Movie review

Movies: 'The Space Between Us'

Teens try to make a long distance relationship work across 249 million miles

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There is a lot of vastness in the space between planets, but probably none as big as the plot holes in this manipulative teen romance.

While a spate of current science fiction movies, not the least of which is much-lauded “Arrival,” celebrates the sheer amazingness of science to help humans find their way through the unknown, this movie uses the idea of science as a 3-inch-by-5-inch card to toss away whenever the story finds it inconvenient.

From the start, it’s clear director Peter Chesholm, who appears to have had a lot of experience in British TV, has honed away a lot of essential details in order to get to the root of the story by Allan Loeb, Stewart Schill and Richard Barton Lewis.

Its focus is on what happens after a member of the first crew to establish a colony on Mars discovers she is pregnant while on the long journey between planets. Forget about the massive amount of medical expertise that is brought to bear on any space mission to ensure the health, safety and welfare of crew, plus the enormous training ahead of the launch that ensures everyone involved knows what is expected of them. No, for Sarah Elliott (Janet Montgomery), it’s a little mysterious morning sickness while weightless that gives us the clue that a little spaceman is on the way.

Tragically, 17-year-old Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield, actual age 19) will have to grow up an orphan on Mars. While various crew members come and go during his youth, Gardner is essentially imprisoned on the red planet because it is feared his body will not handle a trip to Earth, much less survive due to increased gravity and other concerns. So, he spends his time making himself a nuisance to his surrogate mom, Kendra Wyndham (Carla Gugino), and Nathaniel Shepherd (Gary Oldman), the SpaceX-like mission founder. The latter, by the way, has taken a keen interest in the boy and tries to give him everything he needs, even though he is stuck back on Earth, hobbled by some kind of potential neurological disorder.

Gardner, like any hetero teen boy, is “developing” and desires feminine companionship from someone his own age, something totally absent from his habitat on East Texas, Mars. So, he manages to develop a long-distance electronic relationship with a cynical also 17-year-old high school girl named Tulsa (Britt Robertson, 26) back on Earth. Tulsa has been through a variety of foster homes and so has trouble finding and keeping friends — except for Gardner, whom she communicates with via email and texts.

So, to suffice, Gardner figures out how to get to Earth and meet up with Tulsa, who totally thinks he is crazy because he says he’s from Mars and so on and so forth. Oh, and by the way, nobody seems to know who Gardner’s dad seems to be — despite batteries of physical tests and monitoring on the kid. Like I said, you could fly the Enterprise through these plot holes. But, one supposes, a movie like this will find an audience somewhere on the planet, just as long as they don’t look at it too judgmentally.

“The Space Between Us” is rated PG-13 for brief sensuality and language.

It is showing daily at Mitchell Storyteller Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4145 or visit storyeller7.com.

Also showing in Taos

The following are edited from press materials.

Loving

MPAA rating: PG-13 for thematic elements

Movies at the TCA

This film, directed and written by Jeff Nichols, tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision “Loving v. Virginia,” which invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

Interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving (portrayed by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga) fell in love and married in 1958. They grew up in Central Point, a small town in Virginia that was more integrated than surrounding areas in the American South. Yet it was the state of Virginia, where they were making their home and starting a family, that first jailed and then banished them. Richard and Mildred relocated with their children to the inner city of Washington, D.C., but the family ultimately tries to find a way back to Virginia.

“There are few movies that speak to the American moment as movingly — and with as much idealism — as Jeff Nichols’s ‘Loving,’” writes Manohla Dargis in The New York Times.

This film will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 12) and at 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday (Feb. 13-18).

Movies at the TCA film series, Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call the Taos Center for the Arts at (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.

Rings

MPAA rating: PG-13 for violence/terror, thematic elements, some sexuality and brief drug material

Mitchell Storyteller 7

Julia (Matilda Lutz) becomes worried about her boyfriend, Holt (Alex Roe), when he explores the dark urban legend of a mysterious video said to kill the watcher seven days after viewing.

She sacrifices herself to save her boyfriend and makes a horrifying discovery in doing so: There is a “movie within the movie” that no one has ever seen before. It’s a sequel of sorts to “The Ring Two” (2005).

Director F. Javier Gonzales also features co-stars Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio and Aimee Teegarden.

This film will be screened daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

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