Chris Klimek

'Ad Astra' Soars

Sep 19, 2019

With its austere surfaces and jaundiced view of humanity's interplanetary destiny, James Gray's stirring sci-fi epic Ad Astra can't help but evoke Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, the paterfamilias of all "serious" space movies. But in fact it's a closer cousin to another long-delayed, wildly over-budget spectacle that initially fared better with ticket-buyers than critics, only to be revealed in time as a masterpiece: Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now.

"Is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse?"

While we were all arguing whether Idris Elba should be the new 007, he opted to become the next T-800 instead.

Once Upon a Time in ... Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino's florid, sun-bleached, la-la land fantasia, would be a groovy trip of a movie in any era. But only now, with virtually the entire industry consumed by Disney's circle-of-life pop-cultural recycling algorithm — a vast, unsympathetic intelligence more larcenous and self-referential than 1,000 Tarantinos working in round-the-clock shifts — does it look like an essential one.

In Michael Mann's surprisingly funny 2004 thriller Collateral, assassin Tom Cruise takes meek taxi driver Jamie Foxx hostage, forcing him to spend a terrifying night ferrying the hitman around Los Angeles as they're pursued by lawmen who think the cabbie is the killer.

In Michael Dowse's surprisingly bloody new comedy Stuber, burned-out narc Dave Bautista takes meek Uber driver Kumail Nanjiani hostage, forcing him to spend a terrifying night ferrying the cop around Los Angeles as they're pursued by drug dealers who think the driver is the detective.