Weekend Movies: Nobody’s Fault but Our Own

Death abounds in this weekend’s new movies. In one, it’s a plot device so the main character can die and respawn over and over again. In another, it’s a manipulative tool used to toy with the audience’s emotions.

The last several Tom Cruise movies have been poorly marketed, with advertising that made them look less cool, fun and entertaining than they really were. ‘Edge of Tomorrow‘ is no exception. In the sci-fi action flick (which was originally titled ‘All You Need Is Kill’ but could have been called ‘A Million Ways to Die in the Future’), Cruise plays a public relations agent for the United States Army during a war against a powerful alien race that has conquered Europe. When he refuses orders to join to fight on the front lines with live cameras broadcasting his first battle, he’s demoted and sent there anyway. Unable to use the mechanized armor suits that troops of the future are equipped with, he doesn’t last long. However, something happens that causes him to re-live the 24 hours leading up to his death over and over again, ‘Groundhog Day’ style. Fortunately, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ plays with this premise in really entertaining ways.

Having had a critic friend recently pass away as the result of a dumb disease, I simply couldn’t go for ‘The Fault in Our Stars‘. The YA adaptation tells the story of two teenagers with tragic back stories who find one another at a cancer support group. Shailene Woodley and her ‘Divergent’ co-star Ansel Elgort (seriously, why would their parents give them those names?) play Hazel and Gus (seriously, why would their fictional parents give them those names?). Everywhere Hazel goes, she’s followed by her oxygen tank, and Gus lost a leg. Together, this tragic duo finds happiness and love through their tough trials. Suprisingly not written by Nicholas Sparks, it’s up in the air whether one of the kids will die or not. Adapted by the duo that gave us ‘(500) Days of Summer‘ (yay!) and ‘The Spectacular Now‘ (boo!), ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ could go either way.

Following up from his 2008 directorial debut, an adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s ‘Choke’, Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson from many Marvel properties) gives us ‘Trust Me‘, a small dramatic comedy that looks pretty good despite also seeming to be by-the-books. Gregg leads the picture as a Jerry Maguire-ish talent agent who gets laid off by his agency and tries to make it on his own. ‘Trust Me’ co-stars Sam Rockwell, Allison Janney, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, Amanda Peet and Molly Shannon.

Also a refugee from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, after several successful weeks in limited release, Jon Favreau’s ‘Chef’ is officially going wide. Moving up to nearly 1,300 screens, the star- and food-filled comedy should now be playing very close to you.

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