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Posts Tagged ‘aliens’

Mary Elizabeth Winstead battles "The Thing"

“THE THING” My rating: C (Opening wide Oct. 14)

103 minutes | MPAA rating: R

We’ve already seen two very good versions of “The Thing” (based on the classic sci-fi/horror story “Who Goes There?”), so anyone making yet a third “Thing” had better bring some new ideas to the table.

In the case of the film opening today, first-time feature director Matthijs van Heijningen and writer Bill Lancaster attempt to stir things up by making our protagonist a woman.

That’s it?  That’s the big twist?

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“COWBOYS AND ALIENS”  My rating: C+ (Opening wide on July 29)

118 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

Daniel Craig carries himself like vintage Steve McQueen.

Harrison Ford, on the other hand, is starting to carry himself like Lee J. Cobb.

If you’re old enough to recognize those two names, welcome to my world.

In “Cowboys and Aliens” Craig is a resident of the Old West who wakes up in the middle of the desert with a bad case of amnesia and some sort of big honking electronic bracelet on his wrist that cannot be removed.

Ford plays a crusty old cattle baron accustomed to ruling the area like a Medieval lord.

Before you can say “alien abductions in 1870s Arizona” they’re battling high-tech invaders from outer space.

Jon Favreau’s latest is in many ways a conventional cowboy movie — though not always a particularly good one. We’ve all seen the Western in which the Indians raid settlements taking prisoners and the surviving menfolk organize a posse and take off in pursuit.

Same deal here. Just substitute Martians for Indians.

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“SUPER 8” My rating: B-

112 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

J.J. Abrams’ highly-anticipated “Super 8” is a riff on all those Spielberg-inspired films from the ‘80s in which suburban kids got sucked into other-worldly adventures.

“Goonies” is a big influence here. So is “E.T.,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and a half-dozen other titles.

As a work of homage, “Super 8” will have you tabulating references to all those movies. It makes for a diverting parlor game.

The film itself is a mixed bag. The first half is excellent, with Abrams and a spectacular cast of young performers delivering several strikingly original sequences.

And then “Super 8” becomes a movie we’ve already seen way too many times. It’s not awful, just discouragingly familiar.

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