I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Edge of Tomorrow

tn_edgeoftomorrowGROUNDHOG DAY is an American classic in my opinion. It has this crazy Twilight Zone type of premise (what if you had to live the same day over and over again indefinitely?) that seems too out there for a 1993 studio comedy, and yet there it is. It’s funny and clever and last time I watched it I realized it was also beautiful and profound. It’s a complete original, so it’s weird to think that after two sci-fi spins on the premise, SOURCE CODE and EDGE OF TOMORROW, we could be headed toward a world where young people see it and don’t think there’s anything unique about it. I’ve seen this before, but with action scenes. I’m bored.


mp_edgeoftomorrowEDGE OF TOMORROW is kinda like GROUNDHOG DAY by way of STARSHIP TROOPERS, a little ALIENS, a little MATRIX REVOLUTIONS, plus some inspiration from SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and/or the actual invasion of Normandy (weirdly it was released on the 70th anniversary of the invasion).

In a future where the world is at war with squiggly, super-powered aliens, Tom Cruise in a cool mech suit is involved in a storming of France. But the aliens somehow know the earthlings are coming, the whole thing fails, everybody dies. Luckily one of those alien blood infection things you get sometimes happens to give Cruise the power that those sonofabitches have been using to win this thing all along: he “resets” to the last time he woke up and goes through the same day again. A life reboot. This continues to happen each time he gets killed.

Of course people are comparing it to a video game, because he has to keep trying things over and over again until he figures out how to get it right and beat the aliens. But he doesn’t lose everything each time he starts over. Like in GROUNDHOG DAY he’s able to spend time training with or getting to know a girl (Emily Blunt) and building on this each day even if she doesn’t remember.

Let’s be frankly honest, this is also very similar to the entertainingly ridiculous Nicolas Cage picture NEXT, where he can jump back in time a little bit and he uses his do-over powers to sneak around and dodge objects and stuff. EDGE OF TOMORROW ends up using similar storytelling techniques, and it’s good about not getting too repetitive in a movie that is by design repeating things. We don’t always have to see him learning everything, many times it’ll skip ahead to when he’s already fucked up some plan 52 times and figured out  a bunch of stuff.

The use of Blunt as an action hero is clever. She carries herself just right, she has the right coldness in her eyes, but the camera doesn’t bother trying to make her look buff like Sarah Connor, it’s very honest about her being a twig wearing clothes.

still_edgeoftomorrow

This would be a problem in any other world, but in this movie a soldier’s strength is provided by machinery. If they both had the suits on she could theoretically beat the shit out of Andre the Giant if she knew the right moves. (Plus we find out another reasonable explanation for how she managed to get in the Guinness Book for alien slaying.)

Confession: I can never remember which movies have Emily Blunt and which ones have Rebecca Hall.

Bill Paxton is in here as the Master Sergeant that Cruise has to report to when he’s thrown into combat. It’s cool to see ol’ Mr. Game Over Man in there but if I’m being honest with myself it’s more nostalgia for his past work than anything about what he does with this particular character.

But at least Cruise is stretching himself a little, because he’s not playing his usual hyper-competent hero. That’s one thing you don’t get from the advertising. He’s actually playing a coward who tries to get out of joining the battle – the opposite of his son in WAR OF THE WORLDS. He’s a Major, more of a PR guy than anything, who’s helped turn Blunt’s asskicking war hero character into a media icon. When they decide they want his boots on the ground (I wasn’t clear why – to show that anybody could do it with these suits?) he acts like it’s all a big misunderstanding. There’s something weird about this scene, like it’s on the border of being kinda broad but doesn’t quite make it there. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. But he tries to laugh it off. Killing and dying? Ha ha, no, I would be terrible at that job, that’s the job you people do. Ha ha am I right? No offense.

And then when he’s forced into it he’s pretty incompetent for a while, bumping into things, not knowing how to handle the other soldiers making fun of him. Even as he gains more skills he keeps doing stupid things like getting run over by a truck and having to start over. There’s actually alot of laughs in this one, something we could probly use more of in the big summer movies these days. And then by the end he’s kinda developed into standard Tom Cruise, but that’s okay because I enjoy standard Tom Cruise.

This got me to thinking, though, of what in my opinion would be the ultimate version of this movie: just do it with Bill Murray. Is it supposed to be some kind of spiritual sequel to GROUNDHOG DAY, you would wonder. But it doesn’t matter. Imagine Murray as the PR dick who tries to smarm his way out of combat, then as the doofus who has to put on the power suit and figure out what the fuck he’s doing, then the guy who knows everything from reliving the day over and over again, and he gets to dress everybody down.

Bonus: Stephen Tobolowsky as the General. And get Chris Elliot as the scientist.

This may sound ridiculous but I honestly think it would work. The character really does seem designed to be more out of his element than Cruise seems. They wouldn’t even have to rewrite it, though they’d want to let him ad-lib I’m sure.

Or also what if Tom Cruise wore a fake nose.

