Warner Bros. Pictures/Roadshow Entertainment (Australia & New Zealand)
February 6, 2015
Ancient aliens being the precursors to our entire species, an outside challenger to a newly empty throne, royal intrigue and backstabbing politics being heirs, facing one’s destiny against all odds in a thrilling adventure throughout the galaxy. It all sounds very stock-standard, but in the wake of every satirical, self-aware comedy these days Jupiter Ascending could be the sincere dip into fantasy I’ve been craving in mainstream Hollywood.
I admit, after Speed Racer I haven’t really been invested in what the Wachowskis have done. However, this movie could pull me back in. It looks like a good sci-fi romp across the stars and honestly, a fun date-flick. Plus, I am more willing to give any movie made by a transgender woman a fighting chance to win me over. Only thing I’m really concerned with is the casting with the two leading roles. While I’ve enjoyed his comedic performances, Channing Tatum hasn’t sold me in any self-serious roles, and Mila Kunis has just never had any effect on me. That doesn’t mean, though, that I’m not open to being pleasantly surprised.
13 February, 2015
I first heard the cast recording for this musical ten years ago, when I was discovering modern Broadway and off-Broadway shows. Jason Robert Brown’s tale of a marriage gone wrong, told from both spouses’ perspectives, was an intimate and intense experience. Cathy and Jamie lead the audience through the five years of their relationship, Cathy from the end and Jamie from the beginning. The show never sides with either of them, but simply lets Cathy and Jamie tell their stories, and the audience is left to contemplate those choices.
When news of a film adaptation began to circulate, I was extremely anxious about whether the intimacy of the stage production would translate well to the screen. But early buzz from the Toronto International Film Festival went a long way in reassuring me that Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan would do justice to the roles. Two songs have been released on iTunes in the last week, and so far? My excitement is only growing by the day.
Ryan Reynolds is an awkwardly average joe who talks to his pets — literally — and is a serial killer. This is Marjane Satrapi’s first live action, medium budget film for US audiences and it’s not at all what I would have expected. The trailer starts slow, seemingly a romantic comedy about ordinary doofs, but then… talking pets. Reynolds’ character has stopped taking his anti-psychotics and the result is a killing spree, as directed by his homocidal cat and dog.
If we can believe the trailer, Reynolds is in top comic form, and the film itself looks crisp and clever. But then there’s the ableism. In the hands of a talent like Satrapi the film might be great… or it might not be. All we can do is watch and find out.
I have a weakness for spy movies, and this looks like a fun one, channeling old-school James Bond with gadgets, fast cars, and tailored suits. Matthew Vaughn (Stardust, Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class) brings us another adaptation: this time based on Mark Millar’s The Secret Service. The movie looks like a thrill-a-second ride-along as a street kid Eggsy (newcomer Taron Egerton) gets inducted into a shadowy secret organization…spies? Sort of. Also, there’s Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson.
Movie choices tend to be sparse in the January to March slump after all the holiday blockbusters and Oscar contenders have come out, but this looks like a fun popcorn flick, a good Valentine’s Date movie for those who want explosions rather than sparks.
— Laura H.
Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer, Laverne Cox, Sam Elliott
Recently I’ve resolved to watch more movies I’m legitimately interested in, rather than just whatever big blockbuster falls in my lap, and Grandma seems to fit the bill. Lily Tomlin heads the movie as Elle, a queer, foul-mouthed, misanthropic poet coping with loss and a recent break-up. Her granddaughter Sage, played by Julia Garner, comes to her in need of funds for an abortion, and the two embark on a short road trip to shake down Elle’s old friends and former lovers for cash.
According to Variety, the movie keeps to a pro-choice narrative, which comes as a relief to me because I’m getting uncomfortably used to the number of films that don’t even address the existence of a choice in unexpected pregnancies.
“I like this advice that [Tomlin’s character Elle] gives her granddaughter in the movie, which is: you have to learn to tell people to screw themselves,” writer/director Paul Weitz said during a promotion interview with The Hollywood Reporter. In one particularly character-illuminating preview clip, Elle and Sage visit Sage’s disinterested, scraggly-bearded ex-boyfriend. He deflects any kind of responsibility relating to Sage’s pregnancy, and Elle lets him have it, ending her rant with, “Some people should not grow beards. Your face looks like an armpit.” A film about grandmother/granddaughter bonding headlined by a sassy old lady archetype that highlights a women’s right to choose? I’m in.