REVIEW: MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS

Starring

Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bnes)
Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad)
Guy Pearce (Prometheus)
David Tennant (Jessica Jones)
Jack Lowden (’71)
Joe Alwyn (The Favourite)
Gemma Chan (Captain Marvel)
Martin Compston (The Aftermath)
Ismael Cruz Córdova (Exposed)
Brendan Coyle (Me Before Before You)
Ian Hart (God’s Own Country)
Adrian Lester (Doomsday)

Saoirse Ronan in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)In 1561, nineteen-year-old Mary, Catholic Queen of Scotland, returns to her home country from France following the death of her husband, Francis II of France, to take up her throne, where she is received by her half brother, the Earl of Moray. In neighbouring England, her cousin, twenty-eight-year-old Elizabeth is Protestant Queen of England — unmarried, childless, and threatened by Mary’s potential claim to her throne. Mary soon clashes with the cleric John Knox and dismisses him from her court. Knox is a protestant and leader of the Scottish Reformation and perceives Mary to be a danger to the kingdom’s Protestant supremacy.Margot Robbie, Grace Molony, and Georgia Burnell in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)In an attempt to weaken her cousin’s threat to her sovereignty, Elizabeth arranges for Mary, whom the English Catholics recognize as their rightful Queen, to be married to an Englishman. She chooses Robert Dudley, whom she secretly loves, to propose to Mary. Both are unwilling to be married to each other, but the news of Elizabeth’s smallpox convinces Mary to take the offer provided that Mary is named Elizabeth’s heir apparent. Reluctant to let go of Dudley, Elizabeth secretly sends Lord Darnley to Scotland under the pretence of living under their religious freedom. Despite initially sensing an ulterior motive on Darnley’s part, Mary gradually grows fond of Darnley and eventually accepts his marriage proposal.Saoirse Ronan, Jack Lowden, and James McArdle in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)Mary’s impending marriage to Darnley causes a constitutional crisis within both realms: In England, Elizabeth is advised by her court to oppose the marriage for fear that Darnley, an English noble, will elevate Mary’s claim to the Crown. In Scotland, Mary’s council is suspicious of Darnley as they fear an English takeover. Both kingdoms demand his return to England, but Mary refuses, thus enraging Moray to furiously leave her court and mount a rebellion against her. Darnley marries Mary, only for her to discover him in bed with her friend and private secretary, David Rizzio, the following morning. Faced with insurgency and infidelity, Mary decides to quash the rebel forces but spares both Rizzio and Moray. She demands Darnley give her a child. When a child is conceived, Mary declares that the child is the “heir to Scotland and England” — which deeply offends the English.Saoirse Ronan in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)Moray colludes with Darnley’s father Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, to undermine Mary, spreading rumours about Mary’s adultery and that her child was illegitimately fathered by Rizzio. Hearing the rumours, John Knox vehemently preaches to his parish that Mary is an adulteress. Fearing the accusations against Mary and the possible discovery of his homosexuality, Darnley is coerced by the under-miners to join them in murdering Rizzio and reluctantly delivers the final blow. Mary discovers the plot and agrees to pardon the men involved provided that she is presented with the evidence that Darnley had taken part. She ultimately forgives Moray and asks Elizabeth to be her child’s godmother. Together, they agree that the child is heir presumptive, much to the chagrin of the English court. Mary banishes Darnley but refuses to divorce him despite the appeals of her council, which then approaches her adviser and protector, the Earl of Bothwell, to have him killed. In the ensuing melee after Darnley’s death, Mary is forced to flee and leave her child behind. The following morning, Bothwell advises that her council have decided that she marry a Scotsman immediately, which she hesitantly agrees to. This induces Knox to preach to the Scots that Mary is a “harlot” who had her husband killed, leading Moray and the rest of her court to demand her abdication. Despite furiously objecting to it, Mary eventually abdicates her throne and flees to England.Margot Robbie in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)Learning of Mary’s arrival in England, Elizabeth arranges for a clandestine meeting with her. Mary asks for Elizabeth’s help to take back her throne. Elizabeth is reluctant to go to war on behalf of a Catholic, but instead promises a safe exile in England as long as Mary does not aid her enemies. Mary indignantly responds that if she does, it will only be because Elizabeth forced her to do so, and threatens that should Elizabeth murder her, she should remember that she “murdered her own sister and queen”. Elizabeth orders that Mary is placed under house arrest in England and eventually receives compelling evidence that Mary had conspired with her enemies to have her assassinated. Pressured, and with no other choice, Elizabeth ultimately orders Mary’s execution. As Mary is walked to the scaffold, a remorseful Elizabeth cries for Mary, who reveals a bright red dress, implying herself a martyr. In her final thoughts, Mary wishes her son James well and hopes for peace upon his reign.Saoirse Ronan in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)The post-script reveals that upon Elizabeth’s death in 1603, James became the first monarch to rule both Scotland and England.While the story of Mary and Elizabeth has been made before; I was fascinated by this story because of the leads. Saorsie Ronan and Margot Robbie are just terrific in the roles. The story moved along intercutting between the two queens. Ms. Ronan has the bigger role as Mary and is every inch the queen. Ms. Robbie as Elizabeth is very good, and becomes a hideous caricature of that queen as she ages. The machinations of the queens’ courts and political intrigue that lead to Mary’s end are fascinating. The costumes, makeup, cinematography and direction are all first rate.

