Tag Archives: The Cubicle Escapee

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews presents ALIEN: COVENANT

Well, that was a fucking fun ride. I LOVED ALIEN: COVENANT. Completely blows Prometheus out of the water. And that’s really funny because it is more of a Prometheus sequel than it is a true Alien prequel. Of course you actually get Xenomorphs again in this movie but the mythology, theology, and over all sci-fi integrity that Prometheus brought is front and center in this film. I am not going to lie, I am an unabashed Prometheus fan. People didn’t like it because it asked more questions than it answered, it was weird, they didn’t like the Engineers, there were no Xenomorphs. But I saw a more complicated film that tried to do something new that people hadn’t seen before than to just explain what the fuck a “space jockey” was. But Alien: Covenant is for both Prometheus fans and it is also trying to win back the people that didn’t like Prometheus very much. And I think it exceeds on all levels.

Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t even touch Alien or Aliens in terms of quality and being a masterpiece. But it does get closer than anything that came before it. So yes, the best Alien film since 1986’s Aliens. I’m not afraid to say that. If you are expecting a click, click, click action bonanza you are going to be extremely disappointed. You get more of the slow burn that the first Alien film gives. Lots of exposition, and a slow crawl toward the nightmare you know is before you. And when things do get going, they never let up until the end. The action is pretty stellar and the special effects are fantastic. Well most of them are. If I do have one complaint is that some of the shots of the aliens in action could’ve used a little more polish. But the worlds, ships, and environment are so real and awe-inspiring to look at since the world of Avatar.

But Zach, is it scary? Well, there are some very gross and disturbing parts. It gives you probably the most graphic gore infested Alien film to date. But I wouldn’t say it is scary. More tense and action oriented, with a dreadful and sinister vibe. Not like horror jump scares left and right. Which is okay. Cheap jump scares don’t work anymore. Dread is always the perfect recipe. Ridley’s Scott’s direction in this is near pitch perfect. I am very glad he came back to the genre that he started and is treating his series like Michael Bay does with Transformers, but instead of keeping dropping his baby like Bay does, he actually nurses and cares for it. All the shots here are wonderful to look at and the set design is fantastic. And if you are looking for answers to Prometheus, while it still asks a couple of questions we will get with the inevitable third film, you get some huge answers the last film asked, and those answers are delicious and satisfying.

The acting is better here too. Michael Fassbender shines in everything he is in and here is no exception. He is perfect playing an android and seems to be really into his role. The film has a couple of smarter characters in this than the last one two. Danny McBride, Katherine Waterson, and Billy Crudup are fine here, but they are no Fassbender and definitely no Sigourney Weaver. McBride is actually really quite impressive here, considering that he is playing a little something more serious than the usual assholes and obnoxious characters he plays. Waterson is one of the better female characters to date, showing a more impressive strong female character that has some smarts as well as brawn. But like I said, this is the Fassbender show.

I love this film. I already want to see it again. If you like it depends on how much you love the Alien franchise and how much you liked Prometheus. It’s a direct Prometheus follow up while also trying to lean it’s way more toward the Alien mythos and atmosphere. The perfect combination in my eyes. I see it traveling straight more toward an Alien environment in the third one, with some last minute insights wrapping everything up leading us to the events of the first film. I thought this was a really great film with a lot of cool ideas, awesome action, beautiful cinematography, relentless gore, and just a whole lot of fun. Also, love the mixture between the score of Prometheus and Alien. Just a really cool melting pot of a movie.


Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: SNATCHED

So I saw Amy Schumer’s right boob today…not sure how I feel about that… I do know how I feel about the movie SNATCHED. It is fucking terrible. One of the year’s worst. I chuckled, MAYBE, once. It wasn’t funny, especially when about 30 minutes of the 90 minute runtime is Amy Schumer again talking about her vagina and other vagina jokes that I’ve heard before, none of them clever. And when you have a comedic genius Goldie Hawn in your cast, and you barely use her, and not in the way you are supposed to, it’s slapping a lot of film enthusiasts in the face. This woman was in Private Benjamin, and you have her playing an unfunny mother that just complains throughout the whole movie and doesn’t really do anything comedic. This film is an absolute crime to watch, and one of the worst comedies to come out in a very long time.

