Alien: Covenant (2017) Review

Alien: Covenant (2017)

**Spoiler-free ranting below**

Directed by Ridley Scott

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.

My Opinion:

I’ll keep this brief and of course spoiler-free as I know Alien: Covenant isn’t yet out in America.

I’m a huge fan of the first two Alien films. I’ve never talked about them on this blog because I’m not a good writer and I find it hard to review the films I love the most (I made an attempt to review favorites, which I called CPD Classics, but gave up after a while as it took too long to write those). I can’t find the right words to express the awesomeness of those first two films. The H.R. Giger designs (above all else), the mood, the horror, the mystery, the action of the second film plus a great set of characters, Hicks (hottie), the knife/hand thing and, of course, a kick-ass female. Those first two films are perfection. I suppose that’s why every Alien film since those has been such a huge disappointment. How can you top those? You can’t. And Alien: Covenant is yet another massive disappointment.

I didn’t read any reviews at all before seeing this but the main comment I couldn’t help but see several times on Twitter was that “it starts out okay & almost feels like an Alien film but then turns into Prometheus 2“. That’s exactly right. If you liked Prometheus, you’ll probably like Covenant. If you hated Prometheus, I doubt you’ll like this one. I’m no fan of Prometheus. To be honest, I barely remember it now as I never watched it again after going to the cinema to see it. I wouldn’t say I hated it as I will probably always watch each & every movie that explores the Alien universe as it’s an overall idea that I absolutely love but, man – I wish they’d stop f*^king things up so much!

You know what? I actually think I like Prometheus slightly more now. Compared to Covenant, it’s probably the better of the two. Yikes. It’s like having to choose between two horrible candidates & having to go with the lesser of two evils. Prometheus kept things slightly more simple whereas Scott feels like he’s aimlessly & pointlessly overcomplicating things now. The mystery of the alien race in the first film is a big part of what makes the entire Alien universe so horrifying. Stop trying to explain everything. Stop showing us too much. Stop all the pretentiousness. Make an Alien film. Stop making Prometheus films, dammit. How are so many filmmakers & studios so damn clueless as to what the public actually want?

Okay – maybe it’s time to stop making these films altogether. Or perhaps let someone else take over again (Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 looks fairly promising so far). Either way, I’m pretty good at blocking things out of my mind when I want to and these sequels & prequels have yet to ruin the legacy of the first two films for me. But I grew up with the first two during my early teen film-loving beginnings. How much are these newer films damaging those first ones for the current generation?

I can’t be bothered with this “review”. I’m just annoyed. BUT, I did go in with very low expectations (I’m not stupid). Therefore, I’m not as annoyed as I seem since I got what I pretty much expected. Like with Prometheus, I didn’t exactly hate this film. I just try to think of these films as a separate sort of thing (kind of like with the Star Wars prequels). They mostly suck but there are moments that I enjoy thanks to my love of the original films (the moments that feel like an Alien film & not a Prometheus film and there are a few of these, luckily). Michael Fassbender (hottie) is very good. He steals the show. I just wish they could’ve made us care about this set of characters as much those in Aliens (but that wasn’t Scott). Other than Fassbender, everyone is very one-dimensional & their relationships felt forced for added drama (most of the those on the Covenant are married to someone else on the ship – what’s with all the romantic connections?).

Oops – I was trying to end with only positive comments to help explain why I’m not giving this a lower rating after all my bitching. Um. There’s a Xenomorph. There’s a facehugger. There’s bursting. That’s why the score isn’t lower. God I’m shallow. If they make another one of these movies, I know I’ll still watch the damn thing even though it’s 99% likely that at least 75% of it will suck. 😉 But if I had to rank all these now (not counting those AVP ones), Covenant is probably at the very bottom. That’s so not what I wanted. Why do I continue to live in the hope that there could ever be another good Alien film?

My Rating: 6.5/10*

*I’m being way too generous. Because it’s an Alien film. Sort of. But not really. Damn.

