Author Topic: October Marathon: Horror!  (Read 29750 times)

Offline Achim

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Re: October Marathon: Horror!
« Reply #30 on: October 20, 2008, 06:56:40 AM »
I saw Shutter a while back and loved it! It scared even me a few times and my friend (Asians are more receptive to ghost stores than other types of horror) almost threw his drink as well :laugh:

Najemikon

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« Reply #31 on: October 21, 2008, 01:17:32 AM »
Aliens
5 out of 5




Lt. Ripley returns to Earth and no-one believes her story. In fact, the planet is being colonised. Soon however, they lose contact with the colonists and a rescue mission is mounted. Ripley reluctantly agrees to go along as consultant.

Alien has always been one of my favourite films. Aliens was my absolute favourite for a long time and it still holds up today. Utterly magnificent, it gets better with every viewing (I pretty much know it off by heart! :-[). In the mid-1980s, sequels were not as expected as they are today and the only truly successful ones were often part 2's of a continuing story (Empire Strikes Back for instance). So I feel confident in saying that Aliens is the best "unnecessary" sequel ever made.

Although it lacks the grace and unique atmosphere of the peerless Alien, it expands on the original without compromising its themes, rather it emphasises them, using the familiar motifs in new ways. In Alien, I felt the creature was so perfect it represented a shift in the food chain. Marines armed to the teeth should be able to kick nature in the nuts and force the balance back, but the cocky soldiers (all with their own personalities rather than faceless grunts) are on the back foot from the first attack and need rescuing by Ripley who is only there as an advisor on the "bugs".

One of cinemas icons, Ripley is the one who evolves to find a common ground and a foothold to survive. Not as the kick-arse Ripley everyone remembers because she was clearly that by the end of Alien and comes back pretty quick here to take charge of the disintegrating military. Here, more importantly, it's as a mother to runaway Newt that will get her through this time. The Alien lifecycle may be perfect, but that humanity is the best weapon we have. Sigourney Weaver was deservedly Oscar nominated for the role. Newt (Carrie Henn) is a brilliantly written child character, something that is frequently mishandled and annoying. Cute, but tough, she gets some great lines and her expression is faultless at conveying real terror.

The mother angle is what brings Ripley face to face with the Alien Queen. Stan Winston's fantastic creation still causes a shiver down the spine. I'm not sure if a Queen was actually envisaged in Giger's original bio-mechanics and simply not used in Alien, but either way, it's development here is perfectly handled and honours the original cycle. She's truly the stuff of nightmares.

Aliens greatest trick though is that all this worthy psychological extension of the themes in Alien is wrapped up in one of the best and most influential, balls to the wall action films, peppered with quotable one-lines (admittedly almost all from Hudson!). It's a brutal masterpiece that leaves you exhausted and gets the adrenalin pumping, and that's before the final act! The power-loader sequence is superb. The music and editing build to a crescendo few other films can match.

The fact that the Aliens theme is used time and time again in trailers is proof alone of the enduring power of this rollercoaster.

« Last Edit: October 26, 2008, 04:38:59 PM by Jon »

Offline Achim

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Re: October Marathon: Horror!
« Reply #32 on: October 21, 2008, 06:26:08 AM »
The mother angle is what brings Ripley face to face with the Alien Queen. Stan Winston's fantastic creation still causes a shiver down the spine. I'm not sure if a Queen was actually envisaged in Giger's original bio-mechanics and simply not used in Alien, but either way, it's development here is perfectly handled and honours the original cycle. She's truly the stuff of nightmares.
From what I can tell: No.

This becomes apparent in the "Director's Cut" (which it's not) of Alien. the additional scene near the end shows the other crew members beginning to form eggs or "strapped" to eggs to be further hosts or something like that, which indicated that the cycle was complete with the Alien itself, no queen required. So they were lucky Ridley felt he didn't need that scene, as it allowed to that addition to the life cycle.

Aliens get often cited next to The Godfather II as the greatest sequels.

Offline Jimmy

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Re: October Marathon: Horror!
« Reply #33 on: October 21, 2008, 06:39:07 AM »
Aliens get often cited next to The Godfather II as the greatest sequels.
I think that we can add "Bride of Frankenstein" to this list. One of the rare occasion where the sequel is even better than the original.

Offline Achim

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Re: October Marathon: Horror!
« Reply #34 on: October 21, 2008, 06:42:23 AM »
Agreed :thumbup:

Najemikon

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Re: October Marathon: Horror!
« Reply #35 on: October 21, 2008, 09:43:20 AM »
This becomes apparent in the "Director's Cut" (which it's not) of Alien. the additional scene near the end shows the other crew members beginning to form eggs or "strapped" to eggs to be further hosts or something like that, which indicated that the cycle was complete with the Alien itself, no queen required. So they were lucky Ridley felt he didn't need that scene, as it allowed to that addition to the life cycle.

It was the DC of Alien I watched the other night and to be honest, I couldn't remember seeing the eggs. I was happy to think of the Alien as a drone, doing its job, even though its Queen hasn't appeared. But it makes more sense that the cycle was complete. Kudos to Aliens and Stan Winston for taking the typical Hollywood route of bigger and nastier while managing to make it feel right and matching it to the plot properly.

I think the best "part 2" sequel is The Empire Strikes Back. Still haven't seen Bride. I was hoping to fit it and the other classic Universals in to this marathon.

Najemikon

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Alien3 ***
« Reply #36 on: October 22, 2008, 01:46:55 AM »
Alien3
3 out of 5




Ripley crash lands on a prison planet, the only survivor of the Sulaco. Into this world of rejects she brings another Alien.

WARNING: This is not a review. More of a rant. Sorry. :-[

What a fascinating mess of a film! I can't hate this movie, I won't hate this movie. It's a noble effort and a decent sci-fi film in it's own right. It just had neglectful parents. It's crying out for a Criterion release because I bet they could get uncut features with Fincher ripping into Fox. I'd love to hear the true story of how Fox screwed their own franchise. The twats. In fact, from here on in, "the studio" or "Fox" will be referred to as "the twats". That the film is as good and as watchable as it is, is a bloody miracle.

I watched, for the first time, the "Assembly Cut" and it is a very different beast. Without the still bitter Fincher it is as flawed as the theatrical release, but in a different way and more commendable. There is a glimpse of what could have been.

It was doomed from the start. Despite Aliens being a massive success, the twats had removed Ripley's back story (restored in the SE) which pissed off Sigourney and so she favoured a script with a reduced role so she could walk away. The twats meddling continued and they managed to piss everyone else off: with the scripts (Alien 3 is a mash-up of several ideas and it shows), the creature design (they asked Giger to update it, he overdid it and the twats ignored him! Actually probably best. I don't think his lift goes to the top floor...) and David Fincher. Typical twatty move to hire the current wonder-boy then take every decision away from him.

You can't start a production like that and expect it to work. And those fundamental flaws formed the building blocks of the real villain of the franchise, Alien 4. It seems to me from the features on this film that some threads of the rejected scripts made it into the next film and possibly some of Giger's more ludicrous designs which make Resurrections Alien/Human hybrid baby look good. Although his work should be honoured, I do think the man is utterly bonkers and his raw creativity was tempered for the first two so us mere mortals could actually understand it. Have you seen his books? He doesn't think like the rest of us. His design for Alien 3 included lips and the creature would kill by "kissing"! Seriously. Get the man his tablets. Fincher said he wanted to get back to the erotic nature of Alien, so Giger swapped the jaws for big lips. Jesus.

Another one who needs medication is Vincent Ward. His version of the screenplay was set on a wooden planet. With fucking monks. A fucking wooden planet with fucking monks. Oh. My. God. Have they even seen Alien? This was almost the shooting script by all accounts. Fincher comes in at the last minute to deal with the new script. Poor bastard made a decent go of it really.

So lets deal with what's on the screen. The good stuff. Lets take a step back and think for a moment. How many good part threes are there? Not many, especially on the back of two genuine masterpieces. At least Alien 3 tries to go back to scary basics of one Alien, while extending the story to a new level. A natural level, because it's always been about a fight between species and how our human nature keeps crippling us. Here the humans make a stand by becoming less than human.

The first two films are about survival. This is about death. So starting by killing off Newt and Hicks was controversial, brave and for this story, the right thing to do. This is nihilism. You liked those characters? Tough. Their dead. Deal. It kind of puts the viewer in Ripley's position. We've gone to hell and back with her and this is the reward. More death. Time for a change in attitude. Only right really, because the shit only hit the fan last time because of her. Go back for Newt, she gave the Queen a ticket off the planet and didn't check the ship before hypersleep. That's silly. You always check the back doors locked before going to bed, don't you? It's about time she accepted some responsibility.

