Champs vs. Pros: A Cold Day in Hell

We see Lolo decide who to go against in the latest elimination, then see the whole crew play a game of memory and telephone. We say goodbye to some of our favorite Champs and Pros. We also say goodbye to an old cast member who is no longer with us.

Doctor Who 10×8 “The Lie of the Land” Review

In the third and last episode featuring the Silence x Beef Jerky-like Monks, lies and truth are a big theme and this episode makes no bones about being an allegory for our current “post-truth”/alternative facts political landscape. Where we last left off, Bill consented to the Monks to save the Doctor and they now reign over the Earth, using their alien technology to alter everyone’s memories so they think that the Monks were always there. After all, you can’t complain about things that have always been what they were. Anyone who remembers the truth is taken away, and Bill has been struggling for the past six months to hold onto her actual memories, anchored by the memory of her mother and separated from the Doctor. Until Nardole comes calling.

Continue reading Doctor Who 10×8 “The Lie of the Land” Review

The Rise And Fall Of Collect-O-Thons

Since the early days of the SNES, when “Retro Gaming” was still in its infancy, retro gaming found a place in peoples consoles in the form re-releases of classic games like Pac-Man, Space Invaders and even up to the updating of Super Mario All Stars.

Now that game developers have had several generations to perfect the process of 3D graphics and game play, and we OG gamers are getting older and have plenty (ish) of disposable income, retro style games have found new life thanks to crowd funding platforms like Indie-GoGo.

The newest game to make waves to come from  the crowd source scene is the Banjo-Kazooie clone, Yooka -Laylee, developed by a team of game designers that came from the glory days of N64 Rare. However, the reception was, shall we say, one that failed to live up to the legacy that preceded it.

Now, the team from one of my favorite YouTube channels Stop Skeletons From Fighting (previously the Happy Video Game Nerd) is taking a look at the rise and fall of the hugely popular platforming sub-genre, the Collect-O-Thon. Check out the video below.

 

Graveyard Duck Episode 05 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

This week we discuss a one of the most notoriously difficult games on the NES, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It’s been nearly 30 years that’s Scott’s been trying to beat this game. Did he finally do it? Listen and find out.

Don’t forget to keep up with the show and relive all the nostalgia by following us on Twitter (@duckgraveyard) and Facebook. Send us your memories or show suggestions at graveyardduckpodcast@gmail.com. And be sure to check out all of the great content from this show and other nerdy favorites at geeknerdery.com.

Doctor Who “Extremis” & “The Pyramid at the End of the World” Review

Hello Whovians! Missed a week last week due to being out of the country, but we’re back in the TARDIS again for a trip to the Vatican in an episode that feels like an odd sci-fi love letter to Dan Brown and the second episode on the story that is a pyramid episode that makes me wish it was on Mars. But alas!

Continue reading Doctor Who “Extremis” & “The Pyramid at the End of the World” Review

TLH Episode 85 – Fallen and The Hidden

This week we take a look at some body jumping horror movies with Fallen and The Hidden. After the break we hear from a new listener and discuss The Curse as well as other random horror things.

As always, we welcome feedback at thelasthorrorcast@gmail.com and on our Facebook page or leave us a voicemail at 601-564-TLHP. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review in iTunes.

Riverdale Season One To Blu-Ray And DVD

Riverdale: The Complete First Season will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 15 via Warner Bros. If you can’t wait, it’s currently streaming on Netflix. A second season is in the works from The CW.

Special features are listed below.

  • Riverdale: 2016 Comic-Con Panel
  • Riverdale: The New Normal
  • Riverdale: The Ultimate Sin
  • I Got You – musical piece
  • These Are Moments I Remember – musical piece
  • Deleted scenes
  • Gage reel 

Pushing the Button: A DC Rebirth Update

Last time we talked, we looked at the recently-wrapped Superman Reborn storyline and what it meant for the ever-evolving post-Rebirth DC Universe. Now that the Batman/Flash crossover The Button has wrapped, now that even more things have changed, it’s time to do it again. I’m going to discuss and build on some of the theories and threads I mentioned in that first piece, so if you haven’t read it, give it a peek. And once again, be prepared, because spoilers are coming for The Button, but also for other stories across the DC Universe.

