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The Last Tom Cruise on Earth!

Oblivion_thumbLG2OBLIVION (2013) Director: Joseph Kosinski Starring: Tom Cruise, Andrea Riseborough, Olga Kurylenko, Melissa Leo, and Morgan Freeman Rating: PG-13 for near nudity, bad robots, and at least one F bomb. 

Hmm. I wonder what I would do if I was the only person left on the entire planet?

I could finally return that book to the library! It’s 28 years overdue… the late fee must be 4 dollars by now!

I could drive the zamboni at the ice rink. Then down the street, Then at the mall!

But most importantly I could practice my rhythmic gymnastics out in the backyard without the neighbors pointing and laughing. Sure I will spend the rest of my days completely alone, but my ribbon routine would be breathtaking.

I’m kidding of course. Being the last man in the world would be a major bummer. And if you’re the lead character in the Sci-Fi adventure Oblivion, not only would you be the last man on a desolate planet Earth, but worst of all…you would still have A JOB!!!

 In Oblivion, big time movie star Tom Cruise plays Jack Harper, a tech support/repairman who lives in a really sweet glass apartment high in the clouds with his co-worker/love bunny Vika (Andrea Riseborough). Since Jack is the last person on Earth he’s in charge of plot exposition, so as the opening credits roll he tells us why our beloved planet is now emptier than a Google+ hangout.

Around the year 2017, an army of space aliens called “Scavs” arrive in a big spaceship and blow up the Moon with a Moon blower upper gun. This causes huge environmental destruction on Earth, killing a great deal of the population who happen to be living there at the time. When the Scavs invade to wipe out the rest of humanity, the humans answer with nuclear weapons, which kill most of the Scavs and anything else that was still standing on the entire globe.  This plan is known in The Department of Defense as the “If I Can’t Have You Nobody Can” Contingency.

Now in 2077 the few surviving humans live in a huge space station orbiting Earth that they were somehow able to build after every form of technology and piece of building material was turned to ash only a few years earlier. A bunch of giant power stations (also built after everything on earth was destroyed) hover above the ocean sucking up sea water and turning into energy the humans will use to fly to one of Saturn’s moons and build a new earth with plenty of parking and robot butlers for everyone!

Jack and Vika are in charge of keeping the heavily armed drones that protect the power station things up and running, which isn’t easy because some Scavs are still on Earth and they just love breaking drones and vandalizing power stations.

Although he likes flying around in a cool dragonfly shaped ship fixing drones and picking off the occasional Scav with his future rifle, Jack feels like there are a lot of unanswered questions about his life. For example, why does Sally (Melissa Leo) his mysterious boss up in the space station want him and Vika to wipe their memories every five years? And what’s with the vivid and detailed dream he keeps having where he meets a pretty brunette girl at the top of The Empire State Building – a place that was destroyed before he was born?

And how do the power stations transfer their energy to the space station? Wi-Fi? Bluetooth? Really long extension cord?

Oh wait, that’s my question. Never mind.

Things begin to get complicated in Jack’s post apocalyptic world when an old Earth spaceship crash lands and Jack finds a woman in a stasis capsule – the same woman from his dreams! Jack brings his new lady friend Julia (Olga Kurylenko) home to meet Vika which doesn’t go well because Jack is too thick to know that THE ONLY GIRL ON THE ENTIRE PLANET WILL HAVE A HUGE FREAKING PROBLEM WITH HER BOYFRIEND BRINGING HOME ANOTHER WOMAN!

Even I know that! And I’m really stupid!

I’m not going to give away the rest of the plot to Oblivion, but it’s safe to say that after meeting Julia, Jack begins to doubt all the stuff he’s been told all these years. And when Jack meets Malcolm Beech (Morgan Freeman) and a bunch of humans hiding in a mountain fortress, he learns the truth about the invasion and the truth about the forbidden “radiation zone” Sally told him to stay away from.

Seriously, doesn’t Jack know that all “forbidden zones” you are ordered to avoid have to be explored? Hasn’t he seen Planet of the Apes? Logan’s Run? 

Oh yeah, he probably never saw those movies because there was a world ending war. All of the Redbox machines probably got buried in the rubble.

Anyhoo, Oblivion is a beautifully shot and sleek looking film with nice special effects that takes a while to get going, but has a pretty interesting climax and resolution.

Plus Tom Cruise fans will be amped beyond belief because the guy is in just about every frame of this movie.  I didn’t watch any of the “making of” featurettes on the DVD, but I bet they were also chock full of Tom Cruise.

Maybe there was too much Tom Cruise in this movie?

No way! That’s crazy talk!

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Cruisin’ for a Bruisin!

Jack Reacher

JACK REACHER (2012) Director: Christopher McQuarrie Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, and Robert Duvall Rating: PG-13 for hand to hand violence, gun to gun violence, car to car violence, but no bad language, this is PG-13 after all!

Five people are brutally gunned down by a sniper in Pittsburgh, PA. The Police follow a trail of clues that lead to a former Army Sniper named James Barr (Joseph Sikora). With overwhelming evidence stacked up against Barr, District Attorney Rodin  (Richard Jenkins) believes he has an open and shut case. Even Barr’s defense lawyer Helen Rodin (who is daughter of the D.A.) doubts she can do anything to save her client from death row.

