For Science Fiction Month (2024), I went with an alien theme. You can probably guess at least four of the films on the list. Keep in mind that most movies I watch are on my media server (unless I own it on Blu-ray or 4k disc). Therefore, at some point, money was exchanged for the film to be in my possession. Which means I enjoyed the movie enough to own it.
I’m also going to do something a little different this year for my monthly movie binges. Instead of just telling you what the movies are, I’m going to also do a short film reflection where I will mostly explain what I like about the movie. So let’s get started.
If you just want to see the list, here it is. You can click on the movie name to take you straight to that movie, or you can skip straight to the bonus and special event movie(s).
- Alien (1979)
- Aliens (1986)
- Alien3 (1992)
- Alien: Resurrection (1997)
- Ender’s Game (2013)
- Starship Troopers (1997)
- Cocoon (1985)
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt
I enjoy going back and watching some of these older films, especially when I recognize other actors that I forgot were in the film. An example, is Ian Holm as the android and Harry Dean Stanton (does he always play a mechanic?). Ridley Scott is an amazing director and I enjoy this movie quite a bit. It’s a classic, and rightfully so.
Directed by: James Cameron
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn
This is everyone’s favorite of the Alien movies. I think a large part of it is Bill Paxton’s performance as Hudson. It’s probably the most quotable of the films and most of those quotable lines come from Bill Paxton (RIP). I’ve used lines from the movie and forgot they were from the film. I, definitely, like it more than the first one.
Directed by: David Fincher
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Charles S Dutton, Charles Dance
The third installment of the franchise has one of the most iconic scenes in the franchise. That is probably the most memorable thing about this film. It moves really slow and I wasn’t invested in the lives of a bunch of murderers and rapists. Initially, I thought the CGI was bad but it’s just dated. In the early 90s, we didn’t have HD televisions and digital projectors. Despite all that, it does have some decent drama and it closes out Ripley’s story.
Directed by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon
This installment gets a lot of hate from critics and fans. I think a little of the blame falls on the unpopularity of the third movie. I, personally, enjoy it, much more than the third one. The pacing is much better and it keeps my attention throughout the whole film.
Directed by: Gavin Hood
Starring: Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld
First off if you’ve never read the book, I highly recommend reading it; it’s in my top five. Second, Steve Jablonsky composes an amazing soundtrack for this movie! The first thing I did, after I saw this movie the first time, is buy the soundtrack. As far as its faithfulness to the book, it comes pretty close but it’s too rushed.
To be honest, this movie should have been two movies; one while he’s in Battle School and one while he’s at Command School. The best parts of the book are the battles in the Battle Room. It’s a real shame they rushed the movie so much to leave out some of the best parts. Despite the film’s pace, I still really enjoy watching it and listening to it.
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
Starring: Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer
This is one of those movies where people either like it or hate it. Yes, it’s pretty goofy but that’s what makes it entertaining. It’s one of those movies that falls under “cult classic” that you shouldn’t take too seriously. For example, how come they never seem to run out of bullets except for one scene near the end? Or the fact that Denise Richards can fire an automatic rifle after having been impaled in the shoulder.
It has gore and nudity, definitely not something for the kids. It’s another one of those movies where you’re like “Hey, that’s Neil Patrick Harris, Jake Busey, and Clancy Brown!”. Did you see Rue McClanahan? It’s worth watching even though it might suck your brains out.
Directed by: Ron Howard
Starring: Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn
If I’m being honest, I thought this movie was a war movie. Obviously, I was mistaken. I have no idea what movie I was thinking of. It turns out that this is a really good movie. I don’t want to ruin this movie too much but it does match the alien theme for the month. You should check it out.
Star Wars Reference: Steve Guttenberg’s last line in the movie is “May the Force be with you”.
Bonus/Special Event Movies
January doesn’t have a “special event movie”, although the original, 1960, Ocean’s Eleven does take place on New Year’s Eve; but would that be a December movie or a January movie?
In any event, there is a bonus movie. I finally watched Free Man which you can watch on Disney+/Hulu. If you want to see my full review, click here. The short version is that I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought and I would, absolutely, watch it again.
“The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.”
– Stanley Kubrick