Archive for the Action Category

‘Spiderman Homecoming’: Meet Peter Parker the Protégé

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Movies, Sci-Fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2017 by aliciamovie

Spiderman-Homecoming

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Jon Watts

Studio: Marvel Studios

MPAA Rating: PG 13

Review Rating: 7 out of 10

Web-slinging spoilers catch more than flies!

Coming off the dubious success of the previous Captain America movie, wherein Spiderman was introduced as a protégé of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), we find Peter (Tom Holland) feeling rather too large for his admittedly smaller life back home with May (Marisa Tomei). In this outing, Pete simply calls her ‘May’ and it is only the first of many odd un-Spidey-like actions he takes. Dutifully attending high school and trying to stay out of trouble while sincerely frustrated with the held-back feeling of all the good he could be doing, if only Mr. Stark would but let him. There are bad guys in Pete’s neighborhood, stealing alien tech that’s the consequence of the wider-world fights between the Avengers and other alien invaders and selling it to other bad guys, or forging new weapons and tech from these salvaged parts for their own nefarious purposes.

Pete’s been telling everyone at school and home that he has an internship with Tony Stark, when in reality, it seems as though Stark has left his protégé behind to linger in mediocrity. While Spidey is off with his spiffy Stark-made suit with the training wheels still on, rescuing cats from trees and stopping eensy-weensy thefts, the Avengers are in theory out there having mega-battles with who-knows-what kind of alien villains, and Pete is heartily sick of it. It kinda sorta helps when Pete’s best pal Ned (Jacob Batalon) finds out about his double-life and starts fan-squeeing at him day and night, but seriously, chemistry labs and the academic decathlon are nothing compared to the Avengers world. Yet the film often insists on tossing in we’ll say half of Pete’s so-called “normal” life, like your first major high school party, with the other half, like a tiny bank robbery that turns into murder by alien high tech, in a manner almost expectant of Spidey instantly able to do the necessary thing; poof. We need our Hero Spider-Man and we apparently needed him like yesterday – what’s the rush?

I totally get wanting to fly again after Spiderman’s cameos in the previous movie, but come on fellows. Most of the fans and the general MCU folk want Spider-Man to join the Avengers for whatever varied reasons, but you can’t expect him at a Toby Maguire level if he never had time to be at an Andrew Garfield level. And that’s another place the movie just feels weird – the apparent age of the Spider-Man and his support cast, you know, the high school kids, the girly crush and the best friend who suddenly morphs into ‘the guy in the chair’ level tech mastery. Many of the characters in the film are in an awful hurry to grow up, but that’s unfair to those familiar characters and especially to our beloved web-slinger himself. Spidey trains extra-hard to live up to what he thinks Stark’s expectations of him are, far beyond the point of risking his own safety, and crucially, no real regard for how his actions may affect his loved ones. No Peter Parker-Spider-Man I ever heard of did that (there are other comic book incarnations of Spider-Man now too). Why insist on sticking him in with the Avengers at this young age, and more bogglingly, why cast Tony Stark of all people in the missing-father role? It is what it is; onward we go.

The bright spot in an oddly endearing little fan-film version of Spider-Man we have here, is Michael Keaton as Vulture, and Adrian Toomes. I always thought Keaton’s double performances were some of the best Batmans I had ever seen, and his astounding job in the recent gem Birdman was quite good, so casting him in this beleaguered father role was a very smart move. He took what was essentially, let’s be honest, a boring leftover villain from the glorious 60’s only ever meant to forward the Avengers plot, and made him fun and maybe even a little relatable. How many of you can honestly say, with access to that kind of tech and a bunch of imagination, that you wouldn’t make another version of Vulture, or something like it, for yourself?

Every Spidey film has to have a gigantic “Spidey saves the day!” moment, and Homecoming is no different in this regard. But crossing the epic Spidey-Vulture fight with the high school academic decathlon field trip imminent-elevator-death scene was kind of ridiculous. And the very end scene where Pete finally goes to visit Tony Stark in the new HQ, was once again, mostly all about Starks attempts at mentoring. Does Pete’s decision mean he won’t be in the next Avengers movie? I highly doubt it.

