Random Factoid #476

16 11 2010

Well, there goes Redbox as being a great deal for consumers.

Studios have been running one step behind in terms of catching up with consumer’s taste in moviewatching.  By the time they get there to jack up the prices, the boat has sailed away to the next big thing.  Looks like Redbox is just another has-been now.

According to Company Town, Fox will begin charging a premium on DVD releases through Redbox beginning with the release of “Knight & Day” in December (darn you, Tom Cruise).  This is supposedly the alternative to delaying their release by 4 weeks, the past strategy to maximize profits on DVD sales.

Here’s my theory on what will happen: people might not notice at first, since it’s just a few movies.  Then, every studio will start doing it for their new movies, and people will turn away.  Eventually, they will charge a premium on every movie with an actor you’ve heard of, leaving the $1 rentals for cheap knock-offs alone.  Some will argue that iTunes has remained successful in spite of their price increase, but let me remind you that Apple has a virtual monopoly over the e-music industry.  There are alternatives to Redbox.

The big question is: what will rise in the post-Redbox era?  Will this just ensure Netflix’s continued success?

REVIEW: Knight And Day

5 07 2010

What’s silly, somewhat corny and contrived, and stuffed to the gills with action?

That would be “Knight And Day.” But my real question is this – so what? It provides that shot of summer adrenaline that we all crave without the eye-rolling and moaning on the side. As a sort of hybrid action-romantic comedy, the movie favors the former (which is probably for the better), but the blend really does allow it to be entertaining for more than just the guys who light up inside watching something blow up.

We’re never really meant to take the movie seriously – well, at least Tom Cruise doesn’t, so I sure as heck didn’t. His rogue CIA agent Roy Miller is part insane, part parody of all the outrageous characters Cruise has played in nearly three decades on screen. And he’s as willing to make fun of himself and his career choices as he is to don a fat suit and bloated makeup. There’s plenty of Cruise being mysterious in the corner, playing with the sunglasses, delivering ridiculous lines, making corny romantic gestures, and running to the point where it looks painful. It’s his boundless playful energy that lifts “Knight And Day” off the ground.

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FEATURE: Cruise Control, Part 2

24 06 2010

“Action is character.  If we didn’t do anything, we wouldn’t be anyone.”

– Carey Mulligan as Jenny in “An Education”

Yesterday, I celebrated Tom Cruise by discussing the roles he didn’t take.  It’s certainly an honor to be considered for so many incredible parts as he has been, and it does show a lot about him.  However, like Jenny suggests in the quote above, we are defined by what we do, not by what we don’t.

So, to top off my look at Tom Cruise, I will offer up what I’ve taken from the movies that he has been in.  As you will probably notice, I have seen very little of his work prior to this decade.  So the portrait I can paint of Cruise with what I have seen is very limited.  It’s definitely not the prime of his career; most will agree that his celebrity has waned this decade, particularly in the past five years.  But nonetheless, he’s still a big draw – or at least a talking point.

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FEATURE: Cruise Control, Part 1

23 06 2010

Tying into the release of “Knight & Day” today and the LAMB Acting School on Tom Cruise on Saturday, I thought I would offer up some thoughts on the star.  I haven’t reviewed any of his movies in depth, but I wanted to have something to contribute because I definitely have something to say.

When I was born in 1992, Tom Cruise was one of the biggest stars in the world.  He rose from obscurity in the early ’80s to superstardom by the end of the decade.  People seem to malign Cruise now, claiming he’s a ham and a pompous action star.  But we can’t forget that Cruise has been nominated for three Academy Awards and seven Golden Globes (including three wins).  He has starred in four Best Picture nominees and worked with acclaimed directors such as Rob Reiner, Stanley Kubrick, Michael Mann, and Oscar winners Sydney Pollack, Oliver Stone, Barry Levinson, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg.  His films have grossed nearly $3 billion combined.  So to belittle Tom Cruise’s talent or appeal is, at least in my view, practically pointless.

His popularity has dropped off in recent years amidst the couch-jumping incident with Oprah and his outspoken support of Scientology, but those are hits that the celebrity of Tom Cruise has taken.  The actor that is Tom Cruise is still in good shape.  So to celebrate his career, I’ll offer up a double-edged approach to writing about Tom Cruise.

First, I’m going to talk about the actor Tom Cruise could have been by exploring some of the roles he was considered for and turned down.  Second, I’ll walk through his career, offering little capsule reviews of some of his movies that I have seen.

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