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Alien: Covenant

Danny McBride and Katherine Waterston star in a scene from the movie "Alien: Covenant." The Catholic News Service classification is L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (CNS photo/Fox)

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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Once you've seen one vicious extraterrestrial gnaw its way out of a human body from the inside, you've seen 'em all. Or so at least the jaded -- or squeamish -- moviegoer might be tempted to think.

And yet, the success of the durable "Alien" franchise, which dates all the way back to 1979, and was last added to by the 2012 reboot "Prometheus," would seem to argue otherwise.

For those eager to watch the showcased race of creatures come busting out all over one more time, there arrives the competently shocking "Alien: Covenant" (Fox). As before, the watchword remains -- to borrow a phrase from Cole Porter -- "Don't Fence Me In."

When we first meet those whose anatomical bounds are likely to be burst, namely the crew of the titular spacecraft, they're taking a long cryogenic nap as they speed toward a distant planet on a colonizing mission from Mother Earth. They're watched over by a so-called "synthetic," (i.e., an android) named Walter (Michael Fassbender).

Naturally, all this is too peaceful to last. So, cue an unforeseen phenomenon that not only badly damages the Covenant but also kills a number of those on board, including the vessel's commander, Capt. Jacob Branson (James Franco).

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