Alien: Covenant

A new review from The Movie Snob.

Alien: Covenant  (C-).  Looking back, I see that I liked Prometheus quite bit and had high hopes for the next Alien prequel.  Alas, those hopes are far from fulfilled in the latest flick about the almost-indestructible critters with a taste for human flesh.  The Covenant is a large spaceship carrying a huge load of people in cryogenic sleep for a 7+ year voyage to a planet they hope will be hospitable enough for them to colonize.  An accident damages the ship and leads to the waking of its small human crew.  They receive a communications signal that lures them off course to a much closer, and previously unknown, habitable planet.  Who could possibly be way out here?  The survivors of the Prometheus expedition, perhaps?  Once they arrive, it’s only a matter of time (a very short time) before the humans start getting turned into alien chow, and we don’t know or like them enough to really care that much.  I was annoyed that some of the biological “facts” I thought we knew about the aliens from the earlier films seem to be disregarded in this one.  The humans do all sorts of stupid things to earn their gruesome ends, and despite all the mayhem only one scene struck me as really, memorably horrifying.  Billy Crudup (Big Fish) plays the ineffectual captain of the Covenant, but the real stars are Katherine Waterston (Sleeping with Other People) as the Sigourney Weaveresque heroine and Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave) playing both android David from Prometheus and android Walter from the Covenant.  I’d say this movie is for diehard Alien fans only.

P.S. The movie has lots of ponderous philosophical window-dressing too; for more on that you can read Steven Greydanus’s review here.

The Martian

The Move Snob is blown away.

The Martian  (A).  Woo-hoo!  The Movie Snob is back in action.  Recently I’ve been taking care of my mom after cataract surgery, so not much time for movie watching.  But today I got out and finally saw the latest movie from director Ridley Scott (Alien), and I thought it was great.  If you liked Gravity and Apollo 13, you need to get out there and see this film.  Matt Damon (Interstellar) plays a modern-day Robinson Crusoe—an astronaut on a mission to Mars who is separated from the rest of the crew in a terrible windstorm.  His comrades believe (with good reason) that he has been killed, and they have to blast off to save their own lives.  But he survives the storm, and the rest of the movie is about whether he can somehow survive long enough to get rescued.  The cast is full of big stars: Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) as the mission commander.  Michael Pena (Ant-Man) as the pilot.  Sean Bean (TV’s Game of Thrones) as the earth-side head of the particular Mars mission.  Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) as the overall head of the Mars program (if I understood right).  Jeff Daniels (Arachnophobia) as the head of NASA.  Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) as the NASA public-relations person who mostly stands around and looks concerned.  Anyhoo, this movie will keep you on the edge of your seat.  I saw the 2D version, but I heard good things about the 3D version.  Check it out before it leaves the theaters.