Oblivion

Tom Cruise Dumbfounded in Edge of Tomorrow

It may be the best action movie of the summer, but Edge of Tomorrow is far from perfect. Like most Hollywood blockbusters, the latest Tom Cruise vehicle has a good share of plot holes. And because it’s sci-fi, there are also a lot of questions left over that maybe even the screenwriters can’t explain. It’s no Oblivion, of course. Where that got overly convoluted with its Moon-like reveal, this one is still easier to figure out than its own Duncan Jones-directed precursor. Not that anyone is referencing Source Code so much as Groundhog Day. The classic time-loop comedy left us with a ton of questions of its own, yet in a fun way, proof that just because we make one of these lists for a movie doesn’t mean we necessarily think it’s bad. There is a ton to love about Edge of Tomorrow, for instance, including its energy and its surprisingly suitable self-aware humor. But it almost loses a lot of us in that ending. There’s much to discuss about that, and in fact many of our questions below are devoted to elements of the third act, with a couple directed at the last few minutes. Maybe the key is that we need to watch the movie again and again and again until we get it all. Maybe there’s an appropriate trick involved where things become clearer in retreading. Is Edge of Tomorrow itself a game? Or is it just a little too complicated and also a little too sloppy? Obviously, everything beyond […]

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2013review_music

This year brought moviegoers an array of music that ranged from uplifting (About Time “How Long Will I Love You”) to depressing (The Great Gatsby‘s “Young and Beautiful”) to catchy (Inside Llewyn Davis‘ “Please Mr. Kennedy”) to nostalgic (Saving Mr. Banks‘ “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”) to just plain out there (Spring Breakers‘ “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”). Whether it was a film about throwing (or attending) the best party of your life or one about intense family drama, the music pushed stories to new heights, whether it was an Alien rapping on the beach or two mothers pushing their children to the breaking point. Film music is no longer just orchestration and catchy pop songs – it is dubstep and bands you would normally hear on the radio taking to the conductor’s stand. Simply put – it is an exciting time for music in film because there are no rules. Now it’s time to relive some of the best music moments from this past year with scores from composers new to the scene and those continuing to churn out groundbreaking music, as well as soundtracks that featured songs from bands and artists who discovered new talents while collaborating.

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goodfellastable

This week’s list of movies to watch is not inspired by a single new release, because there isn’t anything big enough out this weekend to warrant such a focus. Instead, I’ve got a year-end feature for you inspired by the entirety of 2013 in film. I can’t sum up every title released this year with only ten recommendations, but the movies I’ve selected are, I believe, the best representatives of the more notable titles and trends seen in the past dozen months. Most of the selections are familiar. Chances are you’ve seen more than a few. But obviously this edition has to involve more popular fare because they have to be influential movies to have informed so much of this year’s crop, even if unintentionally. Just take it as a call to watch them again, along with whatever you haven’t seen before, as a special sort of year in review of the most important movies of 2013 released before 2013.

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Paranoia

Today marks the opening of Robert Luketic’s Paranoia, a film that, despite literally being titled “Paranoia,” has absolutely nothing to do with “paranoia” in the slightest. While the film, a corporate espionage thriller, sets its a solid cast of Liam Hemsworth, Gary Oldman, Harrison Ford, and Amber Heard’s incredible skin in a twisted world of technology titan battles and criminal double-crosses, there’s no paranoia to be had here. Sure, Hemsworth’s Adam Cassidy may be a pawn in a seemingly never-ending war of one-upmanship between Oldman and Ford (both big-time tech guys who are apparently desperate to craft really cool flip phones or something) who constantly feels like he’s being followed and watched, but here’s the thing – he is being followed and watched. That’s not “paranoia,” and it’s not even some good old-fashioned intuition, it’s the gig Adam signed up for. Listen, if you take a job because you’ve been blackmailed into it and it’s a criminal enterprise and they give you a cell phone you always have to answer and there’s a weird guy (Julian McMahon) whose job seems to consist of threatening your life, you’re not being paranoid. You’re being observant. And yet, Paranoia isn’t the only film from 2013 to completely muddle the meaning of its own title. In fact, there’s a bevy of one-worders out there that possess little to no awareness of their own titular meanings. Fortunately, we’re here to rewrite the dictionary for you, 2013 blockbuster style.

