Sigourney Weaver

In space, simply scary beats too much talking

The crew of the Covenant, in better times.

Alien: Covenant, the eighth of the Alien series of films, feels like an old friend from whom you’ve long since grown apart, but with whom you’ll still grab a beer and listen to the same stories and jokes. The film checks all the series boxes, and delivers all the same jolts, but ultimately cannot break out of its own constraints.  

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Exodus highlights the ongoing battle between traditional and modern filmmaking, and neither side really wins.

Battle Moses.  Complete with armor, shiny sword, and unidentifiable accent.

Battle Moses. Complete with armor, shiny sword, and unidentifiable accent.

Exodus: Gods and Kings was bound to be a spectacular epic, considering the biblical source material and the director at the helm, Sir Ridley Scott.  Scott echoed this projection when he said that Exodus: Gods and Kings is his “biggest” movie yet.  Considering his long resume of major titles, that’s quite a statement and yet it’s true.  The sets, the action, the effects, and the scope are all monumental, and these are mainly where the movie succeeds.  It’s heartwarming to know that there’s still room for traditional sandal epics in the modern film business, featuring a good amount of built sets and armies of real actors (as opposed to CGI backdrops and armies…though these are still employed here as well).  But trying to keep to tradition comes with a price, and some poor decisions.  Exodus is weakest (and most controversial) in its casting choices and artistic breaks from the source material, but these falters can’t keep Exodus from providing a mostly exciting experience.

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Cillian Murphy in RED LIGHTS

In the dramatic thriller Red Lights, Cillian Murphy and Sigourney Weaver star as the world’s foremost investigators of paranormal phenomena. Professional skeptics, they have debunked dozens of fraudulent mind readers, ghost hunters, and faith healers by detecting “red lights”, subtle clues to the trickery behind each of these “supernatural” occurrences. But when a world-renowned psychic (Robert De Niro) suddenly resurfaces after a lengthy exile — and the death of his biggest critic — they begin to investigate him, despite increasingly bizarre and dangerous incidents the closer they get. Co-starring Elizabeth Olsen and Joely Richardson, Red Lights is the second English-language film by Spanish writer/director Rodrigo Cortés, who previously created the acclaimed Ryan Reynolds thriller Buried. Below, Spinning Platters talks with Murphy and Cortés about manipulating the human brain, Murphy’s reflections on 28 Days Later and Inception, and how profoundly unamused he is by my phone’s autocorrect.

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