Alien Covenant Review

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If you thought Logan might end up taking the crown of 2017’s most violent blockbuster movie, then here comes Ridley Scott to re-prove who the king of fantastical gore really is. Alien Covenant is a vicious and gruesome sci-fi horror, incredibly effective in that aim, but also possessing far loftier ambitions that elevate what is already a brilliant thriller. Scott has already returned to the splendidly terrifying universe he created in 1979’s Alien, with the shaky 2012 entry Prometheus, but Covenant is his first true reunion with the monstrous Xenomorph that made his name nearly 40 years ago, and he clearly relishes every second.  Continue reading

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Harry Potter was a cultural phenomenon the likes of which the entertainment world almost never sees. As a franchise of both books and films, it captured the imagination of the generations that grew up with it, so any return to Rowling’s wizarding world was going to come with high expectations, as well as a lot of worries. Thankfully, there’s nothing in Fantastic Beasts to sully the HP legacy (and hearing the first few strains of Hedwig’s Theme remains a balm for the soul), though this ‘20s New York-set entry doesn’t match up to the very best entries in its parent series.  Continue reading

Inherent Vice Early Review

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At one point during Inherent Vice, Larry ‘Doc’ Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) asks the proprietor of a psychiatric institution why one of his patients has a giant swastika tattooed on his face. He is deflected by the response that the symbol is not the one that found its fame with the Nazis, but instead the ancient East Asian representation of the universe. This shrouding of the truth and refusal to address the most pressing issue in the room speaks volumes for Inherent Vice on the whole, a fascinating story hidden away in a rolling fog of pot smoke and late-‘60s hippie paranoia. It’s funny, intriguing and Anderson’s most accessible work to date, despite the fact that it’s the first film based on the work of the infamously impenetrable Thomas Pynchon, remaining engaging even while it leaves its plot behind as Doc lurches from one mishap to the next. Continue reading