Monthly Archives: May 2017

We Review, Alien: Covenant “A fine addition to the Alien franchise!” – MR

Alien: Covenant

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Alien: Covenant
A black-and-white poster of a mass of people being surrounded/tortured by the aliens, not unlike the Renaissance depictions of Hell, with one alien at the center highlighted by a shaft of light from the upper-left.

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ridley Scott
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Starring
Music by Jed Kurzel
Cinematography Dariusz Wolski
Edited by Pietro Scalia
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox[1]
Release date
Running time
123 minutes[2]
Country United States[3]
Language English
Budget $97 million[4]
Box office $46.7 million[4]

Alien: Covenant is a 2017 American science fiction horror film[5][6] directed by Ridley Scott and written by John Logan and Dante Harper, with a story by Michael Green and Jack Paglen. The film is a sequel to the 2012 film Prometheus, the second installment in the Alien prequel series, and the sixth installment overall in the Alien film series, as well as the third directed by Scott. The film stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Carmen Ejogo and Demián Bichir, and follows the crew of a ship who land on an uncharted planet and make a terrifying discovery.

Alien: Covenant premiered in London on May 4, 2017 and was released in the United States on May 19, 2017.[7] The film received generally positive reviews, with most critics noting it as an improvement over Prometheus and a return to form for director Ridley Scott, and praising Fassbender’s performance.

Plot

In a prologue, Peter Weyland speaks with his newly-activated synthetic, who selects the name “David” after looking upon a replica of Michelangelo’s statue of the same name. Weyland tells David that one day they will search for mankind’s creator together.

In 2104, the crew of the colony ship Covenant is bound for a remote planet, Origae-6, with some two-thousand colonists and a thousand embryos on-board, which are monitored by Walter, an upgraded synthetic resembling the earlier David. A neutrino burst hits the ship, killing some colonists; Walter orders the computer to wake the crew from stasis, but the captain dies when his pod malfunctions. As the crew repairs the damage, they intercept a human radio transmission from a nearby unknown planet. Against the objection of Daniels, who is the terraforming expert, acting captain Oram decides to investigate, as the planet appears to be even better for colonisation than Origae-6 and the crew is reluctant to return to their stasis pods, paranoid of another neutrino burst.

An expedition team descends to the surface, while Covenant remains in orbit. Karine conducts an ecological survey, while the others track the signal to the crashed Engineer ship, piloted by David and Elizabeth Shaw following the disastrous Prometheus mission. Two security team members, Ledward and Hallett, are inadvertently infected with an alien spore. Karine helps Ledward back to the landing vehicle, but Faris quarantines them both inside the med-bay. A Neomorph bursts from Ledward’s back, killing him, then mauls Karine to death. Faris tries to shoot the creature but hits various gas tanks, accidentally destroying the lander and herself. Outside the ship, another Neomorph bursts from Hallett’s throat and kills him.

As the remaining crew members attempt to radio Covenant for help, the Neomorphs attack them and kill Ankor. The crew kill a Neomorph, but Walter loses a hand saving Daniels from another. David, the sole survivor of the Prometheus mission, rescues the crew and leads them to an alien city full of corpses. In order to gain the confidence of the crew, David misinforms the crew that upon their arrival the Engineer ship accidentally released a bioweapon killing the native population. In the ensuing chaos, the ship crashed, killing Shaw. Inside the city the surviving Neomorph attacks and decapitates Rosenthal, who was separated from the main group. David attempts to communicate with the Neomorph, and is horrified when Oram kills it. At Oram’s demand, David reveals his activities on the planet: using the black liquid as a catalyst, he created the earliest Neomorphs after experimenting with a parasitic creature that laid eggs inside its prey; upon being born, the larvae ate the prey from the inside out. David shows Oram a chamber he has used to further experiment upon and develop several eggs. David tricks Oram into observing one of the eggs as it opens, from which a facehugger emerges and implants Oram with an embryo. A Xenomorph later erupts from Oram’s chest, killing him.

As the crew search for Oram and Rosenthal, Walter confronts David after learning the truth of his experiments: David had deliberately unleashed the black liquid upon the Engineers, and murdered Shaw, whose corpse is shown severely mutated and dissected.

Our Thoughts

Picking up where the story left of, sort of, this installment lets us know what happened to the characters and ship that got away at the end of Prometheus, by way of a new crew on a settlement mission finding them ten years later. What happens next is typical Ridley Scott mayhem. My only complaint is that James Franco is in the movie for less that 45 seconds, but despite that marketing ploy, this movie is a fine addition to the Alien franchise. 4 stars and recommended – MR

Find Alien: Covenant and see the new trailer here.

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We Review, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 “As good as movies get! 5 Stars” – MR

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
GotG Vol2 poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Gunn
Produced by Kevin Feige
Written by James Gunn
Based on
Starring
Music by Tyler Bates
Cinematography Henry Braham
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • April 10, 2017 (Tokyo)
  • May 5, 2017 (United States)
Running time
136 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $200 million[2]
Box office $431.5 million[2]

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a 2017 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team Guardians of the Galaxy, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the fifteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is written and directed by James Gunn and stars an ensemble cast featuring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, and Kurt Russell. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the Guardians travel throughout the cosmos as they help Peter Quill learn more about his true parentage.