The screenplay is by a bunch of people, based on a Japanese novel called “All You Need Is Kill,” though a more literal translation would be “Everyone Knife Punch Always.” (I made that up but in my opinion as a non-Japanese reader it’s definitely true 110%.) One of the script rewriters was Christopher McQuarrie, Academy Award winner for THE USUAL SUSPECTS and writer/director of JACK REACHER. He’s kinda become Cruise’s guy since writing VALKYRIE for him. Next he’s gonna direct MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 5: THE MOST PROTOCOL.

EDGE OF TOMORROW is a fun movie that I would recommend to anybody. It’s kind of a collage of ideas we’ve seen before, but put into an unusual order. For me it’s not an instant summer classic, because it’s not the type of movie I keep thinking about for days and interpreting in different ways and wanting to re-watch immediately. If I had to choose I think I might prefer OBLIVION, because I liked its sort of sci-fi parody of the American dream, and the drones were more memorable and full of personality than any of the sci-fi inventions in this one. But I think most people would think I was crazy for saying that, and I wouldn’t fight ’em too much. EDGE is more of a crowdpleaser. Funnier, faster paced, more action and complex special effects spectacle type shit to enjoy. And more plot intensive.

In my opinion WAR OF THE WORLDS is still the top Tom Cruise science fiction picture, but that was from the director of JAWS. This one is from the director of JUMPER. Let’s give him some credit. Good effort Doug Liman.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Monday, June 9th, 2014 at 12:38 am and is filed under Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

69 Responses to “Edge of Tomorrow”

  1. Loved that little death-squeal from Cruise before each time he died. Hilarious. Screamed like a girl. Kentucky Fried Hard-Ass Sergeant was great. Paxton’s in his element when he’s playing funny asshole, like Chet in WEIRD SCIENCE, psycho vampire in Bigelow’s NEAR DARK and all-round jerk in Cameron’s TERMINATOR and TRUE LIES.

    It can’t be overstated enough how good an actor Cruise is, not just in this but throughout most of his career. Love the guy. One of the great Movie Star Actors. Always convincing, solid to the core.

    I also didn’t understand the abruptness of the General ordering Cruise into battle. And why send an older guy with no combat training when the grunts are all in their 20-30’s and physically peaking? Cruise looks good for his 50 odd years but it’s still a stretch. And like you pointed out Vern, it was just luck he got infected with the alien blood. It wasn’t like the General indicated there was a hidden reason why Cruise was the man to go. I guess it was necessary to move the story along. But that whole scene played out funny with Cruise trying to charm and squirm his way out of going, and humor-free General Gleeson not budging an inch.

    Action scenes were a bit too chaotic, but didn’t kill it for me.

  2. I have not read the novel, but I’m guessing that all they did was take the basic premise of “sci fi action GROUNDHOG’S DAY” and the movie is not really directly based on the novel, it looks like a pretty good movie in it’s own right but I would only be interested in going to the theaters to see if it was more directly based on the book, because how often do you see a Hollywood adaption of a “Light Novel”? (as the Japanese term is)

    if this is a success though will we see Cruise and Blunt in another Light Novel adaption? may I suggest Oreimo? (can’t you just picture it?)

  3. Emily Blunt needs to do more action stuff.

  4. Can anybody tell me if the 3D is worth it? I usually bail on the extra expense unless I’m assured that the 3D is in no way tastefully done and there is all kinds of gratuitous shit flying out at my face at all times. Flying debris, tree branches, gun barrels, blood splatters, yo-yos, people just straight up pointing at the camera for no reason. You know, like a 3D movie, not an overpriced diorama.

  5. I’m in the middle of the manga adaptation of the novel. Pretty dope so far. I don’t understand Griff’s thought process but anyway I’ll be seeing EoT (shame about that pussy name change decision) next week and hopefully I can avoid the urge to scan the movie screen from right to left every time there’s a cut.

  6. Great review and I pretty much agree with you, but I think you’re selling the monsters in this thing short. They were pretty spectacular in my opinion. Also, Majestik, I saw it in 3-D and it was fucking badass. Lots of stuff happening in it that make it far more worthy than most 3D shit I’ve seen lately

  7. Mouth…reading manga? my mind is blown

    and I’m sure I’ll check this movie out on blu ray, I just don’t feel the need to go the extra mile to see in theaters when I can tell it’s only loosely based on the book

  8. Mouth live-tweeted the Tonys yesterday.

    Stop trying to box him in. You can’t do it.

  9. Randy: Would you say it’s “$15.50 for a matinee” fucking badass?

  10. That Tonys show was fucking rad. Way better than the Oscars and whatever awards they do for tv shit and music shit every year. Hell, all day yesterday was great; I wouldn’t mind re-living it over and over and over and over again. I ate a cheese blintz for the first time in my life. A girl put blackberry jam and confectionated sugar on it. She spoke French. We drank Vouvray together. I saw a gaggle of cheery Spaniards chanting as their countryman dominated an opponent on a clay tennis court on the other side of the ocean. A friend texted me with news that he auditioned for a movie that will star Mickey Rourke. I got into spirited arguments with several not-heterosexual individuals about Hedwig & The Angry Inch, Neil Patrick Harris, and various recent stage plays. I stayed up real late and watched UFC highlights online and then I watched NEVER BACK DOWN for some reason right before passing out. I’d probably alter that last part a little bit if I could, like if Harold Ramis were still alive I’d ask him for some of that alien goo or whatever it is that makes Bill Murray and Tom Cruise wake up on the same day everyday. That’d be nice. I could use more piano practice.

