By: Henry J. Fromage –
It was a pretty busy and therefore movie-lite week. I’ll add a bonus TV series shout-out, since I’ve been tending towards shorter, more digestible fare lately.
127. Fist Fight
Pure Hollywood studio-comedy pap that fits the purpose of watching it perfectly fine. This is a comedy in the Horrible Bosses-vein, like the majority of studio comedies are these days, meaning it earns its R-rating with a bunch of entirely superfluous f-bombs and very little else daring or original enough to warrant it any other way. It also earns just enough laughs to justify a watch if you know what you’re getting into, via a committed cast of comic ringers in supporting roles like Jillian Bell and Tracy Morgan, as is typical in these sorts of films.
128. Alien: Covenant
This was much more of a direct sequel to Prometheus than I was expecting or the marketing divulged, and in many ways is all about the best character of that film, David, as the always ill-fated crew of the Covenant lands on a hospitable-looking planet when their ship takes heavy damage seven years away from their intended colony planet destination and finds the uncanny android there. A Frankenstein tale befitting the Gothic sensibilities of co-writer John Logan and the aesthetic predilections of Ridley Scott ensues, which does have its pleasures, even if it doesn’t cohere all that well with the obligatory and oversold Xenomorph horror/action setpieces. I’d say if you liked Prometheus, you’ll find something to appreciate here, although my wife would heartily disagree.
129. 20 Million Miles to Earth
So, I only caught the last 75% or so of this, but dammit, I’m counting it. Ray Harryhausen devised a way to pay for his Italian vacation by setting his latest creature feature in Rome, in which a Venusian monster comes to Earth and starts to grow unchecked in its more hospitable conditions, then the Army pits a zoo elephant against it for some reason. There’s something about vintage Harryhausen stop-motion animation that just plain works as spectacle, and any creature feature fan will find much to like here.
Master of None
Who would’ve seen a season of fairly immaculate Italian neo-realist-inspired television coming from Tom Haverford? And yet, here we have it, 10 episodes of loosely related vignettes, some only barely related to Ansari’s character’s loves and losses, that will go down as some of the best TV of the year. It’s only too bad that so much of the season does revolve around Ansari’s relationship with his Italian belle, as these parts feel the weakest and least grounded in reality in some ways- but not nearly enough to ding the show all that much. Here’s hoping he’ll be back for more, although who knows when that will be.