Friday Flicks: Tom Cruise Leaps into the Future in ‘Oblivion’

TIME breaks down which films to see and which to avoid this weekend.

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Jason LaVeris / FilmMagic

Actor Tom Cruise attends the premiere of "Oblivion" at the Dolby Theatre on April 10, 2013 in Hollywood, California.


In Oblivion, directed by Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy), Tom Cruise plays an ex-Marine commander called Jack Harper in the year 2077. We know what you might be thinking: doesn’t that sound like Jack Reacher, the character he played in the adaptation of Lee Child’s series of novels? Perhaps he likes the name.

Jack’s been hitting the road as part of an operation to extract resources from the Earth after many years of war with an alien enemy. No matter, he’s now only weeks away from joining his fellow humans who have been evacuated to a lunar colony. Until, that is, Jack rescues a beguiling stranger (Olga Kurylenko) from a downed spacecraft who will somehow make him question everything. What’s next for Jack? Only deciding the fate of humanity, which he previously thought was about to be lost forever.

The critics who got lost in Oblivion didn’t, for the most part, emerge singing the movie’s praises. Noting its many influences, the Financial Times reports that it “starts as a kind of Silent Running or Omega Man (bliss) but collapses into a noisy Matrix-y Independence Day.” The Daily Telegraph arguably takes an even harsher approach: “The trouble with Oblivion is that it never gets past second gear, and most of the ideas feel cloned.” But the Irish Times can accentuate the positives, pointing out that, “As futurology it stinks. But as anaesthetised fantasy it works very nicely.” What’s more, “It even manages to justify the perennial blandness of the apparently unaging Tom Cruise. That requires some class of genius.”

VIDEO: Watch Tom Cruise Do That Thing Where He Runs All Over the Place

In the House

Tagline: There’s always a way to get in.

French auteur François Ozon is receiving rave reviews for his latest movie, the black comedy thriller In the House.

Set in a school in France, it focuses on a teacher named Germain (Fabrice Luchini), who starts to regain enthusiasm for his profession after becoming enchanted by a student, Claude (Ernst Umhauer), who has been writing about a best friend’s family. Equally charmed is Germain’s wife, Jeanne (British actress Kristin Scott Thomas, once again speaking without difficulty in French).

“One of French cinema’s foremost enfants terribles here finally grows up: this elegant and eloquent film weighs its words and images with commendably mature precision,” proclaims the Daily Telegraph. “Ozon’s new film … touches on a number of his recurrent concerns, among them the nature of creativity and stories within stories, and it is, I think, his best work to date,” writes the venerable Philip French in the Observer. And the Daily Mail says it has “a lot to say about storytelling, control and manipulation of the truth.” The Financial Times, however, sees it differently: “the best François Ozon films (Under the Sand, Swimming Pool) are deceptively slight. The worst ones are genuinely slight: slivers of conceit prone to feyness and often based on theatre trifles, like his last movie Potiche and the new one, In the House.”

TIME REVIEW: In the House

NewsFeed’s Flicks Pick: There’s barely been a bad word written about In the House, and it effortlessly wins the week.

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