Buy a big tub of popcorn for ‘Oblivion’

Tom Cruise in 'Oblivion'
Tom Cruise in ‘Oblivion’

The dystopian surface of Earth shown at the outset of Oblivion is not a place that any human being in their right mind would choose to live.  Barren, filled with zones of high radioactivity and still populated by the “Scavs” (who are supposedly the remnants of an invasion force); almost no humans live there.  They are all on “Tet” a gigantic ship in orbit around the planet, or on Titan, one of the moons of Saturn.  The planet was ravaged by the invasion of the Scavs, who blew up the Moon along with creating havoc on Earth.

Read moreBuy a big tub of popcorn for ‘Oblivion’

Important films from 1988

Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in a scene from 'Rain Man'
Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in a scene from ‘Rain Man’

This year one of our goals at Tail Slate is to look at the films of the past in addition to reviewing the films of the present, and informing you about the films of the future. Towards that we will be publishing articles that look back at significant films celebrating a major anniversary during 2013. As such, we will focus on films from 1963, 1973, 1983, 1988 and 1993.

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Reach for the popcorn as you enjoy ‘Jack Reacher’

Tom Cruise is 'Jack Reacher'
Tom Cruise is ‘Jack Reacher’

“There are four types of people who join the military. For some, it’s a family trade. Others are patriots, eager to serve. Next, you have those who just need a job. Than there’s the kind who want a legal means of killing other people.” – Tom Cruise as “Jack Reacher”

It is a sunny day in Pittsburgh. Outside the big baseball stadium people are walking, and having a good time when suddenly people start dying. Five people are shot by a sniper in a garage. He makes a clean get-away but leaves plenty of evidence behind.

Read moreReach for the popcorn as you enjoy ‘Jack Reacher’

‘Rock of Ages’ is a bit off key

Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta in 'Rock of Ages'
Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta in ‘Rock of Ages’

[rating=2]Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Malin Ackerman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Giamatti, Bryan Cranston
Director(s): Adam Shankman
Writer(s): Justin Theroux, Chris D’Arienzo and Allan Loeb – screeplay, Chris D’arienzo – musical book

Eighties era rock music.  An iconic Sunset Strip club that is struggling to survive.  A rock “god” who got his start there who is willing to help.  A young girl who followed the seemingly nonsensical advice of others to pursue her dream of being a singer and left small-town USA for Hollywood.  A young barback who works at this club, but is pursuing his own dreams of music stardom with his own band.  The wife of the newly elected mayor of the city who is focused on shutting that club down once and for all.

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‘The Last Samurai’ in a masterful period piece

Tom Cruise in 'The Last Samurai'
Tom Cruise in ‘The Last Samurai’

[rating=4]Starring: Ken Watanabe, Tom Cruise, Tony Goldwyn, Masato Harada, Koyuki
Director(s): Edward Zwick
Writer(s): John Logan

The first time I saw the trailer for The Last Samurai, I could not suppress a chuckle. Tom Cruise seemed comically larger than life, dressed-to-kill as a samurai. Here is a man who does not know his limitations, I thought. Does he realize he’s… um, not Japanese? Alright, I confess, I sided with Nicole (and her career) after the breakup. Until I heard that Ken Watanabe had received an Oscar nomination, I wasn’t even remotely interested in what seemed like another film driven by Cruise’s ego.

Read more‘The Last Samurai’ in a masterful period piece