Thursday, June 19, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow Review

Written by Stu Cooper

Edge of Tomorrow was recently released into theaters. The film starred Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, and Bill Paxton. The story followed a reluctant soldier by the name of Bill Cage. Cage is forced into battle by a superior and begins to experience a time loop. Upon first glance the plot-line is very similar to films like Groundhog Day. You have a scrooge like setup where the character is an asshole, they experience a change of heart after seeing how sad life can be, and they change their ways. This film took that approach but added a lot of curve balls. A lot of death and a lot of humor, a combination that is hard to pull off.

Cage begins to experience the same day over and over again. To add a layer of darkness, that day happens to be the future equivalent to D-Day (World War II). Some might say this was done on purpose considering the film's release coincides with the anniversary of D-Day. As most people know, D-Day was an infamous day in history because of the amount of death and slaughter that took place. In “Edge of Tomorrow” this day comes when an alien race has begun to take over the world and the only thing stopping them from taking over Europe is an army of super soldiers. Cruise is assigned active duty against his will and serves with the other soldiers. At this point Cage is introduced to Drill Sergeant Ferrell, played by Bill Paxton. Paxton does great as the Sergeant and since the character is a proud Kentucky boy, Paxton really lays the accent on thick. It makes for some very funny scenes. Later Cage tries to explain his situation to Ferrell but it proves futile and that begins Cage's journey to alter his destiny.

The soldiers wear mechanical suits of armor that are actually quite sleek and cool looking. The suits boast all sorts of fire power ranging from machine guns to rocket launchers. It's like something out of the G.I. Joe cartoon. Unfortunately these weapons aren't enough to stop the incoming invaders, and Cage's platoon does not fair too well. Cage tries to find a solution to the war. On his journey he meets a soldier who has a legendary following, her name is Rita tho on the streets she earns the nickname Full Metal Bitch. Rita killed over 60 of the aliens in a previous battle, so she became a legend of sorts amongst the soldiers. Rita actually rocks a gigantic looking final fantasy sword.

The villains in the film are weird biomechanical aliens called Mimics. These creatures are hard to explain because they are basically mechanical blobs with scary faces. I was not into the creature design at all. It feels like one of those alien villains from the live action Transformers films. One interesting detail is that these creatures use time travel as a form of weaponry, which adds a different layer to their race. Unfortunately the race themselves aren't explored much in the film.

The final fantasy sword that Rita uses isn't the only thing in the film that feels influenced by video games. In fact, most of the film feels like a video game experience. There's the idea of re-spawning (dying and coming back), which is not something you can typically do in movies. Then you have the alien invasion, the giant gun battles, the bad-ass female with a giant's all very artistic and familiar to video game fans. I think that adds a special layer to this film. I was actually pleasantly surprised with the film and all the unique elements it had. I really enjoyed Cruise's previous sci-fi venture “Oblivion” but I would definitely say “Edge of Tomorrow” is superior. The only thing the film lacked was a memorable soundtrack and perhaps a strong villain presence. The song used in the trailer was far better than any of the drone like songs used in the film. The song in the credits is also quite random and gave me a bad “Men In Black 3” vibe.

Overall I would say I was quite impressed with “Edge of Tomorrow”. Cruise's acting was spot on and for once he wasn't the perfect soldier. Cruise's character in the film was flawed and humorous. Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton both added some enjoyment to the film and I liked the Starship Troopers vibe. If you like science fiction and you enjoy Tom Cruise's acting, this movie would be worth a watch. I might actually purchase this one on bluray. If you want to checkout the original story this film was based on, checkout the graphic novel “All You Need is Kill”. It's a bit different but equally interesting.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

X-MEN: Days of Future Past Review

Written By Brandon Pershing

Its the midnight premiere of X-men: First Class during the summer of 2011, and I remember having waited so anxiously to see the much hyped film. When the credits ended, and the projector shut down I was still sitting on the edge of my seat, amazed by the superhuman action that had just shredded its way across the screen. I remember just being in complete shock how well the casting of James Mcavoy and Michael Fassbender enhanced the entire X-men saga, and more than anything I wanted to see the cast reunite again for a sequel. Cut three years and another Wolverine spinoff later, and my wish was granted far more than expected.

Days of Future past is hands down the best X-men film, and it deserves that distinction for a good reason. Its a movie that transcends just the superhero genre, as it is a stellar film regardless of the big MARVEL branding that comes along with it. The film not only bridges the gap between the younger and older X-men casts, but also successfully revitalizes the X-men franchise itself. DOFP operates as a unique hybrid movie, being a prequel/sequel/reboot, a strange conglomeration of many different elements that ultimately make even the general idea of the film interesting. Set both in a far dystopian future and the Nixon era 1970s, the plot takes moviegoers on a time bending adventure to right the wrongs done to the mutants of both eras. While the time traveling element of the film does sometimes get confusing, audiences will likely love getting to see such drastically different X-men teams come together to fight enemies of both eras. Leading the bad guys is Peter Dinklage's character Bolivar Trask, a mutant hating scientist who has nothing much on his mind but creating giant killer robots.

While the inclusion of the Game of Thrones star in this film was awesome to see, Trask as a character is ultimately quite boring next to more memorable movie villains. Most of the time Trask can be seen making robust statements about his distaste for mutants, or showing off his robot army to potential clients. Trask’s robotic creations, called sentinels, on the other hand are much more exciting, as they are nearly indestructible ruthless butcherers who will indeed kill many of your favorite characters in the most heinous ways.

Speaking of mutants, Hugh Jackman returns for his seventh outing as Wolverine, and once again offers another great performance as his most famous character. This time around he operates much more in the background, and lets his other team members shine for once. This was both a fantastic and disappointing choice by director Bryan Singer, as its great to see more focus on James Mcavoy’s Professor X and Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, but the battle worn wolverine seen in this film was the closest to the comic books the character has gotten since the start of the series in 2000. The rest of the cast is very much at home and featured normally throughout, however its obvious that the film favors showing off the prequel cast more, as the past is where the duration of the plot takes place. The real breakout star of the film however was Evan Peter’s Quicksilver. A super fast mutant who steals the spotlight every scene he is in, Peter’s Quicksilver will likely become a new fan favorite, especially after viewers see him featured in one of the best slow motion action sequences ever.

Overall, Days of Future Past is going to amaze every type of moviegoer that walks into the theater. Its a visual treat in its entirety, and longtime fans of the X-men comic books will be pleased at the faithful character representations featured throughout. The film shows just how to remarket and revitalize a struggling series into a hollywood game changer, and is going to get fans on their heels for 2016’s X-men Apocalypse.