What can I say that I haven’t already said about the legendary Canadian Filmmaker James Francis Cameron : each and every one of his movies are BADASS… filthy, beautiful, iconic slices of Badass CINEMA that I have crazed over since I was thirteen years of age, sneaking into my local big screen and falling in love with 1984’s Sci-Fi Classic The Terminator, the film, the cast, the story just blew my tiny mind to smitherines… and then if that wasn’t enough of a cinematic awakening how about 1986’s ALIENS the BEST godamn movie sequel that’s ever been, the film has the greatest ensemble, the greatest number of quotes that I’ve used in daily life than any other movie and a movie that sits comfortably in My Top 10 Greatest Movies of ALL TIME… James Cameron is an innovator, a visionary, an artist and although he doesn’t knock out movies every few years like say Ridley Scott or Clint Eastwood the quality and substance of his material is high end, near perfect and usually they turn out to be ground breaking in every way possible, just look at the visual effects, the ideas put together and what was achieved on the likes of The Abyss, Titanic and still the Best 3D IMAX experience that’s ever been in Avatar… and how about the comedy he injects into his films such as T2 Judgment Day and True Lies, both rock the pants off most in the action genre and both are incredibly funny too… so if like me your a fan of James Cameron then raise a glass and salute one of Cinema’s Greatest Filmmakers…
It may not have the first movies ambition or the second’s intensity but The Cloverfield Paradox is actually a shit load of crazy ass fun – firstly if your a fan of 2008’s Cloverfield and it’s sequel of sorts 2016’s wonderful 10 Cloverfield Lane then I’m pretty confident you will find something in Paradox that will appeal to your movie loving heart and although the films coupled to the others in the franchise it most certainly has it’s own identity, very dark at times with a side order of light hearted Evil Dead humor – like most low budget scifi Paradox unashamedly takes from other classics in the genre and why the hell not, one minute you will be reminded of Alien the next Aliens and Event Horizon and with a genius cast that includes David Oyelowo & Gugu Mbatha-Raw, some pretty neat effects and an atmospheric score by Battlestar’s Bear McCreary it’s a movie that really does warrent enjoyment (in a popcorn style movie kind of way) and secondly it’s on Netflix so it’s free (well sort of) ★★★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
the loss of any movie star is a sad time but losing Bill Paxton an actor I have adored since the 80s, iconic, beautiful, crazy and delightfully funny is something I’m really struggling with – as I write this tears are welling, my heart is sinking and the memories of all my favorite Paxton movies are swimming round my head in what can only be described as delirious grief – I have lost count of the times since 1986 I have uttered that line from Aliens “Game Over Man!” and watched over and over his psychotic performance as vampire Severen in the fantastic horror movie Near Dark – to say he is one of my favorite movie idol’s is an understatement, his films have ignited my passion of the screen and for me he will be remembered as this infectious, ballsy movie star that owned the screen with his cowboy swagger, his mischievous grin and one of the most recognizable vocals in film – he was loved and will be missed by all – RIP #FilmLegend
“I’m gonna separate your head from your shoulders. Hope you don’t mind none”
Bill Paxton – Near Dark
“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….
