From director Brad Bird comes Tomorrowland, which plays at the newly reopened Capawock Theater and at Entertainment Cinemas in Edgartown this weekend, and addresses a future where the grim prospects of global warming, terrorism, and nuclear disaster are overcome.
This utopian tale begins with George Clooney playing the grumpy aging scientist Frank Walker. As a boy Frank (played by Thomas Robinson) goes to the 1964 World’s Fair in New York with his jet pack made of vacuum cleaner parts. After his invention is rejected by a judge named — what else but — Nix (Hugh Laurie), young Frank catches the eye of a girl named Athena (Raffey Cassidy), who gives him a magic pin. Embossed with the letter “T,” the pin has the power to send him to Tomorrowland, a world constructed of futuristic skyscrapers where robots and space vehicles abound.
Before viewers can find out what will happen to young Frank in Tomorrowland, they will find themselves jolted back to the present, where teenager Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) is waging a one-woman drone war against the closing of a NASA base in Cape Canaveral that will put her father (Tim McGraw) out of work. Like young Frank before her, Casey receives a “T” pin that has the power to send her instantly to Tomorrowland when she touches it. The catch is that she can just as rapidly be bumped back to her conventional, doom-laden life in the present. Once Athena, who unlike Frank remains a child in the present, shows up and warns Casey she’s in danger, Casey heads out in search of the older, Clooney version of Frank to find out why he was kicked out of Tomorrowland.
These are the most coherent components of a plot that too often doesn’t make sense. What does make sense is that it’s children who hold the keys to the future and can rescue our rapidly deteriorating world.
The best part of Tomorrowland is the magical gadgets that take these characters into to the future: the “T” pin with its power to overturn the present, a bathtub that turns into a rescue spaceship of sorts, a rocket that bursts out of the Eiffel Tower.
Then there’s fashion icon Iris Apfel, the subject of octogenarian Albert Maysles’ documentary Iris, playing this weekend at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center, who doesn’t need a magic pin to transform reality. She does it through the unerring sense of style that makes her clothes and accessory choices interesting, colorful, and dramatic. Ms. Apfel describes how her mother once told her, “You’re not pretty. You have something better. You have style.”
This New Yorker took that advice and ran with it. With her devoted husband perpetually by her side carrying his triple Nikon cameras, Iris built a career based on fashion, interior design, architecture, and art. She restored museums, which later exhibited her clothes and accessories, and consulted at the White House for nine administrations. She traveled to Europe twice a year to find the latest items for fashion collections that came to take up entire rooms in her apartment.
In the 1940s Iris was one of the first woman to wear blue jeans. Now in her 90s, she has begun donating her extensive fashion collection to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. At her husband’s 100th birthday party, she wittily spoke for him: “A woman is as old as she looks, but a man is never old until he stops looking.” As this charming documentary illustrates, Ms. Apfel remains a moveable feast and a geriatric starlet. “I’m not pretty,” she says. “I don’t like pretty.” Her clothing and accessories say the opposite.
Iris, Sunday, June 7, 7:30 pm, Martha’s Vineyard Film Center, Tisbury Marketplace, Vineyard Haven.
Tomorrowland, Thursday, June 4, 7:30 pm, Capawock Theater, Main Street, Vineyard Haven. Tomorrowland, Saturday, June 6, 12:45 pm, Entertainment Cinemas, Main St. Edgartown.