9/29 Movie Trip

9/29 Movie Trip

9/29 Movie Trip

Paul McGuire Grimes from Paul’s Trip to the Movies gives us his review on 3 new movies out.


Going to space may have felt like a million miles away for Jose Hernandez, but that didn’t stop him as we see in the new film about his life aptly titled, A Million Miles Away. NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez broke barriers, and the film charts his lifelong love of space and the determination it took to get there. He’s played by Michael Pena and the film starts with Jose as a young boy, a Mexican immigrant whose family moved to the United States for work. He was a whiz kid in math and was fascinated with the stars. There’s the quintessential scene where he’s writing the “When I grow up…” essay for school after watching the Apollo 11 lift off. The film cuts to adulthood where he’s determined to apply for NASA. With every rejection letter, he worked harder and harder honing this skill and that skill to prove his worth. It was the 12th application that finally changed Jose’s life forever.

A Million Miles Away falls right in line with other inspirational true stories about the underdog defying all odds to pursue their dreams.

-I was unaware of Jose Hernandez’s story but was quickly drawn in given the fact he’s so easy to root for with how director Alejandra Marquez Abella tells his story. She divides the film into five sections leaning into the five ingredients to success that Jose’s father told to him.

-There’s a really good balance of exploring Jose’s personal life and the role his wife, parents, and family had in his road to success next all the steps he took along the way. It had a similar trajectory to Flamin’ Hot which came out earlier this year.

-Jose is a person of utmost determination and resiliency despite a decade’s worth of rejection. The film boils it down and makes it relatable and accessible for audiences of all ages to admire the journey Jose went through to become a NASA astronaut as he mastered every skill along the way to ensure his application wouldn’t be denied.

-Michael Peña is quite strong as Jose bringing a softness and determination to him. It’s great to see him in a leading role, as he’s usually in a supporting role like Ant-Man or The Martian.

A Million Miles Away would have been great to see in theaters, but having it streaming on Prime Video across multiple countries allows it to be seen by a wider audience inspiring kids and teens who may see themselves on screen through Jose Hernandez.


CASSANDRO (Prime Video)

The Mexican wrestling culture of Lucha Libre is very rarely explored on screen, but the new film Cassandro looks to shine a light on the true story of one wrestler who shocked the system. Gael Garcia Bernal steps into the title role of Saul, who went by the stage name, Cassandro. Saul was a luchador who originally went by the name El Topo in the amateur circuit. He is a gay man working in a very masculine world of sports in Mexico and frequently had slurs thrown his way while competing. That never stopped him which drove him further into making a name for himself. He hired a new trainer who suggested taking on the Exoticó character to make him stand out even more. From there, the identity of Cassandro was born. Instead of wearing the traditional full-face mask, he wore makeup, short shorts, a tank top, and walks out to “I Will Survive” The Exoticó character was known in the Lucha Libre community, but Cassandro turned it from a flop spectacle to a winning sensation.

Cassandro is brought to life by director Roger Ross Williams who co-wrote the film with David Teague. The film may feel like your standard sports biopic, but this is such a unique story that it will feel new and fresh for anyone watching who doesn’t have a strong knowledge of the Lucha Libre world. It’s a great introduction to this area of wrestling and the culture that follows.

-It shies away from making this an exploitation film of a flamboyant gay wrestler.  Roger Ross Williams allows the audience to make the connection between modern-day drag and wrestling in the unique world of the Exotico characters.

-Williams has a background in documentary filmmaker and that helps him keep the story grounded in the humane elements of identity and discovery. This isn’t a coming out story either. Saul feels comfortable in his sexuality, but it’s the blending of his personal life and professional life that unfolds and the relationships he had with his parents that has made him the wrestler and man he becomes.

-There’s a closeness he has with his mother but has grown distant with his father who was the one that introduced him to his love of wrestling.

-Gael García Bernal is exceptional is Saul. There is an easiness to his performance but one that still lights up the screen navigating Saul’s transition to truly finding himself within Cassandro. You can feel the excitement Bernal has in playing the role. Raul Castillo stars as Saul’s closeted boyfriend Gerardo, a fellow wrestler but one who struggles being public with his relationship with Saul.

Cassandro is an intimate introspective story which causes some pacing issues throughout. It might be easy to dismiss this story if you’re not familiar with Lucha Libre, but the humanity and drive within Saul will win you over.


THE CREATOR (in theaters)

Director Gareth Edwards’ new film The Creator is one of the biggest sci-fi epics of the last ten years. This is an ambitious film of epic proportions set in the near future in 2065. It’s a time when A.I. has taken over the world thanks to The Creator who goes by the name Nirmata. It’s been ten years since A.I. dropped a massive nuclear bomb in Los Angeles killing millions of people thus starting a war between humans and A.I. John David Washington plays Joshua who is part of a militia team hiding undercover with his wife, Maya, in New Asia. Their location is compromised forever altering Joshua’s life. Five years pass and he finds himself caring for a young simulant girl he names Alphie. Simulants are a series of robots in human form, and Alphie may be the key to ending this war and answering the question of “Who is Nirmata the Creator?”

-Starring: John David Washington, Madeleine Yuna Voyles, Gemma Chan, Allison Janney

-Gareth Edwards has never backed down from a cinematic challenge having taken on the Godzilla reboot in 2014 as well as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

-Edwards and his creative team have envisioned a rich and complicated futuristic world, and it’s not lost on me that he was inspired by James Cameron’s The Terminator which also featured the war between humans and machines.

The Creator feels far more timely given the advancements in AI since Cameron’s 1984 film.

-Edwards is certainly trying to leave his stamp in this sci-fi end of days world that also draws comparisons Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and Steven Spielberg’s A.I.

-The film is divided into five sections each one revealing another piece to the puzzle enriching and complicating the story even further.

-This should have been a limited series to really dig in deep to the many communities, advancements in technology, and scientific theories he’s giving us.

-This is a very action-heavy film, but I was waiting for the emotion to hook me in. Gareth Edwards seems desperate to keep the audience’s attention with jampacking the film with action versus building valuable characters we want to root for. Going from one action set piece to another didn’t give enough time to make progress with the Joshua storyline. Only toward the second half did I start to feel the emotional weight put on Joshua and the relationship he was building with Alphie.

-Gareth Edwards taps into familiar territory with The Creator. It’s a captivating film to look at and ponder, but it’s almost too big of a story for what he wants to accomplish in two hours.