REVIEW: L.A. CONFIDENTIAL

CAST

Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
Russell Crowe (Robin Hood)
Guy Pearce (Iron Man 3)
James Cromwell (Star Trek: First Contact)
Kim Basinger (Pret-A-Porter)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)
David Strathairn (Eight Men Out)
Ron Rifkin (Alias)
Paul Guilfoyle (CSI)
Simon Baker (The Mentalist)
Graham Beckel (Pearl Harbor)
Bob Clendenin (Scrubs)
John Mahon (Zodiac)
Jack Conley (Angel)
Michael Chieffo (Roswell)
Brenda Bakke (Under Siege 2)

In early 1950s Los Angeles, Sergeant Edmund “Ed” Exley, son of the legendary LAPD detective Preston Exley, is determined to live up to his father’s reputation. His intelligence, insistence on following regulations, and cold demeanor contribute to his isolation from other officers. He exacerbates this resentment by volunteering to testify in the Bloody Christmas case in exchange for a promotion to Detective Lieutenant. This goes against the advice of Captain Dudley Smith, who states that a detective should be willing to shoot a guilty man in the back for the greater good. Exley’s ambition is fueled by the murder of his father, killed by an unknown assailant, whom Exley nicknames “Rollo Tomasi”.Officer Wendell “Bud” White, whom Exley considers a “mindless thug”, is a plainclothes officer obsessed with violently punishing woman-beaters. One such incident leads him to confront a former cop named Leland “Buzz” Meeks, a driver for Pierce Patchett. White comes to dislike Exley after White’s partner, Dick Stensland, is fired due to Exley’s testimony in the Bloody Christmas scandal. White is sought out by Smith for a job in which they harass and beat up out-of-town criminals trying to fill the void left in Los Angeles following the imprisonment of gangster Mickey Cohen for tax evasion. The Nite Owl case, a multiple homicide at a coffee shop, becomes personal after Stensland is found to be one of the victims.Sergeant Jack Vincennes is a narcotics detective who moonlights as a technical advisor on Badge of Honor, a popular TV police drama series. He is providing Sid Hudgens, publisher of the Hush-Hush tabloid magazine, with tips about celebrity arrests that will attract more readers to Hudgens’ magazine. When he becomes involved in Hudgens’ scheme to set up actor Matt Reynolds in a homosexual tryst with L.A. district attorney Ellis Loew, and Reynolds is killed as a result, Vincennes becomes determined to find the killer.

