Ridley Scott

http://www.impawards.com/2017/alien_covenant_ver4.html

Alien: Covenant

One of the strongest franchises out there has been the ALIEN franchise, a lot of ups, a few downs, but for the most part a franchise that we have all loved. The future of the franchise had been up in the air for a while with a few different products in the works. After Prometheus which was met with mixed reviews, Neil Blomkamp was working on an “Alien 5” that would actually take place right after ALIENS, but then it happened. Ridley Scott made The Martian, and he was back in our good graces. Which lead to, Alien: Covenant.

Alien: Covenant stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Carmen Ejogo and Demián Bichir, and follows the crew of the colony ship Covenant, headed for a remote planet in deep space to start up a new colony. After a random unexplained explosion wakes up the crew early they find a new planet closer with the same specs they are looking for. Deciding not to go back into hyper sleep they land on this new planet to check it out. While there, they meet David (Fassbender), the synthetic survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition. Soon the would be paradise turns dark and dangerous when a hostile life-form forces the crew into a deadly fight for survival.

The film definitely blends together Prometheus and Alien. However not always in the best of ways. But before I go Negative let’s look at a few positives. Most notably, as with most Ridley Scott films, this one is absolutely beautiful. The set pieces and cinematography are incredibly stunning. From the opening 20th Century Fox logo to the closing credits it is just breathtaking visuals. Something that Scott has always been amazing at. As well the Alien is creepy as all hell. Some of the beast work they have ever done on the Xenomorph.

The cast is pretty serviceable. For the most part they are the generic disposable characters you would expect to see in an Alien film. However, there are a few breakouts. Michael Fassbender, obviously. Fassbender reprises his role as David from Prometheus, as well as plays the updated model of David named Walter. He does an incredible job distinguishing the two androids, yet still giving them personality. There is a scene between the two that is probably the best scene in the film. Danny McBride is the other stand out. And I was worried going into this that he would actually take me out of the film. However, he does an incredible job here, and is actually one the best most fleshed out characters in the film.

Like I said the cast other than those two is pretty basic and just serviceable. I would have liked a lot more to the cast rather than looking at them and just knowing they would all be expendable. James Franco stood out more than rest of the cast, and he is barely in the film. No one is really given any kind of an arc; they attempt to make it feel like the characters are growing, but the attempt falls flat.

The story itself is very slow. While film is in fact a true sequel to Prometheus, and a true prequel to Alien, it is also neither of them. While there is no real answers to a the questions left from Prometheus, there is also no clear set up to Alien, yet you still feel the like you are watch the sequel and prequel to both films. I assume because of the lackluster reception to Prometheus is why they went the route they did to move forward and make a true Alien film. However that leaves a lot of plot holes and questions. Also while it feels very much like an Alien film, there is a surprising lack of Alien in the film.

All in all Alien Covenant is an acceptable film. A little long and a little slow, with lack luster characters, but at the same time, some incredible visions, a few great performances, and a few amazingly intense scenes. Alien: Covenant prolyl ranks 3rd in my list of Alien Films, and I am giving it a Jeebus Score of 3.3. But what say you Jackass Nation? Have you seen Alien Covenant? What did you think? What is your favorite of the Alien franchise? Sound off in the comments below! And remember, It Is What It Is!

The Jeebus Score explained

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 5 points with a .5 bonus. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Entertainment Value, Story/Writing, Performance, Direction, and Production. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 5.5 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

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The Martian

It is only the first day of October but break out those Oscar conversations because we have our first contender of the season! But is it as good as they are making it out to be? It just might be! I just left the theater, where I was forced to see Ridley Scott’s new film in 3D, we all know how against 3D I am, but it was only showing I could make.

The Martian stars Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sean Bean (Spoiler alert: Sean Bean does not die!), Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, and Chiwetel Ejiodor. The Drew Goddard script is directed by Ridley Scott who produces the film alongside of Simon Kinberg. The Martian is based on the bestselling novel of the same name written by Andy Weir. Premiering at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, it immediately sparked Oscar buzz not only for the film itself, but for Matt Damon’s performance.

\The Martian tells the tale of presumed dead astronaut Mark Watney (Damon) stranded alone on the hostile planet of Mars. With only a limited amount of supplies, he must find a way to survive until he can be rescued by a crew that he doesn’t even know if they know he is still alive.

Let me start off by saying, this film was freaking incredible. Every single aspect of it is beautiful. From the casting, to the story, to the direction. Not a single moment wasted. From beginning to end I was thoroughly entertained. Damn near on the edge of my seat. I laughed, I teared up, I was scared, and I cringed. Amazing.

Let’s start with Damon. Damon in his own right is a great actor. The guy can do it all. And this is his showcase. Being put in the position to carry the majority of a film, by you can be difficult, but Damon proves he was up to the task. All though the character is so well written, Damon brings him to life. He makes you connect with him; he makes you root for him, he makes you hurt for him. The optimism of the character could be done wrong if any someone else’s hands, but Damon brings the right amount of humor and intelligence and believability to the role. Leo has his work cut out for him, because Damon is in the hunt for the Oscar with this one.

The rest of the cast is filled with heavy hitters and great role players. Jeff Daniels reminds us that he is a premier actor with an incredible talent. Ejiodor in on par and holds his own. Kate Mara makes you forget she was in The Fantastic Four. Michael Pena is a riot and believable as always. From top to bottom this cast is stellar.

