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.
My usual stance on this movie is living in Denialville; lalalalala not listening, Ripley, Newt and Hicks made it back to Earth and lived happily ever after with Jonesy the cat. For whatever reason, recently I felt an urge to revisit this dour and divisive entry in the Alien franchise, maybe because watching Alien: Covenant gave me a new appreciation for the installments that at least attempted to do something different.
Watched the latest unsettling sci-fi mind-bender from Alex Garland, the writer/director of Ex Machina, that got dumped on Netflix for being “too complicated” for the wider audience. I’m sorry that I never got a chance to see it on the big screen, but good on the creative team for refusing to dumb it down.
Is there life on Mars? According to this passable sci-fi movie, yes there is and we are better off staying the hell away from it.
By far, the weirdest thing about this film written and directed by Darren Aronofsky is the notion that someone actually believed it could be turned into a mainstream hit a la Aronofsky’s Black Swan. What put me off watching it in the cinema however wasn’t the polarized reaction and stories of the audience members demanding refunds, but the mention of the dreaded hand-held camera in one of the reviews. I made the right call to avoid nausea at the cinema, but the big screen and darkened isolation from the outside world would undoubtedly have been a better place to fully appreciate the movie’s unique claustrophobic insanity. As opposed to my living room with my Russian neighbours talking in the background.
There’s no point talking about mother! without mentioning what it’s really about, so spoilers ahead.
Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan back in the dark days when he was making one stinker after another, The Happening has too many dull stretches to be a proper good bad movie. Still, I find Shyamalan’s bad movies fascinating in the same way I find Star Wars prequels and films like Jupiter Ascending weirdly fascinating. Say what you want about them, but they’re not your generic bad movies and they bear the individual stamp of their creators.
Neil Gaiman has become one of my favourite writers over the years and I was happy to get my hands on this latest third collection of short trips into the weird, shadowy country of Gaiman’s mind. It never really occurred to me to compare him to Ray Bradbury, but in fact Gaiman’s short stories have the same effect on me that I had while engrossed in Bradbury’s fiction when a teenager – a pleasantly uneasy sensation of looking at the world in a distorted mirror, or lifting the fabric of reality to find some dark, strange, disturbing things lurking underneath. Gaiman’s imagination is just as boundless, and his voice as a writer is just as distinctive (his books on the whole have a lot more graphic sex, though not in this particular collection).