Baymax Big Hero 6

Some Movies out This Weekend, November 7, 2014

Friday, November 07, 2014 Rob Samuelson

The three big releases this week all have something to do with science in one way or another. We have the latest from a Disney Animation Studios that has been on both popular and critical rolls for several consecutive releases, a space epic from one of the biggest blockbuster filmmakers of our day, and a biopic of one of science's most important figures.

Big Hero 6
Directors: Don Hall, Chris Williams
Writers: Don Hall, Jordan Roberts, Robert L. Baird, Duncan Rouleau, Paul Briggs
Starring: Ryan Potter, T.J. Miller, Scott Adsit, Damon Wayans Jr.

After a string of massive success with Tangled, Wreck It Ralph, and Frozen, Disney has dipped into the Marvel well – they own the comic book company – for their newest, about a boy, his robot, and a mystery involving bad looking guys with nano technology.

The adventure and CG animation look top notch, but it is the comedy that looks like the movie's driving force. Scott Adsit, formerly of TV's 30 Rock, plays Baymax, the artificially intelligent used car balloon man. The trailer has been all over the place before almost every movie I've seen recently, and Baymax seems on the verge of being the next big crowd pleasing character, with the now famous “Scotch tape sight gag” moment making people – including me, the guy who's seen the trailer probably 15 times now – laugh every time.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Wes Bentley

Christopher Nolan is one of the preeminent purveyors of blockbuster filmmaking these days. His smart, dark takes on superheroes (The Dark Knight trilogy), the world of magicians (The Prestige), and dream thieves (Inception) have done wonders for people looking for more than to shut their brains off while eating popcorn and watching explosions. However, deserved or not, Nolan has a reputation for being heartless, more concerned with the machinations of the brain than the ticker. In many ways, Interstellar seems like his attempt at Spielberg-inflected (Spielberg was the director originally attached to direct) warmth and spectacle.

Set in the near future, the world is falling apart because of climate change, and humans need to figure out what to do. Matthew McConaughey, a pilot, is recruited to search for a habitable planet to relocate the human race. He has to leave his family behind to maybe die, and from the trailers it looks like he's gone a while (Jessica Chastain plays his grown daughter, who is about 11 when he leaves), so there could be some big themes about abandonment and duty tossed about.

Interstellar is getting some mixed reviews, but overall people seem to enjoy it. We'll see.

The Theory of Everything
Director: James Marsh
Writer: Anthony McCarten
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis

Stephen Hawking has probably contributed more to astrophysics than any other human being, alive or dead. That alone makes him an extraordinary figure. The fact that he's done it while overcoming a disease that paralyzed him and stole his ability to speak is even more remarkable. The Theory of Everything tracks that story, his love with his wife, Jane, and probably a healthy dose of simplification of Hawking's theories.

For all the likely schmaltz Рthe meet-cute in the trailer involves a charming discussion about how Tide makes clothes glow brighter in black lights Рthere's some pedigree here. Redmayne was one of the few bright spots of 2012's Les Mis̩rables and director Marsh directed the Oscar-winning documentary Man on Wire. There's some harrowing stuff in Hawking's life, so the sentimentality of the trailer might give way to some harder-to-watch stuff later on.

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