Edge of Tomorrow (Doug Liman, 2014)

What's it about? As a war against an invading alien force is waged across the planet, cowardly army PR man Major Cage (Tom Cruise) finds himself thrown into battle, whereupon he is promptly killed. Only to inexplicably wake up again a day earlier to relive the experience again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. Etc.



Is it any good? Thoroughly enjoyable and probably the closest anyone has ever come to recreating a video game sensibility on the big screen, with its repeated plays of the same scenario, which get a bit further each time as the 'player' (ie Major Cage) becomes more adept at avoiding being killed. 

I don't trust you. What do others think? Thoroughly enjoyable and probably the closest anyone has ever come to recreating a video game sensibility on the big screen, with its repeated plays of the same scenario, which get a bit further each time as the 'player' (ie Major Cage) becomes more adept at avoiding being killed. Naturally, the premise means it shares some DNA with the likes of Source Code and Groundhog Day, but this has enough good action, CGI and humour to give it its own identity. An impressively athletic Emily Blunt acquits herself well in the action stakes alongside Cruise, who treats us to some of his customary running-like-blue-blazes sequences. Which is always fun. 

Anything else I should know? Thoroughly enjoyable and probably the closest anyone has ever come to recreating a video game sensibility on the big screen, with its repeated plays of the same scenario, which get a bit further each time as the 'player' (ie Major Cage) becomes more adept at avoiding being killed. Naturally, the premise means it shares some DNA with the likes of Source Code and Groundhog Day, but this has enough good action, CGI and humour to give it its own identity. An impressively athletic Emily Blunt acquits herself well in the action stakes alongside Cruise, who treats us to some of his customary running-like-blue-blazes sequences. Which is always fun. And watch out for an extended cameo from Bill Paxton is in there too, simply because he said 'Game over, man' one time in a film about aliens. Game over? Geddit? Well, I laughed. All in all, I'd have no difficulty with a repeat viewing. Could have done without the last couple of minutes though.

What does the Fonz think? Groundwar Day.





Buy it on Amazon

Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014)

What's it about? On his 5th wedding anniversary Nick (Ben Affleck) reports his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) missing. As the police investigate and the media begin to take an interest, suspicion starts to fall upon Nick himself. Is their marriage all that it seems? What happened Amy and how much does Nick really know? Based on Gillian Flynn's best-selling novel, which everybody loved (until the end).



Is it any good? To help me review this, I invited a married couple I know along to watch it. With one day gone since they watched it, here's their thoughts.


WIFE
OCTOBER 8, 2014
- Diary entry -

We were invited out to watch the film Gone Girl last night. We never go out any more, so it seemed like a chance to re-capture the early days of our marriage. I had read the source novel, although my husband had not. (He never reads anything any more, except his Twitter feed). So I was familiar with the plot, which includes the usual genre contrivances and outlandish plot developments. So for me, it was less a matter of what things happen, as how things happen. And they happen in very slick fashion, well assembled by Fincher, with good performances from the leads and supporting characters, and a pleasingly dark sense of humour underpinning the story - it obviously doesn't take itself too seriously. It's probably inevitable that the (unpleasant) lead characters and their motivations are less complex than the book, but I couldn't help feeling that Nick got an easier ride than Amy here, and how typical of Hollywood that it is she who gets her kit off more often than him. (Of course, my husband perked up during those bits. How predictable). Whereas the book had more ambiguity and balance, here there is no doubt as to whose side we should be on, which is disappointing. That said, Amy's 'Cool Girl' tirade about male expectations of their female partners remained, and how gratifying to see several men in the audience shift uncomfortably during that scene. (Except for my husband, who seemed more interested in noisily scoffing his nachos and congealed cheese. Also typical). The other interesting aspect is the trial-by-media element, an all-too-believable depiction of how the actual truth of what has happened is less important than what story the media and, by extension the rubber-necking public, want to see. So there is some food for thought amongst the red herrings, which prompted me to try and talk to my husband afterwards about the appearances within our own marriage. Back home, I initiated some love-making, in the hope that afterwards we could have an honest open discussion about our relationship, the way we used to do when we first met. But he just rolled over, muttered that he loved me and I just said I loved him too, which is what men want to hear from their wives. Then I lay awake wondering if I should leave him. Or perhaps he might leave me. Or maybe I should buy a gun. Or maybe.....just maybe.....



