Paul McGuire Grimes, the creator of Paul’s Trip to the Movies, gives us his take on a few things you may want to check out.
FOUR GOOD DAYS (in select theaters, OnDemand May 21)
Mila Kunis shows off her range in the new film Four Good Days as she steps far away from the traditional comedies she’s known for and tackles the pain of addiction. Kunis stars as Molly, a heroin addict who comes knocking on her mother’s door begging for help. Her mom, Deb played by Glenn Close, has been in this situation many times before and shuts the door in her daughter’s face. She’s been hearing the “I’ve changed” speech for ten years now and can’t take the hurt and pain again. The next morning Molly agrees to let her mom take her to a rehab facility. Molly has been through detox programs fourteen times prior, but now there’s a medicated treatment regimen that could be her only hope. Molly must continue to stay sober for four more days in order to start this new and hopefully final treatment for her addiction.
-Four Good Days is directed by Rodrigo Garcia who co-wrote the screenplay with Eli Saslow. The film is based by an article Saslaw wrote for the Washington Post inspired by Amanda Wendler’s journey with addiction and the relationship with her mom Libby Alexander.
-There’s a buy in that’s needed with these types of stories to make them feel as real and authentic as possible, and I felt that immediately with the relationship Mila Kunis and Glenn Close made together with these two characters. I could really sense that long time pain and abuse that drugs and addiction has had on both of their lives.
-The film tackles their co-dependency to each other just as much as it does Molly’s addiction. We witness a daughter knowing that she can play her mother’s emotions, and a mom who will fight as hard as she can for her daughter despite the emotional and mental toll it takes on her.
-The title alone tells you that Four Good Days offers that limited and intimate look at an addict’s life and the painfully hard transition days between being a user and being sober. It can be hard to watch at times, but there’s a real care given by director Rodrigo Garcia to keep this feel moment by moment as temptations come and go testing both Molly and Deb.
-This film is about both of them, not just a focus on Molly as the addict. These four days are a time to help them repair their relationship and rebuild the trust in each other.
-Mila Kunis is rarely given dramatic roles like this, but she reminds us that she can tackle the emotion and the weight of playing an addict responsibly. She wisely strays away from turning this into a melodrama.
-Glenn Close grounds this film with heartbreak, grace, and gives Deb an unconditional love for her daughter. It will be easy to make comparisons to Close’s other film Hillbilly Elegy, but Four Good Days is the far better of the two with its focus, the acting is less frantic, and it felt more honest in its portrayal of addiction.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
JUPITER’S LEGACY (Netflix)
Netflix is hoping to strike gold with their latest comic book series adaptation, Jupiter’s Legacy. The country continues to be divided, there are disparaties between the rich and poor, Congress is at a standstill, and there is no meeting in the middle anymore. It’s a time when superheroes don’t really have a place in society anymore causing friction between the young, new generation of heroes and their parents who passed on their powers to their children. Jupiter’s Legacy follows two timelines charting the long life of Sheldon Sampson. Sampson was part of group of heroes known as the Union of Justice along with his brother, Ben, wife Grace, and best friend George. Sheldon’s past in the 1930s sees the suicide of his father causing a deep depression and the eventual formation of the Union. In present day, Grace and Sheldon’s daughter, Chloe, is caught up in a web of drugs and an identity crisis as she wants to distance herself from her family’s history. Their son, Brandon, doesn’t know how to channel his powers for good and is at a crossroads in following his father’s legacy.
-Based on the comic book series by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely. Millar also created hits like Kick-Ass and Kingsman: The Secret Service
-The first season is eight episodes and tackles a massive approach to its storytelling. Each episode charts Sheldon and the original Origin of Justice in the 1930s and in present day as they battle new evils and their roles as parents to a generation of heroes who may not want that responsibility. This isn’t your traditional procedural format where we get a new villain each episode.
-The dual time frames hinders the flow of the series as the show tries to tackle too much in setting up this universe and the conflicts of both generations. I found myself a little overwhelmed at tracking the plethora of storylines, characters, and their conflicts in both timelines when this may have been spread out or told a little bit more linear as the seasons of the show progressed.
-The structure does follow the comic book series, so the series may appeal closer to traditional comic book readers. It doesn’t quite feel as accessible as Marvel or DC movies/TV series have proven to be.
-The costume and production design is very impressive and detailed. Hearing the actors talk about their superhero suits showed the care that went into this series. The superhero suits and overall tone has more of that traditional comic book hero vibe where they all have capes, boots, gloves, and specific color palette and emblem.
-The series has potential and it reminded me of The Incredibles in terms of its concept of a family of superheroes. The writing bit off more than it could chew tackling too much of the comics for the first season. A tighter focus could have made it appeal to a larger base.
RATING: 2.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS