Tag Archives: Rock of Ages

Oblivion: where Tom Cruise’s career is heading

11 Apr

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I wouldn’t go quite as far as the heckler at the Brixton Ritzy – “Shit!” was his pithy summary as the closing credits rolled, to a ripple of laughter that sounded very much like agreement – but to give Oblivion three stars out of five would feel generous.

How can a $120 million sci-fi mind-bender starring Tom Cruise and set on a post-apocalyptic Earth contrive to be such a crashing bore? The set-up is intriguing: the Moon has been blown up by alien “Scavs”, producing catastrophic earthquakes and tidal waves, so that most of New York is silted up. Only the tip of the Empire State Building pokes up through the soil.

From their minimalist white platform above the clouds (an ivory tower, see?), dashing Tom Cruise and his English rose Andrea Riseborough collaborate on the clean-up of wasteland Earth, like Mr and Mrs Wall-E, while the rest of humanity have fled to one of Saturn’s moons. He dashes about in a nifty space-ship-cum-copter thingy fighting off the last remaining Scavs, while she stays at home managing the communications. (Evidently sexual politics will not have progressed much by the end of the 21st century.) But as their memories were wiped clean five years previously, not all is as it seems… to say more would spoil some of the more enjoyable surprises in the film.

For there is an original idea or two struggling to emerge from this good-looking but derivative hotch-potch of sci-fi classics. Sadly they never quite make it. Even at just two hours the film feels wildly overlong. If it’s aiming for Solaris-style philosophical heft, Cruise’s limited range puts paid to that – he only has his Cheeky Action Face, his Cheeky Sexy Face, and his furrowed-brow I Worry After Rock Of Ages And Jack Reacher That If This Film Tanks Too I’m Finished face. And Morgan Freeman is criminally wasted in a hackneyed and underwritten role.

At least the makers of Oblivion got one thing right: the title. It’s what this movie seems destined for…

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Never mind the BAFTAs: here’s the DAFTAs

9 Jan
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Skyfall, HAFTA Award winner

 

The BAFTA nominations were announced today. But it’s a long month till we find out the winners, so I’m taking it upon myself to hand out awards instead:

DAFTA Award: The daftest movie of the year is always a hotly contested category. The crowd-funded Iron Sky, in which Nazis return from a secret base installed in 1945 on the dark side of the moon, must have thought it had the DAFTA in the bag. Then along comes FDR: American Badass, which upped the ante with Nazi werewolves pitted against a President Roosevelt in a pimped-out wheelchair.   

GAFTA: The 2012 movie with the most gaffes is, officially, Avengers Assemble, with 22 bloopers spotted by www.moviemistakes.com. Or maybe there are just more trivia-obsessed geeks watching it than any other film.

HAFTA: For the movie that you just have to see. The Hobbit might have won if Peter Jackson hadn’t bloated the film to three parts. Instead the clear winner is Skyfall, which broke UK records to take over £100 million (and £1 billion worldwide).

LAFTA: Ted will be on many people’s lists for funniest film of 2012 (and, I know, on a lot of people’s least funny list). But I’d like to give it to Sightseers, as a serial-killing caravannist is mildly more out there than a beer-swilling teddy bear. And it’s British. So there.

NAFTA: Naffest film of 2012? Rock of Ages. No other contender comes close. It’s toe-curling to see major stars in such drek: Tom Cruise jumping the sofa on Oprah was less naff than his performance here. Mediocre songs, cliched storyline and witless dialogue are all delivered with toothpaste-ad enthusiasm that make it all the more tragic.