“2067” is a rarity. It’s an ambitious sci fi drama, complete with quantum time machines and messages from the future, that portrays a possible end-of-the-world dilemma. We’ve seen that before but we haven’t seen a big Hollywood-style genre pic like this with Australian accents.
Aussie director Seth Larney, who worked in various capacities on everything from “The Matrix Reloaded” and “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” to “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and “The Lego Movie,” aims for the stars with “2067,” now playing on Apple TV, Bell, Cineplex, Cogeco, Eastlink, Google Play, Microsoft XBOX, Rogers, Shaw and Telus.
Set in the year 2067 in a world ravaged by climate change, where oxygen is a precious resource and its synthetic alternative is making people ill. If humanity doesn’t find a cure life on earth will end. With all present-day remedies exhausted Chronicorp, the world’s leading supplier of manmade oxygen, builds a time machine to search the future for descendants who may be able to point the way to survival.
It’s a long shot but a message from 400 years in the future gives everyone hope. It says, succinctly, “Send Ethan Whyte.” Whyte (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a “tunnel rat,” an underground worker with a bad attitude and an ailing wife. Shot into the future with no idea of what awaits, he becomes humanity’s last hope.
“2067” is humanist sci fi. The grim picture it paints of a world destroyed by climate change is evocative but the focus isn’t on the quantum time doodads or rocketing through time, it’s about the characters and how these unfortunate situations affects them.
Kodi Smit-McPhee brings the attitude of a young man thrown into a situation he can’t comprehend, effectively portraying the resilience and determination needed to put together the disparate pieces of the plot’s puzzle.
The audience will need to share some of this resolve. Director Larney’s story is a bit of a spider web. Tangential connections are established between Whyte and the other characters, but the plot points that could make this story compelling are often telegraphed so far in advance the audience knows where the story is going before the characters have caught up. It is a straight line approach that doesn’t trust the viewer to stay with the movie’s twists and turns.
Add to that an undeniably distracting melodramatic score and “2067” becomes an ambitious but underwhelming sci fi survival story.
Wondering what “Kidnapping Mr. Heineken” is all about? The title says it all, which is too bad because it feels like they left out the most interesting part of the story.
Set in 1982, this true crime drama stars Sam Worthington as Willem Holleeder, Jim Sturgess as Cor van Hout, Ryan Kwanten as Jan Boellaard and Mark van Eeuwen as Frans Meijer, down-on-their-luck owners of a construction company. To raise some quick cash they turn to a life of crime and kidnap one of the richest people in the Netherlands, Freddy Heineken (Anthony Hopkins), chairman of the board of directors and CEO of Heineken International. They’re chuffed when the news refers to them as dangerous, professional crooks but amateur mistakes and personality clashes ultimately put an end to their newfound criminal careers.
Since this is based on true events, the movie ends with updates as to what all the characters got up to after the kidnapping caper. Some went to jail, one escaped from a mental institution and fled to Paraguay while Holleeder and van Hout went on to become the notorious Godfathers of the Netherlands, as in Dutch crime kingpins. That sounds more interesting than the kidnapping story and yet it is only alluded to in the film’s closing moments.
Instead we’re told a movie-of-the-week kidnapping story about a group of wannabes torn apart by greed and paranoia. Heineken, trying to get under the skin of his captors, tells them, “There are two ways to be rich in this world. You can have a lot of money or you can have a lot of friends—but you can’t have both.” He’s right. The 35 million guilder ransom cleaves the tight knit group, but despite the film’s prominent heart-pounding score, there’s no real drama to much of it. There are car chases and rubber masks, which all feel like movie action circa 1982 when the film is set, but the story is as flat as an open Heineken left in the midday sun.
In the real world Leo Palamino (Ryan Kwanten) would be a stalker, an obsessed man so enamored with Colette (Sara Canning) that he follows her every move, plays Peeping Tom and even shows up at her wedding to announce his undying love for her
In “The Right Kind of Wrong,” however, he’s the romantic lead, a “charmer” who won’t take no for an answer.
When we first meet Leo he’s a struggling writer, making ends meet as a dishwasher at his friend Mandeep’s (Raoul Bhaneja) restaurant. He’s also unhappily married to Julie (Kristen Hager).
“I’ve been writing a blog about you,” she announces, “about how much you suck.”
The marriage falls apart and Leo must deal with Julie’s newfound fame as a star blogger, turned author turned hot topic chat show guest. Her notoriety and his prominence as a “major pop culture reference” (for all the wrong reasons) makes it hard for him to move on with his life until he catches a glimpse of Colette on her wedding day. Instantly smitten he makes it his life’s work to shed his image as the world’s worst husband and pry her away from the arms of her husband Danny (Ryan McPartlin), a rich lawyer who looks like a superhero but behaves like a lout.
Based on Tim Sandin’s novel “Sex and Sunsets,” “The Right Kind of Wrong” is meant to be a feel good rom com but despite some engaging performances—most notably from Bhaneja has the kind-hearted boss and best friend and Catherine O’Hara as Colete’s eccentric mother—is saddled with a predictable, silly script that isn’t nearly as charming as it thinks it is.
“Benny & Joon” director Jeremiah Chechik takes a traditional approach to the material for the most part—there are precocious kids (Maya Samy and Mateen Devji), square jawed hunks and beautiful Banff, Alberta as a backdrop—but there’s something that feels wonky about the casting of Kwanten as the love sick lead.
Stubble aside (does he only own razors that leave a quarter inch of stubble on his well formed face?) he manages to pull off some of unrealistic dreamer Leo’s innocence but not the comedy so crucially required to make this unusual fairytale work.
The story doesn’t make sense. Who, other than Ben Braddock would actually declare his love for a woman he doesn’t know at her wedding? You need some very clever character work to get us past that glaring plot device and it just isn’t here, in the script or in Kwanten’s performance.
Top it off with what can only be described as a disturbing consummation scene—it most definitely isn’t a love scene—and you’re left with a movie that should have been called “More Wrong than Right.”