Interview with the Vampire (1994)

If you thought all Tom Cruise movies had a scene showing Tom Cruise sprinting, you were wrong. Vampires don’t sprint, and in this movie… Tom Cruise is a vampire. So is Brad Pitt. Tom Cruise plays the bloodthirstier of the two. There’s a lot of blood and death in this movie. It’s not really my genre. At all.

Hah. I wanted to know about the financial aspects of being an immortal vampire. Do they steal? Do they invest? Do they work for pay? They could do any or all of those things, but we are shown zero of them. We also don’t see the legal or even social consequences of any of their murders, some of which really seem like they would have been noticed. Oh well…. In the positive column, Kristen Dunst, age 12, did a great job of playing an eternal woman child.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/interview-with-the-vampire-the-vampire-chronicles/id279599100

See below for a plot summary with SPOILERS in the form of a beat sheet in the style described in Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat.

Continue reading Interview with the Vampire (1994)

Ghost Protocol (2011)

I remember seeing Ghost Protocol among the new releases in a DVD shop years ago. Somehow it didn’t register as a movie I wanted to see. Since then, I’ve realized how iconic that 1996 Mission Impossible movie is and therefore will probably watch however many more are made, as long as Tom Cruise reprises his role as Ethan Hunt. At some point I decided I’m basically willing to watch anything Tom Cruise is in, though that doesn’t mean I like everything he’s in—I hated Jerry Maguire, and Minority Report was a horrible mess.

I really enjoyed the fight scene in the mechanical parking garage, but parts of Ghost Protocol were hard to watch; surely they filmed those Spiderman stunts with a greenscreen? Um, no. No, they did not. And it wasn’t a stunt double. Tom Cruise really had himself filmed on the outside of the Burj Khalifa. I don’t know who’s crazier, him or Jackie Chan.

A lot of heist movies show you the plan and show you the hero executing most or even all of the plan successfully; it’s fun because there are parts of the hero’s plan that you don’t know, or because you see the bad guys fall into traps set up for them. There’s still conflict because sometimes the bad guys get the upper hand, or someone on the good guy’s team turns traitor, but the good guy often has a secret backup plan, so it turns out he was never in danger, or at any rate is fully capable of getting himself out of it again.

What was fun about Ghost Protocol was the sheer number of things that went wrong for the characters. It was just one thing after another! The plans went awry over and over again! Or I thought they were going to, and that was worse!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/mission-impossible-ghost-protocol/id501587325

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)

Ex-Major Jack Reacher gets in plenty of fight scenes in the Halloween-themed sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, but this movie is as much a family drama as a thrilling whodunit. I liked it less than Jack Reacher (2012) because it was less funny.

Reviewers seem to rate this sequel adequate at best, which means it’s unlikely this book series will continue on film. (Tom Cruise will just have to find another way to make money.)

The premise is that when Reacher arrives in Washington D.C. to meet up with Major Turner, a friendly woman he’s only spoken with on the phone, he finds out that she’s been arrested by the military police. He doesn’t believe for a minute that she’s guilty. Those who framed her are dangerous and determined to keep their secret safe; Reacher has to rescue Turner, protect a girl who might be his daughter, and solve the mystery that cost two of Major Turner’s men their lives.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/jack-reacher-never-go-back/id1159012561

Keep reading for a detailed plot summary with SPOILERS in the form of a beat sheet in the style described in Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat.

Continue reading Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow is Groundhog Day but with hostile aliens.

I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I love Tom Cruise’s humorous approach and his dedication to the role; the special features talked a lot about how much effort was required to operate in the exosuit and how central the suit was to the portrayal of the main character, whose gradual transformation Cruise made believable. On the other hand, I found the war very real and very threatening.

This review has interesting things to say.

The repetition of certain shots and/or scenes is deftly handled and serves the story without ever becoming cumbersome, gimmicky or overused – which is really a feat in and of itself.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/live-die-repeat-edge-of-tomorrow/id878682651

More on what I liked and disliked about the movie, including spoilers, below.

Continue reading Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

The Last Samurai (2003)

I am a fan of Tom Cruise, but I thought The Last Samurai was boring and overly sentimentalized.

The patronizing characterization of the Japanese as savages transformed into blind idealization of the Japanese as being actually quite lovely and graceful and heroic, which is just as patronizing.

Technology is depicted as inherently, thoroughly bad because it can magnify the consequences of unjust wars.

The emperor of Japan was portrayed as spineless, right up until the end, where suddenly he cared about the protagonist and his Samurai rebel leader friend.

I like fight scenes that are clever and funny, but all these were either loud, chaotic, and bloody, or slo-mo and serious. Nothing in the movie was funny. I was bored by the entire thing and had to go and get something to do while watching it. Not a winner.

Roger Ebert disagrees with me.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/the-last-samurai/id282577271