My Top Ten Bill Paxton Movies

I was sad to hear of the death of Bill Paxton over the weekend. He has such an impressive movie resume! It’s funny how, even though he was only in very small roles at first, he still managed to be in so many beloved, kick-ass classics. Especially numbers one & two on my list… AWESOME films! It’s great that he ended up in bigger roles in things such as Twister & Apollo 13 but I’ll always first think of him as the lovably annoying Hudson in Aliens and as the hilarious asshole brother Chet in Weird Science.

I honestly thought I’d already done a Bill Paxton Top Ten list in the past as he’s been in several of my favorite movies but it looks like I never did. As always, I’ve ranked these in order from my least favorite to favorite movie as opposed to character role. So, in his memory, here are My Top Ten Bill Paxton Movies (counting down from 16 to include everything I’ve seen):

16. True Lies
15. Mighty Joe Young
14. Nightcrawler
13. Frailty
12. The Last Supper (but need to re-watch & refresh my memory, really)
11. Near Dark (also need to re-watch)

TOP TEN:

10. Commando

9. Twister

8. Streets Of Fire

7. Apollo 13

6. Predator 2

5. Titanic

4. Edge Of Tomorrow

3. Weird Science

2. The Terminator

1. Aliens

Seen But Don’t Remember:
Stripes
Indian Summer
U-571

Never Saw:
Navy Seals (Can you believe that, with my Michael Biehn crush??)
Brain Dead (I like the sound of this one…)
Tombstone
Boxing Helena
The Evening Star
A Simple Plan
Haywire
2 Guns

Finally, I think most people my age know that Bill Paxton directed & starred in the bizarre Barnes And Barnes “short film” video for the song Fish Heads.

In looking up his film credits, I noticed he was also in two other music videos. Love the Pat Benatar video for Shadows Of The Night! I’d forgotten about that video. I miss the “story” videos of the Eighties. Anyway – watch out for Paxton in a small role as a WWII baddie in that video. Also, he starred in New Order’s Touched By The Hand Of God, which I must admit I’d never seen. What a great, eclectic career. Bill Paxton will be missed.

R.I.P. William “Bill” Paxton (May 17, 1955 – February 25, 2017)

My Top Ten Crazy Ladies In Movies

I love crazy ladies in movies! I was going to call this “Crazy Bitches” but didn’t want to get in trouble as people are so on edge about these sort of things nowadays. Actually, I could also be in trouble for using the word “crazy”, I suppose. I’m female so am I allowed to say “crazy bitch”?!

I feel like I should be offended when movies portray women as mentally unstable, especially when it’s over a “man”. But I’m not (well, okay – I’m a little offended by the “crazy ex-girlfriend” thing – the majority of us aren’t obsessed with men, believe it or not!). There are plenty of psychotic men in movies & no one seems to have any issues with that. Is it only okay for men to be psychos?

I have no issues with psychotic male or female characters – as long as the actor has fun with the role. The more over-the-top the better! I love when an actor clearly enjoys playing crazy & goes all out, like Jack Nicholson in The Shining or Kathy Bates in Misery. I have to say that I think it’s kind of funny that the term “bunny boiler” is so commonly used now, though. It just goes to show how great Glenn Close was in Fatal Attraction (written & directed by men). Women rarely get that crazy over men as far as I’m aware but it’s interesting that some guys think we might! 😉

Here are My Top Ten Crazy Ladies In Movies, counting down to my favorite:

10. Betsy Palmer as Mrs. Voorhees in Friday The 13th

9. Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard

8. Samantha Eggar as Nola Carveth in The Brood

7. Jessica Walter as Evelyn in Play Misty For Me

6. Lara Flynn Boyle as Stacy in Wayne’s World

5. The Xenomorph Queen in Aliens

4. Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes in Misery

3. Betty Lou Gerson as the voice of Cruella De Vil in 101 Dalmatians

2. Glenn Close as Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction

1. Piper Laurie as Margaret White in Carrie

I’ve left SO many out. It was hard to choose only ten! So here’s a long list of honorable mentions (and I’ve still left a lot out):

Honorable Mentions:

All the kick-ass ladies in Kill Bill
– Billie Whitelaw as Mrs. Baylock in The Omen
– Betty Davis as Baby Jane Hudson in What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?
– Marcia Gay Harden as Mrs. Carmody in The Mist
– Natalie Portman as Nina Sayers in Black Swan
– Fairuza Balk as Nancy Downs in The Craft
– Eleanor Audley as the voice of Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty
– Rosamund Pike as Amy Dunne in Gone Girl
– Essie Davis as Amelia in The Babadook
– Nicole Kidman as Grace Stewart in The Others
– Sharon Stone as Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct
– Juliette Lewis as Mallory Knox in Natural Born Killers
– Jennifer Jason Leigh as Hedra Carlson in Single White Female
– Rebecca De Mornay as Peyton Flanders in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle
– Drew Barrymore as Ivy in Poison Ivy
– Elizabeth Taylor as Martha in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?
– Kate Winslet as Juliet Hulme & Melanie Lynskey as Pauline Parker in Heavenly Creatures
– Margot Kidder as Danielle in Sisters
– Deanna Dunagan as Nana in The Visit
– Anthony Perkins in Psycho…

A Few I’ve Not Seen:
Audition
Mommie Dearest
Switchblade Romance
Suicide Squad

And here’s a shoutout to Crazy TV Ladies, including most of the females in Game Of Thrones! Love those Game Of Thrones gals.

Let’s end this with Taylor Swift’s video for Blank Space… 😉

I bet no one who knows my taste in music ever thought they’d see a Taylor Swift video on my blog! It just felt like the right video to end this post. To be fair to Swift, it’s cool that she had fun with the media’s unfair image of her.

You can read a great article about the portrayal of women as “crazy” & the sexist double standards that still exist in Hollywood (and in real life) HERE at dailydot.com. It starts out about Swift but then gets into detail about the history of the sexist treatment of famous women.

Music Video Friday: Moby – In This World

This week’s video for Music Video Friday is Moby’s In This World.

Is it cool to like Moby? Was it ever cool to like Moby? I don’t know (or care). He has a lot of fantastic songs. I especially love Porcelain & South Side with Gwen Stefani and, of course, the absolutely brilliant God Moving Over The Face Of The Waters from the end of the movie Heat (I can’t imagine any movie blogger not loving that).

In This World is from Moby’s 2002 album 18. It’s a great song but even greater video. This video couldn’t be more “me”. I must have had the biggest smile on my face the first time I saw these adorable little aliens just trying to be noticed on this crazy planet called Earth. I wanted to shout “Hi!” and give them all a big hug.

I suppose this video has a great message about how our lives are so hectic that we so easily miss all the special, little things in life (wasn’t that also the message in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?!). Well, message or not, I just love these little alien dudes. If I ever get around to doing a list of My Top Ten Music Videos, I can’t imagine this not being in the list. 🙂

Dead Of Night (1945) Review

Dead Of Night (1945)

Directed by Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden & Robert Hamer

Written by H.G. Wells, E.F. Benson, John Baines & Angus MacPhail

Starring: Michael Redgrave, Mervyn Johns, Frederick Valk, Roland Culver

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
An architect senses impending doom as his half-remembered recurring dream turns into reality. The guests at the country house encourage him to stay as they take turns telling supernatural tales.

My Opinion:

I’d been wanting to see this for a long time as I knew there was a creepy ventriloquist’s dummy in it. Not many things actually give me the creeps in horror movies but those things do!!! *shiver* So I’m happy that I finally saw this but I had no idea beforehand that it was actually a collection of several strange & eerie stories and that the dummy was only one part of those. That was kind of a nice surprise, though. It’s kind of like the original The Twilight Zone before its time (but with more of a horror theme than the quite often sci-fi theme of those). Considering that I still think the original The Twilight Zone is the greatest TV show ever, Dead Of Night was the exact sort of movie for a person like me. I just wish I’d enjoyed the stories a little more. A couple were good, a couple were okay, and the one that seemed to go on the longest was pretty weak.

