Tag Archives: Oscar Issac

Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker

19 Dec

‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’: Full galaxy of goings-on packed in a 42-year escapism pod

 

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More than 40 years in the making, the “Star Wars” trilogy of trilogies finds its way to the end – kind of. Not that we (those who saw the original “Star Wars” in theaters in the days before Fandango or the Internet) ever thought it would really be made into the extended triple trilogy envisioned by George Lucas. But with Disney managing the final three of “The Force Awakens” (2015), “The Last Jedi” (2017) and now “The Rise of Skywalker,” there’s been a revival of excitement that went missing when the inert, Lucas-helmed prequel series of the late ’90s and early 2000s neutered the frenetic fandom of the original “Star Wars” (1977) and the enterprise’s crowning jewel, “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980). Continue reading

Annihilation

23 Feb

 

Thrumming, enigmatic strokes drive this riveting followup from Alex Garland, whose 2014 directorial debut, “Ex Machina” put sci-fi fans and cineastes alike on their toes. As a scribe, Garland’s penned such near-future nightmares as “28 Days Later” (2002) and “Never Let Me Go” (2010), and in all has demonstrated a keen eye for character, even as the world disintegrates around those characters. “Annihilation” is more of the same, and pulls in shards from such classic sci-fi staples as “The Thing,” “Alien,” “2001: A Space Odyssey” and one or two others that shall remain nameless, because to mention them might just be a spoiler.

In “Ex Machina,” the ladies get the last laugh on the guys; here too the tale’s more about female resolve than male bravado. The five women who venture into Garland’s void exhibit plenty of steel under fire, until they start losing their minds – literally. After a brief glimmer of a meteor striking a coastal lighthouse, the film dotes on the emotional throes of a widow (Natalie Portman) struggling with accepting that her husband (Oscar Isaac), a special forces officer missing in action for a year, is likely dead, as well as the guilt of the affair he unearthed on the eve of his departure. Things feel like a dramatic downer, but one night he shows up, something of a zombie, a bit washed-out, disoriented and unable to give answers other than “I don’t know.” We’re hooked. Continue reading

A Most Violent Year

28 Jan

Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac have edgy and steamy chemistry in A Most Violent Year

 Much of director J.C. Chandor’s latest film, A Most Violent Year,lives up to its title. There’s armed hijackings, masked gunmen setting upon an isolated house, and winding car chases. If that’s not enough, it bears the indelible sheen of the films that Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola tapped out during the 70s, where the sudden and brutal eruption of violence became an art form.

A Most Violent Year is set around that time too — the New York City of 1981 — when crime and inflation were at near all-time highs. At the center of such chaos presides Abel Morales (Oscar Issac) a Colombian immigrant who owns an oil and heating company that is no easy beast to wrangle. We never get to see Abel down in the trenches, but we know instantly from his stoic posture, dress-for-success flare, and steely intensity that he’s done his time and earned his post — an assumption that folds back on itself as the story develops.  Continue reading