So I guess they are just going to keep churning these movies out. The first trailer for the sequel to Prometheus stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, and Danny McBride as the crew of a ship who come across a new world with dark secrets inhabited by the sole survivor of the Prometheus expedition. The sequel opens in theaters on May 19th.
In a year without a true standout animated feature it seems fitting that Sing, an animated film as average as they come, closes out 2016. With a paper-thin plot to allow various characters multiple opportunities to perform popular songs and dance around, Illumination Entertainment offers up a film version of American Idol by offering one lucky contestant fame and fortune. Of course the fact that the person offering it can’t actually deliver does through a wrench into the plans of the would-be stars.
Stop when this gets too silly for you. For hundreds of years a creed (which is the franchise’s term for ill-defined shadowy group) of assassins has been in a secret war with the Knights Templar over control of a divine object know as the Apple that has to power to remove free will from all humankind. The Templars wish to use it to subjugate the human race. To find the lost artifact, the Templars steal a career criminal (Michael Fassbender) from his execution and hook him up to a machine which reads genetic memories from his code so he can relive his ancestor’s experiences while jumping around tied to a giant metal arm with those experiences manifested around him as ghostly visages.
The goal of a biopic is to offer insight into its subject, to explore the life of an individual and share something new or interesting about its central character. By that definition Jackie is a complete failure. The only takeaway from director Pablo Larraín‘s film is that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was upset by the assassination of her husband. That’s hardly worth the price of admission (let alone the film’s $9,000,000 budget). Natalie Portman may shine in the role, but to what purpose?
Oscar-bait, the film is notable only for its recreation of the time period and for Portman’s peformance. The problem with the former is the glamour is wasted as window dressing on a film without a reason to exist (other than grab Portman some statuettes). The problem with the later is Portman’s performance is undercut by both a questionable accent and Noah Oppenheim‘s script which is never sure who Jackie was, as it jumps from portraying a vapid creature out of touch with reality (as seen in the flashbacks) to a woman of cunning and guile completely controlling an interview with a journalist (Billy Crudup) looking to find the real Mrs. Kennedy.
I enjoyed La La Land; it’s fun, light-weight entertainment with likable stars and straightforward (largely predictable) storyline. It doesn’t ask much of the audience other than to enjoy the ride. During the award season release of heavy dramas, the film works well as a palate cleanser. However, I object to the growing consensus that it’s one of the year’s best films.
The first of the standalone Star Wars movies, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is set just prior to the events of the original Star Wars as a struggling Rebellion learns about the newest Imperial weapon capable of destroying an entire planet. Just as memorable for what it keeps from the Star Wars template as what it chooses to change about the formula, Rogue One offers no opening crawl, no screen wipes, and the unnecessary need to name every planet shown on screen in subtitles (something George Lucas’ original films allowed the dialogue itself to deal with).
Originally intended as a video diary for Steve Gleason‘s unborn son, director Clay Tweel takes audiences along for the ride on the heart-wrenching journey of Gleason’s slow decline after being diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Going from a local football hero who helped rejuvenate the New Orleans Saints football team in the season following Hurricane Katrina to a man fighting to speak, move, and even breathe on his own is often difficult to watch. Refusing to give in, Gleason and his wife Michel continue to fight the incurable degenerative disease every step of the way including forming their own foundation to support others in need.
Here’s the first trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes which introduces Woody Harrelson as the leader of the humans battling Caesar’s (Andy Serkis) genetically-enhanced apes. Judy Greer and Steve Zahn also star. The movie opens in theaters on July 14th.
Taking place is an odd world where being single is apparently the only crime, David (Colin Farrell) checks into a hotel where he is given 45 days to find a partner or face being transformed into an animal for the remainder of his existence. Part metaphor about the pressures society puts on single people to find a mate, and part wacky adventure, The Lobster is an unusual film with a deadpan (and more than a little bleak) sense of humor and a very unconventional view of love.
The first-half of the film, taking place within the hotel, works quite well as David and the other singles (Jessica Barden, Angeliki Papoulia, John C. Reilly, and Ben Whishaw) fumble at finding enforced couplehood. The second-half of the film involving David’s adventures with the equally hard-line single exiles where he finds forbidden love (Rachel Weisz, who also narrates) may not be as strong but still delivers its share of humorous and tragic moments. Available on Blu-ray and DVD, the only extras included are a digital copy of the movie and a single behind-the-scenes featurette.