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A few reviews

gazza

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24x36: A MOVIE ABOUT MOVIE POSTERS 2017
Explores the birth, death and recent resurrection of illustrated movie poster art. Through interviews with key art personalities from the past four decades, director Kevin Burke's film aims to answer the question: What happened to the illustrated movie poster, why did it disappear, and what's brought it back?

This was an interesting documentary which delves into the different styles of posters and why certain images are repeated for different genres and what roll marketing plays on the movies success. also shows how the style of posters has changed over the years .for the better or not ?watch and decide for youself
 

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Twilight Zone Double Feature!

The Twilight Zone 3x8: "It's a Good Life" (1961)  

twilight-zone-billy-mumy-go.jpg


Anthony Fremont (Bill Mumy) is a six-year-old monster with mind-reading and reality-warping powers who's already isolated his small town of Peaksville, Ohio from the world - or has he actually eliminated everything past the interstate? The townfolk and his family, especially his mother (Cloris Leachman), live in terror of displeasing him, and being disappeared themselves. One night, a guest loses it and demands somebody try to kill the boy. Will anyone dare?


The Twilight Zone 1x31: "It's Still a Good Life" (2003) 

itstillagoodlife2.jpg


Bill Mumy and Cloris Leachman reprise their roles forty-two years later. Peaksville is still isolated, and its inhabitants still live in fear of Anthony. Thank goodness, then, that his daughter (Liliana Mumy) didn't inherit his powers... or did she?

...

Though short, these two episodes have got to be one of the most notable sequel gaps featuring original actors in film or TV history. Unfortunately, though the original is available for legal streaming and purchase on several platforms, I had to resort to Netflix DVD to rent part deux. The original is a deserving classic, and its sequel is as perfect a continuation as one could ask, with the bonus of Bill Mumy's daughter looking a lot like her father and being roughly the same age he was at the time of the original. Together, they form a real treat that all genre fans should seek out. (Perhaps Jordan Peele's upcoming third Zone revival can expand the saga once more?)

Grade for both: A
 

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Highlander II: The Quickening/Renegade/Special Edition

I saw ‘Highlander II: The Quickening’ at a cinema in the UK in 1991 with a group of friends. Opinion was divided evenly between us as we left: the males amongst us hated it; the females loved it. I still can’t explain that.

Fast-forward to 2018: I decide to give this film another look. A serious, in-depth look. Because… actually, I don’t know why. Morbid curiosity, I suppose. To get into the Highlander mindset, I rewatch the original, and discover it to be as good as I recall, overall. It has a moody, Terminator-like atmosphere, or maybe just a generic 80s action movie feel. But it’s fun, the flashbacks work well, the villain is cool, Lamberts’ accent is all-over-the-place while Connery (Egyptian..?) just plays Connery and why not?

So, onto Highlander II. I start with a VHS copy of ‘The Quickening’. Extensive Google research tells me that this US copy is not the version I saw in Manchester in 1991, but time has healed those painful memories and I can’t tell the difference. This movie is still a mess. I have no idea why or how the antiques dealer in 1985 became a computer engineering genius by 1999. Oh, and he’s an alien. But he’s forgotten that, apparently. He can still go back to his home planet and be immortal again, or die on Earth, which seems the most likely outcome as he doesn’t look good. But, just to be on the safe side, the Bad Guy sends his Crazed Henchmen to Earth to kill him because… no, I didn’t catch the reason. Except that if he didn’t, there would be no film, and therefore no decades of pain for Highlander fans everywhere.

Spoiler alert! Crazed Henchmen fail. Highlander lives, and looks much better (possibly why my female friends liked the film). Bad Guy gnashes teeth and decides to come to Earth instead to finish the job properly. Cue action!

Or not. There’s stuff going on, certainly, but apart from the multiple times you will think to yourself, “Doesn’t Michael Ironside look like Jack Nicholson?” there’s not much enjoyment to be had. The special effects are bad. The dialogue is bad. Sean Connery is obviously having a great time, no doubt picking up a fat check, and so you desperately want some of that fun to rub off on you. But it just doesn’t. The film ends on a freeze-frame and you are left blinking. What was that?

