A trio of disgraced academics working on the paranormal turn to the private sector. Still-effective horror-comedy balancing New York snark, slapstick, and Lovecraftian interdimensional terror. Great city cinematography, and some lovely delicate moments to counterbalance the widescreen mayhem. Both sequel and reboot followed.
200 years after the events of Alien 3, Ripley is cloned by military scientists eager to weaponise the xenomorph. Good-looking and humorous Part 4 with an excellent cast of character actors; tonal inconsistency and a wayward third act destabilise the storytelling. The compulsion to find new twists undoes some of the excellent earlier material presented here.
The 2003 re-edit (actually shorter than the 1979 original version) reinstates some scenes, clarifies some plot and character points and removes others (Ash is no longer a recent crew addition, and so the conspiracy element is toned down). By no means essential, but a chance to marvel again at this still-influential movie.
The former stars of a Star Trek-like TV show are mistaken for genuine space heroes by an alien race searching for saviours. Three Amigos! / A Bug’s Life redux, perhaps, but with excellent casting, a sense of fun, and affection for genre and conventions (of both kinds) throughout.
The Ghostbusters have to reunite to battle another supernatural threat to New York. As much a remake of the 1984 original as a sequel, this passable reprise lacks the first film’s freshness, but has a few good lines and performances nevertheless.
A commercial space vehicle answers a distress call. Perhaps showing its age in some of its choices, nevertheless Alien is a storming piece of cinema, is outstandingly designed, directed and acted, and remains both relevant and influential 40 years on. A classic.
A beat-up robot falls in love with a sleek new model. Superior SF comedy/romance from Pixar; the last hour is knockabout fun with an environmental/healthy living message, but the first 30 minutes is a sublime silent (apart from music from Hello, Dolly! of all things) movie of its own.
A creature is summoned to challenge a boy whose mother is dying. Splendid dark fantasy, equal parts The BFG/ET and something more akin to Pan’s Labyrinth, which pulls out all the emotional and VFX stops in its ultimately uplifting tale about the power of stories and truths.
A hitman is subjected to forced gender reassignment. A messy hotchpotch of bad taste, worse gender politics, and a standard pulpy noir payback yarn. Tomboy is never uninteresting, but not always for the right genre reasons. A future cult beckons.
57 years later, Ellen Ripley faces the xenomorphs again. Superlative sequel, balancing the body horror shocks of the original with military action, suspense, and a then-voguish Vietnam War aftermath aesthetic.