Tag Archives: Review

Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow was a really good summer blockbuster, and highly recommended,  though I was let down by the end. Spoiler: it was really Hollywood.

SPOILERS ahead.

This film was different from most summer films: about halfway through, I realised I was having a lot of fun. As in, Edge of Tomorrow (or Live, Die, Repeat – what’s happening there?!) was very entertaining and I was enjoying watching it. This may seem like a stupid statement, but with so many summer blockbusters I usually zone out and enjoy them in a sort of passive way. Controversial, but I didn’t enjoy Avengers Assemble nearly as much as I did EoT.

It was in the middle of the sequences where we see Tom Cruise’s Major/Private Cage die over and over again – clips where he’s both hit by and run over by trucks had me giggling more than probably seems reasonable unless you’ve seen the film. They’re so well edited and made to illicit laughs, and they’re fun. And that’s the thing, the laughs aren’t a result of puns or weak jokes (I’m looking at you Avengers), but instead it’s usually through quick editing and visual gags. It was so refreshing.

Credit: Bleeding Cool

Cruise’s Cage is good, going through smarmy, scared, depressed and then true action hero as the film progresses, but for me the film’s true standout was Emily Blunt. It does help that I love Emily Blunt, but her Rita has a lot to do with making the film as fun as it is. Cage is able to be a little more goofy than he would otherwise be able to be if she wasn’t so deadpan and straight. She is also very convincing as an extremely efficient – and scary – soldier, something that more people should have seen coming given her performance in The Devil Wears Prada (a joke, but she was a bit terrifying in that film).

Commendably, the film also manages to make the stakes seem higher than they usually do in Hollywood films. By the end I actually thought (even hoped – more on that later) that each character was going to die, and that maybe, just maybe, they were not going to make it. This is of course a Hollywood film – that doesn’t happen. But it is impressive that I believed that it was just about possible. One major reason for this was the mimics, which were actually a scary enemy for once, given their time-travelling ability and crazy killing skills. Also, there is a sense of the characters’ morality, especially after Cage loses his resetting ability. For the whole film Cruise is not really able to die; after that’s gone, the film manages to feel a bit more claustrophobic and you start wondering just how good Cage really is (and Rita for that matter) – can they actually pull this off? (As an aside, I loved how they filmed the whole sequence where Cruise was underwater, especially the long shot that showed him, the Omega and the Alpha. I was able to appreciate how beautiful it was even as I was waiting for him to die.)

Credit: PetroGX

The ending did irritate me. For once I thought Hollywood was going to do it, let all the main characters die. Or, when they reset, I thought that the mimics wouldn’t have been defeated and they would have to get started all over again on trying to defeat them, maybe in a sequel, or, better still, maybe never to be seen on screen, leaving the fate of Earth ambiguous. Yes, these endings would have been depressing, but they would have also made a nice change to ‘everyone lives, enemy defeated’. Like the Marvel films, no one at all dies, and it’s one of the things that really irritates me about the series. The death of main characters can strike you to the core, and can leave a film truly memorable (or book – for example the Harry Potter series). This instance is not nearly as irritating as Marvel because it’s a one-off and not a series, but even still. I know it’s a Hollywood blockbuster, I know it’s not meant to be heavy entertainment, but it is essentially a war film, not Back to the Future. Imagine Star Wars without the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi; it just wouldn’t have the same emotional punch. I think that if the ending has been a bit more horrifying then I would be rushing to watch this film again. As it is, I really enjoyed it, and would recommend it, but it’s not a classic blockbuster. That’s a shame, because it has so much potential.

Featured image credit: Huffington Post

Have you seen the Edge of Tomorrow? What did you think? Let me know below!

1001 Movies You Must See (Before You Die) Video

This is amazing. I just had to post this, this video is that good.

You may have seen it making the rounds of the internet recently. I was introduced to it from Roger Ebert’s website (to anyone who read my last post, you may realise that I like that website. A lot), and have been watching it over and over again. I’d recommend watching it straight. Away.

 

What I love about it is how neat and perfect it is by itself: it is so well edited, the music is suited to each scene and with only one exception the transitions are flawless (I’m thinking between Ceasers’ ‘Jerk It Out’ and Skrillex‘s ‘Bangarang’). It is a piece of art in its own right and the movies it uses – while brilliant – are not what make it so good. That is quite an achievement.

My favourite part? The Monty Python clip at the end. It would have been the perfect end clip if the perfect end clip didn’t already exist in the final scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

This 10 minute movie mash-up may be the best film I have seen all month. What did you think?

Review: Mr Smith Goes To Washington

About six months ago I watched this little gem of a film and fell completely in love. I am currently trying to watch all the films on IMDB’s Top 250 list, which I know is really cheesy, but it has introduced me to some wonderful films I didn’t know existed, such as this!

mr-smith-goes-to-washington

It stars my favourite ‘Golden Age of Hollywood’ actor James Stewart. Before anything else, I have to admit one of the reasons I enjoyed this film so much is because of him. I love James Stewart. He brought an energy to every project he worked in and is simply likeable in everything he did, whether it be a grumpy photographer avoiding committing to Grace Kelly and suspects his neighbour of murder in Rear Window, or a man who may or may not be insane as he talks to his best friend, after who the movie Harvey is named, an invisible, 6ft tall bunny rabbit. I have yet to see Vertigo (for shame!), but even a film that I am not as enamoured with as everyone else seems to be, It’s a Wonderful Life, is made enjoyable because of him.

