Life Begins Again for Alien Blob

DATELINE Nice Guys Finish Last

Meeting the Enemy--It's US! Pods Unite!

LIFE should never be confused with L I F E. The two movies are like night and day. Each film had some bright leading men. The first had Dane DeHaan and Robert Pattinson, a couple of actors you always play dubious characters.

The other film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds, a couple of actors who are completely nice guys, all the time. The second L I F E is a science-fiction movie and the bad guy is a pipsqueak space alien who feeds on humans.  This allows the leading men to play like vanilla ice cream, melting slowly. Fear not: the second L I F E film is far better than the first, blank space not withstanding.

Daniel Espinosa who gave us the chlllingly depressing tale of a Russian child molester, Child 44, directs this intense combo of the Blob Meets Alien. And, it’s a doozy all right.

Because the science nerds in this film are so serious and the science is so accurate, this tale becomes more horrifying and realistic as a group of bland astronauts finds a one-cell lifeform from Mars that rapidly grows into a threat to the human race—while still on the space station.

It’s all familiar, yet fresh in a more disturbing way in the hands of Espinosa. You have your vanilla ice-cream ethnically-diverse heroes looking to follow protocol. It didn’t work in the Thing from Outer Space in 1950, and it won’t work for these guys.

If you enjoy a good squirm in your seat movie, you have one here. However, there is a considerable amount of weeping among the crew—and gnashing of teeth, rather than decisive action.

If you want to bemoan the state of today’s film plots, you need only wonder how much different this picture would have been if John Wayne had been among the crew.

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Ryan Reynolds & Helen Mirren Fight for Klimt

DATELINE:  One of the Golden Girls

aunt-adele

Ryan Reynolds is Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Man of the Year. He likely won because of Deadpool, but his far better movie of the year is Woman in Gold.

Lacking car chases, fights with super powers and other special effects, the film obviously has had a much smaller audience.

Co-starring with Helen Mirren as the niece of the woman in the famous Klimt painting, Reynolds is a nebbish attorney, grandson of Arnold Schoenberg.

As they confront the dubious art leaders of the museum, Mirren compares her lawyer to Sean Connery and James Bond—an era when technology and special effects supported a good plot.

The true story centers on the efforts of an aging refugee of the Nazi regime in Austria. She is trying to retrieve the $100 million painting that hangs in a Viennese museum. What she encounters are a bunch of crypto-Nazis.

Reynolds represents her as a favor to his mother, against his own law firm’s wishes. Mrs. Altmann feared traveling back to the place where her family died—and her nightmares and rush of memories emerge at every site.

A protracted court case, going to the Supreme Court of the United States, and ending with a hearing in Austria, wears on them. Mrs. Altmann wants to take her Aunt Adele (in the form of the art work) to the United States. Mirren seems a tad young to be a girl from the 1930s in Austria (story is set in 1997).

We will abstain from analyzing the painting, which may not be flattering at all.

A few marvelous actors adorn the film in golden cameos: Charles Dance, Jonathan Pryce, and Elizabeth McGovern.

In an age of cartoon/comic book tales, the gold Klimt image of Adele Bloch-Bauer may seem like a super-heroic woman—but it is her niece with the determination to finish a battle to honor Adele’s murdered family.

Screwball Comedy Lights Up Deadpool

DEADLINE: Lost on Children

sexy-pool

Our antipathy for comic book heroes and comic book movies is well known and documented. So, with some trepidation, we pursued Deadpool, listed as an anti-comic book movie with an antihero. Well rest assured, readers, this is a comic book movie.

Ryan Reynolds plays Deadpool as swishier than the cast of Queer as Folk. He can throw off one liners faster than Rex Harrison in a Noel Coward play. We doubt that anyone watching this movie even knows who Noel Coward is.

On the other hand, Deadpool has more movie parodies than your typical Mel Brooks comedy.

Reynolds is more than a match for his pansexual character, which keeps the viewer interested.

If you are looking for a plot, this film will disappoint you. It is strictly a character study about how science has wronged a man and put him into a funny suit.

Friends tell us that the only true philosophical movies today are in the comic book genre. Heaven help us. If you believe that, you have never seen true drama in reality-based movies. This is not Shakespeare, Prince Hamlet.

Exaggeration and hyperbole in comic books apparently makes it easier to see larger issues among the dregs of life. It more likely points out the utter failure of the educational system in liberal arts.

We are off base here. Deadpool is highly entertaining, quick paced, filled with smutty talk, noisy car chases, bloody killings, sexual situations, and all done tongue-in-cheek.

This is what passes for witty repartee and screwball comedy in the 21st-century.