CAST: George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, Tim McGraw, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Robinson
DIRECTOR: Brad Bird
From Disney comes two-time Oscar winner Brad Bird’s mystery adventure ‘Tomorrowland – A World Beyond’, starring Academy Award winner George Clooney.
Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as ‘Tomorrowland’. What they must do there changes the world – and them – forever.
Featuring a screenplay by ‘Lost’ writer and co-creator Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird, from a story by Lindelof and Bird and Jeff Jensen, ‘Tomorrowland – A World Beyond’ promises to take audiences on a thrill ride of nonstop adventures through new dimensions that have only been dreamed of.
‘Tomorrowland’ was created by Walt Disney as a section of Disneyland in 1955. It was a time when Americans imagined an optimistic future. Over the years since, the public’s view of the future grew dark. Comments the film’s director, Brad Bird, “Any time that there is an empty canvas, there are two ways to look at it; one is emptiness and the other one is wide open to possibility. And that’s how I like to look at the future—wide open to possibility. It is a view that has fallen out of favour in terms of looking at the future.”
This shift in thinking also intrigued writer/producer Lindelof, so when he began to synthesize the story for ‘Tomorrowland – A World Beyond’, he looked for what ‘Tomorrowland’ meant and how it could be represented in a storyline. “I really wanted to recapture that earlier optimism,” comments Lindelof.
The story of ‘Tomorrowland – A World Beyond’ started with a box labeled “1952,” supposedly discovered by accident in the Disney Studios archive. The mystery box contained all sorts of fascinating models and blueprints, photographs and letters related to the inception of Tomorrowland and the 1964 World’s Fair. Lindelof was excited by the find and recalls, “I began to imagine that the contents of the box were a guide to a secret story that nobody knew. But if so, what would that story be? And the most obvious answer to me was that there really was a place called Tomorrowland that was not a theme park, but existed somewhere in the real world.”
Lindelof began to develop the story by researching the history of Disney and its originator, which led to research on the company’s involvement in the 1964 World’s Fair. “Walt Disney was a futurist in that real mid-century modernist sense,” says Lindelof. “He was very optimistic. He believed that technology held the key to building a better world. He also believed in technology as a means of creating great entertainment.
For the 1964 World’s Fair, the Walt Disney Company created three rides, the It’s a Small World ride being the one we remember most. Though quaint by today’s standards, back in 1964, Carousel of Progress and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln were revolutionary in how they used robotics and ride technology to create a thematically rich experience.”
Lindelof adds, “And there was also an underlying radical optimism. This was 1964, the world had just flirted with thermonuclear catastrophe as a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the song ‘It’s a Small World’ was written in response to a world that had walked right up to the brink of nuclear war, but had pulled back and was now pining to recognize that we don’t have to destroy ourselves.
The lyrics – “It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears” – touched on that anxiety. Given how it just seems so cute and sentimental today, I found it fascinating that the ride was encoded with that real-world angst. There was a radical political message in there and a very idealistic one too.”
Film: A MOST VIOLENT YEAR
CAST: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo, Alessandro Nivola
Director: J.C. Chandor
‘A Most Violent Year’ is a searing crime drama set in New York City during the winter of 1981, statistically the most dangerous year in the city’s history. From acclaimed writer/director J.C. Chandor, and starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, this gripping story plays out within a maze of rampant political and industry corruption plaguing the streets of a city in decay. Chandor’s third feature examines one immigrant’s determined climb up a morally crooked ladder, where simmering rivalries and unprovoked attacks threaten his business, family, and – above all – his own unwavering belief in the righteousness of his path.
FLM: THE FORGER
CAST: JOHN TRAVOLTA, CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, TYE SHERIDAN, ABIGAIL SPENCER, ANSON MOUNT, MARCUS THOMAS, TRAVIS AARON WADE, LYNDON SMITH, JENNIFER EHLE
DIRECTOR: PHILIP MARTIN
A suspenseful and moving thriller, ‘The Forger’ switches from bracing violence and criminal hijinks to scenes of painstaking familial reparations. It is also a showcase for the talents of John Travolta, who stars as a man who has spent his life applying his artistic gifts in all the wrong ways.
Learning that his teenage son Will (Tye Sheridan) has been diagnosed with cancer, Ray Cutter (Travolta) manages to get out of prison nine months ahead of schedule to rejoin the household where Ray’s spry, ornery dad, Joseph (Christopher Plummer), has been caring for Will in Ray’s absence. The hitch is that, while Ray wants to go straight, the shady character who made Ray’s early release possible expects him to pull off a heist as payment. The job involves snatching Monet’s ‘Woman with Parasol’ from the museum where it’s on display and replacing it with a replica so perfect that no one will notice. An experienced thief and a world-class art forger, Ray is the only man for the job, and in any case he has no choice. But can he perform this high-stakes robbery while also trying to fulfil his dying son’s wishes?
The supporting cast includes Abigail Spencer as the undercover agent tracking Ray’s every move, Anson Mount as the local drug kingpin who puts the pressure on Ray, Marcus Thomas as Ray’s best friend and cohort, Travis Aaron Wade as the local cop who assists the investigation, and Jennifer Ehle as Ray’s ex-wife and Will’s estranged mother.
At the core of the film are the father-son relationships across the three generations, and the chemistry between Travolta and Sheridan. Ray cannot forestall the tragedy soon to visit, but he can work magic with brushes, brains, and fists to ensure that what time the Cutter family has left together is spent making a dream come true.