Alien(s) (1986) Review

Synopsis

After floating in space for 57 years, Lt. Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) shuttle is found by a deep space salvage team. Upon arriving at LV-426, the marines find only one survivor, a nine year old girl named Newt (Carrie Henn). But even these battle-hardened marines with all the latest weaponry are no match for the hundreds of aliens that have invaded the colony.

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Release date: July 18, 1986

(USA)Director: James Cameron

Film series: AlienBudget: 18.5 million USD

Screenplay: James Cameron, Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett

My Review

With the movie’s title being the plural of aliens, one can expect a lot of aliens to be in this film….. and oh boy are there a lot of aliens in this film. By keeping the same villainous creature in this film but changing the dynamic the film was fresh and just as suspenseful as Alien. As an audience member, we are still learning more about the alien species along with the characters within the film and that kept me engaged and interested.

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There is a lot more action in this film compared to Alien, and while the action scenes were well thought out and orchestrated I found the movie to be copying its formula from the first movie just a bit. For example, the little girl in the film (Newt) takes over the role that Ripley’s cat played in the first film. Ripley feels entitled to protect Newt at all costs, and at the end of the film, she must race against time to save her before the station explodes. Just as she had to do in the first movie to retrieve Jonesy (her cat).

Just as in Alien a crewmember betrays the mission by putting science above the lives of others. I knew that this film would follow the same pattern to some level, and wasn’t surprised at all when Burke did whatever he could to make sure the alien species went back with them for scientific study. Again this plot twist was changed a little bit, in the sense that the Android was not the one to betray them in this film. But at its core Aliens followed very similar plot patterns to its predecessor Alien.
That being said I still found myself engaged and sitting in anticipation all throughout the film, and there was no moment where I became bored or remembered that I was watching a movie.

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My Rating

4/5

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FireFly lane (2021) review

Synopsis: Tully and Kate meet as young girls on Firefly Lane and become inseparable friends throughout 30 years of ups and downs. First episode date: February 3, 2021 Network: Netflix Program creator: Maggie Friedman Executive producers: Maggie Friedman, Stephanie Germain, Katherine Heigl, Lee Rose, Shawn Williamson, Peter O’Fallon My Review: After watching the first few episodes of this series, I was not sucked into …

Alien (1979) Review

Synopsis In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate a distress call from an alien vessel. The terror begins when the crew encounters a nest of eggs inside the alien ship. An organism from inside an egg leaps out and …

Countdown To Christmas! The 5 Best Holiday Films

There is no shortage of Christmas movies in the world. Here is my list of the 5 Holiday films I find myself gravitating towards every year.

1. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

It’s a Wonderful Life is a film that I did not appreciate at all as a kid. It’s my dad’s favorite Christmas film, and my family has a tradition of watching it every year before Christmas. As a kid, I thought it was the most boring film in the world. But as I grew older, I began to appreciate it’s powerful messages and themes. The thing I love about this film is that it resonates with everyone in a different but powerful way. This is the ultimate feel-good film that teaches such valuable life lessons. Here is just a sample of the lessons taught from this film… no man is a failure that has friends, one life touches countless others in meaningful wats, the power of grace, realize all of your blessings, and that character is more important than trivial things. This film is truly incredible, and well-made if you have not seen it do yourself a favor and go watch it now!

2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

How The Grinch Stole Christmas was my favorite Christmas movie as a kid, and it remains at the top of my list to this day. One thing I appreciate about this film is the acting. Jim Carrey did an incredible job as the Grinch, and the filmmakers did an outstanding job creating an atmospheric world on film. The film’s ending melts my heart every time, and I love the filmmaker’s unique spin on the Grinch. Overall, this is a light-hearted and enjoyable film that I look forward to watching every year.

3. The Santa Clause (1994)

The Santa Clause is one of those films I loved as a kid and still enjoy to this day! This film has the perfect blend of light-heartedness, comedy, and heartfelt moments. It’s one I can watch every year without getting sick of it. Tim Allen does an incredible job portraying a dad who doubles as Santa Clause. The film serves as an incredible reminder that things don’t always go according to plan but regardless, sit back and enjoy the ride!

4. Christmas With The Kranks (2004)

This Holiday film will have you doubled over from laughing so hard! Christmas with the Kranks is an enjoyable film for all ages, and it seems to grow even more comedic every year. This film is lighthearted with subtle messages on the importance of friends and family. If you’ve ever thought about skipping Christmas and going on a cruise instead, I would highly recommend giving this film a watch.

