In cinemas this week: Jupiter Ascending, Rosewater and Project Almanac.
Jupiter Ascending – From the streets of Chicago to the far-flung galaxies whirling through space, “Jupiter Ascending” tells the story of Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), who was born under a night sky, with signs predicting she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people’s houses and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along – her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos. I am a defender of the Wachowski’s divisive but brilliant Speed Racer and loved Cloud Atlas from a couple of years ago, but this was bad. I became numb as to what was going on plot-wise, what was actually happening in the chaotic action sequences and what all of this confusing hodgepodge of design decisions ultimately added up to. A very bad cast.
Rosewater – Based on The New York Times best-selling memoir “Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival,” written by Maziar Bahari. The film marks the directorial debut of “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, and stars Gael García Bernal. Rosewater follows the Tehran-born Bahari, a broadcast journalist with Canadian citizenship. In June 2009, Bahari returned to Iran to interview Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who was the prime challenger to president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As Mousavi’s supporters rose up to protest Ahmadinejad’s victory declaration hours before the polls closed, Bahari endured personal risk by sending footage of the street riots to the BBC. Bahari was arrested by police and tortured and interrogated over the next 118 days. With Bahari’s wife leading an international campaign to have her husband freed, and Western media outlets keeping the story alive, Iranian authorities released Bahari on $300,000 bail and the promise he would act as a spy for the government. Prior to Bahari’s capture this is an interesting story, but the monotonous questioning, and claustrophobic imprisonment, reveals that Stewart isn’t a great director. Really quite tiresome, and disappointing. Sam reviews at the link.
Project Almanac – A brilliant high school student and his friends uncover blueprints for a mysterious device with limitless potential, inadvertently putting lives in danger. Has made quite a bit of money in the US, but looks like an inferior version of sleeper hit Chronicle.
As I did not care for either Jupiter Ascending or Rosewater I won’t be recommending either of them. But Sam had a different take on Jupiter Ascending. This is the weekend to catch up with the Academy Award nominees ahead of next Monday’s ceremony. Birdman, Selma, Foxcatcher, Still Alice and Citizen Four are all still in cinemas.