If you enjoy falcons, spirituality and serious performances from Jennifer Connolly, Aloft might seem—on paper—like the perfect film. Alas, Claudia Llosa's mind-numbingly bad drama about a family ripped apart by tragedy and cowardice insults the potential cinematic value of all three. That's pretty impressive by any critical standard.
In the early goings we see Nana Kunning (Connelly) traversing the windswept tundra of Northern Canada following a mystic named The Architect (William Shimell). Her youngest son is ill and there's hope he can be healed if given the proper New Age treatment. Eldest son Ivan is just along for the ride, resenting every minute he has to spend away from home. Good thing he brought his pet falcon.
Llosa then jumps forward to adult Ivan (now played by the brooding Cillian Murphy) who's approached by a French journalist (Melanie Laurent) hoping to get the scoop on his now estranged mother. Nana has attained infamous shaman status (I'm not making this shit up) after disavowing her family and dedicating her life to the cause. Various levels of convoluted drama proceed.
With its dual narrative unfolding simultaneously in such a heavy-handed fashion, Aloft lends even the smallest event a cataclysmic potential. Llosa often obscures plot information in favor of long passages of sulking and wandering, making good on the quote spoken by Nana late in the film: "Right now, everything is incomprehensible."
Faith, beauty and regret are themes given obvious symbols throughout (Birds are majestic people!). Familial evolution and trauma hide under the various levels of snow pack. Llosa addresses these potentially complex ideas with the subtle touch of a jackhammer.
Despite being one of the worst films to come along in ages, Aloft does spawn an entirely new and unnecessary genre: Fowl miserablism. Put that feather in the cap.
Aloft: A conflicted single mother turned mystic must come to grips with the decisions she makes that will affect her children well into the future.
Entourage: The popular HBO show about a movie star and his childhood friends making it big in Hollywood gets the bigscreen treatment. Opens wide Wednesday, June 3.
Insidious: Chapter 3: Round three in the ongoing battle between white suburbia and the supernatural hereafter. Go!
Love & Mercy: Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys gets the biopic treatment in a story that covers pivotal moments in the 1960s and 1980s. Starring Paul Dano and John Cusack.
Spy: Melissa McCarthy steps out from behind the desk and into the field in this spy comedy from director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids).
When Marnie Was There: The latest animation from the legendary Studio Ghibli tells the story of a shy young girl who meets the young occupant of a mysterious mansion.
One Time Only
The Spectacular Now: A teenage alcoholic (Miles Teller) romances a fellow student (Shailene Woodley) and then realizes the difficulties of hatching a relationship. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 3, at the San Diego Public Library in East Village.
Almost Famous: A young rock journalist gets his first taste of the business in this great dramedy from Cameron Crowe. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 3, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
It Happened One Night: A reporter looking for a story stumbles upon a runaway heiress in Frank Capra's classic screwball comedy. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, June 4 and 5, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Sometimes you just need to get away. Matthew Broderick's iconic high school hero taught this important lesson to an entire generation of teenagers. Screens at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 6, and Sunday, June 7, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Selma: This gripping biopic on a seminal moment in the career of Martin Luther King Jr. (played by David Oyelowo) chronicles his campaign to secure equal voting rights by marching from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. Screens at 6:45 p.m. Monday, June 8, at San Diego Central Library in East Village, preceded by a free concert of Gospel Songs by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Choir of San Diego at 6 p.m.
Fracture: Ryan Gosling plays a young ambitious attorney hoping to gain notoriety, and finds an unlikely opponent in the criminal he is trying to prosecute. Screens at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 9, and the Point Loma / Hervey Branch Library.
Caddyshack: Chevy Chase wreaks havoc at an exclusive golf course that is also being destroyed by a dancing gopher. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 9, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
24 Days: A young Jewish man is kidnapped for ransom in Paris, leaving his parents in a grip of fear as the police try to negotiate with the anti-Semitic perpetrators. Screens through Thursday, June 4, at the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Aloha: Cameron Crowe tries to resuscitate his career with this long-delayed (not a good sign) drama about a military man based in Hawaii trying to rediscover love.
17th Annual San Diego LGBT Film Festival: Presented by FilmOut San Diego, this three-day film festival showcases the best in LGBT content, provides Q&As with filmmakers, and hosts engaging discussions about relevant social issues. Runs Friday, May 29, through Sunday, May 31, at The Observatory in North Park.
San Andreas: "What a disaster."
—Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
The Apu Trilogy: Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1957) and The World of Apu (1959) make up this stunning cinematic achievement from one of India's greatest filmmakers, Satyajit Ray. Screens through Thursday, June 4, at the Ken Cinema.