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discs strike back2

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Strike Back: The Complete Second Season Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester) and Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) weren’t always best of friends, and while they still argue on occasion they’ve also learned that they can trust each other when the bullets start flying. Their latest adventure finds the duo along with their new commander (Rhona Mitra) running and gunning their way across Africa in search of stolen nuclear triggers. Technically the series’ third season, this is Cinemax’s second as the producing entity, and they continue to show why no one even talks about that initial UK season any more. They also continue to show that a TV show can actually best many a lesser action movie in nearly every aspect. The acting and cast here are solid, the cinematography is theater-worthy, and the action sequences are impossibly great for a television series. They also impress with their awareness of both weaponry and tactics that add to the feeling of legitimacy. Hell, Cinemax even ensures the show maintains their high (or low?) standards when it comes to T&A. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentaries]

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kosinski

With only two films under his belt, director Joseph Kosinski‘s architectural background rings loud and clear. From his approach to framing to the elaborate sets, everything feels deliberate. For Kosinski, that purposefulness doesn’t purely derive from painting a shiny picture, but from building character. For his second feature film, Oblivion, the director follows his dissatisfied protagonist, Jack Harper (Tom Cruise), through isolating and contrasting settings highlighting his dillema. Jack’s conflict is what drove Joseph Kosinski to spend the past few years of his life developing the project based on an idea of his own. The TRON: Legacy director wanted to make a character-driven science-fiction film, not a set-piece one. Kosinski’s film isn’t one packed with set pieces, making the movie rest on Jack and Cruise’s shoulders. Kosinski, despite his busy schedule, made the time to speak with us this week after the film’s successful release. Here’s what he had to say about the heart of the film, his favorite set, and how video games differ heavily from movies.

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movies_pain_and_gain_on_set_2

Welcome to another edition of the Reject Recap, where we highlight the past week’s best news and original features from this very movie site and others around the web. You might notice the format is slightly different this time around. You also might notice that we’ve only selected stuff posted to FSR. Part of this is because I’m at a film festival this weekend and didn’t have as much time to browse our friends’ sites. Part is because our writers banged out a lot of great stuff the past few days. Surely you’ll agree while playing catch up. Start your weekend right after the jump.

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The Usual Suspects

It’s pretty much impossible to avoid movie/TV spoilers these days, and that’s just a sad reality. Is it the worst thing? Not even close, but that doesn’t mean that those who partake in the spoiling are anything less than pricks. Still, is it possible they’re simply confused pricks? Pricks unknowingly trafficking in the art of premature infojaculation? The past week has seen two interesting discussions arise on the subject, and both of them stem from Tom Cruise’s new film Oblivion. The first one appeared on Twitter as people who had seen early screenings of the film shared their 140-character-long opinions as to what other movies this one reminded them of. They weren’t explicitly stating plot points, but in naming certain, specific movies in their comparisons, those plot points were made implicit and obvious. The second issue was voiced a few days ago by Calum Marsh in a post on Film.com about how film critics shouldn’t care about spoiling a film for their readers. There’s a kernel of truth to his point, but it’s drowned out by the rest of what he says (and how he says it). In both cases the originators claim these circumstances aren’t worthy of being called a real spoiler. In both cases these people are wrong. Before we go any further though, know that there will in fact be spoilers below for Oblivion and Moon as well as a handful of older movies (I’m talking decades old), so consider this your spoiler warning. See how easy that is, […]

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Oblivion

Oblivion is the kind of science fiction movie that plays with a lot of other movies’ toys and forgets to clean them up afterward. Then we all step on a HAL 9000 doll in the middle of the night when we’re going for that last piece of fried chicken in the fridge, and the bruise reminds us to yell rhetorically at the Tom Cruise-starring movie the next morning. How many times have we told it to pick up its things? The movie’s created some mixed responses, but it’s also left behind some huge questions. Plot holes, really, if we’re being honest. It’s messy for how hard it tries to be smart. Some of those questions are inconsequential, some slightly annoying and some vital to what could have been sci-fi success. On their own, they could have amounted to nitpicks, but the sheer number of them (and the severity of a few) made for a truly confused experience. Spoilers for Oblivion abound so beware, but if you’ve already seen or just plain don’t care, let’s dive in to the bizarre question marks looming high in the sky over Joseph Kosinski‘s latest film.

