I Like Family Movies Now

Welcome to old age, right? Or is this the beginning of the Mork years? (Remember the alien that aged backwards? Oh, right, of course you don’t, because it happened over three decades ago.)

Truth is, I knew over a decade ago that I no longer fit in the target audience for contemporary film makers. When American Pie hit the top of the charts, I knew the era of Animal House was long gone. So I’ve had some time to get used to it.

This past Friday, the wife and I off-loaded our kids on some unsuspecting panhandlers that look nice enough in order to execute the classic-dinner-and-a-movie-date-night. The dinner decision was easy enough–Chinese place we haven’t tried yet, General Tso’s Chicken, extra spice.

But what movie to see? Heck, neither of us had a clue as to what movies where showing. Who has time for movie trailers anymore? A cursory search revealed a shiz-load of crap. Stuff like this:

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Edge of Tomorrow Fails to Stick the Landing

edgetomorrowI, for one, am glad to see Tom Cruise settling into the science fiction genre. With Oblivion and now Edge of Tomorrow, he has moved up my list. Unfortunately, it appears that movie goers either don’t trust Cruise anymore, or they simply aren’t interested in quality science fiction thrillers not titled Matrix.

While Edge of Tomorrow hasn’t done well at the box office, it seems to be generating positive reviews. And I liked the movie. I didn’t like it quite as much as Oblivion. The key reason is the ending. No worries, no spoilers here. But the ending just didn’t work for me–not for this movie. For a simpler one, sure.

But it wasn’t so disappointing as to ruin the entire movie.

Cruise and his supporting actress, Emily Blunt, were both excellently cast and made the most of their parts. The Groundhog style time loop plot device worked for me. What makes the technique really work is the fact Cruise starts off as completely incapable of fighting. He describes himself in the movie as an ROTC student in college who lost his job and took a new one as a military recruiter. He’s a smooth talker who finds himself on the tip of the spear for reasons the film viewer is to assume revolve around politics and a scramble to cover asses.

While the reasoning isn’t totally clear, it sets up the main device of the movie–Cruise’s character replaying the same day over and over. Since he starts off as unskilled, it gives him all the more space to improve and mature and grow as a hero. [Read more…]

Why I Liked Oblivion Better Than Star Trek

The past couple of months have been good for sci-fi movie goers. I actually managed to get away for Iron Man III (sort of sci-fi), Star Trek into Darkness and Oblivion. Here is why I like Oblivion better than the other two.

It felt like a science fiction movie. It was a science fiction movie. I like science fiction movies.

I suppose I should elaborate. Oblivion put considerable time and energy into the atmosphere and the ethos and the cinema-graphic beauty of the film. I’m not placing it on a level with Blade Runner, but that’s the sort of thing I’m talking about. [Read more…]