Oblivion is a love letter to Science Fiction–

A man, wearing a white jacket with a gun on his back, walks through a destroyed bridge. The tagline "Earth is a memory worth fighting for" appears on the top while Tom Cruise's name, the title of the film, the rating and the rest of the credits appears on the bottom.

Oblivion is a beautifully filmed homage to all things Science Fiction–and though it may not be 100% original, it does create a fresh spin on old themes and therefore shines and takes you on a journey worth taking–especially on the big screen.  It helps that Tom Cruise was made for roles like this–he is strong and engaging–and again, I can not deny Mr. Cruise’s star quality.

Most of the credit though, has to go to co-writer/director Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy)–who created the Graphic Novel on which it is based.  Kosinski is an obvious lover of Sci-Fi and has been influenced and inspired by many sources, yet I can not help but like the universe he created.  The actions sequences were interesting and very polished, if not especially memorable.  Again, it may not go down as a ground-breaking classic–but it will join the ranks as a fine, entertaining addition to the genre.

In a short time he was able to capture the essence of the world and then slowly he revealed the bigger picture, which had plenty of nice, unique touches.  I guessed most of the “twists” but it by no means lessened my enjoyment.  But, in true sci-fi fashion, Kosinski brought up some compelling themes–what equates humanity?  And do we have a soul and/or spirit that remains with us?  How easily are humans controlled?  Etc.  Nicely done.

Some kudos for the beautiful landscape must be expressed–cinematographer Claudio Miranda just took home an Oscar for Life of Pi and it was no fluke–he has an incredible eye and some of the shots are gorgeous!  The modern, cool house in the sky was particularly well conceived–I can live there.  😉 Filmed in Iceland, the barren and isolated feeling worked well with the narrative and added to the story itself.

You also can not go wrong when you’ve chosen a strong supporting cast.  Morgan Freeman is always awesome.  I was impressed by Andrea Riseborough as Victoria and will keep an eye on her future.  Olga Kurylenko as Julia is a bit flat–but I think she is like that all time–and it’s a shame because it could have elevated the film.  Nice to see Nikolaj Coster-Waldau not being a cocky Lannister :D, but his and Melissa Leo‘s roles were small, yet solid.

Bottom line?  Not a bad way to spend a time at the movies.  Despite its obvious influences, I felt it was still a well crafted film–beautiful in scope–and entertaining throughout.  Trust me, I’ve seen worse.

Oblivion Official Trailer #1 Tom Cruise Sci-Fi Movie HD – YouTube

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You’re Next Viral Campaign is Awesome!

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I was very, very fortunate to see, one of only two screenings of Lionsgate’s acquired You’re Next at Fantastic Fest 2011 and let me say I was blown away!  It was fun, creative and pretty damn awesome.

Finally, the marketing has begun!  We got a cool trailer–‘You’re Next’ Trailer – YouTube— and now I found out about this cool viral campaign via Collider.  I had to share because it is brilliant.

Can’t wait to see it again (and get creepy masks for Halloween)!!  Release date is in August–check it out:

Horror Film YOU’RE NEXT Takes Over Posters for PEEPLES in New York City as Part of Viral Takeover

 

I enjoyed Jack Reacher. A lot.

The poster shows a man, injured and holding a gun, standing in front of a car. Text at the bottom reveals the tagline and in bottom reveals the film's main actor and title, credits, rating and release date.

Tom Cruise is indeed Jack Reacher and I have to admit that he is pretty cool.  Yes, it may be a bit predictable and it does not reinvent the genre–but, it does deliver big time in the fun factor and the entertainment value!  I appreciated the realistic approach to the action and can not deny Cruise his star quality–he sells it and you end up buying it.   🙂

First of all, let me say that I have not read any of Lee Child‘s novels, so I did not go in with an image of the character that many of his fans did.  What I understand is that JR is a huge, beast of a man–“Reacher is 6’5″ tall (1.96 m) with a 50-inch chest, and weighing between 220 and 250 pounds (100–115 kg). He has ice-blue eyes and dirty blond hair.”  And obviously, Cruise does NOT fit that description.

In his defense, I think he carried the attitude and displayed the ability to be that character without the size and ice-blue eyes.  He is BIG in spirit.  Plus, let us not forget that size does not equal prowess–Bruce Lee, anyone?  So, bottom line is that I bought it.  It was filmed in a believable fashion and unless you are set on Reacher’s physical appearance, it should not be an issue.

