In "Prometheus", director Ridley Scott began an ascension away from the original scare tactics of the "Alien Trilogy" and layered in origin ideas and the base for countless sequels to come. "Alien Covenant" continues this theory with some pretty batshit crazy acting from Michael Fassbender wrapped around some even crazier ideas of creationism, trans humanism and the floundering inability of space travelers to avoid danger. Essentially a haunted-house-pick-everyone-off slasher film (really, the franchise has been building towards this for 30 years, now its fully embraced it), "Alien Covenant" has its moments of near greatness but its ultimately a victim of that horror film trope of too many people we don't care about biting the dust. Add to that, quite frankly, the menace and freak show energy of the actual alien creature is reduced to a nimble CGI effect. If anything, the film shows us that a robot can be just as manipulative and evil as the very creature the franchise is named after. Maybe the next one installment will be called "David".
Francois Ozon's "Frantz" is a beguiling effort that despite its arbitrary switching from shimmering black and white to bursts of color (that I still can't figure out why) genuinely grows as it winds along. Suffering from the loss of their youngest son in WWI, a German family's only consolation is the dutiful presence of the son's fiance played by Paula Beer. When Frenchman Adrian (Pierre Niney) appears, he slowly insinuates himself into the family, telling them he was a friend of Frantz in Germany. Of course, nothing is as it seems. Battling the disapproving glances of the whole town as well as the harsh nationalism and broken pride of their German defeat with a Frenchman in their midst, "Frantz" is quite the slow burn but whose mood and second half perspective shift makes for a consistently surprising effort from Ozon.
Plus lots of new stuff at Dallas Film Now:
A Quiet Passion
The Wedding Plan