What’s up, folks? It’s the weekend and it’s the favorite time of the week for me, because I get to hang out with you! Things were… well, I cannot lie to you. They were stupid during the week. But that’s life, right? I won’t dwell. Let’s see what’s new at the theater!
Let me level with you—the only thing that interests me this weekend is the Brad Pitt starrer, AD ASTRA (the words mean ‘to the stars’ in Latin). I was so looking forward to seeing this. This is exactly the sort of movie the big screen and IMAX were made for. If you want to be whisked away into the universe for an hour and a half, this is the correct way to do it.
The story is set in the future, where legend H. Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones) is the first man to reach Jupiter and Saturn. Sadly, while on a mission to find ET near Neptune, he vanishes. His autistic son Roy (Pitt) becomes a valued astronaut since he has a talent for keeping cool under pressure. Things go well… or sort of, until the gamma ray bursts from Neptune wreak havoc on Earth. Hey – Dad may still be alive out there! And off goes Roy on a mission.
Direction is by James Gray, who also worked on LOST CITY OF Z. That was a brilliant flick about a man who finds a remote tribe in the South American jungles—it did have a better screenplay, though, which AD ASTRA seems to lack. if I were you, I would not go in expecting much of an emotional connection, because you many not find one. The writers seem to have assumed that everyone knows what a strained father-son relationship is like. So, if you don’t, you won’t feel much watching this flick… other than the sense of awe at the visuals. But what amazing visuals they are! You’ll feel you’re out there careening through space, light-years away from anyone’s help. That alone is worth the theater ticket. Check out the trailer:
RAMBO: LAST BLOOD
Pass. This is a by-the-numbers drug cartel revenge-rescue flick that may not even be worth the time on streaming. A retired Rambo (Stallone) is hanging out between his Arizona home and some place in Mexico. Unwilling to listen to his advice about staying put, his daughter (Yvette Monreal) tries to find him, and ends up in a sex-trafficking ring. Imagine the rest of the story as if you were a Hollywood producer with a lot of $ and a script you really don’t care about. It’s sad to see Stallone in butchered nonsense like this. But that’s what happens when actors listen blindly to their agents – who are interested only in their cut. The rest of you, read the script before you sign on. Here’s the trailer:
RUNNING WITH THE DEVIL
Another drug-running flick starring Nicholas Cage. Once you understand that the main character here is the drug itself—how it’s grown, harvested, processed, transported and sold—you’ll understand why the entire cast (Barry Pepper as druglord, Cole Hauser and Cage as enforcers, Leslie Bibb as FBI agent) is relegated to supporting roles. This is a bit unfortunate because it completely dials down the crazy we may have otherwise seen from each of these amazing actors. Let’s face it, Cage can be quite unhinged on screen, and that’s part of his talent. Seeing the crazy in an actor is quite entertaining—it’s why I watch movies: I get to see people acting nuts in a way I cannot in real life. Without that, a movie can get pretty dull. And that’s exactly the flaw in this flick. Still, some of the actors do shine. For instance, Lawrence Fishburne is excellent as a (disgusting) drug cartel member, and Clifton Collins Jr. is wonderful in his role as the crop farmer. Think of this movie as a restrained drug trafficking thriller. Does that help? Here’s the trailer:
And that’s it for me! Let me know what you think of this fresh crop, and here’s hoping I’ll see you at the theater!