The trailer for brand new sci-fi thriller Ad Astra has just landed at Comic-Con. The film stars Brad Pitt, Liv Tyler, Tommy Lee Jones and Donald Sutherland.
Summary: Set in the near future, Frank, a retired cat burglar, has two grown kids who are concerned he can no longer live alone. They are tempted to place him in a nursing home until Frank’s son chooses a different option: against the old man’s wishes, he buys Frank a walking, talking humanoid robot programmed to improve his physical and mental health. What follows is an often hilarious and somewhat heartbreaking story about finding friends and family in the most unexpected places.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 15th November 2012
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Jack Schreier
Screenwriter: Christopher D. Ford
Cast: Bonnie Bentley (Ava), Frank Langella (Frank), Rachel Ma (Robot), James Marsden (Hunter), Susan Sarandon (Jennifer), Peter Sarsgaard (Robot (voice)), Jeremy Sisto (Sheriff Rowlings), Jeremy Strong (Jake), Liv Tyler (Madison)
Runtime: 89 mins
Dave Griffiths’s ‘Robot & Frank’ Review:
Take a quick look at the poster for Robot & Frank and you could be excused for thinking that you are about to head into a film that is so low on the budget that they have used a dodgy robot left over from the Pixar design team. If that makes you turn around and leave the cinema though it means you’ll be missing out on seeing one of the films of the year… because Robot & Frank is an absolute gem.
Frank (Frank Langella – Unknown, The Time Being) is a former prisoner who even is his old age is finding it hard to give up the habit of having to steal every now and then. He lives a very lonely life, he’s been divorced for thirty years and his son Hunter (James Marsden – Bachelorette, TV’S 30 Rock) visits when he can and his daughter Madison (Liv Tyler – The Ledge, Super) phones in quick thirty second video calls from wherever her travels have taken her this week.
Although he would never admit it Frank does struggle with life, things like household chores become too much for him and his only escape from his life is to go to the library and visit Jennifer (Susan Sarandon – That’s My Boy, The Company You Keep) whom he has a crush on. However things are about to get a lot better for Frank when Hunter buys Frank a Robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard – Green Lantern, Knight & Day) that is supposed to make life easier for Frank… he just has to accept that.
Together director, Jake Schreier (Christopher Ford Sees A Film) and screenwriter, Christopher D. Ford (Eugene!, The Fuzz) have created a very special film indeed. Despite the fact Frank is a criminal you can’t help but feel for him, especially when you realise that he is a very lonely man indeed. The fact that you find yourself relating to him means that whether the threat is coming from the police or from the ‘evil’ Jake (Jeremy Strong – Lincoln, See Girl Run) you want to see Frank and Robot outsmart them.
The other big win that Schreier and Ford can celebrate is the fact that despite his plain look and monotone voice the character of Robot also becomes quite likable, so much so that you realise aside from its science fiction based plot this is ultimately a ‘buddy’ film… and a very good one at that.
Frank & Robot is so good that it shouldn’t be completely dismissed that Frank Langella’s name could come to the fore during Awards season. Langella puts in a truly remarkable performance that really allows him to shine as his co-stars, including Susan Sarandon, Liv Tyler and James Marsden are all given limited screen time.
This little indie classic will warm the hearts of even the hardened cinema fan and don’t be surprised if it doesn’t earn itself a couple of Awards.
Other “Robot & Frank’ Reviews By Dave Griffiths: http://www.helium.com/items/2390485-robot-frank-review
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Summary: With the help of a courageous fellowship of friends and allies Frodo embarks on a perilous mission to destroy the legendary One Ring. Hunting Frodo are servants of the Dark Lord, Sauron, the Ring’s evil creator. Of Sauron reclaims the Ring, Middle-earth is doomed.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December 2001
Australian DVD Release Date: 15th April 2010 (new version)
Country: New Zealand/United States
Director: Peter Jackson
Screenwriter: Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, J.R.R. Tolkein (novel)
Cast: Noel Appleby (Everard Proudfoot), Sean Astin (Samwise ‘Sam’ Gamgee), Sala Baker (Sauron), Sean Bean (Boromir),Jorn Benzon (Rumil), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Orlando Bloom (Legolas Greenleaf), Billy Boyd (Peregrin ‘Pippin’ Took), Marton Csokas (Celebron), Megan Edwards (Mrs. Proudfoot), Mark Ferguson (Gil-Galad), Ian Holm (Bilbo Baggins), Alan Howard (The Ring (voice)), Peter Jackson (Albert Dreary), Christopher Lee (Saruman), Lawrence Makoare (Lurtz), Ian McKellan (Gandalf The Grey), Peter McKenzie (Elendil), Sarah McLeod (Rose ‘Rosie’ Cotton), Dominic Monaghan (Meriadoc ‘Merry’ Brandybuck), Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn), Ian Mune (Bounder), Craig Parker (Haldir), Cameron Rhodes (Farmer Maggot), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli), Andy Serkis (Gollum/Witch King), Harry Sinclair (Isildur), Liv Tyler (Arwen), David Weatherley (Barliman Butterbur), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins)
Runtime: 178 mins
Dave Griffiths’s ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring’ Review:
Originally appeared on www.helium.com.
For science fiction fans ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring’ was the beginning of an epic journey, for film fans this was the beginning of a franchise that would change the cinema world forever. Many doubted that director, Peter Jackson would ever be able to bring the classic work of J.R.R. Tolkein to the big screen, but he did it and created history along the way.
‘The Fellowship Of The Ring’ is the first film in ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ series at sees aging wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) realise that the power of a very special ring is starting to get the best of a curious hobbit called Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm).
Gandalf asks young hobbit, Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) to look after the ring but when it is soon realised that the evil Saruman (Christopher Lee) is raising up the dark forces and is desperate to gain the ring Gandalf instead decides that it is time for Frodo to go and destroy the ring in the fires of Mordor.
Soon Frodo is joined by the likes of Samwise Gangee (Sean Astin), Peregin Took (Billy Boyd) and Meriadoc Brandybuck (Dominic Monaghan) on a journey where they need others including Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and Legolas Greenleaf (Orlando Bloom) to protect them. But with danger at every corner and never knowing who to trust this is never going to be an easy journey.
Peter Jackson draws in the audience from the very beginning. Normally in a franchise you would never expect a main character to die in the first film, but Jackson shows very early on that that isn’t the case with ‘The Lord Of The Rings’. Both Frodo and Gandalf’s lives are put at risk on a number of occasions and as a result you are kept on the edge of your seat.
Jackson also captures the landscape of New Zealand remarkably well and despite this largely being an action film you can’t help but marvel at the beauty of the film. He also uses that same creative eye when creating some of the ‘creatures’ that appear on screen and despite a couple of dodgy moments it is easy to see why this film was ahead of its time when it comes to special effects.
Despite being such a monumental however ‘The Fellowship Of The Ring’ does have its downfalls at times. With so many characters being introduced in this the first film it is at times difficult to keep track of who-is-who and it is a little disappointing that you don’t get to learn a little more about important characters such as Aragorn and Legolas. It’s hard to care for them during battle scenes when you haven’t really been told that much about them.
‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring’ is an epic movie of every scale but it is a film that Peter Jackson should be extremely proud of it as it was a fantastic way to kick off this series of films, and despite being the first of a trilogy the audience certainly doesn’t feel like they haven’t been taken on a journey by the time the final credits roll.
Other ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring’ Reviews By Dave Griffiths: Nil