Paul recommends two movies you can check out in theaters and an Oscar nominated home release you can’t miss. For more reviews visit Paul’s website. You can listen to Paul on the Colleen and Bradley Show, On myTalk 107.1 every Friday.
LIFE (theatrical release)
An international space station is returning from a mission to Mars after collecting soil samples. The small crew consisting of Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, Rebecca Ferguson and three more astronauts and doctors are making history for potentially finding life beyond Earth. After a few tests, they find that one of their samples is a living organism. Astronaut Hugh Derry is tasked with being in charge of the organism, which has been nicknamed “Calvin” by a young girl on Earth. Calvin starts to evolve into a bigger and smarter creature than they could have ever anticipated. Calvin gets to the point where it breaks out of its tank and slips its way into Hugh’s body. This alarming realization proves to the rest of the crew that no one will be safe on board if Calvin escapes. With their fuel draining and Calvin exponentially growing in size, time becomes scarce for the remaining members of the crew to risk their lives trying to destroy Calvin.
-Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds. None of the actors are tasked with trying something new or going outside their comfort zones. Reynolds sticks to his usual cocky sidekick, comic relief type of character.
-Script stays pretty contained with the action on the ship. Very little attention to giving any backstory to the characters or give them high enough stakes for what they may lose if they don’t make it out.
-Very evident that it’s inspired by Alien, but I couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a smart space exploration movie or a scary alien horror movie. It’s not a very original concept making some of the twists a bit predictable.
-The director starts to pump up the horror aspects as Calvin starts to grow into a fully realized alien. The end results are not for those with a queasy stomach.
-One of those movies where you want to talk to the screen when the characters make stupid move over and over again even though they’re all smart astronauts and doctors.
-Another reminder not to mess with creatures from outer space as they are always smarter, scarier, and stronger than we are.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Not a lot of fresh life in Life
RATING: 2 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
T2 TRAINSPOTTING (theatrical release)
Trainspotting was a low budget film about five friends with a massive drug addiction that became a wacky cult classic. Twenty years later, the cast has reunited to see where these troubled men are at in life. Ewan McGregor is front and center as Mark Renton who returns home to Edinburgh after his mother dies. He’s led a clean and sober life in Amsterdam since the events of the first film, which ended with him stealing thousands of dollars from his friends. His other three friends, Spud, Simon, and Begbie, have not faired so well. Begbie has recently escaped from jail after his parole was denied. Spud loses his job and his longtime girlfriend when he can’t quit his addictions. While still an addict himself, Simon owns and runs a bar looking to remodel the upstairs into a brothel. Renton’s reunion with Spud comes just in time to save his life and reignite their friendship. Simon’s a bit leery to take Renton in but their history runs deeper than a sudden want for betrayal. The only reunion that poses a problem for Renton is with Begbie. His anger and explosive tendencies don’t bode well when he realizes Renton’s in town. He’s been holding a massive grudge all these years later.
-Starring: Ewan McGregor, Johnny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremner
-Directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Steve Jobs, 127 Hours) and both he and the original screenwriter are back for this one.
-20 years have passed since events of the first film. Acts as a meditation on old friendships and how hurt relationships can resurface. The characters have grown up and slowed down some so the movie reflects their evolution.
-All four of the main characters are at various stages of their lives, some have moved on for the better, while others continue to struggle with addiction and anger.
-Works in tandem with the first film. Relies heavily on using flashbacks and the ending of the first film provides a catalyst for how the group views Ewan McGregor’s character. You’d feel pretty lost if you haven’t seen it or don’t know it very well.
– Nostalgia plays a big part of the conversations at hand between the characters and will definitely appeal to fans of the first film looking to return to these characters.
-Still has the style and dark sense of humor even if it’s not a whiz-bang fast, trippy ride.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? A surprisingly touching and sincere return to these four unique characters.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
JACKIE (home release)
Natalie Portman takes on the iconic title role as the film depicts her in the aftermath of the assassination of her husband and the days that followed. It’s framed around an interview she is giving to a journalist from Life magazine. She is still a bit shell-shocked and distraught over her husband’s gruesome death. As we come to find out, Jackie barely had a voice. In the days following John’s death, it was Bobby Kennedy and the rest of the administration that tried to take over and force themselves upon the decisions that needed to be made. Despite the constant pressure, Jackie tried to stay in control to keep her children safe and deal with the public perception being cast on her. She was not one to be told how to mourn. The film follows a third path involving her conversations with a priest. It’s here where we see a personal side to her versus than the interview with the Life magazine journalist. At one point she tells the priest, “I never wanted fame. I just became a Kennedy.”
-Starring: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt, John Carroll Lynch, Beth Grant
-No one has quite tackled the raw vulnerability of Jackie like Natalie Portman does with her performance. She gets under her skin so deep you in a way I haven’t experienced with the other actresses who have played her.
-She finds the perfect balance of playing someone so iconic in her voice and look without turning her into a caricature or imitation of what Jackie Kennedy was like.
-Jackie may be the first film in recent years, if not ever, to solely look at what the First Lady went through in the aftermath of her husband’s death.
-It doesn’t feel like your standard “Wikipedia” biopic. It only covers a short time period, and it feels like it’s shot like a suspense film in the way that it depicts the somber and haunting tone to what she was going through.
-I felt so much empathy for her she as she struggled with losing her husband, trying to be a devoted mother all the while feeling like no one was on her side.
-The director took a very minimalist approach resulting in a film that feels deeply intimate and personal to shine a light on someone often left as a supporting player next to her husband.