Good luck to you, Leo Grande (15) ***
Jurassic World Dominion (12A)*
The Toy Story franchise travels into the future with Light year, a time-jumping spin-off film that locates the origins of toy Buzz Lightyear, a Tim Allen-voiced space guard, in a futuristic sci-fi film released circa 1995. This was the date the first film Toy Story has arrived in cinemas and the new movie whimsically suggests that its delirious, square-jawed hero, with its “to infinity and beyond” catchphrase, was really a commodity of this “new” movie, which we are told was the favorite movie of Andy, the little boy in whose room all those toys came to life. Although it echoes the ingenious plot of Toy Story 2 – in which Woody the cowboy realized he was a spinoff of an old western TV show – it’s pretty much all the meta-fun on offer: the movie never wonders why this movie would have animation or effects that would work light years away from anything seen in a mid-1990s Disney movie.
Instead, the film reverse-engineers a shrewd sci-fi adventure of the character in which Buzz’s role model – now voiced by Captain America star Chris Evans – is something of a non-conforming non-conformist. never rules with a disdain for authority. and teamwork and a sense of self-worth that drives him to always push the boundaries, even when it threatens the mission at hand. The film takes shape around such a blunder that lands him and his crew on a distant planet with no obvious way to return home. Their only hope, it seems, is Buzz’s determination to risk his own life trying to travel through hyperspace, but his attempts come at an exorbitant price: for every minute he spends in space, his colleagues, including her best friend Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) – aged four.
Like a kids’ version of Interstellar, the film uses it to delve into themes of what constitutes a meaningful life as Buzz is forced to team up with a new generation of misfits led by his best friend’s astrophobic granddaughter. friend, Izzy (Keke Palmer). While what follows never feels exactly essential or original (plot points from various Star Wars and Star Trek films are generously homaged), it’s all done with typical Pixar brilliance.
In a twist on the usual May-December romantic fiction trope, Good luck to you, Leo Grande casts Emma Thompson as a retired religious education teacher who hires a sex worker to explore her never-awakened sexual desires. His gigolo of choice is about as far as you can get from the sleazy, damaged hustler familiar from Jon Voight’s ride in Midnight Cowboy. In a modern age where high-end sex workers sell an experience through an app (and expect a modicum of understanding and respect from their clients), Thompson’s character, alias Nancy, first meets the titular Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack) in a hotel room, where she nervously babbles about her impressive vocabulary and her own sexual deficiencies while he calmly talks to her like a therapist trying to figure out why she was never able to reach an orgasm.
It’s all very civilized, and director Sophie Hyde, working from a script by British comedian and writer Katy Brand, shoots it like a British romantic comedy, with some of the stinginess that those movies have. But as the characters grow more intimate, so does the film, with McCormack and, crucially, Thompson cutting through the film’s more mechanical execution to deliver rounded portraits of people yearning for human connection in a judgmental world.
“Jurassic world? Not a fan,” quipped Jeff Goldblum late in Jurassic World Dominion. The feeling is mutual. This sixth installment in the nearly 30-year-old dinosaur franchise is a creative low point, even by the dead-horse-whipping standards of previous sequels to Steven Spielberg’s groundbreaking original. Serving as the final chapter of both the Jurassic World reboot saga starring Chris Pratt and the Jurassic Park series as a whole, it manages to bring Sam Neill’s paleontologist Alan Grant and Laura Dern’s paleobotanist Ellie Grant back into a cynical effort to enhance the appeal of the legacy. of the franchise now that the nostalgic vision of dinosaurs on the big screen has well and truly worn off (a trick that didn’t work for Jurassic Park III and doesn’t work here).
They’re reunited with Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm – who appeared in the previous episode – after he invited them to visit the biotech company he now works for like some sort of for-profit doomsday prophet, browsing his predictions about chaos theory while being mindlessly encouraged by a new generation of scientific troublemakers who have absorbed their leader Steve Jobs/Elon Musk-esque Lewis Dodgson’s (Campbell Scott) Kool-Aid. Dodgson’s company, the not-at-all-evil BioSyn, has taken on the responsibility of tracking and controlling the genetically-engineered dinosaurs that now roam the earth, moving most of them to a biological reserve at its deepest Bondian complex. of the Italian Dolomites where he publicly promises to learn from them to cure disease and help humanity, but actually manufactures new species of locust to help him control the world’s food supply.
An overabundance of intrigue connects this storyline to Pratt’s dino-whisperer Owen Grady, though there’s very little threat in a movie where even a wild velociraptor can be tamed by the hero promising to save his baby.
All films in general release