Summer Movie Season Opens Early with 3 Very Different Films

By Sandra Olmsted


In Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion, which kicks off the summer blockbuster season, Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) works as high-tech drone repairman on the abandoned earth of 2077. Under the supervision of Vika (Andrea Riseborough), with whom he shares an ultramodern loft, Jack tools around the radiation zones and lush natural landscapes in his personal aircraft and dreams of poetry and existentialism. When he discovers the crash site of a craft that carried humans in stasis, he finds one survivor, Julia (Olga Kurylenko), and brings her home to the loft, complicating his relationship with Vika. Not only is Julia very beautiful, but she and Jack have a history from before the war with the Scav which destroyed the earth. Jack’s life is further complicated when he and Julia are taken hostage by Beech (Morgan Freeman) and Sykes (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), members of a band of rebels.

With must see cinematography by Claudio Miranda of Life of Pi fame, this Universal Pictures release is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, brief strong language, and some sensuality/nudity and runs 124 minutes. Oblivion, which is based on Kosinski’s graphic novel and original story, is in theaters now.

Pain & Gain

In director Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain, Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg), Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie), and Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson), three low-life body builders who spend their time and money on whores, strippers, steroids, coke, and lifting, concocted a scheme. They plan to kidnap Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub), a Columbia businessman, who is Jewish. Lead by Daniel, the trio make themselves believe that Victor has somehow stolen their American Dream prosperity and decide to steal it back.

Bay, as usual, revels in the violence, stupidity, and depravity of his characters by using offensive humor; unfortunately, this true-crime “comedy” really is based on real people and events. Bay seems to be attempting a comedy version of Monster, the biopic of serial killer Aileen Wuornos. He also celebrates masculine stupidity, racism, and sexism, and while some viewers will be amused, others will be offended.

Pain & Gain, a Paramount Pictures release which is in theaters now, is rated R for bloody violence, crude sexual content, nudity, language throughout, and drug use; it runs a lengthy 130 minutes.

The Big Wedding

Bucket List writer Justin Zackham’s directorial debut, The Big Wedding, re-imagines the golden years as sex romp and is much raunchier than It’s Complicated, a recent entry in the genre. When Ellie ( Diane Keaton) returns to the home she once shared with ex-husband Don (Robert De Niro) for the wedding of Alejandro (Ben Barnes), their adopted son, she must deal with Don’s sexual high jinx with his live-in lover, Bebe (Susan Sarandon).

Missy (Amanda Seyfried), the bride, is the daughter of Don and Ellie’s old friends Muffin (Christine Ebersole) and Barry (David Rasche). Old feelings and desires resurface while the parents keep secrets and hide the truth about divorce and promiscuous sex from Alejandro’s Colombian birth mother, Madonna (Patricia Rae), who is very devout Catholic.

Robin Williams’ turn as an Irish Catholic priest reconciling church doctrine and contemporary life is amusing and restrained. Madonna’s ultra-hot daughter Nuria (Ana Ayora) and Don and Ellie’s birth son, Jared (Topher Grace), a 29-year-old virgin, add to the fun. Although a farce, by definition, has an over complicated plot, Zackham’s remake of the French film Mon frere se marie has too much plot for the number of payoffs. These talented older performers prove they still have the ability to make even a mediocre script into good film.

While some viewers don’t want to imagine older people having urges and desires, viewers with a realistic understanding of life will enjoy this contemporary, adult comedy. The Big Wedding, a Lionsgate release now in theaters is rated R for language, sexual content and brief nudity and runs 90 minutes.

More of Olmsted’s reviews are available at

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