In Review!: “Alien: Covenant”

Once Ridley Scott again took over the reins of the Alien franchise, its humans got a whole lot dumber. Prometheus brought a crew to a foreboding planet only to have them immediately dispense of their safety helmets and fuck around with unknown, potentially harmful lifeforms, to say the least of it. But while Prometheus was a space horror rumination on man’s hubris, its many threads and evasions kept its ideas from congealing into a cohesive whole. It was about our ludicrousness while being fully ludicrous itself.

Alien: Covenant however sticks the thematic landing that its predecessor did not. Rest assured, these space colonists act just as stupidly – which will certainly frustrate many – but this film is more focused in its presentation of humanity not worth saving, a link in the evolutionary chain that’s met its end date.

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In Review!: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

Welcome back to the wizarding world of Harry Potter – sort of. As the twinkling tones of John Williams’s original score quickly give way to James Newton Howard’s new creation at the beginning of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, this new franchise exists to play off of your imagination captivated by Harry Potter for spin off thrills. The stakes are never nearly as high, nor the engagement with character or world-building – but Beasts is fun all the same.

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Set in New York City well before Voldemort’s reign, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his suitcase full of magical creatures arrive to a very politically different world than his British homeland. The wizard and muggle (or American: no-maj) relationship is far more divided, making for a more fraught and underground magical realm. As darker forces take root, prepare for the allegorical as Scamander plays Rowling Pokemon. The beasts brought to life in playful and colorful CGI may be the most fantastic element.

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