Life (2017)

Daniel Espinosa’s Sci Fi thriller Life is going to end up as one of those films most people catch on TV and wonder why they missed it at the cinema. A victim of Alien Covenant‘s schedule change, this exciting, tense ensemble picture was taken from May and dropped into the most crowded March ever. I’m pretty sure it’s going to underperform hugely, which is a shame, as this is a film very much worth watching. 

The story of scientists on the International Space Station experimenting on soil samples retrieved from Mars and unleashing a creature, there’s nothing hugely original here, but the film really works. 

Life’s small cast of Ryan Reynolds, Rebecca Ferguson, an oddly wooden Jake Gyllenhaal, Ariyon Bakare, Hiroyuki Sanada who seems to be playing the same character he did in 2007’s Sunshine and Olga Dihovicnaya gel well together and the chemistry between them does sell the isolation and enforced close proximity of people who have to both get on and be professional. Especially in the company of an increasingly hostile and deadly alien organism. 

Coming across like a somewhat realistic take on Ridley Scott’s original Alien, Life puts it’s diverse ensemble cast in danger of being killed by a rapidly growing and evolving creature, named Calvin by school children when the crew announces it’s discovery to Earth. I’m not going to pretend it’s a brand new concept, but Daniel Espinosa  really does make  Life into a fresh feeling experience. I think the fact that the emphasis on realism and relatability to real life science lulls the audience into suspending disbelief enough that when Calvin evolves from single cell to his final monstrous design, you buy it and don’t question anything. 

Chock full of tension, gore and some gorgeous cinematography,  Life  is a solid, Sci-Fi thriller from the writers of Zombieland and Deadpool and comes highly recommended from me. Walking the line between realism and horror, believable enough to scare you, far fetched enough to not give you nightmares. 

7/10, Life is in Cinemas now .




The Thing


Event Horizon 

Riverdale ( The CW/Netflix, 2017)

Review by Ben Fenlon 
Never, in my wildest dreams, would I imagine I’d one day be writing a review of an Archie Comics television show and comparing it to Twin Peaks. Well, 2017 is just full of surprises already isn’t it!?
Riverdale, is, as I’ve suggested,  a darker, Twin Peaks-esque take on those beloved Archie Comics characters. KJ Apa plays Archie Andrews, ostensibly our main character, but not necessarily. Changing the name of the show to Riverdale allows us to spend time with the whole ensemble and boy is it worth it. 

This pilot episode kicks off with creepy twins Jason and Cheryl Blossom going out on a July 4th canoe trip, only Jason never makes it back. From here-on in we are weaved in and out of interconnecting stories between some very compelling characters. 

The cast is great too, Camila Mendes and Lili Reinhart shine as Veronica and Betty respectively while Luke Perry pops up as Archie’s Dad and Cole Sprouse makes Jughead Jones into a brooding narrator. I didn’t think a darker Jughead would work, I was very wrong. 
The plate spinning of storylines on display is masterful, full credit to Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who not only wrote the pilot but shepherded this series into production. A veteran of TV and comics, Aguirre-Sacasa is chief creative officer at Archie Comics so nobody has more love for these characters than him. Yes, there are changes to the source material but good lord does it work. 

No spoilers for the story as this is a building mystery, full of bombshell and cliffhangers that need to be experienced.  However, I was pleased to see Josie and the Pussycats as part of the ensemble. Fingers crossed we get an appearance from a certain Teenage Witch soon.
Riverdale is a perfectly blended mash-up of teen drama, dark comedy and mystery that lands somewhere in the middle of a Venn diagram comprised of Twin Peaks, Cruel Intentions and Glee. 

Do not hesitate,  this series will be one to watch. 

For Fans Of :

Cruel Intentions 

Gossip Girl

Twin Peaks 

The Killing (USA)