    Slaughtering robo-aliens and hanging out with Emily Blunt on a daily re-loop would be pretty cool, too. I wouldn’t mind living [& dying] through that a zillion times, but I guess that’s what movies are for. And manga.

  11. Sad News from England. Rik Mayall has just died, age 56.

  12. The general wanted Cruise to go to the front with a camera crew and do his usual PR spin thing. Cruise was a pussy and tried to blackmail the general, so he didn’t have to go. This pissed off the General, so he had his guys arrest him, and then Shanghai’d him into that unit, saying he was a deserter, basically so that he’d get killed.

    I was surprised at the genre mixing of the Tony’s last night. It was borderline Badass Cinema. Wolverine hosted. Some of the presenters included Face from A-TEAM, Nite Owl from WATCHMEN and the Mr. Spock (not original version). Nightcrawler from X-MEN 2 performed. Walter White won an award. LL Cool J performed. The audience included Legolas and Samuel L. Jackson. There was a number from a new musical based on ROCKY. And Clint Eastwood was there doing something (I didn’t see what).

  13. Majestyk- damn, that’s a pretty steep price. Think we paid like 13 each, full price here in OKC, but seeing as how I probably make less than you do, it might even out. I didn’t feel ripped off. In fact, I kind of want to see it again. My favorite 3D experience beyond Gravity is still probably My Bloody Valentine though, so what the hell do I know?

  14. The Original Paul

    June 9th, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Anybody got an ACR for this one?

  15. Good lord. If anything is tip me off the fence towards seeing this it’s that picture of a ripped Emily Blunt.

  16. I dunno, people, am I the only one who actually read Cruise’s reluctance to go into battle NOT as cowardice? Think about this: the guy has no combat training whatsoever, and this request was completely tossed at him with zero notice, given no choice to reconsider, nothing. And its made clear that this is being done to to him specifically so that if he lives, HE will be the one blamed by the public for all the death and carnage. Cage was being totally manipulated and screwed over by the higher-ups. I personally really felt for him, so that when that opening battle comes, it was fucking terrifying to watch, because I was really relating to Cage and kept imagining myself in the situation. Truly intense sequence.

    Also, it doesn’t help that I’m by no means the kind of muscle-bound land-of-the-free spouting patriot that would gladly run into certain death. I’m not proud of it, but I wish people would be more understanding of folks who lack the will and skill to be a soldier. I feel sometimes that American society unfairly stigmatizes people that don’t want to enter war, which is especially hurtful to me, as I do my damn best to be supportive of the brave people that DO have the courage to risk all like that.

    So, I didn’t see Cage as a coward, but a guy unfairly tossed into a situation designed to fuck him over. And let’s not forget: while in the opening battle, Cage DID try to actually fight, once he got over the initial panic response.

  17. He wasn’t being sent to the front to fight, at first. They wanted him to go with a camera crew to do some rah-rah piece that would make the General look good when it was all over. Since he signed up to be in the PR part of the military he was afraid of being in the action. Rightly so. It wasn’t until he tried to blackmail the General that he was sent in to fight (and die).

    I don’t blame him in the least for not wanting to be on a battle front. The way I avoid that is by not joining the military. He said he joined after his PR firm went belly-up, so it didn’t sound like they’re drafting people, or, at least he wasn’t drafted. I do think that it was cowardly of him to try to blackmail his way out of it when he was expected to actually have to fight. I don’t blame him at all for being scared or freaked out. It’s the fact that he was perfectly willing to put on a smiley, happy, smarmy face to get others to sign up and sent out to the front, but then tried to blackmail his way out of it when he was expected to fulfill a duty he signed up for.

    I really enjoyed that Cruise was willing to play this kind of guy, for a change. Like Vern says, he develops into the standard Cruise hero, which I am also okay with, because I like the standard Cruise hero. I liked seeing a bit of a development in the character this time.

  18. In my defense, I only saw it once, so I could be forgetting something to make him seem more blatantly weaselly. But I think Cage’s attempt to get out of the situation was because he realized the real reason for being sent was to scapegoat him as the public’s target if lots of soldiers died? They had just been discussing before how the public was inclined to blame the General for that. So I interpreted (and so did Cage) that this was the real motivation for sending him in there. In which case, yeah, guy was being fucked over.

    Him trying to blackmail the General was of course a bad idea, but hey, part of the character development. My point was more that I take beef with people calling him a coward just for not having any desire to be tossed on a battlefield with no notice and fully aware it was to pin blame on him. That smacks of non-combative-people-shaming to me, so I just wanted to defend the character. Not everyone’s meant to be a solider.

