Jupiter Ascending is insane (and only occasionally in a good way). The latest from the Wachowskis casts Mila Kunis in the starring role as an illegal immigrant house cleaner who is actually the resurrected matriarch of one the galaxy’s richest families. Despite being born on Earth, and having no memory of her previous life, based on her DNA Jupiter is entitled to her former estates and riches which her galactic progeny (Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton) will do anything to prevent from happening.
I’ve never been a big fan of gangster movies. Writer/director J.C. ChandorA Most Violent Year, however, is more a character study than a focus on the questionable business practices of a successful immigrant businessman (Oscar Isaac) during one the most violent winter’s of New York City’s history.
Adapted from the autobiographical story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, Clint Eastwood offers an old fashioned character study with strong patriotic leanings and not as much introspection as one might ultimately like. Bradley Cooper is terrific in the starring role of a soldier obsessed with serving his country and protecting his brothers-in-arms overseas while struggling with even the idea of life back home with his wife (Sienna Miller). The result is an engaging, if incomplete, story as Eastwood careful cuts away anything that doesn’t quite fit Kyle’s heroic narrative including an ending that leaves much unsaid.
Is hippie noir a thing? Set in 1970 Los Angeles writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson‘s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon‘s novel of the same name follows the misadventures of pothead private investigator Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix). Doc is hired by his former girlfriend Shasta Fay Hepworth (Katherine Waterston), whom he has never gotten over, to foil a plot involving the forced incarceration of her current married boyfriend (Eric Roberts) into a mental institution in his family’s attempt to grab his millions.
Shot over the course of 12 years, Boyhood is one of the most ambitious projects any filmmaker has attempted to tackle. It’s also easily one of the best films of the year.
Starting the project at age 5 we witness Ellar Coltrane grow-up as Mason over the filming of Richard Linklater‘s latest film which began production in 2002 and finally arrived in theaters in 2014. Over its 165-minute running time Mason’s scripted tale delves into his relationships with both his divorced parents (Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke), the complexities of modern-day extended families, and the journey of Mason from grade school to college.
Begun without a finished script, but with an established beginning and ending, Linklater adapted the story by the changes he saw in his cast over the years. Arquette and Hawke carry much of the early scenes of the movie while Coltrane takes over a larger part of the story as he grows as an actor.