1-20 of 54 items from 2017 « Prev | Next »
Welcome to this week’s “Preview Reel” column, where we look at the week’s upcoming wide release movies. After a record breaking debut from Beauty and the Beast last weekend, three new releases look to make a splash at the box office. There’s two reboots hitting the theaters this week, Power Rangers and CHiPs, and the horror-sci-fi flick, Life. None are likely to dethrone Beauty and the Beast, but lets see if any of these movies are worth your time.
What we are excited about: Although this writer did not grow up watching the Power Rangers TV show, I know there is a lot of nostalgia attached to this property. People who love it are supremely passionate about it, and in an era filled with reboots and remakes, why can’t something like Power Rangers work today? It looks like it has a solid cast (anything »
- Scott Davis
There are three anime and manga properties that have pretty much been in development on some level or another for pretty much the past decade. Those films are Ghost in the Shell, Akira, and Death Note. This year will see the release of two of those films after a lifetime in development hell, and that leaves one last adaptation left on the table from the main trio that Hollywood has been circling. If you thought that they had given up on adapting the beloved manga (and even more beloved anime) Akira, then you are sadly mistaken. Yes, like many projects in the business, it seems like it took a bit of a reprieve, but it is by no means dead.
In a recent episode of Meet the Movie Press, The Tracking Board editor-in-chief Jeff Sneider mentioned that Warner Bros was searching for a new director for the manga adaptation, there »
- Joseph Medina
The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop, revealing that Gyllenhaal and Espinosa have signed on to star in and direct The Anarchists Vs. Isis, a big-screen adaptation of the eponymous Rolling Stone article by Seth Harp. Gyllenhaal is also attached to produce via his production company Nine Stories.
First published last month, Harp’s long-form piece chronicles the real-life story of a group of American volunteers, socialists and outcasts who join forces with the Kurdish militia, the People’s Protection Units (Aka the Ypg), to fight Isis in Syria. Their mission? To establish an anarchist collective in the war-torn region. It’s compelling, timely stuff, and a marked step up for Daniel Espinosa, who has so far dabbled in relatively palatable genre material in the vein of Safe House, »
- Michael Briers
When we caught up with Daniel Espinosa to talk to him about Life – the Swedish director’s sixth feature – we asked him about how his latest movie differs from Alien, working with Ryan Reynolds post-Deadpool, and playing music on set while the actors were filming.
I really liked that there was none of the dumb decision making you sometimes see in movies like these…
Yes! For me that was very important. These are not high school students in a campus who have no idea what to do. They’re astronauts who have been trained to make the correct decision in difficult situations, and I wanted them to do that as much as possible.
This film has inevitably been compared to Alien – was there ever any worry on your part in terms of doing a mean alien is loose on »
- Amie Cranswick
David Ellison first created Skydance Productions for his own 2005 directorial debut When All Else Fails, but Skydance Media really started making waves in 2010 when it teamed up with Paramount Pictures for the Coen Brothers Western True Grit.
It went on to become the highest grossing Western ever and cemented the relationship between Skydance Media with Paramount who teamed-up for World War Z, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and other franchises like Star Trek and 2014’s Terminator: Genisys. (Obviously, some of those movies did better than others.)
For his new science fiction movie Life, based on an idea that Ellison came up with, he’s teamed with Sony Pictures, bringing together a cast that includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds and Rebecca Ferguson as part of the crew of the International Space Station who must examine a sample of life that’s been brought back from Mars.
Lrm got on the phone with »
- Edward Douglas
Space movies have a tried and true tradition in cinema. I don’t think I can remember a segment of the film world more contentious the space. And I really think that has to do with what we don’t know. As humans, anything we aren’t sure about is immediately scary to us. And I can see why space fits that definition. It’s a vast, endless vacuum of nothing that we can’t see 99 percent of.
And I think horror movies set in space are a particular subset that feeds on a primal fear we can’t quite control. And it’s also why it’s pretty easy to make a decent space movie and have it be scary. So it is even more uprising when a movie doesn’t live up to already low standard.
Life is a little more than an exploration of space. It is »
- Joseph Burge
Between shooting 2012's Safe House and working on the sci-fi thriller Life, a lot has changed for Ryan Reynolds. He became a father, a surprise awards contender and the star of a hugely profitable passion project.
