12 Films of Christmas 2019 (Part 3)

Good evening, ladies and gents. Christmas is almost upon us, and we are counting down towards that. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read today’s post and hopefully tolerate the contrivance I give for choosing to talk about this movie today. This message would self destruct in five seconds, but we couldn’t figure out how to burn out your device, so when you’re done, just exit the post really abruptly like it’s destroying itself.

“Mission Impossible: Fallout”. The sixth entry in the film franchise based on the old tv show, was written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, and once again starring stunt-performing madman Tom Cruise as he and his team has to stop some nuclear devices from being unleashed upon the world. It was released in the summer of 2018, to critical and commercial acclaim. You all probably think that I’m using the same excuse as with “Sunshine” yesterday, where it’s all about “If the world isn’t saved, then there’ll be no more christmas”. And you’d be partially right… but I’m not just rehashing old explanations/contrivances. I got something new too.

In this movie, Tom Cruise has to go across the world to stop this nuclear threat from an evil shadow organization. So it’s a globetrotting adventure. And at a point in the movie, we also see good ol’ Tommy boy run across some rooftops. So he sprints across rooftops, while traveling the world. You know who else does that? Santa Claus. Or should I say… SANTA CRUISE!?

So there, Tom Cruise, much like Santa Claus, hops around rooftops all over the world. And even if we discount this clear holiday implication, “Mission Impossible: Fallout” is still an absolutely fantastic action movie that, in my opinion, gets better with every watch. Great chases, great fights, some great shooty-bang-bang, some great acting… it’s just great.

Have a good one.

Movie Review: Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)

I know, I know, you’re probably sick of me talking about “Mission Impossible” at this point after all the previous reviews. But like I promised you in my “Rogue Nation” review, that would be my last “Mission Impossible” post until “Fallout” came out. And now it’s out. And after this post, no more “Mission Impossible” stuff… unless they come out with a new one, but we’ll cross that bridge if and when we get to it. So let’s go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mission Impossible: Fallout”!

When a group of terrorists get hold of some items that could cause a nuclear holocaust, it’s up to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team to find these items and stop the terrorists. Right, there are elements of this plot that certainly are recycled from other movies, but they’re all mixed together in such a way that it feels fresh and interesting. What I also like is that the plot doesn’t really hold your hand, it respects its audience enough to not spoonfeed them everything, trusting us to pay attention to what’s going on. Combine that with the usual “MI” twists and turns, genuinely engaging drama, as well as some real suspense, and you get what could be the best and most intriguing plot in the franchise so far.

The characters in this are layered, unique, and quite interesting. After all the previous reviews, I don’t need to go into Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, I already did in my previous reviews, and not much has changed in that regard, but I don’t mind since Ethan is such a well realized action protagonist. And yes, Cruise is still great in the role. Same with Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg. Rebecca Ferguson reprises her role from the previous movie, and she’s still great. Same with Alec Baldwin and Sean Harris. So let’s talk about the newbie that is Henry Cavill as August Walker, a CIA agent who’s been tasked to help Ethan and the gang out with this operation. He’s an intense bruiser who is constantly at odds with Ethan and his ways, which creates an interesting character dynamic. And Cavill is great in the role. Then we get supporting performances from people like Vanessa Kirby, Angela Bassett, Kristoffer Joner, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles. Sorry if I’m being a bit vague with this, but I do it to either not repeat stuff from previous reviews or to not spoil some character stuff that’s better left experienced.

The score for the movie was composed by Lorne Balfe, and I think the score here is great. It really does help improve on an already well crafted movie by adding to the intensity or overall fun-factor of a scene. Not much else I can say, it’s a badass orchestral score that works very well for the movie.

Returning as director we have Christopher McQuarrie. That’s right, first “Mission Impossible” movie where the director hasn’t been switched out. And I’m glad, because McQuarrie is one of the best action directors working today. I loved his work on “Rogue Nation”, and also really liked his work on “Jack Reacher”, so I was actually happy to see him return for “Fallout”. And he fucking outdid himself here, giving us fast-paced, suspenseful, and badass direction. Both in the quieter scenes and the action. And yes, the action is spectacular. From fights, to shootouts, to chases, to insane Tom Cruise stunts, this movie has all the action… and all of it is amazing. Not only because we know it’s Tom Cruise actually doing stunts, but because of how visible it is. Not shaky shit here, this is sleek and brutal action that is shown beautifully through McQuarrie’s direction and Rob Hardy’s cinematography.

This movie came out fairly recently, but it’s been very well received so far. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10 and is ranked #133 on the “Top 250” list.

“Mission Impossible: Fallout” is an action lover’s wet dream and it’s absolutely my favorite of the franchise. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and fantastic directing/action/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mission Impossible: Fallout” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Mission Impossible: Fallout” is now completed.

This is how you do action.

Movie Review: Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015)

We are finally here, my friends. The final part in my series of reviews leading up to “Mission Impossible: Fallout” in August. As for anyone wondering about “Ghost Protocol”, I already reviewed that one back in the day when my blog was fucking awful… so you’re not getting a review of it now. And after this review, there will be no more “Mission Impossible” content on this blog… until “Fallout” gets released at least. Anyway, let’s get into the final part of this review series.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”!

