I’ve always had a soft spot for this black sheep of the Alien franchise, probably because I can never hate a movie that’s so utterly bizarre. Since I’ve re-watched Alien 3 recently I thought I might go back and bask again in its weird, awkward, misshapen glory.
Yeah yeah I’m a couple of years behind on this, but I finally caught up with the world’s favourite foul-mouthed, snarky, fourth-wall-breaking superhero.
After watching (and loving) the anime film, I thought I’d check out this recent Hollywood remake with Scarlett Johansson. It was pretty much what I had expected: watchable with a few arresting visual moments and a decent lead performance, but all in all a dumbed down and hollow take on the original.
Went to the Astor Theatre for a double shot of 80s action classics. I haven’t watched The Terminator in forever and I’ve never seen RoboCop, and it’s to the latter’s credit that it kept me awake and engaged well past my normal bedtime. Also, I got to pet the Astor’s resident cat, a big fluffy sweetie, so that’s a nice bonus.
I finally watched the DVD I bought on sale almost three years ago. This is why I prefer to rent movies – if I have a fixed deadline ahead I’ll make time to watch them rather than procrastinate and let the box collect dust. There are just way too many other distractions around. I’m glad I freed it from the plastic wrapping, because the movie was a blast. Like Oblivion, that other Tom Cruise sci-fi film from the recent years, Edge of Tomorrow steals from the best in the genre, but unlike Oblivion it feels genuinely like its own beast. And it’s heaps of fun.
Ah, Keanu Reeves. For a long time, I foolishly dismissed him as just a mediocre wooden actor, and I still consider his performance in Bram Stoker’s Dracula a crime against cinema. With time, I learned to appreciate his unique onscreen presence and a peculiar blend of masculine and feminine qualities; he might not have the greatest range but he’s a fantastic physical actor and in a right role, his performances are truly iconic. John Wick is one of those perfect vehicles for Reeves’ particular set of talents.
I had a couple of biases to overcome in order to watch this movie. Firstly, the unattractive title that makes you think of some dumb third-rate summer comedy (a baby gets behind the wheel and hilarity ensues!). And then there was its lead actor, Ansel Elgort, whose punchable turn in the otherwise decent The Fault in Our Stars irritated the crap out of me. Well, I judged prematurely, because he’s more than fine in Baby Driver, and the movie itself is a rarity these days, a truly idiosyncratic thriller that doesn’t feel like a product of a committee.
Maybe it’s just the power of lowered (and I mean lowered) expectations, but to my surprise I didn’t hate this much-maligned crossover, and, from a certain perspective, found it a more enjoyable experience than the recent Alien: Covenant. Or perhaps I was simply able to disassociate it from the Alien franchise altogether, and watch it on its own terms as a trashy B-movie. Which yes is filled with cardboard-thin characters, laughable plot and much stupidity, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t have fun watching it.
Come back, Star Wars prequels, all is forgi…
Ok maybe not. But given the choice, I think I’d still prefer to re-watch George Lucas’ misguided trilogy rather than this latest soulless snorefest from Disney. As terrible and stilted the prequels are, they’re at least terrible in a zany, colourful and unique way and whatever else they made me feel it wasn’t boredom.