Next up: Highlander 2: Renegade edition. Here we have the Director’s cut, which takes the chronological version and reinstates past scenes as flashbacks, as originally intended. Not just that, but adds deleted footage, longer takes and even new footage filmed especially for this version. Most noticeable, though, is the alien planet aspect. Now the Immortals are from a long, long time ago – you know, when we had time travel. The Scot and the Egyptian are exiled into the future, and the Bad Guy still wants to kill the remaining immortal (who is now mortal) because... no, I missed it again. But anyway, you know what? I didn’t care. Because I actually found myself enjoying this film. It’s not half bad. I mean, it’s still not a good film, but it’s certainly more watchable and comprehensible. If the Highlander element had been removed entirely from this film and it was just an eco-thriller action movie (Evil Corp. needs to ensure Shield is kept in place. Only one man can stop them) it might have been a dated but beloved cult classic by now. If Highlander reminded me of ‘Terminator’, this version of ‘Highlander 2’ reminded me of ‘Total Recall’ – just not as fun.
 
Finally, we come to the Special Edition. Say what you will about director Russell Mulcahy, he’s nothing if not tenacious. In 2004, he returned again to ‘Highlander 2’ and updated the effects, as no fans anywhere wanted. To offset some of the déjà-vu of watching this film for a third time within a week, I watched the Special Edition while listening to the director & producer commentary from the Renegade version. I can therefore definitively tell you that the Special Edition has one small scene removed - that being towards the end where MacLeod & Marcus are storming the Shield Control, which doesn’t make any difference to the plot but did cock up the delicate synching I was attempting. Anyway, the commentary doesn’t tell you much more than you already heard in the ‘Making of’ documentary (oh yes, I watched that too), and the special effects, though certainly better, aren’t reason enough to revisit this film.

So, there you have it. My ‘Highlander 2’ fix is officially sated. Now, where’s my copy of ‘Highlander III: The Sorceror’..?
 

bionicbob

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Very entertaining review @"Garp" 

Garp said:
Now, where’s my copy of ‘Highlander III: The Sorceror’..?

But which version will you watch? :D
 

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All the President's Men (1976)

All_The_Presedents_Men-MAIN.jpg


Here's one of the most negative 3½-star Ebert reviews I've read!

"All the President's Men" is truer to the craft of journalism than to the art of storytelling, and that's its problem. [...] All of these elements [are] to be praised, and yet they don't quite add up to a satisfying movie experience. Once we've seen one cycle of investigative reporting, once Woodward and Bernstein have cracked the first wall separating the break-in from the White House, we understand the movie's method. We don't need to see the reporting cycle repeated several more times just because the story grows longer and the sources more important. [...] The film is long, and would be dull if it weren't for the wizardry of Pakula, his actors, and technicians. What saves it isn't the power of narrative, but the success of technique. Still, considering the compromises that could have been made, considering the phony "newspaper movie" this could have been, maybe that's almost enough.

Well, it was enough to give the movie lasting historical acclaim and preservation by the Library of Congress, though I can't argue with Ebert's reaction. With historical dramatizations, a key question is always: "If this were a purely fictional story, would it still be compelling?" In the case of some of my favorites such as Valkyrie, Zodiac, and Nixon, I'd say: absolutely. But here? Not so much. (Particularly jarring is the ending, which drastically lurches from one story point to an epilogue with no warning whatsoever.) By all critical accounts, Clint Eastwood's new film The 15:17 to Paris has the same problem, only far more so: that if the climactic accident hadn't actually happened, no one would dream of producing such a nothingburger screenplay. At least with All the President's Men, one has great actors, superior direction and beautiful cinematography to fall back on.

B+
 

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REVIEW WITHOUT SPOILER

The Shape of Water (2018)

A mix between Beauty and the Beast, Creature of the Black lagoon and Amelie.
It's good... it could even be concidered a classic today if it was released in 1985... BUT I'm sorry to say that I found it too cliché.
Let's say that this movie is "too perfect", if that makes sens. All scenes end the way they are supposed to. Every steps of the story lead where the story have to go. I saw the exact movie I thought it would be.
I also found that the creature, even if very well done, does not have enough facial expressions (nor enough interesting acting scenes) to really make you feel his emotions. The focus is on the girl (and the actress is great) but the movie tried too hard to sell me their love, exept I never felt a chemistry between the two.
And I'm not a cold hearted guy, I can get emotinal in front of a movie! But here I "followed" the story instead of "living" it.

