ALIEN @ 40(-ish) Still Has It (…Mostly)

ALIEN 40

A bit late to the party, but I have my reasons…

So, I waited a few days to post this to more or less commemorate the day I went to see ALIEN some 40 years ago. I was 15, and I took the day off from school to hoof it down to Times Square just to see this on a larger screen than was available in the Bronx. Or, I probably went downtown because I didn’t wan to be caught walking into or out of a theater there showing it. Or both. Anyway, it happened and as with Star Wars before that, I’d say my cinematic life took an upswing thanks to some fine film-making that recalled things I’d seen in the past. Ridley Scott’s direction was impressive, the cast was great and what more can be said about the production design and art direction that combined a few distinct art styles you’d think wouldn’t mesh together at all into something so… beautiful to look at?

(Thanks, Moviepilot Trailers!)

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Blu-Ray Review: Alien Covenant

“There’s so much here that doesn’t make sense…”
– Katherine Waterston as Janet “Danny” Daniels, Alien Covenant

AC_BR.PNGIs the Weyland-Yutani Corporation made up of really stupid, willfully ignorant, and incredibly single-minded people hell-bent on burning through piles of money and human bodies every chance they get… or am I missing something here? Every time they try to get an certain cranky, homicidal alien life form for their research or whatever other unsavory purposes, bad things happen and just get worse. I could just blame the robots, but it hasn’t *always* been their fault.

The humans on the other hand? Ay-yi-yi, we’re talking idiotic in increasing percentages in what, over a century of trying to bag that xenomorph and its assorted relatives? That’s a pretty lousy batting average, folks. That said, the original Alien gets a big fat weekend pass for its crew’s carelessness because you got your average space truckers griping about low wages and such who had no idea about what was coming thrown into a situation they had no control of .  Although, now that I think about it… what the hell was Ash’s plan had the Nostromo crew somehow killed off their unwanted passenger first?

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Granted, the current chronology of the Alien franchise means the events in Prometheus came first and brought us the unbalanced synthetic David (Michael Fassbender) who ends up even nuttier in Alien Covenant (more on that below). Then we get Ian Holm’s creepy, frustrated and malfunctioning Ash in 1979’s Alien followed by the Lance Henriksen’s helpful Bishop in Aliens and Alien 3, followed by Winona Ryder’s “Hey, huh? I’m an android?” part in Alien Resurrection. While Ridley Scott seems hell bent on making a few more Alien films that take place before the original, Alien Covenant manages to (wisely) swipe enough from the above films not shot by Scott to somewhat good effect.  Still, I’m somehow left  with more bad questions than good answers about a ton of important stuff.

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Tiny Bubbles: On Computers, Trailers, Cabbages, and Kings (Or Something Like That)

(Thanks, joanbeque!)

TRUTH. If you click off your computing device for long enough to get outside the bubble you’ve put yourselves in, de-stress for a spell AND stay away from your phone other than anything other than it’s initially Alexander Graham Bell’d purpose (just phone calls, folks!), you’ll probably become happier. At least temporarily. Granted, many people you don’t really know in real life but are your “online friends” will think you’ve died or have had an accident… but won’t check up on you because they’re busy with other stuff like catching up on their favorite reality shows and other important things.

Now, I’ve actually been in the midst of a few too many projects, had an eye allergy bug me for a bit and as of this writing have like 49 movies to catch up on (my movie watching partner tapped out thanks to personal issues I won’t discuss here because they’re Nunya Bizness… or mine, for that matter) and a bunch of half-scribed reviews and such piling up. Those will get done, latest Windows updates aside.

That particular nightmare first and foremost – Windows 10 is making me (and probably you) nuts.
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Happy ALIEN Day! Go Get Scared or Win Some Stuff (Or Both)

Pin-Up

“Hey, baaaaaaby…. ‘sup?” Photo Credit: Desmond Mo

 

ALIEN DaySo yes, it’s officially ALIEN Day and if you’re a fan of the franchise with some time and a bit of disposable income on your hands, there are a few ways to get involved in the festivities today.

The Alien Anthology page on Twitter has a big deal contest where video questions about the film pop up like chestbursters and you can answer them for a chance to win some awesome ALIEN to Prometheus-themed merchandise from what’s looking like every company that makes officially licensed swag based on the series. Continue reading

ALIEN Day is Coming: Is Your Brain Ready For Some Pointed Questions?

ALIEN DAY logo
ALIEN headIt figures that what with there being a Star Wars Day that’s taken off into a yearly festival of fun for many, someone at Fox would have kicked out the idea of an ALIEN Day and some sort of all-day contest to go with that.

Well, here you go: Starting April 26, 2016 (4/26, a reference to planet LV 426, naturally), there will be 24 hours of all-ALIEN thrills for everyone from movie buffs to those new to the franchise (there’s always someone who’s NEVER seen an ALIEN flick!) who want to know what the fuss is all about.

Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products has announced an out-of-this-world global celebration of the ALIEN franchise culminating with a special 24 hour, fan-focused social media event on April 26th – a nod to LV-426, the planet from the iconic ALIEN films. ALIEN DAY (#AlienDay426) will encompass a wide range of executions including nationwide screenings, never-before-seen consumer product activations and the kickoff of the ALIEN: Ultimate Trivia Challenge, allowing fans to test their ALIEN knowledge – with the chance to win prizes every 42.6 minutes on Twitter (@AlienAnthology). Fans may register now for the contest at ALIEN Anthology and refer to “Official Rules” for additional details.

