Review: Edge of Tomorrow (dir. Doug Liman, 2014)

Edge of Tomorrow stars Tom Cruise as a soldier who gets caught in a time loop and finds himself living the same day over and over again. This gives much of the film a feeling of déjà vu, which is only fitting, since many elements in this film are reminiscent of other movies, from the battle scenes of Saving Private Ryan and Starship Troopers to the mechanical suits of Iron Man and Aliens and the endless time loops in Groundhog Day and Source Code. You might spend much of this new film thinking that you’ve seen it all before.

Indeed, Tom Cruise has been in the movie-star business for so long that his latest film feels at times like a callback to earlier Tom Cruise movies. Even the fact that it’s a bit of a pastiche seems like a replay of earlier pastiches, not least because Edge of Tomorrow is the second consecutive film of his — following last year’s Oblivion, which borrowed from many other films itself — in which the Earth is attacked by aliens and Cruise becomes the only man who can do anything about it.

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Exorcists and Emperors: young actors play old, then play young again in flashbacks or prequels

Further to my post marking the 40th anniversary of The Exorcist, I thought it might be fun to look at one other way in which the Exorcist movies parallel the Star Wars franchise: namely, both series feature an actor who plays considerably older than his real age, and then, in at least one of the sequels or prequels, the actor plays more-or-less his real age in scenes set years or even decades earlier.

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Review: Minority Report (dir. Steven Spielberg, 2002)

Steven Spielberg hasn’t got Stanley Kubrick out of his system yet. In some respects, Minority Report is the sort of futuristic sci-fi chase movie that makes popcorn vendors smile. It’s also the sort of spectacular summer flick you expect a crowd-pleaser like Spielberg to excel at. But it also reflects the bleak, dystopic vision of things to come that made A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Spielberg’s realization of a project Kubrick spent years developing, so chilling and unfamiliar. Minority Report also stars Tom Cruise, who earned a place in the Kubrick canon with Eyes Wide Shut, and it puts him in a situation that calls to mind one of the more freakish and uncomfortable moments in A Clockwork Orange.

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