Archives for posts with tag: Michael Fassbender

Grade B

Ten years after “Prometheus,” the crew of the colony ship, Covenant, experiences a serious malfunction of their ship.  Forced out of their expected 7 year cryo-sleep to make repairs, the crew’s focus switches from their destined planet to one that is much closer and supposedly more suited for humans.  Only Katherine Waterston, who plays the second in command, is hesitant to alter the plans; but the acting captain (played by Billy Crudup) and the rest of the crew are insistent on checking out the newly discovered planet, and off they go.

An exploratory team lands on the planet that turns out to be beautiful and teeming with plant life — but no animals or even insects can be seen or heard.  Despite this oddity, some of the crew are already planning on starting their new colony here…until two crewmen suddenly become sick and the horrifying, true nature of the planet is revealed.

Alien spore infestations/gestation/gory emergence, frenetic bursts of intense fights against aliens, impeccable cinematography, good and evil synthetic people (both played amazingly by Michael Fassbender), the mystery of what happened to the last two crew members of Prometheus, and claustrophobic bug hunts are all here.   There are moments where you — the “Alien” movies aficionado — will tell yourself “Oh, I’ve seen this before in previous ‘Alien’ movies,” but it shouldn’t be looked at negatively.  It’s simply director Ridley Scott giving fans what they want to see.  What should be treated negatively are the two, huge shenanigans in “Alien: Covenant” that, had they not been there, would have earned this movie a grade A.

Shenanigan #1: **SPOILER ALERT** Fassbender, as David, easily places his stolen spaceship above the city of “Engineers” and drops a crapload of bio-weapons on the Engineers below.  So these Engineers, with their highly advanced tech capability, had no way of knowing who was piloting their ship, and just let one of their own spacecraft hover above their city without any sort of vetting on who was actually inside the ship?  And where were the other space vessels of the Engineers throughout the city?  This highly advanced race looked like they forgot to pay the bills and all the good stuff were repossessed.  Shenanigan #2: Crudup, despite seeing the evil nature of Fassbender/David, lets himself fall into a trap that even a stoner whose brain is half-baked would’ve seen coming.

The fact that I gave this movie a B despite those two giant shenanigans tells you that I really enjoyed watching this.  Yes, I am a serious fan of “Alien” movies; but beyond that, “Alien: Covenant” is a good movie that combines old school elements with the new, and it definitely deserves to be part of the “Alien” lore.

And now, for my most memorable, movie moment of “Alien: Covenant”: the scene when **SPOILER ALERT** Fassbender/David fights Fassbender/Walter.  For a brief moment, this sci/fi flick becomes a kung-fu flick.  It was surprising and entertaining.

— M

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Grade B

Manny’s Movie Musings: Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard play Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, respectively; a power hungry couple who decide to assassinate their king so that Fassbender will usurp the throne.  The funny thing is…Fassbender knows that his treachery will bring serious blowback to himself, but Cotillard spurs him on.  After their traitorous deeds are done, and Fassbender and Cotillard are king and queen of Scotland, paranoia and madness sets in the mind of Fassbender, leading him to murder men, women, and children so that he may keep his fragile grip on the throne.  But a vengeful husband and father comes with ten thousand soldiers to put an end to Fassbender’s tyranny, and Fassbender will have to answer for all the blood that he has spilled.   “Macbeth” is overly stylish to the point of distraction; but the performances of the main characters are top-notch (although the combination of accent and an ancient way of speaking makes it difficult to understand what is being said).  My most memorable, movie moment of “Macbeth” is the scene when Fassbender burns a woman and her children alive because he believes they will oppose him in the future.

— M

The best X-Men movie I’ve seen: “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

The future of mutants and the humans who help them fight to attain their freedom and equality is very dark.  Under the guidance of a scientist played by Peter Dinklage, robots called Sentinels have the ability to adapt to mutant powers they encounter, thereby allowing the Sentinels to be very effective in killing mutants.  The only hope the few remaining mutants have is to send the consciousness of Wolverine (played by Hugh Jackman) to his body decades in the past in order to alter an event that is crucial to how the future of mutants plays out.

