Third Person (SSSS): Writer/director Paul Haggis used Michelangelo Antonioni’s germinal 1966 Blow Up as a touchstone in making this film, because both provide an exposition of the relationship of reality to illusion. The finale is exceptionally thought-provoking for those who have not been lost by the almost two and a half hour runtime. Mila Kunis sparkles above the outstanding ensemble cast, all of whom give fine performances.
22 Jump Street (S): Reminiscent of John McEnroe’s memorable rant, “You cannot be serious!,” some might claim that this is a really subtle “inside baseball” satire mocking buddy movies and male bonding, that Channing Tatum’s typically wooden performance is brilliantly camp, and that it’s all a big joke. That’s a meager excuse for a film that is inexcusably coarse, philistine, and excruciatingly unfunny.
Edge of Tomorrow (SSSS): This is a gripping, humorous time-travel movie that starts out on a high note with a fine confrontation between Major Tom Cruise, a smarmy PR man, and General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson), that lets Tom know what the army is all about. Thoroughly engrossing, it’s extremely well-directed with humor and pace by Doug Liman, who doesn’t allow the special effects to overshadow the story. Cruise does a terrific job of acting and his comedic talent makes the film something I wasn’t expecting at all.
Night Moves (SSS): There are lots of shots of people thinking, mostly Jesse Eisenberg, who seems to seek out roles like this with a range that barely gets past A (e.g. “The Social Network”). While a little bit of that goes a long way, his thoughtful, mostly non-verbal, process adds to the mounting tension as problems mount and the only way out seems beyond the pale. Eisenberg is overshadowed by Dakota Fanning’s sensitive performance and Peter Sarsgaard’s excellent turn as a loose cannon. Compared with other films in which people think most of the time, this one is well above the norm.