The story itself is really well done. It is a perfect blend of Cast Away and Apollo 13. While you are alone on Mars with Matt Damon, it switches back and forth to earth and the attempts and plans to save him. It is suspenseful, and incredibly funny. Not to mention it is so well told that I constantly had to remind myself it was not a true story. Just being real. Completely thought this was true once or twice while watching.

A definite return to form for one Ridley Scott. Who his own not been up to his own standards as of late, this one he really knocks it out of the park. The cinematography is beautiful. Every shot framed and centered perfectly with as much attention that can be paid to detail. There are times you think this was actually shot on Mars itself! Again, I know I had to remind myself that was not possible either…

As far as negatives go there honestly are not a lot. A small chunk near the beginning of the third acts takes you to the story on earth for a little longer then you would want. There is a moment between Kate Mara and Sebastian Stan’s characters that really felt a little out of place. And I guess I have to say another negative was that I saw it in 3D. While it was not bad 3D, I am just not a fan of it. I only chose the 3D format because it was the only showing available. I do not think the 3D added all that much to the film, it was just kind of there. So if you have the choice, you probably don’t need to bother with the 3D unless you just like 3D

But other than those rather nitpicky negatives, there is nothing bad I can say about this film. As of now, in my mind, it is the front runner for the Oscar. One for Damon, one for Scott, and one for the film itself. I scored it 4.8, with a .3 bonus for, well everything. That gives The Martian a Jeebus Score of 5.1. You guys deff need to check this one out. But what say you Jackass Nation? Are you excited for The Martian? What are your favorite Matt Damon performances? Sound off in the comments below, and remember, it is what it is. Keep on Nerding!

The Jeebus Score explained

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 6 points. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Acting, Entertainment, and Casting, and a max of .5 for Dialog, Cinematography, and Direction. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 6 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

Exodus: Gods and Kings

Ridley Scott has been very hit or miss for me lately. Mostly miss with his last 3, but I have been looking forward to this one, Exodus: Gods and Kings. Despite the rather oddly pale looking Egyptians, the talent is staked. Joel Edgerton, Christian Bale, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Ben Mendelsohn, Sigourney Weaver, and Ben Kingsley. It is written by a compilation of Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine, and Steven Zaillian. And I have got to say, this probably Ridley Scott’s best film since American Gangster.

The story follows the biblical epic of Moses (Bale). It chronicles his relationship with Ramesses II (Edgerton) as it deteriorates and leads to the discovery of his past. Ramesses wanting to spare Moses’ life, exiles him from Egypt. While on his journeys Moses finds God and must return to Egypt to free his people.

The film is really good. Early on I had my reservations with the cast. Not so much with Christian Bale, but Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver being cast as Egyptians. They were the whitest looking Egyptians I had ever seen. Not to mention the make up in the early trailers looked off. I assume the effects and editing hadn’t been done, because as more trailers came out, they looked better. And the actors can kind of take you out of the film, but when you get past it, they give incredible performances. Edgerton, who I am a huge fan of thanks to Warrior, plays a great Ramesses. Bale as always is incredible, and plays Mosses with such heart, and really give one of best performances.

The effects in the film are amazing. When it comes time for God to send his Ten Plagues. The CGI is seamless, and beautifully shot. It almost makes me wish I had seen it in X D or even 3D. There was a moment during a scene toward the end that I could tell the green screen was behind them, but only a moment, other than that it is incredible. Scott does a phenomenal job telling this age old story, and really delivers on the feel of an Epic type of film. There is a training montage there in the middle that kind of even feels like Scott is trying to say “Sorry about Robin Hood, I swear I could have done it better”. The film is 150 minutes, and you feel the weight, but it does not drag. Honestly could of stood for, and wanted another half hour of this epic story.

A lot of people have been worried about how many liberties would be taken with the story of Exodus. Now I am no expert on the Bible, but I think Scott and his writing team did a very good job of bringing this story to life without straying too far from its source material. Unlike Noah there are no Rock Monsters, or a creator, it is God, and he is speaking to Moses. And they do a great job not making the relationship between Moses and God cheesy. Or giving you a weak God. God is pissed, God is Old Testament God. He is ready for his people to be free.

My list of negatives is rather nitpicky I think. When I said I could have stood for another half hour, it’s because I would’ve liked a little more character development in certain places. The jump from Moses of Egypt, to Moses of the Hebrews comes rather quickly. 15 or 20 more minutes showing us the relationship between Moses and Ramesses would have made me care more about the Ramesses turn. When the film starts they are already grown, and close to one another. More time with the two would have been golden. Something else missing is the development of Ramesses. He goes from a fair and just General, to a tyrant of a Pharaoh at the snap of a finger. And while they take time to develop Moses on his own, Ramesses is left with no development, and just a subtle scene that shows you “hey, he’s a big dick now”. Toward the end there is an opportunity for a fight between Moses and Ramesses, and they build up through the film really warranted a showdown between the two and you don’t really get that. As well there is very little story of Moses retrieving the 10 Commandments. The film kind of hits a point and goes “ok let’s wrap up”. A few more minutes could have helped with this.

All in all, Exodus: Gods and Kings is a great film. A film that really only suffers from needed a little more character development. I’m giving it a 4.7, with a .3 bonus for the incredibly awesome water into blood plague, giving us a Jeebus Score of 5.0, Multiple Viewings Required.