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Reminiscence

There’s a sense of irony whilst watching ‘Reminiscence’. Written and directed by Lisa Joy, this sci-fi caper is reminiscent of other films. Copying what’s been successful isn’t a crime, especially in Hollywood. The way old stories are told is a mark of a good writer. A blend of ‘Bladerunner’ and 1940’s film noir detective movies, ‘Reminiscence’ doesn’t have much to call its own. Viewing can be a comforting experience, if only to remember better works than this.

In the distant future, Private Investigator Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman) is looking for clues. His detecting methods are sought after due to his ability to enter people’s minds. Able to explore the past, his skills are called upon by mysterious new client Mae (Rebecca Ferguson). A simple case quickly turns into danger when Mae suddenly vanishes. Determined to find her, Nick is chased by shadowy forces hell-bent on preventing him in unearthing a conspiracy threatening those around him.

Initially ‘Reminiscence’ has much going for it. A compelling mystery, interesting concept and dazzling visuals. The idea of someone being so consumed by the past they can’t live in the present is intriguing as are the multitude of action sequences. Even the usually mediocre Hugh Jackman gives something resembling a performance making for a stoic hero. He is effectively aided by Ferguson’s role as a shady femme fatale and the strange world in which they live.

Where ‘Reminiscence’ falls apart is how it tells the story. There’s a sense of things having been heavily edited as the complex story quickly becomes bogged down. The plot is scattered, never having the focus ‘Reminiscence’ needs. Although most film noirs are complex, ‘Reminiscence’ sinks into the murky depths of boring incidents and muddled motivations. Joy shows flair in showing off her character’s surrounds and despite several issues, shows promise as a decent film-maker.

Sci-fi fans will feel they’ve seen ‘Reminiscence’ before. A title like ‘Deja Vu’ would have been better as the story’s familiar beats keep increasing. At least compelling you to engage your mind while watching for the myriad of dark avenues it goes down is enough to test anyone’s strong memories.

Rating out of 10: 5

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The Tomorrow War

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery with Hollywood flattering other movies for decades. Films appear which seem very familiar as bits of what made others so successful put into a story’s narrative. ‘The Tomorrow War’ is one of those films. A bit of ‘Alien’, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ and especially the ‘Terminator’ series, ‘The Tomorrow War’ puts these pieces together like a jigsaw with originality barely seen.

Dan Forester (Chris Pratt) is a biology teacher and former soldier feeling lost. Although happily married with a daughter, Dan attempts to find more life focus. He receives this in an unexpected way when soldiers from the future arrive warning of a devastating alien invasion. Called up to protect earth, Dan travels to the future where his perspective is swiftly changed. What he sees changes his life as he battles the evil invaders and secures a future for all.

‘The Tomorrow War’ is the type of film you see on a rainy day when you don’t want to think much. Whilst it attempts to have its characters go through an emotional journey, the weak writing and direction work against it. That isn’t to say ‘The Tomorrow War’ is terrible, just bland. Pratt is always a watchable presence but even he can’t enliven a humdrum script. The cast equip themselves well in the action scenes but the patchwork nature of the story finds the film moving in fits and starts than constant movement.

The most fun to be had watching ‘The Tomorrow War’ is seeing how many other films it rips off. There’s quite a few as it lurches towards its fiery conclusion. ‘The Tomorrow War’ isn’t too memorable, just something you enjoy while it’s on then forget when it’s over. The creature designs and CGI are the main stand outs and when it does work, ‘The Tomorrow War’ can be exciting. Overall it’s hampered by a lack of momentum and mediocre creative forces behind the scenes whose lack of passion for the movie is noticeable.

‘The Tomorrow War’ is a great film but it isn’t terrible either. It has a suitably over the top popcorn flavour to it but like the delicacy, is instantly forgettable once digested. The only war evident is the war on original writing as ‘The Tomorrow War’ makes one wish they were watching the better works it slavishly imitates.

Rating out of 10: 5

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