America’s new beefcake, Taylor Kitsch, decided to put on some pants after starring in a loincloth in last year’s record-setting flop, “John Carter.” Not only pants, he went for a full uniform in this adaptation of the Milton Bradley board-game. There are some surprising aspects of this blockbuster film – Kitsch and Alexander Skarsgard have a nice chemistry as brothers. Rihanna doesn’t screw up her film debut. The action is fast, kind of awesome, and does tie into the game. (Aliens attack a naval fleet with missiles shaped like pegs.) Here’s what isn’t surprising about this blockbuster: it is emotionally lifeless, the character arcs are forced to the point of melodrama, and Peter Berg directs this film on the shoulders of “Armageddon” and “Transformers.” It was like Michael Bay was on his shoulder, whispering, “make the characters into stereotypes, make the outcomes predictable and they will come.” The heavy action makes it watchable but the spaces in between are a miss – barely worth a watch.
“My Week with Marilyn”
It seems like kind of a flimsy idea for a film – in 1956, Marilyn Monroe comes to England for a week to make a movie, she hangs out with a young production assistant and emotionally falls apart in the process. The young production assistant was named Colin Clark and he kept a journal about the experience that he turned into a book in 1995. So what, right? If it wasn’t for Michelle Williams who totally channels Marilyn, this is not some second rate impersonation, Williams devours this role. Surrounded by an English actors list of who’s who, Williams, like Monroe, captures the camera and manipulates it. Really, this is a showcase for Williams and earned her a second Oscar nomination in two years, her third nomination overall. And for that alone, “My Week with Marilyn” is not a waste of a couple of hours – worth a watch.
“Jesus Henry Christ”
Are you tired of hearing movies described as quirky? Oh, get over it because this is one of those quirky comedies with oddball ideas and Kodachrome set and lighting designs. The cast is lead by the young actor Jason Spevack, who exudes quirk. And his support cast is an eccentric bunch that just fits well together. Toni Collette and Michael Sheen are right at home in this story of exceptional children and family dysfunction. And writer/director Dennis Lee brings it all to life. Unfortunately named, this film could go unnoticed and that would be a shame because there’s always a small but resounding following for an eccentric film like this. The idioms of family and science are kicked around and seen through the eyes of a child who is wise beyond his years. But in the process, the movie never loses its heart. Don’t forsake, “Jesus Henry Christ” – worth a watch.
Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge