Tag Archives: 20th Century Fox

Cocktails & Movies Review: “Alien: Covenant” – A Frightening Summer Blockbuster, With An A-List Pedigree

by Mike Reyes

Ridley Scott continues to excite with his Alien franchise, returning to the series’ terrifying, blood soaked roots.

Alien Covenant Waterston

While no one can hear you scream in space, they probably can hear the outcry of upset fans who feel they’ve been done wrong. It’s no secret that Ridley Scott’s 2012 prequel Prometheus has its fair amount of detractors, but I myself am among its champions. I felt it was an interesting origin point for an earlier era in the story that would eventually follow Ellen Ripley’s lineage in grand style, depending on what the next couple of films in the prequels did. After seeing Alien: Covenant, I can safely say that the direction Scott is heading in is an exciting one, filled with much more danger and darkness than Prometheus could have ever promised.

In the vast distance of space, the crew of the “Covenant” are ready to start a new home on a planet that’s just ripe for the living. But after discovering a random signal, they are drawn to a planet that is much closer, and can inhabit human life just as easily. One decision will send a crew of colonists straight into the mysteries of this planet, and all of the terror that their shadows conceal. A very familiar terror, with a very interesting origin story.

In early reactions to Alien: Covenant, I remember reading someone coming out of the premiere saying that they knew this was going to be the new film for Alien fans to argue over. That’s definitely the case, as the latest film in this ever evolving saga has taken an interesting turn, in regards to the origins of the species. While ruining those turns is pretty much high treason at this point, it’s a good bet that I can say the mythos of the Alien saga is moving forward in some pretty interesting ways. The ideas that Covenant has when it comes to the creation of the Xenomorph race are not only intriguing, but also thematically ballsy, as their connections to Prometheus make even that film a little more interesting. And all the while, this film unfurls with genuine pacing and craftsmanship that only Ridley Scott could bring to such a film.

Prometheus Crossing Mission

Though it should be noted that Michael Fassbender steals this goddamned movie from everyone else. We get two scoops of synthetic this round, as Alien: Covenant has Fassbender reprising his role of David from Prometheus, as well as introducing us to Walter, a newer, more tame synthetic designed down the line. In both performances, the man shines, playing one character who feels like a soldier and the other like a mad scientist. Watching the two Fassbenders collide on screen is truly a treat, and a testament to the fact that the man is one of our greatest acting treasures in modern cinema.

That’s not to say that the ensemble containing Katherine Waterson, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bashir, and Carmen Ejogo is weak. In fact, each member of the cast sells their portion of the story with great gusto, with a particularly interesting turn from McBride. In fact, this is probably the most grounded I’ve seen him since his supporting role in Up In The Air, and when you see him upset or scared, you really feel it thanks to his usually egotistical bravado. And Waterson, whom we last saw in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, is definitely ready to be more of a Ripley-esque presence, as she gets to show in certain key moments in this film. While she’s not a full Ripley just yet, I do hope she gets the chance to work in that space, as she’s simply too good not to allow to do so.

Alien Covenant Review

Ultimately, your enjoyment of Alien: Covenant will depend on several things. Chiefly among them will be how much you like Prometheus, and just generally how you like your sci-fi. But one thing applies to all who are interested in uncovering this new film’s mysteries: you really do have to see it for yourself. It is as thrilling as it is visceral, and it might possibly be the bloodiest film of the summer, at least for this moment in time. For someone who’s loved the series since they were a kid, warts and all, I absolutely loved this film, and cannot wait to see where this series goes next.

My Rating: 5/5

Cocktails & Movies Review: “Logan” – The Ultimate Wolverine Film We Want And Deserve

by Mike Reyes

If You Love Comic Movies, Cormac McCarthy Stories, And Hugh Jackman, You Have No Excuses For Missing Logan.

Logan Header

Four years ago, James Mangold & Hugh Jackman first collaborated to bringing everyone’s favorite mutant onto the big screen the right way with The Wolverine. The partnership that film forged was extremely fruitful, as the film was not only one of the best X-Men films on the market, it was also a shining example of what an excellent comic film looked like. So it couldn’t possibly get any better between these two, right? Totally f’ing wrong, as Logan not only tops the exemplary previous outing Mangold had helmed, it’s the epitome of the mature type of comic film that fans have been asking for, and rightfully so.

It’s 2029, and it’s been decades since a new mutant was born. The world of the X-Men has been almost totally forgotten, with James “Logan” Howlett, better known as “The Wolverine,” now working as a car for hire. Tending to a deteriorating Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart,) all he wants to do is save up enough money for the two to escape the hellhole they inhabit in the American Southwest. Of course, an unforeseen complication prevents such an easy getaway: a young girl (Dafne Keen) who just may be the key to the future of the mutant race.

Let’s get something out into the open right away: Logan is NOT an adaptation of the legendary Old Man Logan storyline. If anything, the only inspiration Mark Millar’s comic serves is that Wolverine is an older, less spry version of his former self. Other than that, this story is pretty much a whole cloth fabrication of the three writers credited on the project: director James Mangold, who collaborated with fellow Wolverine alum Scott Frank, as well as writer Michael Green. And frankly, we’re all the better for it.

