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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Life & Power Rangers

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas with the throngs who apparently haven't left their homes since Christmas. Ahhhh...springtime. On the docket: Life and Power Rangers.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing plot-related that you wouldn't know from the trailers.
First up: sci-fi thriller Life.

Deadpool, Donnie Darko, and the chick from the last Mission Impossible discover an alien life form. 
Humanity weeps.
As I was suffering through Life, I was prepared to declare it the worst thing I've ever seen. In hindsight, there's no way it's that (screams Ghost Ship from my DVD collection), but it IS a gruesome, derivative waste of a pretty solid cast. The dialogue ranges from trite to cringe-worthy, and the tired old story drags on like a drum solo at an 80s arena-rock show, cut-rate sci-fi that occasionally knocks you over the head with clumsy attempts at poignancy. Sadly, even the creature effects are lame. Then, after two hours of taking itself way too seriously, the end credits kick off with a perky rendition of Spirit in the Sky. Whatever the filmmakers thought they were doing with that, it was a less-fitting finish than La La Land (which is saying something). The one thing Life has going for it is a terrific score by Jon Ekstrand, but, even in tandem with my best boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal, it can't save the day.
Life clocks in at an interminable 103 minutes and is rated R for "language throughout, some sci-fi violence and terror."
Life is dead on arrival. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Life gets one.
Next up, the most recent take on Saban's Power Rangers.
Five ordinary high-schoolers are chosen to be the next Power Rangers, and are tasked with saving the world from the evil Rita Repulsa.
Well, dear reader(s), in the interest of full and fair disclosure, I'll admit that Power Rangers would have had to work very hard to earn a thumbs-down from this blog, but I'm pleased to report it's even better than I'd hoped. This new crew of Rangers is a diverse, likable, good-looking bunch that seems a solid fit, both as a group and individually. Special shoutout (with just a wee bit of personal bias) to Ludi Lin, who does a great job as Zack, the Black Ranger. RJ Cyler is also terrific, portraying Billy, the Blue Ranger, as a young man on the autism spectrum. There's plenty of well-paced action, but it doesn't drag on or overwhelm the whole. Effects are just as huge as you'd expect. Suits and Zords have been updated for a new age, looking slick and impressive. The film's humor is hardly cutting edge, but the movie's funny when it means to be, and the dialogue among the kids feels natural and not over-scripted. Elizabeth Banks gleefully chews the scenery as Rita Replusa, not my favorite take on the character, but definitely entertaining. Power Rangers have always been corny, and this outing is no exception. The movie runs a little long, and Bill Hader is supremely annoying as the voice of Alpha 5, but, overall, Power Rangers is good fun, and my theater gave it the loudest, longest ovation I've ever experienced at the movies. Stick around for a mid-credits scene. It's no great revelation, but it'll still be welcome "news" for most fans.
Power Rangers runs 124 minutes and is rated PG13 for "sequences of sci-fi action, violence, and destruction, language, and for some crude humor."
2017's Power Rangers pointedly takes aim at a new generation, but still manages to indulge old fans' nostalgia. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Power Rangers gets seven and a half.
Fangirl points: There is a Social Distortion song in this movie. I repeat: There is a Social Distortion song in this movie. This is not a drill.
Until next time... 

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