Writer-director Jacob Gentry explores the well worn universe of time travel with Synchronicity and cleverly crafts a spellbinding tale which should linger in your mind long after the credits roll. Physicist Jim Beale (Chad McKnight) believes he has created a machine that can connect time and space, and if this wormhole can bridge two different moments in time together, this invention will profoundly alter humanity. Proof of Beale’s success comes when a Dahlia flower emerges from the future. This flower also has a synchronistic link with Beale’s personal life, as a mysterious woman named Abby (Brianne Davis) possess the exact same flower at her residence.
Beale’s invention has a huge drawback, as a materialistic and unscrupulous tycoon (an always game Michael Ironside) is determined to turn the time machine into his personal cash cow. Abby is caught between both men’s power play, and her strategic maneuvering between the two has a profound effect on Beale’s eventual fate.
Though presumably set in the near future, Synchronicity possesses a throwback feel to the classic sci-fi flicks of the 1970s and 80s. Ben Lovett’s hypnotic and propulsive synth music complements the subtle yet often adrenalized feel to the narrative, while such wonderful touches as a reel to reel player gives the movie its intended analog days aesthetic. Gentry, who directed the visually arresting Broken Bells short After The Disco, illustrates his narrative in dark and often muted tones, as Synchronicity’s metropolis houses skyscrapers and buildings tinged with film noir flavor (in a nice touch, the only colorful aspect of the feature deals with the actual wormhole Beale envisions after suffering what may be the worst headache imaginable).
McKnight and David so fine work as the star crossed lovers whose romance is inextricably altered with Beale’s invention, and their chemistry also brings a refreshing level of intimacy to Synchronicity. Traveling throughout the farthest reaches of time is absolutely nothing to sneeze at, yet Gentry suggests that somewhere along the line, our most human desires must be met even at the expense of technological process. It’s a romantic notion that’s thrown into the often bleak underpinnings of Synchronicity, but considering the future has yet to be written, a little sunlight is what the doctor ordered.
Synchronicity is now playing in select theaters and is available On Demand, Amazon Video, and iTunes.
Now out on Blu-ray and DVD, The Intern is a Brooklyn set comedy about Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro), a 70-year-old widower who wants to keep acting by taking on a new job. His wish is granted after he’s personally selected as the intern for Jules (Anne Hathaway), the company head of a successful online fashion site.
Though Jules is initially hesitant to receive help from her business savvy and congenial intern, she gradually warms up to Ben and finds her career and personal life taking off into new directions thanks to her new co-worker. Rene Russo, last seen doing solid supporting work in Nightcrawler, plays a masseuse who becomes Ben’s new love interest and Anders Holm (Workaholics) stars as Jules’ stay at home husband. Most of the film’s storyline deals with Jules’ struggle over the decision on whether or not to hire a CEO to run the business, with Ben serving as the main support throughout the journey.
Directed and penned by Nancy Meyers, The Intern is her first film since the 2009 Meryl Streep hit It’s Complicated, and like most of Meyers’ work, the film features excellent chemistry with its leads. Though a plot twist during the middle section of the story dealing with Jules and her husband detracts from the film’s greatest asset (the budding friendship between Ben and Jules), it’s a slight hiccup in an otherwise engaging comedy (one sequence, which has Jules teaching Ben how to create a Facebook account, is particularly memorable).
The special features on the Blu-ray include three featurettes:
1. “Learning For Experience” (4:47) – An interview with Meyers as she talks about her inspiration for writing The Intern. The featurette also includes interviews with the cast members.
2. “Designs on Life” (6:08) – The visual and production design aesthetic of Nancy Meyers is discussed by the cast and crew.
3. “The Three Interns” (5:46) – An interview with the other interns (Adam Devine, Jason Orley, and Zack Pearlman) in the film. The movie is Orley’s first picture, as he previously worked on Meyers as her intern on It’s Complicated.
In the clip below, Hathaway talks about working with Robert De Niro:
Part of Hollywood Outbreak’s expanding coverage on film, the new podcast CinemAddicts (which is a collaboration with Cold Cockle Productions owner Anderson Cowan), is to bring a weekly discussion of some of the movies that may be worth seeing at your local theaters or checking out on your respective streaming device.
