Jupiter Ascending

I kept looking for news about the shooting of the TV news crew in Virginia. I went off to work and talked to someone about retirement. I didn’t really want to think about working for another ten years. I went home and watched a bit of Match Game. That sixth seat had women like Betty White, Carol Wallace, Fannie Flagg, Patti Deutsch, and Joyce Bulifant in it. I watched “Jupiter Ascending,” which had Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum in it, and was directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski. The movie is supposed to be a blend of “The Matrix” and “Star Wars,” but isn’t as enjoyable as either. The Wachowskis have been influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston, Billy Wilder, Roman Polanski, Francis Ford Coppola, Roger Corman, the Coen brothers, John Woo, Akira Kurosawa, Mamoru Oshii, Ridley Scott, George Lucas, Fritz Lang, and Stanley Kubrick. The one influence I noticed was Terry Gilliam, because one sequence with Jupiter going through a bureaucracy was reminiscent of “Brazil.” I guess you could saw that the part where Tatum is ejected into space was something like “2001: A Space Odyssey.” I see certain similarities with “The Matrix,” like human life not really being what it seems, and strange and threatening beings lurking about, and a final shot of flying. The story is hard to care about. I didn’t especially want to follow it. I thought the movie was in trouble when it had Channing Tatum explaining what was going on. I didn’t see Mila Kunis as someone I wanted to watch for two hours. Natalie Portman was initially going to play Jupiter but dropped out. She was a strong figure in “V for Vendetta” and “Black Swan,” but I couldn’t see her carrying this messy story all the way through. The movie had a bit of appeal for young women and girls because of the central figure. The story addresses the fantasy of being an important person in the world. The action sequence in Chicago is what I’ll remember from this movie. It felt like it could have come from one of the Matrix films. Watching Channing Tatum, I felt that I could have been watching Jason Segel. It seems that the Wachowskis may never connect with movie audiences the way that they did with “The Matrix.” If “Jupiter Ascending” was inspired by Homer’s Odyssey, maybe they should have actually made The Odyssey instead, rather than put science fiction trappings into the story. They’ve been making loud movies that don’t make us feel anything. “Jupiter Ascending” finished behind “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” and “American Sniper” during its opening weekend at the box office. The movie made some money in Russia and China, but considered a massive bomb because of the huge cost. I think it has a slight chance of becoming some kind of cult movie because of Mila Kunis and the female movie fans out there. It looks like the end of the Wachowskis. They could step back from the huge spectacle approach and try something along the lines of “Silent Running.” They do need to do something different. They had their moment and made some money, but the movie business is overwhelming. I kept listening to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” because of the 40th anniversary of its release. I would put the songs “Thunder Road,” “Backstreets,” and “Born to Run” in a category above the others on the album. “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” “She’s the One,” and “Jungleland” are still strong tracks, but not on the same level. I find “Night” and “Meeting Across the River” not so great by Springsteen standards. “Night” makes me think of “Jackson Cage,” and “Meeting Across the River” seems like it belongs on an earlier album. Some of the people who died on August 27 include Titian (1576), Gracie Allen (1964), Brian Epstein (1967), Stevie Ray Vaughan (1990), and Greg Morris. Today is a birthday for Paul Reubens (63) and Tuesday Weld (72). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for August 27, “Phantom of the Opera,” starring Nelson Eddy and Claude Rains, was released in 1943. In 1953, “Roman Holiday,” starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, was released. In 1988, George Michael was Number One on the singles chart with “Monkey.” In 1991, Pearl Jam’s first album, “Ten,” was released.

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