New on DVD, Blu-ray and streaming this week, Depp and Burton repeat offend, while one of the year's best films sneaks out after a limited run in theaters. ...
People Like Us
I don't watch many movies like 'People Like Us.' Weepies, they call 'em. (Okay, they called 'em that in 1940.) (Okay, they called 'em that in 1940 in my mind.) Weepies are basically little bits of soap opera – some family struggle which culminates in tears, hugs and a big fat life lesson. Sometimes we get lucky and they explode with insight and good writing (I mean, what's 'Hannah and Her Sisters' if not soap opera?) and break out of their Lifetime Network ghetto.
'People Like Us' doesn't quite do that, but the card up its sleeve is an extremely likable cast of solid actors who photograph really well. Even though everyone on screen is supposed to be at their emotional breaking points, the movie still deals in wish fulfillment to see how beautiful people cope with (and resolve) sexier problems than we'll ever have.
Alex Kurtzman has crafted a remarkable career as a genre film and television writer/producer. He and partner Roberto Orci have been attached to some of the most beloved science-fiction offerings of the last several years. From televisions ‘Fringe,’ to the wildly successful cinematic ‘Star Trek’ reboot (as well as the sequel that is currently in production), the pair has left a sizable imprint on the industry. As just one example of their upcoming projects, and prior the release of the first, the writing duo has been tapped to write ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2.'
But roughly eight-years-ago the prolific geek and action-centric scribe felt the urge to explore the possibilities that a smaller, more intimate drama may offer. Inspired by events from his own life, Kurtzman began to draft a script for what became ‘People Like Us,’ the story of two siblings who grew up in different households, who live in vastly divergent worlds and yet come together and connect as adults.
With the film’s release this Friday, June 29th Kurtzman unveils his directorial debut, as well as a small piece of the most private corners of his own experience. It is a film one rarely sees these days. It invites the audience into a, dare I say it, adult conversation about the imperfect nature of relationships and the missteps that we often make that can still manage to bring us to something beautiful.
We had the opportunity to speak with Kurtzman recently about shifting gears for ‘People Like Us’, the movies he credits with changing his life and crafting large-scale event films in a post-Nolan Hollywood.
Dear Hollywood, What the hell, man?
I know that at the end of the day all you care about is the bottom line, but, as individuals, you are liberals. That's just the way it is. But I guess the special red telephones got disconnected because things got out of hand this weekend. There are not one, not two, but three otherwise normal, liberal Hollywood movies from big studios that think nothing of a little homophobic humor. Consider that the release date comes not even a full week after Gay Pride, and I think we can call this a major disconnect.
Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are the poster children of the current crop of big studio movies. They wrote 'Star Trek,' "Mission: Impossible: III,' "Cowboys and Aliens' and are credited on the first two 'Transformers' films. These are powerful guys, and with 'People Like Us' they're finally making their small personal film. Here's the latest featurette for it.
People Like Us' is summer counter-programming, though it has a big-budget summer cast that includes Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jon Favreau. If that's surprising for what looks like a small emotional movie, it's directed by Alex Kurtzman - who wrote the script with writing partner Roberto Orci. And that may be the explanation to the cast: he's worked with most of them before. Check out the trailer...