Archive for aliens

‘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!

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SDCC 2017 ‘Colony’: The Enemy of my Enemy

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, horror, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2017 by aliciamovie

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By Alicia Glass

Welcome back to our alien invasion occupation, already in progress! Season Two of the USA hit Colony brought us way more intrigue, betrayal, and sacrifice than the first season, and it all culminated in total rendition of the Los Angeles bloc! The Bowmans have survived mostly intact but forever altered, gained new allies and enemies, and further embroiled themselves in the mess of collaboration versus resistance!

The Colony panel of Comic-con 2017 featured Josh Holloway (Will Bowman), Sarah Wayne Callies (Katie Bowman), Peter Jacobson (Snyder), Tory Kittles (Broussard), and Executive Producers Carlton Cuse, Wes Tooke, and Ryan Condal.

Josh Holloway is obviously one of the major heroes of the show, despite his being forced to collaborate, and though the journey for his character in particular through Season Two was dark and hard, “Will went through Hell, and I loved it. Season Two really elevated everything on the show and it was amazing, but I’m glad to be out of that suit and away from those bloodsuckers I was working for.”

Sarah Wayne Callies is a fan favorite purveyor of strong female characters on several shows she’s already been in, same with her character Katie Bowman on Colony. She waxed poetic on the brutal choices Katie Bowman had to make in Season Two, “Is it better to die standing than to live on your knees, yes absolutely, but it’s also a question of what General do you follow into battle? I think one of the big challenges of Season One and going into Season Two, had to do with the costs of waging that war, and in whom do you place your trust? Quail was not a man worthy of that trust, and so I think over Season Two you have the evolution of Katie leaning more and more into Broussard’s leadership, which itself evolves into something more of a partnership.”

And speaking of Broussard, Tory Kittles talked about the more in-depth role his character played in Season Two: “It’s such a grey area with all the characters, the morality changes. Like he (Broussard) was playing both sides to get information, and that does something to a person, to a character. And then he found himself working with Will Bowman, which I don’t think he thought would ever happen, in this world and under these circumstances. Everything is changing, not only for him but for all the characters. At the heart of him I know he’s a good guy, I think he’s doing it for all the right reasons, but sometimes he might be … excessive.” Only when asked where he would like to his character go on the show, did he laughingly reply, “Hopefully to Season Ten!”

Peter Jacobson, who plays everyones’ favorite weasel character Snyder on the show, tried to convince the crowd and himself of Snyder’s survival-only intentions. “It’s so fun to play a morally complex character; I can thank the writers for making me a character to play in that ‘who the hell is he?’ kind of zone, which Snyder really does. For me as an actor, Snyder doesn’t think ‘oh I’m a bad guy,’ no, he’s a master survivor, he will do whatever the hell it takes to survive. He’s not your sort of typical Snidely Whiplash kind of villain, and I think that’s really compelling, that he’s just a normal guy.”

Callies went on to speak proudly of her character Katie Bowman and her great strengths: “There are moments where she seems to be willing to put her own children at risk, in order to take a stand, for all of the children of the bloc. It’s a really complicated space to inhabit as a parent, but also as a woman. By and large in our storytelling, women are defined by our ability to be faithful to our husband, and saintly to our children. And to have a woman who, from the outset, is willing to be devious with her husband and to put her own childrens needs at least on par with the other children of the bloc; I just think its one of the most interesting female characters I’ve ever had the chance to play.”

Newcomer to this years panel Executive Producer Wes Tooke talked about having a clear vision for where the show wanted to go in Season Two, and how it will lead to a seriously more dynamic Season Three. “The challenge of Season Two is how do we create something that’s emotionally engaging, tells a great story and sets us up for where we want to go and the huge leap we want to make to Season Three, which is going to dramatically re-frame the entire show.”

Colony mainstay Ryan Condal spoke of the fascinating challenges in creating such a story for television and the lead-in to Season Three: “We’ve always seen the show as being a series of concentric rings of story, so Season One had to be small, we’re seeing this world through the singular point of view of the Bowman family. But now the show has evolved and we’re now twenty-three episodes into it and we have another thirteen episodes coming this year, so we’re able to expand out those rings and see the world larger and different, more diverse, points of view. There are things that are yet to be revealed, and there are things we’ve given you already, so I would challenge you to go back and take another look (before Season Three airs). There’s a lot of big answers to come, and (after the showing of Season Three preview exclusive to Comic-Con) you’ll have a really good sense of all the big questions that you’re probably asking yourself, and us, right now, will be revealed pretty early in Season Three.”

The panel went through fan questions and ended with a quest for hardy SDCC-goers: the  picture below, along with coordinates and the code-phrase “The enemy of my enemy” was flashed on the big screen, so make of it what you will, Colony fans.

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Catch the expanding world of Colony on USA in 2018!

‘Colony’ Season Two finale: Total Rendition

Posted in Action, drama, horror, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2017 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Don’t let all the Spoilers alienate you!

So before diving into Season Two, a quick recap – some time ago, the world was invaded by actual aliens, in spaceships with scary technology and all that jazz, and they divided the world up by gigantic walls into blocs. The story of the Bowmans, the Authorities, the Resistance and yes, occasionally aliens, began in Los Angeles, and Season Two branches out into further what-was-California territory.

Our story continues with Will Bowman, despite his job with the Authorities clashing with his newfound awareness of his wifes activities within the Resistance, insisting on going to hunt down his youngest son Charlie in the Santa Monica bloc, of course by himself. He finds Charlie with the help of his old before-aliens-landed partner, who also takes a hell of a lot of chances helping Will and Charlie get out of the bloc, and ultimately, she comes off the worse for it.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, Katie Bowman is concerned about her daughter being taught what sure sound like cult ravings about The Greatest Day, which we gather is some kind of brainwashing about how to treat the alien overlords when they do finally come to lay claim to our planet in person. Katie’s sister Maddie and her ladder-climbing husband Nolan Burgess are attempting to hang on to their cushy Transitional Authority positions by any means necessary, and that includes betrayal most foul, occasionally of each-other.

The eldest Bowman boy, Bram, got himself tossed into a teenager work gang, which of course former-Proxy Snyder has to stick his nose into because, as he would say, leverage is wherever you find it. A shakeup in local TA leadership, handed on down from much higher authority that we see for the first time in Season Two, is bringing down all kinds of heat on Will, Snyder, and Broussard.

Yes, much as he really didn’t want to, Broussard has to come out of hiding with his Resistance cell, for all their sanities’ sake if nothing else. The Red Hand, another Resistance group causing all kinds of trouble for the TA and the Bowmans, prove to be yet another obstacle for Broussard to get anything with his own cell done. Yet word from other Resistance cells outside the L.A. bloc is trickling in, and even shows up in person in a latter episode.

It was, I think, Bram’s involvement with the terrorist attack his little friends at the work gang perpetrated on the alien ship, that began the hunt for the whole Bowman family. Then we had Katie stealing a census list from Maddie, that led us to understand the L.A. bloc is being emptied out for purposes unknown. And of course Will is trying to juggle working with the TA and simultaneously lying to his newly-saddled partner, along with the safety of his family and yes, sigh, his ultimate decision to actually aid the Resistance however he can. Aunt Maddie gets sacrificed by Nolan on the altar of self-preservation, and all the remaining Bowmans have to take to hiding, with only Brussard left from his entire cell being wiped out, to help. And then Snyder, we must never forget he’s a scheming little weasel, gets the news that the entire Los Angeles bloc has been sanctioned for total rendition, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Or is it? The Bowmans have made it out, yes, with that damn gauntlet and Snyder the tracking weasel is with them, but we only saw the spaceships coming for the refugees of Los Angeles. I guess I shouldn’t have expected the gathered ships above the bloc to blow shit up Independence Day style, that’s never really been Colony’s way. But because that’s all we saw, we won’t get to know until Season Three, yes there is one they’re already filming it, if Aunt Maddie was vaporized, sent to the Factory, or what!

Season Two made a conscious effort to expand beyond the small borders of the first Season of Colony, and that’s good because they kind of needed to do that to keep the story interesting. All the Bowmans got their own screen time and own story, which they tried their best to intertwine with the main narrative; most of the time, they succeeded. More than anything, Colony is a human drama centered around a relatively small core of Scifi, so we can’t expect Ridley Scott alien visions – yet. Because the L.A. bloc is now done one way or another, the show will have no real choice but to begin to delve further into the RAP aliens – or risk alienating their audience. But strong acting performances all around and solid story to build on, Season Three of Colony will literally be the one to watch for.

Predators 2010

Posted in Action, drama, Fantasy, horror, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2010 by aliciamovie

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: 20th Century Fox

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Nimrod Antal

Review Rating: 6

A group of human Alpha prisoners are marooned on a planet where they are hunted by the ultimate Predators.

Most of the movie is frankly, terrible. While Predators is supposed to be the updated and finest most recent movie for the Predators collection and storyline, it would stand up so much better on it’s own, without attempting to ride on the laurels of the other movies. They tried hard to make connections with the previous movies, including the original Predator way back in 1987 with Arnold Schwarzenegger even. Laurence Fishburne is barely in the movie at all, and personally I think they could have done so much better by him than a psycho looney who’s with the main group for maybe half an hour. Topher Grace stars in as Edwin, the self-proclaimed doctor who turns out to be another complete nut-job, after all that’s why they’re there right? If one of these things is not like the other, or claiming to be anyway, then he probably is. Pre-dict-able.

Danny Trejo of all sorts of fame, my personal favorite is Desperado and From Dusk til Dawn, really is in the movie, but it’s so hard to tell – he dies early and barely says anything. We have a Yakuza who doesn’t talk much again, the female former Isreali soldier, and others, but what little there is in the way of plot is sacrificed for action scenes and the proverbial humans being hunted in the Most Dangerous Game, through the brush. Adrien Brody really has never struck me as an antagonist actor, and the character they have him playing in this movie just doesn’t measure up to well, any of the leaders in the previous Predator movies. He tries very hard, and the character himself does seem fairly smart, such as the instance where he decides to release the Predator on the cross in the enemy camp thinking the enemy of my enemy is my friend and all, but in total Brody always struck me as more of the save-everyone protagonist leader type. And to finish, oh but it’s sad, I can’t even recall how the movie ended – it’s that lacking. So not worthy.

Knowing

Posted in Action, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , on May 12, 2009 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Summit Entertainment

MPAA Rating: PG 13

Director: Alex Proyas

Review Rating: 8

 

An astrophysics teacher receives a prophetic letter from a time capsule unearthed in his sons’ elementary school, and begins piecing together the end of the world.

 

This one has a plot that’s a bit hard to try summing up in a few sentences, but I did my best. Bearing in mind, I am as far as I know one of the very few people who likes Nicholas Cage as an actor just fine, I thought he did well in things like Con Air and Ghost Rider. The director of this fine film is one of my more favorites, Alex Proyas, who also directed things like The Crow and Dark City, and boy does he go to town with the plot. It’s not as though you can really guess what’s going on even halfway through the movie, but Proyas doesn’t try and wring every last drop of suspense from it either, like Shymalan. And when the big surprise finally does come, even I wasn’t expecting that, and I love it when that happens.

 

So we have Cage as John Koestler, astrophysicist (coincidence?) widower with a young son. And his son Caleb, who of course goes to the elementary school that had a girl plagued with visions 50 years ago when the capsule was laid in the ground, is of course handed the letter from the girl and gives it to the one person who might actually figure out what it is and what it means: his father. From there, after John has translated all the letters numbers with some help and is relegated to running around trying to stop or help the disasters springing up around him, the movie takes a distinct turn for the action sequences. But don’t let that fool you, there’s all sorts of other strange things going on in the shadows, and they have consequences for the entire world!

 

It’s a real shame that this movie was compared far too readily to another Cage movie, NEXT (which I also enjoyed), and most people didn’t care for Knowing for some reason I still can’t figure out. We need more like these, where good plot is tossed together with just-right action and emotional scenes!

