Futuristic technology that can predict crimes before they happen is no new inspiration for film. Demolition Man did it, sort of. Freezing criminals, travelling back and forth in time to arrest them and slap them in a cryo tank to keep them rested, Steven Spielberg’s science-fiction piece from the turn of the new century certainly has smatterings of that Sylvester Stallone-led feature. Thankfully Minority Report manages to slice out the 1990s influence and the heavy new wave of bright colours and wildcard populism that oozed its way through the Wesley Snipes performance of old. Tom Cruise wouldn’t stand for that, the no-nonsense leading man at the heart of Minority Report is a good example of how dated science fiction can act and feel quite homely.
Even the great innovator, Tony Scott, could not be stopped by the pratfalls and ridiculousness of stock car racing. It has an untimely, inevitable shtick attached to it where the stereotypes of the drivers infect the core mechanics of what is, essentially, a race. No twists, turns or obstacles, just a track that goes around and around. Turning that monotony into something as thrilling as Days of Thunder is no small feat of endurance. But knowing the tokenisms of Scott’s direction, and how well he works when collaborating with Tom Cruise, we can hold out hope on Days of Thunder delivering some layer of fast-paced, action-packed enjoyability.
Americans sure know how to host a horrible house party. They also know how to whittle away their time with nothing to show for it. Where’s the hotheaded idiot throwing up their shots into the sink? Another two fools who are mixing all sorts of different beverages together, in the hopes of making some psychotic creation. Nowhere within Risky Business does anyone yell some strange profanity, and then subsequently dive through a glass door. The good old days of the house party are to be lost forever on future generations, but as Tom Cruise delights us with his presence among prostitutes and carjackings in this light criticism of the coming-of-age movement under capitalism.
Gluttony of the ruling class and the sexual perversion of people in power are the subjects of interest for Stanley Kubrick’s sudden, final film. It is a strong note to end on, and regardless of choice, he marks the end of his career with Eyes Wide Shut. All the common characteristics that defined him as a director come together with immediacy and inevitably strong fruition throughout his ode to repression, desire, and the plodding years of family life. Mixing these themes with expected effectiveness, cold and calculating characters along with the comforts of conformity in his craft, Kubrick’s final bow is rich with subtext but puzzled with what to do with it.
Forgive me if I’m wrong, but driving a taxi looks like a monotonous time. No wonder Collateral needed to throw in an assassin to keep things lively, I’d bet most taxi drivers wish they could receive the thrills on display throughout this Michael Mann directed film. Following Max (Jamie Foxx) as he settles into a usual nightshift, Collateral sees him pick-up Vincent (Tom Cruise) an elusive man in a slick suit that gives out protagonist $600 to drive him around for most of the night. A rather simplistic premise takes aim at some conventional thrills of the genre in what is an essential thriller that pairs up two of the all-time greats.
With such a promising ensemble, it’s hard to see how Magnolia could be anything other than a superbly layered character study of intertwining lives. Like Desperate Housewives, but over the course of two and a half hours, rather than an aeon. Paul Thomas Anderson’s dramatic titan sees a collection of stories, the highs and lows of a rough handful of individuals connected by chance, flimsy narratives or shady dealings. Whether it works or not, it’s hard not to appreciate how big of an ask Anderson proposes to his cast, a project that has to have the right amount of connection between roles, enough to engage an audience, but not enough to incite obvious cliché.
Everyone knows about that scene. It’s impossible to avoid, and having heard about it and seen it so frequently referenced in pockets of pop culture, I decided I’d avoid A Few Good Men until I absolutely, desperately wanted to watch it. As it turns out, I’d underestimated how much I wanted to see this Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson courtroom drama. An impressive, boastful cast of big-name actors bring together a Rob Reiner directed piece, based on a stage play by the feverishly talented Aaron Sorkin. It’s a crime that I didn’t check this one out earlier, especially since I hold such a high regard for Nicholson’s performances. Better late than never I suppose.