Posts Tagged ‘Liv Tyler’

Brad Pitt

“AD ASTRA” My rating: B

124 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

Equal parts “2001” and “Apocalypse Now,” James Gray’s “Ad Astra” is meditative journey to both outer and inner space punctuated with moments of high melodrama.

The film is drop-dead beautiful and features a contemplative performance from Brad Pitt which is among his finest; best of all, one leaves it feeling we’ve truly been on an intergalactic journey.

In the near future Major Roy McBride (Pitt) is a model astronaut, though in voiceover narration he reveals the price of the clear, dispassionate thinking that makes him the equal of any situation.

McBride is a master at suppressing his emotions, a skill that has wrecked his marriage (his ex, who is seen only briefly, is played by Liv Tyler) but made him the poster boy of space program efficiency. Only the occasional twitch of an eyelid suggests Roy’s inner turmoil.

Moreover, Roy comes by his heroism genetically — his father, Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones), was an astronaut who decades ago went off on a mission to Neptune to look for extraterrestrial life and hasn’t been heard from for 30 years.

As “Ad Astra” begins Roy is doing maintenance work on a radio tower so tall its upper reaches scrape the stratosphere.  A mysterious electrical pulse blows the tower’s power grid, sending our man in freefall back to Earth.

Roy survives, thanks to his parachute, but he subsequently learns in a top secret briefing that the authorities believe the damaging electromagnetic pulses are coming from Neptune, the last-known location of the elder McBride’s exploratory ship. If Roy’s father is behind these pulses — which threaten human life — perhaps a message from his son will bring a happy resolution.

The plan is for Roy to radio his Pops from an outpost on Mars.  First, though, he has to take a commercial shuttle to the moon (a pillow and blanket kit costs $150), then make his way to a launch complex on the dark side of that satellite (apparently the moon is an international combat zone with marauding pirates on speeding lunar rovers attempting to highjack official vehicles).


Read Full Post »

Bel Powley

“WILDING” My rating: C 

92 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Before it bogs down in overcooked horror film cheese, Fritz Bohm’s “The Wildling” pulls a clever narrative con job on its audience.

It’s one of those cases where you’re pretty sure of what the movie’s about until you realize you have it all wrong.

In a prequel Daddy (Brad Dourif) tends to his precious little girl, Anna. Except that there’s something odd going on here…Anna is never allowed to leave  her room and Daddy fills her with tales of the evil Wildling that lives in the woods outside their home and would like nothing better than to snatch and eat such a delightful child.

So, yeah, the kid grows up weird.  When Anna hits puberty Daddy starts giving her daily injections apparently meant to retard menstruation and other signs of maturation.

And then one day Daddy puts a gun to his head and BLAM. It’s pretty clear that he snatched Anna as a young girl and raised her in secret. Now he’s overcome by regret.

Discovered by neighbors who heard the shot, young Anna — now a young woman played by Bel Powley — is rescued by the authorities. The local chief of police, Ellen Cooper (Liv Tyler), takes the mysterious and befuddled girl (she’s never been outside her bedroom) into her own home with the intention of filing for full custody.

The sheriff’s  younger brother, Lawrence (Mike Faist), lives with them and befriends Anna, attempting  to guide her through the minefield of high school.

So the screenplay by Bohm and Florian Elder is all about this innocent learning to cope with real-world conflicts after a sheltered childhood, right? (more…)

Read Full Post »