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Editor’s note: This week, we’re introducing a new feature. Our favorite movie critic/podcast host/raconteur, John Podhoretz will pick a movie he has recently reviewed for The Weekly Standard and discuss his review and the movie. This week, John reviews and discusses the new Tom Cruise movie, The Edge of Tomorrow.
Movie stars go cold. It’s part of the way popular culture works. For a long time, people just love watching them. People can’t get enough of them. And then, after they go to the well once too often with a formula that has gone flat, or after their messy personal lives get all mixed up in the characters they’re playing, stars become even slightly distasteful.
Just in the past year, it’s become clear that Will Smith, for a decade the biggest star in the world, has lost it. And after two enormous flops, Johnny Depp—who single-handedly earned Disney nearly $3 billion in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies—can’t get anyone to see him in anything else. Adam Sandler, an incredibly reliable money-maker in his self-produced fare for the better part of two decades, can’t get audiences to the theaters. And this past week has shown that Tom Cruise has now indisputably fallen into the also-ran category as well. His latest vehicle, a $175 million futuristic war epic calledEdge of Tomorrow, was a major box-office disappointment in its opening days.
The Cruise case is especially interesting because, of all the A-list Hollywood actors over the 30 years he’s been a star, he has distinguished himself in his effort to make the best movies he can—not good little movies or indie-film character studies, but high-quality fare intended to reach large audiences. That is particularly true of Edge of Tomorrow, which—until a dull climactic sequence and a stupid coda—is a genuinely inventive and thrillingly clever picture.