Freeze Frame: “Ad Astra” (PG-13)

Brad Pitt takes an impassioned space odyssey in the earnest sci-fi epic, “Ad Astra.” Pitt plays an astronaut who is sent to the far reaches of our solar system to see if he can locate his long-lost scientist father, played by Tommy Lee Jones, who is believed to still be living on a remote research facility orbiting Neptune. Problem is, dear old dad’s pesky experiments appear to be bombarding Earth with deadly rays.


Written and directed by James Gray, this ambitious film attempts nothing less than to probe the emotional gravity of the father-son relationship. Pitt gives an extremely subtle but utterly effective performance which carries the movie to the stars. Plus, the visuals in this big screen spectacle are truly sensational. Problem is, “Ad Astra” lacks a satisfying conclusion. It takes us on an intriguing and involving journey, but the destination is empty space.


Also opening this week, Sylvester Stallone returns to the role of “Rambo” for the fifth time in the action thriller, “Rambo: Last Blood.” This time out, the former Green Beret veteran goes to Mexico to save his niece kidnapped by a cartel.  And, yes, Stallone is already planning a sixth entry in the franchise.

Most of the original cast returns in the big screen version of the hit BBC TV series, “Downton Abbey.” In 1927, the King and Queen visit the Crawley estate and the family and staff members contend with an attempted assassination.

“Tokyo Ghoul S” is a Japanese sci-fi action fantasy sequel based on the manga comics. “Trauma is a Time Machine” is a drama about the aftermath of a rape.

“One Cut of the Dead” is a low budget Japanese zombie comedy that has made box office history by grossing over a thousand times its budget in worldwide release.

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