This week, we cover the films Mojave, an Oscar Isaac and Garrett Hedlund thriller that was reviewed in the previous post, the Chris Bell directed documentary Prescription Thugs, and the first rate martial arts film Ip Man 3.
The first two films centered on the grandmaster’s (Donnie Yen) adventures and struggles to maintain the integrity of his martial arts style (“Wing Chun”), Ip Man 3 has the titular character spending more quality time with his dedicated and loving wife Chueng Wing-sing (Lynn Hung). This evocative love story serves as the perfect balance to the film’s adrenaline driven action sequences, which involve Ip Man (Yen) battling it out with a vicious crime lord (a formidable Mike Tyson) and rival practitioner of Wing Chun (Zhang Jin).
For initiates to the franchise, Ip Man is best known for being the mentor to Bruce Lee (played in Ip Man 3 by Danny Chan), and his story was also chronicled in director Wong Kar Wai’s visually stunning flick The Grandmaster.
Mojave is filled with top notch talent, as Inside Llewyn Davis stars Oscar Isaac and Garrett Hedlund reunite as two guys who are on a deadly path to destruction. Thomas (Hedlund) is a highly successful Hollywood filmmaker and artist whose life has become a bore, and in a fit of existential angst he heads out to the desert to either find himself or end it all.
During his journey he intentionally crashes his jeep, screams back at a pack of howling coyotes in the distance and, most importantly, encounters Jack (Isaac), a violent drifter who preys on the innocent.
Jack’s intended victim is far from scared, as Thomas is ready for a little violence of his own. As Thomas leaves the desert and head back into town, Jack isn’t too far behind, and Los Angeles becomes the latest setting for their confrontations.
Written and directed by The Departed screenwriter William Monahan, Mojave’s writing is laser sharp whenever Jack and Thomas play their destructive chess match, and as a tight fisted thriller Mojave, though not exactly at the top of its genre, delivers the goods. The Departed star Mark Wahlberg does humorous, scenery chewing work as Thomas’ producing partner, a Hollywood showbiz type who’s drowning in an excess of Chinese food and prostitutes. Walton Goggins, the best part of The Hateful Eight, also lends a helping hand as Thomas’ subdued and eccentric agent.
What may turn many viewers off is the idea of following two sociopaths physically and mentally attack each other for 93 minutes, and fans who hate watching movies sans sympathetic protagonists should steer clear of Mojave. The movie’s unapologetic descent into a heart of darkness, as Hedlund and Isaac battle it out to the point of delirium, always kept me intrigued.
As evidenced with his scripts for Kingdom of Heaven, the aforementioned The Departed, and the overlooked Mel Gibson flick Edge of Darkness, Monahan has a knack for gritty, testosterone driven adventures. The story loses a bit of its verve and focus when dealing with the people that surround Thomas’ universe (although seeing Louise Bourgoin, even in an intentionally undercooked role, is a pleasure) and its final moments, though subtly executed, doesn’t land the knockout punch.
Even with its flaws, Mojave is lifted by charismatic performances by its two leads and solid enough storytelling from Monahan. The movie opens Friday, January 22 in select theaters and will also be available on Amazon Video.
Mojave is also discussed this week on the new podcast CinemAddicts, a collaboration between Hollywood Outbreak and Cold Cockle Productions head (& film fanatic) Anderson Cowan. To rate, review, and subscribe to CinemAddicts, please click here and listen below:
Though the sisters have reached a high level of fame and success thanks to their wrestling endeavors, life in the WWE circuit is not all glitz and glamour. Both women are entirely devoted to their careers, which often consists of hitting the road over 300 nights a year.
“It’s been an incredible journey to see from where we started and the WWE universe has seen us grow so much in our careers,” said Brie Bella. “And to see when we were 23 years old and now 32. Just to see how much we’ve grown and how hard we’ve worked. Having the Divas Revolution happen and just to be a part of that has been incredible.”
In the video below, Nikki Bella talks about the hard work that serves as an integral aspect of their jobs.