Life

When the credits began to roll on Life, the group to my left groaned, audibly annoyed by what transpired. The group in front of me immediately began complaining: “That’s it?” Meanwhile, you couldn’t strip the big, goofy grin off my face if you tried. This (admittedly anecdotal) experience revealed that the ending of Daniel Espinosa‘s new science fiction horror movie is going to divide some people. For some, it’s an abrupt sucker punch to the stomach. For others, it’s the nerviest, wildest part of a pretty good movie that needed more of that wicked energy before the final 15 minutes.

Those final scenes aren’t just the best part of the movie – they transform the film into a modern companion piece for a very specific kind of movie. So let’s talk about the Life ending. Spoilers ahead, of course.

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power rangers review

There’s a scene in the new Power Rangers movie in which Jason, the Red Ranger (Dacre Montgomery), tells one of his fellow Rangers that what matters isn’t the past, but what one works to make the future. It’s a perfectly admirable, earnest sort of sentiment — it’s just one that feels a little off, too, given that the past he’s referring to involves semi-revenge porn. The same goes for the movie as a whole: it comes close to being great but stumbles before getting to the finish line. That said, the beats it does manage to hit are truly wonderful.

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slashfilm logo

If you’re looking for something to read over the weekend, we’ve got you covered. Here’s every review, editorial, list, feature, column, and rant published by the /Film staff and our team of freelancers over the past week.

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life review

Once upon a time, Life would have been made for a sack of pennies on a set made out of cardboard and released as the bottom half of a double bill alongside whatever Roger Corman was making that year. Take away the modern window dressing and you’re left with one the great B-movie templates: there is a spaceship and there is a monster on the spaceship and everything does not go well on that spaceship.

Life takes that template and pretties it up. There are movie stars and expensive special effects and a thick layer of Hollywood gloss, but the finished film cannot hide its origins: this is schlock in an Armani suit, junkfood beneath filet mignon. And that’s perfectly fine.

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movie adaptation

(Welcome to /Response, the companion piece to our /Answers series and a space where /Film readers can chime in and offer their two cents on a particular question.)

Earlier this week, the /Film team wrote about which books they’d love to see adapted into movies. We then opened the floor to our readers: what books do you want to see adapted for the big screen? And you let us know!

We have collected our favorite answers (edited for length and clarity) below. Next week’s question: what is your favorite comedy that also makes you cry? Send your (at least one paragraph, please) answer to slashfilmpitches@gmail.com!

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kurt russell guardians of the galaxy interview

This Kurt Russell interview is worth your time.

Well, of course it’s worth your time. This is Kurt Russell we’re talking about! However, on-set interviews are usually not great. They usually happen under the worst possible circumstances, on a soundstage between set-ups when a tired actor has an 8 minute break. Told by the publicists not to reveal anything (even though we are embargoed and the interview won’t run until a couple months before release), the actor is forced to field questions from journalists who are just trying to get a sense of the movie and the role without having seen much at all.

It’s much easier and usually more rewarding to interview an actor at a junket after you’ve seen the movie and the talent is allowed to give substantial answers. As a result, set interviews often come off as journalists trying to pry any detail an actor will share, while the star recites the same four talking points that we’ve heard in our other interviews from the day (likely because they were on a list of talking points given by the unit publicist on the way over from the trailer).

Our interview with Kurt Russell on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 happened on the exact same circumstances, and like a few times before, we got the exact opposite result. I repeat: this Kurt Russell interview is worth your time.

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life

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition: the best science fiction horror movies you’ve never seen.)

This coming weekend’s going to be a busy one at the box-office, with three new wide releases aimed at completely different audiences (not to mention a strong hold at the top spot by this past weekend’s monstrous debut of Beauty and the Beast). Two TV shows that are totally still relevant in today’s popular culture are getting the big-screen treatment with the adult-oriented CHiPs and the kid-friendly Power Rangers, but it’s the third film I’m interested in here.

Life is an R-rated, space-set thriller about astronauts who cross paths with a previously undiscovered life form and find themselves in grave danger after one of the geniuses touches it. The science fiction and horror genres go together like chocolate and, I don’t know, something else you like to put in your mouth, and the onscreen pairing of the two has resulted in a seemingly endless supply of filmic entertainment. Some of the best are also among the best-known, including Alien, The Thing, and The Terminator (it’s a slasher movie!). Recent years have given us more niche but still popular fare like Pitch Black, Event Horizon, and Attack the Block.

Rather than talk about the films you already know and love though I’m hoping to introduce you to a few that are maybe a bit more obscure, but still well worth your attention. Below are some great (in their own way) sci-fi/horror titles that, like Life, take place off Earth and/or involve aliens. While some may be familiar, I’m hoping you’re inspired to seek out the others.

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BODY PARTS.Still.8

When the gang over at How Did This Get Made? gave me the heads up that we were covering Body Parts — a 1991 movie whose premise is as silly as it is strange — I was expecting something schlocky. And while the movie itself isn’t my cup of tea (full disclosure: no horror film is), I was surprised to find a film that had such a unique voice. There’s a craft to Body Parts, and a compelling, noir-ish sensibility.

I mention all this because it made me really eager to speak with the film’s director, Eric Red; to find out what kind of a storyteller would make a movie like this.

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Riz Ahmed's original rogue one character

With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story available for digital download, we have been learning a lot more about John Knoll‘s original pitch for the film, Gary Whitta‘s original screenplay, and the pre-reshoots cut of Gareth Edwards‘ movie. The latest bit of trivia gives us some insight on who Riz Ahmed‘s character, Imperial pilot Bodhi Rook, was in the original plans for the movie.

Let’s run down the details about Riz Ahmed’s original Rogue One character and how/why the story evolved to what we saw on the big screen.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Bobby Farrelly on Modern Comedy and touch Audiences

The art of comedy is one that is constantly evolving. While there is some consistency in what people find funny, the style of comedy fluctuates and changes over the years. But if there’s one thing that is having a big impact on the state of comedy right now, it’s how people react to it. In the age of Twitter, it’s easy for people to get outraged about something and suddenly have an army of people vocalizing their anger online. Some of these movements are justified and can have a significant impact on society’s behavior while others are just people who take every opportunity to be offended.

There’s Something About Mary and Dumb and Dumber co-director Bobby Farrelly recently participated in a panel at the Sun Valley Film Festival where he talked about the state of modern comedy, which involves thin-skinned audiences and a lack of mid-budget feature comedies. There’s a lot to chew on here. Read More »