The slow-moving space poem that is Ad Astra is more heart of darknessy than the sci-fi action promised in the trailers. The near-future film is big on introspection and beautiful shots of the vast expanse of space and the planets of our solar system. It’s light on logic, unfortunately, and suffers under a tedious and maudlin voice-over that makes even the most beautiful scenes feel exhausting. I left the theater wanting to watch The Martian or Gravity because it piqued my interest in a space travel story without actually delivering a good one.
Monthly Archives: September 2019
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Writer-director Quentin Tarantino’s 9th film is a paean to the golden age of Hollywood, complete with grizzled actors, mysterious stuntmen, earnest starlets and an underlying sense of chill that permeated the hippie era. There’s a lot to like in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, with Tarantino’s knack for detail and ability to get unexpected performances out of great actors. There are a few aspects that keep it from being peak Quentin for me, but it’s still one of the highlights of the summer.
Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw
The Fast and Furious movies have always been mildly enjoyable popcorn fare, but crumble under the weight of their sheer inanity. That a group highly-functional criminals would continually get called in to save the world by racing their cars is a tough burden to bear and it makes the not remotely possible stunts almost forgivable in comparison. Yet, with Hobbs and Shaw, a not at all stray from the formula, the franchise might have its best installment based on the sheer charisma and chemistry of its stars, and a plot, while still completely ridiculous, actually makes sense in context.
I went into this expecting a mindless monster flick, but the mindless part was really the bulk of it. Light on actual thrills, but heavy on the creepy, queasy tense parts, Crawl is engaging enough for the half an hour of content stretched nearly ninety minutes.
Writer-director Ari Aster’s Hereditary was my favorite movie last year, so I had high expectations going into his follow-up. The decidedly more ambitious but ultimately less-enthralling Midsommar is chock full of visual delights, but it also doubles down on the ridiculousness and the gore.
Spider-Man: Far From Home
It’s strange to be writing this review with the hindsight of all the behind the scenes drama taking place since the movies initial release. Thankfully, our long national nightmare of a world without Spider-Man in the MCU is over, as this movie proves (once again) that Tom Holland really is the best on-screen Peter Parker. Serving as an epilogue of sorts to Avengers: Endgame, which was the culmination of the first decade of movies from Marvel Studios, Spider-Man: Far From Home establishes the new world order of what living in a post Thanos snap (or what the commoners are referring to as the blip), post Iron-Man world. With the awesome but mostly-heavy Endgame, it’s refreshing return to form to get back to a light, quippy superhero adventure.
Written by and starring Mindy Kaling, Late Night is a bit of fluff that skirts around issues of affirmative action, feminism, sexism, toxic work environments, among others, without actually having anything to say about them. Directed by mostly TV helmer Nisha Ganatra, the movie is funny in places, toothless in others, but is anchored by two charismatic performances from Kaling and Emma Thompson.