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Review: Life

Life
03.23.2017
3 10

PLOT: The crew of a space station is faced with an extra-terrestrial threat when they collect a soil sample from Mars containing a rapidly evolving organism hellbent on survival.

REVIEW: If nothing else, LIFE makes one appreciate how good a film the original ALIEN is, as this essentially lifts its blueprint wholesale, but can’t even deliver a single moment of sustained tension. One wonders how such a high-pedigree cast would have even been attracted to such an assembly line production, which, at its best, only makes the audience happy that at least ALIEN: COVENANT isn’t too far away so we can see this type of thing done well.

LIFE, which comes from the writing team behind DEADPOOL, and director Daniel Espinosa of SAFE HOUSE and CHILD 44, begins with your typical single take sequence introducing the crew and the geography of the station, an okay idea although this style is quickly becoming the new shaky cam, and a gimmick that should be retired (this week’s other opener, POWER RANGERS, has a similar scene). It’s incredible that despite being played by the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds, none of the characters stand out, except maybe Ariyon Bakare as the team’s lead scientist, although it doesn’t take long for him to be turned into another stock character making boneheaded decisions.

For a space station staffed with the best and the brightest, everyone seems awfully thick, especially Reynolds, who does his wisecracking thing as the flight engineer, although at least he shows some presence. What’s mind-boggling his how the choosy Gyllenhaal, who’s famous for turning down tentpoles, wound-up in a part that easily could have been played by any anonymous character actor. We get something about him having been in-space longer than anyone else on the team and his reticence to return home after working as a medic in Syria, but this is dropped in order to just have him float around and look intense once the critter, named Calvin, grows into what looks like a space squid. Lest you think Ferguson, following her star-making turn in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION would be this movie’s Ripley, think again. She’s as anonymous as anyone else, and not for a second will you be invested in anyone’s survival.

The only good thing I can say about LIFE is that DP Seamus McGarvey has shot a pretty looking film, and the musical score by Jon Ekstrand works overtime to make us think we’re watching an exciting thriller. The score album is probably scarier than the film, with the kills very tame, and the R-rating likely due to a few f-bombs rather than any good horror set pieces. Despite the lackluster performances, the actors are probably blameless as there’s really no good reason a movie like LIFE, which so blatantly rips off ALIEN, should have been made. It’s not even a fun ALIEN rip-off like a LEVIATHAN, DEEP RISING or DEEP STAR SIX. Helmer Espinosa’s approach is too workmanlike and seemingly uninspired to really give this any sense of fun or style. LIFE is a huge misfire for all involved, and one I’m sure all involved will be keen to forget.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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+2
11:30PM on 03/26/2017
This might be the worst review I've read on this site. In no universe is this a 3. Not even close.
This might be the worst review I've read on this site. In no universe is this a 3. Not even close.
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8:54PM on 03/26/2017
Solid 6/10. Nowhere near a 3. That ending though was very frustrating
Solid 6/10. Nowhere near a 3. That ending though was very frustrating
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+5
11:29PM on 03/24/2017
although the reviewer is entitled to his opinion im pretty sure he gave the new ghostbusters a pretty high score and so i really will never trust his review....sorry ...anyway ill check this out besides it being an obvious alien rip off.
although the reviewer is entitled to his opinion im pretty sure he gave the new ghostbusters a pretty high score and so i really will never trust his review....sorry ...anyway ill check this out besides it being an obvious alien rip off.
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1:42PM on 03/24/2017

A 3? Who pissed in your cornflakes this morning?

Chris, when you decided to adorn this movie with a 3, did you by any chance consider you might not be in the best mood to post your thoughts? The Garbage Pail Kids movie is a 3. The Room is a 3. Why are you comparing this movie to Alien and Leviathan? Would you compare District 9 to Blade Runner? Pee Wee to Ernest? Harry or at [link] started getting overly excited about movies to a point where no one gives two shits what his reviews say anymore. He's been bought or is just completely
Chris, when you decided to adorn this movie with a 3, did you by any chance consider you might not be in the best mood to post your thoughts? The Garbage Pail Kids movie is a 3. The Room is a 3. Why are you comparing this movie to Alien and Leviathan? Would you compare District 9 to Blade Runner? Pee Wee to Ernest? Harry or at [link] started getting overly excited about movies to a point where no one gives two shits what his reviews say anymore. He's been bought or is just completely distracted. Maybe you need to start providing a set up for your reviews...., "This morning before seeing Life, I crunched my nuts, got a fever, my girlfriend left me, and I forgot my meds......so let's get to the movie". There's no need to defend your rating because its so low that it is OBVIOUS you were biased and could not review the movie on its own merits. So, instead of defending this review, maybe you should reflect.
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3:24PM on 03/24/2017
Your criticism is overblown. It's just his opinion. You may not share his disdain for the movie (if you've seen it), but that won't alter his outlook. Some movies deserve a 3. Sometimes less.
Your criticism is overblown. It's just his opinion. You may not share his disdain for the movie (if you've seen it), but that won't alter his outlook. Some movies deserve a 3. Sometimes less.
10:08PM on 03/25/2017
I believe my point was that HIS criticism was overblown. It was kind of the point of my rant. Like I said, credibility is at stake here and it's time to apply a rubric.
I believe my point was that HIS criticism was overblown. It was kind of the point of my rant. Like I said, credibility is at stake here and it's time to apply a rubric.
5:07AM on 03/24/2017

Way Better Than A '3'

It isn't an awesome movie, but it isn't a bad movie either. It reminds me of a fun 90's sci-fi thriller. It isn't stupid by any means, and some of the kills are pretty cool, and the score does a damn good job. Goes really well with a large popcorn.
It isn't an awesome movie, but it isn't a bad movie either. It reminds me of a fun 90's sci-fi thriller. It isn't stupid by any means, and some of the kills are pretty cool, and the score does a damn good job. Goes really well with a large popcorn.
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2:11AM on 03/24/2017

5 out of 10

This movie was sailing on a high number for the first forty-five minutes. The cast was well-rounded and the performances were believable, but Hiroyuki Sanada's role felt shafted. British actor Ariyon Bakare and Belarusian actress Olga Dihovichnaya stood out aside from the well-known cast. Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson are good and, although a bit jokey for a sci-fi thriller, Ryan Reynolds was fine. He is NOT the bad actor some say he is. The effects were no Gravity nor Alien, but
This movie was sailing on a high number for the first forty-five minutes. The cast was well-rounded and the performances were believable, but Hiroyuki Sanada's role felt shafted. British actor Ariyon Bakare and Belarusian actress Olga Dihovichnaya stood out aside from the well-known cast. Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson are good and, although a bit jokey for a sci-fi thriller, Ryan Reynolds was fine. He is NOT the bad actor some say he is. The effects were no Gravity nor Alien, but they nevertheless looked and sounded great. The creature effects were entirely CGI, but while that's usually a detriment, here it was a somewhat major accomplishment. From its introduction, "Calvin," as the scientists call it, looks harmless, but it moves like a maniacal version of 1997's Flubber. The first tense moment in the picture earns our apprehension. MINOR SPOILER: I didn't like how "Calvin" grew a face resembling that of a dragon/lizard in the second half. I dug the idea of a faceless organism. What almost sunk this movie for me was its ending. It was painfully obvious from the sequence's beginning what was happening despite some misleading editing. I remember rolling my eyes and being glad that it was over. The score by Jon Ekstrand, although phenomenal early on, helped skewer the ending with its Johann Johansson-esque tune stripped right from Sicario. Oh well. I hope Alien: Covenant delivers.
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11:30PM on 03/23/2017
Excited for this. Looks like a fun ode to Alien with a stellar cast.
Excited for this. Looks like a fun ode to Alien with a stellar cast.
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+3
8:18PM on 03/23/2017
The film isn't that bad. More like a 6 or 7. It does inventive things with the small space, creature thriller formula and brings some grounded science to this type of film. My one contention is the ending, which I found terrible and predictable. Otherwise, the movie is better than this review credits it.
The film isn't that bad. More like a 6 or 7. It does inventive things with the small space, creature thriller formula and brings some grounded science to this type of film. My one contention is the ending, which I found terrible and predictable. Otherwise, the movie is better than this review credits it.
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5:25PM on 03/23/2017
I was expecting somewhere along the lines of 6-7 for a score then I saw a 3 and knew it had to be Bumbray's review and it all made sense.
I was expecting somewhere along the lines of 6-7 for a score then I saw a 3 and knew it had to be Bumbray's review and it all made sense.
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+4
4:20PM on 03/23/2017

I dlisliked the movie, but it's way better than a 3.

This is really simplifying things, but it suffers from "Sunshine" syndrome, ti starts out as a really strong, intelligent character based sci-fi and then morphs into a generic "slash in space" movie. It ends up relying a lot on smart people making a series of really dumb choices although about half the time they end up being barely passable because they're at least making dumb choices to save their lives or the lives of their friends, and who knows, if I had a giant killer alien after me maybe
This is really simplifying things, but it suffers from "Sunshine" syndrome, ti starts out as a really strong, intelligent character based sci-fi and then morphs into a generic "slash in space" movie. It ends up relying a lot on smart people making a series of really dumb choices although about half the time they end up being barely passable because they're at least making dumb choices to save their lives or the lives of their friends, and who knows, if I had a giant killer alien after me maybe I wouldn't exactly think logically either. One thing I will give the film props for is that it's pretty skillful in balancing out its screen ti me and giving most of the cast meaningful parts. I think the "Gyllenhaal, who’s famous for turning down tentpoles, wound-up in a part that easily could have been played by any anonymous character actor" is just about the most off-point comment in the entire review. The characters here aren't exactly deep but they're much better than what we get in the majority of tentpole horror flicks. Overall, I'd give it a 6 and I tend to be a pretty harsh reviewer.
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2:27PM on 03/23/2017
Seeing that almost every other review I have tead for this movie were pretty positive, forgive me if I don't take this review seriously. I love sci-fi and I think Gyllenhaal is a great actor. So I will be seeing this. Even if I have to put up with Ryan Reynolds.
Seeing that almost every other review I have tead for this movie were pretty positive, forgive me if I don't take this review seriously. I love sci-fi and I think Gyllenhaal is a great actor. So I will be seeing this. Even if I have to put up with Ryan Reynolds.
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2:19PM on 03/23/2017
Bizarre. I usually take Chris opinion as a good starting point of whether or not a movie is good. However, listening to the podcasts recently, he just basically trashed the movie saying unless its a miracle of a movie, it wont be good. I feel he may have already made up his mind b4 going to see this movie. It's a little weird because all the other reviews for this movie are saying its a surprising little movie that is actually good. I thought the trailers looked good for what the movie was
Bizarre. I usually take Chris opinion as a good starting point of whether or not a movie is good. However, listening to the podcasts recently, he just basically trashed the movie saying unless its a miracle of a movie, it wont be good. I feel he may have already made up his mind b4 going to see this movie. It's a little weird because all the other reviews for this movie are saying its a surprising little movie that is actually good. I thought the trailers looked good for what the movie was trying to do, so will see the movie and see if it really is a 3. I was expecting a 6.5 or 7.
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2:18PM on 03/23/2017

Eh, I'll see for myself

After all, this is coming from the reviewer that gave the "refreshing, fun" Ghostbusters reboot an 8/10.
After all, this is coming from the reviewer that gave the "refreshing, fun" Ghostbusters reboot an 8/10.
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2:10PM on 03/23/2017

A good choice for a second opinion...

This is the first bad review I have seen of this movie. I don't agree with Bumbrays reviews ever, so I am going to assume the movie is actually not that bad. Especially if its at an 7.7 on IMDB and an average of 72% fresh on RT...
This is the first bad review I have seen of this movie. I don't agree with Bumbrays reviews ever, so I am going to assume the movie is actually not that bad. Especially if its at an 7.7 on IMDB and an average of 72% fresh on RT...
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2:19PM on 03/23/2017
Agreed. This was the first review I saw, period. Then I checked other websites and was confused the better numbers.
Agreed. This was the first review I saw, period. Then I checked other websites and was confused the better numbers.
5:23PM on 03/23/2017
I have to agree with you about Bumbray's reviews. Majority of them are off. If he gives a 7-10 review then the movie is usually bad and if he gives it a low score the movies tend to be actually decent or good. I honestly think he is straight biased with his reviews. If the movie is not for him then it will get a biased review instead of thinking about what others might like.
I have to agree with you about Bumbray's reviews. Majority of them are off. If he gives a 7-10 review then the movie is usually bad and if he gives it a low score the movies tend to be actually decent or good. I honestly think he is straight biased with his reviews. If the movie is not for him then it will get a biased review instead of thinking about what others might like.
12:07PM on 03/23/2017
Wow, is it that bad???
Wow, is it that bad???
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5:32PM on 03/23/2017
No, it's just Bumbray's biased opinion. Always think opposite of his numbers. I mean, he's the guy that gave Ghostbusters 2016 a 8/10. So his opinion isn't worth anything.
No, it's just Bumbray's biased opinion. Always think opposite of his numbers. I mean, he's the guy that gave Ghostbusters 2016 a 8/10. So his opinion isn't worth anything.
+1
12:02PM on 03/23/2017
I was iffy about this movie because other than Deadpool I generally can't stand Ryan Reynolds. It's interesting that this review was SO negative considering it's sitting at Certified Fresh and 81% positive on Rotten Tomatoes. But I can see that since it looks like such a blatant ripoff of some classic space alien movies it would leave a bad taste in your mouth if you're a fan of those films.
I was iffy about this movie because other than Deadpool I generally can't stand Ryan Reynolds. It's interesting that this review was SO negative considering it's sitting at Certified Fresh and 81% positive on Rotten Tomatoes. But I can see that since it looks like such a blatant ripoff of some classic space alien movies it would leave a bad taste in your mouth if you're a fan of those films.
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