Logan X-23

Mangold’s obsession with westerns and honest men doing right by a world that’s long forgotten them collides lovingly with Frank’s noir-ish overtones in such a way that the first act of this film feels like Frank Miller on his best day. The first act has a very “Trump’s America: The Next Generation” vibe, and whether it be intentional or not, it informs the tone of the film’s message. In fact, if you re-wrote Logan’s story in only the most minor of contexts, you’d have a story of a man fighting a powerful corporation to protect those that he loves.

As if James Mangold’s western sensibilities didn’t show themselves enough on the script level, this entire film is drenched in the sort of bravado and moral compass that you’d see in films of the genre’s prime. Perhaps the best evidence of this is the through-line that the classic western Shane gives the film. Throughout Logan, we see Hugh Jackman’s most famous character struggle with what he’s done in his past, and tries to become a better man for whatever future he has. Though that path is a rough and bloody struggle, as he’s not only fighting his enemies, he’s fighting himself.

Speaking of Jackman, good lord does this man put on an acting clinic throughout this film. A good 75% of Logan’s action centers around the titular X-Men member, as well as Sir Patrick Stewart’s Professor Xavier, and Dafne Keen’s Laura. This trio is as solid as you’re going to get this early in the year, as their performances help ground what is still ostensibly a “comic book movie.” Though, again, you’d never know it by the performances and the material they’re given. Even the supporting cast is aces, particularly Boyd Holbrook’s Donald Pierce, who serves as a delicious southern fried villain that feels like Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday gone dark. By the way, Holbrook is going to be our newest badass in the Predator franchise, so keep an eye on this hombre.

Logan Holbrook

But perhaps the best part about Logan is the fact that mixed in with scenes of people getting sliced up and mutant powers on display are quiet character moments. In particular, a scene involving a random family dinner with our mutants and a family of civilians provides beautiful counter-balance to the justice being dispensed and the conspiracy unraveling as a consequence. With an emotional core that anchors an action packed drama of a lifetime, this is the sort of film that proves comic books aren’t simply superpowered romps with bright colors. Some stories are dingy, with moral cores and heroes that are somewhat compromised. It just goes to show that James Mangold and Hugh Jackman left it all on the field with Logan, as they prove that comic book source material can be turned into some pretty heavy stuff.

Ultimately, I’d classify Logan as more of a western noir than a comic movie, but no matter how you slice it, Jackman’s legendary badass still has claws. I’m going to miss the hell of out his version of the character, and the only question I have after this film is, why didn’t this happen sooner?

My Rating: 5/5

Cocktails And Movies Review: “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” – A Thinking Person’s Blockbuster

By Mike Reyes

Matt Reeves completes the franchise’s transformation from campy sci-fi classic to a full blown cerebral spectacle!

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes female-babyGrowing up as a movie geek, there would be certain movies I’d be all about when it came to getting excited. I’d read any tie-in novel you could throw at me, listen to the soundtrack a handful of times beforehand, and watch tons of behind the scenes featurettes to prime myself for the movie before me. I didn’t care about spoiling the movie, I cared about putting myself into the environment of the film so I could better enjoy everything that was about to unfold. I stopped doing that for a good long while, and it took a movie like Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes to put me back on that track. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes promised a sequel that would take what was once a running joke of pop culture and turn it into something much more serious. Matt Reeves not only does this, but he also crafts a film that could be considered The Godfather Part II of science fiction.

Cocktails and Movies’ Wrap Session – 3/17/14

BY TIM BARLEY AND MIKE REYES

Mr. Peabody and Sherman is top dog!

mr-peabody

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Mixers! We hope that your festivities have been and continue to be fun but safe. May you see more green than you can count but less red and blue than you like. (aka TAKE A CAB!!!) By the numbers though, we have seen what you didn’t see… and that’s movies. We’re back to lower end numbers, and that kind of upsets us… especially with a movie like Need For Speed coming out of the gate this weekend. Here’s the estimated box office takes for this weekend.

Cocktails and Movies Review: “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” – A Classic Romp In A Modern Context…For Kids!

by Mike Reyes

Mr. Peabody And Sherman polishes up an old apple… You’ll love it as much as your kids

Mr_Peabody_&_Sherman_PosterMr. Peabody And Sherman is one of those classic cartoons that fans love and Hollywood loves to remake. It’s also the fourth film adaptation of a Rocky and Bulwinkle associated property, coming after Boris and Natasha, The Adventures of Rocky and Bulwinkle, and Dudley Do-Right. There’s a lot of hate for the previous three, considering audiences at large either weren’t into the comedic stylings of said properties or those that were felt that their memories were tarnished. (Though I’ll still make a case for the goofy fun that is Rocky and Bullwinkle.) To a certain extent, those films might not have worked because they were live action adaptations of animated properties. After all, to translate a cartoon into reality is a task that essentially robs a property of some of the magical logic that inhabits the world of a cartoon. Certain things are unforgivable, certain things look silly, and some things even look incredibly stupid. If that’s not bad enough, there’s also the risk taking move of making said adaptation of a classic source material with the added dimension of modern humor. Some of it reads too vulgar, some times it’s dumbed down, and other times it just misses the mark of the actual spirit of the material. Thankfully, Mr. Peabody and Sherman manages to side step all of those pitfalls to deliver a fun adventure that works the mechanics of time travel and the jokes of Animaniacs into its very fabric.