Showing posts from September, 2018

Alien: Covenant (2017)

The poor Alien series has been loping along for years, trying to get back the audience t has been systematically alienating since the third movie.  Predator 2 hinted at bringing new life to the series by combining the two universes, but the resulting films managed to be a stain on both.  It was in this atmosphere that there were some big hopes when Ridley Scott, director of the original Alien , returned to make the prequel Prometheus .  That particular movie, though not a fantastic one nor the expected return to form (Scott, despite his clout, seemed to bow to every little bit of studio pressure), was at least interesting in places even if the resulting film was jumbled mess.  It also suffers the problem of many prequels - trying to explain too much.  The Engineers were much more interesting when it was just a mysterious, giant "Space Jockey" in his abandoned ship. The end of Prometheus promised that the lone survivor, Elizabeth Shaw, would be tracking the Engineers b

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

While the Marvel Universe continues to grind away into a third phase, DC attempts to just set up a series of movies that someone wants to see and the Star Wars franchise seems to be dying a death a thousand cuts from its purported fans, another series of films has been quietly successful and consistently good.  One of the best decisions in a long time was to ignore Tim Burton's remake of Planet of the Apes  and use the original movies for inspiration, especially many of them had much room to improve upon.  Writer/director Matt Reeves returns from Dawn of the Planet of the Ape s, and with fellow screenwriter Mark Bomback has managed to weave quite of the lore from the original series into the new one, while keeping the drama of what would happen with two competing sentient species going.  Not to mention that the humans themselves are no closer to working out their own problems, much less taking the war to the apes in any real fashion. Not long after the events of Dawn Caesar&#

Black Panther (2018)

We have reached a point in this country where everything is tainted with politics and, if just one thing is out of place or one word is taken out of context, an entire career can be abolished in the course of a day.  Entertainment in many ways has often conflicted and sometimes intertwined with politics, but we are at a stage where little is judged on its artistic merit. When it comes to Black film making, it doesn't help that Hollywood, thought by many to be one of the most liberal institutions in the country, has had policies toward African-Americans directors and actors that have barely changed since Birth of a Nation hit the screens.  There was a brief time in the early 1970s where blaxploitation films opened up the door for directors and actors to reach audiences regardless of racial makeup, which also began to lead to films other than cheap action films being made.  Five on the Black Hand Side may have been a bit long-winded and preachy, but it did show a move away f

So Evil, So Young (1961)

"Girls caged without their guys!"  So the one-sheet for this movie screams, highlighted by a young woman in a nightie.  What are these young ladies getting up to at this reform school?  What kind of naughtiness are these bad girls capable of? Well, this is 1961.  In England.  That means the poster is about as raunchy as things are going to get.  Teenagers Lucy (Jocelyn Britton) and Claire (Bernice Swanson) decide to rob the house of Lucy's former employer.  While going through their haul, the owner arrives.  Claire knocks him over the head with a candlestick, and the girls flee.  Lucy knows it's only a matter of time before the cops come calling for her, but Claire was not able to be identified.  Lucy decides to trust her to hold on to the jewelry until she gets out. While waiting to get nicked she decides to stop by a diner she frequents, only to find that Tom (John Charlesworth), a musician that she is infatuated with, has found a more permanent interest in

Next of Kin (1989)

Patrick Swayze made two action films in 1989 as Hollywood tried to figure out what to do with him after Dirty Dancing made him a major star.  I guess it was nice that he didn't keep making sappy dramas and such at the time, though his acting ability was often quite superior to the movies they placed him in.  Despite being silly and exploitative, Road House managed to have just enough of the elements to make it a cult favorite down the road.  Next of Kin , unfortunately, remains just the other movie he did that year. I say unfortunately because, while not as over-the-top entertaining as Road House , it is still a decent '80s action film and features a number of actors right at the beginning of their careers. Truman Gates (Swayze) is a Chicago police officer,  Born and raised in Kentucky, he is on the outs with his relatives for abandoning their small-town life for the big city, where he lives with his musician wife Jessie (Helen Hunt).  His younger brother Gerald (Bill P