Three African Americans are initially charged with the Nite Owl murders, and later killed in a shootout. Although the Nite Owl crime initially looks like a botched robbery, Exley and White individually investigate it to discover indications of corruption all around them. White recognizes Nite Owl victim Susan Lefferts as one of Meeks’ escorts which leads him back to Pierce Patchett, operator of Fleur-de-Lis, a call girl service that runs prostitutes altered by plastic surgery to resemble film stars. He begins a relationship with Lynn Bracken, a Veronica Lake look-alike prostitute. The body count rises when White searches a storage room under Lefferts’ mother’s house, and finds the decomposed corpse of Meeks.When Vincennes approaches Smith with the evidence he has found with Exley, Smith realizes his scheme to take over Mickey Cohen’s heroin empire is threatened. Smith shoots Vincennes, who utters “Rollo Tomasi” before dying, the origin of which Exley told Vincennes in confidence. Exley’s suspicions are aroused when Smith asks him who Rollo Tomasi is. During an interrogation of Hudgens, Smith arranges for White to see photos of Bracken sleeping with Exley, which sends White into a rage. Confident that White has gone after Exley to kill him, Smith kills Hudgens. Exley investigates and discovers Meeks and Stensland used to work closely with Smith. White drives to the police station and begins to fight Exley, but Exley is able to convince White that Smith is corrupt and has set them both up. The two decide to team together to take down Smith. They are able to obtain evidence against Smith by threatening Loew, and later find Patchett murdered. Exley and White realize that Smith himself has been taking over after Cohen, and the killings have been Smith tying up loose ends.Exley and White are set up with a trap against Smith and his hitmen. After a gunfight that kills all the hitmen, Smith shoots White in the face, but then is forced to surrender to Exley. As police arrive, Exley shoots Smith in the back, killing him. The LAPD cover up Smith’s crimes and say he died a hero in the shootout to protect the department’s image, and in exchange Exley bargains to also be hailed a hero and receives a medal for his bravery. Upon leaving City Hall, Exley sees Bracken, who tells him she is returning home to Arizona with White, revealing White survived the shooting. Exley and White shake hands and Bracken drives off into the sunset.5616cde899678This was easily the best Hollywood movie of 1997, this just may be one the smartest movies you haven’t seen. With great performances from an ensemble all-star cast and a clever script, the dramatic tension of this modern film-noir classic is an absolute must-see! Told through a variation on the theme of “good cop, bad cop” with an overarching corruption angle, this film cleverly deals with issues of racism, social justice and ethics in a non-discriminatory manner. Character development is well-done and the dramatic tension is superb. If you are a fan of crime-drama and detective stories, you won’t be disappointed

REVIEW: DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK

CAST

Katie Holmes (Batman Begins)
Guy Pearce (Iron Man 3)
Bailee Madison (Just Go With It)
Jack Thompson (The Great Gatsby)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Trudy Hellier (Round The Twist)
Julia Blake (Last Dance)
Nicholas Bell (MMPR: The Movie)

