Movies

Movie review: “Aquaman”

DC’s ocean-going comic book hero shows he’s no chicken of the sea

By Rick Romancito
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 12/23/18

All Jason Momoa has to do is show up. The star of “Aquaman” possesses such screen presence, he could play a bit role in a ramen soup commercial and have audiences drooling ...

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Movies

Movie review: “Aquaman”

DC’s ocean-going comic book hero shows he’s no chicken of the sea

Posted

All Jason Momoa has to do is show up. The star of “Aquaman” possesses such screen presence, he could play a bit role in a ramen soup commercial and have audiences drooling. So, when he drops by a hijacked submarine to take out the high tech pirates, he stands there for a beat while director James Wan lets the audience drink in the idea that this hunk of a Native Hawaiian-German-Irish- Native American rightfully replaces the blonde light-skinned dude from the old comic books.

In the movie, which is basically an origin story, we learn that Aquaman is the offspring of a surface-dwelling lighthouse keeper named Tom Curry (played by the great New Zealand actor Temuera Morrison) and a princess of Atlantis, Atlanna (Nicole Kidman). After rescuing Atlanna amid a terrible storm, Tom finds out his new girlfriend ran away from her kingdom because she didn’t want to take part in an arranged marriage. In self-exile, she and Tom have a child together who grows up with the power to communicate with underwater creatures. They name him Arthur, after the British king of yore.

One day, in a surprise attack, Atlanna is forced to return to Atlantis to face her crimes, leaving her family behind. However, she manages to convince her loyal advisor Nuidis Vulko (Willem Dafoe) to train Arthur as an undersea warrior but because he is a half breed, the Atlanteans reject him even though he is of royal lineage. Ultimately, Arthur turns his back on Atlantis. He has good reason. After his mom returned she went through with the marriage, but after her husband Orvex found out about Arthur she wound up being sacrificed to The Trench, from which there is no escape and certain death.

The surface world kinda knows about Arthur and has even dubbed him Aquaman because he tends to show up once in a while to help out with various disasters and dangers. But, he also shows up to visit dear old dad to drink beers with him and talk about how the old guy still goes out every morning to the end of the pier below his lighthouse in hopes of seeing Atlanna once again. She promised she would show up there if she were to return.

Like a certain human who recently said, in real life, that the “oceans are very small” and who proclaims that our air and water is “right now at a record clean,” the surface dominion obviously misjudges the ecological degradation toward underwater life. That attitude certainly isn’t lost on Arthur’s younger half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) who vows to launch the might of the ocean’s various kingdoms against the surface world ,which has been using their world as its garbage pit for generations. Hoping to enlist his help in order to avert a war, Princess Mera (Amber Heard) implores Arthur to return to Atlantis and take his rightful place as King of Atlantis. Now, it’s up to Aquaman to save the day.

The movie is long and rather complicated with regard to all the kingdoms and relationships and species, but Director Wan keeps the plot crisp and tightly controlled. It is also visually striking, never letting your eyes rest much during its 143 minute running time, so, uh, best to hold your water before sitting down to watch it.

Tempo grade: B+

“Aquaman” is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence, action, and for some language.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Also showing in Taos

At Eternity’s Gate

MPAA rating: PG-13 for some thematic content.

Taos Community Auditorium

During a self-imposed exile in Arles and Auvers-Sur-Oise, France, Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh (Willem Dafoe) develops his unique, colorful style of painting. While grappling with religion, mental illness and a tumultuous friendship with French artist Paul Gauguin (Oscar Isaac), van Gogh begins to focus on his relationship with eternity rather than the pain his art causes him in the present.

Dafoe gives a powerful performance as the painter who was not understood by those in his own time.

Directed by Julian Schnabel, some of the dialogue was culled from van Gogh's letters to his brother. It co-stars Rupert Friend, Mads Mikkelsen, Mathieu Amalric, and Emmanuelle Seigner.

This film will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 23) at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org. No film screenings are scheduled though Wednesday (Dec. 26).

Bumblebee

MPAA rating: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action violence

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres

On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.

This film, directed by Travis Knight (obviously built on the action movie style wrought by Michael Bay), is not a sequel but rather s spin-off from the Transformers movies.

Film co-stars John Cena, John Ortiz, Glynn Turman and Jorge Lendeborg Jr.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Mary Poppins Returns

MPAA rating: PG for some mild thematic elements and brief action.

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres

In Depression-era London, a now-grown Jane and Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer), along with Michael's three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) following a personal loss. Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.

(See the full review next Friday)

It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

The Mule

MPAA rating: R for language throughout and brief sexuality/ nudity.

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres

Earl Stone (Clint Eastwood, who also directs) is an 88-year-old horticulturist and Korean War veteran who is facing financial ruin and is estranged from his family. Desperate for money, he becomes a "mule" transporting cocaine from El Paso to Chicago.

He becomes a sort of "Robin Hood" with his ill gotten money, renovating his VFW Post and paying for his granddaughter's wedding. He makes peace with his ex wife before her death as the DEA and the cartel close in on him.

Shot partly in Southern New Mexico, the film co-stars Bradley Cooper, Taissa Farmiga, Alison Eastwood, Michael Peña, Andy Garcia, Laurence Fishburne and Dianne Wiest.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Second Act

MPAA rating: PG-13 for some crude sexual references and language.

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres

Value Shop assistant manager Maya Vargas (Jennifer Lopez) wants only one thing for her 43rd birthday — a promotion. While her résumé may not scream upper management, her track record certainly does.

Vargas is an innovator who listens to her customers and delivers results. When she loses the job to a college-educated candidate, Maya sets out to prove to Madison Avenue that street smarts are as valuable as book smarts — and it's never too late for a second act.

Film directed by Peter Segal co-stars Vanessa Hudgens, Leah Remini, Treat Williams and Milo Ventimiglia.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

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