No Good Eats in 2077 - OBLIVION

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tom Cruise's last film, Jack Reacher opened the weekend after the Sandy Hook shootings and I feel it hurt the movie's box office, big time.  He plays Jack Harper in his new movie Oblivion, opening just days after the Boston Marathon Bombing and I fear the timing may have the same effect.  You would think Cruise with all his Scientology magic would have better luck.

Oblivion joins the ranks of Post Apocalyptic Movies  (click for IMDB list). I feel like an expert in this well-worn Sci-fi plot, so I was surprised to go thru the list and find out I've only seen a scant few  - Logan's Run, Planet of the Apes, Waterworld, The Matrix, The Road, Children of Men, I Am Legend and Zombieland. This movie, whose source material comes from a not yet released graphic novel by Writer/Director Joe Kosinski, didn't go for the cliched remnants of the Statue of Liberty to denote the fact that this was once beloved Earth, instead it went for the semi-schmaltzy Empire State Building and a Yankees baseball hat.

Where Oblivion does make its mark however, is in terms of the visuals! Kosinski (Tron: Legacy) has an obvious passion for creating worlds and bringing them to life. It's exciting that most of the movie doesn't rely on green screens and CGI. Instead it was shot on location in Iceland and most of the sets were built from scratch, including the awesome bubbleship which is part helicopter/part mini-spaceship/part Jetson-like transportation.  

Here's a good behind the scenes video on the making of Oblivion (7:24)

Synopis: Jack (Cruise) and his girlfriend/co-worker Vika (Andrea Riseborough) ("an effective team") are the only two people (or so they believe) left on Earth. They are more or less the clean up crew.  If you've ever worked in theater, their role is kinda like striking the set. The run is over, the actors, audience and designers go home and it's just a few production folk left to close up the theater.  In this case, after an Alien invasion took a chunk out of the moon throwing the world into chaos, the remaining inhabitants of earth packed up and went to live on one of the moons of Saturn.

There are some alien life form (Scavs) still running about making Jack and Vika's job difficult, so killer drones are used to police the area and protect Jack, and in turn Jack repairs the drones when they malfunction. Vicka works "at home" in the sleek sky tower pad monitoring the situation from her table top command station and keeping in contact with Sally, the top personnel on Earth's new home near Saturn (or so they think). Although Jack & Vicka are supposedly on a final mission to Earth, the apocalypse happened roughly 60 years prior. Which is why Jack, having never lived on the planet, finds it mystifying that he should have such strong memories of the place, particularly that of a woman on The Observation Deck of the Empire State Building.

That woman is played by Olga Kurylenko. She's exceedingly watchable, an exotic beauty. I haven't seen it yet, but I understand she's also "the muse" in Terrence Malick's new film To The Wonder. I'm certain she'll make quite a splash on the red carpet during the 2014 Awards season.

Here's a video of her discussing acting without words and learning from Cruise and Freeman.

Speaking of the Shawshank, Driving, Olympus God-like actor:

Morgan Freeman: seen here as a Morpheus-type, is playing a character similar to ones we’ve seen from him before, but remains compelling. He’s given little screen time, but Freeman lighting a cigar in the dark and saying something like: “I've been watching you, Jack. You're curious…” is enough to warrant bringing him on set for what I would imagine was about a week. He manages to convince us he could physically dominate everyone in the room without ever getting in a fight, or even running for that matter. And he’s 75.-

Food in Film Moment: The dried packets of space food are far from appetizing; but at least Vicka puts the pieces on pretty plates and sets a lovely table.

Bottom line: That's the main theme of Oblivion - The things that make us human no matter the circumstances. First and foremost the "L" word, but also a sense of responsibility to help those in need, creature comforts like music, literature and nature, along with thinking for ourselves and asking questions, and most importantly, kicking-ass when anyone or anything threatens any of these basic humanities.

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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