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.
Every family has secrets. Every family has traits that are passed down from fathers to sons. Most families do not require a father-son chat on the nature of inherited time travel. Tim’s (Domhnall Gleeson) is an exception. On his 21st birthday, he inherits a gift that all the male members of his family have, his father (Bill Nighy) explains: he can, in fact, travel back in time. It is one of my favorite father-son chats in film history because while it is about as something as bizarre as the time travel, it contains the awkwardness and general generational incredulity that is at the heart of most father-son bonds (or lack thereof). About Time is a slightly science fictiony love story, but at its heart, it’s about family, the moments that begin and end them, and more than anything the bond between fathers and sons and how it changes and evolves as we age. It’s a funny, touching, and seriously underrated film that if you haven’t seen-I couldn’t recommend more.
When Alfred Hitchcock was gone, everyone asked who would be the next Hitchcock. When Steven Spielberg lost his touch, people began asking who was the next Spielberg. Christopher Nolan isn’t the next anything. In an age when cinema has become largely cookie cutter, Nolan has risen to become film’s best director, and in 40 years people will be asking who the next Nolan will be. Inception is, in my opinion, Nolan’s best film, and a film so original and yet filled with so many classic elements of different genres that Nolan was able to make his dense script a hook audiences were willing to push themselves to understand. Combined with dazzling visuals, an amazing ensemble, Wally Pfister’s cinematography masterpiece, and a score from Hans Zimmer for the ages and you have one of the best films of the 21st Century…..and the best part is the very last scene. Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Inception (2010) “Time”
Hi ho, Time Killers. It is the well and established policy of Killing Time that we avoid reality at all costs. It’s a messy, complicated business, and the good vs. bad ratio isn’t nearly what it should be. That’s why we live in stories. Stories are the shared imagination of our species. Be they on a page, lit on a screen, lived in a game, or merely something you dabble with in your subconscious, in stories we can lose ourselves in worlds that make more sense that the one in which we actually live. That being said, since I make a commitment to the people who seem to enjoy my mind droppings to have something regularly for their perusal, when that commitment is going to look shabby for awhile, I need to surface and give you a heads-up.
The last few months, I have not been able to put as much into the blog as I would like. This is largely due to an enormous chunk of reality splatting into my life and knocking me out of the orbit in which I can easily use stories to dart out of the dark tidal pulls of the daily rhythms that threaten to numb us completely stupid. I’ve been busy. The previous sentence was a very wordy way of saying I’ve been busy. Here’s the thing: over the next 10 days I will be even busier than I have been, and regular features or things that I normally would cover with ease, may have to be shelved in favor of me face-planting into a pillow. After that period; however, I plan for things to return to business as normal here, and I’m hoping my reality syncs into some kind of balance that allows me to share the excitement of the stories we love to experience together and does not burn me into a frazzled cinder in the mean.
I will do the best I can during this period, but I hope you’ll be patient with me. There are 25 films alone I want to see to close out 2016; ideas for articles I’ve just jotted down, because time has been killing me more of late than I’ve been killing it. Hopefully, we’ll right that balance soon. Stab the minutes, people. Stab the minutes.
Time Killer in Chief
Collateral Beauty stars Will Smith as a man in the aftermath of an unspeakable tragedy. His way of coping of it is by writing letters. Not to the deceased. They tell you to do that in grief counseling and sometimes it helps. Smith is writing letters to Death, Love, and Time. And mailing them. This has his friends understandably concerned, but not as concerned as Smith when Death (Helen Mirren) shows up with one of his letters in hand. The film also stars Kate Winslet, Michael Pena, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, and Naomie Harris, and has the daunting task of opening against the next Star Wars film when it debuts December 16, 2016.