Robin Wright in The Congress (Drafthouse Films)
Israeli director, Ari Folman boldly introduces a remarkable adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s sci-fi novel, The Futurological Congress. Robin Wright plays, well, herself in an alternate universe: an aging actress in the last step of her career. When given an offer to save her ill son’s life, Robin is propelled into selling the rights to her digital image, allowing movie studios to use a computer-generated version of her. This sends her into a surreal identity crisis.
The Congress looks to be an astounding performance by Wright, as this story encompasses many matters older actresses tend to have to deal with in the film industry and she really builds her character through dealing with these issues. With a great supporting cast of Harvey Keitel, Jon Hamm, Danny Huston and Paul Giamatti rounding out the ensemble, there is assurance that this film will undoubtedly deliver.
Not only does The Congress actualize this sci-fi fantasy into life via brilliant cinematography that mixes live-action and animation, but the film consciously opens dialogue about the issue of selling one’s identity for profit. The dystopic model built in this narrative sets an eerie tone of what’s to come in our near future in regards to the way people interact with social media, avatars, smartphones, films and self identity. Lose yourself in the mind-blowing experience of The Congress, in theaters this Friday, Aug. 29.
Been waiting for a movie to mess with your psyche? The Indiana Jones meets Paranormal Activity horror flick As Above, So Below might just be your fix. Urban archeology student, Scarlett Marlowe (Perdita Weeks), and a team of her peers unearth more than they expected in a labyrinth of catacombs 300 feet below Paris. After being trapped in the ruins of several graves, the team is forced to delve into the depths of the city of the dead, unraveling a disturbing pathway to their personal hell. This shaky hand-cam flick may be setting us up for another unoriginal, just OK, scary movie, but will most definitely be entertaining to watch.
As fun as these quick-scare, first-person movies are, the Blair Witch (1999) thing might be getting a little old. For instance, As Above, So Below looks to have what it takes to be an intense-ass movie, but the limiting factors of the way these movies are being shot, compared to a more traditional way of cinematography, has become a repeating burden for the found-footage genre. We tend to get more campy dialogue from characters trying to explain what the heck is going on and overly expected pop-out gimmicks. Sure, it costs less to make this kind of film, which is great for up-and-coming filmmakers on a low budget, but I think Universal/Legendary Pictures could have pinched a couple more bills out to make As Above the true psychological roller coaster it could potentially be. I digress. From the guys who brought you Quarantine (2008) and Devil (2010) comes As Above, So Below, in theaters this Friday.
Pierce Brosnan must be hanging out with Liam Neeson and Bruce Willis as of late because these old guys are still blowing it up as action stars. In a Bourne Supremacy-like setting, ex-CIA operative, Devereaux (Brosnan), is pitted against his former apprentice in The November Man. A fast-action, cat-and-mouse hunt ensues, linking high members of the CIA and the Russian president-elect.
After seeing Brosnan in Mama Mia! (2008) I didn’t think he had it in him to play another Bond-like role, but hey, he’s doing it. He’s also privileged to be casted alongside the beautiful, Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace). Fun fact: This is director Roger Donaldson’s second time working with Brosnan, the first being the 1997 volcanic thriller Dante’s Peak. Check out old man Brosnan kick ass in The November Man.
Also in theaters: Cantinflas; Kundo: Age of the Rampant; Life of Crime