The massive space-tug Nostromo glides silently through space. Back from the outer reaches of the galaxy, it’s taking its seven-member crew back to Earth. But when the ship’s computer receives a distress signal from a nearby planetary system, it rouses the crew from their cryo-sleep. It isn’t until after the Nostromo has landed on a barren planet named LV-426 and three crewmembers have gone out to investigate a huge derelict spacecraft that the signal is deciphered and found to be a warning. But one crewmember has already experienced a shocking face-to-face encounter with an alien creature while inspecting an egg-shaped pod. And so the horror begins – a horror which will end the lives of six crewmembers and alter the life of the seventh forever.
1979 – Certificate: 15 – American Film
Rating Details: Contains strong language, moderate violence and horror
8.0 out of 10
So anyway, I sat through this entire film convinced I was watching a party political broadcast on behalf of the Conservative Party; one that had chosen to spotlight the Party’s views on immigration. Why? 1. Well, for a start it’s called “Alien”, a phrase which seems to sum up a large proportion of everyone the Daily Mail, (which is the propaganda wing of the Party), doesn’t like. 2. It features a crew of people who are “working hard to get on in life”, before having things suddenly buggered up for them by a nasty alien. This is obviously a reference to wholesome, law-abiding Middle England British families having to deal with the effects of uncontrolled immigration. 3. It features a hideous, unstoppable creature that wants what we have and bleeds acid everywhere if you piss it off. (Well, it’s 45 years since Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech, so I guess you have to up the ante these days.) This is clearly an allusion to foreigners, especially the billions of people from Bulgaria and Romania who’re poised to ‘invade’ Britain (or more importantly the Tory heartland of the South East of England) on the 1st January 2014. From what I’ve seen in some of the media recently, I doubt there’ll be anyone left in either of those two countries by the time everyone here goes back to work the following week. Not that we’ll have jobs anymore, because they’ll all have been taken by them instead, whilst they’re simultaneously signing on the dole, having babies and not learning to speak English. And Romanians in particular are all just gymnasts, orphans or vampires, so why should they be allowed into the country? 4. Crewmember Ash turns out to be an android, in the pay of some nefarious organisation, ready to sacrifice everyone to make sure the alien gets back to Earth. Ash just has to be Vince Cable, working for the Lib Dems. His dark, evil plan? To let some foreigners into Britain. Traitor! And what does the android turn out to be full of? Nasty, goo-spewing Cables. Case proved I think. 5. The movie features a lot of people desperately running and creeping about in dark corridors, with a weird device that uses technobabble to find aliens, until they finally manage to successfully track one down. To me that sounds a lot like politicians quoting from random surveys and statistics, in an effort to concoct some evidence to support their views. 6. When they stop worrying about the alien for a few moments, it suddenly explodes out of John Hurt’s chest. I think that’s self explanatory; give them an inch and they’ll take a mile. 7. When they actually manage to find the alien, they quickly throw together some sort of bizarre, home-made weapon to try and get rid of it, which is undoubtedly analogous to their hastily thrown together ideas about caps on immigration; badly thought out, probably illegal, unfair and unworkable. 8. The alien kills everyone off one by one, which is exactly what all foreigners want to do to our way of life. Indeed, that’s their only reason to exist. (And let’s not forget that John Hurt was also Doctor Who). 9. Most things in the film have an alternative, sexual interpretation, which somehow just comes across as eww. Ever seen British politicians trying to be cool, attractive, or in-touch? It’s provides much the same feeling. 10. The alien is killed, after just about everything is destroyed, including the whole spaceship. This is exactly what will happen to the country if the Tories deal with immigration in their way. Babies and bathwater. Apparently there’s a party political broadcast on behalf of UKIP somewhere too. It’s called “Aliens”.
There can’t be much that hasn’t been said or written about this film. So I’m just going to say it’s essential viewing for anyone interested in cinema.
Most of the music used was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, one of the best film composers ever. It’s good. Very good.
Isn’t this a rubbish trailer? Slow, confusing, and sounding and looking horrible, it makes the film seems about as appealing as snogging a face hugger.
Recommended for aliens, foreigners, politicians and anyone that works on a spaceship.
