TAGGED AS: Certified Fresh
This week at the movies, we’ve got a time-looping soldier (Edge of Tomorrow, starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt) and literate teens in love (The Fault In Our Stars, starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort). What do the critics have to say?
On paper, a high-concept blend of Groundhog Day and Starship Troopers sounds like a recipe for disaster. In practice, critics say Edge of Tomorrow is a thoroughly entertaining sci-fi action flick with a sharp sense of humor and muscular acting from Tom Cruise. With the planet under attack from alien invaders, Major William Cage (Cruise) is sent into battle — and killed instantly. However, he finds himself in a time loop, reliving the same battle scenario and gradually discovering how to defeat the enemy. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Edge of Tomorrow is a rare beast — it’s a pulpy, visceral shoot-em-up that’s also intelligent and character-driven. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Cruise’s best-reviewed movies.)
When a beloved bestseller is adapted to the big screen, there’s inevitably some trepidation within the book’s fan base. After all, doesn’t Hollywood always screw up what made the book so special? Thankfully, critics say The Fault In Our Stars does John Green’s novel proud, thanks to a fine performance by Shailene Woodley and a script that that (mostly) avoids cliches on the way to its heart-tugging conclusion. Woodley stars as Hazel, a tough-minded teenager with thyroid cancer who reluctantly joins a cancer support group. There, she meets a sweet cancer survivor named Gus (Ansel Elgort), and the two bond over a love of literature. The pundits say The Fault In Our Stars occasionally veers into schmaltzy territory, but it’s crafted with an earnestness and sensitivity that’s tough to resist. (Check out our video interview with Woodley and Elgort, and flip through our gallery of contemporary books that have been adapted into films.)
Bobcat Goldthwait‘s Willow Creek, a found footage horror film about two guys who go looking for Bigfoot, is at 95 percent.
Test, a drama about the love affair between two dancers in the early years of the AIDS epidemic, is at 90 percent.
Obvious Child, a comedy about a standup comedian who discovers she’s pregnant just as she loses her job and her boyfriend, is at 88 percent.
The Dutch import Borgman, the unconventional tale of a rural eccentric who escapes from vengeance-seeking assailants and hides out in the suburbs, is at 86 percent.
Dormant Beauty, starring Isabelle Huppert in a drama based on a real life euthanasia case, is at 85 percent.
The Case Against 8, a documentary about the Supreme Court case that overturned California’s ban on same-sex marriage, is at 80 percent.
Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, Mike Myers‘ documentary about the famed rock manager, is at 72 percent.
The Sacrament, a horror film about a journalist whose search for his missing sister leads him to a mysterious religious community, is at 66 percent (check out director Ti West’s Five Favorite Films here).
Citizen Koch, a documentary about the controversial political donors, is at 60 percent.
Rigor Mortis, a horror thriller about a has-been actor who moves into a haunted apartment building, is at 57 percent.
Trust Me, starring Clark Gregg and Amanda Peet in a dramedy about a Hollywood agent dealing with a talented child star and her overprotective dad, is at 56 percent.
Ping Pong Summer, starring Susan Sarandon and Lea Thompson in a coming-of-age comedy about a table tennis-obsessed teen outcast, is at 50 percent.
Anna, starring Mark Strong and Taissa Farmiga in a thriller about a detective attempting to understand the mind of a teenager accused of a triple homicide, is at 33 percent.