Retrospect Reviews: ‘War of the Worlds and “Last Samurai’

Tom Cruise has been a major actor in Hollywood for a while, but as a 90s kid, I didn’t start seeing his movies regularly until the mid-2000s.

Perhaps his best work during that period was his performance as the cold, calculating hitman in 2004’s “Collateral.” That period also saw him appear in “Mission: Impossible III,” a movie credited with rejuvenating the franchise.

Two films from that era that I remember most fondly, though, are his Japanese period piece “The Last Samurai” and the “War of the Worlds” remake. Both films have received mixed reception, but I found them to be strong pictures.

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Phase 4 shows the MCU is running on empty

No, I’m not being paid by Warner Bros. or DC to write this.

Honestly, for the longest time I rejected this notion. Marvel Studios had a really good track record here at this site. Aside from “Thor: The Dark World,” most entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe received a 3 out of 5 or higher from yours truly.

For those who may not know, that’s enough to get a “fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes. That was true right up through the summer of 2019.

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Three recent times Cage was perfectly cast

The release of “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” where Nicolas Cage will play himself, is right around the corner and I’m quite excited for it.

While, admittedly, I’ve been hard on Cage at times for some of his less than stellar filmography entries, I remain intrigued whenever I see him in a cast lineup. There’s always a chance that he can give a really memorable performance.

That happened in 2021, when he gave a performance that was absolutely snubbed by the Academy in the film “Pig.” I have to say I was proud of my fellow Minnesota film critics for awarding him the Best Actor award for the portrayal.

That’s not the only time Cage has fit a character so well in the last decade, though. Here are some other times that the actor was perfectly cast for a role, and delivered a solid performance.

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94th Academy Award Predictions

The Gotham Award nominations came out in late October. Nearly five months later, we’re finally toward the conclusion of the 2021-2022 award season.

It’s been an entertaining season for sure, with the Best Picture front-runner shifting a lot, from “Belfast,” to “The Power of the Dog” and now, seemingly, “CODA.” We’ll know the winner of this category and all the others on Sunday during the Academy Awards ceremony.

Until then, we can only predict what will happen. So here are my predictions for who will win on Sunday, who could maybe play spoiler, my choices for who should get the Oscar and a few snubs.

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2022 Oscar Docs: A Look at the Nominees

The 94th Academy Awards ceremony is right around the corner and five movies from across the planet are up for top prize Sunday night.

As award season is wrapping up, I caught all of this year’s nominees for Best Documentary Feature and had some thoughts about each one. Of all the nominees, I enjoyed “Summer of Soul” the most, but there are certainly others I’d recommend, too.

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Halloween Adventures in B-Movie Horror 2021, Part 3

This year’s B-movie odyssey will come to a close with two niche horror genres.

One is a stylized Italian horror film, also known as a Giallo. The other is a shot on video, or SOV, movie, which were hyper low budget flicks often made with simpler cameras.

While both movies have quite a bit of blood shed, the two couldn’t be more different in terms of camera work.

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Halloween Adventures in B-Movie Horror 2021, Part 2

This edition of Adventures in B-Movie Horrors offers some throwbacks. On top of them being decades old, they also all feature things of a time gone by.

One of them takes inspiration from the classic “Frankenstein” story, another is a callback to 50s monster flicks and the third includes horror retellings of old fairy tales.

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Halloween Adventures in B-Movie Horror 2021, Part 1

It’s spooky season, Halloween is close, and I’ve been watching more B-Movies! It’s the genre that truly keeps on giving, with plenty of schlock to go around.

For this first installment of Adventures in B-Movies 2021, I watched films with a lotta drillin,’ resulting in a lotta killin.’

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Seven non-scary films to enjoy during fall

Autumn has officially started and horror movie season is approaching with Halloween on the horizon.

With that said, not all films watched during the fall months have to be scary. There are plenty out there from other genres that are great to watch in September, October and November, and I’ve included some of my favorites here.

Just as a note, one of my favorite parts of fall is the sport of football being played. However, I didn’t want to get this list too bogged down and have it become a sports movie column. I did write a piece about good college football films, though, which you can read here.

With that said, here’s the list.
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2021 Summer Movie Awards

After a summer blockbuster season at home, audiences were able to return to something closer to normal in 2021 with a mix of digital and theatrical releases.

Great movies were available both at home and the cinema in the last several months and with the season now over, it’s time to look back and give credit to the best of them.

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