Catch the web-crawler and his flying pals in ‘Spider-Man Homecoming’, in theaters now!

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‘The Defenders Ep 2 Mean Right Hook’: You cheated, Iron Fist, and you know it

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2017 by aliciamovie

defenders-spine-1503097823645_315h

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Spoilers pack a hell of a punch!

Welcome back to Hell’s Kitchen in the aftermath of the tremors from the previous episode! Matt just can’t seem to help himself and even without his horns, dives headlong into saving people. Matt (Charlie Cox) and the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen are at war in one body, and only someone like Foggy could even make him pause for a second, but we’ll get to that.

Jessica’s friend Trish (Rachael Taylor) is here to report on Trish Talk, her radio show, about the quakes, and very suddenly gets all kinds of shut down fast. Detective Misty Knight (Simone Missick) and the Captain are called in to the case of the missing Architect John Raymond Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) was reluctantly working when she discovered a crap-ton of explosives in his hideout.

Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) and Danny Rand (Finn Jones) have returned to the dojo to check on any damage, and after some seriously interminable discussion, decide to investigate alone the sword, a rare Tsukamoto Colleen called it, of the bad guy they had so recently fought.

Luke Cage (Mike Colton) and Claire the Night Nurse (Rosario Dawson) are of course off helping the people of Harlem recover from the tremors too, and with Luke insisting on going after the mysterious bad guys in his neighborhood of Harlem, Claire reluctantly aids him by pointing him in the proper direction. A place aptly named ‘Trouble and A Pair of Dice’, the gambling den where Luke meets up with Turk (Rob Morgan) from previous Netflix Marvel shows, who in turn directs him to follow the man known colloquially as “White Hat”, the real deep-rollin’ baller of Harlem.

Meanwhile Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver) is getting a private concert after a sizable donation to the Philharmonic, and the way she makes conversation with the staffer afterwards hint at the wonderful strangeness that’s been Alexandra’s apparently very long life. The visitation from Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho), a Boss of The Hand, and her concerns for their current oblique plans, is blown off by the grand pronouncements of Alexandra. She really is about forging ahead and let the Devil (of Hell’s Kitchen?) take the hindmost.

Jessica is off doing what she does best, because aside from all the powers nonsense, Jessica really is a very good private dick—I mean, investigator. Her digging illuminates a bunch of shell companies that transferred all their assets to someone else, over and over and over, to the 1800’s and even before that. Which is curious, and fascinating, and a look at potentially how long The Hand has been at their nefarious schemes.

Matt and Foggy (Elden Henson) are having lunch at Josie’s, talking about Karen and stuff, and Foggy chastises Matt for his actions during the tremors, “Your knuckles speak volumes.” Despite his haircut (dear Foggy, I miss your long hair) and big boy suit and proud job at Hogarth’s legal firm, Foggy is still underneath it all, “One of the best damn avocadoes in Hell’s Kitchen!” and only concerned for Matt’s well-being. To that end, Foggy brings pro-bono overflow cases to try and distract Matt from his other world leanings with, to as Foggy bluntly puts it, “Keep you up to your eyeballs busy.”

It’s funny we should mention Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss), because the next scene has her coming to warn Jessica off the Architect case, let the Feds handle it. Nothing dissuades Jessica when she’s dug-in and indeed, Hogarth warning her away just seems to tell Jess she’s headed in the right direction. Even so, soon after that Hogarth warns a concerned Foggy, who now works for her, to keep Jessica’s current case the hell far away from their law firm. And it turns out she was right, because when Jessica returns to her office, she discovers all hell has broken loose with the Architect, and a surprise from a female assassin!

Meanwhile in an odd warehouse in Harlem, Danny and Colleen went looking for the makers of the Tsukamoto and have found only death, lots of death. All the sword-makers seem to have been slain, save for the one who got dragged away, and there’s a ubiquitous tapestry of K’un Lun on the wall. Not a thing coincidental about that, nope, nothing to see here folks, move along. Except that cleaner boys hired from around Harlem have been sent in, and Luke Cage was following one of ‘em, which of course leads to an altercation when Danny Rand takes it upon himself to rough up the boy in question for some answers.

This first confrontation fight I particularly enjoyed, because Danny got his whiny little ass handed to him, for at least the first round or two. All the training he’s endured his entire young life never prepared him for going up against someone like Luke Cage, and really, the only reason Danny technically won that fight was because he cheated with that glowing fist. Being chosen as “The Immortal Iron Fist, Slayer of The Hand” as Danny is, (he never shuts up about that, but that is a separate rant) one would think he would train to take on all different manner of enemies, because that’s certainly what The Hand does. But no, Danny just uses the catch-all chi weapon to take down one of his potential allies.

In a short but entirely expected vignette, we find out what happened to the one person dragged away from the sword-maker slaughterhouse, as Alexandra has a moment with everyone’s favorite returning badass, Stick!

And at the end, as Detective Knight is trying to interrogate a recalcitrant Jessica Jones with all sorts of un-answered questions, things come screeching to a halt as Jessica suddenly gets herself a lawyer, the other best damn avocado in Hell’s Kitchen, Matt Murdock!

It’s a very good second episode, all things considered. A great many of the secondary characters from each Marvel Netflix show – Foggy Nelson, Hogarth, Trish, Misty Knight, of course Claire – are now criss-crossing the various character arcs with perfectly plausible reasons for doing so. There isn’t much in the way of epic fight scenes as yet, unless you count the fight betwixt Danny and Luke, and I’d rather not, since the allies are supposed to be fighting bad guys, not each-other. But each main character gets his or her heroic moment in this episode, while their supporting cast looks on with worry, and the show is shaping down to have terrific confrontations in the next episode!

‘The Defenders Ep 1 The H Word’: The Hand Resurrects … again?!

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2017 by aliciamovie

The-Defenders-Season-1-Episodes-Download-Full-Free

By Steve The Space Wizard

There is no defense against all the Spoilers ahead!

‘The Defenders’ is probably my second most anticipated Marvel production of the year, the first being ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2’. Ever since we were introduced to the Marvel Netflix characters we’ve been dying for an epic team up, like the Avengers except on television, where we actually have the luxury of time for authentic character development. We’ve met Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Danny Rand, and their entire supporting casts. We’ve had at least one season of each hero (in Matt’s case we got two).

Although the Marvel Netflix series have been somewhat uneven, they have delivered a cast of very grounded characters who hurt and bleed. One of my beefs with the Marvel movie universe is the stakes always seem so low, not just because characters don’t die very often, but they don’t even look like they get hurt very much, with cartoon-y action sequences where heroes and villains get pummeled like Wile E. Coyote and just shrug it off in the next scene. But with our street-level heroes, we genuinely worry about the stakes. They can get hurt, both physically and emotionally. The people they care about can die. We know the main characters will be fine, but the visceral, bloody, and often unglorified violence that follow the lives of our protagonists, who have to make difficult choices, just makes for realistic and compelling storytelling, even in the world of weird superheroes. ‘The Defenders’ is a slow burn, just like all the other Marvel Netflix series, and we’re grateful for this. A good buildup means a good payoff, when done well, and early reviews seem to indicate ‘The Defenders’ is firing on all cylinders.

Episode 1 (The H Word) opens with a brief re-introduction to our heroes, exactly where they left off when we last saw them. We see Danny Rand and Colleen Wing hunting members of the Hand in Cambodia. Matt Murdock has apparently given up being Daredevil, and is in full lawyer mode. Luke Cage gets released from jail, thanks to the efforts of Foggy Nelson, who now works for Jeri Hogarth. Jessica Jones is reluctantly going back into business as a private investigator. While Danny and Colleen are in full mission mode, the rest of the characters are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. Matt’s trying to maintain the only relationship left in his life with Karen Page. After a successful court case, Matt and Karen share a quiet moment having coffee together in a cafe. Luke on the other hand, looks for Claire Temple to also “have coffee”, but in their case they want to fuck, and boy do they want to do it badly; they break furniture while doing it. Jessica, like Luke, has joined the ranks of superheroes, much to her chagrin. Although she wants to just lie low and bum around, her friends Patsy Walker and Malcolm Ducasse egg her on to start doing hero stuff again.

