Life leads the new cinema releases and trailers March 24th 2017

LifeThis week, there are EIGHT new films out for you to choose from: Alien cloning in Life, Portuguese horror in The Eyes of My Mother, a Korean thriller in The Age of Shadows, deep forest action in The Lost City of Z, remake time in Power Rangers, remake time again in CHiPs, Sonia Braga takes the lead in Aquarius, and Ronan Keating tests out his acting chops in WW2 drama Another Mother’s Son.

Life tells the story of the six-member crew of the International Space Station that is on the cutting edge of one of the most important discoveries in human history: the first evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars. As the crew begins to conduct research, their methods end up having unintended consequences and the life form proves more intelligent than anyone ever expected.

Starring Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal, I’m in two minds about this. The reviews are middling and it does look like an Alien rip-off…

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!


The Eyes of My Mother

In their secluded farmhouse, a mother, formerly a surgeon in Portugal, teaches her daughter, Francisca, to understand anatomy and be unfazed by death. One afternoon, a mysterious visitor shatters the idyll of Francisca’s family life, deeply traumatizing the young girl, but also awakening unique curiosities. Though she clings to her increasingly reticent father, Francisca’s loneliness and scarred nature converge years later when her longing to connect with the world around her takes on a dark form.

Written and directed by Nicolas Pesce, and starring Kika Magalhaes, Will Brill and Olivia Bond, damn this looks weird, but fantastic!

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


The Age of Shadows

Set in the late 1920s, thsi film follows the cat-and-mouse game that unfolds between a group of resistance fighters trying to bring in explosives from Shanghai to destroy key Japanese facilities in Seoul, and Japanese agents trying to stop them. A talented Korean-born Japanese police officer, who was previously in the independence movement himself, is thrown into a dilemma between the demands of his reality and the instinct to support a greater cause.

Starring Byung-hun Lee, Yoo Gong and Kang-ho Song, this looks like a superb thriller so I do want to check it out at some point.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


The Lost City of Z tells the true story of British explorer Col. Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), who journeys into the Amazon at the dawn of the 20th century and discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization that may have once inhabited the region.

Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment who regard indigenous populations as “savages”, the determined Fawcett – supported by his devoted wife, Nina (Sienna Miller), son Jack (Tom Holland) and friend, Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson), he returns time and again to his beloved jungle in an attempt to prove his case, culminating in his mysterious disappearance in 1925.

Written and directed by James Gray, based on David Grann‘s book, The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, if period tales are your bag then this might be for you, but it looks like one of those epic-style films which would bore me to tears.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!


Power Rangers – like the Turtles, it’s another of those ’80s/’90s superheroes franchises which were of their time, then died a death. However, since the Turtles have been reborn in a couple of recent movies (and having died a box office death after No.2), obviously someone thought there was mileage in resurrecting the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers if they dropped the first two words and added a ton of extra CGI in this tale about a group of high-school kids, who are infused with unique superpowers, and then try to harness their abilities in order to save the world.

This was never really my bag, but for those that love it, Bryan Cranston is Zordon, Elizabeth Banks is Rita Repulsa, Bill Hader is the voice of Alpha 5, and those playing the Rangers are Naomi Scott, Becky G., Ludi Lin, RJ Cyler and Dacre Montgomery.

This trailer also shows Cranston as Zordon. As the kids say, “I’m talking to a wall”. I think that would be preferable.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!


CHiPs: The Movie. 40 years on from when the TV series began, running until 1983 across six seasons and starring Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox. Did it need to return? No.

Dax Shepard (who?) writes, directs and stars in this remake for the big screen about the California Highway Patrol (CHiPs) officers Francis “Ponch” Poncherello (Michael Peña) and Jon Baker (Shepard), who run around the L.A. area stopping speeders and car thieves, helping stranded motorists, assisting paramedics at accident scenes, and occasionally investigating crimes.

Also starring Jessica McNamee, Adam Brody, Ryan Hansen, Vincent D’Onofrio, Justin Chatwin and Kristen Bell, I can’t get too excited about this. I remember occasionally watching the TV show on ITV on a Saturday afternoon, but I can’t see any reason to take the concept and shove a load of lame, rude jokes into the script. It’s yet more confirmation that Hollywood’s well of ideas has run dry.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!


Aquarius

Clara, a 65 year old widow and retired music critic, was born into a wealthy and traditional family in Recife, Brazil. She is the last resident of the Aquarius, an original two-story building, built in the 1940s, in the upper-class, seaside Boa Viagem Avenue, Recife. All the neighboring apartments have already been acquired by a company which has other plans for that plot.

Clara has pledged to only leave her place upon her death, and will engage in a cold war of sorts with the company. This tension both disturbs Clara and gives her that edge on her daily routine. It also gets her thinking about her loved ones, her past and her future.

Written and directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho, and starring Sonia Braga, Maeve Jinkings and Irandhir Santos, I was increasingly bored as the trailer continues. Avoid this.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!


Another Mother’s Son

Based on the true story of Louisa Gould, the drama is set during World War II on the Nazi-occupied island of Jersey. Lou took in an escaped Russian POW and hid him over the war’s course. The tension mounts as it becomes clear that Churchill will not risk an assault to recapture the British soil, and the island-community spirit begins to fray under pressures of hunger, occupation and divided loyalty. Against this backdrop, Lou fights to preserve her family’s sense of humanity and to protect the Russian boy as if he was her own.

Starring Jenny Seagrove, John Hannah, Julian Kostov, Amanda Abbington, Ronan Keating and Susan Hampshire, there’s enough World War II dramas out this with this tedious Boyzone-starrer clogging up the list.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!


Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.
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