As Tom Cruise gets ready to sprint into theaters with Mission Impossible: Fallout, it’s worth pregaming with his last really great non-MI film: 2014’s Edge of Tomorrow. Cruise certainly has his offputting personal qualities, but you can’t say the man doesn’t show up to a film set with unrivaled energy. The best roles he’s had blend his affinity for absurd physicality and character work. Cruise, unlike a lot of action stars, actually can act. He may have stopped going for Oscar-type roles, but he’s better than his recently dreary The Mummy or the Jack Reacher duology. Edge or Tomorrow (or Live. Die. Repeat depending on which title you prefer) provides Cruise with the best time travel gimmick since Groundhog Day and a character that plays against his type.
Cruise’s character is EoT isn’t a hero, he doesn’t want to fight, and he starts out as kind of a coward. The “Cruisian Superhero” tropes that Tom usually leans on aren’t anywhere to be found in Doug Liman’s film. Until his character begins his time loop, there isn’t much redeemable in this character. Once he’s trapped, though, he has to go through to get out. Going through, however, in this case, requires a lot of dying. There are some interesting theories on how much time Cruise actually spends trapped in his loop during the film. He dies (resetting his loop) 16 times on-camera in Edge of Tomorrow, but the implication is that’s just a fraction of his journey. Estimates on the IMDB boards on his time looping duration range from 100 days to 1,000 days to 10 years. As he spends more and more time buffing out the dings in his temporal prison, he becomes more and more redeemable and the time forge ends up pounding out one of Cruise’s best and most unlikely heroes by film’s end.
Tom Cruise is a throwback in that he’s a movie star of the old Hollywood pedigree. He’s almost larger-than-life, and though he’s very capable of disappearing into roles at times, he’s nearly always TOM CRUISE in whatever film he’s headlining. There are other actors who essentially play themselves at every turn, but what differentiates Cruise is that, even if the project doesn’t work, you never feel like he phoned it in. Cruise has a scary focus and dedication to his craft that, when married to the right part, can result in explosive performances and memorable films. Cruise is currently in the midst of an action movie only groove that has lasted a good 15 years already, and I think will continue until he’s physically unable to turn out gems like the Mission Impossible films, Edge of Tomorrow, Collateral, etc. I’m hoping that when that time comes, Cruise focuses more on character parts, much as Harrison Ford did when he reached that point in his career. Until then, even if he may be past his box office peak, his name still has considerable clout with moviegoers.
The last time Tom Cruise worked with director Doug Liman, the two teamed for the 2014 hit Edge of Tomorrow (which has subsequently been retitled “Live, Die, Repeat”). A sequel to Edge of Tomorrow, which is supposed to be both a prequel and sequel to the original film is in the works, and Emily Blunt is expected to return. In the meantime, the two have American Made coming September 29, 2017. The film tells the wild, true life adventures of Barry Seal, a rogue and pilot recruited by the CIA to head one of the largest covert operations in American history. American Made also stars Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Caleb Landry Jones, and Jesse Plemons.
Oscar will hand out its Best Picture award on Sunday, and I’ll be doing the 3rd Annual Renaissance Film Awards (or “the Rennys” as we call them here around the home office), but the Killing Time Community’s pick for Best Film of 2014 is Guardians of the Galaxy. Voting was extremely tight and Guardians, Cap and The Lego Movie all took turns at #1, but Guardians pushed through late and took the prize. I’m just going to chalk up the votes for Maleficent to someone having a grand mal seizure at the keyboard.
Guardians of the Galaxy follows The Dark Knight Rises and Gravity as KT Community Best Pictures. This movie was pure fun and it came around in August at the end of a dismal summer and gave fans of the comic and newcomers alike a wild ride. This is going to be the first year I’m going to differ from the Community’s pick; this wasn’t what I would have picked, but it’s certainly in my Top 5 and worthy of the title. Thanks to everyone for voting and tune in for more awards and honors as the week progresses.
I know I bashed it all year, but truly 2014 was the most mediocre year at the movies I’ve experienced in my lifetime. As such, I haven’t published my TOP 10 until now, not because I don’t have ten good films, but because I keep waiting for all the films that are supposed to be Oscar favorites to come to my theater and -thus far- they haven’t. Now, next week the Academy will announce the 2015 Oscar Nominations and I will, no doubt, be hopping up and down mad just like I am every year. But that recognition, will bring those films to more markets and my Top 10 may look significantly different by the time we hand out our own version of the Oscars: The 3rd Annual Renaissance Film Awards. What film will follow The Dark Knight Rises and Gravity as Best Picture winners? How much will this list change in a month? Right now, here are my Top 10 Films of 2014 with links to my full reviews. Continue reading KILLING TIME’S TOP 10 FILMS OF 2014 *UPDATED WITH AMERICAN SNIPER*→