But if the film is allowed to wait long enough–until the filmmakers are dead, until neorealism is less an inspiration than a memory–“The Bicycle Thief” escapes from its critics and becomes, once again, a story. It is happiest that way.Roger Ebert on Bicycle Thieves, 1999.
The length of time I have taken off from reviewing movies has become a bit of a meme among my friends. Things have hit hard with COVID-19, moving away from home, and generally having a writer’s block the size of the Korean DMZ. All things considered, it has been good to get some time to think about the way I approach movies, and generally look into some movies I might never see. It is for this reason that I have delved deep into the ratings of IMDB to find the top community rated films of all time (to be perfectly clear, I bought a poster of the top 100 list for me and my girlfriend, and we’re watching a movie every week from the list). Let’s have a look at the first movie from the list: Bicycle Thieves.
Continue reading “Bicycle Thieves: The IMDB Top-100 Watchlist”
Long is the way and hard, that out of hell leads up to lightJohn Milton, Paradise Lost
As the level of anticipation for this last Alien entry has risen to be nearly palpable, so too rises the level of disappointment of the movies overall. Looking back over the series, you can track the quality of the movies and almost create a roller coaster ride with the line connecting them. The thunderous beginning of the series, followed by twists and turns and corkscrews in the movies that come after. All of these aspects inevitably ending with this movie: a slow and sad end of the ride. Ending a series with a movie like this reminds us all of lessons taught repeatedly throughout many franchises in the last decade: a simple premise CANNOT uphold 40 years of movies and still remain as fresh as the start. I’m pretty bad at analogies involving roller coasters, but I’m pretty good at being bitter and jaded about movies, so let’s end this project with Alien: Covenant.
Continue reading “Alien: Covenant: A Tale of Two Tales (An Average Conclusion)”
[it] wasn’t what we thought [it] was; I was wrong, we were so wrong…Audiences in the first viewing that wanted to see an Alien prequel, 2012
The final phase is here: a long-awaited end is in sight to this series and my damned Alien project. It’s been quite a ride to bring opinions to you about movies your parents liked and then pretended to only like one or two of. Weathering two very different versions of dead franchises is no small feat, and we can all be thankful that the task is almost over. But before we go back to exclusively watching Disney movies and participating in the end of the world pandemic, there are two more movies in this franchise to discuss. All of the king’s horses and all of the king’s men had gathered together to allow Damien Lindelof and Ridley Scott to answer the question people never truly wanted answered: just what was that spaceship? And who was that jockey from the original Alien? With the last movies before us, let’s begin the conversation about Prometheus.
Continue reading “Prometheus: The New Testament, But At What Cost? (An Avg. Part 7)”
What the ****? Where did this come from? Where the hell did this movie come from?Liam O’Donnell, creative consultant for AVP R, on the AVP franchise, 2017
Posting has been rather infrequent the past two weeks, and I think I would owe a lot of that to whatever the hell movie it was that I watched for this review.
Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem is no one’s first choice. I can only hope that it was not yours, and it definitely wasn’t mine. There is always at least one movie in a franchise where one has to ask why it was made, and that is where you have a great possibility of losing your audience: Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem is one such movie. It is simultaneously a cheap and expensive burning of money on the screen and most probably felt that when leaving the theater (as of writing, AVP R stands at a 12% critic score and 30% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes). Scenes are incredibly poorly lit, CGI was passable but still bad for the time, and the acting seemed like it came straight out of a Friday the 13th movie. Let’s break it down:
Continue reading “Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem, The Bad Slasher Movie (Average Pt. 6)”
[The movie would] kill the validity of the franchise; To me, that was Frankenstein Meets Werewolf.James Cameron on Alien vs. Predator, 2006
The first half of the series is wrapped up, and that mean the good movies are behind us. If there is one thing to count on going forward, it is a downward spiral of wacky nonsense. Long gone are the truly memorable moments when Ripley is running through corridors and we are unsure of her safety. Long gone are the great comedic lines from Bill Paxton, and the funny screams from milk-blood Lance Henrickson. From the mid-point onward, we are awarded with attempts at a high action/low attention span arc in the franchise that will have you laughing more than crying over the corpse that is Alien. Now, onto Alien vs. Predator:
Continue reading “Alien Vs. Predator: the Filler Crossover Event (An Average Pt. 5)”
In all seriousness, Alien: Resurrection was, I thought, the lowest I could ever feel. And then they cancelled Firefly.
Joss Whedon on SYFY Wire, 2013
It’s finally here: Spring is making its way into Summer, school is out for me and all of the other kiddos, and we have finally hit a major point in the Alien franchise. After the long wait for my trembling, tired fingers to finish with finals for yet another year of college, we can fumble our way through the mid-season finale that is Alien Resurrection. The movie isn’t quite as interesting as the first, isn’t quite as fun as the second, and is not nearly as interesting of a behind-the-scenes as the third; this fourth installment finally sets the original Ripley epic to rest. From Jean-Pierre Jeunet of The City of Lost Children and Joss Whedon of Avengers fame, comes the french proof of concept for Firefly that no one asked for. Let’s dig in.
Continue reading “Alien Resurrection: The Mid-Series Finale (An Average Review)”
No one hated it more than me; to this day, no one hates it more than me.David Fincher, Guardian interviews at the BFI (2009)
If there is one thing that we can say about the Alien franchise up to this point, it’s that each movie is an experience. The original movie is one of the quintessential sci-fi experiences of the 70’s. It is the ultimate example of how to turn every element of a cheesy low-budget industrial movie and into a masterpiece. A similar story can be told about the sequel, whose praise is still heard from nearly any movie goer since its release. Even the schlock of either feature, which would usually be critiqued by the standard moviegoer, is ignored compared to deserved aforementioned acclaim. Truly they are cornerstones of their respective director’s and writer’s careers. 1992’s Alien 3, the directorial debut of David Fincher, is…well it’s an experience.
Continue reading “Alien 3: A Studio Mess-terpiece (An Average Pt. 3)”
A sequel is an admission that you’ve been reduced to imitating yourself.Don Marquis
So, we have a strong foundation of what Alien is now, right? Fantastic lighting and sound design to create a truly scary atmosphere. Nuanced characterization to create people that seem very real. A monster that avoids sight until absolutely necessary to reveal itself to the audience. All these things are what I focused on in the last post because those were what I believed made a great Alien movie. Well today, we’re going to take some of those things, have them directed by somebody completely different, and turn up the schlock to the nth degree. Get ready folks, because here comes 1986’s Aliens. Let’s dig in:
Continue reading “Aliens (An Average Pt. 2)”
In space no one can hear you scream.Alien promotional poster, 1979
Alright so I’ve been on a streak of mostly stinky movies, so let’s talk about one of my favorite movies ever made. It was a movie that scared my pants off as a child, and helped mold me into the science fiction nerd I am. This was a groundbreaking film that, despite creating a nearly perfect sequel, branched off into a debauchery of a franchise (and before you ask, I am not alluding to Terminator twice in two posts). I am, of course, talking about the magnificent 1979 motion picture Alien.
Continue reading “The Alien Franchise: Alien (An Average…Project?)”
I’ve seen worse movies, but this still left me wishing i could have my 1h45m back.Zach Prevost from Google Reviews, 2020
Doom: Annihilation has to be the best comedy movie since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. It was a laugh-a-minute thrill ride that had everything I love in comedy: terrible dialogue, comedic action sequences, and fireballs. There was never a dull moment in this movie, where at least 40% of the run time is walking slowly through hallways. Doom takes everything that made its source material fun and created something even better: a comedy about boring space marines.
Continue reading “Doom: Annihilation (An Average Review)”