Category Archives: tom cruise

Quickies 2-10-2012

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows ~ I really liked this a lot. It was clever, and owed more than a lot stylistically to both “Psych” and “The Mentalist” in the way they showed how Holmes’ intellect works. Whereas the first movie worked very hard to pull in new and old fans with its new twist on the characters, this sequel played it closer to the source material. Great ending in tribute to the old stories as well. If you’re a reader, you’ll see it coming a mile away. Loved it, and can’t wait for the next one.

Three Inches ~ This SyFy pilot doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be, a serious concept or a sitcom filmed like a drama. A teenaged boy discovers that he’s telekinetic, but can only move objects a distance of three inches. Superhero antics without costumes that comic book fans will hate. It might as well be “Alphas” meets Mystery Men, but with a hesitant sense of humor. Me, I hope it doesn’t become a series, but it’s always nice to see Andrea Martin, and she’s great here.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol ~ Now I slept through a lot of this apparently. That seems to be a problem because to me, it didn’t seem like I missed much. Tom Cruise didn’t talk much, and it felt like wall-to-wall action. Cruise hanging off the building, which I did see, is do not miss. The problem is that I only really saw an intermittent half-hour of this flick, and it’s really almost two and a half hours long. Judge as you see fit.

Jazz Boat ~ Screenwriter Ken Hughes directed this 1960 pseudo gangster musical that was apparently supposed to be Britain’s answer to Guys and Dolls. It’s all youth gangs in London tussling over girls and money in a confrontation that finally takes place on a riverboat on the Thames, with musical interludes along the way. Much more entertaining than it sounds, we get to see what kind of star Anthony Newley could have been. I liked this a lot, serious guilty pleasure.

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The Big Picture: Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Ghost Town

Ghost Town ~ David Koepp has written some amazing movies, some of my faves like the most recent Shadow flick and the first Spider-Man, but for the most part he leaves me cold. The last Indiana Jones movie and the Tom Cruise War of the Worlds spring immediately to mind. So it’s with trepidation I watched Ghost Town which he wrote and directed.

Alternately I love Ricky Gervais, but only from his standup and especially HBO’s “Extras.” Don’t even ask about “The Office.” I have yet to be able to sit through an entire episode of either series from either side of the Atlantic. Some folks love it, but it continues to elude me.

Ricky however, completely carries this film. Without him and his caustic personality this would be a painful and unfunny Lifetime reject of a telemovie. This comedic play on the concept from The Sixth Sense wears pretty thin without him to hold it together. I’ve never seen Greg Kinnear more annoying, and Tea Leoni’s talents are wasted in her role.

To me, there’s no secret why this heartless comedy that tries too hard and is a tad bit predictable bombed at the box office. Worth a look only for Ricky Gervais fans.

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That Time of Year Again

The last few weeks of the year are here and it’s time for Hollywood to roll out their finest stuff in hopes the Academy will take notice and bestow an Oscar on these films. There are a lot of them out there.

Doubt is getting a lot of hype. Milk and Gran Torino promise career performances from Sean Penn and Clint Eastwood respectively. The much talked about reverse-aging epic The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is out there as well. There’s also Will Smith in Seven Pounds, Tom Cruise in Valkyrie, the animated Waltz with Bashir from Ari Folman and Revolutionary Road from Sam Mendes.

Like I said, there are a lot of them, and this is the way it’s been at the end of the year for the last couple decades. The studios want their Oscar hopefuls in the Academy’s faces right before nomination time, and for the most part, this simple ploy usually works. Mark my words, most of the above flicks will make up the majority of the noms this year.

This is bullshit in my opinion. Time of year shouldn’t matter. A good movie, an Oscar-worthy movie, is Oscar-worthy no matter what time of year it is released. If these studios had any reall balls they would release all of these in January. If a flick is really that good, the Academy will remember it come December. And if not, if the Academy is that dim-witted and memory-handicapped, why are they allowed to vote?

Fallen and Others

Fallen ~ I’ve never gotten around to seeing this until recently and was surprised at how good it was. Denzel Washington is not just one of our finest actors, but he also has tremendous skill in choosing roles. Even when he stars in action flicks, or like here, borderline horror, he maintains his integrity by playing thinking protagonists as opposed to those who shoot or punch first and thinks later. Fallen also features some great locations in and around Philadelphia, excellent sidekick work from John Goodman and a very chilling performance from Elias Koteas. It’s also interesting to see “Sopranos” brother and sister James Gandolfini and Aida Turturro together pre-“Sopranos.” Definitely recommended.

3:10 to Yuma (2007) ~ I really wanted to like this, especially because folks whose opinions I respect loved this version, but it just couldn’t overcome the original Glenn Ford/Van Heflin flick. In my opinion, while the performances are first class, the story was only made unnecessarily violent and complicated. Just not as good as it could been – this one was a missed opportunity.

Domino ~ Director Tony Scott brings us this sharp and clever bounty hunter flick starring Keira Knightley very against type. Think Quentin Tarantino meets Shoot ‘Em Up meets reality TV. Great fun.

Vanilla Sky ~ This remake of the Spanish Open Your Eyes was a surprise, not just because I never expect much from Tom Cruise flicks, but because folks told me that this was the Cameron Crowe film that Cameron Crowe fans hate. Honestly, as a CC fan, I don’t see his touch, but considering he didn’t write this one I didn’t need to. I liked the twists and turns in the story, although I figured it out early. If I hadn’t this would have been a lot better. Acting-wise, no one is bad but no one stands out either – Cameron Diaz is suitably creepy though.

Eyes Wide Shut


A Video Review of Eyes Wide Shut

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

It is so sad that this Stanley Kubrick’s last film. While his style is apparent throughout – the story, what there is of it, is pitiful.

I also feel like a voyeur watching Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman touching and loving each other so intimately. It’s possible that I wouldn’t feel this way had I not known they were married in real life. That fact lends a rather disturbing edge to the film.

Nicole gives such a stunning performance that it makes Moulin Rouge (the worst film ever made) seem like a step up. Husband Tom has never been so wooden and deadly dull. Two other actors might have made something better of this.

We also get to see so damned much of Cruise and Kidman (yeah, I’m complaining about nudity, I can’t believe it but I am) that you get sick of it. It’s like the kid who gets caught smoking and as punishment is forced to smoke an entire carton. I don’t want to see Tom or Nicole nude ever again.

The film is also long, freakishly long. There are long sequences without music that make Meet Joe Black seem like a cartoon short. The silences are deafening in their length. These scenes might actually be part of Kubrick’s secret plan to make us feel like we’re eavesdropping, if so, it works only too well.

What this film has to say about relationships between men and women and trust and fidelity may be entirely viable but it’s defeated by the choice of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in the lead roles.

Again, it is such a shame this is the master Stanley Kubrick’s final film. And especially that he couldn’t hire a composer who decided to practice the scales rather than write a score.