Still a solid 7/10 for me. 
I honestly recomend it because I think a lot of people can enjoy this movie (and I did) but to me it is just far from being the "best Guillermo Del Toro".
 

bionicbob

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In an ERB mood, so I decided to revisit these fun gems....

TARZAN TRIUMPHS (1943) and TARZAN'S DESERT MYSTERY (1943)

or as I like to called them, TARZAN VS NAZIS parts one and two LOL. :D

Background:  MGM made 6 movies with Johnny Weismuller as Tarzan, and then decided not to renew the film series.   Producer Sol Lesser attempted to launch a Tarzan movie series independently in 1933 with Buster Crabbe in Tarzan the Fearless but it failed to win over audiences.   Lesser acquired the rights to Tarzan from MGM and then brought Tarzan (with Johnny Weissmuller returning) to RKO, and together they would make 6 more Weismuller Ape Man adventures.  Lesser would continue to make Tarzan adventures for the rest of his career (with Lex Barker and Gordon Scott) and then sold the rights to producer Sy Weintraub in 1959.

The RKO films had a significantly smaller budgets compared to MGM and it is immediately noticeable.  They were already recycling shots from Triumphs in Desert Mystery.   And even in black and white, the African landscape sure looks like California.  But one thing RKO knew how to do and did better than most other studios, was produce fast-paced, fun, escapist entertainment.  And their contribution to the Tarzan movie legacy is no exception.

The first two of the RKO Tarzan movies, filmed back to back, were partly suggested by the War Department, and brings Tarzan into the modern dark times of World War II.

G7qElh9m.jpghttp:

TARZAN TRIUMPHS, along with being a pure propaganda piece, is a straight forward adventure.   Nazis parachute into the jungle and seize control of one of the many "lost cities" than seem populate Tarzan's neighbourhood.   The Princess of the lost city begs for Tarzan's help, but the isolationist ape man refuses.  But when Tarzan's son Boy is captured by the Germans, Tarzan utters the classic line. "NOW TARZAN MAKES WAR!!!"   So the Jungle Lord goes all Rambo on the Nazi soldiers (who are all apparently middle aged and overweight lol) and frees the people of the lost city and gives them guns and says, "TAKE GUN. KILL NAZIS!"  And they do.  Everyone gets to kill Nazis.  Tarzan's 12 year old son Boy kills a Nazi.  Even Cheta the Chimp gets to kill a Nazi!  In fact, you could turn this movie into a drinking game for everytime Tarzan says 'Nazi'... you be will falling down drunk my the end of movie.

1lvWxGCm.jpghttp:

TARZAN'S DESERT MYSTERY is a more subtle movie by comparison lol.  It is also more structured like an ERB Tarzan adventure novel, with plots by foreign agents (ie Nazis) to seize control of a desert Arabian-like kingdom that is apparently only a days walk from Tarzan's jungle ( geography is not a strong suit of these films lol) and has truly fantastic elements like giant lizard dinosaurs, giant man eating plants and a... wait for it... GIANT man eating spider!  

Both movies are gloriously delightful Saturday matinee style adventures of another age that still engage and entertain.
Opposable thumbs up!!!!  :p
 

bionicbob

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HBO's BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN (2016)
http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p1eVLEbOIw[/video]

Two 12 year old girls stab their friend 19 times with a 5inch knife and left her for dead.
How and why did this happen?
This documentary looks at the lives of the two girls who freely confessed to the crime through the eyes of their parents and those who knew them.   It also examines modern urban boogeyman myth, the pains of adolescent loneliness, the American justice system for youths and mental illness in todays society.

The documentary offers no easy answers.  It is a tragedy for everyone, all sides, involved.
As a parent, I found it powerfully unsettling and heartbreakingly sad.

An excellent documentary that I can not recommend highly enough.  Watch it.
 

bionicbob

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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (2017)

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z68frP9Q7XA[/video]

Confession:  I have never read an Agatha Christie mystery.   Though I have watched multiple adaptations both on film and television over the years and enjoyed many of them.