The idea of her being infected forces the issue. On this world, she's as alien as the creature. To ram the point home it's a prison planet. A female is the very last thing they need, especially as their exile is their own doing. They've made a conscious decision to separate and form their own society, where they simply function until death which they welcome in whatever form God chooses to deliver. Yes, they've found religion too. This efficient, unemotional and committed group is the first match for the Alien. There are no cats or little girls to worry about here. They're going to fight to win, even if they die.

Excellent idea. Brilliant extension to Alien themes. However, it's pretty bloody miserable. The first two films were just as deep, but remembered to wrap it all up in something recognisably entertaining. A haunted house and a rollercoaster. Here they give us depression. Cheers. Killing two fan favourite characters might have suited this story, but they alienate (snigger) most of the audience. The twats also pissed off Michael Biehn with that one, by the way. When he heard how his character was treated, he allegedly made them pay him more for his likeness than all his work on Aliens! Give that man a beer! Biehn 1, Twats 0!

The assembly cut really improves things with plenty of back story to the prisoners, which only serves to support the excellent performances by the three or four main characters played by Dutton (the funeral is beautifully done), Dance (Ripley wants a piece! Told you it was new attitude. She never got a sniff before), Glover and a deservedly extended role for McGann. They actually have personalities beyond Bald and Ugly now, which was a serious problem before, and they're funny. A whole subplot was cut where they successfully capture the Alien and lock it up, before the nut (McGann) who was going on about "the dragon" lets it out again. That reminded me of Renfield from Dracula, obeying his enigmatic master. I loved that angle, absolutely made the film for me and they make me recommend it for you. It deserves a second chance on this score.

I wasn't so keen on them changing the dog for an ox. I always liked the shot of the dog barking at the facehugger. Here the crash is completely different and you don't see how the facehugger meets Babe (the name of the ox... just go with it). But the prisoners reaction is funnier when one finds the dead facehugger. The Alien overall is simply not that scary in either version. The sleeker design is cool, but CGI just doesn't work. There's even more of it in the SE.

The the last thing that's different is right at the end...
(click to show/hide)

Pacing and editing is an issue and is the biggest black mark against the movie compared with the first entries. No build up to pure adrenalin here and Lance's cameo is just... odd. Without Fincher on board the whole enterprise was irretrievable, but I really recommend seeing this version. It had some good ideas as I said, looks great and could have been a perfect end to the trilogy. And if this post is anything to go by, plenty of waffle potential. Sorry.  :-[

Now I've watched the first three, I suppose you're expecting me to include Alien Resurrection!

You can bollocks.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2008, 04:39:24 PM by Jon »

Offline Jimmy

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Re: October Marathon: Horror!
« Reply #37 on: October 22, 2008, 02:20:08 AM »
Now I've watched the first three, I suppose you're expecting me to include Alien Resurrection!

You can bollocks.
:redcard: You must do it too... All this buildup tend toward this no?
Go for it and take a shot for the group Jon  :laugh:
« Last Edit: October 22, 2008, 07:36:14 AM by Jimmy »

Offline Dragonfire

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Re: October Marathon: Horror!
« Reply #38 on: October 22, 2008, 02:40:01 AM »
I have willing sat through horrible movies just so I could review them - I post movie reviews on epinions.com.  With those type of horrible movies, I tend to say that I have suffered so others won't have to.  lol

Najemikon

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Re: October Marathon: Horror!
« Reply #39 on: October 22, 2008, 09:59:10 AM »
Now I've watched the first three, I suppose you're expecting me to include Alien Resurrection!

You can bollocks.
:redcard: You must do it too... All this buildup tend toward this no?
Go for it and take a shot for the group Jon  :laugh:

Point 1: We don't talk about Alien 4.
Point 2: We do not talk about Alien 4!
Point 3: I'm not masochistic like you and Pete.
Point 4: I don't own the friggin' thing! To review it, I'd have to buy it. Hand over cash. Exchange hard earned moolah for shite.

