Tag Archives: Cruise

Let Them All Talk

13 Dec

‘Let Them All Talk’: A supposedly fun thing that’ll keep you diverted until the unpacking

By Tom MeekThursday, December 10, 2020

I’ve never been on a cruise ship. I’ve marveled at the behemoths sailing into the Black Falcon Terminal in the Seaport, I’ve drunk in many moments of deck-perched merriment on friends’ social media posts, read David Foster Wallace’s semi-famous essay “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” and enjoyed those peculiar and perplexing murder mysteries at sea that crop up on true crime investigative shows now and then – but I have yet to be part of a floating colony. In my heart, I feel I mostly align with Mr. Wallace, remaining tepidly cruise curious. Thanks to “Let Them All Talk,” the latest from Steven Soderbergh, cinema’s official auteur of quirky cool, my wan curiosity has received a reinvigorating shot.

Soderbergh, the man who made the “Ocean’s Eleven” films as well as such experimental fare as “Unsane” (2018) and “Bubble” (2005), slides toward more the latter here. He gets Meryl Streep aboard the Queen Mary 2 luxury liner en route to London as Alice, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who can’t fly – Alice is a solemn sort, set in her ways, and won’t take the cruise unless her publishers give her top accommodations. Her besties from college, Susan (Dianne Wiest) and Roberta (Candice Bergen), get to tag along, as well as her nephew, Tyler (Lucas Hedges, who in “French Exit” opening later this year, again crosses the Atlantic; it’s by different means but with an equally complicated and mature woman of stature). The film, an improvisational bit formed from a short story by writer Deborah Eisenberg, has its moments: Roberta refuses to do any one-on-one time with Alice; there’s a strange man coming out of Alice’s cabin each morning; and adding to the mix is Karen (Gemma Chan, who provided a graceful, stately presence in the otherwise riotous rom-com “Crazy Rich Asians”), who’s from the publishing house and wants to educe another prize winner from Alice. Overall it’s choppy seas, though, lacking earnest, emotional cohesion. Sure, there’s a lot of suppressed emotion seeping through strong performances, but the material and devices never quite seem to warrant the requisite outpouring. It feels like a Robert Altman movie without a maestro of mass mania to wave the baton

Though everything is tied together with twists and revelations, back on firm ground one might wonder if the journey was worth the trip. From what’s onscreen you can imagine Soderbergh and his cast had a rollicking good time making the film, and the boat they chose was not a floating family theme park, but one with stately dining rooms and libraries with dark wood carousels overlooking scenic vistas of the ocean. That’s my cruise. Will I ever take it?

Miss Meadows

4 Dec

In Miss Meadows,Katie Holmes takes on a dark role that is lightyears removed from her turn as Joey Potter on Dawson's Creek

In Miss Meadows,Katie Holmes takes on a dark role that is lightyears removed from her turn as Joey Potter on Dawson’s Creek

If you were wondering what Katie Holmes has been doing since her big escape from Tom Cruise and the Church of Scientology, you might imagine a quaint New York penthouse, quality time with Suri, and small recurring roles on sitcoms and reality TV. But rest assured, the now womanly Holmes, who for so long was the icon of teen angst on Dawson’s Creek, has come out indie and angry. Or at least, that’s what her latest endeavor Miss Meadows would indicate.

This quirky and dark ditty sets the table right from the start as Holmes’s Miss Meadows, donning a dainty debutante dress and tap shoes, recites poetry (the lyrical iambs in perfect tune with her toe clicks) as she skips and hops her way through a bucolic neighborhood that might make the anxiety-riddled matrons ofDesperate Housewives a tad jealous. There’s even prancing deer and an attentive bluebird. You half expect “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” to break out or the fairy tale-reality seam of Once Upon a Time to open up, but Miss Meadows is something else entirely. Sure it treads on lexicons of happy childlike euphoria, but when a gruff old perv in a beat-up pickup (cliches and stereotypes abound) drives up and insists Miss Meadows get into the cab at gunpoint, the prim and proper pixie reaches into her handbag, produces a pearl-handled derringer, and bang, bang — we know we’re not in Kansas anymore. Continue reading

Edge of Tomorrow

7 Jun

‘Edge of Tomorrow’: Tom Cruise wins war with superbly clever time travel



Say what you will about Tom Cruise the human, but up on screen the guy is a bona fide movie star. No question, no debate. Go back to “Risky Business,” “Top Gun” or “Rain Man” and the seeds of it were always there, and let’s not forget too that the man has cast flashes of thespian brilliance. I’ll cite “Magnolia” and “Born on the Fourth of July” and throw in “Tropic Thunder,” not only because his performance was so outright hilarious and poetically self-deprecating, but was also a gonzo reach that required balls. Thomas Cruise Mapother IV has done it all, lost it with Shelly Long and raised and reshaped the “Mission Impossible” TV series into a box office ringing machine marching into its fifth campaign and now hanging tight in the sci-fi genre. It’s not a new thing, mind you – just dial back to the earlier part of the century when he made a pair of aces with Steven Spielberg (”War of the Worlds” and “Minority Report”). The pleaser he notched last summer with “Oblivion” also served as an ominous and unintentional foreshadowing of things to come in “Edge of Tomorrow.”

060614i Edge of TomorrowBesides being set in a harsh future where the threads of humanity claw and scrape to hang on, the two films boast multiple Toms. In “Oblivion” his Jack Harper is one of two human agents on a toxic Earth running seawater siphons to feed the rest of humanity on a housing platform in the near atmosphere (there’s more to it than that, and it’s a worthy watch) before coming shockingly face to face with another Jack Harper. In “Tomorrow,” Cruise is Major Cage, a cocksure military PR man who gets placed frontline in the battle against an invading alien species sweeping through Europe and poised to eradicate all of mankind – and he can rise from the dead. Cage can’t stomach the sight of blood and has never seen combat, but he gets demoted to private and injected into a troop of misfits as presumed fodder for the invading Mimics, which look like giant angry dust bunnies with metallic tentacles and a lion-like mug, when they take the beaches of Normandy. That presumption proves correct – initially – but after Cage gets laid to waste by an angry Alpha Mimic, he’s somehow imbued with the ability to pop back to life 24 hours before his expiration, or something like that.  Continue reading


20 Apr

‘Oblivion’: Where the clichés go when Earth dies

It’s some 70 years in the future and Earth is a wasteland, barren and plucked clean by nukes. Nukes mind you that weren’t unleashed on man by fellow man, but man nuking invading aliens who, during their incursion, blasted the moon in half, throwing off the tides and setting off tsunamis and earthquakes that accelerated Earth’s demise to a radioactive and near uninhabitable state. So the final vestige of mankind, which lives above the planet on an inverted-pyramid-shaped monolith/spaceship, waits as turbines on Earth siphon off seawater and convert it to stored energy so they can jet off to a distant moon where a new Eden awaits.

All that’s the “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” preamble before we get to Herr Cruise. And the movie, in case you were wondering, is all about Tom Cruise. As one of the only two people remaining on the surface of the planet, there’s plenty of Tom time. Cruise plays Jack Harper (not to be confused with Jack Reacher, Cruise’s last role), a one-man militia and maintenance crew who keeps the turbines chugging and, with the aid of a smattering of drones, keeps the remaining aliens, embedded in caves and subterranean mazes of ruined stadiums, at bay. Jack’s partner Victoria, (U.K. actress Andrea Riseborough) helms the control console and reports up to command while Jack dashes about in his ornithopter (stealing that term from “Dune” because it’s applicable – more on that later) and tends to the drones and turbines. Continue reading