Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 241: Alien: Covenant (2017) and a Rant About Pre-Movie Trailers

Episode 241

We’re gonna need a bigger spaceship… Welcome to Movie Podcast Weekly, Episode 241, where we bring you our Feature Review of Alien: Covenant (2017)! And then for those who have already seen the movie, we provide a SPOILER SECTION for this movie. But don’t worry: We’ll give you plenty of notice before we reveal any spoilers. This episode also contains a heated rant about the number of trailers that precede movie screenings. Get ready for a lot of [MEEPs]!

If you’re new to our show… Movie Podcast Weekly typically features four hosts — Jason, Andy, Karl and Geek Cast Ry — along with frequent guests. We give you our verdicts on at least one new movie release from the current year that’s currently playing in theaters, as well as several mini reviews of whatever we’ve been watching lately. New episodes release every single week!


I. Introduction
— Our thoughts our with the Manchester bombing victims
— And our thoughts our with director Zack Snyder and his family
— Joss Whedon and “Justice League”
— An update on Ryan’s Comedy Movie Podcast
— MPW releases on iTunes

[ 0:08:56 ] II. Mini Reviews
Ryan: Rant about pre-movie trailers, The Dark Universe and its casting, Tom Hardy plays “Venom” (2018), Mindhorn, Santa Clarita Diet
Karl: Heat special edition Blu-ray, Designated Survivor Season 1, The Discovery
Andy: Available movie streaming options; Norm Macdonald: Hitler’s Dog, Gossip & Trickery
Jason: Brian Regan: Live From Radio City Music Hall (2015); Rise of the Planet of the Apes; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; Prometheus

III. New in Theaters This Past Weekend [ Friday, May 19, 2017 ]:
Alien: Covenant
Everything, Everything
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
Paint It Black
The End of Me
Fight for Space
The Men Who Were Super
The Commune
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail


[ 1:08:35 ] IV. Feature Review: ALIEN: COVENANT (2017)
Jason = 8.5 ( Theater / Buy it! )
Karl = 8.5 ( Theater / Buy it! )
Ryan = 8.5 ( Theater / Buy it! )

[ 1:21:14 ] V. SPOILER SECTION: Alien: Covenant (2017)SPOILERS!

VI. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending

Episode 242 where we’ll be reviewing “Baywatch,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” “War Machine,” and “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” with special guest Cody Clark


Contact MPW:
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Leave a comment in the show notes for this episode.

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Ry’s BIO
Ryan’s New Facebook Page
Ry’s flagship show: Geek Cast Live Podcast
DONATE here to facilitate the creation of more Geek content!
Blog: Geek Cast Live
Web site: Geek
Twitter: @GeekCastRy

Jason recommends supporting: Operation Underground Railroad

Listen to MPW:
Add MPW to your Stitcher playlist:
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Josh’s links:
Hear Josh named as one of the Top 5 Up-and-Coming Directors on The Film Vault Podcast!
Twitter: @IcarusArts
Josh covers streaming movies on: Movie Stream Cast
Hear Josh on The SciFi Podcast
Hear Josh on Horror Movie Podcast

If you’re a Horror fan, listen to Jason and Josh on HORROR MOVIE PODCAST

We’d like to thank The Dave Eaton Element and Dave himself for the use of his music for our theme song. Buy Dave’s Eaton’s music:

Ryan’s Fake Movie Titles:
The End of Me
The Men Who Were Super

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Thanks for listening, and join us again next week for Movie Podcast Weekly.

16 thoughts on “Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 241: Alien: Covenant (2017) and a Rant About Pre-Movie Trailers

  1. Alien covenant this movie is bad , nothing was scary, it had the dumbest ship captain I have ever seen , the gore was good , but the reason why the alien was made totally ruins the mystic of the alien creature.

    • Willis,
      You need to revisit the later “Alien” films in the franchise, because what is suggested about the origin of the alien species is incorporated in this prequel. And while I would also prefer that the alien species be a naturally occurring organism in the universe, I still think this back story allows some mystique to surround the creature. Thanks for writing!

