Joaquin Phoenix plays an earnest man who leads a quiet life in slightly-future LA. He loads a new operating system on his computer (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) and they end up passionately in love. Director Spike Jonze has written a unique story and endowed it with sweet ruminations on love and life. Cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema has created a lovely look with soft light and shallow focus. The whole film has a wistful, quiet quality that’s heartfelt, but there are too many scenes of Phoenix in solo conversations with his OS. I also had problems with some stuff being modern and cool, while other things (esp. the fashion) look disappointingly unfuturistic. Despite its good qualities, this could have been a short and would have been charming. For me it’s just too long and too precious.
GAY ANGLE: Yet another future with no obviously gay people and Phoenix is not sexy, unless you like the wimpy type.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writers: Adam Cozad, David Koepp
Stars: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley
The Bourne series reboots back to the creation of the secret agent, as a brainy analyst recruited by the CIA. When he happens upon a scheme to collapse our economy, he’s sent to Moscow to stop it. Needless to say, chases and violent encounters ensue. Chris Pine has moved into the lead and he’s an assured, solid action hero. Even though the plot has no surprises, director Kenneth Branagh (who also plays the bad guy) has crafted a taut little mission. Unfortunately, the blurry camerawork obscures much of the action. The attractive Russian locations (inside and out) are a bonus and the movie’s momentum makes it entertaining. NOTE: Ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov has a cameo.
GAY ANGLE: Pine is undeniably handsome, but doesn’t bare enough flesh to go with those dreamy eyes.
Jerry Williams reviewed movies for WTVR-TV for 14 years and for Style Weekly for 10 years. When he launched his own website in 1998 at TVJerry.com, he took his reviews to the Internet. Through those hundreds of reviews, Jerry kept his sexual orientation muted. So, he's excited to be adding "gay angles" to his postings for GayRVA.com.