PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE – movie review

PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (Portrait de la jeune fille en fej)
Neon
Reviewed for Shockya.com & BigAppleReviews.net linked from Rotten Tomatoes by: Harvey Karten
Director: Céline Sciamma
Screenwriter: Céline Sciamma
Cast: Noemi Merlant, Adele Haenel, Luana Bajrami, Valeria Golino
Screened at: Critics’ DVD, NYC, 12/4/19
Opens: December 6, 2019

Now that Céline Sciamma’s film has been tapped by the New York Film Critics Circle for Best Cinematography, you may be even more curious to find out just how good the movie is. Be assured: it is excellent in every way, from the unusually authentic acting, to the Pinteresque pauses that define the two principal characters’ dialogue; from the composition of the scenes, each one serving as a potential painting in itself; to the remarkable isolation of the scenery shot on location in the French province of Brittany. Sciamma follows up on her previous film “Tomboy” about a ten-year-old girl who presents herself to other children as a boy named Mikhael with her current entry, about two women who are not tomboys but who broaden their concept of sexuality in similar ways.

The title of the film is also that of a painting executed by Marianne (Noemie Merlant), and depicts the sexual awakening of a previously closeted woman who had spent her early years in a monastery. The action, which takes place in 1760, opens as a number of men row Marianne out to the island, complete with her painting gear—which she recovers when it had left the boat and is floating in the water by jumping right in and taking it back. Except for an additional segment of the film that shows bewigged men looking at paintings in a museum, there is no sign of masculinity to be found. This is strictly a study of women, focusing on the way that a liberated Marianne and an isolated woman about her age are ablaze with desire, though spending a fair amount of time before throwing off resistance to action.

How did this lesbian relationship begin? Marianne, who makes her living by receiving commissions from rich and titled women for portraits, shows up at the home of a countess (Valeria Golino), observing a portrait of her sponsor painted by Marianne’s father years back when the countess was a young woman. Yet the countess’ daughter Hèloise, having refused to sit for her own portrait, is reacting to the suicide of her sister who had been pledged by her mother to a rich Milanese man. To ease the way for Hèloise’s eventual surrender to the proposed painting, Marianne has been told to pretend she is merely a walking companion, during which time she understands that Hèloise is enraged by the thought of marriage to a man she had not met.

In a subplot, Sophie (Luana Bajrami), the housekeeper who does embroidery, is pregnant, desperate enough to abort the fetus to go to an abortionist who uses an undisclosed poison to separate the unborn from its mother.

Gratefully the soundtrack is almost bereft of music, the kind of distraction that ruins so many Hollywood movies whose directors do not trust their audience to know when to cry and when to feel joy. As the two women go about walks on the beach, heading back to the quarters to work on the portrait, they are filled with desire. Hèloise begins to ask Marianne whether she had ever “known love,” asks how it feels, and yes, succumbs to the mutual urges of the two women. Their tsunami of forbidden emotions is palpable, the two offering a shower of sparks to display their mutual love. At one point Hèloise even allows her dress to catch afire, taking her good time to put it out.

“Portrait” received not only a best cinematography award from the prestigious NY Film Critics Circle but has been blessed by a best screenplay citation at a Cannes Festival. Photography and screenplay and direction aside, nothing would have come of this film were it not for the passion of the two actresses evoking forbidden love at a time that might surprise moviegoers who believed that lesbianism was created in the 20th century.

121 minutes. © 2019 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online

Story – A-
Acting – A
Technical – A-
Overall – A-

MAKING WAVES – movie review

MAKING WAVES: The Art of Cinematic Sound
Cinetic Media
Reviewed for Shockya.com & BigAppleReviews.net linked from Rotten Tomatoes by: Harvey Karten
Director: Midge Costin
Screenwriter: Bobette Buster
Cast: Walter Murch, Ben Burtt, Gary Rydstrom, Murray Spivak, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, Sofia Coppola, Ryan Coogler
Screened at: Critics’ DVD, NYC, 12/1/19
Opens: October 25, 2019

Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound (2019)

I’ll bet you thought that when the two sides clashing in Mel Gibson’s movie “Braveheart,” or the sound of jet fighters blasting away in the sky came from, well, the two sides clashing and the sound of jet fighters blasting. This may have been the case in 1927 when Al Jolson starred, singing away in “The Jazz Singer,” a microphone either attached to his jacket or held aloft a couple of feet over his head. But now sound, which the folks in “Making Waves” indicates, counts for fifty percent of the emotional content of a movie. We hear often that movies are a visual medium, but that axiom appears to ignore that without sound, we’d be back in the days of silent movies, which depended almost exclusively on visuals including those squiggly words we relied on. How could you get excitement from a movie dealing with World War I, made in 1917, when you don’t hear the rat-tat-tat of the trenches?

Take a look at some of the blockbuster movies of the last ten years, no even father back, and you’ll notice the names of a few principal actors, some performers with secondary roles, and then a slew of names of the crew that sometimes goes well over one hundred. Sound and sound editors, Foley, these are people behind the scenes who are recognized only at awards time. When you hear their names mentioned during Oscar celebrations, you probably think they constitute nothing but filler until the hosts get with the real awards. Without their fifteen minutes of fame on the stage, nobody outside the profession had ever heard of them, yet directors depend on them to follow their instructions. They are indispensable, having far more technical knowhow about sound than those in the director’s seat.

This brings us to “Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound,” which is not only an education but quite an entertaining one. Don’t worry: there will not be a quiz on the technical details you see, unless you are taking courses in Film, a major that is growing in popularity these days.

Probably most of us had never seen a silent movie which is not really silent but whose sound comes from actual orchestras inside the theaters, even sound effects that are made to order right on the premises and which, after the run of the movie is over, disappear into the next film. To record dialogue from such characters as King Kong, the sound people did not record ape sounds but synthesized the vocals by recording an assortment of zoo animals. “Star Wars” has awesome sound, no matter whether films like these are within your own taste in movies. Ben Burtt got tapped for the sound job because the master, Walter Murch, was unavailable. Stereo sound is what helped to make the movie “The Beatles” as great as it is.

“Apocalypse Now” emerges as the film whose sound easily accounts for fifty percent of the excitement. Guns, planes, soldiers marching, all get their sound not from themselves but from the volume created by the sound people. Summing: this film is combines entertainment with enlightenment so well that one hopes that people from other branches of the industry will share their expertise with us. Maybe we will finally find out what the Best Boy and the Gaffer really do.

94 minutes. © 2019 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online

Story – B+
Acting – B
Technical – A-
Overall – B+

DARK WATERS – movie review

DARK WATERS
Focus Features
Reviewed for Shockya.com & BigAppleReviews.net linked from Rotten Tomatoes by: Harvey Karten
Director: Todd Haynes
Screenwriter: Mario Correa, Matthew Michael Carnahan, based on the NY Times Magazine article “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare” by Nathaniel Rich
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Pullman, Bill Camp, Victor Garber
Screened at: Critics’ link, NYC, 12/1/19
Opens: December 6, 2019

Dark Waters - Poster Gallery

The state of West Virginia is politically as red as a hooker’s lipstick. Even its Democratic senator Joe Manchin votes with Trump sixty-one percent of the time. In one sense you can’t blame the folks who live there. They are in a state that immediately brings to mind the term “coal miners.” People who have served in that dangerous job for generations are running out of options now that coal has been displaced by other energy sources, and they think that Trump will bring back their jobs. The small farmers as well, a generally conservative segment of society, are mostly Republicans, though they have been thrown under the boss by Trump who is fighting a losing trade war with China, the largest customer of their soybeans. Small farmers and others in the state were awakened when the lies and evil deeds of one corporation, DuPont, caused havoc with their land, their cows, and with the very health of the God-fearing human beings who live there. Like the cigarette companies who have known for decades that their product causes cancer, DuPont, a chemical giant, dumped thousands of tons of toxic waste in landfills surrounding the farms knowing that the stuff is carcinogenic. Todd Haynes, whose “Safe” takes on the plight of a housewife who develops an extreme sensitivity to chemicals, is in his métier, dealing now with an entire people afflicted with the carcinogenic sludge thrown at them by DuPont.