And this latest one is no exception.   I know this film received mixed reviews and after seeing it, I am not certain why other than maybe audiences were not in the mood for a retro-style locked room mystery?

Kenneth Branagh brings a fresh and enjoyable interpretation of Poirot, that is underlaced with a melancholy of past loss.

As a director, Branagh knows this source material and the age it was created in and pays loving homage to it while giving it just the proper enough modern stylings for 21st Century audiences.   Though I must admit, the CGI, while pretty, still is obvious CGI, and slightly detracts from the "reality" of the piece.

The true strength of the movie, which elevates it and truly suprised (and moved me), is Branagh never loses sight of the horrific tragedy than spurs the murder and the cost on the souls of those it affected.   The score is brilliant in this regard, and brings a sobering sadness to the last act.

An excellent new version of a classic tale, and I look forward to Branagh's next work, Murder on the Nile with great excited anticipation.
 

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bionicbob said:
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (2017)


And this latest one is no exception.   I know this film received mixed reviews and after seeing it, I am not certain why other than maybe audiences were not in the mood for a retro-style locked room mystery?

 Not sure whether it was intentionally ridiculous but when they were all queueing up to stab Depp then shuffling out the cabin it was very silly (obviously thats in the novel though). Couldnt help thinking of the hysterical woman queue in Airplane.
 

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It’s good to finally find someone who liked it as much as I did.  The film had a heart, and I was on board until the last minute.  Not having read the novel was definitely a plus.  Cheers, @"bionicbob"
 

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I missed Orient Express in theaters, but eagerly await seeing it this Christmas/winter season. Hoping to remain unspoiled on the ending until then, which shouldn't be too hard, I hope. :)

Speaking of which, anyone heard any news of Vultural? He doesn't seem to have visited since December 20...



Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

wallace-gromit.jpg


This was my first viewing of Aardman's second claymation feature since its initial release, and I was hoping to find it an underrated masterpiece. Instead, however, I found it charming but unremarkable: it lacks that dash of darkness and genuine peril that makes A Close Shave and The Wrong Trousers so memorable, but does retain the heart largely missing (as I recall) from the overly frenetic A Matter of Loaf and Death. The main problem is neither of the two new human characters are of much interest, and the movie really only has four or five characters total, not counting bystanders. Still, it's pleasant enough, and good clean fun for the proverbial whole family.

B+
 

bionicbob

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TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT (2011)

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QAETFbbHak[/video]

Filmed in 2007.  Not released by the studio until 2011.  Little to no marketing.  Box office bomb.  Most critics reviews were middling to negative.

And I don't get it?

I loved this movie!  I smiled, chuckled and belly laughed from start to finish.
Good cast.  Solid production values.  Great soundtrack.  And funny.

This is a loving tribute to John Hughes teen movies of the 80s.  Yes, it may be predictable but it is well executed and highly entertaining.  Worth checking out.   :D
 

bionicbob

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TRANSFORMERS 5:  THE LAST KNIGHT
http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4nrFuJedyk[/video]

Pure crap.
Only slightly better than Age of Extinction, which was unwatchable feces.
Still this took me four sittings to get through it.  Why did I bother?  I guess I just hate myself.   
More of the horrid same.... unfunny juvenile potty humour, very unfunny racial stereotypes, unheroic moronic autobots....

And I keep asking myself why Bay continues to make these?  It can't be just for the money?  He isn't doing anything creatively new, so why?  He must have enough box office cred to have his choice of projects?  His recent 13 HOURS shows he can make better movies.  Not much, but still....   :huh:


Anyway, if you haven't watched this abomination yet, don't bother.  Do yourself a favour and go watch the G1 cartoons, or Beast Wars or Transformers Prime or even the latest Machima series.... it is all light years better than this stinking pile of turd. :p
 

bionicbob

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WIND RIVER (2017)
http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGk_sO57Gr4[/video]

Brilliant.  Absolutely BRILLIANT.

This movie works on so many levels.
It is a dark murder investigation.
It is a revenge movie.
It is about grief and loss of a child.
It explores the shameful and horrific crimes against aboriginal women that goes undocumented and uninvestigated by authorities.

