Two Pixar films this year? What did we do right …
Set during the pioneer era, The Homesman subverts the usual trajectory of westerns set in this time by instead focusing on a journey from what will eventually become Nebraska territory in the West to more Eastern Iowa, wherein defeat via the frontier is a primary concern, whether it be a defeat of the mind, body, soul, or all together. Director Tommy Lee Jones’s last theatrically released film was The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005), a contemporary neo-western with shades of Sam Peckinpah in its flavour. The Homesman may have the set dressing of a more traditional, old-school genre entry, but this film, adapted from Glendon Swarthout’s 1988 novel, is much more offbeat than one might expect.
Interstellar begins at an indeterminate point in Earth’s future, when blight and drought are pushing humanity to the breaking point. “This world is a treasure, but it’s been telling us to leave for a long time now,” laments engineer-turned-farmer, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey). He’s a practical man who set aside dreams of space travel in order to provide for his family, and yet his powerful intellect keeps him sneaking glances skyward. When he and his precocious daughter, Murph (Mackenzie Foy), decipher mysterious signals directing them to random GPS coordinates, Cooper is only too eager to indulge his curiosity.
So intertwined are Ben (John Lithgow) and George’s (Alfred Molina) lives in Ira Sachs’ new movie Love Is Strange that everything is completely changed by the absence of one another. Uncannily reminiscent of Leo McCarey’s depression era film Make Way for Tomorrow about an elderly couple forced to live apart by bankruptcy, Love Is Strange echoes that story in many ways but adds modern relevance by making the couple gay and the cause of their separation rooted in homophobic discrimination. At the cost of plausibility it lamentably shoots itself in the foot so that it can stay located in Manhattan but through virtue of the talent on hand it is still able to create piteous moments of longing for a hard won happily ever after that’s been unceremoniously cut short.