“ALIEN: COVENANT”: MAYBE.
If you’re in the mood for scares and know the series is something you already like, then go right ahead. But for the most part, watching humans get ripped to pieces by aliens or explode from within doesn’t normally set the mood for romance.
“EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING”: MAYBE.
This teen romance based on a best selling young-adult novel has some early romantic charm, but it has a ludicrous plot twist near the end and is too simple-minded throughout to appeal much beyond its core teen audience. Still, if you’re really looking for a romance and it’s the only thing in theaters now this one might fit the bill.
“SNATCHED” : NO.
The big-screen return of comedy legend Goldie Hawn pairs her with current superstar Amy Schumer, but “Snatched” has too many gross jokes early on, and then fizzles out without enough laughs of any kind in the final third. Pretty blah for a date film, and not a good choice for taking mom out on Mother’s Day, either.
With the summer movie season kicking into high gear, there’s plenty of films coming out each weekend – and this time around, you can’t ask for a bigger difference in styles than the latest epic in the “Alien” series, the teen romance “Everything, Everything” and the comedy “Snatched”.
Alien: Covenant Review
“Alien: Covenant” marks the sixth official film in the “Alien” series, which means no one counts the two awful and stupid “Alien Versus Predator” movies made just over a decade ago. Director Ridley Scott exploded into the top tier of directors with the first “Alien” in 1979, and after branching out with an eclectic array of other classics including “Gladiator” and “Thelma & Louise,” he returned to the well with the “Alien” prequel “Prometheus” five years ago. That film launched a trilogy designed to show how the vicious aliens came into being prior to the initial film’s atrocities, and this weekend he’s back to reveal more of how the aliens originated with “Covenant.” But with less memorable humans in the battle, it’s getting harder to care about their fates.
The film opens with a flashback to an unspecified time decades before when David (Michael Fassbender), the android who played a key role as part of the crew in “Prometheus,” was being trained by its creator, Dr. Weyland (Guy Pearce). As they discuss God and creation, there is a brewing air of tension between the two as David seems to bristle at the idea of being controlled. Most of the film takes place in 2104, about a decade after “Prometheus,” and features a giant spaceship called Covenant with a 16-member crew in charge of 2,000 people and hundreds of embryos all hoping to colonize a distant planet. All are in cryogenically suspended sleep for the decades-long journey, under the care of an android named Walter (also Fassbender), and another android in the mold of David. When the Covenant gets caught in a space storm that cuts off some of its power, the crew is forced awake. The captain (James Franco in what has to be the shortest cameo in years) dies in the havoc, leaving Oram (Billy Crudup) in charge amid tensions wrought by the fact he orders them to fix the ship with no real time to mourn the death of their former leader.
The ship suddenly receives a video signal of a woman speaking English, and Oram orders the crew to go off-course and explore the planet it came from. As they land, they are surprised to find it so similar to Earth that Oram tells them to consider it as an alternative place to simply stop and colonize instead of their original destination.
What they don’t yet realize is that the planet is where the Prometheus ship of the prior film disappeared, and everything is covered with alien pathogens. When one unfortunate crewman is infected, they soon find themselves under attack by alien creatures that start out small and morph ever further into the grisly beasts that fans have come to know and fear.
They also stumble across David, who has been living there in darkness for the past decade — leading to tension between Walter and David that could affect them all.
Director Scott continues his tradition of brewing slow-building tension and an intense sense of atmosphere, with the film taking at least 45 minutes to have its first big alien encounter. Once they start, however, the battles come fast and furious, with plenty of inventive ways for the crew to die.
While “Covenant” features a certain interest in engaging philosophical ideas about the nature of creation, the film is lacking in charismatic characters like Ripley and suffers somewhat as a result. By comparison, the victims are mostly interchangeable pieces of meat here, leaving the film to be less tasty than it might have been for all but its core fan base. “Covenant” also has a shocking and depressing finale in which a force of evil clearly wins, and aside from the many moments of nasty blood and bodily fluids spilled out in the alien battles, it features about 40 uses of the F word and a brief shower sex scene that features the woman briefly topless and shows both participants’ derrieres before an alien interrupts in gruesome fashion. It’s definitely not for kids or teens, but adults who have handled the rest of the series or don’t mind gross scares should handle it fine, even though it’s more grim than great as entertainment.
Everything, Everything Review
Meanwhile, “Everything, Everything” tells the story of a teen girl who has been trapped in her house her entire life due to being allergic to everything and the new boy next door whom she falls for and risks her health.
Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) is a 17-year-old girl who has never left her suburban Los Angeles home because of having a disorder that makes her allergic to nearly everything in the outside world. She is a virtual prisoner in her home with her doctor mother Pauline, who treats Maddy herself and hasn’t allowed anyone to enter the house other than her longtime maid Carla and Carla’s daughter since her husband and other child died in a car crash 15 years before.
One day, a cute teenage boy named Olly (Nick Robinson) moves in next door, and he and Maddy start flirting via text messages almost instantly. As Maddy develops feelings for him, she reveals her condition and the two find inventive ways to communicate via text, online and the phone, with Maddy imagining some of their conversations taking place in a model she’s building of a diner.