      • i don’t need to , those movies don’t count to me anymore , it just alien and aliens and that’s it , because the Aliens colonial Marines video retcon those two movies and the game is approved by fox studios as part of the alien franchise

  2. Are we sure that “Namor the Submariner” isn’t just a fake Ryan title he pulled out in order to satisfy Jerome with an answer?

  3. Last week I went to see Baywatch on my lunch break with a friend. I stood up from my desk at 10:45, but then ended up in hallway conversation with two coworkers. Things dragged on until I finally had to physically remove myself, talking and backing, until I could slide out the door. By the time I got into my car, it was 10:59, with the show “starting” at 11. Undeterred, I completed the 15-minute drive to the theater in roughly 12 minutes, parked the car, walked to the lobby, bought a ticket, and made it inside the theater and all the way up to the middle of the back row (center section) by 11:15. I think I still caught 1.5 trailers before the movie actually started.

    So, yeah, maybe the preshow stuff has gotten a little out of control. On the other hand, though, I’m sympathetic to both exhibitors (theater owners) and distributors (studios). I like movies and I like theaters. Ideally, I’d like to preserve the option to see movies in theaters. With ticket revenues dwindling and release windows shrinking, exhibitors have to get money from somewhere. Hence the sponsorship deals with local businesses. And for all that I, personally, have seen most trailers a dozen times before I see them in theaters, I have to imagine that I’m still largely anomalous in that regard. I’d be willing to bet that, other than when going to the movies, most moviegoers see trailers only on TV if they see them at all.

    Trailers are generally available online for a week or two before they show up in theaters, but they’re only whack-you-in-the-nose, can’t-go-anywhere-on-the-Web-without-seeing-them available if you’re at least a little bit of a geek who continually hangs out on movie sites. And studios very most need those trailers to be seen by people who are in the regular habit of paying to see movies in theaters. The captive audience that’s in a theater before a movie starts is such a massively golden marketing opportunity that the wonder is that there are only (at most) 20 minute of trailers, and not 35 or 40.

    Besides, if you really can’t be bothered with the extra time to watch a few trailers, then it only takes a small amount of basic math to look at the appointed showtime, add 15 minutes, and show up late (but still on time). In most cases, you could probably arrive 15 minutes late, buy popcorn and a soda before entering the theater (if that’s your thing), and still not miss any of the movie. Easy.

    Also, while I get that it’s a bit of a bummer that Netflix doesn’t have nearly the streaming library that it once did, I’m also sympathetic to all of the creative people who rely on rental revenues. Andy/Jerome/Adrian/Reginald, if you want to watch something and it’s not streaming “free” (i.e. included in your subscription) on Netflix, then you can almost always find it streamable/downloadable for a fee on Amazon or YouTube. Zero Dark Thirty, for example, is $3.99 to rent or $12.99 to own on Amazon Video. It’s even cheaper ($2.99) on YouTube. Same as you would have paid at Blockbuster 15 years ago, in other words, only you don’t even have to leave the house. I know, I know, it would be “free” if it was streaming on Netflix. But it’s not like you don’t have any other options with Netflix than the ever-more-patchy movie service. The basic subscription includes a shload of awesome TV, including such brilliant Netlfix original programming as Stranger Things or The Crown. There is plenty of stuff to see on Netflix, and there are plenty of options to find movies elsewhere.

  4. Haven’t listened yet, so I don’t know exactly what your gripe about trailers is, but if it’s about the sheer number of them, then yes, I’m with you. I often count them now, and it’s been as many as 8, which is ridiculous. I was actually surprised to only see 5 before Wonder Woman last night. Relatively few for a film with a big audience. Speaking of which…

    A lot to like, and yeah, it’s much better than the other recent DC dreck. Still not an outright win for me, though, but it should do well, and deservedly so for being a solid superhero flick with some heart.

    Chris Pine kind of steals it from the lead, though. Gal Gadot is sweet and beautiful and strong and has a good energy and does a fine job in the role, but it kind of needed Pine to give it both some levity and some weight. That probably sounds sexist in a film celebrating a powerful woman, but I mean that in terms of acting chops and also the way the characters are written.