Guy Pearce in Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)Flashback: At Blackwood Manor in Providence County, Rhode Island, renowned wildlife painter Lord Blackwood summons his housekeeper to the basement where he reluctantly bludgeons her to death with a hammer and chisel. He removes her teeth, as well as his own, and offers them to mysterious creatures down an ash pit within an old fireplace; all of a sudden, the creatures demand the teeth of children. Blackwood begs for them to give back his kidnapped son, only to be dragged down the ash pit by the creatures.Katie Holmes and Bailee Madison in Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)Present day: 8-year old Sally Hurst arrives in Rhode Island to live with her father Alex and his girlfriend Kim, both restoring Blackwood Manor to put it on the market for their client Mr. Jacoby. Sally is depressed due to her mother forcefully putting her in Alex’s care and giving her copious amounts of Adderall. On the first night of her stay, the melodious tune from a carousel-styled nightlight awakens the creatures in the ash pit. The next day, Sally wanders the grounds and finds the hidden basement’s skylight. One of the workmen restoring the house, Mr. Harris, warns her, Alex and Kim not to venture into the basement, although they do so, regardless. Sally takes interest in the sealed fireplace where she hears the creatures calling her name and follows the mysterious voices. “BE AFRAID” is written in runes above it.Guy Pearce in Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)Sally opens the fireplace to meet the creatures and finds one of the old housekeeper’s teeth. The creatures quickly prove to be hostile, stealing Alex’s razor and shredding Kim’s clothes. Alex blames Sally and finds a 19th-century silver coin in her possession, which she found under her pillow after the tooth disappeared. Alex and Kim head into town on a business trip and Sally sneaks to the basement to talk with the creatures, but Harris sends her away and tries to seal the fireplace. The creatures emerge and brutally wound him with his own tools and he is hospitalized. Sally’s increasingly frightening encounters with the creatures prompt Alex to call a therapist to talk to Sally, who draws a sketch of one of the creatures that attacked her under her bedsheets.Katie Holmes in Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)Kim visits Harris in the hospital, who tells her to find the unpublished artwork of Lord Blackwood in the local library. The librarian reveals the artwork, one of which is of a creature whom he describes as being like tooth fairies, which every now and again turn a human into one of their own. Kim races home as Sally is attacked again by the creatures while having a bath, the lead creature being a transformed Lord Blackwood who proclaims the creatures will make Sally one of their own. Kim finds an undiscovered mural painted by Lord Blackwood in the basement, depicting his son being taken below ground by the creatures. Kim confronts Alex who is more interested in hosting a dinner for Mr. Jacoby and friends. However, he finally realizes what is happening when Sally is trapped in the library by the creatures, but she fends them off by using her camera flash to distract them.Bailee Madison in Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)Alex and Kim decide to flee the house with Sally, but both are ambushed by the creatures and knocked out. Sally tries to wake Kim up but also gets ambushed by the creatures and is knocked unconscious. When Sally wakes up, her feet have been tied up with rope, and the creatures are starting to drag her to the basement for her transformation. Kim awakens and goes to the basement to confront the creatures, cutting the rope around Sally’s feet but only to get caught herself in the ropes and her leg broken as she struggles to get free. The creatures drag Kim into the fireplace, as a distraught Sally crushes the creature who used to be Lord Blackwood to death with a large flashlight. Alex arrives just as Kim disappears, and the father and daughter mourn their loss.Katie Holmes and Bailee Madison in Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)Some time later, both return to the abandoned mansion to leave a drawing of Kim there. After they leave, a strong draft pulls the drawing into the creatures’ lair; the entrance is now bolted with metal. The heroic, caring Kim, who saved Sally, has been transformed. She is heard convincing the creatures to stay in hiding because they “have all the time in the world”, and people will forget in time, and others will come to the manor. Katie Holmes in Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)I’m not sure why this movie is attracting such average reviews? Perhaps it’s because it’s not as good as the original, a movie I’ve never seen? Or maybe viewers were expecting a goretastic horror flick, with buckets of blood and walls splattered with entrails?Regardless, I was pleasantly surprised by this wonderfully crafted flick. Like many Guillermo films it’s got the whole “slightly creepy fantasy story” ambiance to it. I couldn’t fault the movie’s super slick production values, with exquisite sets and wonderful acting, especially Bailee Maddison’s amazing performance.

REVIEW: THE ROAD

Starring

Viggo Mortensen (Lord of The Rings)
Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In)
Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Robert Duvall (Days of Thunder)
Guy Pearce (Iron Man 3)
Molly Parker (Lost In Space)
Michael Kenneth Williams (Ghostbusters)
Garret Dillahunt (Terminator: TSCC)

Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Road (2009)A man and his young son struggle to survive after a global cataclysm has caused an extinction event. They scavenge for supplies and avoid roaming gangs as they travel on a road to the coast in the hope that it will be warmer. Years earlier, the man’s wife gives birth to their son shortly after the catastrophe and she gradually loses hope. When the man shoots an intruder using one of three bullets they have saved for their family as a last resort, she accuses him of wasting the bullet deliberately to prevent her suicide. Removing her coat and hat, she walks into the woods, never to be seen again.Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Road (2009)In the present, after shooting a member of a gang of cannibals who stumbles upon them, the man is left with only one bullet. Later, exploring a mansion, he and the boy discover people locked in the basement, imprisoned as food for their captors. When the armed cannibals return, the man and his son hide. With discovery imminent, the man prepares to shoot his son, but they flee when the cannibals are distracted by the escaping captives. Further down the road, the man and boy discover an underground shelter full of canned food and supplies. They feast and bathe. When they hear noises above, including a dog, he decides it is too dangerous to remain. Further down still, the son persuades him to share food with a near-blind old man.Viggo Mortensen in The Road (2009)At the coast, the man leaves the boy to guard their possessions while he swims out to scavenge a beached ship. The boy falls asleep and their supplies are stolen. The man chases down the thief and takes everything from him, even his clothes. This distresses the boy so much the man turns back and leaves the clothes and a can of food for the thief. As they pass through a ruined town, the man is shot in the leg with an arrow. He kills his ambusher with a flare gun he found on the ship and finds the archer’s female companion in the same room. The man thinks the archer and woman were following them, but she says it was the other way around. He leaves her weeping over the body.Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Road (2009)Weakened, the man and boy abandon their cart and most of their possessions. The man’s condition deteriorates and eventually he dies. The boy is approached by a man who, with his wife, two children, and dog, convinces the boy he is one of the “good guys” and takes him under his protection. The wife says they have been following the boy and his father.Viggo Mortensen in The Road (2009)The tone and art direction are spot on, the acting is excellent, the story is a perfect adaptation of the book, but it isn’t a groundbreaking film. The Road is as good as adaptations get, one of the best I have ever seen. It wasn’t a white-knuckle film the way No Country was, nor was it nearly as well directed. But, it’s a riveting and engaging film, and it’s a fantastic story of two characters. In the end, that’s enough of a reason for it to be a great movie. As for my expectations: it blew me away. Despite a delay and a bad trailer, The Road is an impressive film.