"When I did my first close up of him, I was literally stunned. I was stunned by this newfound comfortability within him. I asked him to pour out to a bit more of some grief in his »
- Aaron Couch
As much as it wants to be, the new deep-space thriller Life is no Alien. Then again, what is? What could be? When Ridley Scott directed his 1979 no one-can-hear-you-scream masterpiece, there were still rules to break and boundaries to push. He giddily broke and pushed all of them, combining what were dismissed as two distinct and disreputable gutter genres (science fiction and horror) and fusing them into one glorious chest-bursting hybrid. You could be intelligent and graphically gooey at the same time. Who knew? In fact, it was possible that by doing so you could even approach something like art. »
- Chris Nashawaty
What we have here is junky Alien clone disguised as, well, something better. But there's no life in Life, just leftovers, and a set-up comes pretty close to being a parody of the 1979 Ridley Scott classic. We're squeezed into a claustrophobic , $200 billion international space station, which is charged with care of a probe that has returned from Mars with soil samples. And what do you know, when you put one of those samples in a petri dish, something emerges. And it's alive! At first, the one-cell organism looks like a floating plant tendril, »
For decades, the pinnacle of the sci-fi horror genre was Ridley Scott’s Alien, although it’s territory John Carpenter explored just as well with his version of The Thing in 1982 and plenty of others have followed suit.
Life, written by Deadpool scribes Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese and directed by Daniel Espinosa (Safe House), pays tribute to both those classics with a film that offers insight into the fairly simple idea of what it might be like to find life on another planet and what might happen if that existence proves to be hostile. This type of premise has driven the best science fiction in all formats, and while the way Life sometimes falls back on ways this premise has worked before that might make it feel derivative, it also offers enough tension to keep you invested throughout.
The Iss (International Space Station) Pilgrim 7 is about to receive samples »
- Edward Douglas
‘Life’ Finds a Way to Deliver a Fun Thrill Ride Despite the Generic SetupA compelling cast, an intelligent enemy, and slick thrills make for an entertaining slice of sci-fi/horror.
As much as films like Apollo 13 and Hidden Figures want us to believe otherwise, space-set horror films have shown us again and again that astronauts really aren’t all that bright. How else to explain the endless display of scientists and space explorers who encounter a previously unknown alien life-form and against all common sense decide it’s probably something they should touch?
That’s the immediate hurdle the new film Life needs to overcome even before the the first frame appears, and while the moment in question is a definite stumbling block the movie still succeeds in becoming a highly entertaining and often suspenseful ride into darkness.
A six-person crew aboard the International Space Station have just brought an interplanetary sample aboard, and »
- Rob Hunter
They’re still making “Alien” movies, so if you’re going to create a horror film about people trapped in outer space with a monster, you had better bring something new to the table. And while “Life” doesn’t entirely escape comparison — in space, there’s still no one who can hear you scream — it provides enough chills and tension to stand on its own. Take the space-station setting which, along with advanced wire-hiding technology, allows director Daniel Espinosa (“Safe House”) to double down on the portrayal of weightlessness, and “Life” exploits this opportunity at every corner for drama (one of the. »
- Alonso Duralde
Welcome back to the Weekend Warrior, your weekly look at the new movies hitting theaters this weekend, as well as other cool events and things to check out.
So we’re going to try something different this week, because the Weekend Warrior has been getting a little long in the tooth, and we’re worried that our busy readers may prefer shorter and more concise pieces. We’ll give this a try over the next few weeks and maybe I’ll write a little more when there’s a bigger movie opening.
This past weekend, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast reigned supreme with nearly $175 million--over $20 million more than my prediction (ouch!)--and even with a substantial drop this weekend, it’s unlikely that any of the three new movies will be able to »
- Edward Douglas
Directed by Daniel Espinosa.
A team of scientists aboard the International Space Station whose mission of discovery turns to one of primal fear when they find a rapidly evolving life form that caused extinction on Mars, and now threatens the crew and all life on Earth.
