Pet Sematary and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer
I don’t know about this one. I mean I liked the original Pet Sematary and Stephen King adaptations in general, but the trailers are just not doing it for me. For the most part I think I’m turned off by JUST how big of a tonal shift it is from a bright and colorful yet creepy tale of magic and grief into something that looks to be aping Hereditary which is doubly worrying considering the ONE BIG similarity between the two. I have a certain limit when it comes to horror (mainly when you replace creepiness and suspense with misery and suffering), and I am not prepared to see a beloved classic from the eighties go down that same route just to chase a trend. Still, even if the LOOK of the thing may be drastically different there’s still the original story which is quite well thought of for a reason, and I could just be looking at the original through rose tinted glasses. I remember the movie in the broad strokes, but a lot of the nuance for me has been lost to time (it’s had to of been a decade at least since I saw it) and perhaps this one will do a great job of recreating all that I’ve forgotten about the original! Wishful thinking perhaps, but there’s only one way to find out!!
The Creed family has just moved to a little out of the way country town in the middle of Maine (because nothing spooky ever happens THERE!) so that the father Louis (Jason Clarke) could take a less demanding job at a University hospital which will allow him to spend more time with his kids Ellie and Gage (Jeté Laurence and Hugo Lavoie/Lucas Lavoie) as well as his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) who’s already getting some bad vibes from this place right off the bat. Eh, maybe it’s just nerves from her TRAGIC BACKSTORY that I’m sure will come into play later in the movie! Anyway, Ellie learns about a place in the woods behind their house called the Pet Sematary where children (who don’t know how to spell) bury their dead pets in some sort of local ritual. This is all well-known and expanded upon by the Creed family’s neighbor Jud (John Lithgow) who’s lived here all his life and may know even more about this place than he’s letting on. Now as the family seems to finally be settling in, tragedy strikes as Ellie’s cat Churchill is hit by a truck on the road RIGHT outside the house (SEEMS A LITTLE BIT DANGEROUS IF YOU ASK ME!) and now Louis has to break the bad news to her which is not going to be pleasant, but Jud has an idea on maybe fixing this problem which may be more than just him being neighborly. What kind secrets does this little town have that Jud can show Louis, and what will it end up costing the both of them in the process? Will Louis be able to live with the knowledge that Jed is about to reveal, and what will happen in his own life to temp him to abuse this mysterious power? Seriously, is that cat gonna get its own spinoff!? The filmmakers are just in LOVE with that thing!
Alien: Covenant and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Ridley Scott
Before I get into the review proper, I feel it might be worth discussing my thoughts on the series as a whole in order to provide the proper context for everything else I’m about to say. Ridley Scott’s original film from 1979 probably holds up the best; even more so than James Cameron’s Aliens from 1986 which is still a VERY fun action film and one of the few BIGGER IS BETTER sequels out there (matched only by his own Terminator 2 in 1991). I give the edge to the original because it’s a straight up horror film and those tend to hold up better than shoot-em-action flicks (the quality of special effects changes rather quickly while what scares us transcends generations), but both are damn near the pinnacles of their respective genres. Alien 3… not so much. Oh sure, there’s PLENTY of aspects in it that are outright brilliant and awe inspiring (as well as bone chilling and utterly haunting), but they’re all wasted on a portentous and sluggish script that’s too impressed with its own sense of self-importance to pace itself properly, and yes I’m referring to the Assembly Cut which has most of the stuff that David Fincher wanted in it. The one thing this movie DIDN’T need was to be over two freaking hours (also, killing the most interesting new character off halfway through didn’t help things either). That said I would watch that movie TWICE if it meant I never had to watch Resurrection again. Good GRIEF is that a monstrous product of its time! I don’t think I’ve seen a franchise so thoroughly 90s-ified in the worst ways imaginable outside of that Roland Emmerich Godzilla movie! Needless to say that the franchise needed a fresh start in order to get things back on track; and it wasn’t gonna be with those FREAKING Alien vs Predator movies! I REALLY enjoyed Prometheus which seems to be a minority opinion for some reason, and I’m not sure why. No matter how “scientifically minded” you are, there is always gonna be things you didn’t expect when traveling to ANOTHER FREAKING PLANET and people are gonna make mistakes! Honestly, it seems less like a true critical consensus (film stands at a solid 72% on Rotten Tomatoes) than some inexplicable backlash due to it… not being completely scientifically accurate I guess? What was your first clue? Was it the giant humanoid albino dudes or the baby alien growing in that one person’s stomach? Now I didn’t know ANYTHING about Alien: Covenant walking into it other than it was Ridley Scott directing and that it will indeed have Xenomorphs throughout, but considering how much I liked Prometheus I was hopeful that some of the cool stuff Ridley was working with in that movie would find its way into this seemingly straightforward Alien creature feature. Does Ridley Scott succeed in his true return to the franchise he started all those years ago, or it time to end this bug hunt once and for all? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with the crew of the Covenant, a spaceship with thousands of cryogenically frozen humans and almost as many frozen embryos, being violently woken up due to some sort of science catastrophe. Now normally the crew is left to sleep with the passengers, all of whom are headed to a new planet to colonize it, while their Synthetic buddy Walter (Michael Fassbender) takes care of everything, but with this… solar flare or something? I don’t know, let’s just go with that. With this solar flare causing havoc on the ship, all of them need to be woken up and at their posts to avert disaster. Most of them are fine, but sadly enough the captain (James Franco in a very brief and crispy cameo) gets burned alive in the chaos; leaving the second in command Chris Oram (Billy Crudup) in charge. So already things are going pear shaped on this trip that’s gonna take another seven years to complete, but they just so happen to pick up a strange signal that might be the answer to their problems. The signal traces back to a rather close planet which they scan and find to be very hospitable to their needs, even more so than the planet they were heading to in the first place! Despite the protestations of one the scientists Danny Branson (Katherine Waterston), Chris decides to at least investigate the place and see if they can locate the source of the strange signal as well as check if the planet really is as good as their scans indicate it to be. Of course it’s not. You KNOW it’s not. This movie isn’t called Pleasant Space Cruise; it’s called ALIEN COVENANT! The question isn’t IF they’re gonna get killed by monsters; it’s HOW MANY of them will! Aside from the obvious revelations, does the crew of the Covenant find something unexpected on this seemingly perfect planet? What was the source of that strange signal to begin with? Maybe it’s someone from one of the other films who’s playing someone new in this movie!?