 

 

REVIEW: LAWLESS

CAST

Tom Hardy (Legend)
Shia LaBeouf (Transformers)
Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year)
Gary Oldman (Robocop)
Jason Clarke (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes)
Guy Pearce (Prometheus)
Mia Wasikowska (Alice In wonderland)
Dane DeHaan (Life After beth)
Lew Temple (Waitress)
Noah Taylor (Powers)

Shia LaBeouf and Mia Wasikowska in Lawless (2012)In 1931, the Bondurant brothers—Forrest, Howard, and Jack—are running a successful moonshine business in the Piedmont region of Virginia. The brothers use their gas station and restaurant as a front for their illegal manufacturing business with the assistance of Jack’s disabled friend and engineer, Cricket. Jack witnesses infamous mobster Floyd Banner shoot dead a rival in broad daylight.Shia LaBeouf in Lawless (2012)Jack returns to the gas station, where Forrest hires dancer Maggie as a waitress. Shortly afterward, the gas station is visited by newly arrived U.S. Marshal Charley Rakes, accompanied by the Virginia state’s attorney Mason Wardell, the sheriff, and the sheriff’s deputy. Rakes demands a cut of profits from all bootleggers within the county, including Forrest, who refuses and threatens to kill Rakes if he returns. Forrest implores his fellow bootleggers to unite against Rakes, but they refuse.Tom Hardy in Lawless (2012)Meanwhile, Jack lusts after Bertha, daughter of the local Brethren preacher. He attends their church service drunk, embarrassing himself but piquing her interest. Jack walks in on a visit from Rakes to Cricket’s house, and is beaten by him as a message to his brothers. That night, Forrest beats and throws out two customers who had been harassing and threatening Maggie. After Maggie resigns and leaves, Forrest is ambushed by the two men, who slit his throat. Maggie returns looking for Forrest but is beaten and raped by the men. She decides to keep the assault from Forrest. While Forrest recovers at a hospital, Jack decides to cross the county line with Cricket to sell their remaining liquor. They too are ambushed by the mobsters, led by Banner, but are spared when Jack reveals he is a Bondurant, whom Banner admires for their stance against Rakes. Banner reveals to Jack the address of his brother’s assailants, who were previous employees of his and currently work for Rakes.Shia LaBeouf in Lawless (2012)Forrest and Howard later find, torture and kill the men and send one of their testicles to Rakes. Banner becomes a regular client of the brothers, who have expanded their operation with multiple large stills deep in the woods, increasing its profitability. Jack continues to court Bertha. Maggie decides to return to Chicago, but Forrest convinces her to stay and provides her with a spare room. They develop a romantic relationship. On a day trip, Jack decides to show Bertha the brothers’ secret operation, but they are followed and ambushed by Rakes and his men. Howard, Jack, Cricket and Bertha all flee. The police take Bertha home but leave Cricket to Rakes, who murders him.Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain in Lawless (2012)After Cricket’s funeral, the sheriff of Franklin County warns the Bondurants that Rakes and his men are blockading the bridge out of town, with Wardell calling in Prohibition agents to shut down the county’s moonshine businesses. Jack speeds off in Cricket’s car to confront Rakes. Howard and Forrest quickly follow to provide backup for Jack, to Maggie’s chagrin. She reveals she had delivered him to the hospital after the attack and Forrest deduces that she had been assaulted as well. Jack arrives at the bridge but is wounded by Rakes. Howard and Forrest arrive and a shootout ensues, with Forrest and his driver also shot by Rakes. A large convoy of bootleggers then join the shootout on the brothers’ side. Rakes is about to finish off the wounded Forrest but is shot in the leg by Sheriff Hodges in an effort to halt the bloodshed. Rakes shoots Forrest several more times before trying to escape. Jack and Howard confront Rakes and execute him together.Shia LaBeouf and Mia Wasikowska in Lawless (2012)Following the end of Prohibition in 1933, Wardell is arrested on corruption charges while the Bondurants are all married — Jack to Bertha, Forrest to Maggie, and Howard to a Martinsville woman — and working in legitimate occupations. During a festive reunion at Jack’s house sometime later, Forrest drunkenly ambles to a frozen lake and falls into the freezing water. Although he drags himself out, he later dies of pneumonia, putting to rest the legend of his invincibility.Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain in Lawless (2012)Overall this is a well acted and slightly over violent action drama with a good story.

