Connect with us

Reviews

Alien : Covenant (2017)

Published

on

Alien : Covenant

SummaAlien : Covenantry

The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.

Genre : SF
Country : USA/UK/New Zealand/Canada

Cast :
Michael Fassbender : David / Walter
Katherine Waterston : Daniels
Billy Crudup : Oram

Director :
Ridley Scott

My opinion on “Alien : Covenant”

“They disobeyed a direct order.
She buried her husband.
No, Karine, it’s not that.
They don’t trust me.
And they don’t trust me for the same reason the company didn’t trust me … to lead this mission.”

I never thought I would ever ask the following question: “Mr. Scott, could you draw a line under the whole Alien franchise and concentrate on other projects? Please?“. As an “Alien” fan of the first hour, I was deeply disappointed about this film. In hindsight I thought “Exodus : Gods and Kings” was even better. It’s best they forget about “Alien : Covenant Sequel” which is scheduled to appear in 2019.

Alien : Covenant

Recycling isn’t everything?

I was actually more excited about “Prometheus” than about this creation. I ignored the whole fuss about the religious and existential aspects in “Prometheus“. In my opinion “Prometheus” was a relief after the disastrous parts III and IV of the “Alien” saga. Admittedly, the xenomorphs weren’t omnipresent in “Prometheus“. But the graphics were unprecedented and made my SF heart race again. Scott brought a breath of fresh wind in this SF horror. In “Alien: Covenant” it’s more like a used wind. On the one hand, the functional goal of this film is the cause of this. After all, it’s just a bridge between the “Prometheus” project and the older “Alien” work. But on the other hand, it’s the ease with which this movie is made that lies at the base. Because ultimately it’s nothing but a recycling of old material.

Alien : Covenant

Take me home, country roads!

In “Prometheus” a spacecraft was launched into space to search for the so-called creators (“Engineers”) of humanity. In the end, they discover that these creators want to wipe their creations of the table. The end of the film shows a glimpse of creatures that cause death and destruction in the “Alien” saga afterwards.

Now we see the spacecraft “Covenant”, loaded with colonists and embryos, which (as in “Passengers“) is heading for a planet in another solar system to set up a new colony. Until the ship is hit by a “neutrino burst” and the crew is shaken roughly out of their artificial sleep. When one of the crew members receives a signal from John Denver’s “Take me home” during a repair, they set course to the origin of the signal without hesitation. And thus they end up on a planet with similar living conditions as on Earth. Moreover, they find traces of a previous landing.

 Alien : Covenant

Never thought they could get out that way.

Despite the fact that “Alien: Covenant” is no more than a link between the “Prometheus” narrative and the original first episode, this movie started promising. In retrospect, however, it’s nothing more than a rehashing of previously used ideas. Even the numerous Aliens didn’t impress me. The aggressive and intimidating look of the space monster in the first films ensured some terrifying movie moments. In this film, they weren’t exactly very intelligent and far from slimy. The only original twist in this film was the side those creatures chose to burst out of a human body this time.

Alien : Covenant

Grand applause for Michael Fassbender.

As a die-hard fan of the Alien saga, I was waiting impatiently (even though I’m not in favor of prequels and sequels) for this new episode and I was also expecting big things. Therefor it’s a great disappointment when I saw how such an original and infamous epic story was reduced to the level of a meaningless, brain-dead soap purely based on commercial considerations.

Even though the visual aspect was of an unprecedented level (after all Ridley Scott was holding the reins) and the first half hour (despite the cliché content) was promising, I came to the conclusion that the obtained result was shamefully bad. The Aliens weren’t terrifying and at one point they looked like the Velociraptors from “Jurassic Park”. Some scenes were basically moronic. And be honest, Katherine Waterston will never be able to match Ripley’s masterly played character. The only plus and admirable part was the double role of Michael Fassbender.

Alien : Covenant

Shame on you Mr. Scott.