Edge Of Tomorrow (2014) – Movie Review ★★★★½
Director: Doug Liman – Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Noah Taylor & Kick Gurry – Synopsis: Major William Cage (Cruise) a PR for the army finds himself sent to the front line, with zero combat training, fighting a war against an alien force known as the Mimics that’s slowly taking over the world – Cage manages to get himself caught in a time loop that once deceased makes him revisit his horrific day of battle all over again – during this loop he becomes more efficient at battle and meets up with Vrataski (Blunt) who’s a battle hardened war hero and together they must find a way to defeat the Mimics saving the world in the process – Verdict: If your wondering what film you should see at your local cinema this week then wonder no more ! – Based on the Japanese Novel “All You Need Is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and delivered to the big screen by The Bourne Identity’s Doug Liman EDGE OF TOMORROW is one heck of a ride that reminds me of Aliens, Matrix and Starship Troopers wrapped around a devilishly fun Groundhog Day narrative that is not only exhilarating to watch but is a delicious cocktail of clever sci-fi, black humor and full throttle edge of the seat action that Cruise, Blunt and Paxton deliver tenfold – a lot of praise should go to McQuarry & Butterworth for a superb character driven script that’s both fresh, witty and void of romantic entanglement like too many of it’s predecessors – one of the surprises in the movie is Emily Blunt’s “Angel of Verdun” – we all know she can act but her action prowess tethered to her overall look and the deliverance of her character is convincing & superbly executed – the action arena certainly suits Ms Blunt and with the lack of strong female action heroes on our screen of late this role certainly opens some doors for future action screen time – some of my favorite moments in the movie is the breathtaking beach scene reminiscent of a science fiction Saving Private Ryan, the exchanges between Cruise & Paxton (two of my favorite actors) and Cage’s training in the army base against the mimics whilst Vrataski looks on applying the necessary bullet to the head if he fails – Overall: as a summer blockbuster Edge Of Tomorrow is one of the best in recent years, it’s fun, explosive and well worth you hitting that repeat button for another watch….
It was the year that Pixar Studios opened, Amber Heard was born and Sydney Pollack’s Out of Africa won a Best Picture at the 58th Academy Awards – it was also the year screen legend James Cagney died and Mike Tyson became the youngest Heavyweight World Champion in the history of Boxing – it was also the year two of my movie heroes starred opposite each other for the last time – Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster first appeared together in 1957’s Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and in 1986 they would star in their seventh & final movie together Tough Guys….
My Definitive Action Movies of 1986 : at Number 1 is James Cameron’s epic scifi movie ALIENS that sees Ripley alongside a group of kick-ass Colonial Marines trying to stay alive down on LV-426 – at Number 2 Maverick & Goose fly into Top Gun coming up against the best Fighter Pilots the navy has to offer – and at Number 3 Sylvester Stallone plays Marion Cobretti a cop and part of the “Zombie Squad” who loves nothing better than Telling it to the Judge and putting the bad guys down in Cobra – at Number 4 is John Carpenter’s superb Big Trouble in Little China that sees Burton played by Kurt Russell battling a sorcerer named Lo Pan down in Chinatown – and finally there can be only one at Number 5 and that’s Russell Mulcahy’s Highlander don’t you just love that Queen soundtrack, that amazing Scottish backdrop and Clancy Brown’s villainous Kruger? – as you can see 1986 was an incredible feast of action movies, I was only 15 years of age at the time and my love affair with the movies was only just beginning….
Big Ass Spider (2013) – Movie Review ★★
Cast Greg Grunberg, Lombardo Boyar & Ray Wise – whilst receiving some treatment for an insect bite at a local hospital an exterminator (Grunberg) gets in the middle of the military & a bunch of scientists that are tracking and attempting to kill an alien Big Ass Spider – VERDICT – sadly the best bits of Mike Mendez’s B-Movie homage are left to the camp and it must be said dreadful visuals, you know the ones I mean? the Spider chasing a car down the road, the Spider rampaging into a team of bikini clad volleyball players and last but not least the Spider ascending a tall building in almost King Kong style – I usually adore these type of B-Movies, all tongue-in-cheek and mostly lots of fun, especially the ones that include some sort of mutated insect or an alien being hell bent on destroying earth but sadly Big Ass Spider did not take me on the ride I had hoped it would – it is 80mins of very bad acting, horrible visuals, some wasted onscreen talent (Ray Wise) and some terrible comedy dialogue – Overall Big Ass Spider will not be joining the likes of Eight Legged Freaks and Arachnophobia in the ranks of decent, well done Spider flicks, instead it will joining the likes of Sharknado on my list of movies that shall be forgotton & never revisited…