I agree with you, Dragonfire, but lets be honest, who doesn't know about how rubbish Alien 4 is? At least the new cut of Alien 3 offers something worthwhile. At least Alien 3 as a whole was thought of with the right intentions.

Offline Dragonfire

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Re: October Marathon: Horror!
« Reply #40 on: October 23, 2008, 02:35:14 AM »
Now I've watched the first three, I suppose you're expecting me to include Alien Resurrection!

You can bollocks.
:redcard: You must do it too... All this buildup tend toward this no?
Go for it and take a shot for the group Jon  :laugh:

Point 1: We don't talk about Alien 4.
Point 2: We do not talk about Alien 4!
Point 3: I'm not masochistic like you and Pete.
Point 4: I don't own the friggin' thing! To review it, I'd have to buy it. Hand over cash. Exchange hard earned moolah for shite.

I agree with you, Dragonfire, but lets be honest, who doesn't know about how rubbish Alien 4 is? At least the new cut of Alien 3 offers something worthwhile. At least Alien 3 as a whole was thought of with the right intentions.

I actually haven't seen any of the Alien movies, though I will admit that I haven't heard much of anything good about the 4th one.

As to your point 4, I understand that.  With many of the truly horrible movies I've sat through to review, I found them on one of the movie channels I get, so I didn't have to specifically pay for them.  If I had to pay to see them, I wouldn't have bothered with some of them - like Date Movie and Epic Movie.  I have rented a few that turned out to be horrible, but I didn't really know they would be that bad ahead of time.

Offline Achim

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Re: October Marathon: Horror!
« Reply #41 on: October 23, 2008, 07:06:53 AM »
Well, I bought the Quadrilogy (after owning Alien and Aliens on LD and then Alien Legacy on DVD already) which includes Resurrection...

While it may be terrible in context of the series I always thought it did o.k. in some parts being at least watchable; despite almost all thinkable clich├ęs being applied. For me it only broke down entirely once that newborn alien baby appeared on screen. Not only is it butt-ugly but it is "born" and then bonds with Ripley...? It getting sucked out into space was funny to see though.

Offline addicted2dvd

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Re: October Marathon: Horror!
« Reply #42 on: October 23, 2008, 09:41:24 AM »
I agree with Achim... even though it is the worst of the bunch... and I do consider it a bad movie... the fourth one had some moments that made it watchable for me at least. I got it when I bought the Alien Legacy set. (Never upgraded to the Quadrilogy). If I would have bought them separately I wouldn't have bothered with the 4th one though.
Pete

Najemikon

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Re: October Marathon: Horror!
« Reply #43 on: October 23, 2008, 11:09:07 AM »
If it were just a sci-fi movie, it would be very good, possibly highly regarded, in the same way The Phantom Menace is a very good space adventure. But it's an Alien movie and that raises the bar as far as it will go.

I could also excuse it in the same way I defended Alien 3 in that it is different to the others, trying to develop a story in a different direction. However that's exactly where it falls apart. It jumped the shark so to speak long before the Alien Baby, just through its mood. I felt like Jeunet was trying to make Delicatessen in Space and that heightened reality has no bearing in actual reality for most people. It had detail for details sake instead of that feasible, grounded, and above all, used look.

But the thing that really made me hate Alien 4 is when I heard about all the production shit. Fincher had just as much trouble if not more, but he managed to stay faithful to the overall saga. Jeunet pretending not to understand English and ignoring Whedon's script smacks of concious sabotage. He actually saw it as a complete trilogy and set out to make part 4 a satire and undermine the Alien mythology and he did it on purpose.

Example, from memory: when the general gets attacked the Alien has snuck up behind him and jaw-punched his skull as usual. At this point, the creature should drag him away. That's what they do! Not this one. It stood and watched, while the General -complete with puzzled expression- felt his own wound! That's just... wrong. The Alien is the most efficient of lifeforms. It doesn't have room for such theatrics.

Prosecution rests. :tease:

Offline Achim

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Re: October Marathon: Horror!
« Reply #44 on: October 23, 2008, 04:46:30 PM »
One Alien killing the other one so that the acid blood destroys the cage it's trapped in. Very efficient indeed :P; I always thought that's a cool moment. Also the swimming Aliens were fun for me. But I agree, it's an acceptable science fiction monster flick but a terrible entry to the Alien saga.