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    Edge of Tomorrow

    Movie review: ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ a clever, smart summer blockbuster

    By Ashley Bergner
    Box Office Buzz

    97366 KS_New_tomorrowWe’ve all experienced bad days — the kind where you wreck your car, find out you’ve lost your job, and have your wallet stolen, all before lunchtime. But imagine if you had to relive that same bad day again and again, like a broken record that won’t stop playing? And imagine if it wasn’t just an ordinary bad day — what if you had to experience the same terrifying, living hell over and over and over?

    That’s the trap Tom Cruise’s character finds himself in during “Edge of Tomorrow,” a surprisingly clever and entertaining sci-fi action film that manages to blend elements of “Groundhog Day” and “Saving Private Ryan” while still feeling refreshing and original.

    In the film, Earth has been invaded by a race of highly intelligent aliens known as “Mimics.” Tom Cruise plays Major William Cage, a PR officer in the military who knows a lot about propaganda but little about actual combat. When he refuses a risky assignment that involves recording footage during an assault, he is demoted to the rank of private and forced to serve as an ordinary soldier during the battle.

    Unsure of how to even turn off the safety on his weapon, Cage knows he has little hope of surviving. He doesn’t last long on the beaches of Normandy and experiences a quick, traumatizing death. However, that’s not actually a spoiler, because Cage isn’t dead for long. He abruptly wakes up and realizes he’s been transported back in time to the day before the battle. He’s sent back to the beaches of Normandy, where he dies again, and then wakes up, then dies again, and then wakes up, in a seemingly endless cycle.

    However, Cage gradually learns how to use this time loop to his advantage, and each time he’s sent back to the battle, he’s able to survive a little longer. He also meets Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), the symbolic head of the war effort who has a mysterious understanding of Cage’s new powers and a belief that those powers just might hold the key to winning the war.

    Regardless of how you feel about Tom Cruise as a person, as an actor he never turns in a half-hearted performance. Though his character is usually the fearless action hero, he allows himself to play against type here — Cage starts off as a coward who gradually becomes a skilled soldier. He lets Emily Blunt steal the show as the tough, smart, but also world-weary Vrataski. There’s also a fun cast of character actors who fill out the ragtag unit of soldiers who help Cage and Vrataski on their mission, and Bill Paxton is great as the master sergeant who is determined to make sure Cage learns his lesson.

    I really liked the CGI effects in the film. The battle scenes look realistic; they’re chaotic enough to feel authentic, but they are clearly shot and well edited, so you can still tell what’s going on. The alien culture is creative enough it doesn’t feel like another one of the same alien types we’re used to seeing in sci-fi films.

    I was also impressed with the script. Time loops are a tricky concept to pull off, and it would have been easy for the film to become too convoluted or too repetitive. However, the film clips along at a good pace and never fails to be entertaining, and each time Cage “resets” is different enough you don’t feel like you’re just watching the same scene over and over. I wasn’t expecting the film to include humor, but it works well and adds to the fun. I do wish film makers hadn’t changed the title of the film; the book the movie is based on is called “All You Need Is Kill” — an edgier, more clever title that fits the story much better than the more generic “Edge of Tomorrow.”

    The film didn’t bring in huge box office numbers this past weekend, which is a shame, because it’s actually one of my favorite movies so far this year. I hope good word of mouth will give it a boost this weekend; it’s definitely worth catching on the big screen.

    The post Movie review: ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ a clever, smart summer blockbuster appeared first on Transmissions From Atlantis.

    Blockbuster season forecast: 2014 summer movie preview

    By Ashley Bergner
    Box Office Buzz

    296145 KS_New_spideyAlthough the summer movie season officially kicks off this weekend with the release of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ in theaters, in some ways it feels like blockbuster season has already started. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” served as an early kick-off on April 4, pulling in a huge $95 million opening weekend in the U.S. and earning praise from both critics and fans. However, there are plenty more big movies still to come (it will be interesting to see if they can top the Cap’s strong performance, though) — and there will be several wild cards, as well. Here are some of the movies getting the most buzz this summer:

    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2)

    spidey2The 2012 Spider-Man reboot starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” proved to be somewhat polarizing among fans, and some argued the franchise didn’t really need a reboot. I personally enjoyed the movie, but I think the characters and performances were stronger than the actual plot. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone had great chemistry as Spider-Man/Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy.

    The trailers released so far for the sequel are intense and action-packed. Spider-Man will face several new villains, including the electricity-manipulating Electro (Jamie Foxx) and his former friend Harry Osborn/Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan). There is some concern that too many villains and too many subplots could clutter the film, but hopefully director Marc Webb will be able to successfully balance all the elements while making time for meaningful character development.