How does a corporate attorney whose white shoe firm defends big corporations manage to dedicate seventeen years of his life to fighting a giant industry? We’re not exactly sure but we do see that Rob Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) is incensed by what is being doe to the little guy beginning when a farmer in Parkersburg, Wilbur Tennant (Bill Camp), barges into the Cincinnati law office requesting, or rather demanding, that Rob take the case. At first Rob is aghast that this fellow seeks out him of all people, but Wilbur has been referred to Rob by the lawyer’s grandmother. That’s a good enough start. For the rest of the story, Rob’s firm, particularly its managing partner Tom Terp (Tim Robbins), is at first hesitant, then going whole hog to support him. Later on as the case drags on for seventeen years, Tom is not so sure, but he does cut Rob’s pay four times because clients are no longer willing to work with him.

Supported by his pious wife Sarah (Anne Hathaway) who later regrets what her husband is doing—ruining his health, losing money that keeps the increasing brood of children happy—she becomes almost ballistic as she sees her compulsive partner’s health deteriorating. DuPont does what big corporations do when sued. Though they sometimes settle, this times DuPont fights with its team of corporate lawyers against the farmers. The rest of the movie deals with the year-by-year accumulations of road blocks that the chemical giant puts in the way of the plaintiff. In one instance, responding to a discovery motion, DuPont sends some fifty large boxes of document to the law office.

The culmination of the story should not be a surprise, because this narrative film is based on actual events in which DuPont agrees to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to the people whose health has deteriorated because of the carcinogenic chemical PFOA, which since 2013 is no longer being used to manufacture Teflon. If there is an element of John Grisham in the story—that best-selling author often finishing up with ironic endings (e.g. an insurance company that has lost a case files bankruptcy, shafting the plaintiffs), it is that many of the plaintiffs have died from exposure to PFOA.

Mark Ruffalo’s performance is spot on. The make-up department has increased his weight as the story moves on, Ruffalo’s puffy face brought on perhaps by the way his determination to dedicate half of his life to the case upends his need for physical activity. In the tradition of Norma Rae, Matewan, and Silkwood, “Dark Waters” is a strong, sober inclusion in the David-and-Goliath category of fights against the evils of companies that have known that they are wrong and have refused to admit their guilt.

126 minutes. © 2019 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online

Story – B
Acting – B+
Technical – B
Overall – B+

LITTLE JOE – movie review

LITTLE JOE
Magnolia Pictures
Reviewed for Shockya.com & BigAppleReviews.net linked from Rotten Tomatoes by: Harvey Karten
Director: Jessica Hausner
Screenwriter: Jessica Hausner, Géraldine Bajard
Cast: Emily Beecham, Ben Whishaw, Kit Connor, Kerry Fox, David Wilmot
Screened at: Digital Arts, NYC, 10/15/19
Opens: December 6, 2019

 

Take a ride on the New York subway. Look around at the people surrounding you while pretending you’re looking at your smartphone. Do they seem particularly happy? If not, do they seem really depressed? Not usually. Would you be surprised to find out that a large number of your fellow New Yorkers are taking anti-depressants? In other words, people who take Prozac or the older medications like Elavil are acting relatively normal in public. They are not “different” people zombied out by their medication from the way they were before swallowing the pills, but Jessica Hausner, who directs and co-wrote “Little Joe” appears to warn us that Big Pharma is out to get our money and willing to take away our personalities as well. Then again we don’t really know what her point is since nothing in the story takes a firm stand.

The people in this film who have become affected by a feel-good flower have not particularly changed their character. They are not pod people. Nor are they carrying on as though they have just downed a couple of ecstasy pills at an all-night party. The changes that they undergo are subtle, which makes Hausner’s treatment a lot more nuanced than that taking place in your typical horror movie. By contrast think of how different they become in Jordan Peele’s excellent “Get Out.”

In one sense, this is good. “Little Joe” does not go over the top with horror tropes but rather makes the changes in personality almost too subtle to notice. On the other hand, since the people do not change much, what’s the big deal? Is this enough of a warning that we are too dependent on happiness pills? Not by my reckoning.
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Vienna-born director Hausner, whose terrific “Lourdes” in 2009 focuses on a wheelchair-bound woman attaining a miracle by going to Lourdes, films in Krems an de Donau, Vienna and Liverpool putting Alice Woodard (Emily Beecham) front and center. The pixie-ish redhead is dedicated to her work in Planthouse Biotechnologies currently experimenting on a flower whose aroma can make people happy, provided that they are affectionate with the plant and water it regularly. In fact the hundreds of flowers laid out in the opening of the film do appear to respond well to human beings, opening their petals as though they were Venus flytraps that have just digested a scrumptious meal of caterpillars.

However the plant has not yet been approved by the necessary government agencies leading Karl, the boss (David Wilmot) to warn his crew about excess optimism. In violation of the rules, Alice takes a plant home, one of a species that she has named Little Joe in honor of her 13-year-old son Joe (Kit Connor). She becomes alarmed when Kit, who has never expressed a wish to live with his father who is Alice’s ex-husband, falls under the influence of Little Joe and suddenly wants to move out and live with his dad. Is he changing because he is going through puberty, or because of the influence of the petals?

For her part Alice is being pursued romantically by her lab partner Chris (Ben Whishaw), rejecting one of his advance but reconsidering later. Is that change of heart an effect of the Little Joe? We in the audience need to interpret that and several other aspects of the movie. As we can see, the biotech workers who have been in contact with the flowers have not changed, although they may, like those of us who take antidepressants, be trying to act their regular selves. If Géraldine Bajard, who co-wrote the script with the director, wants us to see noticeable transformations, why be so subtle as though shrugging off all the melodramas inherent in other sci-fi movies?

One character, Bella (Kerry Fox), had returned to work in the lab having been on leave after a suicide attempt. She has a nice sheepdog which she brings to the lab, a sweet, obedient fella who had suddenly turned vicious, ignoring Bella’s commands and threatening to bite her. She decides: “This is not my dog.” Is the dog acting strange because he senses that Bella is not the same woman? And why isn’t Bella, despite her mental illness, made as happy and content as the others?

These questions may be to the credit of the writers and director, or on the other hand may be so inconsistent and vague to warrant audience confusion and frustration. Finally is it supposed to be terrible that depressed people change their personalities for the better under the influence of Big Pharma? At least one person is happy even without the use of Little Joe, and that would be Emily Beecham who won the award for Best Actress at Cannes.

105 minutes. © 2019 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online

Story – C
Acting – B+
Technical – B
Overall – C+

MIDNIGHT FAMILY – movie review

MIDNIGHT FAMILY
1091
Reviewed for Shockya.com & BigAppleReviews.net linked from Rotten Tomatoes by: Harvey Karten
Director: Luke Lorentzen
Screenwriter: Luke Lorentzen
Cast: Juan Ochoa, Fernando Ochoa, Josué Ochoa, Manuel Hernández
Screened at: Critics’ link, NYC, 12/1/19
Opens: December 6, 2019

Midnight Family Movie Poster

Question: When is an ambulance chaser not a hungry lawyer? Answer: When it is another ambulance. In Mexico City where the population is a hefty nine million, there are only forty-five certified, government vehicles to transport people to hospitals during emergencies. What’s more, the government hospitals are not as equipped as the private ones. So what happens to a victim of a car crash? What is a baby falls from a window and lands four stories later with a concussion? How do Mexicans pay for their rides in an ambulance, much less have money left over for a private hospital? In some respects “Midnight Family” takes the side of capitalism. Government is limited. Enter the private sphere where ambitious drivers chase accident victims and often try to outrun competing ambulances.

Watch this documentary, for which Stanford graduate Luke Lorentzen, an Art History and Film major spent six months riding in the back of an ambulance. He observed the Ochoa family during that time to gain just eighty minutes of prime footage. By the time you complete the visit, you might move politically to left (put more pesos into the public sector so that Mexicans, like Scandinavians, Germans, French and British are not bankrupted by the health care industry), or you might move to the right (leave it to the private market and you will find enough people motivated by money to take up the slack). But politics aside, this is an exciting picture that does not overstate its welcome, a documentary that eschews the old tried-and-boring interview process, showing, rather than telling, about how Mexico City handles its patients in emergencies.