5. Elf (2003)

This film is another guaranteed laugh. I recently watched a documentary on the making of this film, and somehow knowing that Will Ferrell was going around NYC in his elf costume interacting with real-life people instead of actors in some of the scenes makes the film even more enjoyable. The music, atmosphere, acting, and comedic timing of this film are all perfectly synced with one another and the film’s jokes age well with time. This film teaches its viewers not to be anybody but themselves, and that if people don’t like the real you then your better off without them. This film will bring some Christmas cheer and put you in a merry spirit.

What’s some of your favorite Christmas films?


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Alien(s) (1986) Review

Synopsis After floating in space for 57 years, Lt. Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) shuttle is found by a deep space salvage team. Upon arriving at LV-426, the marines find only one survivor, a nine year old girl named Newt (Carrie Henn). But even these battle-hardened marines with all the latest weaponry are no match for the hundreds …

Sofia Coppola: Characterization and Relatability

In a recent podcast with The Treatment, Sofia Coppola discusses her newest film, “On the Rocks,” starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones.


One of the things the podcast heavily focused on was the characterization of the two main characters and how relatable they are to everyday life. The film follows a father and a daughter having martinis and discussing the relationships between men and women from two very different perspectives.

There is something in this film for everybody to relate to on some level and in the podcast, Sofia Coppola expresses that even herself as the director relates to the characters of the film on an emotional level.
The actors were encouraged to bring a little bit of themselves into the role and to play off of that. This creates these very real dynamics that the characters can expand upon in the film. As an audience member watching a film with heavy ties to reality and relatability, it makes it much easier to connect with the film on an emotional level.


Listen to Sofia Coppola’s Podcast with The Treatment Here


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Lucas Hagar: The Influence of NArrative Storytelling on Documentaries

In a podcast with Film Riot, Lucas Harger talked in-depth about his filmmaking process as well as the creative cross between narrative film and documentary filmmaking. As a filmmaker, Lucas has been successful in crossing between editing both documentary and narrative stories to produce unique and creative content. According to Lucas, being able to create …

Samuel L. Jackson: Career Reflection

In a recent article with IndieWire, Zack Sharf wrote about the impact shooting ‘The Hateful Eight’ had on Samuel L. Jackson.


While receiving the Legend of Cinema Award at the 2020 SCAD Savannah Film Festival, Jackson took the time to reflect on his professional career. Jackson states that his relationship with the cast members from Tarantino’s film has been the closest film bonds of his whole career.


He went on to describe that the cast from the film constantly stays in touch via text and that it’s been the strongest cinematic connection he’s had throughout his entire career. This is extremely impressive since Jackson has appeared in such a wide number of films.


‘The Hateful Eight’ was considered a box disappointment, bringing in $155 million worldwide. However, the film has been called Tarantino’s most divisive and directionally artistic films


Read Zack Sharf’s full article Here


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julie taymor: the cross universe of film and theatre

In a recent podcast episode with The Treatment, Julie Taymor discussed her new movie “The Glories” and how she uses storytelling to externalize what characters are feeling on screen. Julie Taymor is a Tony Award-winning director of both theatre and film. Her goal as a creative is to master the fantastical elements of the film …

r-e-s-p-e-c-t on a film set: advice from mimi leder

In a recent podcast with the Director’s Guild, Mimi Leder, an American director and producer, gave her best advice for keeping a healthy and productive film set. Mimi’s key piece of advice was to treat everyone with the respect that they deserve, and to always show them your appreciation. She pointed out that the cast …

ava duvernay: tips on being an effective director

In a recent podcast with The Director’s Guild, Ava Duvernay sat down to discuss her tips of the trade on being an effective director.


Ava’s biggest piece of advice is to know yourself as a director, including your limitations as a director. Knowing what you are and are not capable of creates a more effective production environment. It’s also deeply important to be confident as a director. However, it’s equally important to be able to listen to the ideas of those around you. Duverney went as far as to call the input a director gets from the people around them as gifts.


She also emphasized how important it is to view all three stages of production as a process. A director needs to build a film brick by brick, and it’s critical to surround yourself with a cast and crew that you trust.


Ava’s last key of advice was to train yourself in multiple areas of film and to be able to work in various forms of filmmaking. You never know what’s going to happen, and it’s always best to be able to adapt if need be.


