October 22, 2014 | Rome, Italy | Partly Cloudy 19°C
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Sullivan's Travels

Facing a bad domestic economy and world war, Preston Sturges came up with a rabbit.

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It Felt Like Love

Director Eliza Hittman has too much and too little going on in this sexual initiation story.

Concussion

Robin Weigert steals the show in Stacie Passion's deft film about lesbian midlife.

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Catherine Keener gives Mark Jackson's grief-stricken film a sense of purpose.

Locke

Tom Hardy puts on a brilliant display in the story of a man undergoing upheaval.

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David Mackenzie's prison drama is among the best such films in decades.

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Felony

Tom Wilkinson, Joel Edgerton and Jai Courtney prove themselves a highly watchable trio.

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Frequencies

Darren Paul Fisher throws stitches together an engaging sci-fi love story around free will.

Snowpiercer

In visual and verbal spirit, Joon-ho Bong fantasy tale recalls Terry Gilliam's 1985 "Brazil."

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Only Lovers Left Alive

Jim Jarmusch's take on loving but weary vampires is a sophisticated delight.




Date: 2014
Directed by: Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blount, Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton

Edge of Tomorrow (Live Die Repeat)

Repeatedly hitting the reset button rarely works in blockbusters. Who wants to see the same scene rehashed? It's a high-risk strategy, particularly if you're on the Earth-vs.-Aliens express bus. But Christopher McQuarrie has devised a script that's ingenious enough to neutralize most skepticism (in fairness, McQuarrie inherited work by brothers Jez and John-Henry Butterworth and a host of others).

Tom Cruise is Major William Cage, a PR wizard who's good at selling Allied victories (in this case over octopus-tumbleweed invaders known as Mimica) but couldn't be less interested in the fighting. Asked to "cover" a landing ("Operation Downfall") intended to re-conquer occupied France (shades of Normandy), he respectfully declines. That doesn't work out and suddenly he's branded a deserter and thrown into the thick of a beachhead apocalypse. Seems the mean Mimics knew the invasion was coming. But wait. The instant he dies, Cage wakes from his nightmare, is returned to the pre-invasion, and find himself locked in a loop. Each time, though, our hero acquires a bit more wit, and increasing doses of moxie. He begins to figure out why he's being constantly resurrected, which not surprisingly includes stunning female warrior Sgt. Rita Vrataski (Emily Blount) known as the "Angel of Verdun" (yes, World War I is also drafted). Our dead major, infected by all-knowing alien blood, is now the warden of time itself. As long as he's willing to die another day, he'll continue picking up tips on the enemy mind.

Though everything about the digital sci-fi battlefields, robotic combat suits, and slow-burning boy-girl ties (reformed coward and Go Girl Angel) are predictable enough, director Doug Liman and his writers jar conventional premises just enough to give their reset premise some punch. Cruise is allowed to return to his boyish, mischievous ways, when he's at his most engaging. Based on Japanese writer Hiroshi Sakurazaka's 2004 sci-fi novel "All You Need is Kill."

Reviewed by: Marcia Yarrow
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