Film Friday #191

Alien (1979)

While heading back to Earth space ship, Nostromo, receives a distress call which wakes its crew from hypersleep. Reluctantly they decide to stop and explore the mysterious planet where the call originated. On returning to the ship they discover that they’ve brought a rather strange creature back with them and it’s not long before they realise it’s only got one thing on its mind – their total destruction. Alien  brings together a number of the ultimate horror movie elements that help to rachet up the fear levels to eleven. There’s the fact that the ship is full of dark nooks and crannies where a terrible beastie could hide not to mention that it’s a hellishly claustrophobic place. On top of that the alien is a horrible parasite which an ability to inflict a level of body horror that has rarely been surpassed. What could be scarier than something living inside you and then bursting though your motherfucking chest? Oh wait… it’s an impossibly strong and agile faceless creature with two mouths that bleeds acid. it also doesn’t help that not everyone on the crew is who they say they are, adding a clever double-cross element which means the crew is even more alone than they thought they were. What makes Alien great though is not the setting or the actual scariness of the alien but the outstanding direction from Ridley Scott than draws the tension out of every scene. There are also impressive performances from John Hurt, Ian Holm, Harry Dean Stanton and of course, Sigourney Weaver playing the original bad-ass sci-fi female. Still a classic after 35 years! 5/5

Kane was finding his new balaclava surprisingly uncomfortable

Kane was finding his new balaclava surprisingly uncomfortable

21 & Over (2013)

On the night of his 21st birthday, Jeff Chang’s (Justin Chon) two high school best friends, out of control party animal Miller (Miles Teller) and straight-laced finance student, Casey (Skylar Astin) pay him a surprise visit with the intention of having a massive night out. The only problem is that Jeff Chang has a medical school interview the next morning and if he screws it up his terrifying father (François Chau) is going to kill him. It doesn’t take much for Miller to convince his two friends that a couple of drinks won’t be the end of the world but everyone knows a couple of drinks is never just a couple of drinks and soon Jeff Chang has passed out cold. Casey is sure that if they get their friend home he’ll be able to sleep it off in time for the interview. The only problem is they can’t remember where he lives. What ensues is a night of nudity, drinking games, tampon eating, breaking and entering and endless gender and racial stereotyping… some of which is pretty funny and some of which is tedious and disgusting… all in the name of getting Jeff Chang home in time. For the most part 21 & Over is just a kind of rehash of The Hangover with younger characters. Miller’s refusal to move on from his teens pushed up against Casey’s inability to let loose and the potential loss of their former close friendship is a tired old trope. What might have been interesting is how they discover Jeff Chang is not who they thought he was and has been silently going through some serious emotional turmoil except that it’s tonally very odd in the context of the rest of the hijinks. 21 & Over is silly and predictable but better than the second Hangover film (and probably the third, which I couldn’t face)  if you’re into that kind of thing. Go in with low expectations and you’ll get exactly what you bargained for. 2/5

Just off the top of his head Jeff Chang couldn't remember where he had left his ID

Just off the top of his head Jeff Chang couldn’t remember where he had left his ID

White Men Can’t Jump (1992)

Sidney Deane (Wesley Snipes) is a professional basketball hustler using a set of clever ruses to earn big money playing pick-up games. He is beaten at his own game by an out of town hustler called Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson), who plays on the fact that he is white to trick opponents into underestimating him. At first Sidney is furious that he’s been trumped but he realises if the two of them hustle together they’ll be able to double their chances of winning and convinces Billy to join him. While Sidney’s goal is to make enough money to move his wife and child to a better neighbourhood, Billy wants to pay off a gambling debt which he ran up by never quite knowing when to quit. Initially the two don’t get on, playing racial stereotypes off each other, but as they spend more time together a strong friendship forms – one that will be tested by greed, pride and the desire to win at all costd. There is a lot to love about this early 90’s sports dramedy. The dialogue is really funny and snappy and the chemistry between Snipes and Harrelson is awesome as is the chemistry between Harrelson and Rosie Perez who plays his sassy Jeopardy-obsessed girlfriend, Gloria. On the downside it’s a bit predictable but overall an excellent buddy film with a great soundtrack and some brilliantly retro outfits. 3.5/5

XXX

The moment when Billy realised white men *can* jump!

The Colony (2013)

After a new ice age takes hold a group of human colonists are forced underground in order to survive. On a routine mission to connect with a neighbouring colony, Briggs (Laurence Fishburn) and Sam (Kevin Zegers) come across a savage band of cannibals with an unquenchable thirst for human flesh. Now they must race back to save the colony before this ferocious enemy rips it apart. As B movies go The Colony isn’t bad. The effects are passable and the story mostly makes sense. The cannibals also scared the bejesus out of me. The scene where Briggs and Sam first come across them made my skin crawl. Unfortunately the plot is a bit thin and the character development is even thinner, which makes it somewhat predictable and as scary as the cannibals are it’s hard to care about the fate of any of their victims. And Sam’s resilience when he fights off the cannibal leader (Dru Viergever) is ludicrous. There are worse ways to spend an hour and a half. 2/5

XXXX

Sam wondered if it was time for a new hat

22 Comments

  1. White Men Cant Jump is one of my all time favourite sports movies. LOVE it 🙂

    1. Abbi

      The dialogue is so snappy. I loved it as a teenager but I hadn’t seen it in years.

  2. I can’t believe Alien is 35 years old wtf. And yes still a great movie! 21 movie was kind of trying to be like that Project x did you see that one?

    1. Abbi

      Alien was actually made before I was born…

      I have seen Project X. I don’t really remember much about it but I think I gave it a similar score.

      1. Yes Alien is old ok not too old because it was made a year before I was born. lol Project x is pretty much same damn movie.

    1. Abbi

      How could you not?

  3. Cool reviews. Alien is so amazing.

    1. Abbi

      It’s a true classic.

  4. Alien is just amazing, still such a classic and Ripley such an iconic character.

    1. Abbi

      She totally set the standard for tough female characters in sci-fi.

      1. Totally agree, for me she is the best female character in the sci-fi genre.

  5. ” Still a classic after 35 years” No doubt it is, and I bet that chest-bursting scene is still as shocking as ever. Been ages since I saw this but boy was it epic. Hard to top miss Ripley!

    1. Abbi

      It definitely is. Even when you’re expecting it it’s really intense!

      1. Yeah, now every time I see John Hurt I ALWAYS remember that scene. Poor guy is always associated w/ that chest-bursting scene, ahah.

  6. I watched “White Men Can’t Jump” on video when I was about 15 (so 20 years ago then!) and I don’t think I’ve watched it since. Thanks for the reminder, I can’t wait to watch it again 🙂

    1. Abbi

      You should definitely watch it again. It’s so great!

  7. Yaaaassss Alien!! Can’t ever go wrong with that!! 🙂 Haven’t seen any of the others. For the most part, that sounds like a good thing. Lol. Although I wouldn’t mind seeing White Men Can’t Jump because I am quite fond of Woody Harrelson…

    1. Abbi

      White Men Can’t Jump is a lot of fun. Even if you just watch it for the banter and the ridiculous 90’s crop top and cycle shorts fashion.

  8. Just happened to come across an old mail about this post and saw hadn’t read this yet. Happy to see you loved Alien as much. So what do you think is the better film, Alien or Aliens?

    1. Abbi

      I’m going to go Aliens. Both are awesome but I have history with Aliens.

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