After the IMF gets disbanded, Ethan (Tom Cruise) and the gang have to go rogue to try to take down a shadowy organization known as The Syndicate. That’s the basic plot, not saying much more about that due to potential spoilers. But what I can say is that while the plot is relatively straight-forward, it still succeeds in feeling like a good spy-thriller plot. Instead of going for convoluted twists and turns, it focuses more on being a fast-paced, suspenseful, and engaging thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat for most of it.

The characters int this are colorful, unique, interesting, and overall entertaining. As expected, Tom Cruise of course returns as Ethan Hunt. This is the same Ethan Hunt as in most of the previous ones, but a bit more developed. And seeing the shit he has to endure throughout this (not counting crazy stunts) is just as engrossing as it’s been in the past. And Cruise is of course great in the role. Next we have Simon Pegg reprising his role as techie Benji Dunn. He once again acts as a comic relief, but he also gets a few more dramatic moments this time around, and it just makes the character even more interesting. And Pegg is great in the role. Ving Rhames returns as Luther Stickell, the other techie of the team. He’s once again a charming, caring, (sort of) voice of reason kind of man that is so much fun to watch. And Rhames is really good in the role. Jeremy Renner returns as agent William Brandt, and he once again provides a bit of fun commentary on Ethan’s antics while still being a very important part of the team. And Renner is really good in the role. Newcomer time! First up we have Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa, a mysterious woman who Ethan and the audience can’t be sure to fully trust, and she’s given a good arc in this film. And Ferguson is great in the role. Next we have Sean Harris as Lane, a dangerous hitman who acts as the movie’s main villain. Not gonna say much more because his role is better left experienced rather than explained. But he’s a suitably creepy villain with good enough motivations. And Harris is really good in the role. We also get some supporting work from people like Alec Baldwin, Tom Hollander, Jens Hultén, Simon McBurney, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Joe Kraemer, and I think he did a damn good job with it. Sure, he mostly builds upon sounds established in previous installments, but that doesn’t take away from the quality of it. His score is badass, bombastic, exciting, and suspenseful, often elevating the movie’s many scenes.

“Rogue Nation” was written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, and I think he did a great job with it. His direction has a good flow, making even the actionless scenes interesting. And then we come to the action scenes, which are beautifully shot. There’s not a shaky-cam in sight, everything is fully visible and shot to be as exciting as possible. Also, minimal CGI. Real vehicle chases, real fights, real Tom Cruise strapped to a big-ass plane like a crazy person. McQuarrie shows here that he has an eye for making compelling and awesome action scenes.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” takes what was good in the previous installments and blends it to make a damn fine action film. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and fantastic directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” is a 9,86/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” is now completed.

I really enjoyed going through these movies. Love doing review series like this.

Movie Review: The Usual Suspects (1995)

usual suspects

You should know by now that I love crime movies. Whether it’d be a crime-drama, crime-thriller, crime-comedy, etc. There is just something about crime-based movies that I love. Maybe it is because I have never committed a crime and probably never will and the movies help me get some kind of weird satisfaction from it or something. Anyway, today we are taking a look at a crime movie that is being praised as one of the best.

Ladies and gentlemen, please step forward and say the line you’ve been given when told so… because we are taking a look at “The Usual Suspects”!

The story is about con man Roger “Verbal” Kint (Kevin Spacey) who is the sole survivor of a brutal and horrific gun battle on a boat/at a dock. He is brought in by the police and is being interrogated by US Customs officer Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri). As you may have guessed, the officer wants to know what the hell happened there. And not only does Kint tell him about what happened there, but he also tells about the events leading up to it starting with a random police lineup where he meets his fellow cast members (Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Baldwin, Benicio Del Toro, Kevin Pollak). And at the same time as Kint is telling Kujan about the different situations there is an investigation going on that revolves around the mysterious killer “Keyser Söze”. And then plot twists, great heist things and other awesome things ensues… and that is kind of what makes this story so great. It has an unconventional way of telling itself. It is not straightforward, it is not without complexity, this story is fucking awesome!

The characters in this movie are fantastic in every aspect of the word. Not only well-acted, but also fantastically well-written. They are all entertaining to watch and they all fill their shoes perfectly. But by god, the biggest surprise in this movie was Stephen Baldwin. Take in mind that I have only seen him in that shit movie “BioDome”. But here he not only gives a really good performance but also turned out to pretty much be my favorite character. He is witty, he is smart, he got a great beard and just is perfect for the movie! Also, Kevin Spacey gives an Oscar worthy performance in this movie (Duh, of course he was Oscar worthy, he won an Oscar for the role).

The soundtrack by John Ottman (Who was also the editor for the movie) is just fantastic! Combining both subtle and pretty (I don’t wanna use this word, but I have to) epic orchestrations. The subtle parts were there when they needed to and the bigger parts were there when they needed to. And therefore it really worked.

Fun fact: The script for this movie was written by Christopher McQuarrie who later went on to direct 2012’s “Jack Reacher” and the upcoming “Mission Impossible 5”. I don’t know, I just thought it was kinda cool to see his name in the credits of this movie since I really liked “Jack Reacher”. Also if you didn’t know, this movie was directed by Bryan Singer who you may know from movies like “X-Men”, “X-men 2” and “X-men: Days of future Past”. Yeah, this guy has been around and kicked butt. I also have to mention that this movie is perfectly shot. I know I rarely say that about a movie that is not directed by David Fincher, but this time I can say it without any problems. It looks fantastic!

Time for the reception. For the most part, “The Usual Suspects” was well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it holds a score of 88% and of course with that score has been certified “Fresh”. On Metacritic this movie has a 77/100. Here comes the funny bit where I tell you about what Roger Ebert thought about it… he didn’t like this at all. He gave this movie 1,5/4 stars… I know, it’s kind of weird. Anyway, moving on from that! Let’s see here, on imdb.com this movie has a score of 8,7/10 and is ranked #23 on the “Top 250” list there. This movie also won 2 Oscars in the categories of Best Actor in a supporting role (Kevin Spacey) and Best screenplay, written directly for the screen (Christopher McQuarrie).

This movie got great performances, an interesting plot with cool twists, great music, perfectly shot and it made me like Stephen Baldwin. So time for my final score for this little movie. My final score for “The Usual Suspects” is a 9,70/10 which of course grants it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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“The Usual Suspects” is finally reviewed.

KEYSER SÖZE, KEYSER SÖZE, KEYSER SÖZE!

Movie Review: Jack Reacher (2012)

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Book to film adaptations are one of the biggest gambles in the movie industry. There are always books that some people want to see as movies and/or TV-shows. Personally I am waiting for any type of adaptation of Patricia Cornwell’s book series about Kay Scarpetta. But enough about that. Today we are taking a look at a book to film adaptation that not many saw coming and that got decent reviews when it came out.

Jacks and Jills…”Jack Reacher”.

The story is as follows: Trained military sniper shoots (and kills) five innocent civilians. When he later is captured he requests that a certain man investigates his case. And that man is our main character; Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise). So when Reacher comes to start his investigation he runs into the suspect’s lawyer Helen (Rosamund Pike). The two starts investigating the case, they find out a lot more than they would expect. They run into some bad stuff during this. One thing is that there might be more people involved in this. And that is all I can really say without diving into the spoiler end of this pool. This movie is something I expected to be a straight up action film (based on a trailer I saw). But this movie is so much more than that. It is a dark, brutal, smart crime-thriller that always stays on. And you guys know I am a HUGE fan of crime-thrillers. Hell, I even made a Top 5 list about crime thrillers a while back. But anyway, this is a movie that spends a good amount of time with investigations, so it’s not all non stop action. But when there is action in this movie…it is awesome! This movie is a big thrill ride that never let’s go. The only thing that kinda bugged me (a little bit) was the fact that a bunch of conversations between Reacher and Helen are very, how should I put it…expositional. I am not kidding, a lot of their conversations are made for exposition…and that bugs me a little bit. Otherwise…good storytelling in this movie.

The characters are…I don’t know how to put it. They are…complex, I think is the right word to explain them. It is difficult to say. One thing for sure is that they are interesting to watch. I especially got very interested in Cruise’s character Jack Reacher. Sure, he is the main character, but a lot of times the main character in movies is kind of uninteresting. But here he is a complex, brutal guy who you can never really tell what he is thinking. And I love complex characters. So yeah, that is what I can say about the character in this movie. They are complex and have several layers on them.

The music is fucking amazing. It is as dark and cold as…the music in “Prisoners” (2013). That is all I can really say. I did say that the movie was dark and brutal, so I guess the soundtrack fits. Wait…guess? No! I know it fits!

The camera work in this movie is really well done. I think the scenes when the camera swings around the current character of that scene, it looks really good. I do think the direction by Christopher McQuarrie was excellent. And I did some research about the character of Jack Reacher prior to this review…apparently Tom Cruise isn’t Reacher in that sense even though his acting was great. Apparently Reacher is a guy that is like 6 foot 5 inches tall and in general being a real Hulk of a man. And that is something that bothered fans of the books when it comes to this movie. They weren’t happy about Tom Cruise who is only 5 foot 7 inches tall and not overly muscular. And I can see why it would bother them…but I don’t care. Tom Cruise pulled off a great performance and that is all that matters to me.

The reception for “Jack Reacher” was pretty good. Rotten Tomoatoes has a 61% positive rating calling it “Jack Reacher is an above-average crime thriller with a smoothly charismatic performance from Tom Cruise.” Metacritic gave this a 50/100. Roger Ebert has no review or score for it. This movie has a solid 7/10 on imdb.com.

I have spoken about “Jack Reacher” and I am going to hand out a score for this movie. My final score for “Jack Reacher” is an 8,89/10 and a recommendation to buy it. With a few faults it is not worthy of the “SEAL OF APPROVAL”. Mainly due to the expositional conversations. But it is still worth buying. This is a thrilling murder mystery that should be watched by anyone who wants a good movie.

“Jack Reacher” is now reviewed.

I should probably seek out the book…