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Oblivion Trailer Screenshot

What with Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Elysium, Pacific Rim and the myriad other blockbusting sci-fi movies coming out, 2013 is shaping up to be a great year for the genre. If by “genre” you mean “these four ideas repeated over and over again.”

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FILM JOCKEYS HEADER

What happens when a legendary film critic brings is geriatric crankiness to an internet movie show? Film Jockeys follows the adventures of Carl Barker, his far-too-young production staff, the filmmakers and the movie characters that inhabit their world. Written and illustrated by Derek Bacon, it’s the perfect webcomic for passionate movie fans who want to fly Tom Cruise’s space helicopter. For your consideration, Episode #19:

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review oblivion

Oblivion is many things. [pause for laughter from readers who’ve seen the film] It’s a thrilling mix of science fiction, action and discovery. It’s visually stunning and filled with beauties both CGI and natural. It’s a major step up from director Joseph Kosinski‘s debut film (Tron: Legacy). It’s a thinly-veiled commentary on drone warfare. It’s scored with occasional energy and life by M83. It’s a rare example of a film that almost demands to be seen on an IMAX screen. It’s the near epitome of style over substance. And it’s the most derivative sci-fi film since Avatar. Jack (Tom Cruise) is a repairman whose sole duty is keep defensive drones functioning. He and his teammate, Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), are the last remaining humans on Earth after a devastating alien attack sent our species scrambling for new digs on Saturn’s moon, Titan. A handful of humans including Jack and Victoria’s commander sit aboard a space station orbiting above them, but when Jack’s curiosity regarding alien actions on the planet’s nuclear pock-marked surface causes friction he’s thrown into an unexpected adventure with far-reaching implications.

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Oblivion Bubble Ship

On this evening’s edition of Movie News After Dark, we take a closer look at Tom Cruise’s ride in Oblivion, get up close and personal with Silent Ben Affleck, see what Russ Meyer’s Star Wars universe might look like and get down and dirty with the Internet’s finest movie-related accomplishment: the Supercut.

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Oblivion Movie

Joseph Kosinski‘s Oblivion is a lot like a fireworks display on a Tuesday. It has no real reason to exist, and while the visuals are exciting, they only impress for fifteen minutes before things get faulty and repetitive. In other words, leave it to Kosinski to make fireworks boring. In the film itself, those fifteen minutes are scattered unevenly through a wasteland that feels much longer than its runtime. Around the third hour of the two-hour-long movie, Morgan Freeman‘s gruff survivalist character describes an outside threat as without a soul, without humanity, merely a beautiful machine. He might as well have been talking about this movie. Jack (Tom Cruise) is a handyman soldier stationed at a beautiful house that stands above the wreckage that used to be the planet. His job is to repair drones that have malfunctioned or been brought down violently by Scavengers — the enemy that destroyed the Moon, that doomed mankind to head for an interstellar refuge and that still lives in small numbers despite the utter devastation caused by earthquakes and floods. That war was sixty years ago, but Jack and his romantic colleague Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are doing a tour of earthbound duty  to ensure that a few giant, floating rigs are able to suck up the remaining sea water in order to harvest energy. However, Jack is plagued by dreams of a woman (Olga Kurylenko) standing atop the pre-war Empire State Building and can’t shake the feeling that he knows her. Eventually, that […]

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Pain and Gain Red Band

This is the month we’ve been building towards ever since the start of 2013. This year was made for this month. Why did the Mayans postpone their destruction of our dear Earth? So they could see what Michael Bay‘s small movie was like. Pain and Gain is his first non-Transformers movie in nearly eight years, and it’s about time the Mayans and the rest of us saw it. That Hasbro series had its moments, but not in the way The Rock and The Bad Boys films did. Pain and Gain looks to fit into that half of Bay’s career. Summer comes early with his dark, ‘roided up comedy, and the same can be said for the movies we’re seeing from Danny Boyle, Shane Carruth, and Joseph Kosinski. In fact, Kosinski’s Oblivion is the only blockbuster on the list. April is shaping up to be a huge month for smaller movies.

