Forget the Reviews, Go See ‘Jupiter Ascending’

jupiter-ascending-screen-grab

I’m unaccustomed to recommending movies I find bad or, in this case, mediocre. I suppose you could say this is the equivalent of knowingly cooking bland food for house guests, so this is a bit of a new experience for me. So here it goes: I need all of you to take your hard-earned money and go see Jupiter Ascending.

Yes, the movie has a 22% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  Yes, the script is filled with more clichés and bad dialogue than any Keanu Reeves movie is capable of. And yes, this movie isn’t exactly what we’d call the reemergence of Star Wars. Regardless, go to the theatre. Pay money. Get a ticket. Buy a delicious blue-raspberry Icee. Why? Because this movie had a giant budget and is an original property. You know what that means? It means it’s not a sequel, reboot, remake or based on any novel or comic book.

Jupiter Ascending

You see, Hollywood has increasingly become adverse to funding original properties with big budgets. Typically you’ll see maybe one a year if you’re lucky. And who can blame them? Last summer I asked, nay, I begged people to go see Edge of Tomorrow, because it was incredible and yet practically no one saw it in theaters. Before that it was Pacific Rim, which seemed to interest no one (What about giant robots punching giant monsters do people not understand?). Now granted, one of these two is based on a preexisting property, albeit a relatively unknown one. But you can see why producers are wary to risk giving a film big funding if movie-goers won’t go see the ones they do give big budgets to.

Last year I can think of one movie, Interstellar, that fit in the category of a new property that made a lot of money, and I suspect the only reason it got the budget it did was the name recognition of Christopher Nolan.

This brings us back to my original plea: go see Jupiter Ascending. I know you’ve complained, either secretly or out loud, that there seem to be way to many comic book movies out there, or that both Batman and Spider-Man are being rebooted way too soon, or that all we seem to get these days are mediocre sequels and adaptations of terrible books (Can we all pretend 50 Shades of Grey isn’t actually happening?). Well guess what, the universe has seen fit to give us all another chance to show Hollywood that we are ready to reward their financial risks.

rocket boots

 

Having said all that, let me allay some of your fears about going to see what you could presume to be a humongous pile of crap, because there were some genuinely cool things in this movie. For starters, Jupiter Ascending does some phenomenal world building with dozens of unique alien species, colorful planets and a rich history only briefly hinted at. Action sequences are intense, especially a dog fight over downtown Chicago, and will keep you entertained. You’ll love to see Eddie Redmayne play an incredibly weird and creepy villain who likes to speak through his teeth. And, oh yeah, crazy hover skates. Seriously, I hope those things will be invented by the time the hover skateboard from Back to the Future Part II makes it to the market.

I pray this has been enough to convince you, because I’m telling you true that if this movie makes the big bucks you can expect that another original film will be released in the near future and it will have the budget it deserves and will hopefully be much higher quality.

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Forget the Reviews, Go See ‘Jupiter Ascending’

Hope for the Winter Movie Slump

The months of January, February and March are tough for me. And it’s not because I have the specter of unfulfilled New Years resolutions of the past haunting me, or another Valentine’s Day to remind me it’s the worst holiday that we as a society give credence to, or another Saint Patrick’s to shine light on the fact that I’m of Irish decent and don’t drink. While all of these prove that the struggle truly is real, nothing proves to be more depressing to me than the winter move slump.

You see, what we have here is a case of confusing cause and effect. Less people go to the movie theaters during these months, which means studios typically release the films they don’t expect to do well in this time period and save their big budget or quality films (or bruisers as I like to call them) for the summer. But on the flip side, one could just as easily say the reason less people see movies during these months is because studios don’t release anything worth watching.

Now I realize this analysis is a generalization (albeit not far off from the truth) and some good movies do get released during these months with “Silence of the Lambs” being the most notable exception. So I cross my fingers every year that studios will get us out of this slump and give us some quality films to look forward too. So without further ado, here are the films that I think could be gems in an otherwise desolate time for movies.

Blackhat (January 16)

I’ll be honest and say on the surface this movie doesn’t really grab my attention. I mean, I like Chris Hemsworth and all, but if you’re going to release a globetrotting, cyber warfare action movie these days it had better stand out, and the trailer just isn’t that good. But Michael Mann is the director and that does change my perspective a bit. Mann directed such hits as “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Heat,” “Ali,” and, a personal favorite of mine, “Collateral.” This doesn’t guarantee a quality film, but it does earn the benefit of the doubt and possibly my money.

Jupiter Ascending (February 6)

The newest film from the Wachowskis, “Jupiter Ascending” was originally planned for release back in summer 2014 but got moved back to February due to reshoots and extra work on the special effects (which from the looks of it could put the “Star Wars” prequels to shame in terms of how much CGI it looks to incorporate). While the heavy reliance on effects might deter some, I for one am excited to see a new film that’s not a sequel, reboot or based on a YA novel that gets a large budget. Now let’s just hope it’s good.

Kingsman: The Secret Service (February 13)

Easily my most anticipated film during the winter slump is “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” A bit of a mouth full as far as titles goes, but it is directed by Matthew Vaughn who directed such gems as “Kick-Ass” and “X-Men: First Class.” Plus, just watch the trailer, because it looks like a fun time – like James Bond before his movies became super serious.

“’71” (February 27)

Here’s a film that I had never heard about until I read an early review for it a couple months back. It’s an action/thriller that tells the story of a British soldier who gets separated from his unit during the Belfast riots of 1971, and it’s supposed to be great. Supposed to, anyway. My fear is that although we might get a quality movie here, it’s coming from out of nowhere. You probably hadn’t even heard of it until I listed it, which means less people will likely see it upon release. But here’s hoping.

Chappie (March 6)

Director Neill Blomkamp has had one really big hit with “District 9” and one hit and miss with “Elysium.” I’m hopeful that his newest film, which was originally announced as a sci-fi comedy but slowly morphed into more of a drama about a robot who is given artificial intelligence, will lean more toward “District 9” quality. Visually the cinematography looks to please, so here’s hoping the story, acting and script all stand on their own adorable robotic legs as well.

Hope for the Winter Movie Slump