Alien (1979) lobby cards
Out first this summer is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 May 2. I wasn’t a fan of the first movie but am in the minority since the launch of these trash-talking, comedic space-faring heroes lead by Star Lord (Chris Pratt) quickly became a surprise mega-hit at the box office a few winters ago. This time, “Chris Pratt of the 1980s” Kurt Russell joins the cast as “Ego,” who in the comics anyway is quite literally a “living planet.” And what’s not to love about that?
May 19 sees the release of Alien: Covenant, the third Ridley Scott Alien film, and a direct sequel to Prometheus (2012). Prometheus got a bad rap by the critics but made more than $400 million at the box office hence Alien Covenant. What’s interesting here is that from the looks of things Scott has taken Alien: Covenant back to something a little more in the vein of Alien with the crew of a ship fighting the insect-like baddies and away from the more esoteric Prometheus, which I happened to like a great deal. Luckily, I also happen to like Alien a great deal too and couldn’t be more excited for this movie if I tried.
DC Entertainment tries to get their movie act together with the release of Wonder Woman on June 2, the fourth release of the modern DC movie universe. Originally appearing in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and stealing the show, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) launches the Amazonian to the big-screen in her own movie set during WWI. My only concern for Wonder Woman is that she fought the monster Doomsday in Batman vs Superman and almost single-handedly took him down in an ultimate bad !#$ way. So whatever she faces in Wonder Woman has got to be as big or that movie might be disappointing.
The creators of The Mummy on June 9 are attempting to create their own franchise and so-called “shared universe” of movies with the Universal Monsters. Starring Tom Cruise not as the mummy but someone trying to stop her from destroying the world, early looks at The Mummy seem to indicate something like Mission Impossible crossed with Suicide Squad. The Mummy is the first movie of this interconnected film universe that will also include the likes of The Invisible Man, Wolf Man, Frankenstein and the Creature from the Black Lagoon in future films if this one’s a hit.
Spider-Man movies have had a really weird path to the big-screen the last few years. There were two Andrew Garfield The Amazing Spider-Man flicks a few years ago that failed to score billions at the office so that version was shelved. More recently Columbia Pictures, who owns the film rights to the character, had a new Spider-Man, this time played by Tom Holland, crossover in the Marvel movie Captain America: Civil War last year while still retaining the rights to make their own Spider-Man stand-alone films. Now comes that first film Spider-Man: Homecoming out July 7 this time with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) crossing over to this film.
A third Planet of the Apes film War for the Planet of the Apes is out July 14. The Apes film series is one of my favorites with the first chronicling why the apes got their smarts and the second what was happening with them just after the fall of man. This third film seems to be the story about the final apes vs man battle, with the winner taking claim to the planet. If you’ve seen the 1960s/1970s apes movies I’m sure you know how that works out.
Closing out the summer is the first movie based on the The Dark Tower Stephen King book series on July 28. Starring Idris Elba as the heroic gunslinger Roland Deschain and Matthew McConaughey as the evil sorcerer, the The Dark Tower movie series is being billed as a sequel or continuation of the books rather than a big-screen version of them. It’s hard to describe The Dark Tower without giving too much away, but there are alternate dimensions, monsters and magical powers and, best for Hollywood, if this first is successful a series of seven other books that can all be turned into films.
I wasn’t totally sold on the TBS comedy series People of Earth when it premiered a few months back. The series about a support group for people who’ve been abducted, err…, experienced aliens where it turns out the members of the group really were abducted started off a bit too broad but within an episode or two found its footing.
Wyatt Cenac stars as writer Ozzie Graham who starts off the series as a journalist doing a story about the abductees but quickly finds himself at the center of things when he’s abducted. The group, lead by Gina (Ana Gasteyer) quickly welcomes Wyatt with open arms if everyone there has their own issues. But People of Earth isn’t just about the abductee group, in a hilarious twist it’s also about the aliens doing the abductions too. There’s bug eyed monster Jeff (Ken Hall), lizard Kurt (Drew Nelson) and dreamy nordic hunk Don (Björn Gustafsson) who go about their day snatching people and erasing their memories in order to prepare for an invasion.
In many ways, People of Earth reminds me of the series Community, not so much in tone but the idea of a group of disparate people thrown together who only have one thing in common and are forced to deal with each other. The characters are interesting and the interactions within the group on People of Earth are pretty funny too. I especially liked the character of Father Doug (Oscar Nuñez) who runs the church the group holds their meetings at. He’s not too interested in the group until one night he experiences something which sends him down the path of abandoning the cloth and getting his old fusion-jazz band back together.
But what’s funniest and best about the show are those aliens. They’re so workaday just doing a job who are a little in over their heads which makes People of Earth work so well. Plus, I’ve got to hand it for whomever did the makeup for the aliens, especially the one for Jeff. It’s a wonderful appliance with the piece covering his entire head that includes blinking eyes and everything.
Even though TBS has renewed People of Earth for a second season I’d be down for a Jeff spin-off series!
“Replicants are like any other machine, their either a benefit or a hazard.”
This replica skull of the monster from the movie Aliens is awesome. At first I wondered if I were to get it what I’d even do with it, but then I thought that it might make a cool Halloween decoration to scare the kiddies with. Then I saw the cost, $270, which is just a few hundred bucks out of my traditional Halloween decorating budget!