    The whole intro section seemed a bit labored, but then it starts to pick up when Pine arrives and gets quite good for a while there, but never quite reaches amazing, devolving into more-of-the-same superhero action.

    The big bad is played by someone who I think is great in terms of acting, but there was a laughable aspect to that for me. Can’t explain that without giving it away.

    One minor niggle is that they had set up her theme song riff in the BvS film and in the trailers, and I really liked it, but they only did variations of it in this movie. I did like the music and scoring in general, though.

    I’d put it on level with the middle-upper-ish Marvel films. Good and entertaining, but also just another big summer superhero movie that blurs with the many others. 7.5

  5. Can I just pull an Andy and share a couple of things that bother me about “Alien: Covenant” without having even seen the film? Is that allowed?

    *Possible Spoilers* (maybe?)

    It bothers me that Katherine Waterston’s character gives off such a Ripley vibe. Let’s get some fresh characters for a change! One of the fun things about the first Alien film is the unexpected character deaths and the surprise ‘last girl.’ From the trailer alone I could easily surmise who are two remaining humans would be: Waterston and McBride. Ugh. From the trailers I also gleaned that the idiot human decisions that plagued Prometheus continue to be a problem in Covenant. Am I wrong? Do the humans make smart, realistic decisions? Or is this just Friday the 13th in space?

    Again, if this wasn’t tied to “Alien” and “Aliens”, I probably wouldn’t bother with it at all. I guess I get interested in these Alien films, hoping that we will get another exceptional piece of entertainment art (like the first two) and not just an above average horror film with all the usual horror tropes.

    I look forward to listening to MPW’s review.

  6. A little something about ratings;
    There is the MPA rating system; G-PG-PG13-R-X. (Marginally Useful)

    The MPW rating system; Skip/Rent/Buy. (Pretty Helpful)

    But after seeing a run of super-dark films; Nocturnal Animals, Miss Sloane, Elle, Manchester by the Sea…. Maybe I need a rating system based on how Happy/Disgusted/Tense/Hopeless/Depressed I am going to be after watching a film. I hate spoilers as much as the next guy, but the number of movies I’ve seen lately that have no redeeming qualities is ridiculous.

    • Jenifer, did you really feel like Manchester had no redeeming quality, or am I connecting different dots there? But regardless, you did refer to that as “super-dark”, which I wouldn’t call it. Incredibly tragic, definitely. But I think there’s a fair amount of healing and potential for growth and moving forward that happens there.

      I also don’t think of Miss Sloane as super-dark, but presumably we have different levels of light/dark rating. :)

      • Eric, Maybe I misused the term “super-dark”. “Super Dark” is how I felt after watching Nocturnal Animals, and I started thinking that maybe I had fallen into a downward spiral of depressing movies, so I looked back, and found there weren’t as many as I had expected. These four stuck out to me.

        I think each of the movies I mentioned has redeeming qualities. Manchester (9/10) as you said, truly does have some moving forward that happens.
        Elle (8/10) made me truly understand how it would feel to have your attacker at large. It was terrifying.
        Miss Sloane (7/10) was gorgeously filmed and Jessica Chastain was brilliant.
        Nocturnal Animals (2/10) had some of the best tension I’ve seen built in a movie in quite awhile.
        These 4 movies have in common the fact that they cut me to the quick and I’m sure that’s what the filmmakers had in mind. They made me think and feel deeply and I’m totally ok with that. They also have in common that I won’t be able to recommend them to almost anyone and that I hope I don’t ever have to watch any of them again.
        It’s my own fault for going into Nocturnal Animals cold. Shoulda done some research. 2 might be a little harsh, but I stand.
        Thanks for asking, and causing me to look at myself a little closer, Eric!!
        So how do you define “dark” and “super-dark”?

