Category Archives: Movies

North Bergen High School’s Alien. The Story Just Keeps Getting Better

Remember the North Bergen (New Jersey) High School production of Alien that went viral last month? After audience members posted a few key scenes from the play to YouTube, it was praised by everyone from Phil Murphy, the Governor of New Jersey, to Ridley Scott, director of the original film, and Sigourney Weaver, who starred as Ripley in the Aliens movies. Scott was so impressed that he donated $5,000 so that the North Bergen kids could stage it again for a limited run. The encore production opened Friday night.

Guess who showed up to surprise the cast and crew, and to introduce the performance.

Redditor Gato1980 posted this video of Friday’s full performance:

Gato1980 also posted the timestamps for key scenes: The Face-hugger scene is at 29:00, the Chest-burster scene is at 48:30, the alien reveal is at 54:08, the alien attack scene is at 1:10:45, and Sigourney outro is at 1:24:50.


The Dead Don’t Die — First Trailer

So, is the slogan correct? Does The Dead Don’t Die really have “The Greatest Zombie Cast Ever Disassembled”?

It may well be. Look who’s in it:

Chloë Sevigny, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Selena Gomez, Bill Murray, Austin Butler, Tom Waits, Caleb Landry Jones, Carol Kane, Danny Glover, Rosie Perez, and Iggy Pop. Tilda Swinton* or Steve Buscemi alone would be enough to get me out of the kitchen and into a theatre.

And even if the presence of some of my favourite actors wasn’t enough, there’s also this: During the trailer, I heard a brief segment from a song, and it stopped me dead, so to speak. I immediately recognized it as “Seven and Seven Is”, by the 1960s band Love, creators of the achingly beautiful Forever Changes album. Love + Iggy Pop + Tom Waits — I’d see this one just for the soundtrack.

I’ve never been a huge fan of writer/director Jim Jarmusch, although I did like Only Lovers Left Alive, his lush 2013 vampire film with Tom Hiddleston, Anton Yelchin, and, of course, the divine Tilda. (Hmmm. First vampires, now zombies. Can a Jim Jarmusch werewolf movie be far away?)

The Dead Don’t Die is scheduled for a 14 June 2019 release.

*In a description of the movie for Esquire, Tyler Coates wrote that “Driver, Murray, and Sevigny play a trio of befuddled police officers who must prepare to do battle against the undead, while Swinton is an inexplicably Scottish and sword-wielding mortician who joins the cause.”

Inexplicably? Of course she plays a Scottish sword-wielding mortician. This is Tilda Swinton he’s writing about. What else would he expect?

Alien: The Play — High School Theatre at Its Best


What happened in North Bergen, New Jersey, last weekend was like a real-life version of one of those high school musical movies from the 1930s, where Mickey and Judy need money to save the old folks’ home, and somebody comes up with a great idea: “Let’s put on a show! We can have it in my uncle’s barn!”

Except that nobody sang show tunes in the North Bergen High School Drama Club’s production of Alien: The Play, and a Xenomorph killed off most of the characters.

The Xenomorph

The Xenomorph

Working with costumes and scenery made largely with recycled materials, the club brought its own version of the classic 1979 horror movie to the high school stage. And the critics raved.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy tweeted this:

A non-profit founded by the mayor of North Bergen funded extra performances of the play.

And then things got heavy. Ridley Scott, director of the original film, gave “Thumbs Up To High Schoolers Who Adapted His Sci-Fi Classic: ‘Do Gladiator Next!’”

Ridley Scott

But the absolute topper was this:

It looks like the North Bergen production diverged from the original movie by including a scene that comes from the sequel, Aliens, rather than from Alien itself, but there’s no way in this or any other world that they could have resisted including one of the greatest lines in film history. With just six little words, Sigourney Weaver’s has been bringing cheering audiences to their feet for more than three decades.

Four Weddings and a Funeral and a Red Nose

The immensely likable Four Weddings and a Funeral was released 25 years ago this week, and to celebrate, the surviving cast members have come together again on a new project for Comic Relief’s annual Red Nose Day fundraiser.

One Red Nose Day and a Wedding will premiere during Red Nose Day 2019 on BBC One on Friday, 15  March 2019.

Here’s the teaser:

Duet: Elton John and Taron Egerton Perform Together

For 27 years, Elton John has hosted an Academy Awards viewing party* to raise money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. This year, the party and auction brought in 6.3 million dollars.

This happened last night’s party:

So yet more proof that Taron Egerton, better known for his acting than for his singing, can really deliver the goods in the upcoming film, Rocketman.

I see, btw, that Rocketman is being described as “an epic musical fantasy” rather than a musical biography. I also see, btw, that the 92nd Academy Awards show will take place on 9 Feb 2020. Save the date.

The movie will be released on 24 May 2019 in the UK and on 31 May 2019 in the US.

*A gay man hosting an Oscars party! Who’da thunk it?

Rocketman — Official Trailer

Here’s the official trailer for Rocketman, the new Elton John bio.

The movie is directed by Dexter Fletcher, who was called in to finish directing the hugely successful (and hugely mediocre) Bohemian Rhapsody after Bryan Singer was fired.*

Taron Egerton plays Elton John, and if the teaser below is any indication, he absolutely nails the look and the sound. Rocketman has the potential to give him a Rami Malek-level breakout.

A couple of It’s-a-Small-World-after-All notes about the casting, and I’m so sorry if you now have that awful song rattling around in your brain, but not really.

Bernie Taupin is played by Jamie Bell—looking mighty fine here, with his 1970s long hair—whose original claim to fame was that he played the title character in the movie Billy Elliot, which was later brought to the stage as a musical by…Elton John.

John Reid, who you may remember was The Bad Guy in Bohemian Rhapsody shows up again in Rocketman. Reid, John’s early lover and long-time manager, also managed Queen from 1975 to 1978.

Same person, different actor. In Bohemian Rhapsody he was played by Aidan Gillen, best known for his role in Game of Thrones. In Rocketman he’s played by Richard Madden, best known for his role in Game of Thrones.

Reid also managed Irish dancer Michael Flatley. I look forward to the soon-to-be-announced filming of Riverdance, in which Reid will be played by either Peter Dinklage or Lena Headey.

I never got around to posting the original teaser from lat October, so here it is now:

Rocketman will be released on 24 May 2019 in the UK** and on 31 May 2019 in the US.

Bonus Track

Blackadder (and Mr Bean) himself, aka Rowan Atkinson, Interviews Elton John

*I’m biased here. I’ve always detested Queen’s dumb, ugly product.

**Assuming the UK still exists on 24 May 2019.

Celebrity Time Travelers

I know nothing about Ard Gelinck except that he lives in the Netherlands and he creates these wonderful collages of well-known people at various stages of their lives.

Read the images any way you want. Is Gelinck just showing the inevitable results of time and gravity and living, or is he illustrating the fantasy of being able to go back in time and teach your younger self all the life lessons you’ve learned over the years?

He’s charitable in his selection of subjects. There are no Dorian Greys in his gallery. Gelinck avoids the easy but cruel choice of pairing a picture of, say, the young Jan Michael Vincent with a contemporary photo, for instance.

I found these images on Bored Panda, where you can find many more.

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp



Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks



George Michael

George Michael