‘Gravity’ is gripping, ‘Parkland’ is poignant and ‘Runner’ is a bummer

Among the new movies that were released Friday, Oct. 4 at theaters throughout the Valley are a space-based thriller starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, a star-studded drama set on the day U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and a crime thriller that revolves around the high-stakes world of online gambling.

Bad Milo!

Ken Marino plays a man whose mounting stress starts to trigger an insufferable gastrointestinal reaction: a pint-sized demon living in his intestine that, triggered by excessive anxiety, forces its way out and slaughters the people who have angered him. Playing exclusively at Harkins Valley Art. (R – 85 minutes)

For some, “Bad Milo!” may sound ridiculous. Actually, it probably sounds ridiculous to everyone; but some may see that as a bad thing while others may see it as weirdly entertaining. Unfortunately, both segments of the population will discover that the joke’s juices run out quite quickly and even those who were initially amused by the motion picture’s premise will become bored with the seemingly infinite flow of butt-gags. Had writer/director Jacob Vaughan allowed star Ken Marino’s character to bond a bit more with his materialized anxiety rather than simply sicking the creature on the supporting characters, this flick may have been more fun. (Thumbs Down!)


Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play a medical engineer and an astronaut who work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space. (PG-13 – 90 minutes)

“Gravity” has got an awful lot of weight to it. Granted, that pun is at least a little lame, but writer/director Alfonso Cuarón’s new space-based thriller does indeed pack a potent punch with a message about planting one’s feet firmly on the ground and mustering the strength and courage to continue taking steps forward after tragedy. Beyond that, the motion picture is also a visual magnum opus, leaving viewers absolutely astonished at how such special effects were accomplished. Those two aspects paired with a series of events that can only be survived by holding one’s breath make this movie a must-see masterpiece. (Thumbs Up!)


Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Billy Bob Thornton, Jacki Weaver and Paul Giamatti star in a recounting of the chaotic events that occurred at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital on the day U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. (PG-13 – 93 minutes)

“Parkland” captures a moment in time. And not just any moment in time. It captures one of the most heartbreaking moments in American history. And although it is true that the new drama’s lack of a cohesive narrative or particular destination lessens its lasting impact, its authentic reflection of not only the events that transpired on the day U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated but also the general environment that is universally experienced in the wake of any monumental tragedy make the movie well worth watching. Writer/director Peter Landesman takes us to a time when the weight of the world is on all of our shoulders. (Thumbs Up!)

Runner Runner

Justin Timberlake plays a poor college student who cracks an online poker game, goes bust and arranges a face-to-face with the man he thinks cheated him – a sly offshore entrepreneur (Ben Affleck). (R – 91 minutes)

“Runner Runner” is a bummer bummer. The new dramatic crime thriller has some spectacular tension but it takes its gambling theme entirely too seriously. That is to say that the flick fails to show all of its cards until late in the game, which is kind of inconsistent with star Justin Timberlake’s narration and only frustrates and confuses viewers. Moreover, there are too many cards in play in the first place – a problem that is personified when Gemma Arterton’s character completely disappears for the whole midsection of the movie. And to make matters even worse, the whole affair feels flat. (Thumbs Down!)

Joseph J. Airdo

Joseph J. Airdo is a film critic, producer and on-air personality for Breakthrough Entertainment, a talk radio show airing 10-11 a.m. Saturdays on KPHX 1480 AM and BreakRadioShow.com that shines a spotlight on the practical perspectives of the topics and themes explored in movies. He has a pet duck named Frozen who is as opinionated about movies as he is. E-mail him at [email protected].

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