REVIEW: FLYNN

CAST

Guy Pearce (Prometheus)
Steven Berkoff (A Clockwork Orange)
Claudia Karvan (Love My Way)
John Savage (Dark Angel)

 

Hollywood’s most notorious Golden Age star, Errol Flynn, will undoubtedly be the subject of a major motion picture, someday. Laborer, jewel thief, gigolo, ship’s master, slave overseer, hobo, boxer, repertory actor, movie star, writer…an astonishingly handsome ‘bad boy’ whose sexual prowess was legendary (even landing him in court on rape charges, more than once), and whose physical ‘perfection’ in his prime hid malaria, heart problems, severe alcoholism, and drug addiction. That he died at fifty wasn’t as surprising as the fact he lived THAT long! Beneath everything, however, was a shy, tortured romantic, who never felt himself appreciated for more than ‘superficial’ things, like swinging a sword, riding a horse, or looking at ease in tights (He once tried to convince Clark Gable to make a dramatic film with him, and Gable laughed in his face). In time, Flynn would give up much of his ambition, and settle for simply playing the roué that audiences expected, while squandering his health and fortune. But rarely an opportunity to really act would appear, and Flynn proved he was far better than people realized.

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That was the ‘real’ Errol Flynn…but THIS “Flynn” manages to ignore nearly all of it, offering, instead, a callow youth (pre-stardom Guy Pearce), whose unhappy childhood and early sexual misadventures leads him to robbing his ‘true love’, gold mining in New Guinea, becoming sexually involved with an older German man, killing a native, being convicted of murder, and fleeing to Sydney, where, in desperation, he assaults and robs a male lover, takes another man’s identity, bluffs his way into an audition for “In the Wake of the Bounty”, becomes a STAR, overnight, then journeys to Hollywood and ‘legendary’ status. All of which is, fundamentally, pure hokum! Flynn did, in fact, journey to New Guinea to make his ‘fortune’, but he worked in a variety of (legal and illegal) jobs, while there, before his father paid his way back home. If young Flynn had killed anybody, it would have been the screenwriter who concocted the whole sequence! As for homosexual encounters…it has long been a subject of controversy, but has never been proved. As a time-killer, “Flynn” is passable…but don’t expect to find the ‘real’ Errol Flynn in it. That film hasn’t been made, yet!

