Mission: Impossible – Fallout – Christopher McQuarrie

Mission: Impossible – Fallout starring Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames,and Rebecca Ferguson.
Photo credit: Chiabella James/Paramount Pictures

It’s pretty clear that Christopher McQuarrie (Director – Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Writer – Edge of Tomorrow) likes working with  Tom Cruise, they have collaborated on five other films before Mission: Impossible – Fallout in various capacities. When a Producer/Director/Writer has a good working relationship with an actor, it typically comes out on the screen. In the case of McQuarrie and Cruise, it has resulted in many wildly successful action films over the last decade, with Fallout having the best opening weekend for the entire six-movie franchise. 

Critics have called Fallout one of the best action movies ever made. And it’s true, the action doesn’t stop – it is pure escapism at its finest. It’s hard to believe that the hanging-from-an-airplane-scene or the underwater-scene-done-in-one-breath could be topped, but the stunts in Fallout do just that.  Yes, stunts – with an “s”. They are the cornerstone of the franchise and, frankly,  no one can do it better than Tom Cruise. It never leaves you doubting the reality of what you’re seeing on screen because you already know it’s real. In a world where visual effects are generally overdone and entire films are done with the help of a green screen, Mission:Impossible still clings to the notion that “real is better than fake”. When it can be pulled off like it is in Ghost Protocol, Rogue Nation, and Fallout, that is most definitely true.

Fallout follows Ethan Hunt and his team on another mission to stop world destruction when a group gets their hands on a set of weaponized plutonium. Again, Hunt finds himself in a compromising situation (or three) when he has to take matters into his own hands to stop the criminal organization. Lane (Sean Harris) is back from the previous film and is hellbent on destroying Hunt and everything he holds dear. In true Mission: Impossible fashion, there’s double crossing, hand-to-handle battle, a lot of running, intriguing villains, and beautiful women. There’s even a surprising connection to the first Mission: Impossible through one of the new characters, but if you don’t catch it, it’s nothing to lose sleep over. Henry CavillVanessa Kirby, and  Angela Bassett are welcomed additions to the franchise and each new character makes Hunt’s journey a little more interesting this time around. 

Photo credit: Chiabella James/Paramount Pictures

Typically after six movies, some of the cast starts to drop off or replacements are used for certain characters. In the case of the Mission: Impossible film franchise, that hasn’t seemed to be the case. It leads one to believe they really enjoy their work. Tom Cruise may not necessarily be the most likable actor due to his religious beliefs and prior talk show antics (Oprah’s couch), but it certainly appears that he is well-liked in Hollywood, and not just for his almost-guaranteed box-office draw. Between all the stunts and the witty banter between characters, the Mission: Impossible movies just look like a lot of fun to be part of – and a big part of that (like it or not) is due to Tom Cruise. Action movies aren’t known for being very genuine and typically whatever “depth” they attempt to throw in usually seems a bit forced. Mission: Impossible has always been a little bit different though – the balance just….works. You’ll laugh, hold your breath, and take Hunt seriously, all at he same time.

It’s an easy franchise to be loyal to. The formula is the same, the actors/characters are the same (for the most part), and it just keeps getting bigger and better. Oh, and Tom Cruise runs. What’s not to like?

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to run (Tom Cruise style) to the nearest theatre and watch the latest installment on the big screen. You won’t regret it. *cue iconic theme song*

Watch the official trailer here:

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The Nice Guys – Shane Black

The Nice Guys starring Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe, and Angourie Rice.

The Nice Guys starring Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe, and Angourie Rice.
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

The humour is clever – but not too clever – the violence is plentiful, and both are hilariously random. The Nice Guys centers around an unlikely pairing, a sleazy private investigator Holland March  (Ryan Gosling) and an independent enforcer Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe), who work together to find a young woman at the centre of some convoluted plot. It’s a buddy film where the buddies don’t really get along, which makes sense when you consider the other films written by the writer-director Shane Black: the Lethal Weapon movies and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. You may also remember the sharp dialogue between Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and the young boy (Ty Simpkins, who happens to be in the opening scene) in Iron Man 3 – which was arguably the best part of the film – well, that was also Shane Black.

