After the last lackluster outing (Terminator Salvation) in this
groundbreaking science-fiction adventure series (with its first two
installments helmed by James Cameron, which explains the early success),
the producing powers that be tapped Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) to return the franchise to some semblance of its past glory.
Part of an Al Pacino double-feature at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Manglehorn, from director David Gordon Green
was the more nuanced showcase for Pacino, an actor for whom “nuance”
can sometimes be a curious word for a foreign language with no direct
Boaz Yakin started out as an indie upstart director to watch with the urban chess thriller Fresh in 1994 followed by A Price Above Rubies in 1998, but since then has pursued more mainstream fare like Remember the Titans and Uptown Girls (with a brief harder flirtation thanks to 2012’s Safe starring Jason Statham).
The Thunder Buddies — John (Mark
Wahlberg) and Ted (voice work by writer-director Seth MacFarlane) — are
back and seeking to establish personhood for Ted so that he and his new
bride Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) can have a baby together (a grown woman
wants to have a baby with a teddy bear — don’t ask).
Curiosity dominated the critical
conversation when Academy Award-winning renaissance man Steven
Soderbergh teamed up with Channing Tatum, the lantern-jawed heartthrob
who danced his way into our pop cultural consciousness in Step Up (and starred more recently in Foxcatcher and the ongoing 21 Jump Street franchise).
Weaned on ludicrous white-male teen fantasies like Risky Business and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (the
whole John Hughes oeuvre, really), even as an adult I have to admit to a
partiality toward movies in which the teen heroes live in a world
gloriously beyond the attention of parents who bear more than a passing
resemblance to police and other authority figures.
Earlier this year, in McFarland, USA
(from director Niki Caro) —featuring Kevin Costner as Jim White, the
reluctant yet devoted coach of a cross-country team in a small migrant
community in California — we experienced life through the eyes and
situation of White and his resilient all-American family.
Director Rick Famuyiwa (The Wood) has been rather
quiet since Brown Sugar back in 2002, with only one other feature as a
writer-director (2010’s Our Family Wedding) and a screenplay credit for
Talk to Me in 2007.