Eugene Daily News
Ryan Beltram

Ryan Beltram

Passionate about movies, sports and writing, Ryan hails from Bend but lives in Springfield now. He earned his college degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and hopes to one day write a novel. He also enjoys sunsets and long walks on the beach.

Film Fanatic: ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ Review, Will Smith News, ‘Jupiter Ascending’ Delay

Will Smith Tackles NFL Drama

To say Will Smith plays it safe would be a massive understatement.  The movie star has been in one blockbuster after another for the last twenty years and you can only really count on one hand the number of times he’s taken a legitimate chance or challenge with his career post-Independence DayAli, The Pursuit of Happyness and Seven Pounds are the true “out-of-the-box” roles he took and you could also make a case for I Am Legend and Hancock as big-budget movies where his role had a little more meat to it.

Will Smith - variety.com

Will Smith could reinvigorate his career with this rumored role. | (Variety)

Everything else is a mix of battling aliens, robots, Miami drug lords the Government and men who can’t talk to women.  When he turned down the lead role in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, he said it was because it didn’t feel like the lead role.  That raised a lot of eyebrows with movie fans and had many wondering whether the movie star was more interested in opening weekend numbers rather than furthering his career with riskier roles.

I bring all of this up because he may have found such a role and it revolves around a touchy and controversial subject.  According to Variety, Smith is in talks to star in an untitled drama based on the GQ article “Game Brain,” which focused on Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist who single-handedly made the first discovery of CTE in a professional football player and brought awareness to the public.

The concussion issue is “the” issue in professional football these days.  Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the NFL over their treatment and awareness of the problem with retired players.  Many ex-players have suffered through many debilitating injuries and issues related to concussions they sustained when they played which have lead to severe depression, addiction and even death.

Now this is a juicy role for Smith!  The film will be written and directed by Peter Landesman (Parkland) with Ridley Scott on board as a producer.  I’m officially more excited about this than another Hancock or Bad Boys or I,Robot.

‘Edge of Tomorrow’ Review

If you watch the trailers for Tom Cruise’s new action movie Edge of Tomorrow, you get a sense that he’s playing the same character once again.  Running Tom,  gun-firing Tom and Smiley Tom are all there in the preview, but once you see his latest blockbuster, you quickly realize this isn’t the same heroic man who’s been dominating the box office for the past 30 years.

Cruise plays Major William Cage, an officer who’s nothing more than a P.R. guy whose job is to spin a positive light on mankind’s efforts and bravery to rid the planet of an alien race known as “mimics.”  But as the movie opens, Cage can no longer talk his way out of fighting as he is forced to join the front-lines of what hopes to be the key battle to stopping this human extinction.

With no combat training to speak of, you can guess what happens to him when he gets in “the shit.”  But instead of dying and becoming just another casualty of war, Cage awakens once again the previous day and is forced to relive his nightmare all over again and again and again.

Every quick synopsis of EOT describes it as Groundhog Day meets Source Code and that’s accurate, but what’s surprising is that it features some great comedic moments (like Groundhog Day) as well as fun and inventive ways to avoid complacency and redundancy (like Source Code).

Edge of Tomorrow - thegeekagenda.com

Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise in ‘Edge of Tomorrow.’ | (thegeekagenda.com)

The humor comes from Cruise dying over and over again and you would think such a thing wouldn’t be funny, but EOT is in on the joke that Cruise seems to always survive in his action movies, so this one makes up for all of them in creative ways.

Director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) also finds creative ways to relive the same day by jumping back and forward depending on how well Cage learns from the previous iteration.  He’s like a gamer playing over and over again until he’s perfected each level and boss battle.

Moviegoers and critics often complain that sometimes movies feel more like video games and that they would rather be playing them than watching them, but EOT takes the gamer-era story device and makes it thrilling and immersive.  At no point did I awkwardly reach for a controller that wasn’t there.

Cruise gives his best performance since War of the Worlds, playing Cage with great energy and humor you rarely see from him.  He leaves the bravery and badassdom to Emily Blunt who nails her role as super soldier Rita Vrataski who spends her free time doing one-armed planks and wielding a sword.

Edge of Tomorrow is the definition of a fun summer movie.  It’s two hours of kinetic energy with a Cruise you’ve never seen before (he’s basically a coward for the first act), awesome mech suit fights and aliens that despite having zero personality, at least look different.  The third-act fizzle syndrome rears its ugly head and the ending is a little too tidy, but this is something different and unique.  Which, in this day-an-age is a breath of fresh air for the summer movie season.

‘Jupiter Ascending’ Delayed Until February 6, 2015

Ask any film insider or so-called “expert” and they’ll tell you the clear front-runner for biggest flop of the summer this year would have been the Wachowski Siblings’ sci-fi adventure epic Jupiter Ascending.  Only now, the critics and experts won’t be able to say “I told you so” because Warner Bros. has officially removed the film from its July 18 released date and delayed it all the way to next February.

Jupiter-Ascending - screenrelish.com

‘Jupiter Ascending’ could be a massive flop no matter what month it’s released in. | (screenrelish.com)

Whenever you hear “delay” from a movie, especially a big-budget one, it usually carries a negative connotation with it as well as bad rumors and this is another example.  According to THR, more work is needed on the film’s visual effects (the standard answer for an effects-driven film) rather than the quality of the film.  According to Variety’s Stuart Oldham however, he’s “been hearing nothing but terrible things about the Wachowskis’ ‘Jupiter Ascending.'”

The trailers haven’t wowed anyone and with Channing Tatum (looking like an elf on steroids) and Mila Kunis (the most attractive maid ever) as the leads, the movie’s only real shot of earning a profit and being a success rested on the quality of it.

Moving the movie from the competitive July slot to the dumping ground that is February seems like a smart move and a logical spot to make more money, but it will open opposite films starring Johnny Depp and Liam Neeson so that might not be such a smart move.

I’m all for original science fiction epics, but this feels more like John Carter rather than The Matrix.  Apparently Warner Bros. thinks so too.



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