Ryan Gosling can do tragic romance (The Notebook), he can do romantic comedy (Crazy, Stupid, Love), he can do artsy, indie quirkiness (Lars and the Real Girl), he can do serious drama (Half Nelson, Blue Valentine) and now it’s clear that he can do slapstick comedy. He falls, he squeals, he gets drunk, he makes mistake after mistake, and it’s absolutely delightful. His actions most of the time leave his unlikely partner Healy in awe of his stupidity (much like Val Kilmer and Robert Downey, Jr. in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). Their chemistry, however, is undeniable. To make up for March’s terrible investigative skills and his affinity for booze, his daughter Holly (newcomer, Angourie Rice) is also a prominent feature, working her way into most scenes with the two men. She is a great addition and certainly holds her own on the screen; she’s someone to watch for. Kim Basinger also makes a brief appearance in a supporting role.

The storyline, set in 1977 Los Angeles, is rife with craziness and absurdity; it’s all so ridiculous that it makes you giddy. Not everyone will enjoy this type of loose humour, but those who do will be laughing out loud. It is a completely different breed to action comedies like Deadpool, where the laughs are all gained from quick one-liners and fast talking comedians thinking of new ways to swear (also, grossing close to $800M worldwide…). In The Nice Guys, the jokes are more quirky and less in-your-face; you laugh because you aren’t sure what else to do.

The Nice Guys is rated R in the U.S. and 14:A in Canada for nudity, coarse language, violence, and sexual content. There’s enough of it to make some parents uncomfortable, so (young) family viewing isn’t recommended. The film is just shy of 2 hours, which is a nice change from the summer blockbusters currently in theatres.

The Nice Guys was released in North America on May 20, 2016 and can still be found in theatres.

Watch the official trailer here:

The Martian – Ridley Scott

The Martian starring Matt Damon.

The Martian starring Matt Damon.
Photo credit: Aidan Monaghan/20th Century Fox

The words “Ridley Scott” and “comedy” are not often seen together in the same sentence, but in the case of The Martian, many reviews have made the exception. Director and Producer Ridley Scott is best known for films such as Blade Runner, Alien, Gladiator, and Prometheus – all great movies, but all with little-to-no humour. The Martian is something different altogether and definitely appeals to a much larger audience than the other films.

The Martian was adapted by Drew Goddard (Cloverfield, World War Z) from Andy Weir’s book of the same name. With a lot of heavy involvement from NASA as well as other space experts, the science behind The Martian strikes a balance between fiction and fact. Unlike the other movies it has been compared to, namely Interstellar and Gravity, almost everything in the book and the movie is said to be accurate or at least “possible”. The humour from the book was kept alive by Matt Damon, who plays the lead character Mark Watney who is left behind on Mars for a long, long time. With limited food and supplies, he is forced to use his NASA training and botany background to “science the shit” out of everything in order to survive.

The majority of the movie is a one-man show, and Matt Damon is absolutely hilarious. His character uses a video diary to capture his thoughts and document his time on Mars and despite his dire situation, he keeps his spirits up by staying active and seeing the humour in everything that happens. Jeff Daniels, who plays the Director of NASA, is also seen channelling his Newsroom character and is fun to watch. Other actors in supporting roles include: Kristen Wiig, Jessica Chastain, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, and Michael Peña.

The movie has everything – laughs, tears, action, and edge-of-your-seat sequences that will have you holding your breath. It is a story about science, exploration, adventure, and problem solving and how it can bring people together. The Martian was conveniently released around the same time as the discovery of water on Mars and hopefully it will bring some interest back to NASA and help it become what it used to be in the 60’s – exciting!

The Martian was released on October 2, 2015 and is now playing in theatres everywhere.

Watch the official trailer here: