On DVD & Blu-Ray: August 15, 2017

As a human male who wasn't born until 1987, the year after James Cameron's seven-year-later sequel to Ridley Scott's 1979 masterpiece debuted, I was never overly inclined to invest much of my adolescence in Xenomophs or the lore of the talented Ms. Ripley. As someone who would unknowingly be lumped in with the millennial generation I didn't grow up with a fondness for those original films and thus they never became a critical part of the cultural landscape for me until much later in life. It might even be difficult for viewers with older tastes and dated perspectives to understand how such a film as restrained and measured as Alien might play for today's ADD audiences, but despite the fact I didn't end up seeing Scott's original film until a college scriptwriting class doesn't mean I didn't understand the how and why of its effectiveness. Still, because of the life experiences that shaped who I was up until the point when I saw Prometheus in the summer of 2012 I didn't mind that it felt completely different from what Scott had established as his Alien universe in the past. Like with music and most things in life if something works and people crave more of it the artist must find a way to strike a balance between what has come before while also reinventing themselves so as not to repeat the same old shtick over and over again. While many complained about Prometheus for being too heady and not so reliant on thrills or action Scott, along with screenwriters John Logan and Dante Harper, have seemingly course corrected for the sake of the fans with Alien: Covenant as the film more or less meshes what Prometheus started and what fans seemingly wanted in a new Alien movie. That isn't to say it all melds seamlessly or that Covenant is all the better for attempting to strike such a balance, but rather that it wants to have its cake and eat it too. As an individual who has no vested interest in continuing the Alien franchise as it once was, but who dug the hell out of Prometheus, I was slightly disappointed the more philosophical aspects of the film were traded in for more formulaic action beats and scares, but while Covenant may be a safer movie than Prometheus as well as a less effective film than Alien it is still very much an entertaining one that does enough good to earn its place among the ranks of a series that seems to be more well regarded out of nostalgia and a couple strong entries than a consistent quality in the films overall. Video review here. Full review here. B-

For a film about an unforgettable romance the worst crime Everything, Everything commits is not exactly searing itself into the minds of viewers as such. Everything, Everything is a fine enough teen love story, but it is also a very slight love story-never allowing us to become invested in the characters or passionate enough about their plight as it seems we should. Moreover, the film does this to itself as it very well could have allowed more time and dedicated more of that time to developing why our two leads do indeed fall head over heels for another. Alas, at only ninety-six minutes Everything, Everything only has so much space to divulge the complexities of our greatest of virtues. That isn't to say the film doesn't make good use of the time it does spend on our star-crossed lovers, but only that we get to the inevitable rather abruptly (which might otherwise be admired) leaving the remainder of the film and the risks these characters take for one another seem all the more drastic and irresponsible which is the last thing you want when your movie positions the kids as the heroes who are smarter than the adults that surround them. The point being, as with everything, ones reaction to Everything, Everything will largely depend on the stage of life that viewer is currently experiencing when taking it in. Being a young parent, but someone who still feels at least slightly in touch with youth/popular culture Everything, Everything played with my sympathies toward the conundrum our characters face while at the same time appreciating that were this to actually occur in the real world the parents would be more rational and the stakes nowhere near as dire. Young love wants to feel a little dangerous though, a little forbidden, and slightly scary-it is what gives it that rush of excitement and uncertainty; it is what makes it all that more memorable in hindsight and it is in these details, in the minutiae of such times, that Everything, Everything actually finds its success. Director Stella Maghie and the screenplay from J. Mills Goodloe (Age of Adaline) that was of course adapted from the New York Times Bestseller by Nicola Yoon doesn't so much let her film stand on the shoulders of grand gestures or dramatic speeches, but more in the small, precise details of what makes love worth living for when you're young and want nothing more than to feel indestructible. This focus on precise over big moments allows much of the underdevelopment and lack of any real arc to (mostly) be forgiven come the end of the movie. Still, you won't remember much of it the next day. Full review here. C+

This 87-minute war thriller starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena about two American soldiers trapped by a lethal sniper, with only an unsteady wall between them received mixed to solid reviews when it was quietly released back in May. I wanted to see it then, but simply wasn't able to carve out time to do so. Still, The Wall is an intriguing title from director Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow) that I'd be interested in checking out sooner rather than later.

Another late spring release I missed was How to be a Latin Lover from director Ken Marino starring Eugenio Derbez, Salma Hayek, Rob Lowe, and Kristen Bell about a man who has been dumped after 25 years of marriage and who has made a career out of seducing rich older women is forced to move in with his estranged sister, where he begins to learn the value of family. This looked funny and clearly has a strong comedic cast, but more than anything I'm curious about this one to see how Marino (Party Down, Role Models) handled the jump from television director to feature film director.

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