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Weekend Rundown: Tomorrowland and Good Kill

Hello, nerds, nerdlings, and nerds in denial. Once again the weekend is upon us and I have the lowdown on a couple of films that might be worth a look if you aren’t busy watching Mad Max: Fury Road for the third time (or Pitch Perfect 2 judging by the box office).

As a huge Brad Bird fan, I was looking forward to Tomorrowland. The trailer didn’t blow me away, but when the guy who directed The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille makes a new film, you haul ass to the theater, no questions asked. His latest isn’t on par with his greatest, but it is a fun movie and a good one to take the family to.

Bird is an ace at making feel good movies with fun characters and positive messages. His films don’t usually come off as preachy, but Tomorrowland does. It’s a harsh and honest critique of the present state of mankind, and though spot on, the message is delivered with extra helpings of saccharin that will turn some viewers off. The movie tries to do a lot and it never really comes together, but it has some cool ideas and a sense of discovery and adventure that I enjoyed.

I would’ve loved Tomorrowland when I was a kid. It has a similar tone to some of the classic live-action Disney films from back in the day. It’s probably better suited for a book than a movie though. Certain scenes would be better read and imagined than brought to life with CGI. The effects are a mixed bag; some of it works, some of it looks fake and lacks polish.

The acting is okay. Raffey Cassidy stands out as Athena. George Clooney plays disgruntled Frank Walker, and does so with little nuance, rendering the character more unlikeable than necessary. Britt Robertson plays teenage science wiz and all-around smart girl Casey Newton, and isn’t bad but doesn’t leave a lasting impression. The plot is complex and convoluted and that is probably why little of it has been revealed prior to release. It’s also best left a surprise.

Tomorrowland doesn’t exactly capture Brad Bird’s previous magic, but it’s an honorable attempt and is worth a look if you’re the least bit interested. Let’s hope he bounces back strong on his next project, The Incredibles 2.

2.5 out of 5 Nerdskulls

Tomorrowland is now playing in theaters. A few more pics:

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Good Kill is the latest offering from writer/director/producer Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, The Truman Show). Ethan Hawke plays Tom Egan, a seasoned air force pilot with six tours of duty under his belt. He is relegated to flying drones from a small air-conditioned unit in Las Vegas, targeting  operatives halfway around the world. Despite being home with his wife (January Jones), Egan yearns to get back in the cockpit of a real plane and experience the rush/risk of battle.

This is an interesting look at the impersonal nature of modern day warfare. Egan basically goes to work and plays video games all day with real life consequences (mostly for the Taliban). When his unit starts working with the CIA, the body count soars, and the morally questionable orders he’s given don’t sit well.

Good Kill has the trappings to be better than it is. It has a compelling subject matter but the story is just so-so. Zoë Kravitz brings some much needed life to the screen, but it still needs some kind of jolt. Like Tomorrowland, it never really comes together.

3 out of 5 Nerdsulls

Good Kill is now playing in Houston at the Santikos Palladium AVX 22 and Santikos Silverado 19.

Enjoy your weekend!!!!

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Salty Winters once said, "Everything I learned I learned from the movies." He was quoting Audrey Hepburn.