First man (12a)
Verdict: Out of this world
First Man, the captivating story of how, in the famous summer of '69, astronaut Neil Armstrong arrived to make that "little step" in the history books, was honored to open the Venice Film Festival a few weeks ago.
Then I reviewed it more briefly and then I was interested in reading some of the numerous comments online. As expected, the conspiracy theorists gave their opinion, those who adhere to the illusion that the moon landings were a gigantic deception, mocked in a television studio.
On Twitter, in a reference to the director of the movie that some said he had planned the whole episode, they asked me: "Who plays Stanley Kubrick?"
First Man, the captivating story of how, in the famous summer of '69, astronaut Neil Armstrong arrived to make that "one small step" in the history books.
More surprisingly, many other readers pointed out Armstrong's weaknesses as a man. Some suggested that he was a boring, introverted, difficult subject and, therefore, unworthy of a biographical film.
Well, one of the many great triumphs of Damien Chazelle's wonderful film, and Ryan Gosling's perfect leadership performance, is that he really does virtues of Armstrong's bad mood and introspection. But Chazelle overcomes an even greater challenge. After all, everyone knows how this story ends. Few quotes have a greater right to immortality than "a small step for man, a great leap for humanity".
Therefore, it is wonderful to report that First Man, based on an acclaimed 2005 biography, unfolds like a captivating thriller and suspense, to which the story of Armstrong's family life gives a powerful affection of additional emotion. Early in his career, he and his wife Janet (played excellently by Claire Foy) lost a two-year-old daughter, Karen, to a brain tumor.
It's that personal tragedy, at least according to Chazelle and screenwriter Josh Singer, which explains much of Armstrong's emotional constipation and, in fact, one of the most moving moments of First Man.
First Man, based on an acclaimed 2005 biography, actually unfolds as a captivating and suspenseful thriller, to which the story of Armstrong's family life gives him a powerful boost of additional emotion.
The executive producer, I might add, is one Steven Spielberg, who never knowingly endorses a one-handkerchief moment where he can make us reach the full triple-layer Kleenex package. But here sentimentality is kept under control.
However, it is a very moving movie. And in what is essentially an account of a remarkable triumph of the age, death looms terribly large. Not only Karen's, but also several of Armstrong's pilots and astronauts.
If three of them did not die in a fire while preparing for a mission in 1967, a disaster compensated by Armstrong's visit to the White House to convince dissenting politicians that the cost of the space program was worth it, there probably would not have been been the first Man on the moon
Some families paid a catastrophic price for the victory in the so-called space race against the Soviet Union. The film does not overlook these calamities. On the contrary, he uses them repeatedly to inform the characters not only of Armstrong, but also of his insensitive colleague, Buzz Aldrin (Corey Stoll).
The first deeply regrets his friends, but can rationalize their deaths with a simple, almost insensitive observation: "We need to fail here so as not to fail there."
Gosling perfectly captures the way that Armstrong's emotions are as tightly bottled as his oxygen supply.
There is a bright scene, on the eve of the Apollo 11 expedition, in which Janet forces him to sit down with his two small children to tell them that he may not come home.
But this extraordinarily brave and ingenious man avoids the challenge. It's not rocket science, which is precisely the problem. He addresses his children as he would in a press conference.
By then, the film has followed a careful chronological path through the 1960s.
Draw the political background, affecting not only the opposition in Congress at the extravagant cost of building rockets, but also civil rights activists who complain about confusing priorities, especially in the powerful Gil Scott-Heron song , Whitey On The Moon.
However, the main focus is on the main steps in the career of NASA at Armstrong. It has some narrow escapades of its own and nobody sums up the experimental, sometimes almost rudimentary, nature of the US space program more crudely than his wife Janet.
"You are a group of children who make models with balsa wood," he becomes infuriated with Armstrong's boss, Deke Slayton (Kyle Chandler).
Foy, as wonderful as the Queen in the Netflix series The Crown, is no less good in the role of consort here. It's a very supportive part, but even so, I'll bet on the award nominations.
