‘Alien: Covenant’

3229948-alien+covenant+ka+promoIt’s not the most coherent of the Alien/Prometheus films and, at times the action seems a little rushed after an overly slow intro, but Alien: Covenant is nothing if not spectacularly crafted.

Thrills and (literally) spills abound as the synthetic David (a sublime Michael Fassbender – Prometheus, 12 Years a Slave) looks to creation and immortality. But the real story of course is the virus that evolves into the deadly creatures – and what’s low in number in Alien: Covenant is still enough to create carnage on an unchartered planet and aboard the colony ship, Covenant.

Ridley Scott (The Martian, Alien) plumbs the same scares from the original to great effect along with several references to earlier films in the franchise as the action keeps on coming and the gore count keeps on rising.

Rating: 62%

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‘The Martian’

martian2015Huge, sweeping, optimistic – yet convincingly grounded in an understandable reality: if something goes wrong, it needs to be fixed. And being stranded alone on Mars means something has gone seriously wrong.

Robinson Crusoe retold in space, with Man Friday the returning crew who mistakenly left a quietly impressive Matt Damon (Saving Private Ryan, The Bourne Identity) behind for dead. Visually stunning – as one would expect from director Ridley Scott (Prometheus, Gladiator) – The Martian is hugely entertaining with more than its share of tension and comedy. It’ll certainly be up there come January when the Oscar shortlists (particularly the technical categories) are announced.

Rating: 79%

‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’

hr_Exodus-_Gods_and_Kings_16Ridley Scott’s latest is, as you would expect from the director who bought us Prometheus, Blade Runner and Gladiator, a true epic.

Huge battle scenes, sumptuous Egyptian palaces, revolting slaves, a cast of (computer generated) thousands result in an entertaining spectacle, even if at times it slips into something of a stolid retelling of the Biblical Old Testament story of Moses (Moishe) leading the Hebrews out of Egypt to Canaan. Some of the scenes are genuinely exciting while Christian Bale (Moses) and Joel Edgerton (Ramses) do what they can with a somewhat solemn life-long friendship that suddenly turns.

Rating: 59%