Tag Archives: Tom Cruise

Review: Edge of Tomorrow

As the song goes: “I…need to know now…can you love me again?

Edge of Tomorrow

©2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.;
in assoc. with Villiage Roadshow Pictures, Ratpac-Dune Entertainment;
a 3 Arts production
Exec. Producers: Doug Liman, Dave Bartis, Steve Mnuchin, Joby Harold, Hidemi Fukuhara, Bruce Berman
Producers: Erwin Stoff, Tom Lassally, Jeffrey Silver, Gregory Jacobs, Jason Hoffs

Screenplay: Christopher McGurrie, Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth;
based on the Novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

Director: Doug Liman
Director of Photography: Dion Beebe (ASC, ACS)
Editors: James Herbert, Laura Jennings
Running Time: 113 minutes (includes some 7½ min. of credits)
Rated “PG-13” for action violence, some language

Stars: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton (Master Sgt. Farell), Brendon Gleeson, Noah Taylor (Dr. Carter), Kick Gurry (Griff), Dragomir Mrsic, Charlotte Riley (Nance), Jonas Armstrong (Skinner), Franz Drameh (Ford), Masayoshi Haneda (Takeda), and Tony Way (Kimmel)


Alien “mimics” invade Earth.

General Brigham (Gleeson) forces Major William Cage (Cruise), for the greater part a media personality, into a combat role; but first, he details the operation.

“Operation Downfall: the entire (world) United Defense Force, invading from France, the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, relieving pressure on the eastern front, allowing the Russians and the Chinese to push back.  We all meet in the middle, eliminating this mimic scourge along the way.  A lot of good soldiers are going to die, tomorrow, Major.”

Little does Brigham—or anyone else—know that everyone will die by the way things are going.  But few do know there is a chance, getting to the heart of the matter, using the secret weapon of the mimics against themselves: the ability to reset a whole day of time—with it, gaining the element of surprise over “the enemy.”  Getting the blood of an Alpha mimic into one’s system enters one into their system.

William Cage is one of two known figures to get burned to death with an Alpha’s blood, in combat.  The other, Rita Rose Vrataski (Blunt), celebrated for her efforts at Verdun, little do the public know how she won the battle.  (And she’s yet to learn something else of it.)  Cage dies, and lives the routine repeatedly, starting at the point of being roused in handcuffs to undergo the “On your feet, maggot!” treatment as a Private.  Finally, he finds the few that know about the Omega device that resets the day.  And he begins to see the “visions” that they see, tapped into the system.

But when it comes to pain, the early stages of rewakening he relives is not the half of it.


The real pain comes when Cage finally finds Rita, and saves her life on the Island beach, that, reworking the day, he can only get so far with her; no matter the turns, the plots, the ways at which he plays this extensive game of Chess, the mimics are everywhere—hidden, buried, submerged.  He gets to know her, only to watch her die, over and over again.  So it’s like Groundhog Day, except war and pain instead of comedy.

Rita had her own morbid repeat with “Hendricks”—someone she knew:

“Is he why you won’t talk to me?” asks Cage, in the car.

“Don’t ever mention his name again,” Rita responds.

“Why?—Are you…in love with him?”

“—He’s dead.  And I watched him die three-hundred times, and I remember…every detail—I remember everything.  So I don’t need to talk about it.”

“I’m sorry,” he eventually apologizes.

“It’s just war,” she punctuates, right before the vehicle runs out of gas.

Eventually, Cage trudges through the agony, alone, before finding just how valid these so-called “visions” are.


The writers seem to know what they’re doing here—with the advanced weaponry, the technology both futuristic and plausible, and even the names.  But, unfortunately, the soldiers drop in, and…they never leave alive, and neither does the premise.

The downside to the science behind the premise of time travel, or mental/spiritual “rewind,” doesn’t quite work here, logically.  How can retracing the steps of matter from a future point of time, lead back to an earlier point without?  Beyond that murky argument, how would a blood transfusion ruin it?


Apart from the holes in the science, the obvious acting in the intro—which sets the actors apart from the newscasters, particularly with Gleeson’s appearance—and the “blow it up” solution for any a final target (as with Armageddon, which would, in fact, make things worse in reality), this has got to be one of the better movies I’ve seen.  It’s PG-13, but it sucks you in without having to demonstrate much.

This isn’t Starship Troopers.  The gun is literally turned on oneself.  Unfortunately, the previews don’t do this film justice.  The story conveys a suffering that tests endurance on another level, a mental demand that reminds its characters that they know little, and reminds the viewer of his/her mortality by the end.  Yes, it is one of those movies that says, learn and live.  And it doesn’t star Nicholas Cage.

I can’t say that this movie has as much depth as the other Cruise movie I’ve mentioned before—Oblivion.  But it does what a movie is supposed to do, following in the footsteps of films like The Matrix and Snowpiercer: immerse the audience in a dream.

The feature’s good enough to get me to want to read the novel, preferably in English.  Too bad the DVD rental doesn’t have feature commentary.  Grade: B+.

Short Takes: Independent and Classic Movies

Because of backlog, I’ve compiled ten compact movie reviews into one post, sorted best-to-worst.

Johnny English: Reborn (2011)

Description: MI7 agent Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) has just returned from training by Tibetan monks (guru played by Togo Igawa) to stop a mole from assassinating a high-ranking figure at a would-be secure location.  It co-stars Rosamund Pike (Pride & Prejudice), Gillian Anderson (The X Files), Dominic West (The Wire) and Daniel Kaluuya.

