Tag Archives: Tom Cruise

Oblivion is a mixed bag

22 Sep

OBLIVION-FILM

Oblivion is a mixed bag that is going to receive a mixed review from FastForwardFilmReviews.com. On the one hand, Adam found the film to be unoriginal and disappointing on many levels. His major criticism is the story and its predictable twists, as well as the under utilized characters, Malcolm Beach (Morgan Freeman) and Julia Rusakova (Olga Kurylenko). Anytime a film has to rely on flashbacks it is in trouble and Oblivion finds itself pressing rewind in many places. On the other hand, Chuck did not mind the story and doesn’t think it clones other films. Joseph Kosinski’s riffing on common sci-fi subjects is not a big deal. Oblivion is noticeably slow-moving and Chuck agrees with Adam about the supporting cast. However, he did not see the twist coming, which has him liking the film much more than Adam, although Chuck was disappointed with the final product. Both agree the visual effects are amazing and Claudio Miranda’s cinematography is gorgeous.

WORD COUNT: 160

Adam’s Grade: C+

Chuck’s Grade: B

Collateral creates a disagreement

6 Aug

Collateral-film

Michael Mann’s Collateral is one of the best modern noir films of the 21st Century, although my partner in crime (Chuck) completely disagrees with this statement.

Like Mann’s previous film Heat, Collateral was shot entirely in Los Angeles and the environment comes through. Tom Cruise uncharacteristically plays an antagonist while Jamie Foxx serves as the hero in this film about a hitman (Cruise) getting into a cab and “asking” the cabbie (Foxx) to bring him to five locations to carry out his “business.” I believe the stars are dynamic together and each give one of the best performances of their career, but my partner feels they are wrong for the parts. Screenwriter Stuart Beattie creates two original characters that help keep the film grounded in a game of cat and mouse. Mann allows the tension to build, which has become a trademark of his thrillers. Collateral has substance, whereas Chuck thinks he is caught up in his style.

WORD COUNT: 158

Adam’s Grade: A

Chuck’s Grade: B-

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol still entertains, but it does not save the world.

14 Feb

Mission-Impossible-Ghost-Protocol

Tom Cruise once again accepts the mission to star as Ethan Hunt in the fourth installment of the Mission Impossible franchise. Ghost Protocol adds some new members, Jeremy Renner (William Brandt) and Paula Patton (Jane Carter), which do a good job complimenting Cruise, but it is obvious that the villains do not share the same fire power. The story is straight-forward with no twists. There are some amazing stunts that keep the film in the conversation, but the action is not good enough to save the story. If Hunt is going to continue to accept missions, then it is time the franchise find a new a star to take on the role. I am a big Tom Cruise supporter, but he does not have the same explosive presence he did in the earlier films. He looked tired and undersized for the role standing next to Renner. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol still entertains, but it does not save the world.

WORD COUNT: 159

Chuck’s Grade: B-

Adam’s Grade: B+

Eyes Wide Shut is a forgotten dream

24 Jan

Eyes-Wide-Shut

Unfortunately, Stanley Kubrick died before his film Eyes Wide Shut was released. At the time, Warner Brothers feared the NC-17 rating because of the sexual content was too explicit for popular audiences. Set in New York City, Dr. Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) and Alice (Nicole Kidman) are experiencing marital problems. Bill unable to handle his wife’s “confession” meets an old friend that helps infiltrates him into a masked orgy party hosted by an affluent secret society. Bill is discovered, but allowed to leave unpunished at the request of a beautiful women he had befriended. A day later the woman is found dead and Bill believes the two events are connected.

Kubrick’s deliberate style brings audiences into this mysterious world slowly like a hypnotist holding a watch. Before audiences realize it; they are mesmerized by his skillful direction, but his open-ended story leaves many people unsatisfied. Like hypnosis, the subjects are awaken to bewilderment and the film is a forgotten dream.

WORD COUNT: 160

Adam’s Grade: B+

Chuck’s Grade: B-

Jack Reacher is out of character at times

24 Dec

jack-reacher

Tom Cruise takes on the role of Jack Reacher, a popular fictional character created by author Lee Child. I haven’t read any of the books, but I don’t think Cruise was the best actor for this role, although I can see him reprising this character a couple more times.  This mystery action thriller does a couple of things different by inserting humor into the action and keeping the hero’s pants on, which was refreshing, but the film is simply too long.  Everything from the exposition to the car chase to putting the clues together to the climax is drawn out. My favorite parts are the hand to hand fight scenes and Robert Duvall playing a salty, but wise ex-Marine that ends up helping Reacher out. Ultimately, I want to know what kind of cologne Reacher was wearing because it was almost comical that every woman was googly-eyed for him when it is evident that Cruise is not “all that” anymore.

WORD COUNT: 160

Chuck’s Grade: B-

Adam’s Grade: N/A

Magnolia: These strange things happen all the time

20 Sep

Writer/Director Paul Thomas Anderson is a master at revealing his film’s characters like a chef peels away at an onion. Magnolia’s action intertwines about a dozen people on a random day in the San Fernando Valley. Each character has something important going on in their lives that will ultimately lead to different levels of loneliness, sorrow, and frustration. He is a perfectionist when working with amazing talent, such as Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, and Tom Cruise. All of which give top-notch performances.

Anderson and Director of Photography, Robert Elswit collaborate to create so many memorable scenes. Their choice of camera angles and shots, as well as a unique script keeps this three hour plus film interesting. Magnolia may turn off some viewers, but if audiences allow the characters and the story to unfold, then the film will leave a lasting imprint like only a few can.

WORD COUNT: 149

Adam’s Grade: A-

Chuck’s Grade: A-

Vanilla Sky is a visual wonder

7 Sep

Here is a film that deserves repeated viewings to take it all in. Vanilla Sky is a remake of the Spanish movie “Abre los Ojos” (Open Your Eyes), of course the film has many of the same elements, but I find this version closer to be a complete film. I was hooked from the brilliant opening sequence. David Aames (Tom Cruise) is a wealthy playboy that meets a mystery girl named Sofia (Penelope Cruz) at his birthday party. Immediately, he is intrigued by her, but he struggles with his past and how to deal with such a woman. The movie shifts into a different gear when he is disfigured in a car accident and is forced to wear a mask.

Writer/Director Cameron Crowe does a fantastic job of weaving an existential morality play that leaves audiences asking questions and looking back for answers. Visually, the film is breathtaking, and the acting is sensational. “Open your eyes” and see this movie.

WORD COUNT: 160

Adam’s Grade: A-

Chuck’s Grade: B+