The film was officially announced at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International before the theatrical release of the first film, along with Gunn’s return from the first film, with the title of the sequel revealed a year later in June 2015. The film began principal photography in February 2016 at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayette County, Georgia, with many crew changes from the first film due to other commitments. Filming concluded in June 2016. Gunn chose to set the sequel shortly after the first film to explore the characters’ new roles as the Guardians, and to follow the storyline of Quill’s father established throughout the first film—Russell was confirmed in that role in July 2016, portraying Ego, a departure from Quill’s comic father.

Plot

In 2014, Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Baby Groot are renowned as the Guardians of the Galaxy. Ayesha, leader of the Sovereign race, has the Guardians protect valuable batteries from an inter-dimensional monster in exchange for Gamora’s estranged sister Nebula, who was caught attempting to steal the batteries. After Rocket steals some for himself, the Sovereign attacks the Guardians’ ship with a fleet of drones. The drones are destroyed by a mysterious figure, but the Guardians are forced to crash-land on a nearby planet. The figure reveals himself as Quill’s father, Ego. He invites Quill, who is accompanied by Gamora and Drax, to his home planet, while Rocket and Groot remain behind to repair the ship and guard Nebula.

Meanwhile, Ayesha hires Yondu Udonta and his crew, who have been exiled from the greater Ravager community for child trafficking, to recapture the Guardians. They capture Rocket, but when Yondu shows reluctance to turn over Quill, his lieutenant Taserface leads a mutiny with help from Nebula. Taserface imprisons Rocket and Yondu aboard Yondu’s ship and executes his loyalists while Nebula leaves to track down and kill Gamora, whom she blames for all the torture inflicted on her by their father, Thanos. While imprisoned, Rocket and Yondu bond. Groot, together with Yondu’s loyalist Kraglin, frees Rocket and Yondu and they destroy the ship and its crew as they escape, though not before Taserface tips off the Sovereign fleet.

Ego explains that he is a god-like Celestial, a millennia-old consciousness that manipulated the matter around it to form the planet with itself at the core. Ego eventually formed a human guise to travel the universe and interact with other species to escape his loneliness and discover a purpose, eventually meeting and falling in love with Quill’s mother Meredith. Ego hired Yondu to collect the young Quill after Meredith’s death, but the boy was never delivered and Ego had been searching for his son ever since. He teaches Quill to manipulate their Celestial power. Nebula arrives at Ego’s planet and tries to kill Gamora, but fails and the pair reach an uneasy alliance when they discover caverns filled with skeletal remains. Ego reveals to Quill that in his travels he planted seedlings upon thousands of worlds which can terraform them into new extensions of himself, but they can only be activated by the combined power of two Celestials. To that end, he impregnated countless women and hired Yondu to collect the children; Ego killed them all when they failed to access the Celestial power. Ego forcefully uses Quill to activate the seedlings, which begin to consume every world. Quill fights back after Ego reveals that he deliberately caused Meredith’s death as his love for her distracted him from his purpose.

Ego’s pet empath, Mantis, grows close to Drax and warns him, Gamora, and Nebula of Ego’s plan just as Rocket, Yondu, Groot, and Kraglin arrive. The reunited Guardians reach Ego’s brain at the planet’s core, and fight the Sovereign’s arriving drones.

Our Thoughts

This movie has it all. In fact, I can’t think of another movie in recent years, that I would have paid for again, and gone right back inside the theater to see it a second time. This one is definitely worth the price of a premium ticket. We saw it in 2D and I will be seeing the IMAX 3D version within the week. What more can be said? This is as good as movies get. 5 stars – MR

Find Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and see the new trailer here


We Review: The Circle “The acting is superb, and the plot is spot on. 4 stars” – MR

The Circle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
The Circle
The Circle (2017 film).png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Ponsoldt
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on The Circle
by Dave Eggers
Starring
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Matthew Libatique
Edited by Lisa Lassek
Production
companies
Distributed by
Release date
  • April 26, 2017 (Tribeca)
  • April 28, 2017 (United States)
Running time
110 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $18 million[2]
Box office $9.3 million[2]

The Circle is a 2017 American techno-thriller film directed by James Ponsoldtand written by Ponsoldt and Dave Eggers, based on Eggers’ 2013 novel of the same name. The film stars Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane, Patton Oswalt, Glenne Headly, and Bill Paxton, in his final film appearance following his death in February 2017.

The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 26, 2017 and was released on April 28, 2017, by STX Entertainment and EuropaCorp.

Premise

A young tech worker named Mae Holland takes a job at a powerful Internet corporation called The Circle that was co-founded by Eamon Bailey and Tom Stenton. She quickly rises up the company’s ranks and soon finds herself in a perilous situation concerning privacy, surveillance, and freedom. Mae comes to learn that her decisions and actions will determine the future of humanity.

Cast

Our Thoughts

The Circle is a great hypothetical example of how modern social media can effect the lives of the innocent. Many people do not want to be filmed in any way, but it is happening, and sometimes “live.” This intense techno thriller is a very well portrayed example of what we might be headed toward.  I can’t give it 5 stars because it lacks urgency, but I will give it 4 shining stars because the acting is superb, and the plot is spot on. – MR