The first scene in Saban’s Power Rangers features a joke about jerking off a bull; the movie never gets more clever or subtle. It also probably never gets less weird. Saban’s Power Rangers is full of clichés, takes forever to get going, and suffers from Transformers Syndrome (the dreaded disease where your million-dollar CGI results in indistinguishable characters and clumsy action sequences). Still, there is a bombastic charm to the movie. The director and five credited screenwriters don’t seem to worry if three training montages is too many, or care that using the theme song from the 1990s results in tonal whiplash. Elements of the movie are undoubtedly stupid, but it has a nostalgic kind of irreverence about it, as if to say, “It’s Power Rangers, everyone. Relax.”
Trumbo, from veteran comedy director Jay Roach (Meet the Parents and Austin Powers series), is based on the true story of the blacklisted screenwriter during an era of anti-Communism. In an academy-award nominated performance, Bryan Cranston portrays the eponymous writer throughout the late 1940s and 1950s during a time when the “Red Scare” permeated Hollywood. Though the film feels overlong due to some meandering subplots, and a few of the characters distract from the overall story, this is a solid historical drama. Cranston is undoubtedly the major attraction, but the overall themes of the story remain poignant to this day.
A few months ago, I wanted to write a news piece about some casting announcements for the new film Trumbo, but I held off. Now, the first trailer for the McCarthy-era film about the blacklisting of the titanic Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (played by Bryan Cranston) has been released, and it looks like we’ve got one of our first serious Oscar contenders. Have a look: