Forget about Kevin Bacon, Ron Perlman is becoming the next game of six degrees. Pearlman has been on TV and in movies since forever, and his 20-year relationship with director Guillermo del Toro has upped his acting cred and put him in a pivotal role to connect in all directions. You probably know del Toro from the “Hellboy” franchise or his work of movie art, “Pan’s Labyrinth,” or maybe his failed attempt to take over “The Hobbit” series. But del Toro handed “The Hobbit” back to Peter Jackson and went to work on this little movie that remixes Japanese monster flicks and shogun warriors with an American tale of redemption. Perlman recruited his costar from “Sons of Anarchy,” Charlie Hunnam. They brought in another FX teammate – Charlie Day from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Idris Elba also adds a powerful performance but the real star is the effects, the robots-versus-monsters battle scenes. Sure, it’s predictable and campy, but is also a lot of fun and worth a watch.
“We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks”
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney has spent the last 10 years investigating stuff that should matter to Americans – political/corporate corruption, war, history, sports and the arts. Here, he digs into the man and the Web site behind the largest security breach in U.S. history. It’s a look at Julian Assange – Australian, professional shit-stirrer and self-proclaimed voice of the people. Like most of Gibney’s films, it moves quickly and uses effective ways to tell the story. It tries to walk an unbiased line, but the topic is a controversial one, and Assange is a controversial dude. But this issue is bigger and more important than one person, and it’s a story that should be heard – worth a watch.
“On the Road”
This movie based on Jack Kerouac’s 1957 book about the Beat Generation has had different versions halted in various stages of development since 1979. It’s been attached to actors including Pitt, Depp and Hawke. Finally, Brazilian filmmaker Walter Salles got the show on the road and made a movie about the sex, drugs and jazz of the 1940s. This cast-list doesn’t ring of superstars, but it’s credible. Two talented English actors, Sam Riley and Tom Sturridge, play the lead and a supporting character. But there are plenty of American faces to represent this cornerstone period of U.S. history. There’s the up-and-comer Garrett Hedlund. Amy Adams and Kirsten Dunst continue to be art house darlings. Viggo Mortensen only takes roles for which he’s passionate and his turn as William S. Burroughs dominates scenes. Kristen Stewart moves away from the disdain of tween audiences in this provocative role where most of her scenes consist of a sex act. It was hardly worth a 34-year wait, but for fans of the Beats, it’s worth a watch.
Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge