Aliens, romance and tween humor at the movies this week
The "Alien" universe is expanding, with the addition this weekend of another prequel, "Alien: Covenant." The 1979 original was "the ultimate deep-space horror," and this one doesn't spare on the gore. If horror isn't your style, there's also teen romance and tween bathroom humor.
★★1/2 out of 4
In Ridley Scott's "Alien: Covenant," taking place 10 years after "Prometheus," the so-called Engineers are, thankfully, nowhere to be seen. Back instead are everyone's favorite extraterrestrials, those acid-dripping drama queens so fond of making a big entrance. Like some of the alien offspring, "Covenant" is a hybrid: part gory "Alien"-style scare-fest, part chilly "Prometheus" existentialism. It's a tall order of thrills and theology that the ever gung-ho Scott, working from a script by John Logan and Dante Harper, comes close to pulling off. Full review
★★★ out of 4
Maddy, who hasn't left the house in 17 years, is remarkably poised, articulate, well-adjusted and smart — a poster child for, presumably, home schooling who, having just turned 18, whiles away her time by reading, drawing, writing sassy, haikulike classic-movie reviews on her personal website and taking online architecture classes, for which she builds surprisingly accomplished scale models, all of which include a small astronaut figurine.
Into this already too-perfect scenario comes a Cute Boy Next Door: Olly (Nick Robinson), who immediately strikes up a texting relationship with Maddy after they briefly lock eyes from their bedroom windows. In short order, they are exchanging flirty banter — or what passes for such, in the cloyingly arch screenplay by J. Mills Goodloe ("The Age of Adaline"), based on Nicola Yoon's 2015 YA novel. Full review
"Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul"
★★★ out of 4
This story of a family vacation gone wrong could have just been subtitled "Road Trip," but it turns out "The Long Haul" is an ironically apt descriptor for this film. One hesitates to refer to it as a "comedy," as the jokes are few and far between. No, "horror" was the word that popped into mind frequently during these grim 90 minutes. Full review