Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Adult World, Ravenous 


Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (NR)

20th Century Fox

Popular science may never again experience the monoculture moment that Carl Sagan's Cosmos: A Personal Voyage had in 1980, but a case can be made for 2014 as a milestone for public enlightenment. Much credit goes to host Neil DeGrasse Tyson (along with Sagan's wife, Ann Druyen, and executive producer Seth MacFarlane), who moved mountains to revive Sagan's eye-opening "cosmic calendar" and "Ship of the Imagination" for the gorgeous and moving Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. The premiere episode features the story of a scientific genius persecuted by the Catholic Church, aired in a first-ever cross-network event ... on FOX. Its beauty isn't limited to its ironic value: Animation breathes life into history while CGI yields stunning views of the universe's birth and even the death of our galaxy. Not bad for a bunch of heretics. — Justin Strout

Adult World (R)

IFC Films

Emma Roberts continues to be one of the worst actresses working today, so it's apropos that she's the lead in Adult World, one of the worst recent films. Here, we're supposed to buy the extremely photogenic Roberts as a tortured, fresh-out-of-college, Sylvia Plath-worshiping wannabe poet who spends most of her time mailing off her work to various contests. Which forces her parents to throw her out, wherein she quirkily starts working at a triple-X bookstore (run by pseudo-comedically elderly types) and hanging out with a transgender hooker while stalking a doughy '80s underground writer (John Cusack). It's all set-up and throw-downs of the most forced kind, with every act of whimsy more grating than the next. Roberts has zero ability to portray the type of character needed in this film, and one wonders what's happened to Cusack's career, too. — Louis Fowler

Ravenous (R) (Blu-ray)

Shout! Factory

When Ravenous was originally released in 1999, there was quite a buzz around it and acclaimed director Antonia Bird, whose unique vision was much heralded ... and then questioned. A wildly unappealing mixture of period piece, horror flick and failed comedy — the opening quotes, complete with wacky sound effects, do no favors — it stars Guy Pearce as a PTSD-afflicted veteran of the Mexican-American War, re-stationed in the cold and snowy Sierra Nevadas. A frostbitten visitor (Robert Carlyle) with a crazed tale of cannibalism shows up and proceeds to guide a bloody game of survival. It's a muddled mess with no clear point of view, growing increasingly tedious with each new frame. And while the movie itself is a letdown, major props to the Michael Nyman and Damon Albarn soundtrack, which I wish was included here as a bonus disc. — Louis Fowler


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