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Alien: Covenant - RUN...

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Alien: Covenant - RUN...

...To the cinema! 

I deliberately went in with nearly a total media black-out for this new instalment in the Alien franchise, I watched that tiny prologue beforehand and thought, yep that's enough for me. Perhaps I should preface this review by saying that yes, I enjoyed Prometheus, it wasn't perfect but I felt truly honoured to see Ridley firmly back at the helm of a new Alien film.

So as I sat down in the cinema, knowing what I'd like to see and just letting the movie take me on a journey, what I then experienced was horrifying and beautiful. The film sets its pace so well, pausing to breathe where it needs to but never for too long. You feel the suffocating threat of space, the horrors of the travel involved and you are quickly introduced to the plucky crew of the Covenant. The story wastes no time in getting the crew separated and therein the alien threat evolves, there is a good payoff of the Prometheus arch and ties these two films together in satisfying fashion.
For me I really felt like Fassbender steals the show, especially in the latter half of the film (without revealing anything) I believe his performance (special mention to Katherine Waterston for being not quite Ripley badass, but being genuinely pretty great throughout) sells you so much on the world building that Alien: Covenant brings to the table. I wasn't particularly sold on all the casting choices, but in the end they neither subtracted or added to the film for me, so I can live with that.
On a whole, the incredible job that the whole team does in set design, sound, effects, writing and directing brings Alien: Covenant to be more than just your run of the mill sci-fi horror and that is what I've always loved about the first two and now these new films, the attention to detail, they are fascinating to watch, great to bring out at almost any time.
If you are a fan of the franchise, I don't think this will let you down, there are some jump scares in there for those wanting that and there are some genuine stomach in your mouth moments even for the most unshaken amongst us.
Spit acid in my face and give me new eyes, so I can see it again please.

Go watch it.

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Fantastic Four : What were they thinking?

Are you a fan of Fantastic Four? Then perhaps you should skip that new film they released. I mean I really don't know where to start with this one but I'll give it a go...

Fantastic Four is yet another reboot (that I'm pretty confident nobody asked for) of Marvel's first family, brought to you by 20th Century Fox and Josh Trank. (of Chronicle fame) The story is the standard fare, 4 people all with varying skills are brought together, they do science, they go to an alternative universe, they get powers and they must band together and become heroes. But the problem here is the film feels completely disjointed, it's not entirely clear what film they wanted to make.

The first half of the film I was enjoying, seeing where the characters came from and how they will fit into the story, some are distinctly more interesting than others naturally. It's round about when they go to the other dimension things stop making sense and they run out of interesting things to say. There are so many clichés thrown in too, you want the main science type villain to be obvious, you obviously need him to chew gum in every scene! The dialogue and often feels forced and boring and at one point the film decides we don't even need to see a whole year passing, because they already had too many montages.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate it all, it could have been a very different film, with all the reshoots that apparently plagued the production, I am left wondering what film did Trank actually make? I mean some of it feels awfully dark and that stuff was interesting and (despite the terrible design) Dr Doom was genuinely creepy and evil when making peoples heads explode. But the film felt as if it was running full pelt towards the finish, with no care to how it looked at the finish.

Ultimately, to me it felt a disappointing mess of a film, not the worst thing I have ever seen, but it couldn't make it's mind up on the tone and so it ends up falling flat. I wonder if this is the last we will see of the Fantastic Four for the foreseeable future?

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Ant-Man : Tales to Astonish!

I will be fully honest here, I am a professed geeky guy, I enjoy comic books, I love films and thus I am usually one of the first to watch the latest comic book film, my feelings were no different when it came to Ant-Man. I bought my tickets and as I sat eagerly awaiting for the damn adverts to finally finish I approached the whole thing with cautious optimism, after all Ant-Man is a weird one to sell. (But they did it with Guardians, so small order really - ha!)

What I loved about the film is that it kept everything in the right place, you know the motivation for each character and (perhaps a fault also) they are all incredibly easy to pick up. Story is straightforward but it allows for the best parts (the dialogue) to flow between characters so well, I caught myself chuckling away many times throughout, something I don't find myself doing often in comedies these days. This is all obviously helped by the fact that both the story and the screenplay are penned by both Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, it so heavily encapsulates their styles that at times I forgot I was even watching a Marvel film.

Unfortunately the film still has its faults, Corey Stoll does a great turn as Darren Cross but as his character is fleshed out and he transforms into the evil Yellowjacket, it turned into that familiar problem of him lacking any kind of depth. The casting on a whole I loved, any doubts I had about Paul Rudd being convincing were immediately put out of my mind, I also loved Michael Peña and his brilliant little stories. Michael Douglas is the exact person you can imagine being Hank Pym, the genius scientist, the tortured father and the mentor. Evangeline Lilly is a strange one for me, I say this because she served little for me as the story went, it's almost as if they knew this too considering an interaction at the end of the film and the mid credit scene.

The visuals were outstanding, making something ridiculous on paper astounding in execution. Again it allowed for many comic filled moments to come to the surface during fight scenes and training sequences. Naturally some of the best moments are found in the finale and it is credit to both screenwriting and final direction, seeing it all come together and being emotional one minute and wonderfully funny the next.

In conclusion I think this was a wonderful film, I am left wondering what kind of a film would it have been if Edgar Wright had continued on his directing duties? That being said I really enjoyed it, Marvel have gone from strength to strength and I can't wait for Ant-Man to join in a bigger universe. The comedy of Edgar and Joe saved this film, I hope Marvel remember that for the future.

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Terminator Genisys : Old and obsolete?

This year, (on the day I turned 30 no less) I did the most logical thing I could possibly think of, I went to see the new Terminator film. I know what you are thinking too, please tell us about everything that this new time travelling scrambled egg of a franchise has to offer us, so here I go.

It's a shame really that all films in this tired franchise are compared to the first two, because to be fair put next to those wonderful pieces of cinema, any other offerings barely stand a chance. My first gripe would be with the trailer coverage of this new instalment, SO MANY important reveals were already made clear to me before I had even sat in my cinema seat, thus completely taking you out of the moment and ruining the bulk of the film.

Casting is also something I would like to settle on, Emilia Clarke is brilliant as ever to watch on screen (minus a few awkward over sexualised scenes) and I can always do with more Arnie, he really sells the tired old (but ever determined) robot performance. I actually am quite a big fan of Jason Clarke, but they could of given a few more witty quips in this film, the scars on his face really harken back to the Michael Edwards Connor back in the T2 days. But oh my goodness, almost anyone other than Jai Courtney for Kyle Reese. He completely killed the role for me, the freedom fighter was a whiney bitch and made for some poor watching, he made me long for Michael Biehn's dulcet tones.

Ultimately, the film was an interesting one, the first half I was enjoying, time hopping, a great vision of the future (much mimicking that of T2 and not that OTHER film). But then it gets all scrambled with where it's going, it substitutes so many interesting ways to advance the story, for relatively dull action scenes considering. It's not as bad as Salvation, but (despite a lot more of Arnie, with some really cool scenes) it still fell flat for me. I guess I will be firing up T2 again when I fancy a paradoxical time travel action film.

Look out for one particular cool cameo and (what I believe is anyway) an obscene misuse of the awesome J.K. Simmons.

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