A superb movie filled with substance, mystery, solid performances and sadness.
10 out of 10.
 

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Married At First Sight, Season One (2014)  (Hulu)

th


So I gave this show a blind try, because, well, look at that title - how could one not? (As it Says on the Tin, A team of relationship experts pair six strangers into three couples, who legally marry at first sight, go on a honeymoon, then live together for a month before deciding to stay married or divorce.) I in no way expected, however, to be as emotionally compelled as I was. I genuinely felt significantly invested in the happier two couples' pairings and future.

It seems as though I went with the one genuinely great season, however. Wikipedia reports that of the 15 couples across five seasons to date, ten of whom chose not to divorce, only three are still married, including both couples who made that decision this go-round. I don't know if the producers just got really lucky in this debut season, or if they did poorer work in subsequent ones, or what. It is indeed possible to argue, however, that for all the weirdness, stress, and TV production complications involved, a 20% success rate, while perhaps not world-changing, is nothing to sneeze at - it's certainly a better average than what I've experienced with normal Internet-based matchups.

Season One, therefore, is highly recommended for softies, romantics, and rom-com fans. As we all know, the whole notion of marrying almost entirely for love and personal compatibility (as a widespread norm, anyhow) is a fairly recent one, and it's hard to imagine arranged marriages remaining such an enduring engine of societal growth across the eras of human history if it didn't have some significant degree of success. Though the season is littered with reality TV's standard habit of constantly recapping and replaying moments, the overall dramatic result is still a potent one. (Believe it or not, this is a reality show that actually deserves a repetition-eliminating fan edit.) On an entertainment/artistic basis alone, I give Season One an A-.
 

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Dunkirk (2017)
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A fine film, the acting was nicely done. Cool score, though the score often ruins surprises by anticipating them. The Stuka's were terrifying. Bullets shooting into the boat scene: seemed cheap not to show who was doing the shooting. Nolan, pick an aspect ratio for your film and stick to it.
8 outta 10

Blade runner 2049 (but made in 2017)
MV5BNzA1Njg4NzYxOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODk5NjU3MzI@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_.jpg


Its its own thing. Its more accessible than the original. TM2YC is right about the visuals, though I don't have a problem with how this movie looks. It SOUNDSSSSS great! I thought the blackout angle was muddled. Not sure what else to say right now or how to rate this.

Death Race 2050 (made in 2050)
220px-Death_Race_2050.jpg


A lot of fun nonsense, a worthwhile sequel but a weird movie, lol. The "drive drive kill kill drive drive kill" song was a pile of shit, the master tapes or disc's or hard drives or whatever it was recorded on need to be rocketed into the heart of the sun. No offense.

7 of 9 (adjusted for b movie-ness, probably a 4 of 9 if it was supposed to be an A picture, which it wasn't)
 

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bionicbob said:
THE MUMMY 2017

I knew the reviews were poor going into this movie, but nothing... NOTHING... could prepare me for how horribly and embarrassingly TERRIBLE this movie is!!!!

Haven't watched the movie yet, but, this is just sad: it opens with the Universal Logo, then the much-derided Dark Universe Logo, then there's an ominous Ancient Egyptian epigraph. So far, so good... Except that, between the Dark Universe Logo and the epigraph, there's a studio card for - wait for it - Perfect World Pictures:

image.jpg

Blistering Barnacles! Perfect World Pictures is a Chinese company that no doubt fronted the production a large chunk of its budget, and as the core studio, Universal is entitled to put its logo first if it wishes, but - not that any studio card would fit gracefully there - could there possibly be a one card to put between the Dark Universe logo and the spooky epigraph?! :mad: Congratulations, Universal, for sabotaging your movie before its very first shot.
 

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Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

From the "Last Movies" short review thread:

Q2 said:
Finally got around to watching Avengers: Age of Ultron. My one word review? Ugh.

I really enjoyed the first Avengers movie but this one stunk. The CG intro was immediately off putting. (I hate when directors do camera work that is physically impossible.) The story wasn't interesting at all, and all the story beats just felt like it was there just to set up the next battle.

