CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.
Film Review: Story Can’t Match Eye-Popping Visuals of ‘Passengers’
CHICAGO – The use of science fiction for all kind of stories is one of the hottest go-to genres for Hollywood today. “Passengers” is a love story, and adds the visual glory of modern special effects…but the soapy tale of a star-crossed (literally) couple is problematic and cliché ridden, and breaks at the end with heroics that are shoehorned into the rest of the scenario.
The premise is intriguing, a starship heads to a new colony planet – sponsored by a corporation – and a gaffe in the automated system allows for a male engineer to “wake up” from suspended animation too early…the journey to the new planet takes 90 years. Alone in a massive ship, and faced with a long period of loneliness, he comes up with a solution. Chris Pratt portrays the lonely dude, and his performance chops are not conducive with the more subtle parts of the situation he finds himself in. Also the complexities of the story wants some simple solutions, including a crew member who miraculously awakens as well, to figure out how to get out of this mess. Coupled with a super sci-fi hero ending, the narrative structure breaks down with the ship.
Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) is an American engineer heading to a planet called Homestead II, with 5000 other fellow travelers. They are in suspended animation pods, since the journey will take over 90 years. Jim’s pod opens, but he discovers it is too early, and he has no way to get back to his suspended state. He is now cursed to grow old on a ship still 80 years away from its destination.
After about a year, with a robotic bartender (Michael Sheen) his only friend, Jim decides to take some matters into his own hands. He has accidentally opened a profile on an American author named Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence), and falls in love with her through her writings. He decides to release her from the suspended state, and their subsequent relationship determines the ship’s fate.
Jim (Chris Pratt) and Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) on the Starship Avalon in ‘Passengers’
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Releasing