Fall movie preview and reviews
Fall offerings have a juggling mixture of animation, horror, science-fiction, and crime thrillers. Many have prior roots.
Comedy appears lacking. The genre, especially the romantic types, raunchy ventures, and dysfunctional buddies, have not been wooing viewers, except the New Orleans debaucheries in “Girls Trip,” which defied the odds.
One promising prospect, “Home Again,” has Reese Witherspoon as Alice Kinney, a single mom living in Los Angeles. She needs funds and her life changes unexpectedly when she allows three young men to move in with her. Will this play out as a “Three’s Company” or “Can’t Take It With You” deviation? It has to go against the grain since traditional rom/coms have slumped seemingly due to the disdain and loathing of relationships … for what is a happy or realistic ending?
For me, it appears the Hollywood greenlighters should heed the caution lights – audiences want more than remake, reboot or sequel, especially if it’s going to draw viewers for more than two weeks.
Intriguingly, hundreds of thousands of web browsers followed an Internet cold case involving a man telling of bodies buried on his wife’s property. Web sleuths swarmed to the posts waiting on the edge of their seats for the next twist.
Here’s another hint – based on British press full-sized primitive speaking (and walking) female androids will soon be available for mass sale. Ignoring the obvious sexual connotations, a non-moving doll deceived a state trooper this summer. What about a comedic script (think “Her”) where a male programmed puppet female android captures public opinion, wins an election, and (which path does the script follow?) as the popular android becomes a popular politically correct sensation?
Or, how about a parody? In 1971’s “Cold Turkey,” homeowners distressed by depressed property values hire a nearsighted patriot to blow a chemical plant that puts out nuisance white dust on cars. Except he makes a wrong turn in the pipes and blows the sewage treatment facility resulting in, well you get the idea.
Point made – a little risk and originality for stories, please, specifically those that do not mandate endless to be continued credits.
September brings one mired in controversy.
A “truth” styled disaster thriller, “9/11,” assembles history concerning the collapse of the two World Trade Center towers in an Irwin Allen beat the clock suspense. Based on the acclaimed “Elevator,” it reveals how five trapped individuals work hand-in-hand to escape before the tower collapses. Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg, Gina Gershon, Luiz Guzman, and Jacqueline Bisset star but is it too soon for a film invoking the tragedy utilizing an assembly of characters who may represent what occurred after the planes struck?
Terrorism will be the topic of Jackie Chan’s “Foreigner,” where a businessman seeks justice for his daughter killed in a terroristic action and governmental officials impede his cat and mouse search for clues to her demise.
Our president may disavow global warming but “Geostorm” envisions a time where global climate is controlled by a network of satellites. When a geostorm threatens, it’s a race to find the threat before the planet is destroyed.
Sci-fi lovers await “Blade Runner 2049,” which takes place 30 years after the innovative first film. LAPD officer K (Ryan Gosling) is the new blade runner who finds a secret that could lead to chaos . He’s now searching for (who else?) Harrison Ford, a blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.
October brings “Marshall,” and no, it’s not a prequel or sequel to “We Are…” Instead, it’s a biography of Thurgood Marshall (he’s the second supreme court justice with that last name, the other being Justice John Marshall after whom the university is named). Long before he sat on the United States Supreme Court or claimed victory in Brown v. Board of Education, Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) was a young rabble-rousing attorney for the NAACP.
This new motion picture is the true story of his greatest challenge in those early days – a fight he fought alongside attorney Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), a young lawyer with no experience in criminal law: the case of black chauffeur Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown), accused by his white employer, Eleanor Strubing (Kate Hudson), of sexual assault and attempted murder.
Stepping back to “epic” as opposed to “tentpole,” Chris (“Dark Knight”) Nolan has amassed unanimous raves for his historical masterpiece, “Dunkirk,” which few dare portray as simply a war movie.
Unlike the foot patrol intimacies of “Saving Private Ryan” and “Platoon,” which also meant R-rated, war-is-hell butchery, “Dunkirk” has a “Tora Tora Tora” bombs away feel, multitasking segues which gracefully integrate editing, sound, music, cinematography and nail biting suspense despite a known outcome.
Gut-wrenching thrills amplified by a ticking clock weave these intertwined tales. Entertainment Weekly has called the film “visceral, big budget filmmaking that can be called art.” Perspectives shift from different characters and various chronological points (think “Sully”)
One review speaks of how Nolan “reinvented” the superhero concept with “Batman Begins;” reshaped outer space expectations through “Interstellar;” and now immerses the audience with scenes inside the cockpit of spitfires shooting as troopshoping to be rescued attempt to reach home… something they see, but usually perish if they move too fast.
The vastness of the beach scene and the airborne scenes demands a viewing on the largest, most intense screen available. Trust me, “Dunkirk” will lose its awestruck zeal when reduced to smaller platforms.
Outcome does not rely on war machines or politicians, rather, a rag tag array of fisherman and citizens crossing the channel attempting to rescue the men. Too, these are allied troops – British, French, Polish – and Nolan succinctly steers the film to echo the value of friendships forged in blood.
Meanwhile, the gorgeous “Valerian” has you hooked in five minutes on (as one critic put it) “wall-to-wall eye candy” that is “irretrievably drunk on the power of image-making.”
The main characters Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are 28th-Century space cops, armed with the expertise and tools to jump from one dimension to another. They spout an uneven chemistry, although their airheaded interactions goad the audience.
But the story has large gaps and relationships do not bond well. Luc Besson (“Lucy,” “Fifth Element”) directed “City of a Thousand Planets” from a French graphic novel. Aspects of “Avatar” abound more than militaristic “Star Wars” opera, but it’s the CGI that stars, folks.
Unlike 2016 where August brought the surprising “Suicide Squad,” this year’s closest spectacle has Matthew McConaughey as a gunslinger searching to defend a fabled “Dark Tower,” which may bring hope to a dying world.
On a more reality-inspired theme, the simmering protests in the streets makes “Detroit” a good fit. It’s set back in the 1970s when three African American men were murdered at the Algiers Motel with the city under curfew and national guard patrolling the streets.