The best things come in threes. Everyone knows that.
Alien: Covenant is both a prequel and a sequel. It’s a sequel to the execrable film Prometheus, which was the best screenwriting example ever seen where the plot only moves forward only because every character makes a series of unbelievably stupid decisions. It’s also a prequel, because it continues the story of how the alien from the eponymous Alien science fiction movie franchise got its genetic start.
Despite this, it’s an entertaining movie, the greater son of a lesser father. Michael Fassbender puts in his usual terrific performance, investing the dual roles of androids named David and Walter with both credibility and pathos. Billy Crudup as the unready, less-than-assertive captain of the deep-space colonization vehicle Covenant makes you believe beyond a shadow of doubt that his character couldn’t do a whole lot right if his and his crew’s lives depended on it, which is a more difficult role than you might think. Everyone else fills their trope-positions admirably, so not much else to say there.
The mythology behind the story and the character motivations all made a certain amount of tragic, disturbing sense, and the mysteries that the captain and his crew seek to unravel are compelling; you want to see what happens next and what’s going to happen afterward. There are some dumb parts, but not many. You like science fiction? You like the Alien franchise? You like blood and monsters? Take a look at Alien: Covenant.
I saw a lot of online praise for Mandy, starring Nicolas Cage as a man who gets revenge on the religious cult that murdered his wife. While the film was, for the most part, a fun watch, I’m surprised at how many plaudits it got. The story’s as pedestrian as they come; in fact, I can’t believe it hasn’t been protested out of circulation for use of the “they killed my wife so I’m going to kill them” trope. Most movie reviewers are male feminists (heh): aren’t they horribly offended by this movie? Where’s the woke backlash?
Much has been made of Cage’s excellent portrayal of Red, the protagonist, which is also strange: Nicolas Cage is great in every movie he’s in. Sure, he’s been in some terrible movies, but they’re not terrible because of him. He elevates them to watchable status simply because of his performance. Who’s more entertaining on screen than Nic Cage? Nobody. He’s both character actor and leading man in one package.
If you plan to watch Mandy I hope you like magenta, because you’ll be seeing quite a lot of it. It’s the director’s favorite filter. The film starts off extremely slowly, so much so that my wife fell asleep during the first forty minutes in and had to be nudged awake to see Cage get strung up with barbed wire. At that point it moves briskly enough, but I kept waiting for it to get to the really good part.
It didn’t. Still, it was decent, and I liked it. There’s enough blood and guts and dumb violence to get your motor running, if that’s indeed the thing that turns the ignition for you. And some funny parts. And a lot of weirdness.
The Cheddar Goblins commercial wasn’t as incredibly amazing as touted, but it was funny enough and did what it was supposed to do, more or less.
Over three years ago I reviewed Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, which purported to tell the story of the Biblical Noah. It was not a good movie, nor was it consistent with Biblical tradition. But I did kind of like it because it was a fun, if stupid way to spend some time.
Aronofsky’s second Biblical movie, Mother!, is a horrible, unwatchable mess from beginning to end, the kind of film that should end Aronofsky’s career the way Heaven’s Gate did to Michael Cimino. But because we live in a time where virtue-signaling and pleasing the right critics is far more important than decent filmmaking or entertaining an audience, we’ll no doubt be treated to yet another Aronofsky movie in the future. Maybe it’ll be better than Mother!.
It would have to be.
The movie metaphorically retells the Bible in around 120 minutes, though the runtime feels more like 120 days. It stars Javier Bardem, one of the few anti-Semites that Hollywood hasn’t run out of town yet, and Jennifer Lawrence, who thinks that hurricanes are the planet’s way of punishing people for voting for Trump. Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer are also in it, which is a shame because they’re both great to watch, but wasted in this bilge. Lawrence spends the entire film sporting the same bovine, open-mouthed mien that’s intended to express everything from shock to horror to sadness to joy, depending on the stimulus. She’s the titular Mother: Mother Earth. Bardem is supposed to be God. I’m sure he thinks he’s apt enough to play the role.
The exclamation point at the end of the title represents the chaos of the last quarter of the film. Just so you know.
Reasonable people often disagree about Biblical exegesis, but this is an interpretation of the Bible as told by the wokest Environmental Science associate professor who ever shared a spliff in the quad. It’s really not at all worth watching, not even as a curiosity.