So That Just Happened

Let’s look at exactly where we are, shall we? In The Button, Professor Zoom attacked Batman in the Batcave, ultimately dying in a spark of blue. Batman and the Flash then used the Flash’s cosmic treadmill to try to trace the mysterious radiation signature on the blood-spattered button Bruce found in DC Universe Rebirth #1. Eventually, the two landed in the Flashpoint universe, where Bruce Wayne got to meet that world’s Batman, his father Thomas Wayne. That universe vanished, seemingly destroyed. Zoom — who can only ever be “mostly” dead because time travel — continued on his race to find those behind the power of the button. He was wiped out again, by still more blue flame, and Bruce and Barry were rescued from the timestream by the timely (get it?) intervention of Jay Garrick, who was only there for moments before the flame got him too. The button itself, judging by the epilogue, seems to have been retrieved by Dr. Manhattan, whom Geoff Johns has told us has a particular interest in Superman. He’ll be telling that story in the recently-announced Doomsday Clock event.

But that’s the Reader’s Digest version of The Button, there’s an awful lot to unpack here. What is it all saying? What does it mean? And how does it play into the DC Universe going forward?

The Manhattan Project

First of all, let’s talk about the Dr. Manhattan connection. Although the fingerprints of Watchmen were all over this story (right down to the first chapter, Batman #21, mimicking Dave Gibbons’s famous nine-panel grid in the artwork), it gave us precious little in the way of revelation. We still don’t know exactly why the button wound up in the Batcave, and although Zoom claimed to know who was responsible, his eradication at the end of the story will make it difficult for Barry and Bruce to interrogate him. In fact, as far as a direct link to Dr. Manhattan goes, the clues can be boiled down to one word: “They.”

Zoom claims to know who is responsible for what’s happening to the universe and, in his own words, “They’ve never faced someone like me!” Granted, it’s becoming more acceptable to use “they” as a gender-neutral singular pronoun these days (something that makes the English teacher in me shudder — I’m not saying we shouldn’t have a gender-neutral pronoun, just that I wish there was another word that didn’t dilute the meaning of the word “they”), but it’s hard to imagine that’s what Zoom meant. If he’s seen Dr. Manhattan, especially if the latter is walking around without his bikini bottoms again, it’s fairly clear that he’s male, and I doubt Zoom is the sort to walk up and ask him his preferred pronouns before engaging him in battle. If he hasn’t seen Manhattan, his claim to know who’s responsible becomes much more specious. All of this is to say that this one word may support something I suggested last time: whatever is happening, it doesn’t look like Dr. Manhattan is the sole person responsible.

Homecoming

Next up, let’s talk about Jay Garrick. Much like Wally West did in the original Rebirth special, he appears and helps save the day. Unlike Wally, Jay doesn’t stick around. The question, however, is why did he vanish? He disappeared in a nimbus of blue flame, much like Pandora did in the first special, much like the Flashpoint universe did earlier in this story (more on that later). But it’s very hard to imagine that means he’s dead. DC has teased the return of the Justice Society really hard here, not only with Jay but with another appearance by Johnny Thunder in chapter one of The Button. Would they have brought him back just to wipe him out?

Barry recognizes the circumstances of Jay’s appearance as being similar to Wally’s, and when Wally appeared, he needed his emotional connection to Barry to re-ground him in reality. It doesn’t work for Jay. Barry even says that he doesn’t seem to be Jay’s “lightning rod.” Who then, would it be? Who else has a strong enough emotional connection to Jay Garrick to return him to reality?

The immediate and most obvious answer is his wife, Joan. She hasn’t been seen in Rebirth, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t in the DC Universe somewhere: alone, sad, possibly confused by a gaping hole in her life. But Wally West’s lightning rod wasn’t his wife, Linda Park. Who else could anchor Jay? Besides Barry, his best friend has historically been original Green Lantern Alan Scott, but Alan is MIA along with the rest of the Justice Society. All of Jay’s contemporaries are missing.

Everyone except for Johnny Thunder. Johnny, who in Rebirth #1, seemed to imply that he was responsible for people forgetting the Justice Society. Johnny, who in Flash #21 screams at the skies, consumed with guilt. Johnny, who is currently locked away in a nursing home, with everyone assuming he’s a raving old man. In fact, why don’t we take this a step further? What if Johnny is, unwittingly, one of the people who helped Dr. Manhattan remake the universe? He certainly wouldn’t have done it intentionally, but he was never the brightest bulb to begin with. The only reason he was in the JSA is because he commanded a Genie with Mxyzptlk-level reality-warping power. Could he have been tricked into using his Thunderbolt’s power to change the timeline? Or could he have done it independently of what was going on with Dr. Manhattan, and could Manhattan have simply taken advantage of Johnny’s mistake to further his own goals?

Lost and Found

Let’s take a moment to do a little census here. A lot of fan-favorite characters were missing at the launch of the New 52 universe. Some of them have returned: Wally West, of course, but also Stephanie Brown, Donna Troy, Cassandra Cain, Ted Kord, and probably several others I’m forgetting at the moment. Others, like the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Ray Palmer Atom, were there for the New 52 launch but have gone notably missing since then. Still others have been taken away on-panel. Doomsday, Prophecy, and Tim Drake have all been “removed” from action, and we know they’re in the clutches of Mr. Oz. Of those still unaccounted for, the Justice Society has been particularly notable in its absence. And with its absence came the absence of other characters derived from the JSA: Alan Scott’s children Jade and Obsidian, for example. If the JSA returns, can they follow suit?

And there’s one other big one that needs to be mentioned. After he was “Reborn,” Superman needed to give the readers a rundown of what his history was in this world where the older, married Superman merged with his younger New 52 counterpart. Action Comics gave us two issues where he asked his little robotic buddy Kelex (and who wouldn’t want a Kelex as their own personal assistant?) to go over his past with him. It was kind of odd, in a meta way, for Superman to essentially ask the robot to read him his diary, but it worked. The big questions were answered: Jonathan and Martha Kent are both dead in this continuity, Superman never had a relationship with Wonder Woman. He did fight and was killed by Doomsday…

…but that’s where it gets odd.

As we all know, after Superman’s death he was replaced by four different people claiming the name. John Henry Irons, Steel, is part of the cast of Superwoman these days. The Eradicator and the Cyborg Superman are both in the Superman books right now in villain roles. The fourth? Connor Kent? Superboy? Nowhere to be found, even in the history that Kelex relates to us. Superman himself notes, as he listens to his own history, that something doesn’t feel quite right. Is Conner going to be lost to the void, or is DC planning to give him his own Wally West moment, bringing him back in triumph? If, as Geoff Johns promises, Rebirth is about restoring hope and legacy to the DCU, wouldn’t Doomsday Clock be a hell of a place for Connor to come back?

Of course, Jonathan Kent the second is Superboy now, but I’d be fine with changing Connor’s name and moving him into sort of a Nightwing-type role in the Superman family. Superteen? Superkid? Ugh, those are terrible. Superguy? Sequel? Okay, maybe we have to look beyond the letter “S” for a new name.

I hear “Valor” is available.

The Dark Knight Redacted?

Anyway, let’s talk about what this story has done to Batman. Back in Flashpoint, when Barry Allen was (he thought) restoring the timeline he had damaged, Thomas Wayne gave him a letter to deliver to Bruce. It was one of the high points of that story and created a grand emotional link for Bruce to his past. In The Button, that link was made even stronger as Bruce had to face a version of his father who chose the same path he did, that of the Batman. Thomas’s Batman was darker and harsher than Bruce’s (not surprising, as Flashpoint was a darker and harsher world), and as Bruce leaves, Thomas asks him to give up being Batman, to put this life behind him, because no father would ever choose a life like that for his child. As the story ends, we have a very pointed moment where the Bat-signal blazes across the sky of Gotham, and Bruce ignores it.

What does this mean?

Well, it doesn’t mean that Bruce is hanging up the cowl, let’s start there. There have been plenty of post-Button stories solicited already where he’s still Batman. (Heck, Batman #23 came out on the same day as The Button ended). There are also two other strikes against this notion of Bruce giving up. First, they did that story just two years ago with James Gordon taking over as Batman (not to mention the countless times in the past when Dick Grayson, Jean-Paul Valley, etc. have worn the cowl). Second, Rebirth has been all about bringing DC’s heroes back to their purest, classic form. Does anyone really think that means shelving Bruce Wayne? Certainly not for any length of time.

