THE ADAM PROJECT: 3 STARS
Ryan Reynolds has created a unique and profitable niche for himself on screen. The current king of non-IP action comedy, he has recently scored huge hits with “Red Announcement” and “Free Guy”, original films that are not based on current comic books or video games. Yes. This week, add to that list “Project Adam,” a sci-fi adventure now streaming on Netflix starring Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner.
Adam Reed (Walker Scobell), an early thirteen-year-old boy living with his mother Ellie (Garner), is still grieving the death of his father a year earlier. “Son, you need to think about your future,” Ellie said, “because it’s coming. Sooner than you suspect.”
In fact, it may have arrived.
One day, Adam finds an injured fighter pilot hiding in his family’s garage. Turns out strangers are not strangers. He is Adam (Reynolds) from the future; adult version with a side bullet hole and a mission. “You are me,” said the frightened young man. Elder Adam said: “It is classified, but yes, I used to be.”
The time traveler jumps back to 2022 to save the world, using information created by his late scientist father Louis (Ruffalo). To complete the quest, he’ll need to go back in time even further, this time with young Adam at his side. First, there’s a time-traveling villain (Catherine Keener) and the question of how to access the past while saving the future.
Time travel movies rarely make perfect sense, and “Project Adam” is no different. Time may be a flat circle, and fate will repeat itself, but cinematic machinery like jumping from year to year, changing the past from the future, often gives me headaches and sends me out. from the story.
“Project Adam” came about, not because it captured the paradox of theoretical physics, but because of the chemistry between Reynolds and his young co-star Scobell.
Reynolds, reuniting with “Free Guy” director Shawn Levy, delivers his signature charisma and wit with a joke, while Scobell, in his acting debut, is a natural. He’s funny, charming, and up against Reynolds, arguably one of the best scene stealers in movies today.
They click and because they do, the movie works. The sci-fi aspects of the story, the futuristic Stormtrooper-looking soldiers or the loud CGI climax, don’t make as much of an impression as the heart and soul of the film, the relationship between Adams and their father as they heal the wounds of their father’s death.
“Project Adam” threatens to allow special effects fireworks to overshadow its story, but contains just enough moving material to draw comparisons to the 1980s Ambling movies that were clearly the inspiration.
TURNING RED: 4 STARS
You might consider Pixar’s “Turning Red,” an exciting new animated series currently showing on Disney+, directed by someone who grew up in Toronto. Domee Shi, the Academy Award® winning director, covers the basics of city life like TTC tickets and the CN Tower, but her reference to the Skydome, the arena’s original and unique name now known as the Rogers Center, has her glue really Hogtown.
Meilin Lee (voiced by Rosalie Chiang), the main character of the film, is a free spirit in a traditional family. She loves to dance, hang out with friends and she especially loves the music group 4 * Town. “Ever since I was thirteen,” she said, “I’ve been doing my own thing.”
She is navigating the line between the obedient daughter with her mother Ming (voiced by Sandra Oh) and the wrong person. “Rule number one in my family is respect your parents,” she says, “but if you take it too far, you can forget about respecting yourself.”
Everything changes for Meilin one morning after she’s had a nightmare and before you can say, “Poof!”, she’s transformed into a giant red panda. Hearing a noise upstairs, Ming investigates. “You are a woman now and your body is starting to change,” she said through the door to her clearly upset daughter.
When the truth of the situation was revealed, Ming was not surprised. It turns out that panda transformations take place in families, often after some kind of emotional episode. Unless Meilin wants to be a chiropractor for the rest of her life, she must obey her parents. “There is a darkness to pandas,” says Mei Jin Lee (Orion Lee)’s father. “You only have one chance to expel it. And you cannot fail, otherwise you will never be free.”
A special ceremony could save her from her predicament, but it has to be done under the red moon, a month away, the same night as 4* Town’s big show at the Skydome.
“Turning Red” is an imaginative cartoon that will make your eyeballs dance. Toronto is lovingly rendered and the characters all have personalities to burn. Mei’s alter ego, the giant red panda, is equally terrifying and lovable, a metaphor for puberty coming to life, huge. Going beyond the superb voice acting of Chiang and Oh, it’s a worthy effort by Pixar to be able to stand on the shelf next to classics like “Up,” “WALL-E,” and “Toy Story.” .
The coming-of-age story is handled equally well. The importance of family is a key message, as it is in many children’s movies, but it is Shi’s sensitive (and very funny) lessons about affirmation and being true to yourself that make that makes a difference. Mei feels suffocated by Ming’s overprotectiveness, but she’s still fighting for herself, even if it’s scary. “I am replacing my mother,” she said. “I’m afraid it will take me away from you.”
Ming replied: “Don’t hold back, for anyone. “The further you go, the prouder I will be.”
It’s more touching and nuanced than you might expect from a movie about a young girl turning into a raccoon, but “Turning Red” is that movie. It’s unafraid to be silly, serious and sincere, often at the same time. It’s a poignant and loving portrait of the chaos as a kid and how respect, family, and friends (and the music of a small boy band) can help complete the trip. How wild. Oh, and Toronto rarely looks better on screen!
AFTER YANG: 3 STAR
“After Yang,” a new sci-fi movie starring Colin Farrell and Jodie Turner-Smith now in theaters, is about the life of a sentient cyborg, but the power of movies Humanoid androids like “Terminator” have been replaced with a slow, pensive mood.
Set in the near future, “After Yang” begins with the loss of Yang (Justin H. Min of The Umbrella Academy), a cyborg bought by Kyra and Jake (Jodie Turner-Smith and Colin Farrell) as work. cyborg companion and “Sibling” to their adopted Asian daughter Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja). When Yang has a core glitch and shuts down, Mika mourns the loss of her “gege” or brother in Mandarin.
Jake’s quest to fix the “technosapien” carer is more complicated than you think. It’s more complicated than bringing a damaged iPad back to an Apple store. The manufacturer will only fix the twelve most common problems and warn Jake that it is illegal to access data stored in the robot’s memory bank.
However, Jake accepts a tool to access Yang’s core chip from the museum curator (Sarita Choudhury), only to discover he has been refurbished multiple times and holds memories from many experiences. mine.
Director Koganada focuses his attention on the meditative aspects of the story rather than the machine, creating a sci-fi introspection that subtly and subtly explores issues of existence, grief, love and memory. The film’s cold, detached exterior dissipates as time goes on, as the sci-fi aspects of the story become the study of relationships and why we connect with people. and the object that we do.
Subtle yet heartfelt performances from Farrell, Turner-Smith, Min, and Tjandrawidjaja add emotional resonance to a speculative narrative that captures the heart as well as the brain.
“Ultimately, the film that Koganada did was a deep family drama with some sci-fi elements. But just because “After Yang” is more fun than enjoyable doesn’t mean it’s ineffective and memorable.