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Hiroyuki Sanada, Ryan Reynolds, Director Daniel Espinosa, Olga Dihovichnaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Ariyon Bakare  and Jake Gyllenhaal seen at Columbia Pictures World Premiere of "Life" the movie at SXSW 2017 on Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Austin, TX. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Sony Pictures/AP Images)

LIFE is Already Scary, Now It’s A Scarier Reynolds & Gyllenhaal Movie, Thanks

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

What is it with ‘ripped from the alt-news headlines’ movie plots lately? KONG: SKULL ISLAND has a hollow earth slash reptilian b-story, even a CIA mind control “Monarch” reference on a briefcase. Now LIFE, starring Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal, has a waterborne microbe from Mars mass-extinction horror twist.

Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal seen at Columbia Pictures World Premiere of "Life" the movie at SXSW 2017 on Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Austin, TX. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Sony Pictures/AP Images)

Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal seen at Columbia Pictures World Premiere of “Life” the movie at SXSW 2017 on Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Austin, TX. [Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Sony Pictures/AP Images]

While scary stories about hostile life on Mars is a running theme since B-movies in the 50’s, this one has some actual science to back it up.

LIFE, directed by Daniel Espinosa, touts the fact that the producers and writers consulted with “astrobiologists and space medicine experts,” one of whom is Dr. Kevin Fong. “Space is an extreme environment, like any of the extreme environments we’ve attempted to conquer in the 20th century – deserts, polar ice caps, our highest mountains,” Fong explained. “What we know about extreme environments is that you can’t go there for long and it’s not without penalty. You come back literally less than the person you were.”

“It’s hard enough to stay alive up there on a routine mission when everything goes right.  When things start to go wrong, people start to die off pretty quickly.” These cheery words underscore his experience as an astrophysicist and MD who’s worked on NASA’s Human Adaptation and Countermeasures Office at Johnson Space Center in Houston, meaning he is a medical expert on keeping folks alive and kicking in space.

No offense to the astro-geniuses, but frankly movie stars can explain a movie better.

Cast and crew of "Life" seen at Columbia Pictures World Premiere of "Life" the movie at SXSW 2017 on Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Austin, TX. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Sony/AP Images)

Cast and crew of “Life” seen at Columbia Pictures World Premiere of “Life” the movie at SXSW 2017 on Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Austin, TX. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Sony/AP Images)

In typical Jake Gyllenhaal extreme-character mode, he plays International Space Station denizen David Jordan, who’s already clocked 473 days afloat in outer space. “It was a beautifully paced, terrifying script.  It’s a fun idea. You think you know where it’s going, and then it evolves into something where you really, really don’t,” he added. “The life form is literal, but it’s also an incredible metaphor for what can happen. Curiosity is one of the most important human traits, but I think searching too far can be full of hubris. In that way, the life form is a repercussion for that kind of curiosity.”

“My grandfather was a doctor,” Gyllenhaal shared, “and Daniel and I talked about the similarities in my character to my grandfather. It’s a bit of an homage to him.”

Next some newcomers join the freaky plot, and things get terrifying as a look for proof of life on Mars backfires. Naturally the movie includes a requisite CDC, Centers for Disease Control, rep. This one comes in the form of Rebecca Ferguson, as Miranda North. “Miranda is a microbiologist sent up to protect everyone on Earth from whatever this is that we find,” Ferguson explained.

Her character puts up some “firewalls” against extra-terrestrial contamination. “The firewall is, first, the container that the specimen was in.  And then the room.  And then the station itself.  She has to do whatever she can do to protect Earth, because we don’t know what this life form is.” No, it’s not a gimmicky ‘life form,’ either.

Producer Julie Lynn nailed it best on that front. “We didn’t want the life form to be a person in a suit or a puppet. We wanted it to be something that could evolve from a cellular piece, a tiny cell. It’s not that it comes out with an intent to do harm; it is its own creature, and it is affected by what happens to it.”

Paris, France - Monday March 13, 2017: Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson at the Columbia Pictures "LIFE" Photo Call at The Planetarium of Le Grand Palais

Paris, France – Monday March 13, 2017: Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson at the Columbia Pictures “LIFE” Photo Call at The Planetarium of Le Grand Palais

Rebecca Ferguson spins it as a relationship game with the pathogen. “We all have our own relationship to this creature. Some of us love it, we nurture it.  Some of us want to kill it off in the beginning.  And that creates an incredible tension in the group,” she said.

Ryan Reynolds rounds it out with, “this script had such a degree of reality and a feeling of constant tension,” that he reteamed with his DEADPOOL writing pals Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, to ratchet up the stakes. Coincidentally, Reynolds also went back to the well with his SAFE HOUSE director Daniel Espinosa.

