Dennis D. McDonald (ddmcd@ddmcd.com) consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management. Follow him on Google+. He publishes on CTOvision.com and aNewDomain and volunteers with the Alexandria Film Festival. He is also on Linkedin. To subscribe to emailed updates about additions to this web site click here.

Daniel Espinosa's LIFE

Daniel Espinosa's LIFE

Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald

Some movies take pieces of actions and story we've all seen before and combine them in creative and exciting ways. Good examples are Train to Busan (zombies on a train) and Three (hospital action).

Life is not one of those films. While its production values are excellent including its zero gravity effects, the whole is definitely less than the sum of its parts. These include 10 Little Indians (who dies next?), Bloodthirsty Aliens, Victims Trapped In in Small Spaces, Endless Corridors, and an endangered space station that always seems in danger of Falling Out Of Low Earth Orbit.

A major deficiency is the handling of the characters. A good ensemble cast has been assembled but we never seem to get to know them despite a few embarrassingly shallow attempts to humanize via generic back stories. So what if Jake Gyllenhaal's character prefers life in orbit to life on the ground? That's not why we came to see this film. Let's watch that alien organism grow and chow down on an ethnically diverse and female lead crew!

Admittedly there are some clever touches. One doomed crewmember meets fate in a decidedly original way. The alien itself is a prize of puppetry and CGI. But by the end--which we see coming from a mile away--we've lost interest. One can't help but wonder, where is Ripley when you need her?

Review copyright (c) 2017 by Dennis D. McDonald

Ron Clements & John Musker's MOANA

Ron Clements & John Musker's MOANA

Johnnie To's THREE

Johnnie To's THREE