I connected with my eldest son this past weekend and I talked with him about whether he had any interest in seeing Ad Astra, the new space Brad Pitt vehicle. He responded that he was tired of these space movies and it seemed that there was a new one each year and they were all basically the same. In many ways I agree with him. Some space movies are more realistic Others more fantastical. In this case the story and the scenes increase the level of disbelief to levels that for me just make me laugh. It is Princess Leia flying dead in space level of laughter for me. There are practicalities that even in a futuristic world (extensive underground bases in places like the moon and Mars) leave me scratching my head. If you choose to watch this, then you will know what I mean. The story structure has aspects of Apocalypse Now, with a person who was in a position of power who has seemingly gone off the grid. There is also a father and son dynamic which plays out. There are bits of Gravity, and Interstellar and others In the end, there is an “ending impossible”. To sum up, I hope I have saved you each a couple hours of your life. And you can feel free to ignore the positive review from Roger Ebert.com. You can thank me later.
Also at the theatre this week, just a couple of days after it showed at TIFF, I went and saw Hustlers with Jennifer Lopez. It tells the true story of a group of strippers at Scores Club in NYC. They had a decent lifestyle and business with the Wall Street types until the financial meltdown in 2009. As a result the club suffered and they were collateral damage. Lopez was a well known and popular dancer who took a new young dancer under her wing (played by Crazy Rich Asians Christine Wu). When the crisis hits they reconnect and decide to alter their business model somewhat along with a few new friends and recruits. I have to admit that the story surprised me a little. I went in expecting another telling of a Widows like story (which I quite enjoyed) and it turned out to be very different. Lopez in particular is very good and she shows an edge and street smarts that she hasn’t shown in some time. She is a clever business person and ruthless. She is able to justify in her own mind (and those around her) the actions that she is taking. It was entertaining. I cared about the characters. Sure there is an aspect with strippers parading around but you don’t see any nudity on Lopez or Wu. Lopez has worn less in Awards dresses than what she wears here. Still as a 50yo she holds up very well in the physical aspects of this role. Do you need to see this on a big screen? Not really. Still worth checking out as it was for me on a Cheap Tuesday.