    But that said, by the end, Cage became a truly great one, inspiring even.

  19. Let’s not forget that despite his latter day sins, Liman remains the director of the underappreciated masterpiece GO.

  20. I thought GO was good, not great. A late 90’s post-Pulp riff for the techno generation. It showed Liman had some style but not much substance. Had a good charismatic turn by T Olyphant in its favor.

  21. SWINGERS remains my favorite Liman mainly for unleashing V Vaughn into the stratosphere for better or worse. And I believe the very funny MADE might not have been er made without it.

  22. Also, I might as well point out, Cruise actually DID play a much more initially-cowardly character in one of his vehicles, back in Spielberg’s still-criminally-underrated little piece of nightmare called War of the Worlds. His cowardice came not from reluctance to fight, but from half-assing his own family life. So, if anything, WOTW was when Cruise really properly played against type.

  23. Ben (the other one)

    June 9th, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    I’ve read ALL YOU NEED IS KILL and of course I’ve seen GROUNDHOG DAY, but what nobody seems to realize is that the granddaddy of this whole genre is the brilliant late-80s novel REPLAY by Ed Grimwood. It’s about a guy who dies of a heart attack at age 49 only to wake up in his college-aged self and re-live the same thirty(ish) year period of his life over and over again. Unlike Groundhog Day and All You Need is Kill, he’s not limited to a single day, he gets decades and decades and decades. He tries differ families and careers, etc. It’s a really haunting and thought-provoking book. It reveals just how many happy accidents go into building a life; how you can’t reproduce a life by design even if you want to. I highly recommend it.

  24. Brandon Curtis

    June 9th, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    The picture just makes me want to give Emily Blunt a tongue bath.

  25. For me, GO is most notable for making me, and more specifically my hormones, sit up & take notice of Timothy Olyphant. He made me try to tell Katie Holmes, “Who cares if he’s a scumbag drug dealer! You snatch that boy up!”

  26. Something about GO didn’t sit right with me, mostly that it kind of portrayed rave-heads as comedic fodder and basically trivialized the serious drug problems that arose from that culture. I doubt that was the intent, but that was my interpretation. In that interview with Paul Thomas Anderson with the infamous quote that he hoped David Fincher gets testicular cancer after watching FIGHT CLUB, he also bashed GO. That said, Olyphant was pretty good.

  27. Jonathan – the ‘coward’ issue is valid, I think. I felt some sympathy for Cage the way he was just tossed into the shit without a choice and ESPECIALLY without any training. I mean, how many times did he ask the Sarge and the grunts where the fuckin safety was on his weapon and they never told him? Pretty poor induction. Is it not crucial that he be equipped for battle so he can fight, and also be able to protect his fellow soldiers? If I were in fierce battle I would want to know a trained team had my back. They were all a bit gung-ho, ex-con ALIENS-type grunts.

    So was he a coward for trying to get out of it? Not in hindsight after the carnage of the first battle. Guy was just LUCKY that a VERY RARE one in five hundred thousand Octo-Alien singled him out for a blood transfusion on that beach. And as Maggie said, the blackmail thing was cowardly, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he was put in an impossible corner and shit-scared.

    Funny, when Cage was on time-out in the London pub, the old guys in there gave him a hard time about not fighting. One of them even called him a coward. Interesting….

  28. But don’t you think his refusal to go to war was meant to have kind of a satirical edge to it? He’s the guy recruiting everybody to go off to die and then he’s like “Oh no, I wouldn’t be good at that, you guys don’t mind doing all the dying, right fellas?” Yeah, he’s sympathetic but I think it’s supposed to be a joke about chicken hawks.

  29. Darren – That was actually one of my favorite moments. I do suspect it was designed to remind audiences of their initial assessment of Cage, and show them “cowardice is relative.”

    Another moment that really stuck with me was during one replay, after he’s still in an emotionally raw state from realizing Rita is doomed no matter what, and he’s on the beach again. You see a fellow soldier, who Cage went out of his way to try and save from a dropping airship crushing him. This time, Cage morosely walks past the man as he’s crushed. A really poignant and effective moment, helped by the score overtaking sound effects, as Cage walks off, ignoring the cloud of dirt shot up, looking really depressed.

    In any other movie, such a moment would make him look really cruel and heartless…but the time loop allows it to be a really sad and sympathetic moment for him, not an act of cold refusal to save a man.

    Damn, just talking about this movie makes me wanna go see it again. Wish I weren’t flat-broke….

    Ben (the other one) – That does indeed sound like an incredible book. Being decades as opposed to a single day really opens up some emotional, heavy possibilities. I’d love to read it. Is it still in print?

  30. Vern – totally possible. I admit that part of my empathy for Cage was because, again, he kind of acted as a surrogate for me if I was placed in that situation. I can’t stress enough-the opening battle was just terrifying to watch, in that regard. Poor bastard wouldn’t even be told how to turn off his safety, as Darren mentioned.

