Oblivion (2013) Miller Meter—8/10

Directed By:  Joseph Kosinski

Written By:  Karl Gajdusek, Michael Arndt

Starring:  Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough, Olga Kurylenko

PG-13     2 h 4 min – Action | Adventure | Mystery | Sci-Fi

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Edge of Tomorrow (2014) Miller Meter-10/10

Directed By: Doug Liman

Written By: Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth

Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson

PG 13     1 h 53 min – Action | Sci-Fi


Well here’s the first blow-out blockbuster of the summer starring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson.  Earth has been invaded by a relentless alien race referred to as “mimics” and they’re a seemingly undefeatable force.  Man unites and wins one battle against them via superstar soldier Rita Vrataski (Blunt).  With their recent victory our armed forces decide to attack again in an all-out assault to end the war once and for all.  Major William Cage (Cruise) is a PR rep for the military, spinning the stories in the news to give society some hope that we’ve got a shot against them.  He is called upon by General Brigham (Gleeson) to give the people a first-hand depiction of battle by storming the front lines in combat.  Of course Cage refuses, due to his lack of experience and even less courage, which of course doesn’t fly with the General.  Next thing he knows, Cage wakes up at an outpost preparing for battle.  Unable to convince the cut-throat Master Sergeant Farell (Paxton) of his true identity, Cage winds up in an airship heading to battle.  He lands on the beach and has no clue how to use his weapon riddled mechanical suit and ends up dying within minutes; only to wake up once again at the base he was at earlier.  He re-lives this several times when finally he realizes that no matter what he does he re-lives that day over and over.  In battle he sees the heroic Rita and attempts to save her.  After living the battle so many times he comes to know what’s comin’ and ends up saving her life.  She catches on to what’s happening and tells him to find her when he wakes up…easier said than done.  Each time he wakes up again, he maneuvers himself through the day figuring out how he can land a conversation with the illustrious heroine.  He finds that like him, she once re-lived the same day over and over, dying each time to wake up again at the beginning.  In order to outsmart the enemy they form an alliance and relive the day over and over getting closer to victory each time.  The plot of this flick is what really caught me.  The story is edgy (pun?) and more fun than I’ve had in a sci-fi flick in a long time.  The dialogue was spot on, it never got cheesy, it never lost me, and it was complex enough to keep me focused without totally spinning me out either.  Tom Cruise made the movie; it’s really nice to see him in his element again.    He made the character totally believable and proved once again why he’ll go down as one of the great action heroes of our time.  Much of his power came from his co-star.  Emily Blunt was the meat and potatoes of the story; she gave it the touches it needed to be perfect.  She brought comfort, sex appeal and at times some much needed comic relief to an otherwise dark story.  She played her part perfectly.  I loved that it never became solely about love, nor was it solely based on defeating the enemy either.  It was a perfect balance of comradery, desperation and love as well.  One could expect that director Doug Liman would really pull out all the stops following his success with the “Bourne” franchise and he did exactly that.  The special effects were mind-blowing.  It was as if “Elysium” and “Battle LA” met, fell in love, and had a baby that grew to be a success its parents only dreamed of being.  The cinematography was gripping and only a few times did it move to fast to follow.  The battle scenes were adrenaline fueled and epic every single time.  Anytime an action movie has soldiers storming a beach I’m excited, there’s just somethin’ about it.  This one was great because we got to relive it a few times with different angles and more progress made each time.  It’s easy to assume that reliving the same day over and over again would get rote for an audience but it never did, which is pretty impressive.  An absolutely killer cast with explosive chemistry, amazing special effects and battle sequences, perfect cinematography and a refreshingly original premise land this one a 10 on the Meter.