Entertainment Essentials: January 11, 2019

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CREDIT: Entertainment Studios; Netflix; TBS

This post was originally published on News Cult on January 11, 2019.

1. Movie: Replicas (Theatrically Nationwide) – Keanu Reeves stars as a neuroscientist who loses his wife and kids in a car accident and then attempts to “resurrect” them in the form of androids. You can imagine how that goes. This is the type of original sci-fi movie that tends to fly under the radar, and that is a shame, even if it turns out to be horrible. So let’s all go see Replicas to declare to the big studios that we want to see more unique and challenging concepts on screen! Also, Silicon Valley‘s Thomas Middleditch co-stars as Reeves’ friend and colleague, which should add to the intrigue.

2. TV: Sex Education (January 11 on Netflix) – Gillian Anderson stars in this Netflix dramedy in the role that is pretty much perfect for her at this point in her career: a sex therapist who tends to overshare a bit too much with her teenage son. That teenage son is an awkward virgin played by Asa Butterfield who sets up a clinic at his high school to help his fellow classmates deal with their range of sexual problems. For my money, it is always a boon to have a show that is open-minded and sensitive on the topic of sex.

3. TV: Angie Tribeca Season 4 (Premiered December 29 on TBS) – Starring Rashida Jones as the titular detective who does things her own way, Angie Tribeca is a delightful spoof in the vein of Airplane! and The Naked Gun. Not every gag lands, but the joke-per-minute ratio is higher than any show currently airing, and it is all played so deadly serious, making it hard to get mad at any joke that falls flat. Even if you’re a fan of the show, you might not have any idea that a new season just arrived, as all ten episodes debuted the weekend before New Year’s with basically no promotion. Luckily, if you missed it, you can head over to the TBS website or app. In this batch of episodes, Bobby Cannavale joins the team as Tribeca’s long-lost son (it makes sense in context, sort of), and there is also the usual plethora of guest stars, including Anjelica Huston, Gillian Jacobs, and Jim Rash.

This Is a Movie Review: The Space Between Us

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This review was originally published on News Cult in 2017.

Starring: Asa Butterfield, Britt Robertson, Gary Oldman, Carla Gugino, B.D. Wong

Director: Peter Chesolm

Running Time: 120 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 for Intense Re-Entry

Release Date: February 3, 2017

If an astronaut on her way to Mars turned out to have gotten pregnant just before departure, would your first thought be how mortified she must be of her irresponsibility? If you said yes, you might just be Gary Oldman in The Space Between Us. In the moment, that sentiment is a little disturbing and quite backwards. Eventually it becomes clear why Oldman – the man behind this Martian colonization effort – reacts this way, and it is somewhat reasonable but also still a little patronizing.

That lack of progressiveness also plagues Space’s vision of the future. Beyond the fact that travel to Mars is reasonably accessible, there is not much to distinguish this vision of Earth from the 2017 version. The only new technology appears to be the latest generation of tablets. To paraphrase Tom Servo: so… 30 years from now it’ll be 3 years from now? I guess that’s what you get when you hire the director of Hannah Montana: The Movie to try his hand at sci-fi. The Space Between Us is decidedly NOT the best of both worlds.

The dearth of futuristic imagination can partially be justified by the fact that Space mostly chooses to be a road trip film through the southwestern U.S. The deal here is that Asa Butterfield (Ender in Ender’s Game) is the Martian-born son of that pregnant astronaut, and he is visiting Earth for the first time after growing up for his first 16 years on the red planet. He is supposed to be held at NASA for observation to determine if his bones can handle the new atmosphere, but he is too in love to be contained by The Man.

So Butterfield and Britt Robertson (Hollywood’s current go-to for all-American gals) go on the run from Oldman and his team to discover the truth behind Butterfield’s origins and just to be free. There is actually a great germ of a story here about how love knows no bounds (and Butterfield plays the slightly alien fish-out-of-water quite naturally) but the implementation is rather plainly prosaic. Also, everyone is genuinely looking out for the best of our Martian child, and a major revelation that resolves every misunderstanding is held off unnaturally for the sake of driving conflict. But at least we know now how passionately Gary Oldman feels about going to Mars.

The Space Between Us is Recommended If You Like: Gary Oldman getting all worked up, Britt Robertson playing the girl next door, the Asa Butterfield Space Genre

Grade: 2.5 out of 5 Space Colonies