Blake Lively Harrison Ford

Some Movies to See This Weekend, April 24, 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015 Rob Samuelson

This week's cinematic offerings are a much more manageable three wide-ish releases. There's a distinct throwback quality to what's on tap this time out, all old school feeling and little modern irony. As a trend, this is probably a good thing, but we can only see about the execution of these particular movies. Let's see what's in store for us at the picture houses!

Age of Adaline
Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Writers: J. Mills Goodloe, Salvador Paskowitz
Starring: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn

This one has an Old Hollywood vibe to it, with one of them there newfangled “high concepts” running through it. Blake Lively stars as a woman, Adaline, who drives her car into a pond and loses the ability to age. Everyone she cares about gets old and dies and she doesn't allow herself to get attached to anyone again. She has flings with men throughout the decades, sure – who wouldn't want to have romantic getaways with young Harrison Ford? – but nobody matters until Michiel Huisman's bearded hunk comes along. Twist! He's Ford's character's son. Lots of explanations will be due. Some earnest melodrama will suffice. It probably isn't as terrible in execution as my ham handed plot description makes it.

Side note: Ellen Burstyn has suddenly carved out a niche for herself as the elderly daughter of parents who don't age. My theory for Age of Adaline is that Adaline is secretly the wife of Matthew McConaughey's character from Interstellar.

Little Boy
Director: Alejandro Monteverde
Writers: Alejandro Mondeverde, Pepe Portillo
Starring: Jakob Salvati, Kevin James, David Henrie, Emily Watson

Don't let the “if you can believe it, you can make it happen” superpower theme going through the trailer fool you. This kid's dad is going to war and he will die. I don't have inside information on the movie. That's just how stories work.

“Little Boy” has an undiagnosed form of dwarfism, but the movie is unlikely to be on par with The Tin Drum. If I'm wrong about this, I will be thrilled and sing this movie's praises to high heaven. But I'm probably not. Anyway, the kid has a special relationship with his dad that involves a lot of magical realism and storytelling, with the make believe aspect being of particular note for the boy's view of the world and his abilities to shape it. Then the dad goes off to war (WWII, I guess?) and the kid tries to use his magic to bring him home. Cue lots of reviews discussing how Little Boy isn't about magic, but a Trojan horse to teach kids about how to deal with loss.

Side note 2 of the week: Kevin James is having himself a moment in April 2014, something very few would have predicted a decade ago.

The Water Diviner
Director: Russell Crowe
Writers: Andrew Knight, Andrew Anastasios
Starring: Russell Crowe, Olda Kurylenko, Jai Courtney

Russell Crowe directs and stars in this Australian Oscar-winner for Best Picture about a backwater Australian man who loses all his sons to war. But there's a chance one of them might be alive. Thus, he goes in search of his one chance to find some solace in the world that has fallen apart around him.

Again, the Old Hollywood vibe strikes this week, with this being another earnest melodrama about family and adventure, with painterly images used liberally throughout the trailer. It looks gorgeous and, while the usual Oscar complaints probably apply to the Australian versions, too – the middlebrow, least offensive movies usually win, most of them won't stand the test of time, etc. – Oscar winners don't tend to be particularly bad, either. This is most likely worth your time.

Side note 3 of the week: My girlfriend pointed out recently that Jai Courtney looks like a man made out of rocks and has since started referring to him as Geodude, of Pokémon fame. I cannot get this image out of my head whenever I see him pop up in stuff, which he has done at an exceptional rate in recent years.

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