MIDDLETOWN: MOVIE MAYHEM MATINEE

Tom-Cruise-Edge-of-TomorrowBegin Again: The Tom Cruise sci-fi suspenser EDGE OF TOMORROW screens for free at Middletown Library, kicking off a month of Movie Monday matinees. 

With the “what-were-we-thinking” hiccup of the Academy Award season now a fast-fading memory, Middletown Township Public Library continues its ongoing series of free movie screenings with another month-long slate of recent feature film releases; another chance to catch up with both the multiplex blockbusters and the arthouse curios that slipped between the sprockets.

It’s been called “the best video game you’ll never be able to play;” a smash-up sci-fi epic that unspools like a “Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers” story pitch. Riding a recent wave of futurama action roles, Tom Cruise stars as an awkward and reluctant warrior whose bum luck in the heat of battle — he’s repeatedly killed in action, only to be time-looped back into the fray — finds him forever poised at the Edge of Tomorrow. Kick-ass mentor Emily Blunt molds Cruise into a fighting machine capable of taking on the alien nasties, and Doug Liman directs the 2014 thriller that screens in MTPL’s Community Room today, March 2 at 2:30 pm — with much more to come.

Perhaps a better title for Edge of Tomorrow might have been Begin Again, but as luck would have it the name had already been claimed by writer-director John Carney’s 2013 followup to his breakthrough musical romance Once — a similarly song-filled comedy-drama that boasts  Keira Knightley in her first singing role, and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine in his first acting role. Indie hunk and Marvel Hulk Mark Ruffalo co-stars as a downward-trending record label exec in the feature that screens on Monday, March 9.

A new series of second-Friday movie matinees continues on March 13 with Are You Here, an aging-slacker road trip comedy in which “guy on the couch” Zach Galifianakis  is joined by his buddy Owen Wilson on a bittersweet homecoming trek. Amy Poehler co-stars in the 2013 feature written and directed by none other than Matthew Weiner (creator of TV’s Mad Men). Movie Mondays resume on March 16 with Jennifer Aniston,Will Forte, Tim Robbins and Yasiin Bey (aka rapper turned ace character actor Mos Def) in the 2013 comedy Life of Crime. It’s based on a novel by the late Elmore Leonard — a prequel, in fact, to the story that became Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown — and it shares a lot of the breezily cynical attitude of Out of Sight and other Leonard adaptations.

March 23 sees a free screening of a relatively obscure item from 2014, Obvious Child. Written and directed by Gillian Robespierre, the controversial comedy stars Jenny Slate (with support from veteran comic pros David Cross and Richard Kind) as a struggling standup comedienne who finds out that she’s pregnant — and who opts for an abortion. The March series concludes on Monday the 30th with a screening of Neighbors, the raucous 2014 laffer in which suburban family guy Seth Rogan enters into an over-the-top feud with the frat house across the way, lorded over by Zac Efron of High School Musical fame. All Monday screenings take place at 2:30 pm, with the Friday feature unspooling at 2 pm.