1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations. Despite providing one of the most famous cat characters in all of film history, Jonsey doesn’t even get a mention in the credits. It must suck sometimes being a cat.
Top badass moment? Vince Cable giving the rest of the Government shit about its approach to immigration. No, wait, I’m mixing this film up with a Conservative party political broadcast again. Malevolent aliens? Bulgarians? Romanians? It’s confusing. Don’t worry, I’ll check the facts in tomorrow’s Daily Mail. (Interesting, when I was 16 I’d have probably said the top badass moment heavily featured Sigourney Weaver’s panties. I must be getting old.)
A werewolf tale from the producers of “Underworld”, “Blood & Chocolate” tells the story of Vivian (Agnes Bruckner), a young teenage girl who must choose between her love for a young artist and loyalty to her werewolf lineage. Others may have secrets, but none as extraordinary as Vivian. One of the last of her kind, she comes from a line of loup garoux, shape shifters able to transform into the form of both human and wolf at will. When Vivian’s affections for a visiting artist threaten to reveal her family’s secret society, she must decide whether to prove her allegiance to their secret vows or follow her heart and betray them all.
2007 – Certificate 12 – American Film
Rating Details: Moderate violence, horror and drug references
7 out of 10
I’ve been provided with a new work mobile. Well it’s not really new, it’s one that’s been ‘reallocated’; but it’s new to me. Its predecessor, a seven-year-old Nokia 6300, had become a bit of an embarrassment, what with its unbusinesslike, tatty appearance and talk-time that struggled to get me past the ‘how are you?” stage of a phone conversation. You can probably imagine how my pulling that out of my pocket at a critical moment in one of the many, high-powered meetings I attend, can undermine my negotiating position. My new one is a Nokia E5. It’s the first smart-phone I’ve ever had. Something tells me it’s not a medal contender in the mobile coolness rankings, although as I don’t have a contract for it that includes a data allowance, this rather limits its use for anything resembling “smart” anyway. It does seem to be able to ‘talk’ to my network at home though. I’m not quite sure what all the buttons and icons are for yet, although I have managed to sort out the most important things, like the ringtones it uses. For calls it plays “Do You Like Waffles?” by Parry Gripp, whilst for texts it blares out “Marco Polo” by Guttermouth. The latter is 15 seconds of punk rock noise that when combined with its cheap, in-built speaker, is likely to send anyone else within 10m of it when it plays in an ‘office environment’, into an incandescent fury. There’re quite a number of people in this movie who get pretty pissed about things too.
When they’ve got over bitching about how much this film doesn’t resemble the book of the same name, people seem to then suggest it’s some sort of teen romance about werewolves. So let me tell you it’s really an out-and-out action movie; all it needs is Sylvester Stallone and it would be the whole package. Big explosive finale? Check. Some guns and stuff? Check? An unlikely hero who performs way beyond the call of duty? Check. Some cheesy one-liners? Check. Being able to write and draw (our hero Aiden is a penniless graphic novel writer) is pretty cool; if you think my writing is bad you should see my drawing. I took my last art exam when I was 14 years-old. I got 18%. I tried to draw sadness but it came out as a disgusting shambles of green, painted squiggles. I imagine the teacher probably thought I was taking the piss but really, that was the best I could do. Sadly (and somewhat ironically given the focus of my work), my canvas had all the emotionally resonance of a newly painted bathroom radiator, in magnolia. To this day my ability to draw remains at the level of a 4 year-old; and not a talented one either. I’m always a little in awe of those than can seemingly and effortlessly draw things; a genuine talent. However, I’ve never considered that the traits that make someone a good artist or writer, would also equip the same person to be an action-hero too. This movie is about a penniless artist/writer, who falls in love with a chick. Of course, like many potential in-laws, hers don’t really take to him, so being werewolves they decide to kill him. In the space of a day or two, our quiet, unassuming (although a little stalker-like) artist turns into one, badasss motherfucker, taking on half the werewolves in Bucharest. To explain these abilities, the movie provides a brief throwaway line about something to do with his relationship with his father not being that great. Bloody hell, poor guy. What a bastard he must have been! Aiden even manages to survive what looks like a good 50’ drop through a broken sky-light, before coming to a very sudden stop, dangling upside down, with his leg caught in a rope, without this causing him the slightest injury. He even has the audacity to blame Vivian for the situation he’s in, even though he spends half the film virtually stalking her. I’m certainly no expert on relationships, but something tells me theirs isn’t going to last much longer than the end credits. Fortunately, what all this means is that I can admit to seeing this movie without having to invent an imaginary girlfriend “who made me watch it” as an excuse for doing so. I have to say Agnes Bruckner does do a good, surly teenager, sulky pout. It’s actually a decent film, well worth watching.