But the frightened Barr knows he has only one chance to clear his name, so he makes one request: “Get Jack Reacher.”

Who is Jack Reacher?

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Hey. It’s Jack Reacher. I’m coming over to beat the crap out of you. Is 9:30 okay?

Jack Reacher, as played by some guy named Tom Cruise, is one of those action movie characters you don’t want coming after you. A former military police officer, Reacher is Sherlock Holmes, Jason Bourne, and Keyser Soze rolled into one 5 foot tall package.

Just kidding. Tom Cruise is ginormous.

Honorably discharged from the Army, Reacher wanders around the country helping people who need help and kicking the asses of people who need their asses kicked.  Since he had a previous run in with Barr back in their Army days, Reacher knows Barr is capable of such a terrible crime, but like any good movie detective he has a feeling in his well sculpted six pack abs that something isn’t right. Since she has nothing to lose and apparently doesn’t know any other detective in Pittsburgh, Helen (Rosamund Pike and her cleavage)decides to let the mysterious drifter who is really good at beating people investigate the crime and help her clear her client’s name.

Jack Reacher  moves along at a decent pace as Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher slowly begins to unravel the conspiracy surrounding the sniper killings; a conspiracy that involves crooked cops, evil thugs who drive sweet muscle cars, and a mysterious German guy (Werner Herzog) who really enjoys giving speeches to people before killing them.  Veteran actor Robert Duvall  shows up towards the end of the film to provide Reacher with key evidence and plot exposition in that awesomely folksy Robert Duvall southern drawl that makes any regular old movie so much better. Seriously, if Robert Duvall was in the Twilight movies, I would have been camped out in front of the theater with the rest of the Twihards.

Because I hate Twilight and have never seen every Twilight movie seven times and don’t have a Team Edward tramp stamp. And now it’s awkward.

Anyhoo, Jack Reacher is a pretty good crime thriller with a satisfying conclusion that happens to feature superstar Tom Cruise.

On the DVD Critics Corner Tom Cruise Movie Scale (pat. pend), it’s not as Tom Cruise-y as Oblivion, the Mission Impossible movies or Knight and Day, but it is more Tom Cruise-y than The Last Samurai and Collateral.

I know what you’re thinking…what about Vanilla Sky? 

Dude. The less you think about Vanilla Sky the better.

Trust me.

Help Me, Tom Cruise!

Mission:Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) 

Director: Brad Bird Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton Rating: PG-13 for things blowing up and the fighting with the punching and the kicking…

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is the fourth installment in the M.I. series starring Tom Cruise as superspy Ethan Hunt.  A lot has happened in this movie franchise since the first film, so let’s bring everyone up to speed:

In Mission: Impossible Ethan Hunt runs, wears masks, hangs from some wires, kills Jon Voight.

In Mission: Impossible II, Hunt runs, rides motorcycles, wears masks, boinks Thandie Newton. Note: M.I. 2 was directed by John Woo, so there are endless gunfights and doves flying around for no flipping reason.

In Mission: Impossible III, Hunt runs, rescues his wife, wears masks, and finally returns the ring to Mt. Doom.

Wait, isn’t that Lord of the Rings? Or is it Harry Potter… Is there a ring in Harry Potter? I’ll get back to you on that.

In MI-GP,  Hunt is asked to save the world once again when Russian nuclear launch codes are stolen by Cobalt, a mystery man who wants to detonate a few nuclear bombs and start World War III because he’s read the Bond villain playbook.

Hunt and his support team; Jane the hot female agent (Paula Patton) and Benji the comic relief tech guy (Simon Pegg) sneak into the Kremlin to dig up a file on Cobalt, but since Cobalt is a villain, he turns the Kremlin into a big ass crater, making sure the IMF guys are blamed for the destruction.

So like in the previous movies, Hunt is placed on the “disavowed” list, which I assume cuts off his daily meal per diem and cancels his membership to the Impossible Mission Force Spa and Fitness Club.

Determined to stop a nuclear war and clear their names, the team along with an IMF analyst (Jeremy Renner) they picked up in Moscow head to Dubai where Hunt climbs up the side of the tallest building in the world for some reason, then they jet to Mumbai where they infiltrate a fancy cocktail party so Jane can wear a slinky dress because she’s the hot female agent.

A brief sidebar here – how is it a group of fugitives wanted for bombing the Kremlin are able to fly from country to country unnoticed while I have to endure two pat downs and a strip search just to fly to Orlando? And why can’t I take my bottle hand sanitizer on board?

Anyway, there’s plenty of chases, car crashes, and death defying stunts throughout MI-GP as Hunt and his team thwart the bad guys, stop nuclear Armageddon, and get their names put  back on the IMF “everything is dandy” list.

Fantastic. I bet they won’t have to check their carry-on bag when they fly back to America either.

You suck, Jet Blue!

MI-GP is ably directed by Brad Bird, whose previous credits include the Pixar films The Incredibles and Ratatouille. It’s kind of appropriate that Bird has experience in computer animation because Tom Cruise is so digitally airbrushed in this movie he’s starting to look like a CG character.

A couple more more Mission: Impossible films, and the Tom Cruise 2.0 program should be complete!