You know what another crime is? Having a cameo that looks like it might’ve been written for Hawn’s real life partner Kurt Russell and instead hire Law and Order SVU’s Christopher Meloni. Would’ve been perfect with Russell, but are you really surprised considering the rest of the movie sucks as well? Amy Schumer has not been funny since Trainwreck. That is the last time I thought her genius that she does have in her still somewhere shined with her talents. Thank God she didn’t write this, otherwise I would maybe say that her career is over. No, the blame of all of this goes to the screenwriter that single-handedly ruined the new Ghostbusters, Kate Dippold. The Heat sucked, Ghostbusters sucked, and this sucked. As in baseball, she’s out, and should never come back.

Everything in this film is predictable, down to getting kidnapped, escaping, getting help…it’s just all boring and has been done countless times before. It’s just vagina jokes galore, and Amy Schumer just whining for two hours. Goldie Hawn is just wasted here. She’s made some classics and is a classic comedian (Overboard anyone?), but this is just bad, considering that she hasn’t done a movie since The Banger Sisters. Not her fault that she is a two dimensional character, she was just written that way, and you can tell she is struggling trying to make something of the material.

This is going to be a really short review because there is really nothing to talk about artistic wise here. The writing sucks, the direction is basically point, shoot, and cut, and there is nothing unique about this movie at all. The jokes all fall flat, they even make Ike Barenholtz unfunny. It’s just a very very very bad comedy. If you need to see something funny, snatch something else at your local video store, you’re better off.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE WALL

I’m conflicted. I really really really really liked this movie. Except for the ending. But I have to recognize that the ending was bold, out of the norm, inventive, and very “not Hollywood.” If I had to compare it to another ending, I would compare it to the little seen 2010 film Buried starring Ryan Reynolds. I know people that were absolutely pissed off by the ending. I thought the ending made sense. Here, it made sense too, but I guess I was more reluctant to like it because it involves our military and I cared more about the characters here behind a wall way more than I did Ryan Reynolds in a box. People in the military are going to hate the ending of this film. In fact, I walked out of the theater with a vet that absolutely was so pissed off at the ending his face was red. So yeah, if you are military, you might want to cut the film off before the ending arrives.

I’m not going to spoil the ending here and I’m not going to talk about it anymore, so let’s talk about what made this film a little awesome. The plot and performances mainly. Basically if you had to compare this film to others, it’s Phone Booth meets (insert war film here). A U.S. Sniper (John Cena) and his spotter (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) are on a mission responding to a report that contractors were killed while building a pipeline in Iraq. When they get there, they are trapped by an Iraqi sniper, wanting to talk and play games. All they have is this one wall for protection, radio shot out by the sniper, and have no idea where the sniper is.

My past review I commented on how The Dinner was way too long, that it should’ve been a quick 90 minute little tension bot boiler, not two hour. Well the run time of this film was what made it great. It is a quick 90 minutes, and makes the film tight and in control. Within those 90 minutes, are two fantastic performances, both from wrestler (the next best one since Dwayne Johnson) John Cena and Kick Ass’s Aaron-Taylor Johnson. Especiall Johnson, who has given us a one two punch with his performances in this and his award winner performance in Nocturnal Animals. 50% of this film is relied on their performances and they both give 110% of themselves into this flick. You can feel their desperation, their panic, their worries; it reaches out of the screen and onto you, hoping that they will make it out of there alive.

The Kiefer Sutherland sniper part is voice by Laith Nakli, and although he does not even compare to Kiefer Sutherland’s tremendous scary voice in Phone Booth, the trick that his character has up his sleeve is not only smart and brilliant, but diabolical. For 90 minutes I was on the edge of my seat. I love a good sniper film, and this is the best since Phone Booth, Jarhead and Enemy at the Gates.

