REVIEW: Oblivion

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Oblivion
Directed by: Joseph Kosinski
Written by: Joseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek and Michael Arndt (screenplay), Joseph Kosinski and Arvid Nelson (comic book)
Starring: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough and Morgan Freeman

Machines are typically a main enemy in science fiction narratives, often stand-ins for the mechanical processes of fascism or bureaucracy .  This is true both in front of and behind the camera in Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion, a dull, overdone futuristic movie that tries amicably to be more than the Tom Cruise vehicle it ultimately is.  It is so bogged down by needless special effects excess that its fine polish glosses over any semblance of life.

Set in 2077, Oblivion at first follows Jack (Cruise) and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), two engineers who repair drones that guard resource mining operations on what’s left of Earth.  Of course the drones turn out to be evil, and Jack is forced to choose between helping those he once helped destroy (a pack of human survivors led by Morgan Freeman) or stay the course.  It isn’t really much of a choice, and neither the script nor the camera captures any rebellious spirit or sense of urgency.  There are a some well done firefights and amusing exchanges between Cruise and Freeman, but Kosinksi sacrifices all major opportunities for political commentary to indulge in them.

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REVIEW: Tron Legacy

Tron Legacy
Directed by: Joseph Kosinski
Written by: Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, and Michael Sheen

To satisfy every little boy’s and possibly girl’s dream of “wouldn’t it be cool if…” comes the film Tron Legacy. At one point or another, or maybe this applies more to Generations X and Y, the curiosity of what it would be like to be sucked inside a computer, video game or live in a digital battleground has crossed millions of minds, including the film’s star Jeff Bridges who admits taking on the role for these reasons. But Tron Legacy, for as zippy, fun and visually creative as it may be, seems to be a tad more analog than anything else.

Nearly three decades after the first Tron film caused financial fiasco for Disney, Tron Legacy returns as a little less of a gamble with a chance to pick up on the 3D dazzling sci-fi business set up by Avatar the same time last year. Continue reading

It’s the Most Wonderful Posts of the Year

It hasn’t been a full year quite yet here at CyniCritics. With only ten and a half months of existence recorded, it’s still been one hell of a year for us. Our own domain name, a feature on IMDb’s Hit List, increasing viewership, some new friends and a growing appreciation for the art of cinema all make the cut of our accomplishments this year.

To celebrate the New Year and kick off the end of the year goodie posts, Matt and I would like to thank everyone for stopping by, reading our work and taking part in the discussion. Here is a list of a few of our favorite posts from CyniCritics over the past year and ones from other sites that caught our eyes and wracked our brains. Happy New Year, everyone!!!

Favorite Posts on Friend Sites


Are Hollywood Actors Overpaid? by Anomalous Materials– The brilliance of Castor is his ability to create an amazing dialogue among film enthusiasts. The tagline on his site summarizes it all, “where movie lovers come to mingle.” In this post, as with many, he starts by asking us a question, seeking our answer, not seeking us to learn his. The question is great and so is his exploration of it. Continue reading

Ten to finish out ’10

With The Social Network and Let Me In giving movie-goers some anti-summer entertainment to look forward to this weekend, we thought it’d be a good idea to map out what the rest of 2010 will look like at the movies.  Here is our list of the 10 movies we think will matter the rest of the year.

Black Swan (Dec. 1)– Darren Aronofsky follows up The Wrestler with another behind the scenes plunge into the dark depths of competitive sports.  This time it’s Natalie Portman in the lead, playing a ballerina in a a gruelingly competitive production of Swan Lake. When Mila Kunis comes in as a the new kid on the block, the game is on.  That makes it sound like Step Up, but from trailer, which shows Portman sprouting feathers and red eyes, it will be decidedly weirder.  Aronofsky knows his way around pitch black, and has a knack for turning misery into beauty.  Expect nothing less here.

True Grit (Dec. 25)– What better way to celebrate Christmas than with a Coen Brothers movie?  They team up with Jeff Bridges again, this time to remake the western that won John Wayne his Oscar.  However, the brothers list the novel as their main source of inspiration because of its quick dialogue as well as the premise.  A daughter (newcomer Hailee Steinfield) sets out to apprehend her father’s killer with the help of a stubborn marshal (Bridges.)  The movie also features Matt Damon as a ranger accompanying the two and Josh Brolin as the killer.  With a remarkable cast like this, and the success they had adapting No Country for Old Men, it’s hard not to be excited about this one.

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TRAILER: Tron Legacy

Tron Legacy
Directed by: Joesph Kosinski
Written by: Adam Horowitz, Richard Jefferies, Edward Kitsis
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Gerrett Hedlund, Michael Sheen

Rumors were true, Tron Legacy will be a sequel to the 1982 film which was one of the first films to rely heavily on early forms of CGI. Only this time audiences will be able to enjoy the Tron world in CGI’s prime and new exploration into 3D technology. Producing the project is the original writer and director, but to write the project Disney has doing what it does best, using full corporate synergy by employing nearly the entire Lost staff. Directing the project is first time director Joesph Kosinski, who only has a few video came commercials to his name. But it makes sense, given a few of the motion capture images look like video game characters.

It’s safe to call it a cross between Star Trek and The Dark Knight trailers, the former for plot reasons, the latter for stylistic. There seems to be enough plot to keep the story up to pace with visually magnificent Tron world, which looks like it might be the best of 3D yet. Disney is clearly dedicating itself to take full advantage of the new technology, although it doesn’t see to want to take too many risks since every film so far has been a remake or sequel (sans Up, but those were pre-Avatar days). Overall, it looks exciting as hell, and seems to take itself pretty seriously. Continue reading