Listen to Ava Duvernay’s podcast with The Director’s Guild Here


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working with what you got: Advice from the creators of Faith Based

In a recent podcast with Film Riot, the creators of the film Faith Based (Vincent Masciale, Luke Barnett, and Tanner Thomason), gave constructive advice to filmmakers who think they need to wait till they make it into Hollywood to make their film. The filmmakers discussed how their original plan for the film was to shoot …

Aaron Schneider’s Directing advice from film Greyhound

In a recent podcast with Film Riot, Aaron Schneider discussed the things we were forced to learn while shooting Greyhound. Most of the films set was composed of green screens, which had its challenges. Schneider’s main advice is to come up with a detailed and set plan when working with extensive green screens and technology …

Humility and Confidence in Filmmaking- Quincy Ledbetter’s advice

In a recent podcast episode with Film Riot, filmmaker Quincy Ledbetter discusses his first feature film with Paramount and how he got to where he is today. Ledbetter’s key advice is that a filmmaker needs to find the perfect balance between confidence and humility. He went on to state that as a director it’s okay …

Justin Baldoni: Meaningful storytelling

In a recent podcast with Film Riot, American actor, director, and filmmaker Justin Baldoni revealed his secrets to telling a meaningful story. The director discussed how his latest films were inspired by real-life and how he allows the story of those around him to motivate him creatively. Everybody has a story to tell, and so much of filmmaking is simply listening and watching the stories of everyday life unfold around you.


Justin’s new film “Clouds” is now available for streaming on Disney+. He went on to explain the film’s long process to be made, and how the film was inspired by real life. Justin had a long-standing relationship with Zach Sobiech, a 17-year-old dealing with osteosarcoma. Justin promised Zach he would tell his story one day, and now the film is finally done being brought to life.


Baldoni also expressed that everything he knows about the film came from working on film sets and learning as he went. Acting on film sets was his means of college education, and he asked questions whenever he could and learned from watching the filmmaking process around him. Always be watching and listening to those around you. You never know when an inspirational story will appear before your eyes.


Check out Justin Baldoni’s full podcast with Film Riot Here


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Judd Apatow: The Role of improvisation in FILMMAKING

In a recent podcast with the Director’s Guild, Judd Apatow shared his advice for film directors. Judd had lots of brilliant advice to give, but the principal thing he kept reiterating was the important of improvisation in film-making. He expressed that throughout the entire film-making process he slowly allows the film to come to life. …

Control Your Property- Jim Cummin’s Advice On Distributing Your Own Film

Jim Cummings is an extremely unique director in the sense that he often heads up the distribution of his films and their production. In a recent Podcast with Film Riot, he explains to the listeners just how he goes about accomplishing this. To many filmmakers, the idea of overseeing the distribution of your own films …

julie taymor: the cross universe of film and theatre

In a recent podcast episode with The Treatment, Julie Taymor discussed her new movie “The Glories” and how she uses storytelling to externalize what characters are feeling on screen. Julie Taymor is a Tony Award-winning director of both theatre and film. Her goal as a creative is to master the fantastical elements of the film to express the emotion of a story and the complex relationships within the film.


According to Tamor, the thing that connects film and theatre is sound. Taymor aims to math the sound of the film with whatever is being shown on screen, in a way that makes an emotional connection between the audience and the characters on screen themselves.


For example, in “The Glories,” she describes a scene where Gloria is being escorted home by police. Suddenly the crappy neighborhood of East Toledo transforms into gingerbread houses, mocking the imagery of Hansel and Gretal as she makes her way home. The imagery diminishes by Gloria’s mother screaming at her once she finally arrives home, and the fantasy inside Gloria’s head fades away. By externalizing the fantasy coming from inside the protagonist’s head, Taymor allows the audience to feel alongside her.


In the podcast, Taymor stated: “I have to externalize. That’s what I do as a filmmaker. That’s what we’re free to do. We just don’t stick a camera on what we call naturalism or reality. I did it in Titus. I’ve done it in pretty much every film I’ve done.”


Listen to Julie Taymors podcast with The Treatment Here


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Too Loud For The Crowd?- Criticism On Nolan’s New Film Tenet

Christopher Nolan’s film “Tenet” has had a successful opening weekend. However, there is still much debate behind the sound-mixing of Nolan’s films and “Tenet” doesn’t appear to be any different. In a recent article with Indiwire, Zack Sharf explores the sound mixing of Nolan’s films and the reasoning behind it. Many people often complain that …

Jody Lee Lipe’s Advice on the Emotional Impact of Cinematography

In a recent podcast with Film Riot, Jody Lee Lipes gave some industry advice on conveying emotion through the eye of the camera lens to the audience. Jody Lee Lipes describes cinematography as the physicality of words in images, and the cinematography of a film can have a massive impact on the psyche of an …

r-e-s-p-e-c-t on a film set: advice from mimi leder

In a recent podcast with the Director’s Guild, Mimi Leder, an American director and producer, gave her best advice for keeping a healthy and productive film set. Mimi’s key piece of advice was to treat everyone with the respect that they deserve, and to always show them your appreciation. She pointed out that the cast and crew of a film were handpicked because of their talent and qualifications and to show them the respect that both them and their art deserves.

Mimi stated that before COVID-19 life, she would arrive on film set and before doing anything else go around and hug everybody. To showcase gratitude and spread good vibes to everyone on set. She also advised taken the time to get to know your cast and crew on both a personal and professional level. Everybody has a story to tell, and in getting to know somebody on a deeper level, it’s easier to understand them and how they function.

Another key piece of advice that Mimi gave is to find the perfect balance between listening to an actor’s instinct and your initial director instinct. She stated that when working with experienced and talented actors, they almost always want to listen to their gut instincts as an actor. Most of the time their gut instinct will never steer them wrong, however it’s okay to correct them and steer them more towards the directors instinct.


Read Mimi Leder’s full podcast with The Directors Cut Here


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Who Are The Film Critics? And Who Do They Represent?

Kate Erbland recently wrote an article for Indiwire discussing how both women, and critics of color are still extremely under-represented in the film critic world. She states that her article will probably appear familiar to those that read last year’s Thumbs Down Study from the Center for the Study of Women in TV and Film …

Ron Howard’s Advice on Being a Good Director

In a recent Podcast with The Director’s Cut, Ron Howard spoke to Jeremy Kagan about the relationships he builds with his collaborators, and the impact these relationships have on a film. He describes the mutual and respectful relationship he aims to develop with both his first assistant director and the cinematographer, stating that both the …

working with what you got: Advice from the creators of Faith Based

In a recent podcast with Film Riot, the creators of the film Faith Based (Vincent Masciale, Luke Barnett, and Tanner Thomason), gave constructive advice to filmmakers who think they need to wait till they make it into Hollywood to make their film. The filmmakers discussed how their original plan for the film was to shoot from their own houses using iPhones, and how it grew into a full-blown feature film.

Throughout the entire pre-production process they all decided they were going to make this film no matter what, even if no producer picked it up or was willing to work with them. All three agreed that this is such an important attitude for filmmakers to have regarding every project they may encounter.

They also gave some detailed advice on the overall pre-production process. When creating a script, all three men agreed that it is crucial to write your script knowing which resources are available to you. The locations, characters, props, and everything else with your film must be tangible and cost productive. Like many other filmmakers, they advised that a lot of time be spent in the pre-production phase, and to get as much feedback as much as you can early on in the process.


Listen to Film Riots Podcast with Vincent Masciale, Luke Barnett, and Tanner Thomason Here


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The Mule (2018) Review

Synopsis Broke, alone and facing foreclosure on his business, 90-year-old horticulturist Earl Stone takes a job as a drug courier for a Mexican cartel. His immediate success leads to easy money and a larger shipment that soon draws the attention of hard-charging DEA agent Colin Bates. When Earl’s past mistakes start to weigh heavily on …

Silence of the Lambs (1991) Review

Synopsis Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI’s training academy. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight …

Aaron Schneider’s Directing advice from film Greyhound

In a recent podcast with Film Riot, Aaron Schneider discussed the things we were forced to learn while shooting Greyhound. Most of the films set was composed of green screens, which had its challenges.

Schneider’s main advice is to come up with a detailed and set plan when working with extensive green screens and technology on set to try to minimize everything that could go wrong during filming. It’s always a good idea to do test runs of everything before the camera even begins rolling. Once you have all the structure completed for a scene, then you know you are ready to roll the camera.

According to Schneider, the idea for the film came from a book Tom Hanks read and then wrote a script from. In terms of creating a movie that’s been inspired from a book, Aaron stated that everything that you need story wise comes from the narrative. For Greyhound he said the complete structure for the film came from Tom Hanks script, which was inspired straight from the novel. His final piece of advice about the story is to make your main goal as a filmmaker to bring the story to life not to change it.


Listen to Arron Schneider’s full podcast with Film Riot Here


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Sixteen Candles (1984) Review

Synopsis With the occasion all but overshadowed by her sister’s upcoming wedding, angst-ridden Samantha (Molly Ringwald) faces her 16th birthday with typical adolescent dread. Samantha pines for studly older boy Jake (Michael Schoeffling), but worries that her chastity will be a turnoff for the popular senior. Meanwhile, Samantha must constantly rebuff the affections of nerdy …