Unfortunately there is not much more to say about this film without getting into heavy spoilers and ruining all the tricks this movie has up it’s sleeve. If any people in the military read my review and see this movie, I would love to know your thoughts on it, particularly the strategy and inventiveness behind it. Also, I would like to know your anger with the ending. This movie would be a masterpiece if the ending didn’t upset me so much. But maybe that was the whole point of it, to grab at my heartstrings? If so, good job, but I’m still a little mad at you. This movie is borderline masterpiece with just a dash of frustration, but 100% recommendable in seeing this at a point in your life.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE DINNER

THE DINNER has such a great, high concept of a pot boiler plot, that it pains me to say that this is one of the year’s worst films. This film was 2 hours when it didn’t need to be, it could’ve gotten rid of all the flashbacks except for a very important few, completely overhauled the stupid ending, stayed at the dinner between the four main characters more, and had been a very, very tight incredible 90 minutes. Instead we get a bunch of flashbacks, that not only completely murder the film, but that really don’t have to do with shit other than the fact that the writer is trying to over explain things that had already been shown to us. The performances are fantastic, but not even close to want to come back for another course.

If you didn’t know, The Dinner is about 4 people, two of them are brothers with their wives, whose kids have done such a horrible crime, and due to some circumstances haven’t been identified yet, that they have dinner at a really fucking expensive, posh, fancy, restaurant to discuss what to do about it. Sounds like a great dialogue film with utter dread and tension right? Yeah, well maybe it would’ve been with more of maybe only 20 minutes of being at the restaurant in the entire film that has a run time of two hours. Right before the ending, we get a great just tense as fuck ten minutes that I could’ve watched for another 80. Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Rebecca Hall, and Steve Coogan just going at it.

But no, we get flashbacks, too many of them, one of them one of the dumbest and boring sequences I have seen in all my 30 years on this Earth. Now a couple of these flashbacks are very, very important, such as what their kids ended up doing, those completely needed to stay in the film. But flashbacks dealing with some of the couple’s past relationships, mental health history, and other jibberish really didn’t need to be shown. It could’ve been told to us some in the dialogue, it could’ve shown us the mental health stuff with Steve Coogan’s incredible acting in this. And it did during the dinner, but just kept hitting the nail on the head in flashbacks that I didn’t really need to see and were just plain unnecessary.

What I really want to talk about in this review is this 10 to 15 minute flashback sequence that has to be THE MOST unnecessary, bullshit, pointless, boring, God awful thing I have ever seen in cinema. It is just Richard Gere and Steve Coogan, a flashback trying to portray Coogan’s collapsing mental health, going through a memorial of the Battle of Gettysburg, and then dissolves into almost ten minutes of Stephen Lang just talking about the Battle of Gettysburg like a history show. It was one of the most boring scenes I have ever been put through and complete horseshit. Was this scene in the novel it was based on or did the director have awful choices about what to do in this film.

The direction in this film is another part of the problem. It’s awful. All these choices the director makes is just awkwardly awkward. It’s like director Oren Moverman is trying to make a mainstream thriller with an avant-garde film. And it doesn’t work. At all. Imagine if you will watching an Avengers movie and then halfway into the film the camera just focuses on the American Flag while reading out our Bill of Rights. Yeah, that random and awkward. Just…ugh…pointless and made me hate the film more than I already did with the other stupid flashbacks. Oh, and the ending sucks. It abruptly ends with hardly any resolution.

I wanted to see The Dinner, not The Flashbacks with Dinner, or Visions during Dinner. I wanted to see the conversation taking place in present day during dinner. I wanted 80 minutes of that, with a ten minute flashback to see what the children did. Performances do not make a movie, I have said that time and time again. You need a combo of performances, plot, cinematography, scene significance, direction, all of it in one big melting pot. And if one of those things doesn’t work at least 90% of the time, you don’t have a film. This film has performances and maybe 10% of a plot. There was no direction and absolutely no scene significance. You had 10% of a good movie, and usually, on my radar, if you go under 30%, you get one of the worst films of the year. And here I serve you one of the worst on a giant platter full of shit.