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

7 DAYS OF OSCARS: DAY 6 ~ “BEST ACTOR”

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Yes, the end of my “7 Days of Oscars” is nearing it’s close. For some this might be a hard category. For me, it is the simplest one as I knew from the minute the film was over, who was going to be my pick of the year. And yes, deservedly so.

BEST ACTOR

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Being a fan of Cranston, it’s a notable performance here, but the film went pretty unnoticed by most as it was about the infamous ‘blacklist’ and I think some just thought it had been done before.

Matt Damon, The Martian
This for me, was actually a really good dramady performance by Damon. He was funny, yet serious when he needed to be. But sorry Matt, it’s going to have to be another time. 🙂

Leonardo DiCaprio, The RevenantMY PICK/WINNER
Please pick up your Golden Man.. FINALLY Mr. DiCaprio. 😀

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Good, strong job by one of my favourite actors here. Lot’s of dialogue but just didn’t hit it on the mark for me.

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Last year’s winner and another good performance by Redmayne, but not of the Oscar caliber of last years so no..I don’t think Eddie’s doing a repeat.

And with that we are approaching Day 7 – The Final Day of “7 Days of Oscars” which will be of course, Best Picture. With that being said, I’m going to the Independent Spirit Awards tomorrow, Sat. the 27th, and instead of posting my BP picks, I’m just going to briefly address the Oscar controversy and save my last for the BIG DAY!! Cheers to you all until then..
#Oscars2016 #peggyatthemovies

**Reminder that I’m giving who I think the winner will be and what would be my pick – because yes, they just might not be the same!! 😀

“SLOW WEST” ~ REVIEW (2015) A24 FILMS

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Release date: Friday, May 15th, 2015 in the U.S. ~ U.K. release date: Friday, June 26th, 2015

“Go West young man, Go West” – This was the old adage all Westerns were based upon for a time, told to drifting young men back in the day. And “Slow West” is just about that journey ~ with a twist, as it’s no ordinary Western. Trust me on this one.

Starting the film, we follow 16 yr.old Scottish rich boy “Jay Cavendish” (Kodi Smit-McPhee) journey across the old Colorado frontier of 1870s America in search of the girl he loves, “Rose Ross” (Caren Pistorius), who has fled to America with her father, “John Ross” (Rory McCann). As Jay begins his search for what he believes is his true love, he is completely unaware that Rose & her father are wanted, dead or alive, as murderers with huge bounties on their heads. Needless to say this has brought out numerous not so savory bounty hunters, who are all in search of them.

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When Jay runs into bounty hunter extraordinaire, “Silas Selleck” (Michael Fassbender) who during an encounter with some soldiers, bails him out of a bad situation then offers his services of protection, for a fee of course, to escort him to where Rose is. As we listen to Silas, who confesses while narrating this quirky oft violent story, that this is really his whole ulterior motive in taking Jay along.

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Hot on their trail is another bounty hunter “Payne” (Ben Mendelsohn), along with his group of cold-blooded bounty hunters. As an ex-member of the team, Silas went the lone route after clearly having different ideas on how getting quick cash through delivering bounties should go. Payne is not having any of it, as the he tries to convince Silas to come back to the group so it’s no surprise that both Payne and Silas have different views when it comes to the young man, but Silas still does whatever he can to protect Jay from them and the truth about Rose.
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As per usual, Fassbender eats up the screen doing his best “High Plains Drifter” impersonation going even so far as having the ever present cigarillo hanging from the side of his mouth. The chemistry between Smit-McPhee and Fassbender is great, as we watch the pair soon develop a heartfelt, darkly funny, camaraderie that runs to the spine of the film. But don’t mistake this for an yippe-kai-yay uplifting buddy-western horseback ride through the wild west, because this world is filled with dark characters and even bleaker scenarios, but still has enough entertainment value to ensnare you in it. The graphic violence may come off as funny sometimes, but it works for a film taking place in the Old West.

