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“Edge of Tomorrow”

edge-of-tomorrow-600x887Groundhog Day with a science fiction twist, that pretty much sums up “Edge of Tomorrow,” the most recent summer blockbuster.  I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie, where Emily Blunt absolutely blows her role out of the park with just the right amount of emotion and kick-ass.   The beginning is a bit slow, it’s annoying to watch Cage (Tom Cruise) go through the confusion of repeating the day and failed attempts of trying to warn his fellow soldiers.  However, once he meets Emily Blunt’s character, Rita Vrataski, aka the Angel of Verdun, things improve significantly.   I remember first seeing Blunt in “The Adjustment Bureau,” which I hated.  However, she was much better in “Looper,” and is only even better here.  She understands his condition, and then they go through the days together.  The movie requires a great deal of belief suspension, as is the problem with a lot of time-travel movies – why didn’t they just take a ship the night before instead of fighting through the beach?  However, if we are willing to suspend our belief, the movie uses time travel in an interesting way, to explore the emotional toll it takes on Cage.  The best scene in the movie is the two drinking coffee in an abandoned house, when Rita realizes that they have been here before, and that Cage is simply stalling – we can see how he feels, and it’s a creative use of repeating days.

3.5/5 waffles.

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“Mission accomplished!” – On new stars in old genres in “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”

December 26, 2011 Leave a comment

What is there to say about “Mission Impossible”?  The now quite aged Tom Cruise (born 1962, whoa) brings us yet another hit installment to the much-loved series just in time for the holiday season.  “Ghost Protocol” brings new team Dunn, Carter, and Brandt (Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, and Paula Patton) and a new villain Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist from “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Swedish version).  I am continually impressed that the MI movies are able to come up with new plots (though they all begin to blur together) and new jokes (though they echo each other more and more) still after all these years.

The premise is this: someone’s bombed the Kremlin and set up IMF.  Hunt’s team takes the blame for it and are disavowed, and are on a journey to not only save the world, but to save the world without all the backup that they’re used to.  What’s the next movie going to have as an additional challenge, no gadgets or computers allowed?  Anyway, the pace is always brisk, the technology is always cool, and the team dynamics are solid.  There’s plenty of homage to previous films – at one point, Brandt leaps down a tunnel and lands just centimeters from a turbine (Hunt jumping down and landing just centimeters from a touch-sensitive floor, anyone?).

There’s the usual rough and tumble fight scenes in the traditional style (this is no Bourne movie), car chases, and break-ins.  There’s the usual beautiful-woman-dress-up-and-seduce scene.  The team struggles to get by losing a member, fights with each other, but makes up nicely.  I guess after enough action movies, everything just feels the same.  So how does “Mission Impossible” survive?  And not only survive, but garner 90%+ on Rotten Tomatoes?  I’m guessing it’s the cycling of new characters thrown into time-proven successful scenarios.

Nyqvist always looked a little too stern to me in “Dragon Tattoo,” and I think he is better suited as a villain than hero; he does an excellent job as a nuclear extremist here.  Renner, from “The Hurt Locker,” is excellent as always, though the writers stretched things a little to give him an unexpected background/twist, perhaps the weakest part of the whole film.  Simon Pegg provides nice comic relief, though I’d prefer him next to Nick Frost as the never-smiling Officer Angel (“Hot Fuzz”!).  And of course, Cruise has his iconic long, windblown hair and sprint scenes.

Overall, 3/5 – great fun and entertainment for a Christmas release with some fresh faces, but there’s only so many times I can cheer for secret agents shouting “mission accomplished.”

Best regards,

Apple