  31. “mostly that it kind of portrayed rave-heads as comedic fodder and basically trivialized the serious drug problems that arose from that culture.”

    Honestly, I’ve learned that this is how those rave-heads see it by themself. I’m not saying that Doug Liman or John August have some serious drug experience, but I learned that there is a huge amount of people who HAVE that experiece and just laugh all kinds of dangerous and bad trips off, because it apparently didn’t happen to them. Kinda like “Yeah, remember when that one girl cut her own throat during a bad trip? I mean, I’m glad she survived, but isn’t that a funny story how we heard her first scream all night at that festival before she did that, ha ha!”

    In terms of movies: I’m known as being VERY much against all kinds of drugs, including alcohol and weed, but despite having some horrible experiences with former friends who got too much into that, I don’t mind seeing stoner comedies. After all I’m also against killing people, but love action and horror movies! But I can see where you come from.

  32. Long time no comment.

    Damn that picture of Emily Blunt is supposed to be twig like? I’m outing myself as a skinny fuck when I say her biceps are the same size if not bigger than mine. If that’s a twig I guess I like twigs. And fat girls. Because by these standard Jennifer Lawrence must be a behemoth.

    This may be the first Tom Cruise movie I’ll see in theaters in a long time. I was all about his team-up with McQuarrie as a die hard fan of Way of The Gun. I just don’t think they’ve hit their full potential yet. Reacher was ok. I’d love to see McQuarrie write a mean and vicious violent script for Cruise. I think he could kill it if he’d just step out of his box a bit.

  33. The satire went over my head but yeah Vern its there the way you point it out. Like Jonathan, I was caught up in the shitstorm Cage was getting into.

    Paul –

    My ACR is about a 6/10. Mostly comprehensible action. Moderate shaky-cam appropriate to the action. Aliens were a bit too fast to really take in what they fully looked like in some battle scenes, but we got a few good closeups.
    .
    My TCRDSR (Tom Cruise Repetitive Death Squeal Rating) = 9/10. Screamed like a big girl!

  34. I like how when he rolled under the car unsuccessfully, he yelped like a dog. Seemed pretty realistic, not to concerned with that scream not being high pitched, just some high, painful wail he’s probably never even heard himself before. I liked that, you don’t get to hear that in movies too often, especially from a dude who is pretty clearly into looking cool on camera

  35. Wouldn’t a lot of the soldiers (and Full Metal Bitch for that matter) know who Major William Gage of the Television is? I’m sure the face of Army recruitment in the case of an alien invasion would be pretty famous.

    Aside from that I have to say I really enjoyed the hell out of this. The middle hour was superb.

  36. CJ: I probably should have said that it seemed like a stoner movie that adapted itself to that culture. Stoner movies are fine because weed is rather harmless compared to the drugs taken in GO.

  37. The Original Paul

    June 12th, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Ok. I just saw this one and I am PISSED.

    Not pissed at the movie, you understand. ABSOLUTELY not that. This is easily one of the best big-concept sci-fi pictures I’ve seen for years. If not THE best. This was freakin’ awesome. And a “6/10” ACR does not do it justice, by the way. I understood everything that was going on. There was not a single point at which I was forced to think about where people were in relation to each other, or what was happening, or anything like that.

    No. I’m pissed that X-Men – which was, like that Cap movie from earlier on this year, slightly below-average at best – got a half-full screening of the largest cinema in the multiplex. Whereas this piece of sheer unadulterated awesome got itself TWO people in the cinema. And one of them was me. I know it was an afternoon matinee showing, but come the fuck on guys. This is not the way things should be.

    Man, I loved this one. The characters were great, Cruise was great, Blunt was great, the casting was spot-on, Paxton was doing his hilarious-badass thing better than he’s ever done before, the action was great, the premise was used to its full potential, and there were so many little moments that just made it. I totally agree with Jonathan on Cruise’s character, by the way. As well as that moment where he lets the guy die… now that’s non-verbal character-development with punch. And while Vern’s nailed the satirical edge of having the recruiter deliberately evade combat and send others to die in his place, I don’t think the character was ever, even at the start, meant to seem iredeemable. Hell, if he had been, it would have spoilt the movie. As it is, it just gives Cruise’s character plenty of room to develop.

    Eh, low cinema-attendance aside, I’m as happy as a humminbird in a sugar-water bath right now. This takes me back to the old big-concept sci-fi movies I grew up with – mostly the ones starring Arnie (“The Terminator”, “Total Recall”, etc.) It’s a genre I haven’t seen too much of recently. This is a timely reminder of how good it can be.

