Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Another article about Tom Cruise in Variety

 
I really never liked Tom Cruise, but here's an article I found interesting by Owen Gleiberman who does like him. Below are excerpts. Read the whole thing here.

...But Cruise now seems to be throwing franchises against the wall to see which of them will stick. Another “M:I” film, another “Jack Reacher” mystery, now “The Mummy,” and what’s next? He’s all these characters, but in another way he’s none of them, because the characters (except for Ethan Hunt) aren’t sinking into moviegoers’ imaginations. They’re like suits of clothing he’s rotating through. He has just announced the sequel that no one was clamoring to see, “Top Gun: Maverick,” which sounds like a case of cannibalizing his greatest star hit by grinding it up into another franchise. What could be less of a maverick move?

...

...Cruise, as an actor, is like an image consultant, or a studio executive giving notes to himself (“I think there’s an opportunity here to make the character a little more likable…”). What’s insidious is that the reason he was drawn to playing Jack Reacher in the first place is that he obviously regarded it as an act of image management — a way to keep pace with the times by letting himself get down and dirty (but not too much). Is it any wonder that these films are tonally out of focus? With deadening calculation, they whipsaw Cruise’s image in two directions at once. That’s why they barely even feel like a franchise. They’re just two more middling Tom Cruise films.

...He now seems devoted to working with anonymously talented journeyman directors (Bryan Singer, Christopher McQuarrie, Joseph Kosinski, Alex Kurtzman). Is that his way of retaining the power? Let me say up front that I’ve always been a Tom Cruise believer (just check out my gallery of his 10 best films, in which my reverence for movies like “Top Gun” knows no shame), but the eerie thing about Cruise’s career in the last decade is that he has been churning out the cinematic equivalent of holograms. It walks like a Tom Cruise movie, it talks like a Tom Cruise movie (it’s got speed and “intensity,” even a soupçon of cleverness), but it’s a Tom Cruise movie that leaves no shadow. It’s a piece of virtual entertainment.

 ...
 Tom Cruise could still be a powerful actor, but the irony of his career, at least for now, is that at the very moment when he should be taking on more character roles, easing into a post-superstar creative freedom zone (as actors from Julia Roberts to Kevin Costner to Meryl Streep to Leonardo DiCaprio have done), he’s doubled down on one thing and one thing only: the awesome global transcendence of his image. He’s still choosing movies like he’s king of the world. He’s got it half right: He is Hollywood royalty. But proving that, each and every time, by making movies that exist for no organic reason but to win the box-office contest they’re not even winning anymore has become, for Cruise, a game of diminishing returns: for his fans, and for himself, too.

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