The shadow cast by Steven Spielberg is really rather immense. His brand of emotionally pleasing blockbusters and intense drama has created a number of classics, inspiring countless imitators. While many of these are easy to dismiss, a few are worth the time, including Jeff Nichols this week, whose new film comes out alongside unnecessary sequels, moon-tripping and road-tripping.
After three beautiful features, Jeff Nichols steps into his first studio production with Midnight Special, bringing his muse Michael Shannon along for the ride. Shannon is the father of a boy with special powers, the two ending up on the run to escape law enforcement. Paying homage to Spielberg, because what sci-fi doesn’t these days, Nichols’ well-received film also uses Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver and Sam Shepard. So there are a lot of reasons to get down to the cinema.
In 2012, Snow White and the Huntsman popped up, taking nearly $400 million worldwide despite being very boring. Now we get another one, bringing back Chris Hemsworth as the axe wielding gentleman of the title, and Charlize Theron as the evil queen. This time there are also prominent roles for Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain. It’s a pity it looks ever duller than the first one.
Only twelve people have ever set foot on the surface of the moon. The last, by virtue of stepping back into the lunar module after his colleague, is Eugene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17. The Last Man on the Moon looks back over Cernan’s career, building up to his 1972 landing and beyond. Unlike most moon oriented documentaries, there’s a sharp personal element to this one which makes it well worth your time. Plus the archive footage is awesome.
What an odd career Paul Weitz has had. Famous for co-directing American Pie with his brother, he often works in mainstream comedy with a few excursions. Grandma is one of these. Lily Tomlin’s grieving poet ends up road-tripping with her 18-year-old granddaughter who’s desperate for an abortion. Carried on the back of the performances, particularly Tomlin, it’s a film to be enjoyed at home without fear of cape wearing lunatics crashing the party.
That’s about all we have so I’ll leave you there for now. See you next week for the re-imagining of an old classic.