Review: Arrival (2016)

“There are days that define your story beyond your life. Like the day they arrived.”
– Dr Louise Banks

SYNOPSIS: When twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors. – via IMDB

I saw a trailer for this a while ago and thought it looked interesting. I was infinitely more curious when I saw Denis Villeneuve’s name attached to the project as I rather like his work. Arrival did not disappoint at all, and was definitely one of the better alien movies I have seen in a while, and I am a sucker for them. It definitely got right what most alien movies don’t – the movie maintained an air of mystery, it was smart, while the aliens were super important, we didn’t get to see too much of them (I mean this visually, not that they were not present), but what we did see of them was icky man.

Despite having Amy Adams helm the film (which for me could potentially have held it back, she is one of those actresses that irrationally annoys the shit out of me), it worked out just fine. In fact, I think Adams did a good job with the material she was given. I also enjoyed Jeremy Renner in this, and liked the interactions between Ian and Louise. I was glad that Villeneuve did not force a love story into the middle of this, as a romance was totally secondary to all that was going on.

I really liked how the film took time to set itself up. It was never rushed, or too slow and dull. The story was also very engaging. It took its time to set up a solid movie, which was also directed perfectly and visually appealing, well acted, and had a brilliant score to accompany it. There was just so much to enjoy here. As I mentioned before, I was pleased that we didn’t see too much of the aliens, as it maintained mystery and kept them super creepy. I appreciate how smart Arrival is, too, because I love a movie that makes me think.

Arrival is an impressive alien/sci-fi film, and definitely impressed me. I can highly recommend it. Sharp, shot beautifully and carried by strong performances, this movie will make you think on things for quite some time, and I like that.

You can totally skip the trailer and just go straight on to the movie.

Review: Prometheus (2012)

prometheus poster

“How far would you go to get your answers?”
– David

SYNOPSIS: Following clues to the origin of mankind a team journey across the universe and find a structure on a distant planet containing a monolithic statue of a humanoid head and stone cylinders of alien blood but they soon find they are not alone. – via IMDB

prometheus david

The first time that I watched Prometheus I was exceptionally underwhelmed. Like, to the nth degree. There are plot holes and super flaws and so many subplots that are introduced and never wrapped up, there is just too much wrong with this film to make it great. It did have a stellar cast, and they worked with what they had and did a pretty good job.

I thoroughly enjoy Idris Elba, so to see him as Captain Janek was awesome. Theron grated (har har, imagine this) on my last nerve, again, though I expected no less. Guy Pearce could certainly have been used better, I wish we had seen more of Benedict Wong’s Ravel, and Noomi Rapace did just fine as the ill-fated Shaw. I think the one actor that truly think shone from the off in this film was Michael Fassbender. His David was charming, freaky, strange, something you couldn’t quite understand, more layered than any of the other characters and his performance was excellent and consistent. I had a blast watching him.

Let’s talk about something that really bugged me in this movie: nobody bats an eye for any of the messed up stuff going on. Heck, Vickers uses a flamethrower on Holloway, killing him in front of his lover, Elizabeth Shaw, and nobody bats an eye. Then there is the whole David betrayal, again, not a word, and what about the fact that Shaw is limping around later, abdomen gashed open and all that? Nobody bats an eye or says anything. I cannot buy into it. Someone will have to ask something sooner or later, no matter what.

Pity this was one of those films that had a trailer that was infinitely better than the final product – and before people get iffy about it, it is the truth. The trailer was intense, there was so much happening, there was urgency and fear and a real dangerous problem, by the looks of it. In fact, it pretty much gave away anything and everything of interest in the movie. Now, as for the film itself? It was languishing, there were holes in the script, there were things that just did not make sense, there was nothing so completely awesome in there to blow your mind, it was slow and trundled along, never really creating serious tension or delivering anything… it was just another movie. Simple as that. No more, no less. It explored big themes, or tried to, but delivered nothing.

I didn’t hate the movie like I did the first time around (because hell, I despised it), probably because I knew what to expect this time around, but it remains extremely flawed and doesn’t really offer anything. There are places the story can be taken from here and some exceptionally interesting premises that were granted and concepts that could be a thing of beauty, but what we got from Prometheus, on its own? Nothing, nothing at all, because nothing was ultimately realised. Aside from all that, the movie was shot well and looked pretty good, and the Engineers were interesting though incredibly underutilised, though I suppose this will help set up for a sequel. Uhm… I don’t really have much else to say, so I will just end it here.

Review: Alien: Resurrection (1997)

Alien-Resurrection-poster

“There’s a monster in your chest. These guys hijacked your ship, and they sold your cryo tube to this… human. And he put an alien inside of you. It’s a really nasty one. And in a few hours it’s gonna burst through your ribcage, and you’re gonna die. Any questions?”
– Ellen Ripley

SYNOPSIS: Two centuries after her death, Ellen Ripley is revived as a powerful human/alien hybrid clone who must continue her war against the aliens. – via IMDB

alien swimming

GRADE 6Alien: Resurrection is, without a doubt, infinitely better than its predecessor. Not that the film needed to be amazing to trump the last, but still. This movie isn’t the most amazing for me though because I was not a fan of the Ripley portrayed in here. Not because Sigourney Weaver wasn’t good, but because this is not Ripley, and yeah, yeah, I know this isn’t the Ripley. She was just too different, which is sort of the point, but still.

The story is pretty interesting in its own right, what with continuing about two hundred years after the fiery incident on Fiorina 161. Ripley has been cloned so many times to perfect her as the carrier of the xenomorphs and the scientists successfully manage to birth one from Ripley. I loved seeing super smart xenomorphs again, because a slower one is just not as terrifying. This lot? They were ridiculously smart and scary and dedicated to escaping and taking over the world, muahahahahahahaha! Oh, excuse me, let me just get back on track. Anyway, Ripley is super in tune with these new xenomorphs, and they have a whole bunch of things that make them super creepy (seriously, their swimming skills were scary!) and a force to be reckoned with.

The movie is shot well, though it does, naturally, suffer some sketchy CGI, but at least not like the last film. I really liked that horror clone room that Ripley entered – that was some seriously sick and grisly stuff. Something that really put me off of the movie, too, is the inclusion of Ron Perlman. I just don’t get why the guy is so famous – he irritates the crap out of me and is so corny, and not in the good way, either. My fiancé reckons he looks like a bulldog. Not far off. The man is a freaking annoyance of note. Then there is Winona Ryder, back before she was robbing the world blind. She was pretty good here, but this is certainly not her finest role. The humour was exceptionally forced in places, too, which sucked. Oh yeah, let’s not forget that weird final xenomorph o.O

Not a bad film, but it is a long way away from brilliant. It has some decent moments, but overall some of the writing and characters just let the film down.

Rapid Review: Edge Of Tomorrow (2014)

edge of tomorrow poster

“Come find me when you wake up!”
– Rita Vrataski

SYNOPSIS: An alien race has hit the Earth in an unrelenting assault, unbeatable by any military unit in the world. Major William Cage (Cruise) is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously dropped into what amounts to a suicide mission. Killed within minutes, Cage now finds himself inexplicably thrown into a time loop-forcing him to live out the same brutal combat over and over, fighting and dying again…and again. But with each battle, Cage becomes able to engage the adversaries with increasing skill, alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Blunt). And, as Cage and Vrataski take the fight to the aliens, each repeated encounter gets them one step closer to defeating the enemy. – via IMDB

edge of tomorrow

GRADE 8Let me just say this: this movie was infinitely better than the trailer I watched all those months ago suggested it would be. I actually had quite a bit of fun, and there was some humour sprinkled through this too (particularly looking at the first roll-under-the-truck scenario). Tom Cruise handles his material well, and takes Cage from some ridiculous television persona in a military outfit that has no idea what wearing that actually even means, and creates a character we actually start rooting for – after we’ve had a good cackle over his predicament a few times… and his ability to still feel his toes! Emily Blunt also gave a solid performance, and while I enjoy her work, I do not understand the raving about her all the time. She and Cruise work well together, and he is a great sport on being knocked on his ass quite a few times. Blunt portrayed a great character: she was strong, confident and capable, and she was nobody’s bitch. It was a refreshing change, and one I appreciated. I was not particularly a fan of the romance that cooked up between Cage and Rita, though it is a stock standard formula I expected from the action film. It was certainly handled better than most. I know that there is a lot of repeating going on in the movie, and it speaks volumes about the way it was dealt with in that it never actually gets old, and I appreciated that. Edge of Tomorrow was a bit of a different concept (for me, at any rate) and I actually thought it was entertaining, and a pretty good action flick. It manages to bring in a slightly deeper side, too, but that’s never really the most important of it. The effects were terrific, and this film oozed blockbuster, but definitely on the superior side of the spectrum. Doug Liman did a wonderful job directing this, bringing it all together, and maintaining a certain standard. The dialogue was fun, and the camerawork was very good, too. I wasn’t a huge fan of the sword that Rita hauled around – I just thought that it could have been way more awesome and brutal. As it is, it is not the worst weapon, it is just a bit chunkier and more bland than I would have liked. Edge of Tomorrow was clever, slick and above all, entertaining. I had a blast with this, and I was shocked by how much better it was than I expected it to be, definitely my surprise for the year (seeing as I had written it off).