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Tom Cruise in “Edge of Tomorrow”

Tom Cruise in “Edge of Tomorrow”


PICKS OF THE WEEK

“Edge of Tomorrow” (PG-13) —  Tom Cruise gets ripped apart by space aliens and resurrected over and over again until he gets it right. In this unfortunate futuristic setting, a powerful alien army is spreading over Earth. Cruise plays a military officer who’s more of a spokesman than a rifleman —  until he mouths off and gets sent to the front line. He doesn’t last long in combat, but whenever he dies, he just wakes up at the beginning of the day. Using his Groundhog Day power, Cruise does a little better each time.

The whole time, I wished I was the one with the video-game controller, and not watching somebody else play. The upside is that the movie looks like a game worth playing. The core gimmick of the movie is used to good effect, generating a rhythm of intense action.

* * *

“A Million Ways to Die in the West” (R) —  This Western parody shows that people didn’t need epic gunfights and wild horse chases to die spectacularly in the Wild West, there were plenty of awful ways to die a humiliating and mundane death. Seth McFarlane, the creator of TV’s “Family Guy” and the raunchy buddy-comedy “Ted,” wrote, directed and stars in this rambling spoof. An A-list cast fills in the township where lowbrow jokes blow around like tumbleweed —  Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfreid, Neil Patrick Harris and Liam Neeson.

Like much of MacFarlane’s work, the humor gives you a clear idea that a smart guy is writing the dumbest and grossest jokes he can get away with. While not every joke is a winner, the movie makes up in volume. However, the rapid-fire raunchy humor can wear on some audiences.

* * *

“Obvious Child” (R) —  Donna (Jenny Slate) tells her embarrassingly personal jokes in a tight stand-up club with a little audience. She’s honest and awkward and refreshingly funny. However, her jokes about her relationship finally push her boyfriend to dump her, triggering a downward swing for Donna. In a subsequent one-night stand, Donna and her partner are both too drunk to figure out a condom. Later, when Donna realizes she’s pregnant, the all too sweet-as-pie guy from her one-night stand starts to court her. This is the first starring role for Slate, who had a short stint on “Saturday Night Live,” and she shows an astounding talent for balancing the heavy with the light.

* * *

“The Grand Seduction” (PG-13) —  Don’t expect rays of white-hot seduction to emanate from your screen as Brendan Gleeson turns up the charm in this small-town dramedy. In an itty-bitty fishing village in a far-flung piece of coastal Canada, fishing is restricted and the townspeople have set their hopes on a oil company setting up a new factory. Trouble is, the company won’t build unless the town has at least one doctor in its population, and the town has none. Gleeson plays the town’s acting mayor, tasked with wooing a visiting young doctor (Taylor Kitcsh) into taking up residence.

TV RELEASES
“Rick & Morty: Season 1”
“Vikings Season 2”
“American Horror Story: Season 3 —  Coven”
“Psych: The Complete Series —  Limited Edition”
“Duck Dynasty: Season 6”
“The Following: Season 2”
“Adventure Time: The Complete Fourth Season”

© 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.