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While Slow West may be considered a Western, it also is a nicely done coming-of-age story about Jay becoming a man and Silas learning that there is more to life than living on the road. Jay’s complete naiveness for life in the Old West and though complete opposites, it somehow matches well with Silas’ stone cold attitude. As things move along, Jay’s determination to get to the girl he loves slowly starts to affect Silas. You notice as he starts having this father-son bonding with Jay by teaching him how to shoot a gun and even giving him his first shave. At the same time, Jay shows Silas the beauty of life, so it’s hard to tell which of these men are actually growing up.

The movie comes to a head in a brutal, climactic shootout that brings all the characters together in one final showdown that results in bloodshed and an oh-so-unpredictable death. The only sour point in its conclusion is it’s almost just a tad too neat and tidy. Slow West is definitely a very unique, different type western from those I’ve seen, but it worked. With it’s somewhat fairy tale-ness, witty humor, silly violence, it’s a worthy addition to this genres roots, but with a modern edged tone.

Screening at USC School of Cinematic Arts, Ray Stark Theatre – Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Grade: B-
@pegsatthemovies

RATINGS SCALE: A = OSCAR-WORTHY; B = ABOVE AVERAGE; C = AVERAGE; D = NOT RECOMMENDED; F = SKIP IT ENTIRELY (+ OR – GIVES IT AN EDGE UP OR DOWN)

REVIEW OF X-MEN:DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

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To say I am an X-Men fan would probably be an understatement. I mean it’s not as big as my James Bond fandom..but it’s running a close second as it’s a cartoon I’ve watched all my life including way into adulthood. I remember waking up every Saturday morning as it would air at 11am and I was completely into it hangover or not!! 😀 Granted ‘Gambit’ was my guy, cuz he was crazy, wild loose canon and yes, just plain fun and now he’s close to finally being cast by Channing Tatum as they have only had “Gambit” ever-so-briefly before in the Wolverine movie..I am totally ready for him! As for this movie..I’ve got a favourite character too! Read on and see who it is!!!

So let’s start off though with just a briefing on the movie itself. I’ve seen it twice now..once in 2D and now just saw it in 3D (Thanks Jason!!) This adventure into X-Men is meant to take you back in time and connect all the other X-Men and possibly yes, Wolverine movies together so all the threads that you’ve already seen become woven together. It does that, though there are quite a few long, lagging points, sometimes lasting up to 15min or so where you finally go..okay..I got it!! Let’s move on. All in all this story has a definite point to it.. I do like the time-travel idea so that the X-Men may live on…:) The plot is obviously set in the future where man has turned against all mutants and has been killing them off in droves in scenes reminiscent of concentration camps footage, but of course as with all things man-kind, have taken it one step further as we’ve been known to do, and is killing of not only sympathizers but people who are even carrying the gene or if their children/grandchildren can be seen to carry it. So basically as with all war, it’s gotten ugly and out of control. So in order to save their race/species, Patrick Stewart & Ian McKellen, reprising their roles as elder “Charles Xavier/Professor X & Eric/Magneto” realize Mystique has been the catalyst to the beginning of this whole destruction with her 1st killing back in time when she found out what the research they were doing on Mutants was really headed and then became captured and used herself.  To stop all this from happening, Wolverine goes back in time to 1973, which is actually a couple of fun scenes there, and he has to convince the younger Magneto & Beast that he really is who he says and they just don’t know it yet and they need to help him to save all mutant-kind. Magneto is of course in a lock down prison 100 floors below the surface of the earth, for of all things, killing JFK or so they say. And his ‘jailbreak’ is probably my most favourite scene in a movie in a long time!! Once they get them all together, you think it’s going to work out, but of course it can’t go the way planned..there has to be problems within the group themselves, most notably Professor X & yep..you guessed it, Magneto.  You know I love my villains, I always do..a good villain has a redeemable quality and oh yes, Magneto does..and it really comes down to him and Mystique as she is rather a villainess here also.

