Grab some popcorn! NewsFeed’s Glen Levy brings you the movies you should check out (or avoid) this weekend.
Tagline: Live Free Or Die Trying.
Imagine a world in which no one lives beyond the age of 25 unless they purchase that most vital of commodities, time. Fear not, that’s not a way of getting you to subscribe to our weekly magazine (though it sure is a compelling argument) but the premise of writer/director Andrew Niccol’s In Time.
Niccol, in case you’ve forgotten, burst onto the scene in the late 1990’s, helming the smart sci-fi movie Gattaca and writing The Truman Show. But misfires such as S1m0ne and Lord of War mean that many eyes will be on this attempt to revitalize his career.
And his hopes are pinned on Justin Timberlake. He plays Will Salas, who, after being falsely accused of murder (he’s given more than 100 years from an elderly man who’s had enough of living), must figure out a way to bring down the system. It hardly seems fair that the rich can live forever while the less fortunate, such as our Will, have to beg, borrow, and steal enough minutes to make it through another day. But hey, that’s what can happen in sci-fi (or at Occupy Wall Street, if one wants to get political).
Joining Will for the ride is Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried), who is the daughter of an affluent businessman (Vincent Kartheiser) and, like a futuristic Robin Hood and Maid Marian, they attempt to steal so much time, they can hand it out to the masses. What’s in their way? Timekeeper Cillian Murphy, who, simply by using those piercing eyes, can halt any theft attempt (that’s poetic license on our part). Sounds like fun, even if we can’t overlook the irony that none of the principal cast are actually under 25. Perhaps sci-fi isn’t a young person’s game after all.
(LIST: TIME’s Top 10 1950’s Sci-Fi Movies )
The potentials perils of long-distance relationships don’t really seem to have had the proper attention paid to them by the movies. Drake Doremus’s Like Crazy is trying to readdress the balance. Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Brit Anna (Felicity Jones) begin a courtship while in college in the U.S. She’s clearly so smitten that she outstays her student visa, all in the name of love. But she’ll eventually pay for such fanciful notions of romance by the cold-hearted reality that is bureaucracy.
And so the couple attempts to make it work, despite the paperwork and many miles between them. It’s not giving too much away to state that there will be difficulties ahead (breakups, dating other people, starting careers) and many critics seem more in love with Like Crazy than the pair at the heart of it themselves. And this year’s Sundance Film Festival awarded it the dramatic grand jury prize in addition to a special award for Jones’ performance. Talk about rooting for a relationship to work out for the best.
(LIST: TIME’s Top 10 Films of 2010)
Puss in Boots
Tagline: Pray for Mercy.
Antonio Banderas is quite close to Puss in Boots, the orange cat he first voiced in Shrek 2 back in 2004. Since then, they’ve teamed up on features, shorts and not just in English but Italian and two versions of Spanish. Heck, it’s even been suggested that Banderas wanted to voice the Japanese dub. (Thankfully, the studio went with a native speaker.) One of two things was clearly going to happen: Banderas and Puss would either call it a day or actually go and make their own full-length movie.
And now we know that it’s the latter. This Shrek-less spin-off is an origin story of sorts, starring Puss in his younger days who, after being duped into embarking on a bank robbery with childhood pal Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis), becomes a wanted feline.
No matter: Humpty still yearns to steal some magic beans, and get rich (or die trying?) thanks to those golden eggs. His partner in crime these days is Kitty Softpaws, voiced by Banderas’ familiar co-star, Salma Hayek, which might make you think that love could be in the air between the two cats. Director Chris Miller is well versed with his eponymous lead as he took charge of Shrek the Third. And when you have a cast such as this (props should also go to Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris for their Jack and Jill), you don’t so much direct as let everyone purr.
The Rum Diary
Tagline: One Part Outrage. One Part Justice. Three Parts Rum. Mix
The Rum Diary was legendary gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s debut novel. Thompson, you’ll recall, was played by Johnny Depp in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; this time, Depp takes on the role of Paul Kemp, who might as well be Thompson. In any case, Kemp is so over New York (to say nothing of late Eisenhower-era America) that he heads to Puerto Rico to write for a local newspaper, run by Lotterman (a particularly prickly Richard Jenkins). But there’s more afoot than mere booze and writing: Kemp is totally taken by Chenault (Amber Heard), the stunning fiancée of Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart). Sanderson is a businessman trying to make a fast buck and employs Kemp to write nice things about his dodgy scheme. Should Kemp help out or take Sanderson and his cohorts down? And while we don’t know much about drinking, The Rum Diary is in the capable hands of Bruce Robinson, who knows more than you’ve forgotten about it, which is what happens when you make the ne plus ultra of the genre, Withnail & I.
NewsFeed’s Flicks Pick: Animation deserves its moment in the sun as much as any other genre: So why not see Puss in Boots for a purr-fect feel good movie?