The most interesting new character though, is Sigourney Weaver’s villain Alexandra. She’s a mysterious, wealthy woman who’s pulling puppet strings. She’s been diagnosed with a fatal disease, and she has a matter of weeks before she dies. Before she does, she’s got plans for New York City. Evil plans. Weaver plays the villain with tremendous screen presence, and we believe she is the terrifying boss queen that she is. Who is she? What does she want? Even Madame Gao seems to be scared of her. She tells Gao to set events in motion that is her evil plan, and by the end of the episode, we see her on a rooftop as the city literally crumbles in an earthquake-like disaster. At her side is Elektra, whom the Hand has apparently resurrected. Danny and Colleen return to New York after they are ominously warned by a dying man in Cambodia that there is where their fight will be.

One of the cool things about the series is how color is used to frame the characters. Matt’s scenes are awash in red. Luke’s is in yellow, while Jessica and Danny get blue and green filters respectively. Alexandra’s scenes are bright and white, which contrasts ironically with how dark her character is. It’ll be interesting how the color mixes when they all finally come together.

Be amazed as ‘The Defenders’ come together on Netflix, out now!

‘King Arthur Legend of the Sword’: Fate is a double-edged sword

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2017 by aliciamovie

kingarthur-lots

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Guy Ritchie

Studio: Warner Bros.

MPAA Rating: PG 13

Review Rating: 7 out of 10

Spoilers hide among the six-packs! 

Guy Ritchie’s utterly epic take on the whole legend of Arthur (and the damn sword, but we’ll get to that) is just rife with one major thing trumpet call- destiny! Oh it was absolute destiny that all this happened to Arthur, every last bit of it, fated to bring him to the moment of redemption, the orphaned ‘true born’ to the throne of Uther Pendragon his royal self, brought back to his rightful place by pulling the sword from the stone! But first –

In the beginning, we’re treated to these amazing scenes involving mostly the whole of the Camelot knights crashing against the Mage-led army of armored oliphants and utterly savage bad guys. King Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana) himself comes out to lead the charge, it’s his duty after all, and bids his loyal man to hold his crown while he does. Hey, that means multiple things! And after some highly improbable moves, Uther confronts Mordred and with a shining Excalibur, takes his head. Then during peacetime there’s a bunch of discussion about Mages, some utter betrayal that involves a very naughty blood sacrifice, and next thing he knows, dear little Prince Arthur is an orphan on the streets.

From there we’re whisked off on a breathless rush of Arthur growing from a boy employed as a server in a brothel, all the way to a smart, capable young man with a giant heart, rock-hard abs and a gang of loyal friends. Yes, they’re all pickpockets and thieves, but of the Robin Hood and his merry men variety. Then suddenly that damned clarion call of destiny visits Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) in a nightmare and we’re off to the races with the current big-bads, the soldier and assassin knights of Black King Vortigern (Jude Law), known colloquially as Black Legs. Seriously though, that’s all Vortigern seems to wear, is eternal black. Which I personally dig, but it practically shrieks bad guy! to the audience.

That whole idea of the island where any man can try his luck at pulling the sword from the stone was interesting. Every man gets one try, only one and then gets branded with a mark that basically says he tried and failed. How long have the Black Legs been manning this silly operation? No-one expected anyone to ever actually do it. Damn it, destiny, you’re just being a bitch now.

By the time he’s about to be executed live in front of Vortigern’s men and grumbling subjects, Arthur is still staring like he can’t quite understand how the hell we got here. In the midst of it all is a Lady Mage (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) with a plan, and hey Arthur’s crew have a plan to get him out too, so with all that combined plus that bloody persistent call of destiny, onward we go!

As with any reluctant hero epic, Arthur wants nothing to do with any of this nonsense. He doesn’t want to fight (so he claims, but seriously, no-one believes that for a second), he sure doesn’t want to be the true-born King, and trying to wield Excalibur in any meaningful way is very hard on him. But the drums of destiny are screaming at him now, both when he’s awake and being taken to the stronghold of the last of his fathers Knights, and when he’s asleep and confronting the killer of Uther Pendragon, what he thinks is an actual demon. Forces of good and evil are gathering together from without and within, whether Arthur likes it or not, and a final bloody confrontation will determine the fate of Camelot!

Except that it kind of doesn’t. I mean, yes, all this destiny nonsense brings Arthur full circle to kill Vortigern, but the manner in which the movie shows this epic fight is … odd? If they can have Charlie Hunnam fighting a Witcher video game escapee, they could have just as easily CGI’d the hell out of a fight betwixt him and Jude Law and made those scenes just as epic and over-the-top. Given the massive Mage fight from Uther Pendragon at the beginning of the film, sure Arthur needs his own monster to fight, but like that? Just didn’t much care for that part.

Of course, that damnable fate won’t be denied, so the film ends with a reluctant but dutiful King Arthur constructing an oddly-shaped table in the great hall and joshing with his multi-colored Knights. Which was a good way to end it, almost Guy Ritchie saying, “Whew! Okay we’re done, cool off, great run today team!” The performances were all favorable, though I had trouble with the strange accent of the Lady Mage who came in Merlin’s stead. The special effects and eternal CGI are big and masterful and epic, but also sometimes cheesy as hell in the earnestness to imply destiny once again. And the soundtrack is unexpectedly good.

Succumb to the destiny of King Arthur Legend of the Sword on DVD and Bluray now!

Netflix presents ‘Lucid Dream’: Are we really-really awake this time?

Posted in Action, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2017 by aliciamovie

Lucid-dream

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Kim Joon-Sung
Studio: Rod Pictures
MPAA Rating: N/A
Review Rating: 7.5 out of 10

An investigative journalist will stop at nothing to find his son, who was kidnapped three years ago!

South Korean cinema is experiencing another upswing in popularity, and in more than just their Horror department, which is good, because them wacky Koreans can give even the Chinese a run for their money in terms of grand story, amazingly emotional characters, and great use of both practical and special effects. Lucid Dream is a fine example of all of these things together in a movie that could easily be billed as a contender for Nolan’s Inception. The plot concept of wheels within wheels within yet more wheels has long actually been a Korean film mainstay, and so is right up this movies alley.

So the film begins with a kind of fly-by explanation of our main character, Dae-Ho (Go Soo), putting out some kind of giant journalist expose on corruption in business conglomerates, and as a result, a bunch of prominent and powerful men go to jail and vow revenge. We see a loving Dae-Ho with his son, poor apparently anemic child but who still lives to have fun, and despite the very real threats from without and within, they both decide to go to an amusement park together. And almost inevitably, its there at the amusement park that the poor boy gets snatched and ineffectual Daddy Dae-Ho can’t seem to do a thing about it.

Fast forward a bit and its now been approximately three years since the kidnapping, apparently Dae-Ho’s been filling his time with who-knows-what while desperately searching for his son, and he comes across this idea of using his medical technician friends lucid dreaming technology to plumb his own memory for clues. This tech has already been used before and had some serious consequences, condemning the guy called This Man or Kwon Yong-hyun (Park Yu-chun from the K-Pop band JYJ) to a wheelchair in real life but allowing him to all but be The Oracle when it comes to the lucid dreaming stuffs. And yes, kind of roundaboutly, but Dae-Ho does manage to ferret out some clues from his own memories, enough to send him on a new direction at least.