REVIEW: ALIEN: COVENANT

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CAST

Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)
Billy Crudup (Watchmen)
Danny McBride (Land of The Lost)
Demián Bichir (The Hateful Eight)
Carmen Ejogo (The Purge: Anarchy)
Amy Seimetz (Lovesong)
Callie Hernandez (La La Land)
Jussie Smollett (North)
Nathaniel Dean (Walking on Water)
Benjamin Rigby (Neighbours)
Uli Latukefu (Marco Polo)
James Franco (This is The End)
Guy Pearce (Memento)
Noomi Rapace (The Girl With The Dragon tattoo)

In a prologue, business magnate Peter Weyland speaks with his newly-activated synthetic, who chooses the name “David” after looking at a replica of Michelangelo’s statue of David. Weyland tells David that one day they will search for mankind’s creator together.In 2104 the colonization ship Covenant is bound for a remote planet, Origae-6, with two thousand colonists and a thousand embryos onboard. The ship is monitored by Walter, a newer synthetic physically resembling the earlier David model. The ship suddenly detects a nearby neutrino burst and is very shortly afterward damaged by the closely following explosive shockwave from the same source: a new star igniting. The shockwave impact kills some of the colonists. Walter orders the ship’s computer to wake the crew from stasis, but the ship’s captain, Branson, dies when his stasis pod malfunctions. While repairing the ship, the crew pick up a radio transmission from a nearby unknown planet. Against the objections of Daniels, Branson’s wife, succeeding captain Oram decides to investigate. As the Covenant remains in orbit, an expedition team descends to the planet’s surface and tracks the transmission’s signal to a crashed alien ship. While on the surface, security team members Ledward and Hallett are inadvertently infected with alien spores. Karine, Oram’s wife, helps the rapidly sickening Ledward back to the lander, where Maggie, wife of pilot Tennessee, quarantines them both inside the med-bay. An alien creature (Neomorph) bursts from Ledward’s back, killing him, then mauls Karine to death. Maggie tries to shoot the quickly growing creature but accidentally hits a gas tank, causing an explosion which destroys the lander and kills her. The Neomorph escapes to the planet’s surface while another such creature bursts from Hallett’s throat, killing him.The two Neomorphs attack the remaining crew members and kill Ankor. The crew manages to kill one of the aliens before David, who survived the Prometheus mission, rescues the crew and leads them to a city full of humanoid (Engineer) corpses. David tells them that upon his and Dr. Elizabeth Shaw’s arrival at the planet, their Engineer ship accidentally released a black liquid bioweapon which killed the native population, and that Shaw died when the ship crashed in the ensuing chaos. After the crew members tell David of their mission, they attempt to radio the Covenant for help, but the surviving Neomorph infiltrates the city and finds Rosenthal alone before decapitating her. David tries to communicate with the creature and is horrified when Oram kills it. Under Oram’s gunpoint, David reveals that the aliens are a result of his experimenting with the black liquid as a catalyst to create a new species. He leads Oram to an incubation chamber and tricks him into being embraced by an alien parasite (facehugger), which implants Oram with an embryo. Another alien creature (Xenomorph) soon erupts from Oram’s chest, killing him.As the others search for Oram and Rosenthal, Walter confronts David after realizing that David had deliberately unleashed the black liquid upon the Engineers. David explains that he believes humans are an inferior species and should not be allowed to colonize the galaxy. When Walter disagrees, David disables him and captures Daniels, revealing to her that he also murdered Shaw and used her corpse for his experiments. Walter reactivates himself and engages David, allowing Daniels to escape while Lope is attacked by the facehugger. Cole saves Lope before they are ambushed by the now mature Xenomorph, which kills Cole. Tennessee arrives in another lander to extract Daniels, Lope, and the seemingly victorious Walter. They kill the Xenomorph before docking with the Covenant; however, Lope had been implanted with another Xenomorph, which bursts from his chest on the ship before quickly maturing and killing crew members Ricks and Upworth. With Walter’s help, Tennessee and Daniels corner the creature in the Covenant’s airlock and flush it into space.The Covenant resumes its trip to Origae-6, and the surviving crew re-enters stasis. As Walter puts Daniels under, she realizes that he is actually David, but is unable to escape her stasis pod before falling asleep. Now in control of both the ship and its population, David regurgitates two alien embryos and places them in cold storage alongside the human embryos. He then uses Walter’s name to record a log stating that all crew members except Daniels and Tennessee were killed by the neutrino blast at the beginning of the film.Alien:Covenant finishes with a fantastic twist, sets itself up for an obvious sequel and elicits groans of frustration with its inconclusive ending. It’s an appetizer for a better film just large enough to whet your appetite.