A smarter-than-expected script turns this noisy sci-fi action movie into something remarkably entertaining. A-list stars, solid actors and whizzy effects aside, the dialogue is packed with clever observations that are both mind-bending and unexpectedly hilarious. And director Doug Liman (Mr. & Mrs. Smith) lets his cast have a lot of fun with it.
In the near future when aliens called Mimics have rampaged across Europe, Cage (Tom Cruise) is a military media spokesman suddenly sent into the front-lines from London, battling the fearsome creatures on the beaches of Normandy. He's killed fairly quickly, but wakes up that same morning and is again sent through battlefield prep with harsh Sgt Farell (Bill Paxton) and a rag-tag team. Again and again. Eventually he breaks out of the pattern and discovers another soldier, Rita (Emily Blunt), who seems to understand why he is living this day over and over only to die each time. So he uses the repetition to figure out what's really going on, and he and Rita plot a way to stop the aliens for good.
Yes, the premise is a direct riff on Groundhog Day, as Cage makes the most of each day, learning something new that will get him further the next. And the film's script knowingly plays with the set-up, offering witty comments and some genuinely suspenseful set-pieces along the way, all sharply edited into a relatively coherent narrative, although the ending will generate a lot of post-screening debate. Liman packs the film with kinetic, intense action sequences that are rendered with strikingly realistic effects that occasionally have some extra fun with the 3D.
Continue reading: Edge Of Tomorrow Review
After his computer-genius father Flynn (Bridges) disappeared, Sam (Hedlund) grew up not wanting anything to do with Dad's business. But when the company shifts priorities, he takes action. This sparks a message from Flynn's business partner (Boxleitner) that sends Sam investigating the old arcade game Tron.
Suddenly, Sam is zapped into his father's cyberworld, where he has to battle to stay alive. And when he finds his now-old dad, he teams up with the hot Quorra (Wilde) to defeat the evil leader Clu (a digital young Bridges) and get home.
Continue reading: Tron: Legacy Review
Samir Horn (Cheadle) was 12 when his cleric father was killed by a car bomb. After years struggling with Islam, he becomes an explosives expert, working within a radical faction. When FBI agents Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce) and Max Archer (Neal McDonough) storm their headquarters in Yemen, Samir and his cohorts are jailed. Soon, he is befriended by Omar (Said Taghmaoui) who recruits him to join his latest mission. Under the guidance of leaders Fareed (Aly Khan) and Nathir (Raad Rawi), Samir will construct 50 bombs, each one destined for a trip on a U.S. cross-country bus come Thanksgiving. As a man of conscience (and secrets), involvement in such a plot will test every fiber of his being -- and his loyalties.
Continue reading: Traitor Review
A football comedy disguised as a love-triangle-laugher, Leatherheads is a snappy throwback fueled by the filmmaker's affection for a bygone era. Clooney's third directorial effort is his lightest film so far, which only means he isn't flogging the fear-mongering tactics of Sen. Joseph McCarthy (Good Night and Good Luck) or dissecting the deranged brain of a game show host who believes he's a CIA operative (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind).
Continue reading: Leatherheads Review
Against all odds, the e-happy Santa Clause series is back with a third installment, which involves Santa (Tim Allen) facing off against the Napoleon-complexed Jack Frost (Martin Short), who's got his eyes on the prize of being the supremo wintertime icon. His idea is to take advantage of a rare "escape clause" which lets Santa step down willingly if he says a certain phrase, so Frost can sieze the big red suit. Naturally, trickery is involved. Apparently Jack Frost is a very bad boy. You can tell by the fright wig hairdo.
Continue reading: The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause Review
Apart from the North Pole, much has changed since the original Santa Clause. Calvin's son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd), has become an embittered teenager who rebels against society by spraying graffiti on the walls of his school. Charlie's mother and stepfather (Wendy Crewson and Judge Reinhold), blame his misbehavior on Calvin's absence, but Principal Newman (Elizabeth Mitchell) doesn't care about the reasons behind the misbehavior, she just wants it to stop.
Continue reading: The Santa Clause 2 Review
10 Things I Hate About You director Gil Junger gives us Hewitt at her most typical: She's an American violin student in London on the eve of her big graduation concert. She's living with a British boyfriend (Paul Nicholls), and they seem to be on the downswing. Sure enough, that night he forgets about the concert, they have a big fight, and she ends up dead in a car accident. WTF? That's right, 30 minutes in and J. Love is dead.
Continue reading: If Only Review
Gossip does not get rid of that taste.
Continue reading: Gossip Review
How's this for a final exam? Jake Harris (Val Kilmer), a controversial FBI instructor, immerses his students in elaborate, realistic training situations, and he pushes them to their limits for their final test. He flies his students (Christian Slater, Patricia Velasquez, Jonny Lee Miller, Clifton Collins Jr., Kathryn Morris, Eion Bailey, and Will Kemp) to a remote island used for war games practice, which has been deserted for the weekend.
Continue reading: Mindhunters Review
Such is the sorry story of Assault on Precinct 13, a reimagining of John Carpenter's 1976 genre gem (which, in turn, was modeled after Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo) about cops and criminals trapped in an old police station who are forced to work together to fend off a horde of murderous invaders. Directed by Jean-François Richet, the new film holds to that fundamental premise, though it tweaks virtually every important aspect of Carpenter's thriller for maximum vapidity. Now set in snow-bound Detroit on New Year's Eve (rather than in arid California), Richet's Assault switches the skin color of its leads - the police sergeant (Ethan Hawke's Jake Roenick) is now white, while the head criminal (Laurence Fishburne's mythic Marion Bishop) is black - and abandons Carpenter's astute portrait of uneasy, ready-to-explode racial tensions. In this version, the cops are Caucasian (including Brian Dennehy's Irish racist, who tellingly refers to the inmates as "those people"), the bad guys are African-American and Hispanic, and any friction generated from such divisions is swept under the rug in favor of ratcheting up the ho-hum action.
Continue reading: Assault On Precinct 13 (2005) Review
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