The police detective in charge of the case, Song Bang-seop (Kyoung-gu Sul), has been Dae-Ho’s friend this entire time and has never said one word about the guy being crazy or giving up the search. Detective Song’s own daughter is sickly too, so he has some inkling as to what it means to be desperate with no options left he can see. So, Song doesn’t bat an eyelash as Dae-Ho proceeds to tell him about lucid dreaming hunting, and how he thinks the next places to investigate would be the mobsters whom he crossed with his investigative reporting, who have children with issues similar to Dae-Ho’s own son and are therefore compatible for, you guessed it, rare blood transfusions and the like. It all seems perfectly plausible, but we have to remember the wheels within wheels within yet more wheels, so while this particular lead may not pan out directly, it does point to a new and perhaps entirely unexpected direction for Dae-Ho’s search.

Who did the actual kidnapping of Dae-Ho’s son and why, whether or not the boy is still alive and if so where has he been all this time, and how the lucid dreaming world actually manages to tie into all of it, is surprisingly fairly good and at least possible inside this world. Yes the circular plot has a tendency to recycle some key points, but the visuals and the enthusiasm for which the actors toss themselves into their parts give the film a nice breathless boost.

Dive deep into ‘Lucid Dream’ on Netflix now!

‘The Mummy’: Trying way too hard

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Historical, horror, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2017 by aliciamovie

themummy

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Alex Kurtzman
Studio: Universal Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG 13
Review Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Spoilers will unravel your bandages!

So way back in good old Egyptian times, we had a Princess. She was Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), and she was meant to rule the land of Egypt after her father Pharoah was gone, right? Wrong! Despite all her training and destiny and junk, as soon as her father had a son, all bets are off and Princess Ahmanet goes from would-be Demigoddess of Egypt to vengeful demon-summoning killer witch. She makes a deal with the Egyptian equivalent of the Devil, in this particular movies’ case the Egyptian God Set is the chosen evil one, and does the whole offering up her life and soul bit in exchange for power to crush her enemies and lay waste to humanity. Like Egyptians do, yknow.

Obviously Pharoahs court takes issue with these plans, and a bunch of Priests manage to subdue Ahmanet and truck her mummified-alive body far away from Egypt, to be buried in a very thorough prison hopefully for all eternity. Now, some thousands of years later, former military guy turned treasure-hunting thief Nick Morton and his pal Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) are off in war-torn Iraq to track down rumors of a great relic hoard, and of course stumble across Ahmanet’s un-resting place.

Aided by Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), a proclaimed archaeologist whom Nick is already far too familiar with, the uncovered crypt is explored and of course everyone wants to take the recovered sarcophagus back to London for study. Elsewhere in London is a mass tomb of Knights Templars, who apparently had dealings with Egypt so long ago and were familiar with the legend of Ahmanet to the point where they separated her sacred dagger of Set from its summoning stone, to prevent her from unleashing evil on the world. Ahmanet’s already chosen her new Chosen One, the man whom she’ll sacrifice to get Set into the world, and as was inevitable, her choice has fallen on Nick. Some killer birds in a Hitchcockian style later, and the plane carrying the sarcophagus has fallen from the sky, only to have an unharmed Nick wake in the freaking morgue.

And hey, it just so happens that that Templar crypt where the gemstone of the Set dagger was hidden, is nearby-ish. At this point there’s been a fair amount of action sequences, what with falling out of the plane and the car ride through mummy-infested forests and all. Then we have a whole bunch of confrontation at the crypt itself, where I couldn’t help but question the plausibility that Mummy-Ahmanet could command the undead Knights to rise and serve her, but whatever – it looks awesome. And that’s what matters, right? This Universal rebooting their entire monster-verse movie seems to think so for much of it. But then, right in the middle of some nifty fighting scenes, Ahmanet actually gets taken and in walks Russell Crowe’s character, who turns out to be, wait for it, Dr. Henry Jekyll.

Yes, that Dr. Jekyll, as we see when he shoots up his treatment of preventing-Hyde juice, even while talking to Nick. His lab and holding facility, especially the specimen room (that tellingly shows, among other things, a Creature from the Black Lagoon arm and a vampire fanged skull in jars) is among some of the best storyline scenes in the movie. So the good-bad Doc has trussed Ahmanet up so he can study her, which will of course mean eventual dissection, as Jekyll tries to rationally explain to Nick, who doesn’t take too kindly to being used as a hunting dog. That the Demon Mummy Queen would get out of this setup and wreak havoc was inevitable, but it made most of Jekyll’s supposedly grand defenses look weak and ill-prepared for an actual capture.

Eventually, after much running and fighting and swimming (yes, I know, just go with it), it comes down to Nick having to make a very heavy choice. Will he finally grow a soul, and perhaps a pair too, and do the right thing at the cost of himself? Will he join the evil Mummy Goddess and rule the world? The answer may surprise you, it made me raise an eyebrow.

Yes, the visuals and the Mummy CGI and the fight scenes are all spectacular, you bet. The story itself is kind of all over the place, including bits and pieces from earlier Mummy origin films but struggling to stay true to its own particular style. Where the whole thing stumbles hard is Cruises’ character Nick. We all know TC is an action star, there’s no debating that. It’s just that the character the movie has him play, is so empty, so totally devoid of originality or anything resembling a personality, literally anyone could play him. We didn’t need T.C. in the Mummy reboot to love it, the Universal folks seem to be trying a little too hard. Supposedly this movie is meant to reboot the entire Universal monsters movie line, but perhaps we can hope the next one is a little less bombastic. Rumor has it the next scheduled Dark Universe monster movie scheduled is Bride of Frankenstein, so we’ll see.

Dig up the newest curse of The Mummy in theaters now!

‘Alien Covenant’: Not Another Movie Blockbuster Like ‘Alien’

Posted in Action, drama, Fantasy, horror, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2017 by aliciamovie

Alien covenant

Reviewed by Alicia Glass 

Director: Ridley Scott

Studio: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation

MPAA Rating: R

Review Rating: 7 out of 10

Spoilers will eat your backbone!

The colony spaceship Covenant is out here on a 7-year journey to Origae-6, a giant terra-forming monster staffed by a skeleton crew of 15 or so with a bunch of others asleep in cryo-stasis, and inevitably, one synthetic crew member to help this whole process along. The synthetic crewman, Walter, who just so happens to look exactly like Michael Fassbender’s David from ‘Prometheus’, is in charge of the entire ship’s maintenance, including the crew’s own cryo-pods and the embryo storage, while the crew is asleep. In the midst of malfunctions and space issues, a nearby planet is discovered to be potentially everything they were looking for, for terra-forming colonization purposes, which prompts a landing party but also the speculation, if this planet has everything we need, why wasn’t it included in the list of potential habitats when we began this venture?

We, those of us who dutifully sat through ‘Prometheus’ and tried to understand how the hell it connects to the ‘Alien’ films, could’ve told the terra-formers why: that planet from the prequel of a prequel movie, where we lost Dr. Elizabeth Shaw and damn near everyone else, where David is now holed up plotting revenge, the place crawling with proto-Xenomorph species, that’s the planet our heroes just discovered. The film dutifully even lays it out for the audience as the landing party goes exploring on the ground, how there’s no animal life of any kind, no birds either, not even insects really, well that’s because the seriously dominant predatory species wiped them all out. And that predatory virus has begun to infect members of the landing party already.

There is absolutely no quarantine that will save them now, and believe me, the landing party did try. I understand being completely frazzled and terrified by this albino monster in your midst that just exploded out of a guys’ spinal column, but the spaghetti gags of slipping in the blood pool twice and blowing up your own damn drop ship by randomly firing on the fuel tanks hoping to score a kill clearly demonstrates that maybe these colonists aren’t exactly humanities’ first draft pick. And it’s here, when all hope looks lost, that a savior that really isn’t shows up and saves the remaining landing party survivors, one of whom is mercifully the synthetic Walter. It’s only an actual mercy for Walter though, because David the synthetic from ‘Prometheus’, as the savior turns out to be, is as we all know far from merciful when it comes to humans. (Of course, the sterile opening scene between David and Peter Weyland makes a bit more sense now.)

Normally I’d be all for racial representation and freedom of an oppressed class of any kind, but but but, come on y’all. I find it hard to swallow that so many years ago when Ridley Scott basically spawned an entire new generation of Scifi-Horror with the original ‘Alien’ movie, he meant to have all this stuff tied together by a pissed-off synthetic robot. Legend has it, and this is somewhat supported if you watch the ‘Alien vs. Predator’ movies, that the alien species Xenomorphs were either discovered by or actually created by the Predators themselves, who seeded the baddies across the worlds as the ultimate hunting prey; I like that explanation soooo much better than this.

Synthetics have always had a large or at least significant role in the ‘Alien’ films, more often than not as reluctant bad guys. Sir Ian Holm as Ash was an utter amazement, Lance Henriksen blew me away as Bishop (and as older Weyland, don’t forget that), even Winona Ryder as Cole got to hang with the ultimate hybrid. But Michael Fassbender’s David does seem to rather revel in being a villain, and indeed, as he proceeds to just wipe the hell out of the Prometheus progenitor species the Engineers with the nastiest virus we can think of, we can see him smile. And sure, he has plenty reason to hold a grudge, who knows how long he served in slavery to those that built him; I do understand that. But existing in seclusion for more than ten years specifically to cultivate that same virus and prod along the evolution of the Xenomorph proto-species so that it can go out in the expanded universe and just kill kill kill and destroy everything in its path, is a bit much. When David gives the Ozymandias speech to Walter, I was reminded of a ‘Dogma’ quote: “Don’t allow eons of history and life to be blinked out of being just because you’ve got a grudge against your Creator.”

A great deal of time is spent on the odd relationship between Walter and David, and that whole flute-playing scene struck me as practically synthetic masturbation. Which would have been fine, I guess, if it had led anywhere profound or even subtle, which as far as I could tell it rather didn’t. Like any proud mustache-twirling villain, David leads one of the surviving humans around his personal laboratory, showing a decades worth of sketches (one of which was an attempt at an early Giger-like style and annoyed me because of it) and research into making the virus proto-creature the ultimate end-product of prodded evolution. To which I must ask, if one was going to make the ultimate evolutionary predator like the Xenomorph, why not give it eyes? Just a thought; we go on. The poor trusting fool got a face-ful of facehugger and before you can say bob’s your uncle, we have a fully-grown black Xenomorph of the type we all love and remember terrorizing everyone.

The scenes of Daniels hanging on by a single cable to the drop-ship fighting the fully realized Xenomorph is one of the few reminiscent of beloved Ripley from the entire movie, and yet looks rather unbelievable due to being shown in daylight with nothing but CGI-laden monster effects. Far as I could tell, the whole movie suffers from this same problem: when the Xenomorphs are finally shown, it’s nothing but CGI effects, no person in a monster suit only enhanced by CGI. (I know, it’s a long-standing issue of mine – I love practical effects.)

That’s another thing the movie suffers from: way too much of a good thing, as far as advanced movie-making techniques go. Just because you can use a thing, it’s totally available for use now when it was only a mere thought exercise thirty-odd years ago, doesn’t mean you should. Especially when trying to tie the clunky monitor green readouts of the original ‘Alien’ to the sleek and polished chrome-and-white-goddamn-everything of ‘Prometheus’. It honestly feels like the two halves of this particular movie-verse don’t belong together no matter what Ridley Scott does or says, and as much as there are a few good “’Aliens’ like we remember it!” moments, this is likely never going to become the fan favorite. Potentially even more reviled than the wishy-washy ‘Alien: Resurrection’, ‘Alien: Covenant’ will make you want to scream, and not in a good way.

See how the alien world began with ‘Alien: Covenant’ in theaters now!