HUSBAND
OCTOBER 8, 2014
-Twitter Entry-

Seen Gone Girl with the ball-and-chain. Pretty good, but far-fetched. Still, got some nachos to eat and a shag, so that was good. #result





I don't trust this couple. What do others think? Are you calling my friends unreliable narrators? Shame on you. The film has sparked a number of articles about its various flaws and merits, for example here, here and here. However, I can summarise as follows:

In the Red Corner : It's all about female empowerment, not to mention a satirical commentary on Keeping Up Appearances in today's society.

In the Blue Corner : It's a misogynist, ridiculous thriller with potentially dangerous messages about rape. And what has Hyacinth Bucket got to do with it?

In the other corners : Jeez, it's just a film, folks.

What does the Fonz think? Spleens from a marriage.



The Owls Are Not What They Seem

Some exciting news this week. 
egami no kcilC.


Single Name Title Double Bill

What's in a name? That which we call a rose  Frank. And Locke. Okay it's a tenuous enough idea for a double bill, but it's late and I'm tired. Actually, it's quite early and I'm wide awake. But I am lazy. Enough rambling. Here's the reviews.

In Frank (Lenny Abrahamson, 2014), Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) is an aspiring-but-rather-crap musician who is delighted to get a gig playing experimental music with an enigmatic and delightfully named band, The Soronprfbs. However, he is somewhat disconcerted by the fact that the lead singer, Frank (Michael Fassbender), is a man who wears a large papier-mâché head. All the time. Like this:


Remind you of anyone? Character called Frank? Large papier-mâché head? This is about real-life cult figure Frank Sidebottom, isn't it? Well, sort of. Jon Ronson, who spent some time in Sidebottom's band in the 80s, co-wrote the film and it is broadly based on his experiences during that time, although it deviates a lot from real-life facts, and also takes inspiration from other artists, such as Captain Beefheart and Daniel Johnston. Structure-wise, it simply adheres to the usual band-trying-to-make-it-big formula, as initially shaky rehearsals coalesce into something more accomplished, which brings some measure of success and fame, before in-fighting and pressure inevitably puts pay to the dream. The unique element here is Frank, charismatically played by Fassbender, despite being hidden by a fake head, whose character lends the film a surreal, off-beat sensibility and, ultimately, a poignancy. Like Frank, the film outwardly appears to have a bright, funny disposition, but soon starts to hint at a sadness hidden beneath. As such, it's hard to get a handle on entirely, veering from moments of broad comedy to more serious issues, which makes it a bit of an uneven affair. All in all, it's more of a Medium Play than a Fantastic Tale, but still worth a look for curiosity value. (A little joke for true Sidebottom fans there, folks). Also, watch out for the final song, an awful, but strangely addictive, earworm of a song, which has been stuck in my head for ages now. IIIIIiiiiiii Lllove youuuuuu waaaaaaaalllll!!


Locke (Steven Knight, 2014) is a film about Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy), a construction foreman and, in a slightly forced bit of nominative determinism, a control freak. However, one night a phone call prompts him to uncharacteristically set off on a road trip which will jeopardise his work, his family and his whole life. The whole film is set in real time, in and around Locke's car on his journey down the M6, as he makes a series of phone calls in an attempt to manage the situation he finds himself in. It's a structure which just about works, although there are certainly some cracks in the foundation showing by the end. As the only character on-screen, Hardy (sporting an impressive beard and a less impressive Welsh accent) drives the film along well enough, capturing Locke's torment through strained conversations and moments of simmering introspection. However, the dialogue with his father are less successful - these parts of the script are C5, rather than C6 (a little joke there for true concrete fans, folks) - and it's fair to say the concrete & the clay beneath its feet begin to crumble during these sequences. Elsewhere, some nice photography captures the loneliness of the long-distance driver, but it's never more than an interesting experiment, rather than a long-lasting and compelling construction.

Okay, that's enough name-calling. And remember, IIIIIiiiiiii Lllove youuuuuu waaaaaaaalllll!!

Deep Blue Sea Movie Death Match

Having finally caught up with Terence Davies' heartfelt period drama The Deep Blue Sea (2011) about a doomed romance, it was time to complete a long-gestating project wherein it is thrown into the gladiatorial area in a bitter fight to the death with it's near-namesake Deep Blue Sea (1999), Renny Harlin's heart-chomping contemporary drama about super-smart killer sharks on the rampage. Let the Death Match begin! Fight! Fight! Fight!
































































So there you have it. The crowd drifts away having witnessed a narrow win for Deep Blue Sea, which stands bloodied but unbowed with the twitching corpse of The Deep Blue Sea in its jaws. As a reward it gets a bucket of chum thrown to it and a video-clip of its most memorable moment.