Currently browsing the "Kyle Chandler" tag.

Review: The Midnight Sky

Not sure what George Clooney thought he was making, but this post-apocalyptic drama is a slog. In it a heavily bearded Augustine Lofthouse (Clooney) is left behind at an arctic research outpost by choice after everyone else evacuates. He’s got only one goal and that is to alert Sully and the rest of the astronauts on a distant space mission that they can’t come back to earth because an unnamed disaster has made it uninhabitable. But he can’t reach them. And then he finds a cute little girl named  Iris (Caoilinn Springall) who’s been left behind and the two of them have to make it to another research station across the unforgiving frozen landscape to get to a stronger antenna. Meanwhile, up in space Sully (Felicity Jones) and her crew that consists of her husband Tom (David Oyelowo), Sanchez (Demian Bichir), Maya (Tiffany Boone), and Mitchell (Kyle Chandler) are happily heading home from a mission to scout out a habitable planet, oblivious to what’s happened back home, but growing more concerned each day that they aren’t able to reach NASA – or anyone else for that matter.

Quickie Reviews: Annihilation; Game Night; The Party

Annihilation is interesting and weird, slow and methodical, and dare I say, bordering on boring. Hyper-sensitive fans of the film may ream me for not fully grasping or appreciating the deeper meaning, the metaphors, the beauty in the bizarre, yadda yadda yadda. But that’s okay. I didn’t love Arrival either. Annihilation is a cerebral sci-fi horror flick from Alex Garland (Ex Machina) based on the “Southern Reach Trilogy” by Jeff VanderMeer. If you’ve read the books, you’re probably ahead of the game and more likely than most to love this movie. Here’s the gist: Natalie Portman plays Lena, an Army veteran and cellular biologist whose husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) was believed killed in action during a secret military mission. He reappears a year later, extremely ill, with no memory of what happened. Government agents nab the newly-reunited couple and take them to “Area X”, an unspecified locale that borders a mysterious “Shimmer” that’s been expanding along the U.S. coastline.

Manchester by the Sea

Thanksgiving may not seem like the best time to see a movie about grief, but Manchester by the Sea is so much more. It’s a family drama that tackles issues of loss, healing, and hurt in a smart, poignant, and often humorous way. And it puts Casey Affleck firmly in the running for a best actor nomination, and possibly even the win. Affleck plays Lee Chandler, a man haunted by his past, who returns to his hometown of Manchester, Massachusetts to take care of family business after his older brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) dies somewhat suddenly of a heart ailment. Lee never expected that the ‘family business’ would include guardianship of his teenage nephew, Patrick (Lucas Hedges). But it does.

Carol

The film Carol is gorgeous.The clothes, the sets, the cinematography. And the actresses – Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara – are both fabulous in this 1950s era forbidden love drama directed by Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven) and adapted from a Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley) novel. It is a lesbian love story told more through furtive, adoring glances and unspoken understandings than big dramatic moments. It is languid storytelling, but somehow it is effective.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese’s latest film The Wolf of Wall Street is basically three hours of sex and drugs and pure unadulterated greed. It is another “based on a true story” flick, only this one is all about one truly despicable guy and his equally morally deficient friends and family. Sure, the “wolf” is played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who does all he can to make the greedy jerk human, but at the end of the day, it is a relentlessly long slog through a lot of pretty unsexy sex fed by a veritable pharmacy full of Quaaludes, coke, and top shelf alcohol. It’s a pretty underdeveloped story of a bunch of late 20th century conmen who made a killing by lying though their teeth and their years of living the “high” life in every sense of the word.

Stand Up Guys

Great actors does not a great movie make. Pardon my grammar, but that’s my final answer on Stand Up Guys, a dark comedy starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and, to a (much) lesser extent, Alan Arkin. Needs more Arkin! Take these fine actors out of the mix, and you’ve got a pretty boring movie with way too many boner jokes. Maybe that’s why it’s called Stand Up Guys?! I’d rather not know. Anyway, the film looks and feels like a throwback to the gangster movies of the 1970s, only now our wiseguys are firmly in the twilight of their lives and careers. The film is part homage, part satire, and part melancholy. It opens with Walken’s character, Doc, picking up his best friend Val (Pacino) from prison, where’s he’s served 28 years. The reunion is bittersweet, however, because Doc has orders from the mob boss to kill Val – and both men know it. They decide to make those final hours count, and that means plenty of drinking, eating, pill-popping (mostly Viagra and blood pressure meds), brothel visits, and even a bit of gangstering with their old pal and wheelman Hirsch (Arkin).

Broken City

Broken City is a broken movie. Sorry, it had to be said. But even an all-star cast can’t fix this noirish clunker. I always wonder about movies released in January. If they were any good, the studio would release them in December in time for award nominations. January is a dumping ground for the studios’ leftover junk, and that’s why Broken City is out now.

Zero Dark Thirty

What a thrill to be reviewing the movie at the center of a huge political controversy! Zero Dark Thirty is a great piece of film making, but since it is about a significant episode of our recent history, and purported to be based on “first hand accounts” of the people who were there, there is the expectation that it will be treated in a documentary fashion, with no artistic license allowed. The major kerfuffle is all about whether the use of waterboarding during the Bush years actually gave the intelligence people any credible information that ultimately led to Bin Laden. The film suggests that it did and lots of our people in the government beg to differ, and that question swirls around the film obscuring the more important question — for a viewer, does it matter?

Super 8

Super 8 is a blast from the past – especially for those of us who, um, grew up in the 1970s.