Thursday, June 1, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: Tall Buildings


Hows about a Tom Cruise* trifecta on this fine Thursday?

It's Wandering through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks, Tall Buildings Edition, and I have an acute case of vertigo.

Here are my picks:

Vanilla Sky
dir. Cameron Crowe, 2001

Building: The offices of Life Extension (L.E.), a figment of the protagonist's imagination.

This particular setting provides for a deeply moving, mind-blowing reveal at the end of the picture, a contemplation on the fears and desires and life choices of a conflicted man. This scene is played perfectly by Cruise, Penelope Cruz, and Noah Taylor, brought to visual and auditory splendor by director Cameron Crowe with that Monet sky and Sigur Ros' "The Nothing Song."

Minority Report
dir. Steven Spielberg, 2002

Building: Some futuristic Washington, D.C. residential high-rise.

There are numerous chases from great heights in this sci-fi masterpiece of Steven Spielberg. It is Tom Cruise at the height of his movie star power, one where he bridges the gap, truly, between real actor and action hero movie star. Spielberg knows how to make you feel suspense in one shot. This one here is no exception. And it's tremendously exciting cinema.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
dir. Brad Bird, 2011

Building: Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, actually the world's tallest building.

Watch! As Tom Cruise actually dangles from the world's tallest building!


*I'm in the process of becoming a Tom Cruise completist. Stay tuned...

24 comments:

  1. Nice picks! This week stumped me a bit.

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    1. It was a tough one. Good thing I had Tommy to fall back on.

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  2. I really like Minority Report. This is despite the fact that aside from the name and the concept of pre-crime it has virtually nothing to do with the story that inspired it. All of the characters are different, their lives are completely different, characters in the movie don't exist in the story, and (the big one), the ending is a 180 from the ending in the film. Still...good movie.

    While I realize this was Tom Cruise-themed, you should check out Abre los ojos if you like Vanilla Sky.

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    1. I never read the story, so the film is great enough for me. It is visually my favorite thing Spielberg has done. Totally great action adventure.

      People always tell me to check out Abre los ojos. Need to get to it, as I do indeed love Vanilla Sky.

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  3. Love your theme within a theme - not a Tom Cruise fan though. That said, I also picked Mission: Impossible. I mean, that climbing scene is amazing and the film was great too.

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    1. Thanks. I love Cruise, despite his crazy ass antics off-screen. And you can't deny his fearlessness when it comes to heights.

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  4. We match with MI. Minority report is a great film and under-rated. I still have to see Vanilla Sky

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    1. Vanilla Sky is a real trip. Well worth a watch.

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  5. I feel like a jerk for digging Tom Cruise, but I always have and likely always will. I think it's sweet that you not only conquered the theme, but also developed your own theme-within-a-theme thing. Well done.

    As for the scenes at hand, I think they're all solid picks, but I can't for the life of me place the second one (from Minority Report). Hell, I can't remember most of that damn film honestly...

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    1. Thanks. Same on Cruise. I am one who has never had trouble separating celebrities' personal lives from their work. I'm here for the movies, and, frankly, I don't give a flying shit what they do off-screen. Tom Cruise is a good actor and a good movie star...end of story. Love his work.

      That shot is him suspended from a tenement high-rise balcony on his way to meet his former partner in mid-air as the partner flies upwards by jetpack. It's fucking badass.

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  6. Nice picks here.

    I couldn't really think of anything here.

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  7. Yes for Vanilla Sky! It's one of my favorite movie endings ever and that song was such a gorgeous choice there.

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    1. Definitely. Crowe's last few movies are for shit, but he has never stopped killing it with soundtrack cuts. This is his best work as a director. Almost Famous being his best as a writer.

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  8. Minority Report is one of my all-time favorites. That Burj Khalifa sequence in Ghost Protocol... I saw it in IMAX and felt vertigo for the first time in my life. Absolutely tremendous sequence in a stellar movie.

    I haven't seen Vanilla Sky, but Alejandro Amenabar's original, Abre los ojos, is AMAZING.

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    1. Same. Love Minority Report. Easily top five Spielberg for me. Damn! I wish I could've seen that in IMAX.

      Will one day check out Amenabar's original. I promise.

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  9. While I always like a theme within a theme I have to tell ya Tom Cruise gives me the heebie-jeebies and except in a very few circumstances-A Few Good Men, All the Right Moves and maybe one or two others-I find him completely risible. Haven't seen the other two but I did like Minority Report which I watched because of Colin Farrell. It was fun and fast paced.

    My first is a big favorite of my little disaster movie junkie's heart and came to me instantly, my last a much better version of the recent Man on a Ledge and the second a good stage to screen translation of a clever Neil Simon play.

    The Towering Inferno (1974)-It’s the grand dedication ceremony for the world’s tallest building, The Glass Tower a 138 story skyscraper in San Francisco and the party is being held on the top floor loaded with movie stars, politicians and the building team in attendance. But trouble’s abrewing when architect Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) arrives back in town to find that corners have cut and the wiring for the building is substandard. He’s right to be worried since when a small fire breaks out on the 81st floor it spreads quickly trapping the guests while the fire department works feverishly to save them. One of the big three Irwin Allen disaster films of the 70’s, along with Airport and The Poseidon Adventure, this was an enormous hit on release with an amazing cast of some of the biggest stars of the time-Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Fred Astaire, Robert Wagner, Robert Vaughn and Jennifer Jones (in her final film) plus dozens of recognizable performers in smaller roles.

    Plaza Suite (1971)-Three act Neil Simon comedy based on his stage success all takes place in Suite 719 of New York’s Plaza Hotel. Each vignette stars Walter Matthau in different roles with three different leading ladies, Maureen Stapleton, Barbara Harris and Lee Grant in tales of a marriage in crisis, an assignation and a long married couple whose daughter has locked herself in the bathroom moments before her wedding downstairs. None are bad but the first and third are the strongest.

    Fourteen Hours (1951)-Robert Cosick (Richard Basehart) is at the end of his rope and has decided to commit suicide by jumping from the ledge of the 15th floor of the Roosevelt Hotel high above the city. As police officer Charlie Dunnigan (Paul Douglas) tries to reason with him calling in both his girlfriend (Barbara Bel Geddes) and his mother (Agnes Moorehead) the event turns into a sideshow lasting 14 hours. Quite similar to the recent Man on a Ledge but a better film this was Grace Kelly’s screen debut in a small role.

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    1. Cruise is the shit! I don't care at all about his weird-ass celebrity persona out in the real world. He makes action movies of the highest quality, does his own stunts, and can act dramatically and comedically to boot. I'm hard-pressed to think of a movie of his that I downright hate. Maybe Days of Thunder...because he's pretty much just phoning it in.

      As for your picks, I haven't seen any of them. The Towering Inferno is, I know, a huge blind spot. Will get to that for sure.

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  10. Love the theme within the theme. Minority Report and GP are excellent picks. I still need to see Vanilla Sky, though.

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    1. Right on. Thanks, man. Do see Vanilla Sky.

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  11. Tom Cruise is everywhere this week and I don't mind. When it comes to tall buildings and airplanes and heights, Cruise is your man! And I'm alright with it. Minority Report is a fine pick, I didn't remember specifically if he was on a tall building in that one, but I do remember enjoying that movie A LOT!

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    1. Yeah. Tommy likes heights. Plenty of tall structures for him to hang, run, and fight from in Minority Report. Great great flick!

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  12. I love Minority Report - such a great scifi movie!

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