Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Alien Week, part V: The chariots of the gods


AVP isn't exactly great, but is absolutely some brand of "good enough," and it's entirely impossible for me to understand how this is the one that wound up pissing everybody off.

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Written by Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett, and Paul W.S. Anderson
With Sanaa Lathan (Alexa Woods), Lance Henriksen (Charles Bishop Weyland), Ian Whyte ("Scar"), and Tom Woodruff, Jr. ("Grid")

Spoiler alert: moderate

Monday, May 29, 2017

Alien Week, part IV: The blob


I reviewed a movie written by Joss Whedon without using the word "quip" once.  Worship me!

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Written by Joss Whedon
With Sigourney Weaver (Ellen Ripley), Winona Ryder (Call), Michael Wincott (Elgyn), Ron Perlman (Johner), Gary Dourdan (Christie), Kim Flowers (Hillard), Dominique Pinon (Vriess), J.E. Freeman (Dr. Wren), Dan Hedaya (Gen. Perez), and Brad Dourif (Dr. Gediman)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Alien Week, part III: The planet of the vampires


Well, I strongly doubt it's gotten any less tedious.

Directed by David Fincher
Written by David Giler, Walter Hill, Larry Ferguson, and Vincent Ward
With Sigourney Weaver (Ellen Ripley), Charles Dance (Dr. Jonathan Clemens), and Charles S. Dutton (Dillon)

Spoiler alert: mild
Note: this is a slightly reworked review from my David Fincher retrospective, written two years back, which may explain why it's shorter (and no doubt better) than anything I manage to produce now; but the point, of course, is that if you thought I was going to actually watch this movie again, then the real joke, my friend, is on you

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Alien Week, part II: The starship troopers


The great JC (the other one; no, the other other one) brings this franchise to its highest possible point.

Written and directed by James Cameron
With Sigourney Weaver (Ellen Ripley), Michael Biehn (Cpl. Dwayne Hicks), Carrie Henn (Newt), Lance Henriksen (Bishop), Jenette Goldstein (Pvt. Vasquez), Bill Paxton (Pvt. Hudson), and Paul Reiser (Carter Burke)

Spoiler alert: get away from her, you bitch

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Alien Week, part I: The terror from beyond space


As the film that kickstarted the whole cycle of sci-fi horror in the 1980s, we are forever in Alien's debt; and for being awesome in and of itself, we absolutely must pay it the respect it's due.  But, guys, sometimes a near-masterpiece can just be a near-masterpiece, and you don't need to give it full marks merely to recognize how important, or even how good, it actually is.

Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett, David Giler, and Walter Hill
With Sigourney Weaver (Ripley), Tom Skerritt (Dallas), Veronica Cartwright (Lambert), John Hurt (Kane), Yaphet Kotto (Parker), Harry Dean Stanton (Brett), Ian Holm (Ash), Helen Horton (Mother), and Bolaji Badejo (the Alien)

Spoiler alert: joking, yes?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

All that heaven allows (may, in fact, vary by jurisdiction)

(Kotonoha no Niwa)

Happy Mother's Day, I guess!  Here's maybe the best Japanese cartoon ever that isn't Death Note.

Written and directed by Makoto Shinkai
With Miyu Irino/Patrick Poole (Takao Akizuki) and Kana Hanazawa/Maggie Flecknoe (Yukino Yukari)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

"I am your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate," he said, to which the dashing rogue replied, slowly, "What's that make us?"


Probably the most fun you'll have in a movie theater this summer—at least, as long as it's trying to be fun.  But then, there are those other parts.

Written and directed by James Gunn
With Chris Pratt (Peter Quill), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax), Bradley Cooper & Sean Gunn (Rocket), Vin Diesel (Groot), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Michael Rooker (Yondu), Sean Gunn (Kraglin), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Elizabeth Debicki (Ayesha), and Kurt Russell (Ego)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Monday, May 8, 2017

Star-cross'd lovers

(Kimi No Wa Na.)

Something this poorly-plotted shouldn't be nearly this great.  But here we are, and it is: breathtakingly beautiful and heartrendingly meaningful and so frustratingly, frustratingly imperfect.

2016 Japan/2017 USA
Written and directed by Makoto Shinkai
With Ryunosuke Kamiki (Taki) and Mone Kamishiraishi (Mitsuha)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Noah Baumbach presents Anne Hathaway in: Frances Ha vs. Mechagodzilla


A half-assed kaiju allegory that, by all the evidence, really wants to be about humans, but somehow only feels all the more clunkily mechanical for the effort.

Written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo
With Anne Hathaway (Gloria), Dan Stevens (Tim), Tim Blake Nelson (Garth), Austin Stowell (Joel), and Jason Sudeikis (Oscar)

Spoilers: moderate