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IMG_0088Which I keep on wanting to call The Edge of Tomorrow. There is clearly  a pattern developing in my inability to properly remember film titles.

However….

What’s it all about?

An officer finds himself caught in a time loop in a war with an alien race. His skills increase as he faces the same brutal combat scenarios, and his union with a Special Forces warrior gets him closer and closer to defeating the enemy.

Indeed he does.

Why did I want to see it?

Regular readers will know that I have a huge soft spot for Thomas Cruise Mapother IV. I may have mentioned it more than once as I work my way through his back catalogue, or at least his back catalogue from Interview with the Vampire forwards (I haven’t and don’t intend ever to watch Top Gun), alongside keeping up with his new releases. I even saw Jack Reacher despite fairly lukewarm reviews (you can find out what I thought about it here). The only recent film of his that I have deliberately avoided (as opposed to having missed accidentally) is that Knight and Day thing which just failed to appeal on any level.

But I digress. I really wanted to see this.

That’s all you need to know, really. Oh, you want details? Well…..

What did I think of it?

This was an absolutely brilliant summer blockbuster and I thought it was fantastic, likely to be one of my favourite films of the year. I thought the set-up was very clever, with Cruise playing the smooth advertising executive who isn’t a real solider and doesn’t want to go into combat by referencing his own public persona in what I think (and hope) is a knowing way. He’s actually pretty funny at times, and plays cowardly extremely well. And you really do see proper character development as he relives the same mission over and over again and learns the skills needed to defeat the alien invaders.

I think what elevates this above a standard sic-fi picture with a clever idea is Emily Blunt who trains Cruise and fights alongside him and is in many ways the heart of the film. I don’t think it’s giving anything away to explain that she has been through what Cruise has, no longer experiences it but knows enough to help him get through (its all in the trailers). And she shows the impact of having to watch the people you fight alongside die over and over and over again.

The supporting cast is equally strong, with Bill Paxton really standing out. I have loved him since Aliens and he is of course in my favourite vampire movie (until this year at least) and have been enjoying him chew the scenery in Agents of Shield.

The effects are excellent, and yes, the plot has holes in it but when did a movie like this ever have a totally coherent story, and it is so well done that I really wanted to cheer at the end. Ah yes, the ending. The only slight misstep for me, but to be honest, as someone else said (and I can’t remember who so apologies) it got away with it because of everything that had gone before.

It seems a real shame that Edge of Tomorrow hasn’t done as well in the US as it has overseas, especially given the almost universally positive reviews. It really is worth watching, whether you like Mr Cruise or not. Highly recommended and straight onto my To Buy list.

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IMG_0087Which I keep on wanting to call Days of Future Passed for some obscure and no doubt psychologically significant reason. But enough of that.

What’s it all about?

The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.

That’s it in a nutshell

Why did I want to see it?

I refer you to my review of X-Men: First Class which tells you more than you want to know probably about what I think of the X-Men. Basically, I liked that one and was pretty sure (with reservations) that I’d like this one too.

What did I think of it?

I really enjoyed it. I think Days of Future Past might actually be better than First Class because the potentially annoying origin stuff was moved aside neatly and we dove? dived? into the fallout from the earlier movie, Magneto in prison, Xavier not handling things all that well, Mystique on the loose and so on. But events in the future mean that Wolverine is sent back to stop something happening, or make sure something slightly different happens or something like that, but you know that’s just an excuse to get lots of cool actors who haven’t really been on screen together as these characters before to dress up in cool (being ironic, though possibly in an Alanis Morrisette don’t actually know what it means sort of way) 1970s clothes and save the world from the nasties.

This particular nasty is in the form of not-quite-so-mad-only-trying-to-do-what’s-best-or-is-he scientist Bolivar Trask played wonderfully by the great Tyrion Peter Dinklage with not a single mention of his height (hurrah!).

It scoots along very nicely indeed; Hugh Jackman is always great value as Wolverine and McAvoy and Fassbender fill the Stewart/McKellen shoes well, and of course Jennifer Lawrence is fabulous whether blue or not.

