of terror where it’s only inhabitant are creatures that bleed acid and want to tear you limb from limb….
The films impressive cast includes : Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride, James Franco, Demián Bichir, Billy Crudup, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollett and Callie Hernandez – Alien Covenant opens on May 19th
“12 Mysterious ships take up positions across Earth leading the military to send in a top notch linguist (Amy Adams) and a scientist (Jeremy Renner) to assist in translating alien communications”
For me Denis Villeneuve has joined a select band of filmmakers that manage to excite me, make me giddy with film fever and have so far delivered with every movie I’ve watched – the likes of Cameron, Tarantino and Nichols are also in that group so as you can see I highly rate this talented Canadian who’s last 3 movies Enemy, Prisoners and Sicario have all left me speechless and for many different reason’s blew my movie loving mind – Arrival is not your typical first contact picture, it’s based on Ted Chiang’s short story titled “Story of your Life” and is somewhat a science fiction love story, that’s powerfully captivating and tugs at your heart strings on so many levels – some of Villeneuve’s strength’s as a filmmaker is how he deals with the characters within the films narrative, managing to humanize them and make you care for them but also building a tension that surrounds them, this is difficult to achieve so it’s no surprise if you look at who he brings on board and trusts to convey his vision – at the heart of Arrival is Amy Adams who delivers a vulnerable yet equally strong performance playing Linguistics professor Louise Banks a women who’s known huge loss in her life yet shows the fight to continue on – Arrival essentially deals with grief and how we handle it, and one of Amy’s strong points as an actress is her facial features she has that honest, natural look, her eye’s give so much away so that her character’s interaction with the aliens is not only a scary encounter but also a thing of beauty too – now if filmmaker Villeneuve and actress Amy Adams are not enough to tempt you to watch this fabulous slice of Science Fiction on the big screen then Bradford Young’s sumptuous, flawless cinematography must surely twist your arm, remember when you first watched Kubrick’s 2001 or Spielberg’s Close Encounters and felt delirious, allowing the vision of the movie to spin into cinematic greatness well Bradford Young’s work is in similar vein, his use of light inside the space ship is paramount to the films overall feel and it’s mastered beautifully so if you thought Bradford’s work on Ain’t them Bodies and A Most Violent Year were great then wait till you see Arrival – this is no Independence Day Arrival is a bold, compelling, original slice of science fiction that’s full of suspense and sentiment – in it’s genre it’s one of the most thought provoking, written pictures for many a year and yet another fabulous cinematic experience by Villeneuve – bring on that Blade Runner sequel this guy can’t wait….
From the director who brought us Gladiator, Alien and Blade Runner comes a biblical epic set during the times of Moses and Rhamses EXODUS : GODS and KINGS – the film stars Sigourney Weaver, Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley and Aaron Paul and judging by this trailer looks pretty damn mouth watering – after recent dud’s including Prometheus and The Counselor I’m hoping for a return to form from one of cinema’s greatest filmmakers – the movie lands December this year – above are some new stills and here’s the trailer…. Enjoy!
Here’s some rather colorful character posters from James Gunn’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY the latest Marvel big screen bonanza that will hit our screens later this summer – Gunn the guy who brought us the fabulous Slither and comedy superhero movie Super has assembled an exciting cast that includes Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Dave Bautista and Vin Diesel – here’s them posters…. Enjoy!
From filmmaker Jonathan Glazer comes UNDER THE SKIN a haunting tale of an Alien preying on Hitchhikers in Scotland – the film stars Scarlett Johansson and Paul Brannigan and is based around Michel Faber’s novel of the same name – Glazer also brought us the delicious Sexy Beast and the strange yet somewhat wonderful Birth so teaming up with one of my favorite actresses Johansson and with a backdrop that is Glasgow and the Scottish Highlands my anticipation for the movie couldn’t be any higher – here’s the official poster (that is visually stunning), some movie stills and the latest official trailer…. Enjoy!
Under the Skin – US (4th April) – UK (14th March) – Australia (N/A)
THE COUNSELOR (2014) – Movie Review ★★½
The Counselor stars Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Penélope Cruz, Rosie Perez & Brad Pitt – the movie follows a lawyer knows to his friends & colleagues as The Counselor who is rich and successful yet finds himself deep in an extremely complex drug plot that involves the Mexican Cartel, some pretty unsavory characters and a middle-man known as Westray played by Brad Pitt – when the plan The Counselor’s involved with goes south he must try and protect himself & his soon to be wife after the Drugs Cartel start eliminating those who have doubled crossed them – VERDICT since 2001’s Black Hawk Down and the wonderful Matchstick Men in 2003 I have found Ridley Scott’s directorial efforts to fall between average & very poor and The Counselor sadly falls in the latter – despite containing a delicious cast and at times some incredible cinematography by Dariusz Wolski (Crimson Tide & Dark City) the film is a 2hr 18mins mixture of the bizarre, the disjointed and is amongst the dullest big screen events in the last few years – The Counselor’s memorable moments such as Diaz orgasmic moment on a car windscreen (yep that happened), the colorful outfits & delightful hairstyle of Javier Bardem & a couple of well executed be-heading’s are quickly forgotten, swept away in the nonsensical over complicated nature of the film’s script – overall The Counselor only adds to the list of recent movies that fall below the quality expected from one of cinema’s greatest filmmakers – it contains some horrible acting performances & a script by the ever reliable Cormac McCarthy who wrote No Country for Old Men and The Road that is a tiresome, sloppy, yawn-fest that contains numerous, meaningless exchanges between characters that you find awkward, cold and pretty much unlikeable – sadly The Counselor is yet another Ridley Scott disappointment so now my hopes on this great filmmaker returning to form rest firmly with his next big screen outing the biblical EXODUS that lands later this year and stars Christian Bale….