Life experiences shape the creative process, which is the main theme of Dome Karukoski’s biopic charting the formative years of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, aka J.R.R. Tolkien, who would write one of the most beloved and popular high fantasy series ever written. The Finnish director, along with screenwriters David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford, intercuts between Tolkien’s youth and education and his harrowing experience as a soldier in World War I. It is a well-worn device to contrast the idyllic with the horrific, and for the most part it succeeds, but it also falls into a kind of pedantic flow of checkmarks ticked off inherent to the genre. Tolkien the film is incredibly concerned with the connect-the-dots moments from the author’s life that informed his work, almost to a fault. Here there is the pastoral landscape that informs the Shire and there is the camaraderie of young men forming a “fellowship.” The performances are wonderful, especially Hoult and Collins, who exude a charming chemistry, and fans of both the books and the films will find pleasure in this look at the early life of the man whose work still influences artists to this day.
Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen are unexpectedly adorable together in this comedy
Moira Macdonald - Seattle Times arts critic
The Seth Rogen/Charlize Theron comedy “Long Shot” is actually three different movies, and it’s pretty good at all of them. It’s a contemporary political satire, in which the President (Bob Odenkirk) is leaving politics to focus on his acting career and the Secretary of State, perpetually poised Charlotte Field (Theron), is running to succeed him despite having some focus-group problems. It’s a raunchy comedy, with a plot that ends up hinging on a very R-rated video. And, most surprising of all, it’s also a conventional and rather sweet rom-com.
Charlotte needs someone funny to punch up her speeches; Fred needs a job. She’s sleek, he’s sloppy; she’s measured, he’s mouthy; she’s focused, he’s flailing. Can this be love? Sure it can, and whoever came up with the idea of pairing Theron and Rogen needs to be put in charge of casting all Hollywood comedies. The two are unexpectedly adorable together, with her cool breeziness blending perfectly with his dudely wisecracking.
And while “Long Shot” sometimes seems a bit too ambitious (its politics get a bit muddled, particularly in the final third), those laughs come more often than not. When they steal a moment to dance together to “that ‘Pretty Woman’ song” (“It Must Have Been Love”), it’s as if the movie suddenly became lighter than air; they find goofy joy, and so do we.
An understated and wonderful St. Louis gem, the Hi-Pointe Theatre was built in 1922 at the incredible intersection of Interstate 64, Clayton Road, Clayton Avenue, McCausland Avenue, Forest Avenue, Oakland Avenue and Skinker Boulevard, today also the home of the world’s largest Amoco sign and just at the southwest corner of Forest Park. Continue Reading