REVIEW: “ALIEN COVENANT” (2017) 2OTH CENTURY FOX

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So here we are 10 years after “Prometheus” and a whopping 38 years after the original, we have Ridley Scott’s continuation of the well-known “ALIEN” film series with “ALIEN COVENANT.” Question proposed here – is there really anything new to add to the saga?
You know the formula of these films by heart by now. There’s usually a spaceship, an unknown planetary destination, a crew – most of whom will not survive, a diversion of some sort, and lastly..the Alien itself. It’s how well they are done and actually take the story forward (or in some cases backward), that make the film. Here the crew of the colony ship “Covenant” is on the way to a remote planet at the other end of the galaxy. There they discover something that first appears like an undiscovered ‘paradise’, which in this case means an atmosphere humans would be able to survive in and colonize. When in fact, it turns out to be a dark and dangerous place when they discover what and whom it’s actually occupied by, we are not really surprised.

Without going into any spoilers, which by the way you will be able to figure out within the first hour, we open with a rather creeped out scene set before the events of the previous film between Guy Pearce’s Peter Weyland and David (Michael Fassbender), who is fresh off the assembly line. Thankfully it gives us a touch into the idea of what’s to come but still doesn’t really answer why David does what he does. Also we do find out what happened to Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and the severed android head of her android David, but it’s not all that compelling and for those of you who can remember all of Prometheus I give you kudos, because I couldn’t.

As for the cast, you’ll get to know them pretty quickly and effectively even if you won’t remember them all by name because the casuality list is long and fast. Mercifully they are not made to look like dunces in the way that the crew of the Prometheus ended up as. Danny McBride as Tennessee is one of the stand outs though, working surprisingly well in a serious role as a cowboy hat wearing pilot, along with his wife Faris (Amy Seimetz). Katherine Waterston as Daniels tries aptly enough to fill Ripley’s shoes here as the the ships second in command, and the main character for most of the action in the film.

Billy Crudup also delivers a solid performance as Captain Oram, who is thrust unexpectedly into that role during the opening space mission scene and is constantly at doubt with himself when it comes to decision making. The constant reminders that he is a man of faith and is often at odds with the rest of his crew on those decisions does get a little heavy handed at times. But it is because of exactly this reason, he is also one of the few crew members you will actually remember along with Sgt. Lope (Demian Bechir) as the head of the security unit. And lastly, oddly enough the cameo from James Franco as Jacob Branson, the start-off Captain of Covenant, will remain in your head throughout the film.

When it comes to Fassbender, without spoiling anything let’s just say that he builds upon his creepy with the dual roles here. Watching the David/Walter scenes together though are some of the most slow, too lengthy moments of the film with even their fight scene coming in at a sort of head-shaking weird.

Lastly, the aliens themselves..well I won’t lie to you, they are pretty typical for a film of this type. There were moments of the eyeroll type laughter from the audience when and how they first appear. You also won’t find the type of tension here that you found when you saw the previous Alien films – you know – the whole ‘not knowing’ buildup of tension & excitement. There are no surprises nor really just any of that edge of your seat/don’t look tension here. You know when and how they are coming and who’s not going to make it pretty quickly in. A solid enough sci-fi thriller, with some gory jump scares about sums it up perfectly with the final scene being the best, and of course leading you into the next film in the series.

Grade: C+
@pegsatthemovies

Media Screening Review: Friday, May 5, 2017 ~ Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Nationwide Release: Friday, May 19, 2017

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REVIEW OF “DOM HEMINGWAY” – aka Jude Law like I’ve never seen him before!!

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Image This isn’t a great movie..heck, it might not even be a good movie..I would list it as an ‘ok’ movie as it has 101 different plot holes, but it’s definitely enjoyable enough to sit through and most definitely a good performance driven movie by Jude Law (Dom Hemingway) & Richard Grant as his side-kick (Dickie Black). I mean in a way, poor Jude, as his receding hairline has long been happening, but it’s REALLY receded here and in real life. And no lie, it fits this role perfectly. That, and he’s beefed up considerably from the skinny, scrawny Jude Law of years past and it suits him. He’s darkly funny here as an expert safe-cracker just getting out of prison after a 12yr stint where he served time for getting caught safe-cracking and wants his due ‘back pay’ plus a ‘present’ from Mr. Fontaine (the ever so always wonderful Demian Bichir – whom I love) who he could have snitched on and is now the big-time main man of operations. After a 3 night debauchery weekend of cocaine, booze & women, Dom & Dickie are on there way to France for just this reason.  It’s a beautiful Villa in France and what entails during this visit, where Dom actually does get everything he asks for and more…is well..a bit entertaining as the chemistry between the characters of Dom/Dickie/Mr. Fontaine is dark comedy at a good pace.  It’s a bit RocknRolla – though nowhere near as good of a movie.. What happens after the Villa incidents is next..and the plot gets very meh at this point..mind you, again there have been plot holes galore already, yet you sorta just ignored them due to the fun performances.  But this 3rd act is the family one..you know how he left his wife & child behind because he was a criminal and now wants them back as his wife passed on and his daughter blames him for not making a deal, serving less jail time, being there for her etc etc.. There are still some shades of the fun, dark comedy-humour here and there, but by now it’s lost a lot of it’s pace.  One big scene happens in this part with Dom trying to regain his career as a safe-cracker and being put through a test by Lester (Jumayan Hunter) that is quite fun to watch.  Besides all this, I can truly say the swagger of Jude Law’s performance carries this movie and when they advertised it as “Jude Law as you’ve never seen him before” they were quite right.. All the changes physically and just the performance period – are so unlike everything he’s ever done and I applaud him for it. Grade: Jude Law’s performance – B+   the movie itself: C- #peggyatthemovies