For being scientists, doctors, and astronauts, the crew aboard the Iss (International Space Station) aren’t very street smart or good with common sense. Early on in Life (directed by Daniel Espinosa, who has a mediocre track record with forgettable films such as Child 44 and Safe House under his belt), wisecracking technical guru Roy (Ryan Reynolds collaborating again with Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick) is determined he can kill the highly intelligent and swift moving living organism by repeatedly burning it with spacecraft engineering tools »
- Robert Kojder
Lionsgate has big ambitions for “Power Rangers,” its reboot of the popular 1990’s television show about a group of teenage warriors. A year before the movie even hit theaters, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer predicted that there could be as many as seven Mighty Morphin’ adventures, and producer Haim Saban recently said that the filmmakers have a “six story arc” all sketched out for the youthful heroes.
Now, all the movie has to do is be a hit, preferably of the blockbuster variety. This weekend, Lionsgate will find out if it picked the right slice of nostalgia to dust off. “Power Rangers” will open across 3,693 North American locations, where it is expected to pull in more than $30 million. That’s a respectable result, but given its $100 million budget and the millions spent on hawking and distributing the film, “Power Rangers” will have to be a big hit globally in order to justify more sequels. »
- Brent Lang
This weekend, some pretty big-league talent is headed to the multiplex with “Life.” The sci-fi horror stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds and Rebecca Ferguson, comes from “Deadpool” writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and has Daniel Espinosa of “Safe House” and “Easy Money” behind the camera.
- Kevin Jagernauth
Credit “Life” director Daniel Espinosa with courage. The Swedish filmmaker has made a horror-in-space feature starring Jake Gyllenhaal, a film that centers around a vicious alien that slowly picks off spacecraft crew members, and he doesn’t even wait for the question about comparisons to Ridley Scott’s seminal “Alien.” He jumps right into it.
“For me, one of the great references, the great movies, the movie that is an obvious comparison, [which has that] great, great, glorious breakfast scene which everybody aspires to is ‘Alien,'” he said.
Rather than scary set pieces, it’s the smaller stuff that gets him, he said, the parts that rely more on character development and connection. That’s what excited him about the genre, not the actual alien at its heart.
“I think that most directors have a kind of secret ambition of sci-fi,” Espinosa said. “Even great glorious artists, Tarkovsky, Kubrick, Scott, went into this genre, »
- Kate Erbland
Swedish director Daniel Espinosa might have been another foreign filmmaker working in obscurity until his film Snabba Cash (Easy Money) caught the attention of Hollywood, and he was hired to helm Safe House, an action-thriller starring Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington that became a huge hit over here. (Espinosa’s next movie, the psychological thriller Child 44, failed to find much of an audience, more due to poor marketing than anything else.)
Now, Espinosa is back with Life, an outer space thriller starring Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and more, which looks at what it might be like if life was discovered on Mars, and what might happen if that life turns out to be hostile. For the astronauts of the Iss (International Space Station), it becomes a life or death situation as a single cell organism starts growing and becoming stronger and smarter, as they have to figure out »
- Edward Douglas
Ryan Lambie Mar 21, 2017
Nb: The following discusses a few plot points in Life, but only ones you've seen in its trailer.
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Life immediately distinguishes itself from other post-Alien, monsters-in-space movies with one simple concept: it's not set in the future, but the present. Its events don't take place on a ship somewhere out there in the galaxy, but in the International Space Station orbiting Earth.
So when an alien organism's discovered in a soil sample retrieved from Mars, and a group of scientists begin studying it, there's an added layer of tension: in astronomical terms, the events are taking place on our own front door step.
Swedish director Daniel Espinosa, »
“Life” spends its first act building up some big ideas, but eventually unravels into another monster movie in space. The story follows the crew of the International Space Station on a special mission to find evidence of alien life among dirt samples retrieved by a Mars lander. Believe or not, they find it — which is just enough buildup to unleash a serviceable “Alien” knock-off in disguise.
But that’s not the only sci-fi hit to which “Life” owes its existence. Director Daniel Espinosa (“Safe House”) imbues the otherworldly setting with a visual flair right out of the “Gravity” playbook. The movie opens with mission specialist Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds), who has a penchant for derring-do and always has a one-liner handy, undergoing a spacewalk captured in an ambitious long take. As the camera roves through the zero-gravity corridors of the station, peeking out windows at the black void, we meet the rest of the crew. »
- Jonathan Poritsky
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