So what does it mean?

For that, let’s take a step back and look, once again, at the apparent meta-message of Rebirth Geoff Johns (I’m assigning this thesis to him, as he seems to be the architect of the story and is the author of both DC Universe Rebirth #1 and the upcoming Doomsday Clock) seems to be arguing that the darkness that has infected the DCU started not with Flashpoint, but could be traced back to Watchmen. Last time, I argued that this is only partially true, and that there are other culprits as well, but I didn’t mention one of the bigger ones, as it didn’t appear to be relevant at the time. Now it does. I’m talking, of course, about The Dark Knight Returns. Frank Miller’s magnum opus was a masterpiece of the form, like Watchmen. Also like Watchmen, people took entirely the wrong message from the story and, for years, turned the mainstream Batman progressively darker, gloomier, and more brooding than ever.

Perhaps part of the purpose of The Button — that part of it, at least — is to do specifically for Batman what the larger Rebirth story is doing for the rest of the DCU. I’m not saying that we should go back to the days when Batman was cutting ribbons at supermarket openings or encountering aliens with huge insect heads on the main street of Gotham, but there has to be a middle ground. For much of the Bronze Age, in fact, we lived in that middle ground. Go back and read some of those great Dennis O’Neil/Neal Adams Batman stories. You’ll see a character who lives in the darkness, but carries a spark of light within him, a Batman who was not above making a joke. (Indeed, in the years since The Dark Knight Returns pretty much any time Batman has displayed a sense of humor, it’s come as a total shock to whoever he was talking to at the time.)

Bruce Wayne, we know, will never quit. Not forever, anyway. But that doesn’t mean he has to live a life totally devoid of joy. Tim Drake (who himself was thinking of hanging up the cape to go to college when he was abducted) was often living proof of that. Maybe that’s  another reason he, as Mr. Oz put it, had to be “taken off the table.”

It’s a long way until November, guys, and there are plenty of things that could happen between now and then that could cause me to adjust these thoughts (I’m looking at you, The Lazarus Contract). But for now, at least, I think I’ve tackled all the big concepts, and we’ve got an awful lot to chew on while we wait for the next course.

Interview with award winning actress Klara Issova regarding her role as Marie Curie on National Geographic’s GENIUS

Czech Republic – Geoffrey Rush stars as Albert Einstein in National Geographic’s Genius (National Geographic/Dusan Martincek)

Klara Issova plays Marie Curie, the only person to win the Nobel Prize in both Chemistry and Physics, in National Geographic and Ron Howards’s new TV series, GENIUS. The award winning actress who has been in over 60 films spoke with me regarding her role as Curie, Curie’s influence she had on Einstein and gave one of the best answers to my space pirate question I’ve ever heard.

Geek Nerdery: Thank you for speaking with me and Geek Nerdery. I know you worked with National Geographic in the past, what drew you to this project with National Geographic?

Czech Republic – Zoe Telford (Clara Haber) with Johnny Flynn (Albert Einstein) in National Geographic’s Genius (National Geographic/Dusan Martincek)

Klara Issova: Well I worked with National Geographic on Killing Jesus two years ago and that was great and interesting and so happy they have made so many  great feature TV series and movies about strong characters and this was another one and also the second thing is that the whole thing was filmed in Prague and I cooperate with people who worked on another TV series I worked on called Legend starring Sean Bean and it was nice to work with the same crew and showrunner from Prague and the same team working on another great project.

GN: And you are from Prague so you got to work close to home.

KI: Yes, that was really nice so I didn’t have to travel around and got to stay in my own apartment so it was really lovely.

GN: Before you prepared for your role as Marie Curie, were you aware that she had such an influence on Albert Einstein’s life and work?

Czech Republic – Zoe Telford (Clara Haber) with Johnny Flynn (Albert Einstein) in National Geographic’s Genius (National Geographic/Dusan Martincek)

KI: I wasn’t aware of this specific information that they were quite close friends but I read and did research on the role I’m going to play and this it was really special and she is very famous around Europe because she is Polish and Poland is our neighbor and she is an Icon here for people and around the world and of course I read some books about her life and from her childhodd and it wasn’t easy and there were so many challenges in her way but I didn’t know about Einstein and her relationship before, it was suprising for me as well and new information that people will get known from this TV series. 

