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Terminator Genisys Review

Grim

This declining franchise really needed a jolt to the head, but the producers disappointingly opt to play it safe with an unambitious script and child-friendly action. After the OK part 3 (2003's Rise of the Machines) and a weak part 4 (2009's Salvation), this film is unlikely to win new fans or keep the old ones hoping for more. Even though it's made to a high technical standard, the movie feels derivative and safe, avoiding any properly dangerous tension for a series of badly contrived action set-pieces.

It opens in 2029, as plucky rebel John Connor (Jason Clarke) is fighting the world-dominating Skynet machines with the help of his right-hand man Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney). When Skynet sends a Terminator (the young Arnold Schwarzenegger) back to 1984 Los Angeles to kill John's mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke), Kyle follows to rescue her. But he arrives to find the timeline already altered. Sarah had been attacked years earlier, rescued at age 9 and raised by an ageing Terminator she calls Pop (the present-day Arnie). Since everything has changed, Sarah and Kyle decide to jump forward to 2017 San Francisco so they can stop Skynet from taking over the planet with its Genisys operating system. But when they arrive, they realise that there's been even more jiggery-pokery in the timeline.

The way the film wraps in and around the 1984 original is clever, with added intrigue in the fact that Kyle and Sarah haven't yet fallen for each other and conceived John. So when he turns up in San Francisco, there are all sorts of mind-bending possibilities. Alas, the screenwriters can't be bothered to play with them. Instead they structure the film as a series of rambling expository conversations leading to yet another pointless flurry of explosive carnage. Honestly, if Terminators are literally indestructible, why bother trying to defeat them with guns? And yet everyone keeps shooting at them, just making them mad.

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Los Angeles premiere of 'Terminator Genisys'

David Ellison and Dana Goldberg - Los Angeles premiere of 'Terminator Genisys' held at Dolby Theatre - Arrivals at Dolby Theatre - Hollywood, California, United States - Sunday 28th June 2015

David Ellison and Dana Goldberg
David Ellison and Dana Goldberg
David Ellison and Dana Goldberg
David Ellison and Dana Goldberg
David Ellison and Dana Goldberg

Terminator Genesis Berlin Premiere

Jason Clarke, Dana Goldberg and David Ellison - The Terminator Genesis Berlin Premiere at Sony Center Berlin at Potsdamer Platz. - Berlin, Germany - Sunday 21st June 2015

Jason Clarke
Jason Clarke

Premiere Of Netflix's 'Grace And Frankie'

Dana Goldberg, David Ellison and Marcy Ross - A variety of stars were snapped as they attended the Premiere Of Netflix's 'Grace And Frankie' which was held at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live in Los Angeles, California, United States - Wednesday 29th April 2015

Dana Goldberg, David Ellison and Marcy Ross
Dana Goldberg, David Ellison and Marcy Ross
Dana Goldberg, David Ellison and Marcy Ross

Club Skirts Presents The Dinah Shore weekend 2015

Dana Goldberg - Club Skirts Presents The Dinah Shore weekend 2015 at Palm Springs Convention Center - Palm Springs, California, United States - Friday 3rd April 2015

Dana Goldberg
Dana Goldberg
Dana Goldberg

HRC Los Angeles Gala Dinner 2015

Dana Goldberg - A variety of stars were photographed as they attended the Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles Gala Dinner 2015 which was held at the JW Marriott Hotel and featured a performance from Mariah Carey in Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 14th March 2015

Dana Goldberg

Jack Reacher Review


Good

Tom Cruise may be oddly miscast in this big action movie, but he certainly knows how to make one of these preposterous films connect with an audience. And writer-director McQuarrie adds a driving sense of internal logic that keeps it consistently enjoyable. So even if the hero in Lee Child's series of novels is a 6-foot-5 blond-haired, blue-eyed muscle-man, the cast and crew get away withThe story takes place in Pittsburgh, where a multiple shooting leads Detective Emerson (Oyelowo) and DA Rodin (Jenkins) to a withdrawn gun nut (Sikora). It seems like an open-and-shut case until man of mystery Jack Reache (Cruise) turns up. An off-the-grid ex-Army agent, Jack offers to help defence attorney Helen (Pike) prove her client's innocence. Of course, he instantly solves the case, uncovering a conspiracy and putting himself and Helen in danger from a ruthless Russian (Herzog) and his henchman (Courtenay). Meanwhile, Jack befriends a gun-range owner (Duvall) who has a connection to the case.

There's clearly an attempt here to echo Bourne-style questioning of identity and morality through Jack's hazy history and super-spy methodology. And the plot is also packed with far-fetched details and silly connections (Helen is Rodin's daughter), although McQuarrie does his best to keep things plausible and intelligent enough to hold our attention. There's also a sense of the bigger issue in Jack's life, that he can't cope with the grey-scale relativity in society and prefers right-or-wrong battlefield morality. He also hates modern-day connectivity, refusing to carry a mobile phone. But then he doesn't travel with a vehicle, weapon or change of clothing either; he prefers to "borrow" everything as needed.

Despite being nearly a foot shorter than the literary Jack, Cruise inhabits the role nicely, offering a slightly scrapper, more shadowy version of his Mission: Impossible character. But he's just as sexless, never putting much oomph into his flirtation with the always terrific Pike. On the other hand, he generously lets his costars steal every scene. Duvall is hilariously offhanded, while Herzog adds his own mad genius into his role as a, well, mad genius. And Oyelowo more than holds his own opposite these veteran hams. So even if the film never tries to be anything more than a ripping, mindless thriller, the stylish filmmaking and cool characters make it an enjoyable waste of time.

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Dana Goldberg

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