New to Theaters: ‘A.C.O.D,’ ‘Parkland,’ ‘Gravity’

A.C.O.D.

The title A.C.O.D. stands for “Adult Children Of Divorce,” a demographic that, according to this film’s trailer, comprises a stunning 54% of the adult population. Featuring a cast of comedy veterans like Catherine O’Hara, Jane Lynch, and Amy Poehler, A.C.O.D. mines the culture of divorce for laughs. There’s the spectacle of the aging exes, still sparring over who was right and who was wrong long after it has ceased to matter. There is, of course, the young trophy wife bringing toddler siblings into the midst of an already complicated and dysfunctional mix. There’s even an academic, played with spot-on intellectual narcissism by the great Jane Lynch, who has made a career of studying the effects of divorce on children—and inventing a variety of dubious psychological mumbo-jumbo to sensationalize her “findings.” Given the high percentage of potential audience members who have a lot of first-hand experience with this subject matter, the film may find it hard to get laughs when it strikes so close to the bone.

Parkland

For those who are too young to remember, Parkland Hospital is where the presidential motorcade sped after President Kennedy was shot in Dealey Plaza in Dallas on November 22, 1963. The film Parkland, timed to be in theaters on the 50th anniversary of that horrific day, recounts the events of Kennedy’s assassination from the vantage point of that hospital, where doctors learned the extent of the president’s mortal injuries, where television newsmen relayed by phone the shocking events to an anguished world, and where Vice-President Lyndon Johnson learned, upon Kennedy’s death, that he was now the President of the United States. The filmmakers have wisely stepped away from the still-roiling subject of how the assassination occurred, and instead focus on the reactions of individuals whose fate it was to be where they were on that day. This is likely to be a painful film to watch—50 years have not been enough to lessen the impact of the shooting, nor that deep longing for a different ending. With Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton and Zac Efron.

Gravity

James Brown called it “Big G,” but this Gravity might have put the old goosebumps on even the Godfather of Soul himself. Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is on her first shuttle mission to the International Space Station, accompanied by veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). When a routine spacewalk goes awry, the two are sent tumbling into space, without even the means to contact their colleagues back aboard the station. If you’re like me, what this means is that you will be sitting in a theater watching something from your own nightmares play out on the screen—I don’t know if Freud would approve. Not for the squeamish.

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