GN: Especially the way Einstien worked with his wife and how influential she was with the relationship with her husband and the fact Pierre Curie wouldn’t accept the Nobel unless Marie was listed on it.

GN: What do you think Marie Curie would think of the modern woman?

KI;  (laughs) That is a great question! I would like to add something about what you mentioned about the beautiful contradiction regarding the TV series which I totally love and where you can follow Einstein and his wife and on the otherhand you can follow Marie Curie and Pierre Curie’s life and quite similar destiny but both marriages ended in very different ways and that was very interesting to me but (laughs) What would she think? I think tell them we are so lucky to live in this time period with all the equipment and internet and everything and everyone has the possibilities and can do anything almost and follow your dreams and women don’t lose this opportunity and to do what you really want to do.

GN: I agree, excellent answer, excellent answer.

KI: Thank you

GN: What do you think geeks will like about this movie?

KI: I think what really is wonderful showing strong characters they have so many obstacles and they fight and they fail and they follow and they try again and again and have to be so patient and so strong and it is crazy to see all the obstacles they had in their way and still stay on their journey and you do the best that you can and with Marie Curie she was really poor and when she was young, when she came to Paris, she starved and she didn’t have any food and kind of things like this, she was cold and hungry and she had permanent obstacles in her way and she stayed on her course and finished school, she studied she became a scientist etc. etc. etc. so I would say it is very inspirational to people and people will see they had positive things in their life and they are heros, Einstein is a hero and Marie Curie is a hero and I don’t know they also had shadows and black moments in their life and people will see they were normal people everybody trying to do their best and so much information about their peronal life this will show. People will see what other people did for us and learn from the history and be thankful and to be so lucky that we don’t have to go thru what they did. We have almost everything and they didn’t.

GN: Yeah at the end of the day Einstein was a man and Marie Curie a woman and dealing with all of the problems that people deal with every day.

GN: I don’t know if this will translate  but do you know what a space priate is?

KI: A what?

GN: A space pirate, a popular example would be Han Solo in Star Wars.

KI: Oh okay. I don’t know who that is.

GN: Who would be your favorite space pirate?

KI: Ohhhhhh, my favorite? I don’t know if he is a pirate but for me it,  would ET count? I would say ET. I was in love with ET when I was really young and always wanted to be his friend and it was a beautiful movie always liked ET and I would say him. 

GN: Technically, yes ET would count as a space pirate because he not only stole Reeses Pieces, he also stole our hearts so yes he would count and kudos to you for being the first person in history to define his as a space pirate. Well done.

KI: (laughs) Thank you 

GENIUS airs Tuesdays on the National Geographic Channel, check your local lisitngs. http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/videos/genius-teaser-trailer/

 

Incognito Cinema Warriors: The Future of Riffing

It is simply a great time to be alive, especially if you love making fun of bad entertainment. It’s no secret that MST3K has influenced a generation of fans and comedians. One just has to look at the success of the crowd funding campaign for MST3K The Return. But what about those that choose to follow in the footsteps of Mike, Joel and the Bots?

Rifftrax, the official site for Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett has given voice to many amateur riffers on their site, but, like anything else, one particular group manages to stand head and tails above the competition. Enter the Incognito Cinema Warriors.

At a quick glance, the comparison to MST3K is obvious. A soldier is trapped in a movie theater by an insane scientist during the zombie apocalypse. In exchange for shelter from the hoards of undead, Rick Wolf and his robot friends are the subject of bad movies, shorts and video games and provide a running rifftastic commentary.

ICWXP, as the show is known in its short hand, takes its ques from MST3K, but ups the ante by providing a more adult oriented humor. They work a little bluer than the MST gang and seems to have more of a bite to it, but also like MST in its hey day, the show exemplifies the ideology behind independent cinema and the low budget, fly by the seat of your pants, doing it for the love of the craft style of film making.

Until very recently when they signed up for a patreon account, the show was done by people with day jobs, when they could do it, sacrificing time and money to pay homage to a show they obviously grew up with and loved. They are so good, in fact, that they even gained the attention of the Riff-Meister himself, Mike Nelson.

