Super 8

★☆☆☆ – (2011) – A group of kids filming a movie witness the start of a monster invasion. Tries incredibly hard to come across as a Spielberg movie, but can’t come close to matching the heart and humor of his early films. Every character and action goes through tired motions and can’t create a single emotion or a sense of fun. Predicable and soulless.

Life

★★☆☆ – (2017) – A space station crew is stalked by an alien that increases in size as it kills. Has too many moments that remind of superior films (Alien, Gravity, Species) and is nearly destroyed by a lousy script that has characters constantly saying and doing stupid things. Does have occasional tension, and the conclusion is effective even though it’s the result of incompetence.

Alien: Covenant

★★½☆ – (2017) – A space crew hones in on a beacon sent from a planet with reproduction issues. Takes a while to get going, and has plenty of slow spots, but does manage to excite on occasion. Answers questions posed in Prometheus, but not in an air tight manner. Certainly entertaining, and worthy of the franchise.

Dark Universe

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★½☆☆ – (1993) – Scientists head to a bayou to explore the presence of an alien with human DNA. Despite a few attempts to elicit excitement in the final act, nothing that appears throughout comes close to meaning anything. Humor, sleaze, and monster activities are all lacking, though scenes of uselessness are in high supply.

Phantasm: Ravager

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★★½☆ – (2016) – Reggie wanders through time and space seeking his friends while trying to destroy his adversary. Works well as a continuation of the surreal series, but comes up short as the definitive outcome. Feels as though nobody will ever explain what the franchise means, and at some points gives the notion that the creators figured it was best to make one more entry while everyone was still alive. Has moments that will please Phantasm fans, but newcomers will be lost.