Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Spacey’

This week’s releases include: a modern-day gladiator; an old school horror movie; a family torn apart; a cheery musical; a revenge fantasy come true; a set of tragic stories; a period drama; a comedic hunt for evil; an existential look at life; a sinister abuse of the Internet; and a talking animals picture. (more…)

This week’s releases include: the true story of world famous fraud and corruption; the tale of a young woman’s search for love and freedom; a documentary about the impact of a miracle; and a thriller about the ultimate intrusion. (more…)


Moon is an ambitious first outing but director Duncan Jones manages to pull it off. It’s the first feature-length effort from Jones, formerly and more widely-known as Zowie Bowie, rock star David Bowie’s son.

Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is the sole astronaut on a moon-based space station. Machines collect Helium 3, which now powers 70% of the Earth, and it’s Sam’s job to rocket launch the full tanks back home. After three years, his tour is nearly complete and Sam expects his replacement to arrive soon for training. He exchanges video messages with his wife and watches his daughter grow via a monitor. Sam’s only direct communication is with GERTY (Kevin Spacey), an artificially intelligent computer that shows basic emotions by displaying emoticons. An accident and curiosity eventually lead to some surprising discoveries and tough decisions.

Moon is definitely channelling Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, with its minimalist science fiction vessel. Without revealing too much, the story’s Outer Limits-style twist is less shocking than intriguing to watch unfold once it’s revealed. It poses questions regarding morality and science and the emotional capacity of humans versus machines.

Rockwell is exceptional in every aspect of the emotional funhouse in which the story is set. Spacey’s voice is largely recognizable, but it also carries an uncanny ability to be nearly monotone yet capable of emitting profound feeling. Combined with the emoticons, the illusion that the computer feels is wholly realized. Recent sci-fi has been so reliant on epic destruction and CGI characters that this return to the basics and a good story is long-awaited.

The special features include: commentary with Jones, director of photography Gary Shaw, concept designer Gavin Rothery and production designer Tony Noble; commentary with Jones and producer Stuart Fenegan; the making of Moon; creating the visual effects; science centre Q&A with Jones; Q&A at the Sundance Film Festival; and Whistle, a short film by Jones.


There have been numerous serious movies made over the last few years about the Iraq war, many of which have not been very good (with at least one exception being The Hurt Locker released earlier this year). The Men Who Stare at Goats takes a satirical approach to the situation instead and does so quite successfully.

Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) is a down on his luck reporter looking for a story that will put him back in the good graces of the wife that just left him. His early lead is on a secret government project that sought to harness the power of psychics for peaceful resolutions to war. Although Bob’s contact sounded somewhat outside of reality, he did reveal the name of the “Jedi project’s” top operative: Lyn Cassady. Having hit a dead end, Bob goes to Iraq in the hopes of displaying the courage of a war correspondent. Stuck in Kuwait awaiting approval, Bob strikes up a conversation with a stranger who turns out to be Cassady (George Clooney). The two embark on a strange adventure while Cassady reveals how the “Jedi warriors” were trained and his real purpose for his trip to Iraq.

The movie opens with: “More of this is true than you would believe.” The fun is in deciding which elements are truths versus fiction. The title comes from an experiment in which a psychic was told to concentrate on a goat in an attempt to stop its heart. The army slogan “Be all you can be” was given a whole new meaning the moment these super soldiers were recruited for the top secret project.

The strong male cast consists of McGregor, Clooney, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges. McGregor shows his usual enthusiasm at this new world he is uncovering; his disbelief is quickly replaced by an eager desire to learn the methods of the psychic army. Clooney takes on another peculiar character with Cassady, a man who steadfastly believes in his abilities, which makes him appear slightly crazy most of the time. Spacey is a play by the rules type of soldier that joins a unit that doesn’t have rules, creating tension in the once happy hippie ranks. Bridges is the commanding officer within Project Jedi. He was assigned to explore methods of meditation and the power of the mind, returning a hippie ready for non-combative engagement.

The Men Who Stare at Goats is an offbeat comedy about the side of the war we really didn’t know about. The “New Earth Army Manual” is a bizarre set of instructions that makes references to both Jesus and Disney; and the subliminal message advising soldiers not to use their weapons while intoxicated is hidden in the song “Wishin’ and Hopin’.” This is a movie about the war that is sure to get audiences thinking, but in a totally different way.


Moon is the first feature-length effort of Duncan Jones, formerly and more widely-known as Zowie Bowie, rock star David Bowie’s son. It’s an ambitious first outing but Jones manages to pull it off.

Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is the sole astronaut on a moon-based space station. Machines collect Helium 3, which now powers 70% of the Earth, and it’s Sam’s job to rocket launch the full tanks back home. After three years, his tour is nearly complete and Sam expects his replacement to arrive soon for training. He exchanges video messages with his wife and watches his daughter grow via a monitor. Sam’s only direct communication is with GERTY (Kevin Spacey), an artificially intelligent computer that shows basic emotions by displaying emoticons. An accident and curiosity eventually lead to some surprising discoveries and tough decisions.

Moon is definitely channelling Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, with its minimalist science fiction vessel. Without revealing too much, the story’s Outer Limits-style twist is less shocking than intriguing to watch unfold once it’s revealed. It poses questions regarding morality and science and the emotional capacity of humans versus machines.

Rockwell is exceptional in every aspect of the emotional fun house in which the story is set. Spacey’s voice is largely recognizable, but it also carries an uncanny ability to be nearly monotone yet capable of emitting profound feeling. Combined with the emoticons, the illusion that the computer feels is wholly realized.

Recent sci-fi has been so reliant on epic destruction and CGI characters that this return to the basics and a good story is long-awaited.