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Oblivion

Well now, this just seems cruel. While we’ve long known that the Earth would be getting busted up in Joseph Kosinski‘s upcoming Tom Cruise-starring Oblivion, no one ever said a damn thing about the moon (sweet, innocent moon!) taking some heat, too. Though most television spots for new films tend to be cobbled together from a bunch of previously-seen theatrical trailers, one of today’s two new Oblivion spots actually comes complete with some very intriguing new material (yes, like the moon-kablooey) that give us more insight to just what sort of things happened when the film’s aliens (or are they?) destroyed our planet. Yes, we’ve long known about some football stadium-related disasters, but it’s nice to get a larger sense of scope, particularly of the celestial body variety. Check out two new television spots for Oblivion after the break, including that moon-busting little ditty we’ve been teasing.

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Oblivion

The fact that Joseph Kosinski‘s Oblivion looks just beautiful in its ads isn’t surprising – his Tron: Legacy may have been a giant disappointment, but that disappointment sure looked nice on the big screen – but now that the wow factor of the Tom Cruise-starring, future-set film has warn off, it’s time we actually examine the meat of what we’ve been shown so far. First of all, no matter what its tagline tells us, we’re fairly certain that Earth isn’t just “a memory.” In fact, we’re also fairly certain that Tom Cruise’s Jack Harper is actually kicking it on Earth throughout much of the film. Gotcha, marketing! Wait, we knew that already? What? Of course we knew that already, but why then is the film’s tagline the bizarrely obtuse “Earth is a memory worth fighting for”? We know that Jack’s down on Earth, tasked with drone repair on a plant ruined after a long war with an alien race (essentially, he’s Wall-E), and we know that he finds people (maybe?) still living on the desecrated planet – so why all this “memory” hubbub? Let’s hope Kosinski has an answer for us to make up for Tron. In the film’s latest trailer, we get more “memory” talk and a greater understanding of Jack’s day to day work. Check it out after the break.

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Tom Cruise Rock of Ages

Tom Cruise is in the entertainment news again, but not for the widely acclaimed and well received action flick Jack Reacher. No, the Hollywood powerhouse is once again being talked about because of his very close association with Scientology. Never a group to pass up a chance to take free shots at someone, headlines from semi-journalists everywhere announce “Tom Cruise to Save Fellow Scientology Members from Aliens Within.”  When I first heard that, I was intrigued of course. I thought maybe Cruise had gone off the deep end, publicly, but no, that’s not the case. What’s happening, in reality, is that Pulitzer-Prize winning author Lawrence Wright is releasing a book entitled “Going Clear: Scientology.” In it, the book will supposedly talk about Cruise’s billion-year contract with Scientology and the process of auditing — essentially stuff South Park has already covered. Cruise has been the butt of many jokes for many years, and it’s gotten old. It’s time to give him a break.

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Years ago, commercial director Joseph Kosinski was one of the hottest up-and-comers, with a bright, bright future. Then we actually saw that his feature debut, Tron: Legacy, didn’t play as much more than a technically impressive showcase for the filmmaker. He took $150 million and had Jeff Bridges saying stuff like, “Bio-digital jazz, man.” Money not put to good use, I say. Kosinski was then written off as a director with nothing more than a nice eye, no true knack for storytelling. But after seeing the first full-length trailer for his new sci-fi epic, Oblivion, I think maybe some of us spoke too soon. This original science-fiction pic, starring Tom Cruise roaming a desolated Earth, seems like a fairly routine hero’s journey, albeit told on a far more ambitious canvas than what we saw on display in Tron: Legacy. This trailer does a fine job of setting up film’s the world and Cruise’s character, Jack Harper (not to be confused with Jack Reacher). Take a first-look at Oblivion for yourself after the break (or on Apple.com).

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Oblivion Poster

No matter how audiences felt about Joseph Kosinski‘s Tron: Legacy (point of fact, this writer did not feel particularly good about it), the film is undeniably a treat for the eyes, so it’s no surprise that Kosinski’s latest outing, Oblivion, already manages to look like a visual feast from a one-sheet poster alone. The Tom Cruise-starrer is based on Kosinski’s (and Arvid Nelson‘s) own graphic novel, and centers on “a spectacular future Earth that has evolved beyond recognition, [where] one man’s confrontation with the past will lead him on a journey of redemption and discovery as he battles to save mankind.” The film also stars Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Melissa Leo. We’ll get our first look at the film’s trailer on Sunday but, for now, this poster is jaw-dropping enough. Oblivion will be released exclusively in IMAX on April 12, 2013, with a wide release following on April 19, 2013. [IGN, via ComingSoon]

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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