Jackman’s mission is almost an impossible one.  For starters, his future body is under threat of being killed by Sentinels.  If his future body is killed, his consciousness will leave his past body; and if that happens before he accomplishes his mission, his chance to alter the future is over.  Second, the “past” X-Men that Jackman encounters is a broken group.   James McAvoy (playing a young, professor X) is suffering from depression, anxiety, and is addicted to a drug that allows him to walk but takes away his mutant powers; Michael Fassbender (playing a young Magneto, and whose help Jackman needs) is in a non-metallic prison;  Jennifer Lawrence (who plays Mystique) is out there somewhere, about to commit the act that will solidify the nightmare future of all mutants, and neither McAvoy nor Fassbender knows where she is.  Third, many of the X-Men from “First Class” have been captured and experimented on and killed by the U.S. government, so Jackman won’t get any help from these corpses.  Last, Jackman’s past body is pre-adamantium, so his bones are regular bones that can break.  That last part leads us to…

One of my most memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Jackman’s future consciousness wakes up to his past body and gets into a beef with a couple of big gangsters.  Jackman unleashes his claws, only to see that they are not the razor-sharp, virtually indestructible, adamantium claws he’s used to seeing.  Oops.  Ever carry a weapon on a regular basis, and then trouble happens and you reach for that weapon and realize that you forgot to bring it with you?  Yeah, I know how Jackman felt in this scene.

My most memorable, movie moment of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is the first battle scene at the opening of the movie.  It’s set in the future, the Sentinels have found a few X-Men, and the mutants put up a vicious fight to stay alive as the robots absorb the mutant powers and use it against their targets.  No longer are mutants at the top of the food chain.  They are now flyweights fighting heavyweights, and a knockout is imminent.

Director Bryan Singer (who failed at the screenwriting level of “X-Men”) and the screenwriters of this movie did an amazing job of raising the stakes from the previous X-Men movies and giving the mutants a worthy enemy; and by doing so they have given the audience a movie worthy of our time and money.

–M

A truly horrifying movie, “12 Years A Slave” tells the true story of Solomon Northup, a free, black man living in New York who gets kidnapped and sent to the South to be sold as a slave.  Through him we see the nightmarish conditions that slaves lived through for hundreds of years in the country where all men are supposedly equal.

Great performances are given by so many in this movie.  Chiwetel Ejiofor (playing Solomon) has a face that easily conveys the emotions within: fear, desperation, hope, anguish, and resignation.  Michael Fassbender (playing Solomon’s master) is terrifying as an evil man who takes full advantage of wicked laws that allows a person to own another person, and to do with that person whatever the owner wishes.  Lupita Nyong’o plays a slave who is probably the one audiences will sympathize with the most.  She is repeatedly raped by her master, and the master’s wife is jealous of her so the wife always finds a reason to torture Nyong’o.  Nyong’o wants to kill herself, but she doesn’t have the willpower; and so she looks to another to help end her life.

One of my most memorable, movie moments of “12 Years A Slave” is the scene when Ejiofor is waiting for his master to come home to mete out his punishment for Ejiofor striking a white man.  You could see on Ejiofor’s face that he knew he was screwed, and was wondering how brutal the punishment would be.  Castration?  Burning?  50 lashes?  Hanging?  Gutted like a fish?  Or some combination of the previously mentioned horrors?

Another memorable moment of this movie is the scene when Fassbender has Nyong’o whipped severely because he believed she was being unfaithful to him with another man in another plantation.  Unfaithful to a man who rapes you repeatedly?  Well, that shows you the twisted mind of master Fassbender.   As the end of the whip hits Nyong’o’s back again and again, we see her flesh being ripped away; and I was wincing in pain with every strike of that whip.

In first place for my most memorable, movie moment of “12 Years A Slave” is the scene when Ejiofor, still unbroken, refuses to strip and be whipped by a white man who works for Ejiofor’s master.  The white man — 1/2 the size of Ejiofor — grabs hold of Ejiofor to make him submit; but Ejiofor quickly gets the upper hand and starts beating the white guy, who starts crying like a little bitch and screams “sorry!”  Ejiofor lets the white guy go, and as the little, beaten man limps away, he starts acting tough again, threatening to have Ejiofor’s hide.  Pathetic.  It reminds me of what Denzel Washington said of Matthew Broderick’s character: “he a weak, white boy; and beatin’ on a nigger make him feel strong.”

The beatings, the whippings, the rapes, the separation of families, the hangings, the hard labor under the sun, the uncertainty of whether you will be killed because your master is having a bad day…all this we see in graphic detail.   It’s hard to watch, but the movie must be watched.  It is not only part of U.S. history, but a reminder of what is still going on throughout the world.  The reprehensible nature of slavery must always be remembered, so that should we encounter it, we will not stand idly by.

— M

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