Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The beginning of the end

Not this is news, but it is fair to say that Tom Cruise did not have a good weekend. His new movie Lions For Lambs is getting lambasted by critics (according to the website Rotten Tomatoes-26% of film critics gave this movie a positive review).

In its opening weekend, it finished as the fourth highest grossing film, just ahead of Dan In Real Life, a film which had been released two weeks earlier than Lions For Lambs.

The blame for Lions For Lambs is probably not solely Cruise'. According to Philadelphia Weekly film critic Sean Burns, he seems to blame director Robert Redford. The opening paragraph of his review spells it out,

"Robert Redford has directed a great movie about a nation losing its sense of purpose, a savage indictment of our increasingly bought-and-paid-for mass media, and a cutting depiction of our country’s core values ebbing away while a curiously indifferent American public remains too lazy and distracted to even bother noticing. Unfortunately, the movie I’m talking about was called Quiz Show, and Redford made it 13 years ago."

However, the film's lack of success shows that Mr. Cruise is no longer bulletproof. A film is not going to open well just because of Cruise's presence.

As Lambs tanked at the box office, the trailer for Cruise's next film Valkyrie. Instead of me analyzing it for you, take a look for yourself.

So let me understand. This is a film about a group of Germans attempting to assassinate Adolf Hitler. The first problem is a lack of drama...let me skip to the ending for you...the plot doesn't succeed. Secondly, what is with the accents. Tom Cruise has an accent that makes me think he thinks he is filming Mission Impossible 4 and he is surrounded by british actors, mostly speaking with their natural accents which makes it even more confusing. I am not saying the film should be in german with subtitles...but at least attempt to help me suspend my disbelief by having everyone have german accents. Or have everyone use British Accents. At least make it consistent. This could end up being the best example of dueling accents since the Hunt For Red October where Sean Connery had a Scottish-Russian accent, Tim Curry had a British-Russian accent and Sam Neil had a Australian-Russian accent. That film was a mess!

Top 5 Worst Accents in a movie
1. Richard Gere in Sommersby (I don't think he actually is trying an accent here but since co-stars Jodie Foster, Bill Pullman et al are speaking with slight english accents, Gere's fresh-off-the-New-York-subway sounds jarring)
2. Richard Gere in The Jackal (Okay, here he attempted an accent and it is god awful)
3. Keanu Reeves in Bram Stoker's Dracula (Bad actor in a movie way out of his element)
4. Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (Some people may say this should be #1 but I disagree. Clearly he gave up on the accent halfway through filming as some scenes he attempts it, while others, he doesn't even try. The bigger issue with this film is that co-stars Morgan Freeman and Christian Slater think the film is a drama, Alan Rickman thinks it is a comedy and Costner thinks it is an action film. Bad directing is the biggest issue with this film)
5. Chris O'Donnell in Circle of Friends (Apparently there were no Irish actors for this part. They tried to hide the fact that O'Donnell couldn't do the accent by making all of his sentences really short. That way he only needed to keep the accent for 2 or 3 words. Any longer, he would have lost it)

Cruise has seemed to have the perfect film career. He was lucky to have an iconic film moment in Risky Business (dancing in his underwear to Bob Seger's Old Time Rock 'n Roll). He then parlayed that into a film career that made him look like a serious actor without having to do any of the lifting. His filmography is filled with movies co-starring much better actors such as The Color Of Money, Rainman and Magnolia. With Valkyrie, he has no one to lean on...hopefully this will be enough to peel back the curtain for film fans and help them realize Cruise does not deserve to be one of the most popular film stars of all time.



Blogger your faithful narrator said...

Strangely enough, a similar post was added to the Cinematical website a couple of hours after mine.


12:37 PM  
Anonymous merdus said...

I can't agree more with your opinion on the Jesus of the Church of Scientology. I recently saw a German production of Valkyrie, called Stauffenberg (hard to be more direct) starring Sebastian Koch. Having a bunch of Germans do it, definitely added to the realism :) - but as usual the hollywoodian translation will probably pale, as did the Great Blue, Three Men and a Baby, La Femme Nikita etc ad pukum-my-guts-out-um-um (that last "um" is onomatopoeic). Your number 3 is my number 1, by the way. He should do Terminator.


12:41 PM  

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