In celebration of Alien Day in April, The Guardian critic Ben Child ranked the eight films in the classic science fiction series from worst to best. Beginning with Paul W. S. Anderson’s Alien vs. Predator (2004) as well as Colin and Greg Strause’s Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (2007) tied for last, Child argues James Cameron’s Aliens (1986) surpasses Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) as the greatest installment in the saga. Child writes, “Final mention, however, goes to Scott’s original Alien… At the time, there had simply been no more terrifying movie ever made by Hollywood, while [Sigourney] Weaver delivered a career-making performance.”
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine took to Twitter on Tuesday to confirm that Tom Cruise will shoot his next action blockbuster on the International Space Station, according to Business Insider. Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which has been making strides toward sending private citizens to space (including the launch date for its first crewed mission to the station on May 27), will provide the flight, while NASA will charge a fee for independent astronauts to come aboard; Russia is the only country that can ship people to and from the station, where private citizen access will be granted to its facilities. No studio has officially greenlit the project as of yet.
With Irvin Kershner’s Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) released forty years ago this month, BBC critic Nicholas Barber writes that he finds the Star Wars film considered as the best to be “slower, stodgier, more contrived, convoluted, and repetitive.” Indeed, Barber is not alone in his opinion – notable reviewers such as Vincent Canby at The New York Times were also underwhelmed with the first sequel to George Lucas’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977). Instead, Barber argues that the original is the greatest entry in the franchise, “with its wealth of history, mythology, politics, and technology.”
James Parrott’s The Music Box (1932), a half-hour Laurel and Hardy short, premiered April 16, 1932, according to The Post-Standard. In the slapstick duo’s masterpiece, Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel play a couple of bumbling furniture movers who deliver a player-piano to a wealthy man’s house (Professor Theodore von Schwartzenhoffen, M.D., A.D., D.D.S., F.L.D., F-F-F-and-F (Billy Gilbert)). The film earned Stan and Ollie their first Academy Award, and it debuted almost thirty-two years to the day when a pair of Syracuse deliverymen brought down a chimney with the weight of their pulleys while delivering a piano on April 22, 1900.
With most of the world on lockdown due to coronavirus, filmmakers are finding themselves forced to pitch electronically for industry events such as Visions du Reel, Frontieres, as well as Sheffield Doc/Fest, which have all moved online, according to Screen Daily. United Kingdom-based script consultant and screenwriter David Pope says the COVID-19 pandemic will be an opportunity for more industry insiders to connect internationally. However, Annick Mahnert, the newly appointed market director at the Montreal-based genre forum Frontieres, says in-face meetings will still be crucial to collaboration, but online pitches will allow professionals to forge new relationships and discuss new content.
The production for Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World: Dominion (2021) may have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the filmmaker has still offered fans a behind-the-scenes sneak peek, according to /Film. The new set photo features Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) – the cloned daughter of the late Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) – in a snowy environment after freeing all the captured dinosaurs at the end of J.A. Bayona’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018). Franchise alumni Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, as well as Laura Dern will all be returning to Dominion.
In a wide-ranging, hourlong phone interview with Howard Stern, Paul McCartney described his reaction to the early cut of Peter Jackson’s forthcoming The Beatles: Get Back (2020), according to Forbes. Edited together out of new footage from fifty-four hours of film shot in January 1969 as the Beatles were working on their last released album, Let It Be, Disney will distribute the Jackson film, but the release date is up in the air due to the coronavirus pandemic. Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s own documentary, Let It Be (1970), depicts the group as a conflicted band in the middle of a breakup, but McCartney disputes this angle and hopes The Beatles: Get Back will set the record straight.