Saturday, April 30, 2011

Alien vs Aliens

If only Gary Busey was in Aliens. Literally.

Since I did the first two Predators, it's only fair I do the first two Aliens as well. This is slightly different, since both of these movies are universally praised, and I think public opinion on which is better is pretty much split 50/50. So this shouldn't shock too many people, but Aliens (2) > Alien.

In fact, I'm going to make a bold statement and say Aliens is my single favorite movie. This is looking at it from every way possible: The acting, the directing, the creature effects, the writing, the cinematography, even the editing combine to really make this the perfect movie. To top it off, the subtexts of the film are actually pretty powerful.

The main point of the film is a battle between two mothers On one side, there's Sigourney Weaver/Ripley, who was cryogenically frozen for years between the two films. During that time, she lost her daughter, but she is given a second chance when she finds Newt, the only survivor of the colony after the aliens torn it apart. On the other side is the Xenomorph Queen, and all of her hatchlings who were being killed by Ripley. Then as far as the marines go, the movie is an allegory of the Vietnam war. They have such better weapons and technology, but they are being killed by these aliens hiding in shadows. The great thing is, you can watch this differently every time, and still get so much enjoyment out of it.

Aliens was director James Cameron's second big movie after Terminator (which was actually a flop at first, and didn't develop much of a following until after it went to VHS) and the studio didn't trust him much. Ha. Let me repeat, the movie studio did not think James Cameron could make a successful movie. Aliens would gross $131 million, which really isn't that great considering Cameron's Titanic and Avatar combined for 4.5 BILLION dollars. Anyway, Avatar is the EXACT SAME MOVIE as Aliens, except with cute glowing blue cat people instead of nightmarish phallic bloodthirsty monsters. A big part of both movies involved the corporate guy trying to use the aliens for profit. He might as well have been the exact same character.

Now lots of people say you can't compare the two Alien films since they are such different genres. True, the original Alien is mainly a thriller while the sequel is action packed as you get. But, the second one is still unbelievably scary. The alien fights were so intense, you never get a chance to sit back in your chair for the last hour and a half. And that scene with the facehuggers... shutters. Aliens has so many more thrills than the original. There is just so much more to the sequel, it is just such a better movie.

And again, the first Alien is still a classic, and the chest bursting scene will go down as one of the greatest moments in movie history. The android scene is a truly underrated great scene too.

Aliens 3 and 4 and the VS films range from ok to horrible, but none of them have any of the magic that the first two do. Maybe I'll get into those some day when I hate myself more.

Speaking of hate, what is the deal with Ridley Scott's new Alien prequel? At first it was going to be about the humans, and not have aliens in it at all. Huh? The originals do a great job with the characterization of the humans while still having plenty of alien slaughter. I mean, Ripley is considered one of the greatest characters on film even from mainstream sources. Now it has aliens, but it's not called Aliens but Prometheus or something. I don't know, but Scott making a Monopoly movie. As in the board game. I'm done with him.

One final note, Aliens ends perfectly. Both films end with the exact same scene, her going to sleep in the cryo-chamber. Pay attention to her at the end of the first and at the end of the second. It's the same scenario with the same character, but with a completely different outlook of life. It's a perfect contrasting harmony.

Friday, April 29, 2011

New Releases for 4/29/2011

5 Fast 5 Furious

Just when the world didn't have enough stupid titles, here comes Fast Five. The previews say it's the best one yet, and I'll just have to take their word for it. Apparently, the Rock is the main character in this one, and there are spin-off plans with him in mind. Possibly a good idea. The Rock is a really talented, but poorly casted, actor. It's good to see him back in action movies (Walking Tall and the Rundown are great underrated flicks), and apparently Faster (somehow, not a Fast and the Furious spin-off) isn't too bad despite flopping at the box office.

Hoodwinked Too! Hood VS. Evil

Just when the world didn't have enough cookie cutter 3D CGI crapfests, here comes this. Apparently the first Hoodwinked (which came out way back in 2006. Five years is forever compared to most of these CGI cash-ins) was good. But it also had Anne Hathaway, who has gotten slightly more popular in that time.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

This doesn't look horrible, despite the bad reviews. The general consensus is it's a pale imitator to the comic book, but since the majority of America has never read the Italian comic, that shouldn't be a problem for most people. I'll reserve my judgment until I see it, but I can tell you for sure it isn't as good as the amazing Cemetery Man/Dellamorte Dellamore, the first Dylan Dog movie.


A Disney movie aimed at teens and Glee fans that was made for nothing. It's times like this when I cherish my Disney stock.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

A 3D documentary by Warner Herzog that's probably opening on three screens at the most this weekend. Since those screens aren't anywhere around here, watch his appearance on the Boondocks instead.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What to Watch For in May

Here's my Hype for what's coming out in May.

Thor - May 6th (pic not related)
Hype Level = INSANE

Marvel Studios has yet to let me down. I'm not even much of a Thor fan, but Chris Hemsworth looks great as the titular character. Looks like a great mix of action, drama, and fantasy/sci-fi/whatever they are calling this.

Priest - May 13th
Hype Level = Meh

I'll for sure check it out when it hits Red Box.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - May 20th
Hype Level = Hopeful

I love the PotC movies, but it's never a good sign when Johnny Depp doesn't like it. I have faith in Disney though.