  38. The Original Paul

    June 12th, 2014 at 9:50 am

    And here’s a mid-year round-up of what I’ve seen so far:

    – I am lost. (Redford is great, but it’s not original and some of it bored me. Great ending, good movie, but flawed and a bit overlong.)
    – American Hustle. (The story doesn’t do the talent involved justice, but I loved how much everybody involved put into this one.)
    – Wolf of Wall Street. (Great film. Like “Stoker” I admired it more than loved it but it was hugely entertaining and had a lot of punch to it.)
    – Being Llewyn Davis. (Good use of cats, but not my thing overall. Thought it was very well-done for those whose thing it is.)
    – Her. (Just magnificent from start to finish.)
    – Non-Stop. (Good overall. A little preposterous, but well-paced, with great tension, and best whodunnit of the year so far.)
    – The Grand Budapest Hotel. (Just excellent, Wes Anderson’s second home-run in a row for me.)
    – Captain America: The Winter Soldier. (Passable. Not bad but deeply flawed.)
    – The Raid 2. (Bloody shakycam! But otherwise one of the best of the year.)
    – Locke. (Beautifully-filmed, fairly gripping one-room drama. Not quite my thing but still really good.)
    – Sabotage. (Just average… I wish it had been better than it was.)
    – X-Men: Days of Future Past. (See Captain America, they’re basically the same movie quality-wise.)
    – Edge of Tomorrow. (Another contender for “best of the year” for me.)

    I’m actually a little shocked at how few films I’ve seen so far this year. Even in 2013, which was a pretty bad year for film overall (especially since it had the misfortune to follow 2012, which was phenomenal), I managed to get to see over thirty of them in the cinema. I’ve been so much less “experimental” this year. I got burned quite badly after driving for an hour to see a couple of “art films” that turned out to be duds early last year, so I’ve avoided the arts cinema ever since. Which has meant that I’ve missed at least one film that, after hearing about it afterwards, I wish I’d gone to see.

    Favourite of the year for me so far would be a close decision between “Edge of Tomorrow”, “Her”, and “Grand Budapest Hotel”.

  39. Paul – kinda absurd to blame DOFP for EDGE’s box-office woes. If anything you should blame Warner Bros.’ marketing team for how they basically sold it as being more generic and OBLIVION 2 than it really is.

  40. The Original Paul

    June 13th, 2014 at 11:01 am

    RRA – it had marketing?!

    Seriously, I didn’t see a single trailer for this film. Not even in “X-Men”, which you’d think would have trailers for this kind of thing. I don’t think “X-Men” is quite “big concept sci-fi” in the same way that “Edge of Tomorrow” is, but there’s plenty of overlap there, or you’d think there would be. I’ve basically heard nothing about “Edge of Tomorrow” except for some enthusiastic reviews from the kinds of Internet critics whose opinions I generally regard as having more substance than the “regular” film media. If it hadn’t have been for those, and for the comments here, I wouldn’t have seen it. I was debating not going to it after all; glad I did.

    What’s DOFP?

  41. The Original Paul – I agree with you so strongly on how great this movie is it’s almost spooky. I’m livid too over the film’s abysmal box office, and I’m trying hard to not be spiteful to The Fault in Our Stars for burying it under a wave of hyper-sentimental teenage girls. It pisses me off that fans constantly lament the loss of fun, well-made, original and clever science fiction movies, but a movie like THIS, such an epic slam dunk, is totally abandoned by the public…just adds to my misanthropy.

    It could possibly be just bad timing of release. Because like I said, it opened next to an anticipated romantic drama based on a respected book and the sentimental female demographic is an often-underestimated force to be reckoned with. Add to that the marketing being too unsubtle and not generating much curiosity for the movie, instead opting for “LOOK GUYS IN ROBOT SUITS AND TOM CRUISE!” which probably made the movie look unintentionally silly and brainless. Just a timeless example of everything going wrong except for the actual movie, and that’s always tragic. Hopefully this movie gets fucking impressive blu-ray sales.

    Poor Tom. He’s been starring in some excellent stuff lately, but I read that his movies still under-perform, for the most part. It’s like, FUCK if the dude has horrible religious beliefs. He’s a great actor, has good taste in projects, and is consistently dedicated in his films. Edge of Tomorrow is wonderful, and if anyone ever complains about ‘no more smart blockbusters’, I will toss them this movie and say, “Go fuck off, hypocrite.”

  42. The Original Paul

    June 13th, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Jonathan – don’t give up hope. Very often a movie like this one gets a big following once it’s released on DVD / Blu-ray / livestream. Even if it doesn’t make too much money in the cinema, it might very well be more successful through those means instead. I hope so.

  43. The Original Paul

    June 13th, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    OH Days of Future Past.

    Yeah, I wasn’t blaming it, I was just making the comparison. Once again, a mediocre movie gets the money while a good one gets sidelined.

  44. And don’t forget that the movie might also become very successful overseas! Remember, when PACIFIC RIM, one of the biggest US box office bombs of last year suddenly became one of the biggest hits because of foreign box office results only?

  45. Improved on the book in almost every way.

    Exception was the very ending, though I don’t think the book did a very good job of justifying its own (Might have been the translation?). Movie’s ending is a shrug (!): what the fuck, may as well undercut the weight of our leads’ sacrifice with some arbitrary pep. Book’s ending makes emotional sense, but the movie gets the same idea across in the CRUISE GOES IT ALONE sequence. I don’t know.

    Read complaints that they changed a character from female to male, and cut another, but I’d rather they do that than keep them ladies and have the act like they did in the source material. They were just there for the narrator to talk about their relative boneability in his humble opinion and provide evidence that the author only knew women from his fav animes.

    Of course they could have kept the engineer a lady and just not written her as a shambling mess of flustered tits.

  46. The Original Paul

    June 14th, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    IronCup – I think the ending of the movie (can’t talk about the book, haven’t read it) was kinda convenient, but I think the film more than earned it. After everything this guy had been through, I was rooting for exactly what did happen to happen.

    And [HUGE SPOILER AHEAD] it’s so unusual for the characters who DID survive, to survive. I’m happy that they did.

  47. I’m with you, Original Paul. The ending does strike me now as, on a conceptual level, a cheat to avoid making the movie a truly poignant story of courage and sacrifice, but like you, I loved Cage and Rita so much that I was genuinely happy to see they made it. It was only after I walked out of the theater and thought about it from a distance, without being invested in the movie as it happened, did the meta-issues with it hit me. But hey, even if its doesn’t entirely make sense and is a blatant “we don’t want our audience to think TOO HARD” thing, at least it’s an emotionally cathartic moment on its own. So I can forgive it.

  48. I also thought the end was a cheat, but since it made sense that it would happen in the world they built, I was giving them a break. Plus, I am a sucker for a happy ending.

  49. The Book Ending wouldn’t have really worked with the changes made to the mechanics of the central conceit/ULTIMATE MISSION TO MAKE TIME STICK. No issues with the changes themselves, as this is a rare instance of a movie having to complicate its source to make things slightly less a brisk jog straight to the finish, and like I said I don’t think the novel justified the mechanic that led to the particular poignancy of its ending that well. What I do miss is the book conclusion’s bitter-sweetness; victory in a single battle cut by the resignation to keep fighting. With the movie, it’s less that they both survive for a potential romantic happyish ever after than the WE SHOT THE CORE NOW EVERY SINGLE BAD GUY IS DEAD that bothers me, hours later.

    Surprisingly good time at the pictures overall, though.

    Rad that the leads’ gender dynamics tended to run opposite what they would in your typical action flick.

  50. The Original Paul

    June 15th, 2014 at 8:23 am

    IronCup – from what I remember, it wasn’t that the bad guys were dead, it’s that they were effectively defenceless. They were used to fighting with absolute knowledge of what their enemy would do. Take away that knowledge and they’d not be able to function. It’s like losing a limb – if you’re born without it you learn to live without it from a very early age, but if you lose it as an adult then it can take years to re-adjust.

  51. I don’t know if my memory of him saying something like “explosion then alien forces just went limp like fish” is accurate, but I’m pretty sure Gleeson used the phrase “meeting no resistance” in reference to Russian and Chinese forces moving west.

    I guess we’ll know for certain in some far-off future where idk someone without a swiss-cheese memory watches it (again?).

    In any case the tone of we’ve-got-them-on-the-ropes is a far cry from the source’s Maybe We’re Not Totally Fucked Forever After All I Guess I Don’t Know Guess It’s Time To Settle In For A Life of Kills.

  52. The Original Paul

    June 16th, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    All Gleason says is they’ve “met no resistance”. Basically leaving it open for interpritation.

    Although the mimics are technically, according to science exposition guy, one single organism, so it might be that they all just die when the central nervous system does.

  53. Finally caught this. A solid idea, well executed.

    Of course people are comparing it to a video game, because he has to keep trying things over and over again until he figures out how to get it right and beat the aliens. But he doesn’t lose everything each time he starts over.

    The fact that he doesn’t lose everything each time he starts over is the difference watching someone play a video game (boring) and capturing the experience of playing a video game. That mixture of repetition, rote memorization and slow accumulation of skill is what video games are all about. The combat suit is his game controller (that part where he was asking how to turn the safety off he might as well be shouting “which button jumps?!” into a headset). That part where he goofed off in the farmhouse is like in UNCHARTED 2 when I ran around the Tibetan village petting yaks for like half an hour instead of progressing the story, except Tom Cruise’s version is better because he got to sleep with Emily Blunt. Then, at the climax when he loses his time travel powers, that’s when he’s on the last level, on his final life and all out of continues. Some DARK SOULS shit.

  54. I missed the whole gaming evolution the last 20 years(I haven’t played since I was a teen in the Atari and Commodore 64 days), but the way some of you guys talk about them makes me wonder sometimes if I’m not missing out. My biggest fear is that I will enjoy the shit out of them but get lost in my man-cave, never to be heard from again. Best not to go there at this point in my life.

  55. uh yeah, you are missing out, video games are one of the few things that make living in the modern day tolerable

  56. onthewall2983: “CJ: I probably should have said that it seemed like a stoner movie that adapted itself to that culture. Stoner movies are fine because weed is rather harmless compared to the drugs taken in GO.”