 

Credit must also be given to writer/director Christopher McQuarrie, who has been impressive with his screenplays–(The Usual Suspects quite possibly being his masterpiece)–and after this, is now in talks to direct Cruise in the next Mission Impossible film.  Well, he makes smart choices here.  By taking his time with the action he allows it to become tense and palpable.  McQuarrie also plays it smart with the narrative.  Yes, you’re able to pick up the hints and clues–but that in itself is part of the fun.  He allows Reacher to be impressive and yet also reminds you to wink and smile too.

Add a strong supporting cast–the lovely Rosamund Pike, the ever-awesome Richard Jenkins, the interesting David Oyelowo, and the creepy Werner Herzog— and a wonderful cameo (that I don’t want to spoil) and you end up enjoying your time in Jack Reacher’s company.

So much so, that I am actually wishing for a sequel–crazy–right?!  😀   Indeed.

Jack Reacher Trailer

Catch Up Time! (Again.)

Playing catch-up…again.  I am seriously behind on current films–life seems to be getting in the way of posting lately–but, I have watched a few.  Here we go with another compilation post!

Robot and Frank

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I LOVED THIS FILM!!  Wonderful.  Every once in awhile you find a treasure and Robot and Frank is a just that.  It is a quiet film from first time director Jake Schreier and TV writer Christopher Ford, that appears simple yet reveals its complexity deliberately and slowly.  It is a shame that Frank Langella was not nominated throughout the award season last year and that this film went almost unnoticed.  Langella is brilliant. I must mention Robot’s voice, which is performed by Peter Sarsgarrd and I was impressed what he is able to achieve without the aid of facial expression.  The supporting cast (Tyler, Marsden and Sarandon) happens to be perfect, too.  This film will touch you and make you consider the passage of time, aging and the moments that connect us to each other.   It is beautiful.  Warm, funny and poignant.  Find it and watch it!  😀

Olympus Has Fallen

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Big and fun!  Olympus Has Fallen reminded me of an 80’s action movie–and that is not totally a bad thing.  Of course, you have to suspend your rational thinking and knowledge of how the American government works (things would’ve never gone that far)–but, it is still fun.  I like the action version of Gerard Butler (than all the horrible rom-coms of late) and was happy to see him kick some ass.  The main star of this film though is director Antoine Fuqua, who knows how to direct tense, well paced action.  Thank goodness!  Because if I had to take this on credibility–it would FAIL!  LOL!

Admission

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I liked Admission–a lot.  Also, it is NOT a romantic-comedy–it is more like a dramedy.   It may have helped that I am a huge Tina Fey and Paul Rudd fan and they have a wonderful chemistry that carries the film.  Director Paul Weitz has yet to make a better film than About a Boy, but he still has a nice style of telling a story.  My favorite aspect though is the non-Hollywood approach to everything.  That is refreshing and adds extra points of awesome.

PS Lilly Tomlin needs to make more movies!  She’s fantastic.

The Oranges

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The Oranges has a very strong, capable cast and a unique approach to a common movie theme, yet somehow it fails to impress.  It is not bad–it just feels uneven.  I think the main problem is tone–the narrative never finds the right approach.  I think it was going for dark comedy, without being truly funny or cutting deep enough.  I did like the freshness of the theme and the honest growth of the characters–but not enough to love it.

Sinister

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Oh Sinister!  At first, I was hooked.  Heavy on mood and a clever, original premise, the story starts strong–yet, I found the typical, horror-movie stupid choices (redeems itself a little too late) and the drawn out tension scenes start to wear you down.  I went from tense…to annoyed (does anyone ever turn ON a light??)… to not scared…to yup, he had it coming.   Not as bad as most of the dumb horror stuff that has come out and with a strong performance by Ethan Hawke, Sinister rises a bit above the norm.

Hitchcock

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So much potential…wasted.  I love Hitchcock!  Truly a genius and innovator in modern film.  I was excited that this was going to revolve around the making of his 1960 seminal film, Psycho–I was expecting behind the scenes drama because it is well-known that this was controversial film, on many levels (a transvestite? a toilet on-screen? nudity (implied or not)? etc–etc)–and yet, it was dull.  All the juicy details were only spoken about and the film spent more time on an obvious “MacGuffin” of Hitchcock’s marriage woes.  NOOOO!

It is even more upsetting because Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren are great together.  When they are on-screen it works–the relationship between Hitchcock and his wife, Alma Reville, should have been the main focus, but with their positive dynamic in the forefront.  I tired of the heavy-handed “Hitchcockian” touches throughout–why?  Why did it have to become an homage to his style? Why not focus on the really interesting story of the making of Psycho?   Oh well.   **Sigh**