The soundtrack has a sort of gothic-Klingon-“The Equaliser” vibe going on. Sadly it’s as ‘good’ as it sounds. Serviceable but forgettable.
Recommended for artists, writers, teens, chocolate-addicts and action-heroes. Not recommend for werewolves. They always seem to end up on the losing side.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? It has to be our mild-mannered, stalker/artist/writer/hero, Aiden. He utters the one-liner “Drink Up” just before he sets fire to a load of alcohol to burn a couple of werewolves to death, after a fire-fight with a gang of them. This is especially impressive as we’re not led to believe he makes a habit of this sort of thing. The ability to up your game when the time comes is definitely badass. It’ll be a brave person who gives any of the graphic novels he writes a bad review…
What marketing idiot (née liar) first suggested highlighting the ‘fact’ that low-energy light bulbs last longer than old-fashioned, incandescent ones? If they’re that good, how come I’ve had five blow in the last two months? And it’s not like those are the only ones I’ve had to replace over the past few years either. On Saturday evening the latest of these failed, the Omicron 40W über-bulb-monster I had in my lounge. In doing so it took out the trip-switch too, leaving me to grope around in the dark for ages for a 5A fuse; (thanks to the amazing ability of rechargeable batteries not to actually hold their charge, my torch went flat after about a minute of use.) I’m sure the Omicron is less than two years old and it cost nearly £20 too. It’s all very well making changes to your lifestyle in an effort to ‘save the planet’, but now I’ve got to go and spend about £60 on five stupid light-bulbs. That would have bought well over 100 in the ‘old days’. What a rip-off. No wonder they’re called low-energy bulbs, because they never bloody work! In a spookily similar way, this film features modern technology that does us no good at all too.
2006 – Certificate: Not Rated – USA
Hollywood remakes of Japanese horrors get a bad press, which isn’t always fair; but some film snobs like to trash them anyway, out of principle. This one was no exception. It’s true, most of the characters in it are somewhat one-dimensional and don’t always act very logically; and being a film about technology it’s aged very quickly too; it’s all pre-Smartphone era stuff. Worst still, the plot has more big holes in it than an undersized fishnet bodystocking on an elephant; (steady on, don’t get too excited about that thought). However, the acting’s okay and the special effects fine. I actually really liked it. It’s genuinely sinister, the cinematography and sound is great and the ending suitably apocalyptic. The car crash works really well too. The overall tone of the film is its best feature though, dark, disturbing, increasingly isolating and ultimately offering little real hope; the very ending reminded me of the ending of “The Terminator”. If you can get into this and overlook its weaker elements, you’ll probably really enjoy it. I don’t get the creeps from watching films very often, but I did from this one. (Memo to self: don’t watch spooky films with headphones on, in a dark room with just an eerie green light bulb, low-energy of course, for company.) When I went to the toilet after watching it, I did feel a little uncomfortable with my back to the door; I’d have hated to be grabbed by one of those dead people things when answering the call of nature. I haven’t watched the two follow ups or the original Japanese version yet, but I will at some point.
Recommended for people who like creepy films. Boo!
1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations. The cat looked and sounded pretty gross though, having been locked in a cupboard for ages, poor thing. :-(
Top badass moment? Just because you’re on the run, escaping from unearthly, inhuman ‘dead things’ and you’ve just seen you’re best friend suddenly turn into a cloud of ash, that’s no reason to neglect dental hygiene. It was good to see reluctant hero Mattie grab her toothpaste and toothbrush from the bathroom as she made her escape. Taking the advice your dentist gives you seriously, is badass. Imagine having to deal with a bad toothache at the same time the world is facing Armageddon; that would really suck.