The funny thing is, while Star Wars Day is a super family-friendly time indeed, I can’t see this catching on with the younger set. Hell, I’m old enough to remember this toy-related debacle which I actually had one of (they were quite cheap a few months after release because no one seemed to be buying them as no kids were seeing ALIEN in theaters thanks to the “R” rating and the culture being a lot different back then). It ended up in my younger brother’s possession when I moved out and yep, I came back a few years later and he’d tossed the box, lost the head cover and pretty much killed off my dream of reselling the thing for a hefty profit. Ah well…

Anyway, I’d imagine NOT answering those trivia questions correctly would result in a Xenomorph knocking at your door to deliver the news you didn’t win a prize. Um, you probably don’t want to answer that knock unless you want to become that rotten egg no one wants for breakfast in the morning. Just a word of warning…

Aliens vs. Pinball: Ripley’s Back; She’s Got Balls Now

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AliensvsPinball_Logo_FDEZenAs a longtime fan of Zen Pinball 2’s creative digital tables, I’m always surprised when I see a new board that tops what I thought was their best work. This brief teaser for the upcoming Aliens vs. Pinball: Aliens Pinball made me grin way too much (in a good way) because it looks as if it’ll be a fun skill shot paradise for silver ball fanatics.

And yes, that art above, logo to the left and screenshots below reveal the other two tables in the pack. Alien Isolation was a terrifying game in its own right, but I’m betting the pinball version will be somewhat less scary (but still a blast to play) just because Zen makes its tables for a wider age range. As for that AvP table? It should be a lot better than the films (sorry, Fox!) if it avoids them entirely and is closer to what the old Dark Horse comics were.

Alien_vs_Pinball_Announcement_Screenshot_1 Alien_vs_Pinball_Announcement_Screenshot_2 Alien_vs_Pinball_Announcement_Screenshot_3 Alien_vs_Pinball_Announcement_Screenshot_4 Alien_vs_Pinball_Announcement_Screenshot_5 Alien_vs_Pinball_Announcement_Screenshot_6

 

As usual, we shall see soon enough. Aliens vs. Pinball will be out April 26, 2016 (ALIEN Day!) for PS4, PS3, Vita, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Steam, Windows 10, Mac, as well as in-app purchases for Zen Pinball and as a standalone app on iOS and Android devices.

Help GOG.com Stress Test Their Galaxy Beta Servers and Get Some FREE Stress to Test You In Return!


 
Here’s a no-brainer if you’ve time, a nice PC gaming rig (or an older one that can run fast-paced games from 14 years ago with no trouble), like being slightly terrified and having a few adrenaline rushes hit you within the space of a few hours. Help gog.com in their Galaxy beta test program and you’ll get Aliens vs. Predator Classic 2000 for FREE. Yup. Sign up and wait for that email that lets you into the beta and your game key. DRM-free, of course. While dated on the visual front, this is a pretty intense shooter that mixes the two franchises up pretty well and makes for some fine jump out of your seat multiplayer action. There’s a solo play Skirmish mode as well, but the folks at gog.com really want to see how many people their Galaxy can hold.

ALIEN 35th Anniversary Blu-Ray/DVD: If You’re NEW to This Flick, It’s A Must-Buy…

Alien 35 (Custom)Hmmmm. I’m not sure I need another version of ALIEN for my library, but this 35th anniversary limited edition features a a reprint of the excellent Alien: The Illustrated Story comic and all-new, collectible art cards along with the 1979 original cut and 2001 director’s cut of the film. As this is one of my favorite films of any genre, I’ll probably cave in and pick this up at some point once there’s a price drop just to add it to the other sets I have here.

Yeah, Fox is pretty much jabbing us in the wallet with this one, but the price isn’t bad if you shop around and at least the new extras are different and worth checking out if you have to have EVERY bit of memorabilia. Between this and Alien Isolation arriving on the same day, I have the feeling that a whole new set of fans will be made for this absolute classic sci-fi/horror hybrid. The cranky older fans who think this one’s a double dip with a few bonuses surely won’t be buying this re-re-re-re-release, if my poking around on a few film boards is any indication. Those geezers are just too smug to see that somewhere in the world, someone STILL hasn’t seen ALIEN and yeah, they might be wanting to get this because it’ll be their first time experiencing this still near-perfect film…

Alien Trailer: 20th Century Fox Nails This Throwback Thursday Classic You Should Absolutely Own…

 
I have no idea how many times I’ve seen ALIEN since 1979, but it’s one of my favorite films, period. I’d written about it briefly but never in depth because there have been so many other and better dissections of Ridley Scott’s classic that the only thing I have to offer is SEE IT if you haven’t. The cool thing is it’s been released in so many formats that you can find it almost anywhere for whatever you have that plays legally purchased films. Of course, 20th Century Fox wants you to buy it from them HERE, so feel free to do that if you like. Personally, I’d want to grab the first four films in either the ALIEN Quadrilogy or ALIEN Anthology box sets, but if you just want to be scared out of your wits with the best entry in the franchise, go with the first one.

And yeah, I know it’s Friday, silly. I started this post last night but the internet was hating me at home because it vanished for about an hour or so and it was after midnight by the time it came back from wherever it went.

No More Nightmares: H.R. Giger (1940-2014)

Giger's Alien Cover 

There’s not much to say here other than he’ll be SORELY missed. As an artist, his work scared the hell out of me many times and yet inspired me to experiment more with my own art without trying to emulate the man’s style one bit. His work on ALIEN, like the entire film holds up to this day to the point that I’ve recommended the movie over the years to people who didn’t know it was made back in 1979 (yep, even with those old computers and monitors in use!). Granted, you could say that classic was more the result of Ridley Scott’s solid direction, but he was absolutely inspired by Giger’s mind blowing art and there’s NO doubt at all it would have been a lesser film without it…
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