The Seven Five: In the drug-riddled landscape of New York City in the 1980s, a group of corrupt cops take advantage of the chaos. This documentary tells their story. Screens through Thursday, June 4, at the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
In the Name of My Daughter: André Téchiné's melodrama is set in the South of France and follows the sordid relationships of a casino owner (Catherine Deneuve) and her daughter.
Poltergeist: In this remake, the youngest daughter of a suburban family is captured by ghosts, leaving her family scrambling for ways to rescue her.
The Hand that Feeds: This documentary follows deli employee Mahoma López and his co-workers as they rally together to fight for fair wages and improved working conditions against their ruthless employer. Screens through Thursday, May 28, at the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Tomorrowland: George Clooney and Britt Robertson star in Brad Bird's space adventure about a young girl who finds a ring that opens up an alternate universe.
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Jumped Out the Window and Disappeared: An elderly man escapes his nursing home immediately before his 100th birthday hoping to rekindle his sense of adventure. Opens Friday, May 15, at the Reading Gaslamp Cinemas.
Felix and Meira: Two lost souls attempt to find a romantic connection despite the obstacles presented by the neighborhood they inhabit.
Mad Max: Fury Road: George Miller's infamous policeman-turned-road-warrior returns to the big screen in what looks like one long bonkers chase through a dystopic desert. Tom Hardy reprises the role made famous by Mel Gibson.
Saint Laurent: A strange and beguiling biopic about the famous French fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent, portrayed with unflinching vulnerability by Gaspard Ulliel. Bertrand Bonello directs.
About Elly: While on a picnic in the north of Iran, a kindergarten teacher disappears, leaving her friends distraught with panic. From director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation).
Black Souls: Based on Gioacchini Criaco's novel of the same name, this gripping mafia tale explores the tension and conflict between three brothers fighting for control of an Italian crime family.
Far From the Madding Crowd: Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts star in Thomas Vinterberg's adaptation of Thomas Hardy's sweeping romance about a fiercely independent woman who struggles to choose between three suitors.
Hot Pursuit: An uptight cop played by Reese Witherspoon tries to protect the vivacious widow of a Mexican drug boss while being pursued through Texas by a collective of bad guys..
Noble: A feature film based on the true story of Christina Noble, an Irish children's rights campaigner who traveled to Vietnam to make a difference.
Welcome to Me: A psychotic woman (Kristen Wiig) wins the lottery and decides to stop taking her meds and creates her own talk show. Opens Friday, May 8, at the Reading Gaslamp Cinemas.
The D Train: Jack Black and James Marsden are quite a pair in this dark comedy about the head of a high school reunion committee who travels to Los Angeles, hoping to convince the most popular guy from his graduating class to attend the event.
Avengers: Age of Ultron: The brood of Marvel superheroes are back to battle the nefarious Ultron, who has plans to take over the world.
Clouds of Sils Maria: A middle-aged actress decides to star in a reboot of the play that made her famous 20 years before. Starring Juliette Binoche, Kristin Stewart and Chloë Grace-Moretz.
Dior and I: Documentary that takes you behind the scenes of the storied world of the Christian Dior fashion house.
Ex Machina: Set in the near future, Alex Garland's sci-fi film tells the story of an Internet mogul who convinces one of his employees to conduct a Turing test on his newest A.I. creation.
Little Boy: With his father away in WW II, a young boy goes to great lengths to restore stability to his family.
The Age of Adaline: Rendered ageless after a fateful accident, a young woman born at the turn of the 20th century lives a lonely life of immortality until she finally meets a stranger who may be worth dying for.
The Road to Juarez: An ex-con recruits his friends to pull off a daring heist against a powerful Mexican drug cartel.
The Water Diviner: After the battle of Gallipoli, an Australian man travels to Turkey hoping to locate his three missing sons.
Desert Dancer: An ambitious young man risks everything to start a new dance company despite the politically volatile climate of his home country of Iran.
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter: A young Japanese woman travels to America searching for a briefcase full of cash that was hidden in the snow during 1996's Fargo.
Lambert and Stamp: This documentary looks at the unlikely partnership between two aspiring filmmakers who ended up producing one of the greatest rock bands in history: The Who.
Monkey Kingdom: A documentary about one newborn monkey and its mother attempting to survive the social hierarchy of the Temple Troop, a group of monkeys who live in a series of ruins deep in the jungles of South Asia.
True Story: James Franco stars as a murder suspect who has stolen the identity of a disgraced New York Times reporter played by Jonah Hill. Weird casting.
Unfriended: The Facebook horror film you knew was coming but didn't think would be here quite this soon.
Havana Curveball: A young and enthusiastic teenager decides to create a grand plan of supplying Cuba with baseballs after being inspired by the holy words associated with his Bar Mitzvah.
Kill Me Three Times: After a botched assignment, a professional hitman played by Simon Pegg gets wrapped up in three different tales of murder, blackmail and revenge.