When are they going to realize in Hollywood when a sequel of a successful film has nothing significantly to contribute to the story and just simply repeats parts of the original (repackaged), one can better refrain from this release. But I get it. The movie has gained a loyal crowd of fans who look forward to any new episode. It doesn’t matter how bad it is, there’ll always be a huge audience to check it out. In most cases this enthusiasm is being followed by disillusion. There are countless other examples. From “Die Hard” to “Terminator”. Or take a look at “Beverly Hills cop”, “Nightmare on Elm street” and “Home alone”.

The pilot film is sensational and unique. In some cases, the sequel offers added value and is highly entertaining. But from then on, it usually goes downhill. There’s nothing great about these sequels. The only reason for their excistence is pure commercial. Shame on you Mr. Scott. To be honest, I never expected you to fall for that.

My rating 3/10
Links : IMDB

Comedy

Happiest Season Review

Published

on

It’s that time of year again, and even though its only November, Christmas movies are starting to be released as everyone puts up their tree and starts counting down the days. Now I’m not normally a fan of Christmas films nor am I really fan of rom-coms either, so, as you can imagine, I was very pleasantly surprised by how good Happiest Season is and by how much heart this film has.

Happiest Season follows Abby (Kristen Stewart) who plans to propose to her girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis) on Christmas at her parents’ annual holiday party but things don’t quite go to plan when Abby learns that Harper hasn’t come out yet to her parents. Abby and Harper have to pretend to just be friends to Harper’s family which creates problems for the couple.

The whole film is full of charm and joy but it also contains a lot of substance, which is very refreshing for a Christmas rom-com. At the film’s heart is Abby and Harper’s relationship, perfectly captured by the performances from Stewart and Davis. Stewart shows the frustration she feels about keeping Harper’s secret so well and she manages to shine in both the comedic scenes but also in the dramatic and sensitive scenes as well. Davis is very good too, but it does feel much more like Abby’s film than Harper’s. Whilst the film is anchored by Stewart and Davis, the supporting cast is filled with great actors; Alison Brie is so much fun as Harper’s older sister Sloane and Schitt’s Creek’s Daniel Levy is on great form as Abby’s best friend John. Aubrey Plaza, Mary Steenburgen and Victor Garber also shine and provide lots more heart and laughter to the film.

As well as the impressive cast, the writing from Clea DuVall (who also directed) is really good too, with the film providing so many great quotable moments and many moments that made me laugh out loud. But the film also feels really tender and human as well and DuVall manages to juggle the comedic and sensitive scenes of the film really well and she handles the lesbian relationship at the film’s centre very well. Happiest Season can definitely join the list of fun, worthy Christmas rom-coms.

It’s just a lovely film and you can’t help but smile and laugh along with which is just what you’d expect from a nice straightforward Christmas film but Happiest Season has much more to offer than that as it grapples with ideas about sexuality and acceptance and family, thus creating a film with a lot of meaning and a lot of heart. For the first half of the film, it did feel a little bit generic and there was nothing too special about it as it shifts between some rather OTT comedy and trying to set up some really emotional and sincere moments but it was in the final act where the film really hit the mark and it really went somewhere and achieved something really strong and powerful.

Overall, Happiest Season is a nice, fun Christmas film with heartfelt performances and a great message that leaves you with that warm, bubbly feeling that you expect from a Christmas film.

3.5/5

Happiest Season is available on Hulu or available to rent or buy in many other countries now.

Continue Reading

HORROR

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula Review

Published

on

After 2016’s hit Train to Busan wowed audiences around the world, the highly-anticipated sequel has finally arrived, and it doesn’t disappoint. Whilst it’s not quite as sharp as the first film, it still very entertaining and there’s still plenty of great zombie action to keep you engaged.

Peninsula is set 4 years after the zombie outbreak and after the first film. It’s a standalone sequel so you don’t need to have seen Train to Busan– although you really should seek it out because it’s great and it’s probably the best zombie films ever made by someone other than George A. Romero. Peninsula follows soldier Jung-seok played by Gang Dong-Won who receives an enticing offer to return to the quarantined peninsula to retrieve an abandoned truck filled with money. The mission goes wrong and Jung-seok and his friend get ambushed by a mysterious militia called Unit 631. All sorts of zombie chaos arise as Jung-seok must find a way to escape the peninsula once and for all.

