Movies of the Week #24 (2017)

Please excuse my busy schedule this week, but a non-domestic travel arrangement severely hampered my movie-watching agenda. The couple of movies I did see are miles apart from one another.

Movie of the Week:

Alien Resurrection

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Tuesday

  • Harvey (1950): Long festering on my watchlist, I gor around to watching this Jimmy Stewart showpiece by pure randomness. The night before the event, I endured my favourite football team squandering a gazillion chances to save their asses from a relegation play-off, which still happened later in the week, but the initial 2-1 home advantage was nightmare inducing. So when I awoke at 5 am and was bereft of any desire to rest any further, what else could have been more advised than checking out Stewart and his imaginary rabbit-friend? Well, it took some time getting used to the idea, but once that was achieved, I enjoyed Harvey. Its utterly optimistic approach to mental illness – to an almost frustrating degree – is more allegorical than rooted in practical nit-pickings and, of course, Stewart makes it work. Funnily, Josephine Hull, playing his irritating, conniving, selfish sister (but kind, oh-how-kind) ended up with an Oscar for her performance, in what was one of the only stand-out roles of her career. 7/10

Sunday

  • Alien Resurrection (1997): TBH, maybe I only watched two movies so that I could put an Alien on the MotW list. Wish I was this premeditated – I only saw AR because I plopped my ass on a couch and there it was, running on one of my underused TV cable channels.Resurrection has this bad rap of being somehow the worst Alien film of the quadrilogy. Alien 3 gets a hall pass because Fincher has proved to be such a great director and, supposedly,  the director’s cut sorts out all the damage done by studio interference on the original cinematic cut. I disagree – while 3 is watchable and coherent, it lacks personality. Jean Pierre Jeunet’s Resurrection is more of a wild bet, with Jeunet at the bottom of a long list of directors who refused the opportunity to work on the fourth Alien movie. As scriptwriter and nerd darling Joss Whedon disowned the execution of the film (“They said the lines but they said them all wrong. And they cast it wrong. And they designed it wrong. And they scored it wrong. They did everything wrong they could possibly do.”), it isn’t all too difficult to see shortcomings in AR. While I agree it could have been better and some scenes do come across ridiculously, I feel Resurrection is more enjoyable than Fincher’s third iteration of the series, primarily because you’ve got many memorable scenes, awesome one-liners and the final ‘boss’ battle has a weird, disturbing emotional heft to it. Sure, most of the casting doesn’t work very well (except for the ever-awesome Ron Perlman), the new Ripley is not particularly likable and it’s just plain lazy to set a movie 200 years into the future but keep it artificially identical in visual style to the original story. But AR is the last Alien movie that still felt like an Alien movie, which matters a great deal to me. 7/10