Before you begin to think about the ethics of the Ochoa family, the most mature being seventeen-year-old Juan, put yourself in the back seat of a private ambulance, at the spot where sits the pudgy, chips-eating small fry who might be of the next generation of ambulance chasers. You pick up a guy with a bullet in his foot, fully conscious, and complaining that the ropes keeping him in place are too tight: “My foot! I can’t take it any more!” Feel awfully sad when the mother of an infant who has fallen from the fourth story in the pleasant residential area that the Ochoas cover worries that her child will not survive. Most interesting is the case of a high-school student whose boyfriend socked her one and broke her nose, an incident that might have active moviegoers compare the scene to one in the film “Waves,” wherein an eighteen-year-old receives a life sentence for killing his girlfriend with a single punch to the head. The young woman, who sits up, worries that the trip will be expensive. She also asks for a hug to “calm me.”

If you can take your attention away from the awe-inspiring mileage tracked by the ambulance, nicely photographed by the director, you may consider some ethical issues. It seems clear that while the Ochoas are performing an important service that the government lacks the political will to handle, and that they often come out broke when their passengers have no money and no health insurance, they may be crossing some legal lines. For example, we don’t know whether the Ochoas are in a vehicle that is fully registered with the proper license plates on the back that could ensure the respect of the populace. We are not sure that they have all the legally required equipment, though Juan does put the car through a check.

Are they always driving their patients to the nearest hospital, or do they sometimes take them to a more distant building which can pay them more pesos? And is the money they receive from one private hospital a legal fee to which they are entitled, or is it a kickback? Is it right for the Ochoas to chase other private ambulances to such an extent that they risk mowing down pedestrians to cut off their rival paramedics and be first at the scene? Given that there really is no alternative to private ambulances that may skirt legal issues and that the family may often be transporting money-challenged accident victims that cannot pay for their services, the Ochoas are heroes. One way or another, you are urged to go along for the ride. And look both ways when you cross the street.

80 minutes. © 2019 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online

Story – B
Acting – B+
Technical – B+
Overall – B+

THE WOLF HOUR – movie review

THE WOLF HOUR
Brainstorm Media
Reviewed for Shockya.com & BigAppleReviews.net linked from Rotten Tomatoes by: Harvey Karten
Director: Alistair Banks Griffin
Screenwriter: Alistair Banks Griffin
Cast: Naomi Watts, Jennifer Ehle, Emory Cohen, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Brennan Brown, Jeremy Bobb
Screened at: Critics’ link, NYC, 11/28/19
Opens: December 6, 2019

The Wolf Hour Movie Poster

This claustrophobic film that focuses almost exclusively on an agoraphobic might be considered by some viewers to be a vanity project for Naomi Watts but there are more dimensions to this theatrical piece. Not only is Watts, considered by many to be one of the great actresses of her generation, in her métier, but writer-director Alistair Banks Griffin, following up his freshman feature “Two Gates of Sleep” about a mother’s final request, uses Watts’ impressive acting skills to serve as a metaphor for one of New York City’s darkest years. If you are a New Yorker older than fifty, you will recall how Rudolph Giuliani became one of our most popular mayors by (as he put it himself) cleaning up the mess from the seventies. The women of the city had focused their fears on David Richard Berkowitz, aka the Son of Sam, a smiling sociopath who killed brunette women, leaving notes to provoke the police, promising to continue his favorite hobby.

Somehow Naomi Watts in the role of June Leigh is holed up in an apartment that seems more as though a section of a Bangladesh slum had relocated in South Bronx. She may have been a victim of an unmentioned tragedy, a woman whom you would expect to live in New York’s Silk Stocking District given her placement on best seller lists with her first novel, a guest on a TV interview show answering questions from Hans (Brennan Brown), and refusing to take guff from a William Buckley Jr. type interested in ratings for his intellectual show.

June has kept her publisher waiting for four years for a second novel, since the author’s fears have kept her blocked. But leave it to a tragedy affecting one of her few contacts to pull her out of her funk and set her up with a breakout second book. Apparently her sister Margot (Jennifer Ehle), who forced her way into June’s flat, cleaned up the mess of books, and is rewarded by being told to get out, is no solution for June. An unlikely hero for her is not police officer Jeremy Blake, who offers to help and keep a special watch in return for sexual favors. Nor can Billy (Emory Cohen), an understanding third-rate gigolo, do more than relieve her sexual tensions. Unlikely as you might think, Freddie (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), a delivery guy from the local bodega who uses the apartment to wash up and cool off from a frightening hot summer, will serve as a catalyst for her return to society.