In this movie, a man arrives at a party at a house in the country and claims to have seen all the guests in a dream, although he’s never met them before. He’s able to predict a couple of things that soon happen, which may or may not just be coincidences. This gets the guests each talking about their own bizarre stories which they’ve either heard about or experienced themselves. We get to see each of these stories while in between them we keep coming back to our storytellers and the stranger who claims to have met them all before.

I won’t go into too much detail on the individual stories in order to avoid spoilers. The first one involving a race car driver was possibly my favorite, although it was pretty obvious where it was headed if you’ve watched enough episodes of The Twilight Zone. But I’m certainly not going to complain at it feeling like an episode of my favorite TV show. The story told by the youngest party guest was fun and slightly creepy but, again, nothing too unexpected when you’ve watched a lot of this sort of thing. I would assume that the two most popular stories are one involving a mirror that seems to be cursed in some way and, of course, the one with the ventriloquist’s dummy as it’s the cover of every DVD I’ve seen and is what I always thought was the one and only story in the film.


I’d say these are the two most well put-together stories with the finest acting in the film. Michael Redgrave stars as the ventriloquist and, although I can’t pretend to fully know all the classic English actors, the Redgrave name is certainly well known and he does a fine job in the story that has clearly most stayed in the minds of anyone who has watched Dead Of Night. I know if I’d seen this years ago I’d have loved it. It’s very “me”. Unfortunately, I’ve just seen these sort of stories so often that the movie didn’t quite have the impact on me that it could have. It was definitely worth my time, though (despite the ghost “comedy” story, which some may love but I found to be overlong & the weakest story by far). But the mirror & the ventriloquist stories make up for the weaker ones and you may find the dummy haunting your dreams in the same way the man in the central story is haunted by dreams he can’t explain. Dead Of Night is a British supernatural horror classic that deserves more recognition than it seems to get. I wish there were more films like it nowadays.

My Rating: 7.5/10

My Top Ten: Royalty In Movies

To celebrate today’s royal birth (it’s a boy!), I thought I’d post my Top Ten Royalty In Movies. I’ll count down from ten to my number one favorite:

10. Coming To America – Prince Akeem (The royal penis is clean!)

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9. Princess Mononoke – Princess Mononoke

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8. The Lion King – Simba & Mufasa (And I’d like to point out that Mufasa is voiced by James EARL Jones! Ha!)

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7. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – The Earl Of Preston & The Duke Of Ted (And if that’s not acceptable, I’ll go with the two princesses. Those are historical babes! Plus, the royal ugly dudes…)

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6. Monty Python And The Holy Grail – King Arthur

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5. Pulp Fiction – Royale With Cheese

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4. The Princess Bride – Prince Humperdinck & Princess Buttercup

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3. Rear Window – Grace Kelly (Actual royalty! Am going with my favorite of her films. Look at her – classic beauty!)

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2. Star Wars – Princess Leia (Of course!)

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1. Aliens – The Alien Queen (Look at that! Freaking awesome. The genius of H.R. Giger)

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Honorable Mentions:

Spaceballs – Princess Vespa
Stephen King Adaptations – Stephen King cameos
Carrie – Carrie White (prom queen! yeah?) :-p
Disney Princess Movies – I’ll be lazy & just say all the princesses
The Aristocats – Duchess
The Neverending Story – The Childlike Empress
King Kong – King Kong
Purple Rain – Prince
The King Of Comedy – Rupert Pupkin
Enemy Of The State – Because it stars The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air AND Regina King :-p
Star Wars (and many other soundtracks) – The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

And finally:

Flash Gordon – Emperor Ming The Merciless, Prince Vultan, Princess Aura, Prince Barin, some more I think, AND music by Queen. This movie is royal-rific! And Ted loves it…

**A Note:

These are the types of films I like. I looked at lists of proper “royal” films. You know what? I’ve seen hardly any of them! So this is my list of personal preferences. And I think it’s way more fun. 🙂