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
With films in the Mid 80s through to the 90s such as Romancing the Stone, The Back to the Future Trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump and Contact filmmaker Robert Zemeckis was pretty untouchable, a master visionary with the Midas touch, a director who defined those times with exciting, bold film-making, great storytelling and colorful characters that we all love so well….
His latest ALLIED a WWII movie that’s more keeping with Casablanca rather than the violent brutal Tarantino pic Inglorious Basterds is an absolute treat – Zemeckis delivers on every detail, from the character’s costumes down to the general atmosphere of the times, whether it be the sand dune Nazi occupied Casablanca to the devastation of war torn London, as a filmmaker he keeps his sets simple yet pleasing on the eye making each scenario in the movie more believable – along for the ride are two accomplished actors Brad Pitt who plays intelligence officer Max Vatan and Marion Cotillard a French Resistance fighter named Marianne Beausejour, both finding themselves in Morocco paired up with one assignment to kill a German Ambassador who is stationed there and that’s where the fun and games really start – Brad Pitt is terrific, he absorbs his character that goes from a confident spy to slightly unhinged and carrying self doubt as the story slowly unfolds, the is the Pitt of old he’s in fine form, not only bringing the best out of himself but managing as he always seems to do by getting the best out of his co-star and in Allied Marion Cotillard is the perfect foil, she’s the glue that binds the movie together, there’s something exciting about a movie star on top of their game and this French actress is certainly that, she carries the elegance of an 1940’s movie siren, dazzling the screen with a comfortable ease, her acting in the film’s finale is both haunting and powerful and throughout the film she gives a performance that’s worth the ticket fee in itself – Overall: Robert Zemeckis Allied is an attention-driven, old school romantic thriller with plenty of twists and turns, some gorgeous photography and a dark finale that in my opinion was required and executed superbly – let’s hope it’s not too long before we see the brilliance that is Robert Zemeckis behind the camera once more….
There’s always been great movies that have come out of Australia : Walkabout, Picnic at hanging Rock, Mad Max, Gallipoli, Crocodile Dundee, Dead Calm, Romper Stomper, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Tomorrow When the War Began, Animal Kingdom, Wolf Creek, Snowtown & many many more… And in 2014 Australian Cinema has continued its fine tradition of bringing us yet more fresh, well acted, gritty & excitingly told new movies – of course there are so many quality films out there but here’s my 5 must see Aussie flicks of 2014
here’s a new limited edition GODZILLA poster and two newbies from Disney’s MALEFICENT
HER (2014) – Movie Review ★★★★½
Director: Spike Jonze – Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Chris Pratt & Scarlett Johansson – Synopsis: The latest directorial feature from the mind of Spike Jonze tells the story of Theodore Twombly (Phoenix) a complex and somewhat lonely individual who makes his living writing personal letters for other people. After Theodore’s marriage comes to and end he becomes intrigued with a new operating system, and a voice within that system called Samantha, a bright, female voice, who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. The two of them strike up an unusual friendship and slowly but surely Theodore falls deeply in love – Verdict: Spike Jonze’s HER has joined Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Where the Wild Things Are amongst the strangest, yet wonderful, original achievements I have witnessed on a cinema screen in over twenty years – and like it’s predecessors HER is a thought provoking, visually stunning and emotionally haunting movie, Phoenix gives yet another acting masterclass playing the sensitive, almost huggable Theodore and he is well supported by the delightful Amy Adams who plays his best friend and Scarlett Johannson who lends her seductive, husky vocals for Samantha – One thing I always like about a Spike Jonze feature is his camera work and the beautiful images he manages to capture and HER is full of them, one of my favorite moments in the movie is when Theodore lets Samantha guide him through a small fair, with his eyes closed Theodore follows Samantha’s instructions, spinning, sneezing and eventually ordering some food, it’s gorgeous to watch – overall HER is a worthy addition to any movie collection – it’s sad, funny and somewhat scary but one that will have you talking about it’s content for many years to come….superb!
ALL IS LOST (2013/4) – Movie Review ★★★★
All is Lost stars Robert Redford – After a collision with a shipping container at sea, a resourceful sailor finds himself, despite all efforts to the contrary, staring his mortality in the face VERDICT after watching & enjoying 2013’s Wall Street movie Margin Call with it’s hugely impressive ensemble cast I was interested to see how filmmaker J.C. Chandor would handle the complete opposite – one actor (Robert Redford), buckets & buckets of water, a sailing boat and the modern technology that is the the green screen – well I can tell you this much J.C. Chandor not only handled these scenario’s but he captured the struggle of a sailor stranded at sea incredibly, the filmmaker allows it’s star Robert Redford the freedom to show off his underrated acting talents, it’s a picture from a director who has some serious future behind the camera – in All Is Lost Robert Redford commands the screen giving one his finest onscreen performances for many a year, it’s not only his acting but his physicality that impresses, he’s totally convincing as this sailor all alone at sea fighting against mother nature demonstrating great determination and barrels of courage to survive – All Is Lost is one of them pictures that doesn’t have much in the way of dialog but is delivered in a manner that actions speak louder than words – it’s so refreshing to see an original indie drama that contains no sex, no excessive language and hardly any violence BRAVO to Chandor and Redford for this engrossing and emotional journey, one that I would highly recommend….