    Wasn’t ecstasy the only drug in GO? While ecstasy may be more dangerous than weed, from what I understand it’s way less dangerous than alcohol, for example on the page at http://www.drugscope.org.uk/resources/faqs/faqpages/why-do-people-die-after-taking-ecstasy you can see some statistics on ecstasy related deaths in the UK, the numbers each year never go above 12 for ecstasy alone, or 45 for ecstasy “in combination with other drugs”. So if you guys are judging GO for portraying ecstasy as fun you should be even more bothered by any movie where people are shown having a good time while drinking without any serious consequences.

  57. Who says that we aren’t bothered by that? Come on, man. Don’t give me that dumb “It’s okay, because there are more dangerous things out there” argument. Don’t stab me and tell me that everything is cool, because more people die through guns than knive attacks every year!

  58. I was planning on skipping this one. I can’t even think of the last time I went to the flicks to see a movie starring the Cruiser. But you guys are now making me actually want to go see it after all. Sounds pretty fun. I recently got back into video games after completing skipping the last generation because I hate shooters and games that try to act like movies instead of putting gameplay first.

    I have found that one thing I missed is how it was a fun way to exercise the brain. I remember when I was a kid that’s a big reason I had such good hand eye coordination. So thank god for free mobile puzzle games to help work out the brain while waiting on the train.

  59. Broddie, I think it’s a good one. Solid concept, well executed with wit and taste. I think you’ll like it.

  60. >uh yeah, you are missing out, video games are one of the few things that make living in the modern day tolerable

    Also love, the beauty of nature, humor, upcoming 4k TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE re-release, etc.

  61. yeah, but video games are the best

  62. I get very joyful when I think of the possibility of VR actually becoming a thing

  63. CJ: ‘Don’t give me that dumb “It’s okay, because there are more dangerous things out there” argument.’

    But why is the argument dumb? If you have a huge amount of people getting harmless enjoyment out of something and a tiny number who get hurt by it, does it make sense to automatically condemn the thing based on the fact that it does very rarely cause terrible harm? If you really wanted to adopt that philosophy you’d end up condemning a lot of the ordinary pleasures of life, like getting in a car for any reason other than practical necessities like work and groceries (driving to go to a movie once in a while, which carries with it some risk you’ll die or kill someone else in an accident), or enjoying some kind of art that may inspire real-life violence in a small number of deranged people (that ‘slenderman’ inspired murder comes to mind). Basically most forms of fun are not 100% safe, I think you gotta distinguish ‘reasonable’ risks from ones that have a much higher risk/fun ratio (like shooting heroin).

  64. The Undefeated Gaul

    June 27th, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    I managed to catch one of the last few screenings tonight and I’m glad I did. Very cool film, Cruise delivers quality once again. If there is anything to complain about, it would be the design of the aliens, which seemed incredibly unoriginal to me. Again with the tentacles, looked like they came straight out of The fucking Matrix to me. Also, what is it with blue glowing aliens? Pacific Rim, Attack The Block, all the aliens gotta have a blue glow these days.

    Still, only a minor complaint, I enjoyed this a lot. One of the better ones this year imho.

    Now, on to The Raid 2… which finally comes out here next week. ONLY 3 FUCKING MONTHS AFTER THE REST OF THE WORLD

  65. I liked this one quite abit. Unfortunately the gimmick of the movie takes precedent to everything else, so when Cruise loses his powers the movie develops into a lot more generic sci fi action blockbuster with a surprisingly lame climax where everything happens in pitch black. For the first two acts this movie had me sold and uses the concept in clever ways and is smart and funny. So it bummed me out that the last half hour was quite boring.

  66. Mad Marx of the Hell's Engels

    May 29th, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Actually, “Groundhog Day” plagiarized Jack Sholder’s (yep, of “The Hidden”) film “12:01”. There was some talk of lawsuits, but the small indie couldn’t compete with the army of lawyers behind Hollywood’s huge-budgeted ripoff.

    So, the ripoff is now considered an original idea, and “12:01” is… on Youtube:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDQZ3XXjaTs

  67. Hey Mad Marx, “12:01” was actually based on the short film “12:01 PM” starring Kurtwood Smith. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098962/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

    Does the lawsuit make any mention of that? Can’t imagine a short film has the resources to fight it.

    I bring up the short purely for the sake of chronological mention. I still think GROUNDHOG DAY deserves lots of credit for making the concept a comedy and using that comedy to explore profound themes.

  68. I don’t think it’s fair to say plagiarized and if so it wasn’t from Jack Sholder’s version, it was from the 1973 short story his was based on. Even if you choose to believe that Groundhog Day stole the premise, removing the thriller concept of trying to stop a murder makes for a very different take on the story and is the source of its substance. It becomes about him learning to be a better person.

  69. I saw the extended TV Movie Remake of 12:01 when I was 9 and absolutely loved it, I still remembers part of it vividly to this day. I imagine it really was pretty good, but I think I’ll keep it as a fond memory for now

Leave a Reply





XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <img src=""> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <b> <i> <strike> <em> <strong>