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Jupiter Ascending (2015)A Clinking, Clanking, Clattering Collection of Caligenous Junk - MY… More A Clinking, Clanking, Clattering Collection of Caligenous Junk - MY REVIEW OF JUPITER ASCENDING (3 Stars) Lana and Andy Wachowski (aka The Wachowskis) have never been accused of playing it safe. In their careers, they've proven to be the Mayors of Crazy Town with almost every outing since the first MATRIX film. Gone are the days of an intimate genre film like BOUND, mostly replaced instead by their unconventional approach to sci-fi which defy easy summarization. Try an elevator pitch of CLOUD ATLAS and you'll climb 100 stories before you can even get to the bizarre Tom Hanks in Cockney Drag section. The Washowskis have done it again (and then some) with JUPITER ASCENDING in which a Russian, toilet-cleaning housekeeper named Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis, of course, because the first thing that comes to mind when I hear her name is "Hey girl, can you apply some Comet and some old-fashioned muscle grease to those shit stains in my commode?") discovers, by way of a half man/half wolf hybrid named Caine (Channing Tatum, looking over-the-top great in his half outfits) that she is actually Queen of the Universe, or something. There are siblings at odds with each other who are masterminding Jupiter's delivery to them so that they can kill her and continue to harvest us poor humans back on Earth, but really, this is a film all about that boom, boom, boom. As such, it's a whooshy, explosive, whirling, swirling, and yes, ridiculously silly epic extravaganza with nods to STAR WARS, BRAZIL, FLASH GORDON, MEN IN BLACK and perhaps anything you've literally ever found in your kitchen sink. You may hate every second of it, but you've definitely never seen anything like it. Go for Eddie Redmayne as Balem Abrasax, following up his beautiful work in THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING with what can only be described as the Gayest Drag Queen Impersonation of the Year, an odd mixture of Joan Crawford poses and Peter Lorre hushed tones. It's as if he allowed himself one quick, deliberate outburst and made the actor's choice to whisper the rest of his performance. Go for the first chase sequence, a blazing flurry of kinetic energy and crazy colors, which as met by spontaneous audience applause. Go for Kunis' wedding gown and entrance. Her red and white floral ensemble is the stuff of Costume Design Oscars, and if they ever decide to give out a gold statue for best entrance (or at least an MTV Award), watching her float in from on high is a jaw-dropping experience. Go for Tatum's very tight, leather costumes or his almost full hour of shirtlessness or go for the extended Bureacracy Sequence in which a very gay Minder leads Kunis and Co. through the hastles of getting proper certification. (did I mention this movie is rated G2 for VERY, VERY GAY?). Apart from the fairly standard, but overly complicated storyline, this is a film bursting at the seams with way to many ideas, from Capitalist constructs, gender identity, birthright and entitlement, and the journey to becoming one's true self. It's a lot to take on, but the action and special effects can carry you through the bulk of it. Still, there are many problems. Kunis plays damsel in distress too many times, that you basically can count to ten and know that Tatum is going to swoop in on his awesome flying boots and save her ass. For the ultimate human, Jupiter tends to be pretty passive throughout. Sure she has Kunis' wonderful, gravelly voice, but it would have been nice to see her chop something apart, no? Douglas Booth, an admittedly unrepentant villain, does everything but twirl his moustache as Titus Abrasax, brother to Redmayne, and as their sister, Kalique, Tuppence Middleton, is saddled with the unfortunate role of looking way older than her young years for a significant portion of the film. Finally, this is one noisy film overstuffed with too many action set pieces that tend to not make a lick of sense. I spent so much time trying to figure out who was in which spacecraft or how to operate these machines that I sometimes had no idea who was doing what to whom. It ultimately doesn't matter as long as you recognize it's your standard "Save The Russian Toilet Cleaner, Save The World" scenario!
20 days ago via Flixster