        • Hey, if it wasn’t for you, Jenifer, I’d feel like a ghost here, lately. :)

          But anyway, yeah, it’s all subjective and semantics, I suppose. To me, something that’s dark or super-dark implies a feeling that is deeply sinister or depraved in nature, and almost seems like the film endorses that, or at least captures it very well to the point that it almost leaks off on you. Much as I love The Dark Knight and think it’s a masterpiece, that whole element of the Joker’s character and antics and outlook feels “dark” to me. Also, much as I love The Witch, that felt very dark in several ways. And several horror films have that as well, sometimes seeming to indulge in it. Often with those kind of films, there’s a literal darkness, too, in terms of the lighting and visual atmosphere. (But I wouldn’t call Arrival or other films “dark” because of their lighting.)

          I guess your description is probably more real, though. The darkness of losing someone tragically. The darkness of feeling betrayed. Etc. And yeah, in *life* terms, I do think of all that as very dark.

          I didn’t love Nocturnal Animals, either, but I think I gave it a 6 or so. 2 is really low. Yikes. Did you do a fuller review of that here? I don’t recall. I’d like to hear more of your take on that.

          • I didn’t didn’t think there was any continuity between her “art piece” in the opening scene, and the ex-husbands book, and her life before that or their life together. It all seemed really unconnected.
            If I could understand her art in some context of her life other than a commentary on unhappiness and cynicism, if I could draw any kind of meaningful parallel with his art (the book) and hers…
            Or if his art had some meaning to her life other than bringing her to the brink of despair as she read it…
            If any of that had anything to do with their marriage or the end of it… or his final act of cruelty…
            I mean; It just seemed like a parade of uncomfortable ideas and images that though visceral, just didn’t end up meaning anything to me.
            Did I misinterpret it somehow? I admit, a 2 rating is low, and maybe I did that a little out of spite.. but I kind of don’t think so. I still stand.

  7. Just a note regarding something Karl said in the podcast: the Alien has actually NEVER been the villain in the series. It has always been The Company, since the very first film. WeylandYutani has always been the villain, since the beginning when the Android Ash did everything in his power to get the organism on board despite the regulations and efforts if Ripley. They did all of this on the orders of “muther”, the ships navigation system to which we now know David had special access codes.

    Nothing in this film or the previous Prometheus, has ever gainsaid the history of alien. The giant race we’re the Space Jockey, the model and design of the ship is still the same as that found in LV 426.

    Also, David and Shaw arrived on the the space Jockey ship and David spread the virus when he discovered they were every bit as chaotic and destructive as “humanity”. He killed Shaw later, it more appropriately, experimented in her to harvest her mutated eggs. His attempt.ti create life with her.

  8. I saw that The Matrix was on Amazon Prime and gave it a spin. I’d seen it on video rental way back when, but I think I was tired and falling asleep or something, because I hardly remembered it, and didn’t have much of an idea of what I thought of it. Of course I know that it has become iconic, and has a lot of thematic elements that I can relate to, so I figured I should watch it again. And wow. It’s amazing. A 10 for me, and I’m pretty stingy with those.

    That kind of effect with the stop-turn action shot (there’s probably an official name for it) feels very ho-hum today when it shows up time and again (just saw it in Wonder Woman), but at the time it was fresh and groundbreaking. Same with the parkour thing. (I was surprised to find out that this predated Crouching Tiger). And I think those things work better in this film than others that followed, because they have a real purpose to show the ability to manipulate the world (er, SPOILER!!) as it is perceived but faked as the Matrix.

    The dialogue is both good and a little bit pedestrian. But the important stuff, digging into the theme and underlying message and construct, is wonderful. The FX hold up really well, and there are some excellent action/stunt sequences. My heart was actually pounding in the concluding chase sequence.

    There are some fun tropes, like the Matrix agents who are capable of incredible physical feats… except for shooting with accuracy. And there is a saving kiss that Disney must have special-ordered. 😀

    But regardless, it’s thrilling, engaging, smart and satisfying. Inception is one of my all-time favorite films, and I can see now how that owes at least a little something to The Matrix in terms of style and artistry and in conveying information. And now The Matrix is one of my all-time favorites, too.

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