“These guys are good. Fast paced, funny riffing throughout. Now fellahs, would you please stop making my job look easy?”

And while their riffing of movies and shorts are fun and amazing, in my humble opinion, where these guys manage to make themselves stand out is their riffing of recent video games, especially on the Resident Evil remake.

If you have torn your way through MST3K: The Return and can’t wait between Rifftrax releases, why don’t you give these guys a chance. Check out their webpage here, and if you like them, consider throwing them a sheckle or two to show your appreciation and support this kind of indie entertainment.

 

Geek Nerdery – Nintendo Switch

I’m joined by the guys from The Graveyard Duck Podcast to talk about the newest console from Nintendo the Nintendo Switch.  We go over what we initially thought of the console, some of the games we’ve played, and just the use of the switch in general.

Or Subscribe Here to the Geek Nerdery Master Feed for all of our podcasts in one simple feed!

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(The Very Belated) Doctor Who 10×5 “Oxygen” Review

In the fifth episode of this season of Doctor Who, The Doctor, Bill, and Nardole find themselves caught up in new dangers as they answer a distress call coming from deep space, the sort of thing that’s never just an easy rescue. Especially when big corporate who only cares about the bottom line is involved. And so we have “Oxygen”, which feels like a space take on zombies-but-not-zombies. This review is very belated because much like the Doctor’s capers, shit happens that puts a wrench in things, like moving apartments and not having a desk or knowing where  you packed your laptop for a few days. I digress.

Continue reading (The Very Belated) Doctor Who 10×5 “Oxygen” Review

Fox Announces Tom Hardy To Play Venom

With Spiderman: Homecoming due out in just a few months, and with the wall crawler already well established in the MCU, Sony is riding high on the hype machine. And never one to let the momentum die, Sony announces a major casting decision in their Spider-verse.

Tom Hardy has officially jumped ship from the DC universe (Bane – The Dark Knight Rises) to join the Marvel world as fan favorite Eddie Brock, better known as Venom.

The movie will be a stand alone and may not feature Spiderman at all. Nothing is known plot wise about the movie, but we do know that Venom will be directed by Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer.

Hopefully Fleischer will bring the same amount of charm, fun and action to Venom that he did to Zombieland.

Eddie Brock/Venom was previously played by Topher Grace in the critically and fan panned Spiderman 3, directed by Sam Raimi.

Graveyard Duck Episode 04 – Ghouls ‘n Ghosts

This week we discuss a game that’s one of Wes’s favorites and is a completely new discovery for Scott, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts. Will he like it? Listen and find out.

Don’t forget to keep up with the show and relive all the nostalgia by following us on Twitter (@duckgraveyard) and Facebook. Send us your memories or show suggestions at graveyardduckpodcast@gmail.com. And be sure to check out all of the great content from this show and other nerdy favorites at geeknerdery.com.

‘Alien:Covenant’ review: Is it more like ‘Alien’ or ‘Prometheus’?

_DSC7134.ARW

When I told friends I saw the most recent addition to the Alien family last week, the first question was always the same: Was it more like Alien or Prometheus? And my answer is always the same, Yes but it is also it’s own. Ridley Scott’s masterful direction is both a sequel to Prometheus and a gateway that is leading the audience to Alien. The film’s prologue begins with a young Peter Weyland introducing his latest creation David (played by one of the best parts and performances of this movie Michael Fassbender) to the world. This is where the elements of Prometheus begin, the religious overtones of creation/God making Man. When David asks Weyland, “If God made Man, who made God?”, you can see Weyland’s’s face shift to the realization that his creation has questioned him and asked what he himself would like to know.

Then, piece by piece, the opening title sequence takes you back to Alien and the tone is set of what the audience is in for.  It’s 2104, 10 years after Prometheus and 18 years prior to the original Alien.   The Covenant is carrying the frozen cryosleep crew of twelve and 2,000 other sleepy frozen passengers along with 1000’s of embryos on a 7 year journey to a distant planet Origae-6 when it is thrown off course by a burst of crap/space storm/neutrino shock wave that shreds this gold shield thing and nearly kills everyone. Luckily, the humanoid watching over the ship, Walter (also Fassbender) wakes up the crew and saves the day, except for (spoiler alert) James Franco. If you are not a Franco fan then this is the movie for you because his demise is not pretty. The crew mourns briefly, fixes the ship, hears a beacon on a seemingly perfect new planet and despite the fact that they have a course set to a destination I’m pretty positive some really smart people have done a ton of research on, they take 3/4’s of the remaining crew and go to this equally inhabitable planet to explore and shortly after that all hell breaks loose.