My favourite bit = Quicksilver who could have been really annoying but whose main scene turned out to very cool

My main quibble = insufficient Iceman (based entirely on affection for Shawn As more resulting from a mild addiction to The Following

My “what was that all about” moment = the post-credits sequence. I think you would need to be steeped in X-Men lore to understand the importance of that scene. It took me a wee while on Wikipedia to get the background so that I could understand what was going on.

So, very good indeed, looking forward to the next one!

 

ku-xlargeWhat’s it all about?

The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

You don’t really need details of the actual plot, surely this is enough?

Oh, OK then.

So we start off in Japan with Bryan Cranston (for it is he and aren’t we glad?), wife Juliette Binoche and little boy. All employed at local nuclear power plant (except for small boy obvs) where apparent natural disaster occurs, stuff destroyed, wife dead, terrible upsets. Leap to present day, wee boy all grown up into Aaron Taylor-Johnstone, soldier type, has to go to Japan to get Bryan, who is now total and utter conspiracy theory nut job, out of trouble, cue modern-day repeat of original disaster as nasty beasties escape. Cue Godzilla to the rescue (though it takes everyone a bit to work out that’s what’s actually going on). Result =mayhem, extreme damage (Golden Gate bridge gets it again) and a body count off the scale.

Why did I want to see it?

Did you actually read what I said above? Why wouldn’t anyone want to see this? 🙂

Please do not refer to the 1998 version, that’s just unhelpful.

What did I think of it?

I just loved this, got caught up in the whole thing, very satisfying mega-giant-monster-things knocking all sorts of crap out of each other, it was very very cool.

Yes, if you wanted to quibble then there was insufficient Bryan Cranston (at least compared to what the trailer suggested) but his role is key and he is brilliant whenever he’s on screen.

And yes, you could argue that Aaron T-J’s character was a bit of a cypher who was just there to give us POVs of the action once it all hits the US, though I think that’s unfair, he was perfectly fine.

And yes, if you were being really, really, really picky then you could argue that we could have done with more actual Godzilla, but I thought that he was well-used, teased nicely throughout the film and enormously (pun intended) effective when we got to see him doing his thing. And he was genuinely enormous, which is only right and proper. And the nasties were really very nasty indeed.

And there was Ken Watanabe and David Strathairn to add gravitas.

And it all just goes to prove that although you may be a conspiracy theory nut job that doesn’t mean they aren’t really hiding something.

It was a wonderful film to look at, creature design excellent and some of the set pieces (especially the one everyone mentions, the army guys parachuting out of the clouds with flares etc.) were really remarkable.

I liked Gareth Edwards previous film Monsters very much indeed and was very pleased to see him tackle a big big movie so well. And thrilled to see that there is going to be a sequel.

Fabulous stuff and straight onto my To Buy list.

IMG_0379What does IMDB think this is about?

A scientist’s drive for artificial intelligence, takes on dangerous implications when his consciousness is uploaded into one such program.

Technically correct though misses out all of the character stuff but what can you expect from a single sentence.

Why did I want to see it?

I refer my honourable readers to my last post on this blog way back in April after my first failed attempt to see this film (I seem to be doing that a lot recently, so far two missed screenings of Maleficent and still haven’t seen it, but I digress).

What did I think of it?

Since I wrote the post on missing Transcendence I have read/heard a couple of reviews (Mark Kermode amongst others) saying that it wasn’t as bad as everyone said, that we would all come to look at it in a couple of years time and recognise it as a good film, that the director deserved kudos for trying something a wee bit different and so on.

So I went. And I did enjoy it. It’s not without its flaws (and of course you can say that about most films) but I thought it worked pretty well. Depp was fine playing an ordinary (if deeply intelligent and visionary) person, for once not a caricature of any kind, but the heart of the film for me was the combination of Rebecca Hall as his wife and Paul Bettany as their best friend who have to deal with the fall out of the Unfortunate Event and whether just because you can do something (load your dying friend’s consciousness into an AI doodah) means that you should do that something. And the answer here is of course that you shouldn’t, unintended consequences, end of the world as we know it and so on.

It is a fabulous looking film and it does try to deal with some of the genuine issues around new technologies and what they might mean for us all and do we really understand the implications, even if it does fall into a classic “how do we stop the monster” plot.

But worth seeing and I suspect that I will watch it again after a gap to see if it does stand up.