Warring Alien and Predator races descend on a rural Colorado town, where unsuspecting residents must band together for any chance of survival. (IMDb)
Holy Colorado, the bloody devastation brought upon this poor ol’ small town with its sheriff and diner and high school pool.. two-thirds in, the power’s out and everyone we’ve met is getting ripped apart. “See? No monsters.” Damn. Say what you want about the rest of the film (the character writing is pretty weak and cheesy; that butt shot was definitely unnecessary), but the horror (not just from the monsters–see the climax), in its bold, unrelenting, and impartial nature, is quite effective.
: You know, when I was your age, I used to have these awful nightmares.
: It was real.
During an archaeological expedition on Bouvetøya Island in Antarctica, a team of archaeologists and other scientists find themselves caught up in a battle between the two legends. Soon, the team realize that only one species can win. (IMDb)
For a mid-2000s movie based on the idea of pitting villains from two different sci-fi franchises against each other, it’s not actually that cheesy. The sets look cheap and bland and the dialogue is mostly unmemorable, but the simple main plot is quite suspenseful (humans exploring an ancient underground pyramid in Antarctica while being hunted by two different alien species) and with its refreshing woman-of-colour lead it comes to an almost inspiring team-up climax that you don’t see coming.
Two centuries after her death, Ellen Ripley is revived as a powerful human/alien hybrid clone who must continue her war against the aliens. (IMDb)
It’s not terrible, it’s just hard to like. Case in point, our protagonist Ripley now looks straight out of an 80s hair metal band and is as creepy throughout as her alien offspring (which she fondles affectionately before it gets sucked out into space through a fist-sized hole in a vomit-inducing climax). Other gross-out moments are certainly effective, with good CGI, but they just don’t sit well when considering the film’s meh plot, lack of likable characters, and often cheesy dialogue.
After her last encounter, Ripley crash-lands on Fiorina Fury 161, a maximum security prison. When a series of strange and deadly events occur shortly after her arrival, Ripley realizes that she brought along an unwelcome visitor. (IMDb)
The story and characters leave something to be desired (aside from Ripley only Clemons really gets developed and his arc is cut short), but the dark and brooding atmosphere is incredible, thanks to the sinister and suffocating prison setting, discomforting sound and camera work (see the brilliant autopsy/alien birth montage), and tense mix of religious and foul language dispersed throughout. A bold ending makes up for the confusing final action sequence, though it’s marred by some bad CGI.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as distress call, its landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious life-form, and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun. (IMDb)
Only a few instances of distractingly dated SFX (see the puppet-like movement of the worm; big explosion) mar this claustrophobic and intimate sci-fi thriller: Natural dialogue and pacing, along with an excellent use of long tracking shots, shaky handheld movement, and facial close-ups capture perfectly the unsettling dread, shocking horror, and relatable characters trying to cope in a uniquely nightmarish plot (the initial terror from the gross alien is boosted by the robot twist later on).