Having worked well with Reynolds, Espinosa is also super excited about LIFE. “I think the reason so many great directors have walked into science fiction is to work with the unknown — the fear or fascination with the unknown,” he said.  “We live in a world that is quite mundane, but in space, you enter an adventure – you don’t know how it looks, how it feels, what it can do to you, where it is. It doesn’t make a sound. That’s terrifying.”

Whatever the hell LIFE’s monster is in this case, the SAFE HOUSE director made it even scarier when he added that “this script felt more like a realistic science fiction. Maybe science reality.” Picture waking up ’50,000-year-old microbes’ inside crystalline hibernation on Mars, that is. Or, in movie critic shorthand, the DNA from amber plot device from Jurassic Park, but with super-freaky outer space Martian microbial goo meets Alien. Sorry for the gross oversimplification but this helps put your fears to rest, folks, because it’s only a movie. We hope. Alternative news purveyors might spin it as a doomsday scenario for planet Earth, lol. LIFE, go see it before it happens. It opens Mar. 24, brought to you by Skydance and SONY (Columbia).  Interestingly, Megan Ellison’s brother David Ellison is listed as a producer. The film has bowed in Berlin, Moscow, Paris, and at SXSW in Austin, Texas last week. [Most of the photos included are from SXSW premiere.] See their official website for showtimes and venues. Hahtag #LIFEMOVIE

Directed by:  

Daniel Espinosa

Written by:

Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick

Produced by:

David Ellison

Dana Goldberg

Bonnie Curtis

Julie Lynn

Executive Producers: 

Don Granger

Vicki Dee Rock

Cast:

Jake Gyllenhaal

Rebecca Ferguson

Ryan Reynolds

Hiroyuki Sanada

Ariyon Bakare

Olga Dihovichnaya

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TCNGBJR2

Have You Played JACK REACHER: NEVER STOP PUNCHING Smartphone Edition?

SCREENMANCER MOVIE-TO- GAME ALERT: If you’re just getting ready for Fall, maybe back to school, what better time to burn up data than with Paramount Pictures release of JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK, with an all new digital game, available now for Android devices? You can find the Tom Cruise doppleganger game on Google Play and the film’s website.  TC1ShtJR2
Originally eleased in conjunction with National Punch Day a couple weeks ago, the “Jack Reacher: Never Stop Punching” digital game is an 8-bit side scroller where players pose as ex-major of the US Army Jack Reacher. And you know the rest, his mission is to protect the country from miscreants and morons (hopefully) in the name of justice. Reacher is a moderately unstoppable force who has nothing to lose and everything to punch. Team Punch Drunk, digerati-style that is.

If you want to download the game, hit up the official “JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK” movie site at this click, or another click at Google Play here.

Remember It’s Only a Movie – Wait, Now It’s Only a Game Too = Plot Summary

In case your brain stopped working, Jack Reacher in the form of A-List still-phenomTom Cruise, returns with his particular brand of justice in the (if you say so) highly anticipated sequel JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK. When Army Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders), who heads Reacher’s old investigative unit, is arrested for Treason, Reacher will stop at nothing to prove her innocence and to uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy involving soldiers who are being killed.

At least, that’s what is supposed to happen storyline-wise. And it’s all based upon JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK, author Lee Child’s 18th novel in the best-selling Jack Reacher series, that has seen 100 million books sold worldwide. The film stars global box office draw Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Aldis Hodge, Danika Yarosh, Patrick Heusinger, Holt McCallany and Robert Knepper.

But here’s a more serious question, how did they get Marshall Herskovitz on board as one of the screenwriters, when he is past PGA president and likely busy — oh wait — he was on Cruise’s Last Samurai too. Nevermind.

Here’s Your Damn Movie Clip, Be Patient, Folks, Lol

Surprise, Guess Who Produced It?

Produced by Tom Cruise, Don Granger and Christopher McQuarrie. Based on the book “Never Go Back” by Lee Child, with a screenplay by Richard Wenk and Edward Zwick & Marshall Herskovitz. Executive Produced by Paula Wagner, Herbert W. Gains, David Ellison, and Dana Goldberg. Directed by Edward Zwick.

Recap on Release Date & Social Media Maze for Grins…TCNGBJR2

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK is in theaters October 21, 2016

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JackReacherMovie/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jackreacher
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jackreacher/
Website: ReacherMovie.com
#JackReacherMovie

SCREENMANCER is a gathering place for people who make movies, and have a soft spot for OG Tommy Cruise, ps.

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