The movie would be better on the stage of an off-off-Broadway house given the sparseness of the production design and works OK on the screen thanks to Watts, since she easily project her emotions in many close-up from Kahlid Mohtased’s camera. Strangely the 38 caliber revolver given to her by Margot stays in the drawer and is not retrieved in Act 3, so while the movie is Chekhovian, the gun does not inevitably reappear.

One item is confusing, making the viewer think that Freddie, the delivery guy, is a figment of her imagination. When she calls the bodega he allegedly works for, she’s told that the boss never heard of him. I can’t think of any actress other than Watts who could produce the feeling of terror as she does.

99 minutes. © 2019 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online

Story – B
Acting – A-
Technical – B
Overall – B

THE AERONAUTS – movie review

THE AERONAUTS
Amazon Studios
Reviewed for Shockya.com & BigAppleReviews.net linked from Rotten Tomatoes by: Harvey Karten
Director: Tom Harper
Screenwriter: Jack Thorne, story by Tom Harper, Jack Thorne,s 2013 book “Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air.”
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Phoebe Fox, Himesh Patel, Rebecca Front
Screened at: Whitby Hotel, NYC, 11/28/19
Opens: December 6, 2019

The Aeronauts Movie Poster

Human beings have dreamed of flying since the Greek mythology adventurer Icarus, son of Daedelus, was given wings of wax and feathers. He was warned not to fly too close to the sun, but Icarus was ecstatic at his ability to zoom through the air, ignoring the warning by flying close to the sun. His wings melted and he fell to the earth. Well, there’s a fellow willing to risk his life for his dream, while some years later, the Wright brothers took their lives into the hands in 1903 from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in a flight that lasted only minutes. Between the Wright brother and the ancient Greeks, we have conquered flight by way of balloons at least since the mid-18th century. “The Aeronauts” tells us, for example, in a movie inspired by an actual event, that the fictitious character Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) and the actual character James Glaisher, took a chance on breaking a balloon record by flying 38,000 feet, or about seven miles closer to the sun. Instead of melting, however, they wound up freezing their buns off at five degrees of temperature and a scant ability to breathe when they reached a height greater than that of Mount Everest. Too bad the snobbish, insular, stuffy old men with long white beards claiming to be scientists would not think of allowing a woman to take part in the noble experiment—which is why director Tom Harper’s use of Amelia is fiction.

Almost nobody believed that weather could be predicted by any means whatever, but Glaisher, a scientist, is motivated to break barriers of technology while his companion Wren is simply an adventurer. When they take off in 1862—during a year that Americans were battling one another in the War Between the States—they feared only that they might lose the war against nature. There were fearsome winds, rain before they ascended past the clouds, and possibilities that their balloon might burst, but given the physically challenging work especially of Amelia Wren (while her partner was busy writing in the record book), they fought against Mother Nature particularly when they had ascended to the record-breaking height and their breathing was so shallow that they could have died. The movie unfolds virtually in running time, broken up through several flashbacks that indicate the motivations of the duo.

Histrionics are on display now and then. Cheered by a crowd of 10,000 spectators who paid tickets to watch them take off, Amelia would enter the ring with a flourish, turning somersaults and making announcements to the crowd that belie the idea that women would be such exhibitionists during those pre-feminist times. Amelia even threw her Jack Russell Terrier from the balloon at a flight of a thousand feet or so, the automatic parachute opening just as the shocked crowd is about to boo the explorers. If the pigeons that James used to carry messages to earth were real and not animations, the movie could not show in end credits that “no animals were harmed in the making,” since one of the birds had died from the sparse oxygen within the basket.

Director Tom Harper is in his métier, following up last year’s “Wild Rose,” about a Glaswegian dreaming of becoming a country singer. “The Aeronauts” is PG-13, suitable for kids, especially those who when asked what they want to be opt to become astronauts. The film is a wild ride with interesting characters, crack cinematography by George Steele aiming his lenses over several parts of England. Toward the conclusion it looks as though the twosome, inches apart, might kiss—and more—but this is out of the question given the hoped-for size of its movie audience.

101 minutes. © 2019 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online

Story – B+
Acting – B+
Technical – B+
Overall – B+