Live. Die Repeat!
That's the tagline for Edge of Tomorrow, the latest futuristic, time warp summer blockbuster opening Friday at the Village 8. It's like Groundhog Day with explosions and aliens. And it works.
Tom Cruise stars as a big-shot U.S. military spokesperson with no real combat experience sent to battle a horde of pissed off, tendril-lashing aliens that have inexplicably attacked Earth. He dies just moments after arriving on the frontlines, then wakes up to realize he's caught in some kind of time loop and must relive that day, and battle, over and over ad infinitum.
With the reset button so integral to the plot, Edge of Tomorrow definitely speaks to the video gamer crew, but director Doug Liman (Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith) keeps the humour up as Cruise and co-star Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) live, die, repeat, and learn to fight another day.
People either love or hate Tom Cruise (despite how he saves the world almost every summer), but Edge of Tomorrow should appeal to both because Cruise often does his best work with these mindbender-y scripts (Vanilla Sky, Magnolia, Minority Report) and if you hate him, well it's fun to watch Emily Blunt "reset" the day by shooting him in the head a bunch of times. Forget the Scientology and ex-wife crap, Tom Cruise is our last real action hero and Edge of Tomorrow is worth watching today.
Also opening Friday (and pretty much the opposite of the Tom Cruise movie), The Fault In Our Stars is a typical teenage love melodrama, except the young lovers have cancer. Based on the bestselling-novel by John Green, this one walks the preachy/oversentimental line a bit, but for the most part is strong teen fare with a real beating heart. Shailene Woodley nails it in the leading role as the "Keith Richards of cancer kids."
The other notable flick at the Village 8 this week is Chef, written, directed and starring Jon Favreau, who left the wildly successful Iron Man franchise after two films to make this one about a misunderstood chef/artist who sticks to his creative integrity, opens a food truck, solidifies his relationships with the people he loves, and saves the world. It's a Hollywood success parable (spoiler, he doesn't save the world. There isn't much at stake here, except maybe some actual steak).
<mandatory food metaphor> Chef, working from a familiar underdog recipe, still manages to go a little heavy on the cheese. And despite some spicy banter with a supporting cast (that includes John Leguizamo, Dustin Hoffman and Sofia Vergara) and a sizzling first act, the final third of the film sits under the heat-lamp of faux-family dynamics and unrealistically flavoured entrepreneurialism. Despite Scarlett Johansson playing the semi-dressed hostess/love interest there's just not enough heat in Chef's kitchen. </food metaphor>
Also, for a movie that's supposed to be about creative integrity it places too much value on financial success and also contains an entire stupid sub-section about social media and "going viral" (and don't get me started with the on-screen Twitter bubbles).
Of course, I'm a critic and thus a bit of an asshole. Most audiences will eat this up, and in a town like Whistler, with probably more chefs (and dreamers) per capita than anywhere in the province, Chef will still hit a few sweet spots.
The Download of the Week is Waiting about a bunch of waiters (and chefs) and starring Anna Faris and Ryan Reynolds, who hopefully ditches the action movie genre and goes back to acerbic, critically-slammed comedies someday soon.