The Hangover 2 - May 26th
Hype Level = Amazing

I'm still surprised how The Hangover knocked me out laughing even after repeated viewings. I just hope they don't recycle too many jokes.

Game of Thrones - HBO
Hype Level = Epic

The first episode was an amazing TV achievement, and it's already renewed for a second season. This is truly going to become an epic series.

The Dudesons in America - MTV
Hype Level = Curious

The Dudesons were always the best Jackass wannabes. This could be good.

NHL Playoffs - NBC/Versus
Hype Level = 0_0

The playoffs went from boring to crazy fast. I may have to bandwagon Nashville.

A Ton Pitchfork Bands
Hype Level = Wow (at the release dates. Don't care much for the music)

New Fleet Foxes, The Melvins, My Morning Jacket, Death Cab for a Cutie, Boris, The Antlers, Man Man, Architecture In Helsinki, and Lil' Wayne all in May? Surely there will be a few good songs between all of those.

Lady GaGa - Born This Way
Hype Level = Falling

I do like her, but I can't stand the title track. I wouldn't even know it was her just by the song.

Against Me! - Total Clarity
Hype Level = Eh

I liked their last two albums more than most. But I still don't really know what this is.

LA Noire - PS3/X360
Hype Level - Finally

This would have been HUGE years ago. Now, Just Cause 2, Infamous, Red Dead Revolver, and the Saboteur have all surpassed this.

A Working PSN Network

I want to play Portal and Mortal Kombat Online :(

Predator vs Predator 2

Let's start with one that gets alot of attention between my friends.

First thing first. A greater than sign ( > ) DOES NOT mean I do not like the less than movie. It simply means I like the greater than better. Now, if you see >>>>>>>>, then it's a different story.

But for this topic, Predator 2 > Predator 1

The original Predator is an amazing movie, easily a top-tier action film. The Predator itself is one of the greatest creatures of all time. We will NEVER see a design like that ever again, and we really have to give it up to the late Stan Winston for such a unique and terrifying creation. After Terminator, this is the quintessential Arnold movie. With that in mind. this is one of the most quotable movies ever. The other actors were all pretty memorable too, with Jesse Ventura, Carl Weathers, and my personal favorite Sonny Landham.

Did you know Sonny also ran for Governor (of Kentucky)? And Senate too. Everybody in this movie has to be in some political office. Unfortunately, his political hopes were shot down (by an invisible shoulder laser) when he called for genocide against Arabs. Not too bright of a move.

Anyway, Predator 1 is a really good movie, but Predator 2 is even better.The biggest difference being the change of settings. The entire original movie is in a jungle. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but man is there alot of green and not much else. The setting just gets a bit stale. Predator 2 takes place in the concrete jungle, and there's just so much more going on. Now, we have fights in buildings, fights on buildings, fights through buildings, fights on subways, fights in back alleys, and of course the finale inside a spaceship. This was also able to provide some new side-stories with druglords and cop corruption, none of which interferes with the main story. The movie even gains some social studies points, since the entire thing is symbolic of the shape of gang culture taking over inner cities and what not.

So the sequel is a nice breath of fresh (well, polluted) air with the setting, but there's more stuff that got upgraded. The Predator himself got a brand new set of gear, namely that blade-disc thing he throws. Most if not all of the modern designs of Predator is based on the P2 version of the alien. The humans were also able to use their own technology, and actually put up more of a fight that just Jesse Ventura shooting a mini-gun blindly into trees (a scene which almost killed him btw). This time around, the movie even managed to be more violence somehow, and added enough sex for it to be the first NC-17 movie (toned down to a R just before release), so it has enough for everyone.

While I love big bulging muscle men as much as the next guy, the cast of P2 really put the film over the top. Stan Winston could never design a creature as terrifying as Gary Busey. Bill Paxton -- the only person to be attacked by an Alien, and Predator, and a Terminator -- makes everything better. I really wish Maria Alonso's character was in it more with most of her sidestory cut, but that may be for the better. That one old lady gets me to laugh every time. And while Arnold left some huge boots to fill, Danny Glover does an excellent job of being an action star. Seriously, he takes on the Predator toe-to-toe, and uses its own arrogance to beat him. And there is no badass-er scene in anything than when Danny throws down his gun and yells to the other Predators "Ok, who's next!"

Finally, that last scene was just perfect. Alien and T-Rex heads!?!?!

Again, Predator 1 is a great movie, but Predator 2 is better in every category besides quotability. So have a Man-Night some day, and watch Predator 1 and 2 back to back. And whatever you do, do not watch past the second one. More on that later.


Hey everyone. My name is Jeff, and I feel like trying my hand at this blog game one more time.

I'll keep this short, and I'll try not to make any of my stuff too long. This blog will be mainly about movies, with nods to TV, games, music, books, people, hockey etc. too. The main focus will be comparing sequels and similar series. Expect lots of cage fights between two films.

There are a ton of great movies out there that people do not like, and I have no idea where the hate comes from. My only guess is too many people are persuaded by the media and by what's popular and what's cool to hate. Well, take off your nostalgia glasses and be persuaded by this media.

Feel free to comment, argue, bitch, moan, whine, or whatever, just make sure you back up whatever you say. Also, feel the opposite-of-free to click on the ads. Thanks. Enjoy.