Let me get straight out there and answer the question that’s on the minds of all Train to Busan fans, “Is Peninsula as good as the first film?”. No. Peninsula is definitely a step down from Train to Busan but that doesn’t mean it’s bad, far from it. The 2016 film had set the bar so high that it was very unlikely that Peninsula would be better. Train to Busan is one of my favourite zombie films of all time and whilst Peninsula isn’t as good, I still had a great time with it and thought it was very good.

The sequel definitely isn’t as sharp as the first one and it does suffer a bit from sequelitis as it feels like it must be bigger and bolder than its predecessor when, in fact, it doesn’t need to be. Train to Busan had lots of great zombie action scenes as well as scares but it was also very character-driven and had much more to it than zombies and blood. That’s where Peninsula falls down unfortunately. Whilst this isn’t a problem if you just want to watch an entertaining zombie film, the film is slightly disappointing if you were hoping it to be on the same level as Train to Busan. It gets a bit ridiculous in some of the action scenes, particularly in the final act, with it almost turning into a Fast & Furious film; perhaps a more appropriate title for it would have been 2 Train 2 Busan.

Saying that, the film doesn’t need to be compared to its predecessor. If you don’t expect it to be as good as the first film, you’ll have a great time with it. I definitely preferred Peninsula to the 2016 animated prequel Seoul Station and even on its own, I really enjoyed Peninsula and was very entertained by all the great action scenes. The film goes all out on trying to up the spectacle on the first film and if, like me, you love some good zombie mayhem there’s no reason you won’t really enjoy it. There’s action throughout and even though it’s more cartoonish this time around, it’s really good entertainment and great fun.

Overall, Peninsula isn’t as tight a film as Train to Busan but that’s alright, there’s still plenty of fun to be had with the zombies here and I had a thrilling time and it’s probably one of the best zombie films since its predecessor.

4/5

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula will have limited cinema screenings due to cinema closures but it will be available on digital download from November 23rd and on all other formats from November 30th in the U.K.

 

 

Continue Reading

HORROR

FrightFest 2020 Review: Don’t Look Back

Published

on

For the second time in 2020, the Arrow Video FrightFest has gone online after cancelling the physical event that was planned to take place in Leicester Square from October 21-25. Despite not being in person, FrightFest still has plenty of films and scares to be had.

Don’t Look Back is the directorial debut from Jeffrey Reddick who’s best known for creating the Final Destination film franchise. Reddick’s directorial debut has many similarities to Final Destination; in Final Destination, we see a group of people cheat death and so death comes for them. In Don’t Look Back, it’s karma that comes to kill them. Despite the similarities, Reddick manages to show that he’s got a lot to offer in the director’s chair.

Don’t Look Back follows a young woman called Caitlin, played by Kourtney Bell, who is still overcoming her traumatic past when she, and a few others, witness a man being attacked in the park and none of them do anything to stop the attack. The witnesses including Caitlin then start getting targeted by someone, or something out for revenge.

The film begins with phone-footage of witnesses watching people being attacked. Instantly the film starts to make you question what you would do in these situations and if you would just stand and watch or would you be the one to intervene and to help the victims?

Don’t Look Back gets straight into it as very early on we get a scene that gets straight into the action and sets up the trauma that Caitlin then experiences for the rest of the film. Whilst the films does get straight into it at the start, it does go a little quiet for some time. One slightly disappointing thing about the film, particularly when compared to Final Destination, is that there are very few scares in this film. There isn’t much blood or gore or actual horror to it which is a shame, but the film is still entertaining without any of that.

The film plays a lot on the idea of karma ad it’s an interesting concept to play about with although at times it can be a little too on the nose. Sometimes all of this, in particular the film’s opening, and the idea of karma is just waved in the audience’s face far too explicitly and perhaps a slightly more subtle approach would have been better.

Overall, whilst Don’t Look Back isn’t anything too exciting or different and it could do with a few more scares, it’s not bad and fans of Final Destination will definitely enjoy it and have a good time with the film.

2.5/5

Don’t Look Back is in cinemas and available on-demand in the US now

Continue Reading

Trending