In addition, she shares many of the best moments of the film, such as when she tells her son that her father is going to the moon.
"It's okay," he replies, indifferently. & # 39; Can I get out? & # 39;
Chazelle does much of the contrast between terrestrial domesticity and Armstrong's adventures in space, cutting repeatedly between the two, until the climactic moment of the film arrives, the lunar landing of July 1969 itself.
It is carefully reconstructed, beautifully and movingly imagining what really happened behind the television images we all know so well.
By the way, the director has been criticized in the USA. UU By downplaying the ceremonial plantation of the stars and stripes on the surface of the moon.
Certainly, in this film there is not a great patriotic distinction, nor a jingoistic discourse, which surely would have been very different in the hands of the man originally programmed to direct, Clint Eastwood. That is another reason why I recommend it to you.
It is a fabulous image, one that will surely boost its director, still only 33, but with the success of La La Land and the award-winning Whiplash in his name, in the Hollywood stratosphere.
Living in the Hotel Tarantino
Bad times in El Royale (15)
The writer and director Drew Goddard rather flaunts his admiration for Quentin Tarantino in this violent but elegant thriller, set in the late sixties.
Even the title, it is supposed, is a cheeky tribute to the classic "cheeseburger" conversation between Vincent and Samuel L. Jackson of John Travolta as Jules in Tarantino's Pulp Fiction.
The El Royale here is a seedy hotel, on the state line between California and Nevada.
Screenwriter and director Drew Goddard flaunts his admiration for Quentin Tarantino in this violent but elegant thriller, set in the late sixties.
A stormy night, and here Goddard could have been thinking more about The Odious Eight of Tarantino, a disparate group of strangers is recorded, all with very different secrets and agendas.
It's impossible to tell you much about them without giving away the game, but it's certainly a juicy deal, with Jeff Bridges in top form as a Catholic priest, Jon Hamm as a street vendor and Dakota Johnson as a defiant young man with attitude. .
Towards the end, Chris Hemsworth joins the fray as a character in the style of Charles Manson.
But stealing scenes of all these best known names is the British actress and singer Cynthia Erivo, who coincidentally also appeared this week in the first party of the London Film Festival, Widows. At two hours and 20 minutes, Bad Times At The Royale could also give it a bladder test moment in the post, but there is a soul song and R & B as compensation, most provided by the character of Erivo , a Motown-type singer who lost her luck.
The other main character in the film is the hotel manager, eager to please, in fact, he is the only staff member, played by Lewis Pullman. Like almost everyone else, it has something to hide, and for quite some time it seems that the movie is also hiding something from us.
That can be frustrating; Why invest your interest in an image with so many hidden twists and turns? But Goddard begins to show his hand with the help of some polished flashbacks, Pulp Fiction style and narrative ellipses.
Ultimately, I felt that I had had a good time in the Picturehouse.
This yeti will not harm a single one.
Small foot (U)
Verdict: Film for harmless children
The pleasant premise of this animated film for children has a television team that looks for the elusive yeti, while at the same time an adventurous yeti named Migo (with the voice of Channing Tatum) searches for the legendary, possibly mythical creature that he knows only as & # 39; foot small & # 39; the human being
That central gag might be lost among the younger members of the audience, but they will enjoy the evidence of human existence that the yeti community gathers, including a roll of toilet paper, which they call "the roll of invisible wisdom."
Older children, but possibly not their parents, can also enjoy Migo's subversive decision to challenge the elders of the community and seek the small foot. The Yetis live according to strict rules inscribed in a set of sacred stones, but Migo has the ability to defy authority.
Channing Tatum plays Migo, an adventurous yeti in this movie, Smallfoot
A strong cast of voices also includes James Corden as an annoying TV personality (hmm), Danny DeVito and basketball superstar LeBron James, and animation, although a bit of work, is pretty decent.
I could have done it without the forgettable songs, a transparent attempt to make a Frozen, but in general it is not a bad bet for what seems to be, for many of us, a wet and windy weekend.