James Gray’s Ad Astra is a stirring, soulful space odyssey in the tradition of 2001, Sunshine, and Interstellar—but its real antecedent is Apocalypse Now. My NPR review is mes Gray’s Ad Astra is a stirring, plausible space odyssey in the tradition of 2001, Sunshine, and Interstellar—but its real antecedent is Apocalypse Now. My NPR review is here.
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Our Pop Culture Happy Hour dissection of Quentin Tarantino's ninth picture gave me the opportunity to be on a panel with Monica Castillo, a fellow Eugene O'Neill National Critics Institute fellow and someone with whom I'd not previously had the pleasure of speaking, though we have friends and colleagues in common. A fun episode. After some deliberation, we elected to avoid any in-depth discussion of the ending of the film.
The Bruin—the Westwood cinema where Margot Robbie (as Sharon Tate) goes to see herself in the Dean Martin-starring spy spoof The Wrecking Crew midway through Quentin Tarantino's new Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood—is where I saw Ocean's 11 (the Soderbergh-Clooney-Pitt one, not the the Dean Martin one) in 2001 and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines in 2003. I must've seen at least a few other movies there, but those are the two I remember.
I like QT's new picture a whole lot. My NPR review awaits you.
Here's my review of Robert Zemeckis' high-tech-but-old-fashioned WWII espionage thriller Allied. It's meant to evoke a genre that includes great films like Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious or Carol Reed's The Third Man. Or lesser Graham Greene works, like this one.
I expected that David Ayer, the writer of Training Day and the writer-director of End of Watch and Sabotage, would make a gritty World War II combat picture. But I was surprised how much an interest his film takes in the plight of women, and its willingness to show American soldiers behaving badly during the "Good War." My NPR review is here.