So here are the pros: Covenant is a dark, haunting, exhilarating exploration in space and bloodier than the previous films in the franchise that brings the scares Prometheus lacked.The Xenomorphs are magnificent in size and scare factor and the introduction of the Neomorphs (add that to your lexicon) are both terrifying and adorable. Plush Neomorphs and baby Groots may be THE gift for the kids this summer. There is also a POV from the Xenomorph that I don’t recall experiencing as an audience member before. As for the performances, the standouts are

DF-14740 – Katherine Waterston as Daniels in ALIEN: COVENANT. Photo Credit: Mark Rogers.

Daniels (Katherine Waterston despite her Floyd Christmas haircut) the female lead reminiscent of Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley cautious, couragous and kicking ass. Faris (Amy Seimetz) the ship’s co-pilot who has the most believable performance from the moment she awakens from cryosleep to her encounter with an ill crew member and what transpires after, she is the only member of the team that follows protocol and her fear looks more than real. The standout and star is David/Walter (Fassbender) who is outstanding and entertaining especially in scenes where he acts with, himself. It is clear that writers John Logan and Dante Harper enjoyed writing the scenes between these two characters with a line like, “Watch me…I’ll do the fingering.”

Which leads to the cons: While practical effects were used, there is a quintessential scene where they were not and in my opinion missed the mark where it was an easy target. Award for worst crew in space goes to…. The Covenant. You have 2,000 lives on board your ship and you decide to go exploring? Last time I checked you had a mission and a destination but this shiny penny planet apparently means more than human existense. And who takes 3/4 of their remaining crew to “check out” a perfect uninhabited planet? Do they not show reruns of ANY television show set in space in 2104?

The character development is abysmal. What angers me about this is the 4 minute teaser trailer released 2 months before of a Last Supper with the crew that establishes relationships, personalites, banter and makes you feel and at least know more than 4 of the charachters names. Why this was not added to the final film I don’t understand because this 4 minute addition would have been that touch the film needed.

Despite the lack of character development and storyline plotholes, Covenant is a gorgeous film that splits the feel of Alien and Prometheus. The Covenant ship is a dead ringer for the Nostromo while the landscape of the planet, both barren of life and beautiful is reminiscent of Prometheus.The production design department led by Chris Seagers will be, in my opinion, nominated and possibly winning many accolades during awards season because of their exquisite craftmandship.

Alien:Covenant is a transition film that is an equal mix of Alien and Prometheus with the horror and tension of the original and the ambition to answer the question of creation and life from the latter. While it did not leave me feeling, anything actually, I do believe it is a film with some misses but a film that should be watched and enjoyed in the theater. I guess my disappointment is that I know this is a an A movie that ended up being a B. This is not the end however, which makes me hopeful. Alien:Covenant opens in theaters May 19th.

 

Garden Party Massacre – A Review

Good god I love Indie horror. I grew up on a steady stream of Troma and Full Moon movies as a kid (Ask your parents). There is something about a movie that is shot on a shoe string budget by people who love what they are doing, its elevates the idea into an art form.

Garden Party Massacre is a low budget, indie send up of your typical horror movies. Imagine if you would The 3 Stooges taking on Sam Raimi and you get the idea behind Garden Party Massacre.

Written, directed and starring Gregory Blair, Massacre begins as typical get together of several friend but quickly turns into a comedic romp that had me  giggling throughout the film. Massacre doesn’t take itself seriously and neither should you.

One of the hardest things to do is nail horror comedy, and Garden Party Massacre hits all the bloody beats in its brisk 1:10 play time and it uses every moment it has to full effect.

The pros – There are a lot of chuckles to be had and when you think you have the movie figured out, you don’t.

The Cons – Its a low budget indie movie. Some of the acting is questionable, but  I still had a damn good time watching this flick.

Garden Party Massacre is currently making the round on the festival circuit and from what I have seen, audiences are eating it up.  Check out the trailer below.

 

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