Monday, June 30, 2014

Escape from Tomorrow: No, Not 'The Edge of Tomorrow.' Different.

Hmm. In hindsight, this may have been why I had such a hard time remembering what the title of The Edge of Tomorrow was. Very different film.


I had heard about Escape from Tomorrow way back in October when I was at the New York Film Festival. Well...kind of. I saw a postcard in the lobby that looked like this:

Pretty neat, right?!?

And I thought to myself "Woah! Disney movies and horror movies coming together!? What an intriguing union!" These thoughts were further buoyed by the fact that I had heard that they got in major trouble with Disney by sneaking into Disney World and filming on location without a permit. Disney was pissed. And the movie seemed way cool.

And then...I actually watched it.


So the plot revolves around a family's trip to Disney World. The dad has just been fired from his job when the film starts, and it's the last day of his family's stay in Disney World. Determined not to let it damped their last day, he doesn't say anything to his wife, and they take off into the park. What then ensues is a bunch of weird stuff. He eyes up two French 13-year-olds, blacks out a few times, hallucinates (?), neglects his kids, has sex with some rando lady he meets, fights with his wife, and get into some increasingly bizarre situations.

Oh look, dad's hallucinating for some reason that never gets explained...

Wow, this movie was freakin' terrible. And I say that with authority. Because it could have been SO. COOL. And it totally and utterly failed.

The main problem with the movie (if you couldn't tell already) is that it is lacking a plot. When I first saw the tagline of it, "Bad things happen everywhere," I remember thinking "Wow, that is the most vague statement I have ever heard." and the movie plays that to its advantage. The only central plot is that bad things happen. Bad things that have nothing to do with one another. Weird bad things. And the end result is a scatterbrained attempt at being creative that flounders and falls short.

All you end up with by the end of The Escape from Tomorrow, is a ton of questions and no answers:

"Why is his wife being such a bitch?"
"Why is this dad so gross looking?"
"Why did he hallucinate his son's eyes doing that thing?"
"What the fuck is cat flu?"
"Is there a reason he's attracted to these 13-year-olds!?"
"Okay, seriously, how do you lose your kid in a 20 foot radius."
"Who's this guy in the motor scooter??"
"It's not turkey--it's emu??? Is this real life???"
"Who the hell is THIS lady???"
"WHAT the fuck is CAT FLU????"

You'd think if you're going to take the time to sidestep the laws of the world's second largest entertainment company, you would take the time to put out a stellar film. And not this thing. The fact that it's in black and white too looked really promising. Unusual, even. But the movie is a trainwreck. Half of it is green screened to make sense. But it doesn't.

wtf, cat flu.

The one TINY redeeming thing about this movie was how it was filmed. Interesting to see a movie and know that these things are happening in real life. But other than that it was incredibly disappointing.

2 outa 10. Possibly my lowest rating ever. It could've been SO COOL. Damnit.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Edge of Tomorrow: This Cruise Sci-Fi Flick is Actually Good

I wish that they had picked a better title for this one, every time I try to think of what it is I'm like "Tomorrow Never Day After Tomorrow? The End of Tomorrow? Tomorrow?" and then have to consult IMDB before I lose my damn mind...

Fortunately, the forgettable title is little indicator of this hidden gem of a flick. Don't be dazzled by the promise of Maleficent, or by the ultimate sob-fest that is going to be The Fault in Our Stars (and we thought A Walk to Remember was bad, amiright?). Step a little outside your comfort zone this weekend and check out this fusion of Groundhog Day and Starship Troopers. Seriously, I was way more impressed than I had suspected I would be.


The plot revolves around Cage (Tom Cruise), a lieutenant who has launched a propaganda campaign for the government in a war against an alien race. When the movie kicks off we are in the thick of the action. Cage has just been asked by Britain's head of command to be on the battlefield on the day of the action to give people a close look at the action. The only problem is that Cage is not an actual member of the military, and has never even gone through training. After a rude awakening at base camp, he is put through hell on his first day as a soldier, enduring an unexpected slaughter on the battlefield. But out of nowhere, something happens. He kills a special kind of alien, and as he is dying, becomes covered in its blood. For reasons that are uncovered later in the film (but let's be honest, kind of irrelevant right?), Cage is then forced to live out every single day with the ability to start off with his first day at base camp. Going from a fraidy cat to a badass soldier, he recruits the help of Rita (Emily Blunt), who has experienced what he's gone through as well. Together they become the ultimate weapon against this alien enemy. And each day begins to count towards uncovering how it is they can beat them.

So wow. For those of you who (like me) grew up watching your siblings, friends, or significant others play video games and get caught up in the action: this movie is for you. It's the same adrenaline rush coupled with the concern for the (somewhat artificial) life that is given the main character. And much like a video game, we know everything that the main character knows and are given a special peek inside what is going to happen in the day to come (yes, one day only).

Outside of the story structure, though, there is still a lot to love about this movie. The fact that we can anticipate each scenario with a different reaction each time makes the subject matter new each time. One day Cage is focusing his energy into forming relationships with his bunk mates, the next he is researching a way to destroy the aliens, and still after he is falling in love with the formidable Rita (because, let's be real, who WOULDN'T fall in love with Emily Blunt). Additionally, seeing Cage morph from a coward into a certified BAMF keeps you on the edge of your seat. Distinctly unlikeable in the beginning, he becomes a weathered soldier with a mind to save the world. And that is cool.

The ONLY complaint that Bill and I had about this movie was that they seem to take some liberties with how smart the aliens are. For example, these things are craaaaazy fast and don't look unlike those tentacled things from The Matrix. Yet they (consciously?) decide to take their time going after Cage and Rita at pivotal parts of the movie where you would expect nothing short of a battle royale. So that ends up being kind of a weird coincidence that you have to gloss over.

Neo? Oh sorry, wrong movie...

All said though, this is such a refreshing new perspective from ye olde tired action flicks that I would highly recommend. I wasn't expecting much, but this one had me wide-eyed and staring at the screen for the entire 113 min. Check it out!

7.5 outa 10 stars. Extra points for attention-grabbing action and fun with a tired genre.