10 movies and TV shows John is looking forward to in 2018 (Commentary)

Fox publicity photo

Here are 10 TV shows and movies I have high hopes for in the new year:

“The X-Files” (TV show, 8 p.m. Eastern Wednesdays, starting Wednesday, Fox) – OK, so I’m not as big on the mythology episodes lately (Haven’t we seen it all before?), but I do love me some Monster of the Weeks. And I won’t say no to an occasional Darin Morgan comedy hour either. With 10 episodes this time around (compared to six in 2016), there’s bound to be a good variety.

Continue reading “10 movies and TV shows John is looking forward to in 2018 (Commentary)”

Alan Dean Foster’s novelization helps fans connect with world of ‘Alien: Covenant’ (Book review)

Although I gave “Alien: Covenant” a good review earlier this summer, I did sympathize with one Amazon reviewer’s all-caps suggestion to the filmmakers: “Stop killing off main characters between movies.” This is a reference to the infamous decision to start “Alien 3” by killing off Hicks and Newt, and the franchise’s (arguably) repeated mistake this year, as “Prometheus’ “ Elizabeth Shaw is dispatched offscreen before the events of “Covenant.”

Continue reading “Alan Dean Foster’s novelization helps fans connect with world of ‘Alien: Covenant’ (Book review)”

‘Alien: Covenant’ balances xenomorph creation saga with crowd-pleasing horror (Movie review)

Director and saga overseer Ridley Scott continues his process of linking “Prometheus” with “Alien” in the second of what’s supposed to be a “Prometheus” quadrilogy, “Alien: Covenant” (now available for rental and streaming). While it’s at times derivative of other films in the series with its plot points and set pieces, it finds a balance between the Big Ideas of “Prometheus” (2012) and the straight-ahead horror of “Alien” (1979). This 11th film in the “Alien/Predator” franchise ranks somewhere in the middle of the pack, but that still makes it better than your average sci-fi film.

Continue reading “‘Alien: Covenant’ balances xenomorph creation saga with crowd-pleasing horror (Movie review)”

Why is Katniss Everdeen so reluctant to be a hero? (And why ‘Gotham’ features the rarest of heroes) (Movie and TV commentary)

“The Hunger Games” publicity photo

When faced with a totalitarian government, institutionalized corruption or a plain ol’ supervillain, pop culture’s superheroes and revolutionaries are almost always reluctant, and it’s getting to be a rather predictable trope, even within the context of otherwise enjoyable franchises. I got to thinking about this odd trend when watching “The Hunger Games” movies on Showtime.

Continue reading “Why is Katniss Everdeen so reluctant to be a hero? (And why ‘Gotham’ features the rarest of heroes) (Movie and TV commentary)”

John’s top 10 movies of 2012

Here are my picks for the top 10 movies of 2012:

1. “This Is 40” — Writer-director Judd Apatow’s first great film in five years, rather than being one long joke about getting older, instead chronicles a point in life that many people can relate to, as Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) deal with a bad economy even as they raise kids. I recently re-watched my No. 1 movie of 2007, “Knocked Up,” which introduced these characters, and “This Is 40” is better, with well-developed new characters and a few familiar faces. (Full review.)

Continue reading “John’s top 10 movies of 2012”

‘Aliens/Predator’ Universe flashback: ‘Prometheus’ (2012) (Movie review)

It’s really a shame that the novelization has died out. “Prometheus,” which recently hit home video, is begging for a talented sci-fi author to delve deeper into its themes via the written word. In fact, “Prometheus” is by far the most idea-oriented chapter among the 10 films in the “Aliens/Predator” saga. The two other entries that come closest are “Alien Resurrection” (1997) with its exploration of the creation of life (in that case, via cloning and the purposeful use of humans as incubators for xenomorphs), and “Alien vs. Predator” (2004), with its idea that an alien race (in that case, the Predators) has seeded Earth (in that case, with Aliens).

Continue reading “‘Aliens/Predator’ Universe flashback: ‘Prometheus’ (2012) (Movie review)”