    Godzilla (May 16)

    godzillaAlthough Godzilla has been a fixture in monster movies for decades, the most recent American Godzilla movie, released in 1998, wasn’t well received by critics and failed to launch a franchise. While it remains to be seen how well audiences respond to the new film, the film’s trailers appear promising, hinting at a gritty, exciting reboot.

    The new film stars Bryan Cranston (coming off a successful run on “Breaking Bad”) as a nuclear physicist and engineer. He is backed by a solid cast that includes Ken Watanabe and Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen (who will, coincidentally, also star together in another upcoming blockbuster: next summer’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron”). I like the look of the film so far, and early buzz seems to be good. Guillermo del Toro has expressed interest in a possible crossover between “Godzilla” and his own “Pacific Rim” film; I’d love to see the robot “Jaegers” from del Toro’s film battle Godzilla.

    X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23)

    X-Men“Days of Future Past” appears to be the X-Men version of “The Avengers,” bringing together numerous superheroes from the X-Men franchise and blending the story lines of the original X-Men trilogy and the prequel “First Class.” In “Days of Future Past,” the X-Men wage a war that jumps across time periods and try to change the past in order to save the future.

    My favorite of the X-Men movies is the prequel “X-Men: First Class,” and at first I was a little disappointed “Days of Future Past” wasn’t a straight-up sequel to that film. However, I’m really excited about this film now, especially since it features both the older and younger versions of Professor X and Magneto — Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, and James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, respectively. Hopefully director Bryan Singer will be able to handle the large cast of characters as well as Joss Whedon handled the multiple superheroes in “The Avengers.”

    Maleficent (May 30)

    maleficentLive-action adaptations of famous fairy tales have been hit-or-miss in Hollywood lately. The best of the recent batch — 2012′s “Snow White and the Huntsman” — succeeded in turning the story of “Snow White” into a dark, gritty medieval fantasy with gorgeous visuals. While Disney’s new PG-rated live-action Sleeping Beauty retelling “Maleficent” certainly won’t be “Game of Thrones”-level gritty, the studio does appear to be presenting a darker version of one of its best-known animated films.

    Angelina Jolie appears to be great choice to play the villain Maleficent, who in the original film curses Sleeping Beauty and tries to destroy the kingdom. However, I’m guessing the new film will be presenting a more nuanced version of the character, and we will likely learn how and why she decided to become a villain.

    Edge of Tomorrow (June 6)

    edge-of-tomorrowIn “Edge of Tomorrow,” Tom Cruise plays a soldier trapped in a seemingly never-ending nightmare: he’s caught in a time loop that causes him to return, over and over again, to a fatal battle against a race of aliens known as Mimics. He doesn’t understand how he came to be trapped in this cycle, and he’s forced to die again and again. However, each time he’s sent back to this battle, he learns more combat skills and receives more training from a Special Forces soldier (Emily Blunt). Together they try to find a way to defeat the alien enemy.

    I’ve enjoyed the trailers released for this movie so far, and it’s exciting to see the Hollywood trend of more sci-fi movies continue. The action scenes look good and I’m intrigued by the plot concept; I haven’t read the book the film is based on but I’m wondering if perhaps the cause Cruise’s character is asked to fight for isn’t as noble as it seems, or if there’s a deeper mystery behind the time loop. The summer release schedule is always crowded, so sometimes it is difficult for films to stand out. Good reviews and strong word of mouth could make this one a break-out like last year’s “World War Z.”

    Transformers: Age of Extinction (June 27)

    transformersThe “Transformers” franchise has proven to be an interesting phenomenon. Although the series has taken quite a bit of flak from critics and viewers, it continues to pull in impressive amounts of money at the box office. The new film is a sort-of reboot, starring Mark Wahlberg as a struggling inventor and featuring the appearance of Dinobots, who transform into mechanical dinosaurs.

    Although director Michael Bay has made some interesting casting choices for the film — including Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci — I am sensing some “franchise fatigue” by this point. While I don’t think this one will necessarily be a flop, it likely won’t be the biggest blockbuster of the summer, either.

    Guardians of the Galaxy (Aug. 1)

    guardiansOut of all the movies slated for release this summer, this one carries the biggest question mark. More of a sci-fi action movie with a heavy dose of humor than Marvel’s traditional superhero fare, this film will be a true test of how much power the Marvel brand really does carry. The film is about a ragtag crew of criminals and misfits who have to decide if they are willing to risk their lives to save the galaxy.

    Based on the trailer, I think this movie will be a lot of fun with good action sequences and plenty of humor; however, my fear is that Marvel will have a tougher time selling this one to general audiences, due to some of its quirkier aspects. Still, this is one of my most anticipated movies for the summer, and I think it does have a chance to be a break-out hit.

    So, what movies are you most looking forward to this summer? What will be the biggest hit? What will be the biggest flop?


    The post Blockbuster season forecast: 2014 summer movie preview appeared first on Transmissions From Atlantis.