Acting wise, Hugh Jackman in his now quite iconic role as “Wolverine” does a good job of it. I like it and damn his body is truly stunning..Next, how can you not love the ‘McFassy’ bromance aka Michael Fassbender as “Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr” and James McAvoy as “Professor X/Charles Xavier” – for me they are not ‘hott’ per se’.. but I think it’s because of their imperfections I find them just damn sexy!! 🙂 I love little imperfections/scars etc.. it makes someone interesting. But then I can also look at a Nickolas Hoult as a young “Beast/Hank” and think how stunning that little kid from ‘About a Boy’ turned into..I mean who saw that one coming.. ha! He’s like a young ‘Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ for me. Jennifer Lawrence is good here in her turn as “Raven/Mystique” ~ though I kept getting flashbacks of Rebecca Romijn as why not..they flashed everyone else back!! 😀 Peter Dinklage is just a wonderful villain as you knew he would be playing “Dr. Bolivar Trask” and all the other co-stars are back as in Ellen Page as “Kitty Pryde” Shawn Ashmore as “Bobby/Iceman” and I could only thank my lucky stars the awful Halle Berry again as “Storm” was only back for a few scenes.. WHEW!! I’m sure everyone gave a collective sigh on that one. But here it is everyone.. (I don’t give out spoilers so you will have to see the movie) in his first go-round in a blockbuster movie like this..BY FAR THE BEST PERFORMANCE and HANDS DOWN the best scene in the whole movie belongs to…(drum roll please) Evan Peters as “Peter/Quicksilver” I mean.. soooo good. It’s not a big scene..but it’s by far the most memorable and fun-est of the whole damn movie. You will love it! And if these producers know what’s good, they will bring him back in X-Men-Apocalypse for sure.quicksilver

There are many cool flashbacks in this movie towards the end.. or are they flash forwards..hmmm.. well that would give it all away now wouldn’t it..ha! so you will just have to see the movie to know..but I guarantee they will make you smile & laugh and have you wondering just who will be coming back around in the next ‘Apocalypse’. That remains to be seen..oh and if you want catch a glimpse of that..make sure you stay until the very end..I’m talking after the ENDLESS list of credits that seems to be 1/2 the population, rolls on by ..even if the lights go up.. STAY!! You will be glad you did.

To sum it up the superhero/comic book movies so far this summer..it isn’t as good as “Captain America” but it’s better than “Spiderman 2” it’s definitely entertaining. #bangformybuck

Grade: B-
#peggyatthemovies

COUNTDOWN TO THE OSCARS ~ “Best Supporting Actor”

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Oscars 2013 ~ Who will win!!!  Image

While this was a nice nod to the complete unknown ‘limo driver’ as he was – he is probably the longest shot to win in the category.  It’s not a bad performance, but does not even come close or compare to the other nominees here. 

I loved Bradley’s performance, just liked I loved the movie.  He’s crazy & over the top, but yet makes it believable. I wouldn’t be upset if he won. 

This wasn’t my favourite by a long shot as I felt the same about the movie. But I can’t deny that it wasn’t a worthy performance.  Though crazy..but worthy! 🙂  My criticism is though the same one I have with the movie itself…choppy and you’re there one moment, gone the next, and boom! back again. 

While this is definitely one of my top movies of the year, and I did like the performance, I think it’s still hard for us to see Jonah Hill as anything else but the funny, odd man out character. Yes, I know this is his 2nd nomination, and sorry, but stigma attached I don’t think he will win it. 

And here Ladies & Gentlemen, Boys & Girls ~ WE HAVE OUR WINNER.  What can you say about this performance that hasn’t been said?!!  It’s just incredible. Is it the fact that Jared showed up to the set in character, stayed in it the during the entire filming, and even left in it.. no..it’s the fact that it was simply put, hands down, best supporting actor performance of the year.  The end.