Eventually, Carla sneaks Olly into the house on the condition the teens don’t make physical contact with each other in any way. Thus, the movie seems like it’s going to show a chaste relationship based on truly getting to know each other. Maddy has Olly come over for the 4th of July, when both her mom and Carla are gone, and the couple kiss. When Maddy manages to avoid getting sick, she becomes more determined to develop a real relationship with Olly, but when she runs outside in a panic to help Olly after he gets hit in a fight with his alcoholic father, Pauline forces their contact to end – leading to a plan to escape together.
“Everything, Everything” has engaging performances from its lead teen couple, with Stenberg and Robinson having a fun chemistry together. However, the story is extremely limited and rather claustrophobic since so much takes place in Maddy’s house, so it is easy to lose interest in it fairly early.
SPOILER ALERT: When the couple run away together, the movie also strangely has a very limited portrayal of what a girl who’s basically been a prisoner her entire life would do while discovering the world for the first time. And their sweet romance is tarnished by the fact they have romantically portrayed sex together without moral consequences on their first night away, which sets a poor example for its target teen audience.
Maddy’s mother Pauline also is proven to have engaged in major deception with Maddy, though they are shown forgiving each other, with a nice portrayal of a mother-teen daughter relationship. END SPOILER
Overall, “Everything, Everything” doesn’t have that much going for it. The teen girls in the advance screening laughed at a lot of the humor and swooned audibly in the couple’s sweeter moments, but most audiences will find that it’s too simple and limited in its plotting to truly care about them. It admirably has almost no foul language, but SPOILER ALERT its casual attitude towards teen sex END SPOILER is somewhat disappointing, though the movie is more likely to bore than offend adult daters.
“SNATCHED” DATEWORTHY? : NO. The big-screen return of comedy legend Goldie Hawn pairs her with current superstar Amy Schumer, but “Snatched” has too many gross jokes early on, and then fizzles out without enough laughs of any kind in the final third. It’s a pretty blah for a date film.
Considering her status as a comedy icon spanned four decades, from her start on the 1960s TV sketch-comedy series “Laugh-In” through her last movie “The Banger Sisters” in 2002, it’s surprising that Goldie Hawn chose to walk away from acting and drop off the pop culture radar for the past 15 years. It’s nearly as surprising that she chose the often crass and lowbrow new comedy “Snatched” as her comeback film, although the movie gives her the chance to reach the generation of viewers she missed out on by teaming her with current comedy superstar Amy Schumer.
“Snatched” pairs the two as mother and daughter, with Schumer playing an aimless woman named Emily, whose laziness and bad attitude cause her to get fired from her job and dumped by her boyfriend in the same day. The breakup comes just as the couple was supposed to go on a nonrefundable vacation to Ecuador, and Emily has burned so many bridges with friends that she can’t find anyone else to travel with her. Emily’s mom, Linda, has largely drifted into her senior years with a lost spark for living. Her agoraphobic loser son Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz) sponges off her completely, and she constantly interferes in Emily’s life. But when Emily finds an old photo album filled with images and mementos of her mom’s vibrantly adventurous younger days before motherhood, she invites her along in the hopes that she can help revive her spirits. Once at their resort, however, Linda refuses to snap out of her depression, choosing to read trashy novels while a bored Emily meets a suspiciously good-looking British man named James (Tom Bateman) at the bar. After a wild night of partying, Tom invites Emily out for a day trip into the jungle, and Emily convinces Linda to come along.
The trip takes a disastrous turn when Tom’s truck is smashed into by another truck in a backwater village and the two ladies wake up in a cell to find they’re being held for ransom by a shady criminal named Morgado (Oscar Jaenada). After a ridiculous escape, they find that they have to get themselves to the nearest US embassy in Bogota, Colombia, if they ever hope to get rescued. That journey is marked by a series of odd encounters with lazy or confused State Department workers by phone and in-person misadventures with a village doctor and an American jungle guide (Christopher Meloni) whom Emily and Linda soon realize is insane. They also have to contend with two other female travelers (Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack) who keep interfering with their plans but turn out to have some unique skills.
While all these hijinks should have resulted in an inventive and funny film, the script by Katie Dippold — who proved she could write a hit female-driven action-comedy with 2013’s “The Heat” — is extremely uneven.
“Snatched” opens strongly as it details Emily’s comically pathetic life, but she soon becomes more annoying than amusing, and director Jonathan Levine’s odd pacing causes the jungle scenes to alternate between high comic energy and other moments that are obvious padding. Strangely, once the opening minutes focused on Schumer’s disastrous daily life pass, the film’s funniest moments are provided by its oddball supporting characters, particularly Barinholtz and Meloni. The grossest scene, in which a village doctor comes up with an unpleasant means of eradicating a tapeworm that Schumer acquired in the jungle, is admittedly funny yet cringe-inducing, but viewers will likely not feel proud of themselves afterward for laughing. The same can be said for the numerous sexual references in the film’s first half-hour, including one offensive moment that viewers will likely wish they had never seen. There’s also quite a bit of foul language throughout the film, and a few moments of comic violence such as Schumer clocking a bad guy in the head with a shovel that can’t be taken seriously.
Hawn manages to land some sporadic laughs and also has a couple of solid serious moments as Linda admits her disappointments in life, and Schumer works her klutzy-loser persona well for the most part. Ultimately, though, viewers may wish they had snatched the opportunity to see another film.