Sunday, June 22, 2014
Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Edge of Tomorrow & Jersey Boys
Dearest Blog, yesterday it was off to the pictures for the strange-bedfellows double bill of Edge of Tomorrow and Jersey Boys.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers or, you know, if you lived through the 60s.
After weeks of missing out due to my Winter Soldier obsession, yesterday's opener was Edge of Tomorrow.
In the midst of an alien invasion, a US military officer finds himself reliving the same day over and over again. As synopses go, that one's a bit over-simplified, but, dear reader(s) you gotta give me some credit for not saying "Groundhog Day."
Edge of Tomorrow is a clever sci-fi pic that is surprisingly fun. I say "surprisingly" only because I think comparisons to Tom Cruise's last outing, Oblivion, are unavoidable, and though Oblivion was a good movie, it was also pretty joyless. Edge of Tomorrow is anything but.
Cruise is fantastic in the lead, an action hero's action hero who can also be a little bit scared or confused or funny or (*gasp*) not afraid to let a chick to the heavy lifting sometimes. Said "chick" is Emily Blunt, who...um...well, it's fair to say wouldn't have been the first person I'd think of for a role like this, but who does a mighty fine job of it nonetheless. I'm embarrassed to confess I didn't even recognize Jonas Armstrong, despite the fact that I own (and religiously watch) the box set of the BBC's Robin Hood. What's become of me?? Edge of Tomorrow boasts solid effects and scary aliens.
If it bogged down ever-so-slightly a couple times, I can't complain since it clocks in under the two-hour mark...AND they tie it up without getting contrived or being a buzzkill.
Edge of Tomorrow runs 113 minutes and is rated PG13 for "intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive material." It's a smart, fun shoulda-been-a-blockbuster that deserves your attention.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Edge of Tomorrow gets seven and a half.
Next on my agenda was the big-screen rendering of the 2006 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, Jersey Boys.
Four kids from the wrong side of the tracks form a band that goes on to make some of the world's best-loved and most enduring music.
In the interest of full and fair disclosure, I admit this movie ticked all the boxes for me before I ever saw a single second of a single trailer. A movie musical about a group I love, that stars actual stage vets rather than big Hollywood names? Yes, please. Of course, the downside is such high expectations could have led to disappointment, but I'm happy to report that's not even close to the case.
I've been to IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes this morning. I've seen that Jersey Boys is carrying middling ratings and has been trounced at the box office by Think Like a Man 2. (Really?) I am confounded by this state of affairs.
Jersey Boys runs slightly longer than two hours, but it never feels slow or boring. A couple numbers from the stage show were eliminated, and a couple more songs relegated to the background; I certainly wouldn't have cut another thing. Telling the story from several points of view means it never patronizes by painting any one person strictly the bad guy or strictly the good guy. John Lloyd Young, who won a Tony Award as Best Leading Actor in a Musical for originating the role of Frankie Valli on Broadway, embodies his part like few actors ever do. He is mesmerizing. Other than Boardwalk Empire's Vincent Piazza, all members of the band are portrayed by actors who have performed in one or more stage versions of the show. This is a good thing, Hollywood! And the songs...OH! The songs!!
If you weren't a fan of the Four Seasons before seeing the movie, you certainly will be after. At both my screening and the one before it, everyone exiting the theatre was smiling and singing, and the movie earned TWO big rounds of applause at the end of my show. I can't speak for the people who rate movies at IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes (nor for those who saw Think Like a Man 2 instead), but, if I'm making movies, that right there is the reaction I'm going for. If there's one tiny negative, I thought there were an awful lot of f-words for a movie whose median audience member easily qualifies for the AARP discount.
Jersey Boys runs 134 minutes and is rated R for "language throughout."
Jersey Boys is a well written, well acted story that is filled with great, iconic music. For my money, it's easily as good as or even better than the screen version of Chicago that won the 2003 Best Picture Oscar.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, I am pleased to award Jersey Boys 2014's first perfect nine.
Until next time..