Tag Archives: Alien

Alien: Covenant

19 May

Almost 40 Years Since ‘Alien’ Brought Sci-Fi To Pop Culture, ‘Covenant’ Goes Back To Basics

"Alien: Covenant." (Courtesy Mark Rogers/Twentieth Century Fox)

It’s hard to believe it has been nearly 40 years since that little wiggle of a vorpal worm ripped its way out of John Hurt’s abdomen in “Alien,” the sci-fi movie experience that took the fun and fantasy of “Star Wars” and flipped it on its head.

That film’s helmer Ridley Scott, a genius by some accounts, a hack by others and now almost 80 years of age, has shown great commitment to the franchise returning again for “Alien: Covenant.” The film is the sequel to “Prometheus” (2012), which is the first chapter of a prequel series to Scott’s 1979 space chiller that kept audiences up at night, fearful of mutant xenomorph with cascading sets of jaws.

“Alien: Covenant” takes place 10 years after “Prometheus” and approximately two decades before Ripley and her salvage crew discover that wrecked ship loaded with leathery undulating egg casings that we now know better than to peer down into. Bolstered by an impressively eclectic cast, “Prometheus” was a quirky reboot and something of a meta contemplation on creationism and origins that didn’t resonate with a wide fan base — not enough aliens and too many hidden agendas.

The good news with “Alien: Covenant,” especially for loyalists, is that Scott goes back to the basics. But because he has to build off the groundwork laid by his 2012 effort, there’s also plenty of ideologue about man, his creations superseding him and his viability in the universe over time. Scott and his screenwriters — John Logan and Dante Harper — do a nice job getting the plot points to line up seamlessly, though pacing and character development are sacrificed as a result.  Continue reading

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The Counselor

27 Oct

‘The Counselor’: Good, grimy fun going over same ground of McCarthy ‘Country’

By Tom Meek
October 26, 2013

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Not so long ago the Coen brothers deviated from their usual quirky fare for a hardboiled yarn about lawmen and criminals playing it loose and lethal as they pursued an elusive satchel of money back and forth across the Southwest border. The basis for that masterpiece came from the laconic and acerbic prose of the Cormac McCarthy’s novel “No Country for Old Men.” And in an odd and intriguing first-time move, the scribe has delivered an original screenplay for iconic director Ridley Scott (”Alien” and “Blade Runner”). The result is full of pointed soliloquies, diatribes imbued with philosophy and poetry and even daubs of philosophy regarding poetry, but the mainstay, of course, are protracted dissertations on death and destiny, followed invariably by death.

102613i The Counselor

Just as in “No Country,” the plot is driven by an accidental anti-hero ensnared in a macabre web of underworld misdoings. In short, McCathy has cooked up an assured rearrangement of “No Country.” It’s not on par by any means, but it is entertaining. And if you haven’t gotten enough of him lately, Michael Fassbender tackles the eponymous role (“the counselor” is all he’s ever called), as a square-jawed, fashionably stoic defender, who, while very dapper and upper crust, has a long list of unsavory clients. One, an imprisoned mama kingpin (Rosie Perez, putting a lot of pizazz into a brief role), asks him to pay a fine for her son who’s in jail for a traffic violation (going over 200 mph). He complies reluctantly, but doesn’t know that the kid is involved in a scheme to highjack a $20 million drug shipment – which doesn’t matter, because by sheer association he’s now considered one of the brains behind the ever-expanding plot.  Continue reading