Tag Archives: Tom Cruise

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

3 Jun

 

I’m sure we all have experienced that sense of cinematic deja vu when we watch a movie and think to ourselves “I have seen this all before”.  Edge of Tomorrow, the filmic adaptation of the popular manga All You Need Is Killis based around this very premise. A man, stuck in a time loop, repeats the last 24 hours to himself everytime he dies. He sees the same people, fights the same battles, and dies the same deaths over and over. Our lead in the film, General Cage (Tom Cruise) is a military media specialist who gets cast in the front line of battle after an unfortunate mix up.  The earth is at war with a mysterious alien species, who through some unexplained phenomena, have the ability to rewind the clocks. When this ability is transferred to Cage, he inherits the potential to learn – via trial and error – how to essentially be the best super-soldier and kick some serious alien butt with a new cyberkinetic military suit. Of course part of this learning experience means he must team up with another super-soldier named Rita (Emily Blunt in her most bad-ass role to date) who has her own mysterious past and motivations.

Edge of Tomorrow then essentially becomes a visual videogame. Our characters are placed in the futuristic battlefield and are only allowed to progress up to a certain point before the plug is pulled and everyone starts over on square one again. The film has so much fun with this time-looping concept it becomes impossible not to get sucked in.  Director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Jumper) controls the action so fluidly and the visuals are top-notch. In a film like this, it is nearly impossible not to advance the plot through expository dialogue, but the script by Christopher McQuarry (The Usual Suspects, Valkyrie) and Jez Butterworth (Fair Game) feels lively and energetic enough that you barely notice the majority of the plot is being explained directly to audience through Cruise’s character (to give him a break, he has seen this all before).

Things do get a little messy in the final act, and the climax feels a bit rushed and comes on too soon. However, Edge of Tomorrow really shows off what Cruise does best: shooting up stuff with style (watching him go from PR boy to mad killing machine is an absolute blast) and Blunt is impressively cool throughout. Overall, the movie is a fresh and fun edition to the summer blockbuster with guts, action, and intellect.

Rating: 7/10 

Similar to: Source Code (2011),  Pacific Rim (2013),  Avatar (2009), 
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Oblivion (2013)

8 May

Oblivion has some of the best visuals I have seen recently, and the music and sound design are amazing – especially in IMAX. Unfortunately, what starts out as an interesting story gets muddled up with attempted social commentary and a painfully slow and confusing third act. Tom Cruise, at 50 years old, is still a very accomplished actor, but there is no chemistry with any of his co-stars (something a character even admits halfway through the film). It’s worth seeing in IMAX just because the visuals really are impressive, but If you are looking for a Mission Impossible-type action movie, look elsewhere.

6/10 stars

Similar to (but worse than): Gattica, Moon, Dark City, Minority Report

Jack Reacher (2012)

24 Jan

Who is Jack Reacher?  Well after about ten minutes into the self-titled film we know this:

Jack Reacher is a war vet who earned all sorts of medals, recognition and military prestige. Jack Reacher is a loner/he has no known family/he is off-the-grid/no one really knows much about him. Jack Reacher is the typical bad-ass character we would expect Tom Cruise to play, and it’s a fairly typical mystery/thriller that we have seen Tom Cruise star in a billion times before.

And you know what? – there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The one and only thing wrong with this movie is how seriously it takes itself.  What was billed as a campy, fun action flick (I was thinking something like Taken, Die Hard or any one of the Mission Impossibles) is really more of a solemn, violent mystery.  Now there is nothing wrong with a sobering, thought-provoking mystery. We have had a good number of great films that fit nicely into this arena lately (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Shutter Island, and Notes On A Scandal are a few that come to mind).  Jack Reacher tries to align itself with the more serious in nature, but it just becomes so hard to take a film seriously when we hear lines like ” I mean to beat you to death and drink your blood from a boot” coming from the protagonist every 10 minutes or so.

Keep in mind that the subject matter for the film (a sniper kills 5 innocent people in a public shooting) is quite dark and the film doesn’t hold much back.  I am actually really surprised this passed as a PG-13 as the violence is brutal and uncomfortably shocking many times throughout the movie.  What’s more uncomfortable though, is that Jack Reacher plays off this violence with smug dialogue and unintentional humor.

Jack Reacher is still a solid, entertaining thriller, but the effort to try and play in both the serious and self-aware camps at the same time was my biggest issue with the movie. Tom Cruise, though playing a character we have already seen, plays it well and proves he is still one of the best-acting action stars around.  The supporting work by Richard Jenkins, Robert Duvall, and (surprisingly) Werner Herzog all add to the movie and it’s unique tone.   The film is beautifully shot and it has a nice story with a few twists, with a great cast to help bring it to life.

Rating: 7/10 

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Similar to: Hanna (2011), Faster (2010), Haywire (2012)