"Live, Die, Repeat" is the tag line for Tom Cruise's latest sci-fi adventure, "Edge of Tomorrow."
Cruise plays a soldier in a dreary future when aliens invade Earth. He is quickly killed in the chaos of his first combat mission. But he instantly wakes up to find himself alive and reliving the same day's events that led to his death.
This scenario is repeated over and over with Cruise's character learning something new from each pseudo-death. Emily Blunt is excellent as a fellow soldier who once experienced the same time loop phenomenon but lost the power. Together they fight the invaders, who look like giant hyperkinetic scorpions on meth.
Director Doug Liman makes sure there are plenty of surprises and top-notch special effects to keep things interesting. He brings the same mix of rapid-fire action and intelligent backstory to this effort as he did in "The Bourne Identity." He also adds enough humor to alleviate the inherent tension.
A winner despite the 'Faults'
Cancer: When it strikes someone you love, it's devastating, and you never really recover from the pain that fills your heart when seeing someone suffer.
So it was with trepidation that I saw "The Fault in Our Stars," fearing its sole purpose was to rekindle painful memories and reduce me to a puddle of tears. And it did, but not in a bad way.
Shailene Woodley is Hazel Grace, who has known since 13 that her illness is terminal. Not only must she endure the disease, but this smart, no-nonsense girl must also suffer well-meaning attempts to cheer her up. To please her mom (Laura Dern), she goes to a support group and meets Augustus (Ansel Elgort, Woodley's "Divergent" costar), an angelic-faced amputee and cancer survivor.
Gus' irreverent, unrelenting optimism wins Hazel's heart and ours, as we so want her to experience some of the joys of being a teenager while she can.
I didn't read the bestselling novel that "Stars" is based upon, so I was unprepared for a plot twist. While the film was shamelessly engineered to tug at our hearts, the simple honesty of Woodley and Dern's performances saved the day. The movie's faults lie not in its stars, but in its clichés.
As I left the theater, a little girl hugged her mother and said, "Oh, Mommy, that was so sad. I love you." If a movie can remind us to cherish loved ones and embrace every day, how bad can it be? I cried all over again.
JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator. SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a company in Irvine.