This week, Cineast officers previews of the new movies The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt? and Honeymoon.
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
Well, just a few months back someone released a weepie called All You Need is Love, and now we have The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. This now officially constitutes a movement, wherein filmmakers co-opt the titles of Beatles songs to title their pictures. But to what end, other than to give moviegoers of a certain age the idea that they ought to see something because they recognize the title? If it works, I guess that’s all that matters. In The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, we have Jessica Chastain as Eleanor Rigby, who doesn’t pick up the rice at a church where a wedding has been, nor wear a face that she keeps in a jar by the door. What she does do is fall in and out of love with Conor Ludlow, played by James McAvoy. I guess to emphasize the idea that no two people see the world the same way, many of the events in the picture seem to happen twice, shown from both lead characters’ perspectives—with crucial details changed, such as whether McAvoy has a beard or not. Presumably it all becomes very meaningful.
Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?
It’s a rite of passage for a certain type of teenage boy to read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. The book displays a didacticism that maps well with an adolescent’s immature faith in right and wrong, and in the character of John Galt the book feeds an adolescent’s feelings of superiority to the stupidity and childishness of those around him. For conservatives, and especially for libertarians, the book is considered a classic, its author a visionary. How troubling for these fans that the films based on Atlas Shrugged have consistently revealed the book for what it is: a clumsily written, slow-moving mediocrity. Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt? does nothing to change this legacy. It once again faithfully captures that Rand mediocrity on the screen—B-list actors and C-list production values combine to give the overall impression of an ’80s-era direct-to-cable affair. The question must be asked: if Ayn Rand and her followers were so against the mediocrity they saw all around them, how could they have allowed a book as poorly conceived as Atlas Shrugged to become their sacred text?
You know a film might be really creepy if you can barely make it through the trailer. Honeymoon is about two newlyweds who go on a honeymoon at a deserted lake house. One night, the husband finds his new wife sleepwalking in the woods—but was that all that happened? From that moment on, nothing is the same and things just keep getting creepier and creepier. Not for the squeamish.