Showing posts with label Tom Cruise. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tom Cruise. Show all posts

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


I’m a big fan of clever, great looking science fiction but wasn’t really excited by the prospect of the latest Tom Cruise vehicle, Oblivion. The trailer seemed to suggest the great looks but gave little indication of the ideas to back up the visuals. I was wrong. Oblivion is a film which I enjoyed much more than I anticipated and as an overall package is a pretty decent film. It’s 2077 and the Earth has been partially destroyed by a war between humans and an alien force known as Scavengers. Although we won the war, we couldn’t save the planet as the use of atomic weapons left it mostly uninhabitable. With most of humanity relocated to Titan and the rest aboard an orbiting space station awaiting their departure, the last two people on Earth live above the clouds and form a skeleton crew in charge of maintaining drones which protect vital sea based energy converters from the few remaining Scavs.

Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is drone mechanic 49 who spends his days servicing downed drones while dodging the occasional Scav attack. His partner is Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) who monitors Jack from the clouds and she reports back to Control (Melissa Leo) aboard the orbiting space station. Jack finds himself suffering unusual flashbacks to a time before his birth and when a craft crashes into his sector he discovers that its only survivor is the woman from his flashback dreams. As Jack uncovers new and disturbing evidence after an encounter with the Scavs, it appears that all is not what it seems on Earth. Oblivion isn’t a fantastic film but when science fiction blockbusters these days are either comic book based or just loud, shouty, exploding Michael Bay style affairs, Oblivion harks back to the 1970s period of sci-fi about ideas which are set in a fleshed out and realistic world. Oblivion not only looks brilliant but has an engaging plot which is full of surprises.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Eyes Wide Shut

Completed mere days before his death in 1999, Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut is an erotically charged thriller starring the then married Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Based on the 1926 novella Dream Story by Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler the plot revolves around a rich New York City doctor Dr. William ‘Bill’ Harford (Cruise) and his wife Alice (Kidman) during a tumultuous few days in their marriage. The sexually charged Bill is accused of flirting and wanting to make love to women at a party and to his patients by his jealous and paranoid wife who then gets upset when her husband tells her that he isn’t the jealous type and trusts her implicitly. She drops a bombshell on Bill who then receives a call to attend to a patient. During the night Bill ventures into the city on a journey of sexual discovery and mystery which leaves him worried for his safety.

Eyes Wide Shut is split into two distinct halves, the first of which is an often explicit tale of sex, debauchery and passion. The second half mostly drops the erotic nature of the story in favour of all out thriller. Both halves were massively tense but equally enjoyable. I thought the film was fantastic and although it could be argued that in the hands of a lesser director and without the A List cast this would end up as a straight to video release, in the capable hands of Kubrick it is a taut and creeping film which I couldn’t take my eyes off.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Jack Reacher

The popular Jack Reacher series of novels had its film rights snapped up soon after the release of the initial novel in 1997. Fifteen years and seventeen books later, the first film has finally made it to the screen. The ninth book in the series Long Shot forms the basis of the film Jack Reacher. A lone sniper sets up shop in a parking garage before training his sights on people across the river. In quick succession he fires six shots, killing five random people. A trail of clues left at the scene leads to his arrest and after failing to confess he asks the police to get him Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise), an ex Military Policeman and drifter. By the time Reacher gets to the scene of the crime the accused has been beaten into a coma. Believing the culprit is guilty based on a previous encounter; Reacher is nonetheless hired by Defence Lawyer (Rosamund Pike) and begins to uncover a deeper plot.

 I’ve read just one Jack Reacher novel and enjoyed it but not enough to rush out and continue with the series. Even though I’m not a die hard fan I raised my eyebrow at the casting of Tom Cruise as what has become a distinctive and well loved character. Having seen the film, to me the casting now fits perfectly. Cruise may lack the height and physical presence of Reacher but he more than makes up for it in screen presence and overall there are very few areas in which I can fault the film.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Rock of Ages

"This place is about to become a sea of sweat, ear-shattering music and puke"

In 1987 Sherrie (Julianne Hough) sets off from her home in Oklahoma towards L.A with dreams of rock stardom. Almost as soon as she arrives she is mugged and helped by Drew (Diego Boneta) who works at the Bourbon Room, a Sunset Strip rock club. Sherrie gets a job at the club and she and Drew begin a relationship while both dreaming of becoming singers. Meanwhile the club’s owner Dennis (Alec Baldwin) and his right hand man Lonny (Russell Brand) are struggling to keep the club open amid protests from the Mayor’s wife Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Rock legend Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) of the band Arsenal is due to perform at the club with the hopes of beginning a solo carer, if he can get his head back in the game long enough to do so.

I’d read mixed reviews before seeing this film but I’m a fan of a lot of 80s rock music, from Iron Maiden to Metallica to Blue Cheer via Motley Crue, Motorhead and Pantera. Unfortunately this is not the sort of rock music you get with Rock of Ages. Instead you end up with the likes of Bon Jovi and Journey. This is not the type of music I enjoy, especially when the lyrics are used in place of dialogue in an annoying coming of age story. This film is about as much rock n’ roll as a jam sandwich with the crusts removed.