Completely disagree. Avengers: Age of Ultron is awesome. The opening was great and pulls you into the movie immediately. The camerawork might be unrealistic but in my opinion seeing all these superheroes battle in a continuous shot, even though it is CGI, is exciting to me.

As for the story I think that it's also great. I like the questions it raises about humanity, evolution, extinction. Simple questions, but interesting nonetheless. We delve deeper into each character and see their continuing development, with a common theme of self-doubt and monstrosity.

I love to see the heroes struggling with their own demons, it makes the film more interesting. Stark dealing with his PTSD and his hope for everyone's protection, Cap finding his place in the world, Natasha similarly looking for a normal life but discovering her purpose, Bruce struggling with the "other guy" and seeing himself as a destructive monster, Thor doubting his worth (mostly to the throne, leading to Ragnarok), and Hawkeye being the human perspective etc. These are great, three dimensional characters with self-doubt and discovery, which is what makes this a great film.

Ultron is a better villain than most other MCU villains because he believes he's a force for positive change. He believes humans are failures and need to be purged in order for evolution to continue, for life to finish its cycle. It's good because of all the terrible things happening around us today; humans killing each other, slowly destroying the world. It makes us think we're like parasites to the world, and to each other. Ultron believes this is the case, which makes him more relatable than most.

On the other hand, The Vision is the antithesis of this idea. He believes in hope, and the value of life; he states that there is grace in our failings.

The Avengers was awesome too, but I'd argue Age of Ultron is better than the first one because it's deeper and more meaningful.

8.5/10

Alien (1979)

41VReP3cJoL.jpg


I had watched last year's Life a few months ago. It was... ok. I enjoyed myself at least, but it was like a 5.5/10 at best. It was clear this was an uninspired Alien rip-off, and I got interested in seeing the original. Finally got around to seeing it last night and... wow. That was amazing.

First of all, the pacing of this movie is pitch perfect. Director Ridley Scott takes his time to build suspense and make effective scares, and it works perfectly.

I didn't feel like the characters were all too deep but they didn't need to be. All they needed to be was for them to leave an enough impression on us that would make us care enough about them and fear for them. Life had failed at this, but Alien succeeded with flying colors. I especially liked the strong, determined, smart, no-nonsense Ripley.

Some of the greatest things in this movie are the production designs and art direction. They are phenomenal, I loved the detailed designs of the Aliens, the weird ship and alien skeleton also seen in Prometheus (can't wait to see that, it has a unique reputation), the Xenomorph, even the Nostromo ship... Loved it all.

Unfortunately this film is not perfect, as much as I'd like it to be, simply because it is quite dated. Most of the practical effects in this movie hold up very well. Others do not. I realize as everyone's seen this film using a spoiler box might be pointless, but just in case...

The alien when it comes out of John Hurt's chest doesn't look great. Of course they did the best they could have at the time, and the effect as a whole is shocking and very effective... But the alien itself at that point doesn't look real. Not terrible, just... dated.

Also when Ash reveals himself to be a robot, going from the rubber decapitated head to Ian Holm's actual head looks painful. I don't know how it could have been better, maybe the rubber layer could have stayed on Ian Holm's head while he talked, and the edit could have been better.

I think a few cuts and a few shots didn't feel right to me, can't remember in detail though. I think one of them was when the face-hugging alien first jumps on John Hurt, cut too abruptly. I think if the moment stayed the same but the transition had an echo it would be a lot better. It's the only way I think it could have been better. Other ways to cut it would be too early or too late.

Off the top of my head these are what comes up right now.

On this day and age we might have been desensitised to horror to a certain extent. At the time what's terrifying might not be as effective today. Granted the TV I watched from was a little farther than my liking and it wasn't dark and loud like in a movie theater, which would most definitely make the experience scarier. But my point still stands.

Fortunately, Alien mostly stands the test of time with perfect pacing, scares, and designs, with engaging characters. But I don't think it's a masterpiece.

9/10

EDIT:


Quick clarification: 
Thinking about the practical effects again, really the only thing I had a problem with was Ash’s head. I heard that Ridley Scott himself had a problem with that too.

The alien bursting out of John Hurt looked good; it was only a little stiff. Then again how much better could it have been with what they had? Probably not much. In the end it looks very good if a little dated. 
 
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