Matthew Lickona 2:57 p.m., May 17
A mighty contest between the cool, interior sci-fi stylings of writer-director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, In Time) and the overheated adolescent emotionality of Twilight creator Stephenie Meyer, who wrote the source material. Meyer wins in the end, but for the first two acts, the tension proves fruitful. Alien parasites known as Souls have taken over most of the population, but there are still a few free humans (William Hurt!) hiding in gorgeous desert caves, plus a handful of hosts who prove resistant to takeover. Heroine Melanie (Saoirse Ronan) is one of these; after occupation, she exists as a persistent voice in her own head, a situation played for both pathos and comedy. It would be too easy to read this as Meyer's Autobiography of a Frustrated Mormon: the alien Souls are honest, kind, and totally inhuman. Better to focus on the intriguing question of how to combat The Enemy Within. 2013.
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