Ridley Scott didn’t create it, but his 1976 Alien kick-started a creature-feature sub-genre, in which otherwise intelligent people split up in dark, deserted places to get picked off by the local wildlife. Bouncing back from 2013’s daft and muddled Prometheus, Alien Covenant remixes the ’76 original, in which otherwise intelligent people split up in dark, deserted places to get picked off by the local wildlife. It’s a sci-fi horror crossover that fetishises big teeth, claws and terror. Meh. Continue Reading
Called in to a genetic research lab, risk consultant Lee Weathers (Kate Mara) has to determine if genetically engineered lifeform Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) is safe to continue development. While the science team is emotionally committed to the chilly, detached teenage girl, chilly, detached Weathers has to make a judgement on termination.
In a high-concept drama on genetic engineering, artificifial intelligence and Franken-science, Morgan spends the first two acts playing Ex-machina and I, Robot, before going full-on Species in the action-packed third act; the ‘twist’ of which you saw coming in the first five minutes. Continue Reading
Rian Johnson helms the difficult middle episode of the new trilogy to re-mix a crowd-pleasing Star Wars Greatest Hits Volume 8 into something just different enough that we haven’t seen all of it before. Expect dog-fights, chases, cute furry things, comedy robot side-kicks and a lot of existential moodling about the Dark Side of The Force. Die-hard fans won’t praise Johnson’s handling of all the material and there are good actors desperately scouring the script for clues. And then there’s some bloke called Luke Skywalker. And Yoda – the puppet is back! Continue Reading
West Texas; two brothers attempt an audacious week-long series of raids on branches of the same bank in order to save the family farm from seizure by the very same bank. One is a career-criminal and adrenalin junkie, the other a family man trying to break the cycle of family poverty. On their tail, two Texas rangers; one jaded and nearing retirement, the other a mixed-race Native-Mexican trying to make a career in a white man’s state.
John Mackenzie’s superior heist-drama sits between the bookends of No Country for Old Men and The Place Beyond the Pines; a modern day Western set in the heat and dust of post-industrial dereliction. Continue Reading
Favourite French film bloke Luc Besson (Lucy) aims to rival his own commercial and cult classic Fifth Element with a grand space opera and love letter to the comic books of his youth. Visually exuberant, whimsical and packed, as always, with more ideas than will fit on screen, Besson fans will love it whilst still seeing the flaws that kept multiplex audiences away. Continue Reading
Taylor Sheridan’s left-field, superior detective drama set on a snowy Wyoming native reservation has atmosphere, tension and a terrific cast. Unfairly criticised for its racial politics on release, this is part police procedural, part revenge Western and has some finely nuanced playing from all involved, with Jeremy Renner finally getting to prove his acting chops in a thoroughly understated but dominant performance. Continue Reading
Cross Ridley Scott’s 1989 Alien Nation with 1995’s Bad Boys, add Tolkien’s Elves and Orcs, prisoner-escort thriller 16 Blocks and what you’ve got is a sweary, violent, cop-buddy-movie-fantasy crossover from Netflix by Suicide Squad‘s David Ayer that’s divided critics and audience alike. Continue Reading