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Alien: Covenant – Fassbender outstanding in nerve-jangling horror

By on May 17, 2017
Alien: Covenant

Scary monsters alert – Alien: Covenant reminds us that “In space, no one can you hear scream” and, writes Ruth Allen,  this “nerve-jangling and “nail-biting” film boosts the “terror level to maximum”. Meanwhile political thriller Miss Sloane features a “mesmerising central performance” from Jessica Chasten in a tale for our times.


(Run time:  120 MINS; Director: Ridley Scott; Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby).

Synopsis: Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created, with ALIEN: COVENANT, a new chapter in his ground-breaking ALIEN franchise. The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world. When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape. Showing in: IMAX: 4DX ; Superscreen; DBOX; ViP; 2D

This film is from distinguished director Ridley Scott, who has given us two of the greatest sci-fi genre films – the neo-noir, dystopian thriller Blade Runner (1982) and Alien (1979) – where we learned the full horror of the tagline: ‘In space, no one can hear you scream.’ Alien: Covenant is a follow-up to Scott’s semi-prequel film Prometheus (2012), taking the Alien franchise story back to its origins.

Familiar themes emerge in this heart-stopping, nail-biting, dark interstellar horror/thriller monster fest.  Ridley Scott has been widely quoted in the media as saying: “I wanted to scare the shit out of people. That’s the job”.

Alien: Covenant certainly achieves this with a nerve jangling screenplay from John Logan and Dante Harper. Great locations, cinematography and terrific production design all help this sci-fi world to visually dominate the big screen.

A freak accident wakes the crew of the Covenant, a space-ship with a ‘cargo’ of 2000 hyper-sleeping colonists being carried to a new planet. Among the crew is a next-generation synthetic person Walter (Michael Fassbender), who has been taking care of maintenance and drudge work. The captain died in the accident, unable to escape his sleep pod, and his grief-stricken wife Daniels (Katherine Waterston) finds it easier to confide in Walter, the emotionally neutered android, than face the pity of her shipmates.

Drawn to a remote unknown planet, two of the crew members (Waterston and Billy Crudup) discover what they think to be a unique, uncharted paradise. While there, they meet David (Michael Fassbender), the synthetic survivor (with a treacherous British accent) of the doomed Prometheus expedition years before. However the exotic and mysterious world soon turns dark and dangerous when a hostile alien life-form forces the crew into a deadly fight for survival.

The neomorph is the most hellish of monsters – viscous, sharp-toothed and with unbridled rage – tearing with equal ease through reinforced glass and human ribcages.

The film offers an outstanding double performance from Fassbender (ably backed by a strong ensemble), unforgettable Pompeii-like petrified corpses amid colossal ruins, a haunting score from Jed Kurzel and masterful, evocative sound design which helps to boost the terror level to maximum.

Images courtesy of FOX


(Running time: 132 minutes; Director: John Madden; Cast: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Stuhlbarg, Christine Baranski, Jake Lacy, John Lithgow, Sam Waterston, Alison Pill).

Synopsis: In the high-stakes world of political power-brokers, Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is the most sought-after and formidable lobbyist in DC. Known equally for her cunning and her track record of success, she has always done whatever is required to win. But when she takes on the most powerful opponent of her career, she finds winning may come at too high a price.

Director John Madden [Shakespeare in Love (1998); The Debt (2010); The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)] brings us this fast-paced, political thriller with a barnstorming and mesmerising central performance from Jessica Chastain [The Martian (2015); Interstellar (2014); A Most Violent Year (2014)]  and a tense and  intelligent script from Jonathan Perera.

Willing to bend the rules for her clients, Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is one of the most sought-after lobbyists in Washington, D.C. When asked by gun lobbyists to help oppose a bill that regulates firearms, she instead joins a scrappy boutique firm that represents the backers of the anti-gun legislation. Her defiant stance and determination to win now makes her the target of powerful new enemies who threaten her career and the people she cares about.

This is a top-notch relevant thriller about corruption which is always gripping and involving; there is a stellar ensemble supporting cast but it’s really Jessica Chastain’s film.

Images courtesy of Entertainment One

Miss Sloane

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