The Fault In Our Stars, Edge of Tomorrow – Movie Reviews
The Fault in Our Stars – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 06 Jun 2014
The adaptation of John Green’s bestselling book of the same name is an incredibly faithful one. This is both the great strength and weakness of the movie. It is a strength in that the source material is a dazzling, complex story of young love with the added stakes of terminal illness is just as moving and real as it is in print. It is a weakness in that the movie doesn’t conform to a story structure that most audiences (even fans of the book) are likely to expect. This leads to it feeling a bit indulgent or slow as a movie while actually being a very deft compression of the book.
Shailene Woodley plays Hazel, a teenage girl on borrowed time after miraculously surviving a serious bout of cancer and related surgeries at thirteen. She befriends cancer survivor Gus (Ansel Elgort) who uses his charm and bravado to convince her not to push him away just to avoid hurting him with her death. The lead couple do a great job of bringing Green’s characters to the screen, managing to be fully dimensional and not parrots of Green’s turn of phrase. (This is quite an achievement for Elgort, as I could not hear Gus with any voice but John Green’s when I read the book.)
The storytelling does well by condensing several scenes together. A voice-over perfectly adds context without being an interruption, or a brief flashback manages to add depth to a monologue where a montage would normally be used. If you give the movie your time and attention you’re likely to enjoy it. If you’re hoping for a shortcut to reading the book or a story that conforms to the standard teen romance movie you’ll likely be disappointed. It’s certainly possible to like the movie enough to want to read the book, but it’s much more likely and enjoyable the other way around.
Hannah, Adam, John and I saw it in the theater had a discussion in the car:
Edge of Tomorrow – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 06 Jun 2014
Edge of Tomorrow is a special movie that expertly blends comedy, action and science fiction into a bona fide summer blockbuster. It’s one of the most enjoyable movies I’ve seen in recent memory because it does such a good job of grounding itself in enough serious reality that the comedy works so well as a dark, high budget cousin of Groundhog Day.
Tom Cruise plays Cage, a ROTC officer who says the wrong thing to the wrong general and gets shoved into the front line of a Normandy-like battle against an alien army called Mimics. With no combat skills and a complete ignorance for the exoskeleton suit he wears into combat, he is quickly killed in the battle. However, he awakens the day before and begins to live the same day again and again, each time learning a little more and returning to the same point in the day before he dies.
He befriends Rita (Emily Blunt,) a literal poster girl for the war effort who became a hero through a similar experience. To outsiders she appeared to master the weaponry and massacre the enemy in a single day – but she too had to do this in a video game-like progression of trial, error, death and re-trial. The movie manages to keep this mechanic interesting long enough that you miss it when it eventually falls away to let the rest of the story unfold. Like all great science fiction, the nuts and bolts of how and why things work aren’t important. They are there to accentuate aspects of the story and the characters, and both Cruise and Blunt give dynamite performances that delight at every turn.
Cal, Zak, Jeremiah and I saw it in the theater had a discussion in the car: