Opening this week:
The Aeronauts The issue of representation is a thorny one. It's important for the arts to make greater acknowledgement of the marginalized, but what happens when that entails rewriting history? Does "inclusivity" then become a process of sweeping past sins under the rug? Witness The Aeronauts, a period piece in which a male meteorologist and a female daredevil undertake a balloon voyage together, then end up having to depend upon each other for their very survival. Scientists at Britain's Royal Society are upset that the female character, who is essentially fictitious, is a stand-in for a male scientist who saved the real-life flight on which the film is based. They've suggested that, rather than engaging in such a swap to appeal to contemporary audiences, it might have been better to make a separate movie about one of the actual female scientists of the time. Tom Harper, the film's director, had a clapback ready, pointing out that none of those female scientists had been allowed into the Royal Society. Which is a response that itself breaks gender boundaries, mainly by pointing out that women have no monopoly on bein' bitchy. Anyway, the picture is out this week, so you can see how you yourself feel. You'll also witness the reunion of lead actors Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, who last appeared together in the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything. Which gets me thinking ... man ... Stephen Hawking in a hot air balloon. That'd be some representation right there. (PG-13; visit orlandoweekly.com for our Cameron Meier's review of the film.)
Playmobil: The Movie It's unfortunate that the Playmobil toy collection is so frequently thought of as a second-rate German cousin to Lego, because it's actually a pretty delightfully designed and constructed series of environments both realistic and fantastic. (Just don't expect a great time if you have to contact their customer service department about a missing piece ... but I digress.) Sadly, if predictably, Playmobil's first-ever foray onto the big screen is being compared negatively to the Lego franchise of films. I wouldn't have considered it possible for a flick to inspire even less enthusiasm than Lego Ninjago, but there you go. Biases aside, it's probably not a great sign that Playmobil: The Movie was supposed to have been released last January and kept getting pushed back throughout the ensuing 11 months. Geez, that's even longer than I was on the phone with their customer service department. (NR)
Refugio de Pecadores Billed as the first movie produced entirely in Puerto Rico, Refugio de Pecadores ("Refuge of Sinners") reinterprets four biblical stories in a modern context. The promotional synopsis refers to them as "four stories of human failure," but that sounds too much like the Matt Helm series to me. Producer-director Padre Luis Colón is a man of the cloth in his day gig, which should make for a good deal of accuracy. You know, what with him knowing God personally and all. (NR; in Spanish with English subtitles; opens Friday at Universal Cinemark at CityWalk and Cinemark Orlando and XD)
– This story appears in the Dec. 3, 2019, print issue of Orlando Weekly. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.