Cinema Roundup: May 30th

edgeWe’re well into the summer blockbuster season and this week sees the release of two of the best movies to roll off the Hollywood production line in recent years, but also one of the worst.

Edge of Tomorrow is a sci-fi actioner that brilliantly borrows the plot structure of Groundhog Day. Tom Cruise is cast against type as a cowardly soldier forced to continuously relive the same disastrous day during a future war. Emily Blunt plays the movie’s “straight man” and the two have terrific chemistry. In this post Dark Knight world, it’s a relief to see a summer sci-fi movie with a great sense of humour.

Maleficent is a live action reworking of Disney’s 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty. Like Disney’s animated smash hit of last year, Frozen, the film cleverly plays on the outdated tropes of fairy tales, updating them for modern sensibilities. Angelina Jolie gives a career best performance as the title villainess and it’s a movie that finds time to tackle some weighty philosophical issues while keeping things fun and humourous.

At the other end of the spectrum is A Million Ways to Die in the West, the latest effort from Seth McFarlane, creator of Family Guy and Ted. None of the biting wit of Family Guy carries over here and the film is little more that a two hour long fart joke. Even Adam Sandler would find this embarrassing.

Controversial cult director Roman Polanski returns with Venus in Fur, a lazy adaptation of a popular off-Broadway stage hit, which tackles the issue of sexism in a highly awkward and misjudged manner.

Jimmy’s Hall is the final film from director Ken Loach and sees him return to these shores, following the success of The Wind that Shakes the Barley. This one’s as preachy as you’d expect from Loach and the details of the “true” story are a little hard to swallow, but it’s got some fine performances and not a little humour.

By Eric Hillis

Image: Movie of the Week, Edge of Tomorrow