Archive for weyland

‘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!

Advertisements

Death Race 3 Inferno

Posted in Action, drama, Movies, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2013 by aliciamovie

deathraceinf

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Moonlighting Films

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Roel Reine

Review Rating: 7

Carl Lucas, aka legendary driver Frankenstein, returns to fight for his and his crews lives when Death Race is taken global!

So Weyland of Weyland Enterprises is selling the still wildly popular Death Race franchise to upstart Niles York (Dougray Scott), this is how this whole mess gets started. Niles is brash and headstrong and wants nothing more than to take Death Race all around the world, bigger and more numbers of races, more exotic locales, and of course much more gruesome deaths. He buys the franchise from Weyland and subjects Ving Rames character to a speech about getting old and retiring in favor of new blood, to which Weyland does get the last word but leaves like a beaten dog. Carl Lucas, played by actor Luke Goss, is still driving as the masked Frankenstein, having won four races in a row and anticipating winning his fifth and his freedom. Only to discover, as he’s dragged before Niles Young and informed he gets to lose this new Death Race if he wants to live, that he’s being transferred to a hellhole of a prison in Africa for the newest installment of the show. Danny Trejo as pit crew boss Goldberg, along with everyones favorite genius Fred Kohler as Lists, and Lucas’ female driver Tanit Phoenix as Katrina Banks, and Robin Shou as 14K from the previous movie, are all transferred along with Frankenstein.

First thing at the new prison is, of course, the fight that inevitably comes with new fish being brought in. Frankenstein was wearing his mask when they brought him in, but during the fight the mask is knocked off and Carl Lucas is revealed to be still alive, to be his amazed pit crew and leading lady, who all thought he had died in a previous movie. Some minor resentment is quickly gotten around as all the Protags realize, hey, we’re in Death Race once again and if we want to live, we gotta work together. Then we’re subject to another Death Race first, the female elimination round, in which sixteen women try to kill eachother down to ten, each vying for the right to ride with the Death Race drivers. We have an ambitious new director, Niles Young himself in the taping room, several new drivers that are all psycho in their own ways, and a new course in the Kalahari desert that leads the drivers to civilian interference and participation. Much to-do is made about Frankensteins reputation and how he can easily be replaced due to simply wearing a mask, how the legend will endure and live on, and the film certainly proves that. Also a Death Race first, there is what we in the film industry call a “Gotcha!” ending that I won’t spoil, but is quite good and deliciously ironic.

Death Race 2

Posted in Action, drama, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2011 by aliciamovie

 

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Moonlighting Films

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Roel Reine

Review Rating: 7 Flaming Cars

The origins of Death Race and Frankenstein, the infamous car driver who was killed in the first movie.

Okay. First off, why is it Death Race 2 when this film is obviously a prequel? The first half of the movie doesn’t even have the car carnage, it’s just cons in the prison womping on eachother. So, on to the sadness of a movie itself.

Corporations have taken over the country and the prisons are overcrowded so we have executions in the form of live gladiatorial combat; fine right? But that’s not Death Race! Carl Lucas, acted by Luke Goss of Hellboy II fame, stars as our Protag who eventually becomes Frankenstein. Of course he’s a former racecar driver who was set up for murder and sent to prison only to be exploited when his “talents” are noticed by the wardens. We have Ving Rhames as Weyland, the order barking corporation mogul who pulls the strings of September Jones, coordinator for Death Race, played by Lauren Cohan. And we have Sean Bean as Markus Kane, crime boss who has Luke sent to prison in the first place for failing to carry out orders. Hell, we even have Robin Shou of Mortal Kombat notoriety as one of the convict drivers, 14K; even that isn’t enough to save this movie. Not as good as the first one, DR2 seems to be trying desperately to ride on the exhaust of the first movie. We have Lists from the first movie, he was actually my favorite character from the first movie – the awkward white guy savant who inevitably joins the pit crew of Luke when the prison starts that, along with Danny Trejo of Machete fame.

In all honesty, it’s probably better that the film was put out as direct to DVD rather than being shown in theaters. It’s not bad per se; the races are cool and there’s plenty of fair action scenes. But the first Death Race, the 2008 remake that is, makes this film look like the poor cousin who’s trying to accomplish what’s already been done quite well, thank you. Just don’t watch the remake and then this film right after it, that will piss you off. As a stand-alone, it actually works okay. Try it. Death Race 2 gets a rating of 7 flaming cars.