He plays Jefferson Smith a naïve, easy-going leader of a troop of boy rangers in an unnamed state in America. He’s well liked by the community and loved by the kids he leads. He is made a senator by group of corrupt officials, including the Governor and the other state senator, Senator Paine, as well as the man who controls them, Jim Taylor. They believe they can control him. They do not, however, understand how honest and good intentioned he is. Senator Paine doesn’t want to manipulate Smith more than is necessary – as a close friend to Smith’s deceased father, he is a father figure to Jeff and cares for him. He encourages Smith to create a bill of his own, not realising how it will affect his own corrupt plans. After Jefferson discovers Taylor and Paine’s corruption they turn against him, and he realises just how powerful these people are.

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The supporting cast is fun and important, especially ‘Diz’, a journalist, and the President of the Senate. Stewart infuses Jeff Smith with a joy that is uninhibited and infectious. It permeates the film. He can’t believe how lucky he is to be in Washington, to see and discover this great city. As soon as he gets off the train he goes to see the sights, his favourite being the Lincoln Memorial. The shot of Smith standing at the foot of Lincoln’s statue looking up into the marble face, both of them captured in profile, is beautiful, as is the sequence of Smith, a little boy and his grandfather as the child reads Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

As the film progresses you can feel the loss of Smith’s joy as his enemies attack from all directions. His discovery that the man he idolised and trusted, Senator Paine, isn’t the man he thought he was hurts him and the viewer alike, and as you witness Jeff become steadily more broken, it breaks you too.

Mr.SmithGoestoWashington_04

I have not yet mentioned another major character in the film as I felt she deserved some space devoted directly to her. For if James Stewart guaranteed that I would like this film, Jean Arthur’s character Saunders made me love it. She is his secretary and knows more about Washington than he probably ever will. She’s smart and sarcastic; if this film wasn’t both made and set in the 1930’s she would have been a senator herself rather than secretary to them. Cynical due to her surroundings Saunders falls for the idealistic Jeff. (But then, who wouldn’t? Of course, my bias towards James Stewart could be blinding my judgement.) The character is wonderful. Arthur allows her steely personality to be warm and not abrasive. Even when hurt she is strong and doesn’t fall to pieces – Smith relies on her far more than she relies on him, something rare in films even now. Funny and intelligent, she is a brilliant creation and makes the film for me.

This isn’t a pure comedy. It will break your heart (at least it broke mine) and cause you to question both those who are meant to lead us as well as the character of people in general. I would guess this is a film that would hold even more meaning if one were American (not being so, I can only speculate). It is funny, but there is more here than just laughs. It is bigger than that; it longs for more than to make you simply chuckle and that’s what makes it wonderful.

Review: The Bridge, Series 1

I began to watch The Bridge (or Broen/Bron in it’s Danish/Swedish form) originally as I thought it would start to heal the True Detective shaped hole in my life. With remakes made in the UK/France and America/Mexico (and apparently more planned) I decided to go for the original, if only to feel like a cultured Times reader. What I was expecting was something along the lines of CSI: Malmo with a little bit of Scandinavian flair and class – that it is not.

Sofia Helin and Kim Bodnia

Starting with two bodies found on the bridge that links Sweden and Denmark lying exactly on the international line, two detectives from each country come together to solve the case. So far, so buddy comedy. The characters, however, are one of the reasons that I enjoyed this show as much as I did. Martin, the immediately likeable Danish detective, is funny, easy going and simply bemused rather than irritated with the antics of Saga Noren (more on her in a second) which makes you care about him even more, though it becomes apparent that he has some fairly major character flaws. (Another reason I appreciated this show – when characters made mistakes, it made sense that they made them, it didn’t feel like it was purely a plot device.)

Saga, on the other hand, is immediately much less endearing, though this changes with time. She is socially awkward, blunt and can appear unfeeling with her need to constantly obey the rules. In the first episode there is a woman asking to be let across the bridge so that her husband can receive a heart transplant – she refuses. When Martin lets the ambulance cross, she reports him. She also has difficulty lying, which turns out to be more important than could have originally be thought. There are hidden depths to her character though: there is one scene in which Martin comments that she doesn’t care what people think of her, assuming that to be true, and she denies this to his surprise: she cares what he thinks. There is a sweetness to her character as well as a naivety that is slowly pulled out and revealed to the audience, and with Martin her character develops. That is another thing: there is genuine character development throughout the series, and it feels organic and fresh. I also cannot remember a show where I felt so warmly about the supporting characters, in particular Hans, Saga’s boss, a gentle man who seems to genuinely care about her, and Martin’s family – his current wife Mette, their children, and his estranged son August from his first marriage – who suffer throughout the series as a result of his actions, both past and present.

No it wasn't tasty

So how does the show spin the solving of two dead bodies out into 10 episodes you ask? Well, the bodies aren’t the main focus – the crazed serial killer is. Brilliant, and seemingly uncatchable, ‘TT’ or the Truth Terrorist is always one step ahead of our duo, claiming to be demonstrating the ills in society by forcing innocent people to pay for them. He reveals himself and the start of his crazy schemes at the end of the first episode, and then is always present until the last, the spectacular finale. Seriously, that final episode is good. There are twists and turns as he kills people with no apparent connection between them. Scary, yes, but so enjoyable.

The first series of The Bridge is currently on Netflix (UK) and I binged through it in about three days. It is addictive and so much darker than I thought it would be. There is only one comment I would make, and this is not on the show but about the subtitles. Danish and Swedish are similar enough that you can speak in one and the other will understand you, which is what I know from my Swedish friends. However, not being able to understand either myself I would have liked to have known when someone was speaking Danish or Swedish, maybe through different coloured subtitles. Usually it doesn’t matter, but there were points when the difference in languages felt important. That is, however, a minor quibble to a very well made and entertaining show.

Though, I might have been put off visiting both cities for a while.