Back in 1979 an up and coming movie Director, who hitherto had gained much success in the world of television commercials, launched what is arguably one of the most respected and long standing film franchises in movie history. In only his second Directorial outing after 1977's 'The Duellists' and before 1982's classic 'Blade Runner', Ridley Scott brought to our screens a Science Fiction Horror film the like of which had not been seen before. With 'Alien' he depicted a kick-ass female protagonist in Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley, played convincingly and ground breakingly by Sigourney Weaver who battles it out in some galaxy far far away with a deadly extraterrestrial lifeform, known as 'the Alien' or 'Xenomorph'. As a recap, here is a brief history of the 'Alien' franchise and its spin-offs and prequels, in the lead up to the release of this weeks 'Alien : Covenant' as Previewed below.
* 'Alien' - released 1979 - Director, Ridley Scott. Budget US$11M, worldwide gross Box Office US$204M. Stars Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skeritt, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Harry Dean Stanton, Yaphet Kotto. Set aboard the US commercial starship 'Nostromo'. Features one Alien only.
* 'Aliens' - released 1986 - Director, James Cameron. Budget US$18M, worldwide gross Box Office US$184M. Stars Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton, Paul Resier, Lance Henriksen. Set aboard the spaceship USS 'Sulaco' 57 years after the events of the first film. Features multiple Aliens.
* 'Alien3' - released 1992. Director, David Fincher. Budget US$50M, worldwide gross Box Office US$160M. Stars Sigourney Weaver, Charles Dance, Brian Glover, Paul McGann, Pete Postlethwaite, Lance Henriksen. Set on the refinery/penal colony planet 'Florina 'Fury' 161' after the escape pod from the 'Sulaco' crash lands there. Features one Alien and a Queen.
* 'Alien : Resurrection' - released 1997. Director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Budget US$70M, worldwide gross Box Office US$162M. Stars Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Ron Perlman, Brad Dourif, Dan Hedaya, Micahel Wincott. Set abroad the spaceship USM 'Auriga', two hundred years after the events of the last film. Features multiple Aliens.
* 'Alien vs. Predator' - released 2004. Director, Paul W.S. Anderson. Budget US$60M, worldwide gross Box Office US$173M. Stars Sanaa Lathan, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremner. Set on planet Earth on a remote island one thousand miles off the Antarctic coast, and features a cross over of two film franchises - 'Alien' and 'Predator'.
* 'Aliens vs. Predator : Requiem' - released 2007. Directors, Colin and Greg Strause. Budget US$40M, worldwide gross Box Office US$129M. Stars Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz. Set on planet Earth at Gunnison, Colorado, USA, and features the continuing cross over story started with the first spin off.
* 'Prometheus' - released 2012. Director, Ridley Scott. Budget US$125M, worldwide gross Box Office US$404M. Stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall. Set thirty years before the events of 'Alien'. Set aboard the scientific vessel 'Prometheus' that lands on distant moon LV-223 where evidence of an Alien culture is first discovered.
* 'Alien : Covenant' - released 2017. Director, Ridley Scott. As Previewed below.
* 'Alien : Awakening' - release date yet to be confirmed. Director, Ridley Scott.
This week we have four new movies to tempt that cinema going dollar from out of your pocket. We kick off with a highly anticipated, much hyped and eagerly awaited Sci-Fi horror franchise that had its beginnings almost forty years ago, that sees the Director originator return for this third instalment out of the six films seen so far. We then switch to an action comedy of a mother and daughter holiday of a lifetime that goes horribly wrong in the jungles of South America as they struggle against crims, danger, adventure and each other. And then we finish off with two biographical docos of two world renowned Australian artists who both died before their time, but left a lasting legacy for future generations.
When you have sat through your film of choice in the coming week remember to share your views, opinions and observations of your movie experience by recording your relevant, pertinent and succinct Comments below this or any other Post. We'd love to hear from you, and meanwhile, enjoy your next film outing.
'ALIEN : COVENANT' (Rated MA15+) - in a franchise that he launched 38 years ago, Director Ridley Scott is back with his Science Fiction horror touchstone that began with only his second feature film Directorial outing, 'Alien' back in 1979 and has so far seen six films under the 'Alien' banner and two spin offs with the 'Alien vs. Predator' franchise. This highly anticipated prequel to the events leading up to that seminal 1979 film, is the second in the prequel series that Scott released in his 2012 film 'Prometheus', and the third film out of the six that he has Directed. Scott has confirmed already that the Screenplay for the third prequel is written and he hopes to begin shooting what is currently reported as being 'Alien : Awakening' sometime in 2018. The Director has no intention it seems of letting go of the franchise he created having stated that 'Alien : Covenant' would be the first of three more films before linking up with original 'Alien', starting a new trilogy of Sci-Fi films, and that the 'Prometheus' sequels will reveal who created the Xenomorph Aliens. Watch this space.
'SNATCHED' (Rated MA15+) - here we have an action comedy offering Directed by Jonathan Levine and Co-Written by Amy Schumer who also takes top billing alongside Goldie Hawn in her first big screen role since 2002's 'The Banger Sisters'. Dumped very unceremoniously by her boyfriend just before their planned exotic holiday to South America, Emily Middleton (Schumer) persuades her over cautious conservative mother Linda (Hawn) to accompany her on holiday instead. When the two embark on what is thought to be the holiday of a life time, proves to be something completely different as the mother and daughter pairing must work through their differences to escape from an outrageous jungle adventure and a potentially life threatening situation at the hands of various undesirable underworld criminal types. Also starring Joan Cussack and Christopher Meloni.
'I AM HEATH LEDGER' (Rated M) - this feature length biographical documentary is Directed by Adrian Buitenhuis and Derik Murray and celebrates the life of acclaimed Actor and Artist Heath Ledger who died so tragically and prematurely in 2008, aged just 28. Using mostly previously unseen footage taken through the lens of his own camera this up close and very intimate look at the life, family, friends and work of the all too short life of Heath Ledger as he performs his own very personal journey through his gestures, actions and words. Featuring testimonials and narrative of the enigmatic young Actor who had already achieved so much in his short career, are the likes of Ben Mendelsohn, Emile Hirsch, Djimon Hounsou, Ang Lee, Naomi Watts and Catherine Hardwicke together with excerpts from his most notable film appearances including 'Brokeback Mountain', 'The Dark Knight', 'Monster's Ball' and 'I'm Not There'.
'WHITELEY' (Rated M) - Directed and Co-Written by James Bogle, this biographical documentary film takes us on a journey through the life and legacy of one of Australia's most celebrated Artists - Brett Whiteley. Told mostly in his own voice this rare insight is brought together from personal letters, notebooks and photographs and using archive footage, visual effects and dramatic performance. This at times raw and intimate film shows Whiteley's unending passion to express himself through his art. Having died in 1992 at the age of 53 of a drug overdose Whiteley's outstanding portfolio of work has left an indelible mark on the history of Australian art that is known the world over by blazing a trail for thirty years before that still inspires generations of artists 25 years after his death.
With four new cinema releases coming to a movie theatre near you in the week ahead as Previewed above, together with those Reviewed and Previewed between these humble Blog pages previously, do you really need a better reason to get out there and catch a film of choice on a cool Autumnal evening Down Under? When you have done so remember to share your thoughts with us all here, and in the meantime, I'll see you sometime somewhere in the week ahead at your local Odeon.
-Steve, at Odeon Online-