Archive for virus

‘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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Movie Moxie’s 31 Days of Halloween – Day 28 – 28 Days Later

Posted in Action, drama, Foreign, horror, Movies, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2013 by aliciamovie

28dayslater

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: DNA Films

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Danny Boyle

Review Rating: 7.5

The UK has been completely overrun by persons infected with a virus called Rage, that turns normal people into zombies with a taste for flesh and blood, and the outbreak in London causes the evacuation of Britain that leads to our Protag waking up, as the title says….

Jim finds himself completely alone in the hospital, having apparently woken 28 days after the virus broke out, and wanders out into the streets to find London the proverbial ghost town. Jim meets up with other stragglers turned warriors and, armed with new insights into what the hell happened, attempts to find sanctuary outside the city and away from the crazed zombies.

It’s not an entirely unique premise, but the story really makes this film. The actors really help too – Cillian Murphy is awkward and kind Jim, Naomie Harris is hardened warrior Selena, Brendan Gleeson is determined father Frank, we even have Christopher Eccelston as Major West. A sense of hopelessness in the very atmosphere permeates the entire movie, no special effects or CGI is needed for any of that, and I for one am glad of it. Jim and his pals try to run, try to fight, and keep getting screwed at every turn. And 28 Days Later was the first zombie flick I ever saw to inject terrible realism into the story – what would have happened to the female members of the party when they finally reached purported sanctuary with the military. Major West demands his men be “entertained”, and well frankly, I can see that happening far too easily and nowhere near as…civilized as Major West tried to initially be about it. The movie ends on an uncomfortably unfinished note, which I think was exactly what they intended, and left things open for the sequel, 28 Weeks Later, which was also awesome.

Antiviral

Posted in drama, horror, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2013 by aliciamovie

antiviral-poster

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Alliance Films

MPAA Rating: N/A

Director: Brandon Cronenberg

Review Rating: 8

In a futuristic dystopia society where obsession with celebrities is a literal plague on the world, fan-atics can pay to be injected with viruses suffered by their favorite celebrity.

Visually, the movie is slick and stunning and has this kind of determined grip like Gattaca. Everything is sterile white, the extreme closeup shot of the perfect face, and the exhaled breath before the moment of pain blossoms into beauty. The iconic image of main character Syd March, a thermometer dangling from his lips like a cigarette in front of his celebrity obsessions’ face blowup poster, slouched like James Dean, shows that while the image may stay the same, the underlying meanings can be quite different. It helps that Syd, immersed by Caleb Landry Jones, appearance-wise, is a Ginger vampire of the most frightening order. Unfortunately for us, the arresting visuals have to make up for a lot of hesitant pauses in the story itself.

antiviral-caleb-landry-jones

So Syd March works for a high end and highly secure company that manufactures these virii from their sponsored celebrities, whose iconic faces are plastered everywhere. Each salesman is trained in their pitch, but noone does it like Syd March, with his quiet vampire-like obsessive voice eating away at whatever soul is left of the people that actually come here for these services. The clients select their strain, Syd injects them and reassures that they’ll begin showing in a week or so, endures daily inspections for corporate espionage, and goes home to do it anyway. That is, Syd is injecting himself with viruses and is involved with a butcher friend (who sells meat made from celebrity cells, I kid you not) to sell these sickenings elsewhere. But when Syd unknowingly injects himself with a tailor-made virus from his celebrity obsession Hannah Geist, the walls begin caving in and he finds himself the target of other espionagers, those who made the virus, and even his own body. Suddenly Syd finds himself being subject to kidnapping, quiet philosophic rants on the evils of societal celebrity obsession and obsession in general from guest star Malcolm McDowell, and next thing you know Syd is in the same room with the one everyone thinks is dead, his own personal fan-atical infatuation, Hannah Geist. Syd does manage to use his considerable persuasion powers to wrap everything up more or less neatly in the end, taking care of his would-be competitors and enemies, securing himself a new job and a continued existence, and even making sure Hannah continues to live. Sort of. I wouldn’t call that a life, but then this level of obsession over anything or anyone, I have a hard time wrapping my brain around.

It has to be noted that yes, this is the first official outing for the son of renowned movie mogul David Cronenberg, Brandon. And while I can see shades of the strange and lovely ideas in Existenz in Antiviral, Brandon did himself a very fine job for his first film. Nevermind following in his fathers footsteps, the son branched a new path all on his own, and boy is it unique. A rare gem in the Horror world, Antiviral is worth a look if for no other than reason than simply how unique the film – the concept, the story, and the execution – actually is.

Contagion

Posted in drama, Movies, suspense with tags , , , , , , , on September 29, 2011 by aliciamovie

 

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Warner Bros

MPAA Rating: PG 13

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Review Rating: 7 Face Masks

The spread of a new strain of virus that rockets around the world killing millions, plus the repercussions on the populace and culture.

I had such high hopes for this movie. Such high hopes! It’s advertised as a big ole drama, slopping over with celebrity actors to give the film more oomph, and yet. Hell, the film actually started off with Gwyneth Paltrow’s autopsy, it doesn’t get much better than that! And yet. They even tried to do a Memento-style sequence of events, where the film starts off on Day 2, and we don’t get to Day 1 until the very end of the movie. And be aware, you have to pay attention to those Day whatever signs, otherwise the timing and pace of the movie will be lost on you. And yet, even with all that, I wasn’t satisfied.

So we have Matt Damon as the (I gather) 2nd husband of Gwyneth Paltrow’s character, all strength and vulnerability. Everyone loves Morph—I mean Laurence Fishburne, as the head doctor type Ellis Cheever trying desperately to find a cure and making human mistakes along the way. Jude Law is Alan Krumwiede, blogger and would-be reporter who ends up apparently the voice of the common man, while still managing to be, let’s face it, an ass about it. Even Kate Winslet gets to star as one of the medics trying to organize this mess. We have such a great cast here, and the roles they’re given are mediocre at best.

So Paltrow’s character is off on a business trip in I think it’s Hong Kong, comes back to the USsickly, and thus begins the spread of the disease. People sicken, people die, society begins to break down and chaos runs riotously rampant. And then, after a whole litany of complaints as far as how long it’s going to take for an actual cure or vaccine or whatever, the movie jumps to what is it, Day 130-something, and the factories and hospitals begin tossing out treatments. Which of course leads to more confrontations, but hey, at least we have something. And it’s a shame; all those scenes that show the riots, the mindless herd response of humanity and mans inhumanity to man, plus the corporation response to such an outbreak, all combine to make me feel as though the movie is shaking its finger at me. Admonishments I can live with, if there were suggestions on improvement – there aren’t. There is great opportunity for one-liners in the manner of Outbreak, but oh no, apparently we have to stay as serious as possible for this movie. Which doesn’t make sense to me – are they trying to scare the nerves off everyone with this movie? And that ending. The wrapup explanation of how a series of, I’m sorry, almost completely unrelated events led to this mess, is irritating. Bat and Pig and Human is Sci-Fi, not overglorified disaster drama. Contagion gets a rating of 7 Face Masks, with the satisfied knowledge that at least there won’t be a sequel – everyone’s dead.