Summer of Cruise VI: The end of ambition

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Throughout most of his career, Tom Cruise has made his film decisions based on one thing: to where will audiences follow him? For a while, the answer to that question was “pretty much anywhere.” However, in the last decade or so, a slight tension seems to have developed between Cruise and audiences. His films have been quite successful for the most part, but this summer’s critically lauded Edge of Tomorrow is a rare Cruise blockbuster that bombed in theaters. You could feel something like this coming for a while. In the last several years, we have seen Cruise star in several action movies that are broadly appealing, but hardly the best use of the star’s talents, and none of the marketing leading up to Edge of Tomorrow’s release indicated that audiences would be getting anything new. We have entered an age of potential Cruise fatigue, and it can all be traced back to the hullabaloo surrounding the release of War of the Worlds in 2005. Continue reading

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Ones on 1: In 1991, Martin Scorsese finally scored a hit with “Cape Fear”

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Ones on 1 is a monthly feature in which I write about a selected film that reached number one at the box office for precisely one weekend. This month, we examine the film which took the crown on November 17, 1991: 
Cape Fear.

Since his rise in the late ’60s and early ’70s, Martin Scorsese has always been one of the most respected filmmakers in the world. However, Scorsese the commercially successful filmmaker is a relatively new phenomenon. His four most successful films (The Departed, Shutter Island, The Wolf of Wall Street and The Aviator) have all come in the last 10 years. In the ’80s especially, he was seen as a brilliant filmmaker who made box office failure after box office failure, with the lone exception being 1986’s The Color of Money. Other, intensely personal projects like Raging Bull, The King of Comedy and The Last Temptation of Christ all failed when loosed upon the general public. He was always a brilliant director, but as the ’80s turned into the ’90s, most were ready to accept that his work just was never going to really click with the public at large. Continue reading