Take: this spy comedy film sets a standard on how enjoyable it is— fun and funny, especially if you add the outtakes, including a burning prop leg thrown into frame in the alternate exploding gum scene.  Executed quite well, it’s worth buying, if not for just the musically-timed cooking scene.  B+.

Hello, I Must Be Going (2012)

Description: the lovely Melanie Lynskey (good enough to make Two and a Half Men watchable) plays Amy, a woman burned out by her former relationship, going through a divorce.  So burned out that she’s practically reset, living at her parents’ home.  Amy, who wanted to pursue photography but got married instead, now in her thirties, falls passionately in love with the nineteen-year-old son of the neighbors, who everyone thinks is gay and loves acting.  Basically, both have been pressured to be something they’re not.

Take: this film is easy to watch in the sense that it’s not too serious any which way.  It’s more of a subtle comedy than a drama.  B+.

Take This Waltz (2011)

Description: Michelle Williams plays a centrist of a freelancer that falls in love with her kind-of stalker.  In two relationships, but unable to connect, she excercises other ways in effort to regain some semblance of happiness.  Seth Rogan and Sarah Silvermann co-star.

Take: it’s pretty sad, but that’s what they were going for.  “It was the saddest!” said Lena Dunham for Entertainment Weekly“I love when a movie takes something so mundane … and makes it into the most emotionally wrecking ball of a thing.”

It might be worth buying.  Then again, it’s very intimate— full nudity in the pool shower scene…and in the bathroom shower scenes…and in the final sex scene.  Rated RB+.

Of Human Bondage (1964)

Description: Philip Carey (Laurence Harvey), a clubfooted man, left a fortune, reluctantly becomes a doctor after failing to become an artist.  He falls in love with a waitress named Mildred Rogers (Kim Novak).  Falling out of love with Mildred, he still comes to care for her, through her pregnancy.  Not fully loving her, she becomes seriously angry and resentful till the bitter end… as a prostitute.  Uncredited screenplay by, and role as director, Bryan Forbes.

Take: for one of Novak’s earliest films, she won me over with the accent.  Forgetting that she’s American, I would’ve sworn that she’s British.  She’s that good here… though, the critics weren’t pleased, wanting better rendering of the book.  B.

Black Lizard (Kurotokage, 1968)

Description: a colorful cat-and-mouse movie out of Japan by Kinji Fukasaku with short Jazzy music numbers in transition.  Master-thief Black Lizard is chased by her match, a master detective.  The complication: they are like soul-mates, sometimes feeling that they swap roles.  Are you chasing me, or am I chasing you?

You are missing out on a piece of history if you don’t catch this.  B.

The Color of Money (1986)

Description: Eddie (Paul Newman) teaches gamer, convenience store employee Vince (Tom Cruise) how to scam pool players at Nine-Ball.  Long story short, Vince surpasses Eddie the dishonest way, leading Eddie to compete against Vince the honest way.

Take: your typical, flawed ’80s classic, with old film quality and class… glowing eyes effect.  And, oh, Tom Cruise’s nuttiness shows during a scene where he laughs— not jumping on Oprah’s couch nutty, but early for his ‘laugh.’  It’s also an early role for the actress that plays the girlfriend— Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.  B.

Now is Good (2012)

Description: based on Before I Die, a cancer-battling daughter named Tessa Scott (Dakota Fanning) makes a concealed bucket list, written on her bedroom wall.  It’s an emotional ride for the split-up parents as well, as she accepts more the love from her neighborhood boyfriend than from them.  And the boyfriend paints the town for her.  Literally— he vandalizes the town.

Take: it’s a bit sappy, as her death envelops everything, and the males seem to cry more in this movie.  There were also a lot of missed opportunities… I don’t know, maybe the book left things like this.  (Double-sad.)  B-.

Small Apartments (2012)

Description: the landlord for a block of apartments (Peter Stormare) is killed by the overweight man-child known as Franklin Franklin (Matt Lucas).  Franklin walks around in his jockey underpants, as he indefinitely waits for his brother, Bernard (James Marsden), not knowing Bernard has brain cancer.  The film’s subplots are as obscure as the movie.  Billy Crystal, James Cann, Johnny Knoxville and Juno Temple co-star.

Take: the makers thought they were making a cult classic. Yeah, it doesn’t work like that.  For a “strange” indie, it’s a little shallow.  It ends in absolute fantasy.  More messy than strange, really.  Suggestion: rent not buy.  B-.

Heaven’s Gate (director’s cut)

Description: a violent, deadly western where French immigrants are basically and literally corralled by the state and federal governments.  During a legalization battle, two men (including one played by Christopher Walken) in different camps fight over a woman amongst the population (Isabelle Hupert).  Sam Waterston also appears.

Take: though still long, with some unintentionally comical shots (Walken, in a shoot-out is shot up for maybe a minute, still standing), the director’s cut is arguably the better version of a film that bombed in its earlier release, partly due to the long running length.  Making back $3.5 mn. for a budget of $44-70 million in 1980 money, the full cost ran a couple times over its intended budget —yeah, it bankrupted United Artists.  C+.

The Life Before Her Eyes (2007)

Description: Evan Rachel Wood and Uma Thurman star as Diana, a woman facing the past, present and broken future, in a tale of love, tragedy and potential.  Everything hangs in the balance of a school shooting, conducted by someone she knows, as she is forced choose whether she or her best friend dies.

Take: though a bit thin, with sentimental redundancies (bathroom sequence replayed several times), it still holds up as a flawed classic that didn’t quite make up its $13 mn. budget, worth watching so long as you also catch the extras… and maybe put some of it on 1.4x speed.  The DVD includes a short documentary on NDEs.  C+.