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Sadly, Knowing will most likely be lost to the pile of movies overshadowed by Star Trek and Wolverine.

Robot Movies We’ve Loved!

Posted in Action, comedy, Fantasy, horror, Kids, Movies, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2009 by aliciamovie

In honor of Astroboy, out October 2009,

TME presents the following list for your consideration:

 

Robot Movies We’ve Loved!

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Virtuosity

Russell Crowe is the bad guy, Sid 6.7, a computer construct grown of the minds of serial killers and given a body that’s near indestructible. Denzel Washington is the ex-cop released from prison to track Sid down. This is one of the few instances where Crowe gets to play a seriously bad guy, and does he have fun with it!

 

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Lost In Space

The Robinson Family is off to chart deep space in the hopes of finding a new home for humanity, only to encounter all sorts of setbacks. Including, one of my favorite parts and the reason this movie is on this list, the amazingly creepy mechanical spiders that attack the ship! Danger Will Robinson! And Gary Oldman as Dr. Smith too, cuz he rocks.

 

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Short Circuit

An 80’s movie to be sure, but adorable nevertheless. Number 5 is a robot designed and built by the military to be a weapon, but a bolt of lightning presents it with a personality and a freedom of sorts, and the civilians he befriends do their best to help him escape the military, who want their weapon back. Not big on special effects, but big on heart, this movie’s sequel is actually just as wonderful as the first; see them both.

 

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Aliens

Right, not exactly the first movie you’d think of about robots, is it? However, the Alien series most often had androids modeled after humans, and that most certainly qualifies. Especially my favorite, Bishop, the droid played by Lance Henrikson, who was even in the first Alien vs. Predator movie as the original human template of Bishop!

 

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Blade Runner

This movie is about as close to a total robot classic as you can get, at least for our generation. The Replicants, the Blade Runner hunting squads, the amazingly quotable one-liners, and of course a fantastic cast. Not necessarily a favorite of mine, but even I can see the intrinstic value in a movie that helped launch an entire generation of Sci-Fi FAN-atics.

 

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Screamers

Yes yes I know, noone’s ever heard of this but me. Still, Screamers is a little-known gem of B-grade Sci-Fi and Horror, and it’s all (mostly) about robots! Basically two groups of people are fighting over resources on a particularly nasty planet, and one group decides to make robots to uh, get their point across, shall we say. And of course the military guys who come in after the air assault to finish the job, find a lot more surprises than they bargained for. Like the fact that the original robots who make those awful noises when they kill (hence the movie name) yeah, they’re mutating.

 

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Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Again, not exactly a robot movie. However, Hitchhiker’s does have everyone’s favorite depressed robot Marvin, voiced by the marvelously stoic Alan Rickman! That, combined with some of the greatest one-liners out there (Don’t Panic!), an odd mesh of dry British wit and Americanized humor, and a wacky cast make for a great movie and not one to miss!

 

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Batteries Not Included

Who hasn’t seen this movie at least once? I remember watching it when I was quite young and falling in love with the cuddly little robots who flew around and let the tenants of the building tend them like they were pets. Reminiscent of WALLE, while Batteries may be a lot older, this movie retains a timeless message about love and caring that everyone should agree with.

 

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Robocop

Ah yes, another timeless movie from our generation. Actually, this one generated a whole series of movies, and yes of course, I’ve seen and own them all. For a whole generation of folk who loved movies like Terminator (who isn’t on this list because that’s TOO obvious), who wouldn’t love a movie about a dead policeman resurrected as a robotic cop out for elite justice?!

 

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Spaceballs

And finally, because I just have to since I know most of you are wondering where the heck the Star Wars references are, I present Spaceballs! If comedy is what you want, it’s hard to beat a feminized version of C3-P0, complete with Joan Rivers voice and one-liners like, “Sorry, I had to make a pit stop. I’m so excited, I couldn’t hold my oil!”

 

 

 Written by Alicia Glass