Saturday, March 7, 2015

More Science Than Fiction!

Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel: written by Jamie Mathieson; directed by Gareth Carrivick; starring Chris O'Dowd (Ray), Marc Wootton (Toby), Dean Lennox Kelly (Pete), and Anna Faris (Cassie) (2008): Amiable, British, low-budget, and sly nod to both geeks and pubs. Three somewhat aimless 20-something British pals get into a discussion about time travel. Then time travel starts busting out all over the place because there's a time distortion located in the men's washroom at their local pub.

O'Dowd is his almost always lovable self as the leader of the trio, while Marc Wootton as the aspiring science-fiction writer of the group and Dean Lennox Kelly as the friend who hates science fiction are also sympathetic and funny. It's low-key in that British way that makes things funnier. Anna Faris shows up as a sort of cross between a Time Cop and a Time Bureaucrat. It may be a comedy, but the time travelling makes as much or more sense than most 'serious' movies involving time travel. Recommended.


Draft Day: written by Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph; directed by Ivan Reitman; starring Kevin Costner (Sonny Weaver Jr.), Jennifer Garner (Ali), Chadwick Boseman (Vontae Mack), Frank Langella (Anthony Molina), and Denis Leary (Coach Penn) (2014): Surprisingly enjoyable sports movie about... the NFL draft! It takes place in an alternate universe where the Cleveland Browns, while still hapless, nonetheless recently had a legendary coach. Kevin Costner is fine in the sports scenes and out of place in the romantic scenes with Jennifer Garner -- the relationship, along with several other plot points, really seem to suggest that Costner's character is a good 15 years younger than Costner himself at 60. Lightly recommended.


Edge of Tomorrow: adapted by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth from the novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka; directed by Doug Liman; starring Tom Cruise (Cage), Emily Blunt (Rita), Brendan Gleeson (General Brigham), and Bill Paxton (Farell) (2014): Solid science-fiction action movie plagued only by its terrible title, a title so vague that the studio altered it for video release to Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow. The title of the original novel/manga, All You Need Is Kill, is better than both. Tom Cruise does nice work here as a cowardly creep turned into a hero by the circumstances of the movie, and Emily Blunt ably supports him as a tough super-soldier. 

Aliens have invaded Earth. Do you really need to know more? They're visually impressive aliens, too -- fast-moving, mercurial blobs that look about what I'd expect a Shoggoth on Crack would look like. They've trashed Europe. And a near-future version of D-Day is about to go horribly wrong. Thank Heavens for Tom Cruise!

It's not a perfect movie. The ending doesn't quite logic out, or is missing some brief explanation that would make it make sense. And as Roger Ebert might have pointed out, it's another in a long line of movies about The Impregnable Fortress Impregnated. Oh, well. Recommended.

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