The Happy Meal-shifting blockbusters of Summer 2014 continue to deliver the goods. Godzilla was dire and painterly and majestic, X-Men was fizzy and fun, and Edge of Tomorrow — the latest Tom Cruise action vehicle to suffer from Awful Title Syndrome — might be better than either. I liked it a whole bunch, even if it ends on a more conventional note than it might’ve if, say, Christopher Nolan had been holding the reigns.
Anyway, here is my official statement.
— TRANSMISSION BEGINS —
Blockbuster audiences have seen it all, and so has Tom Cruise. He is the most resilient and longest-lived movie star of modern times, a guy whose name has opened movies, and whose overcaffeinated performances have powered them, for 30 years. (“Actor. Producer. Running in movies since 1981,” reads his Twitter bio, perfectly.)
Edge of Tomorrow, his new science fiction adventure directed by the guy who made Swingers, cleverly harnesses both our abundant affection for the fearless, freakishly energetic young actor Cruise was, and our more fickle approbation for the risk-averse, still freakishly energetic 51-year-old action star he’s become. He plays a craven Army public affairs officer ordered unexpectedly into combat against space invaders who’ve occupied, er, France and Germany. Whereupon he is slain almost immediately. Continue reading
Tom Cruise in Doug Liman’s “Edge of Tomorrow.”
Rob Brydon & Steve Coogan reunite with Michael Winterbottom in “The Trip to Italy.”
Rachel McAdams & the late Phillip Seymore Hoffman in Anton Corbijn’s “A Most Wanted Man.”
Ellar Coltrane in Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood.”
Chris Evans leads an international cast in Bong Joon-ho’s “Snowpiercer.”
Time was, the summer movie season — when blocks got busted and Oscar contenders got out of the way — began Memorial Day weekend and had shot its wad by mid-July. Once in a while you’d get a great late-summer picture, like The Fugitive, released Aug. 6, 1993 (and nominated for Best Picture, come to that.) But generally the big action pictures, which gradually gave way to the superhero flicks, needed six or seven weeks before kids got marched back into school so studios could benefit from repeat business.
In the 21st century, the summer movie season advanced to the first weekend in May, a date that in recent years has belonged to Marvel Comics adaptations, whether they’re made by Marvel Studios, like The Avengers, or by other studios, like the Spider-Man pictures (both the Raimis and the Webbs) from Sony, or the X-Men series, from Fox.
Posted in movies
Tagged Bong Joon-ho, David Wain, Kelly Reichardt, Michael Winterbottom, Richard Linklater, Rob Brydon, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Coogan, The Village Voice, Tom Cruise, X-Men
I had a great time sitting in on this week’s Voice Film Club podcast with my Village Voice editor Alan Scherstuhl and L.A. Weekly film critic Amy Nicholson. Alan invited me on to talk about my essay demanding the death of Han Solo, but before we get to that we have a long chat about the perplexing career of Tom Cruise (working off of Amy’s marvelous cover story about him) and Amy’s review of X-Men: Days of Future Past, which I won’t get to see until tonight. You can hear the podcast below or here.
Ubiquitous director Jeremy Skidmore‘s tenacious production of A Few Good Men, the play that gave us Aaaron Sorkin, cuts a dashing figure in its dress whites. Reviewed in this week’s Washington City Paper, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away for free.
Posted in theatre
Tagged Aaaron Sorkin, Brianna Letourneau, Jack Nicholson, Jeremy Skidmore, Jonathan Feuer, Keegan Theatre, Maboud Ebrahimzadeh, Mark A. Rhea, movies, Rob Reiner, Steven Royal, Tom Cruise