Posts Tagged ‘Tom Cruise’
Tuesday, May 31st, 2022
Well, the crazy sonofabitches did it. They made a 36-years-later-part-two to TOP GUN. Tony Scott had actually developed a script and scouted locations before he died. Eventually the duty fell upon Joseph Kosinski, who had previously directed Cruise in OBLIVION (2013) and who ushered in the age of legacy sequels with the 2010 smash hit cultural sensation TRON: LEGACY [This review’s factual accuracy is disputed].
I gotta admit that I was unreasonably excited just to hear the electronic beat of Harold Faltermeyer’s TOP GUN anthem over the production company logos – I love that synthesized gong sound – and it’s kind of comical how much they mine that type of nostalgia at the beginning of this movie. The original opening title card, the original theme, “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins, similar footage of jets landing on an aircraft carrier – is this just gonna be a re-enactment?
Then we reunite with Captain Peter “Pete” “Maverick” “Mav” Mitchell (Tom Cruise, THE MUMMY), fittingly working as an experimental test pilot. He dons his old patch-covered leather jacket and aviators (both kept in places of honor as if he understands their iconographic significance) and rides his motorcycle very fast to the hangar. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Christopher McQuarrie, Ed Harris, Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, Glen Powell, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Joseph Kosinski, Justin Marks, Lady Gaga, legacy sequel, Lyliana Wray, Tom Cruise
Posted in Action, Drama, Reviews | 88 Comments »
Monday, July 30th, 2018
On the way home from the new MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE I mentioned to a grocery store checker that I had just seen and enjoyed it. He asked if I was a big fan of “the original series” and as we discussed this I realized that he just meant the other movies. He’d forgotten it started as a TV series until I mentioned it.
This is one of those things as you get a little older, you lose track of how much time has passed. It also happened with JURASSIC WORLD a few years ago. In my mind JURASSIC PARK was an ongoing series that had made it to part 4. But to a whole generation it was holy shit remember that movie we saw in our youth, now a million years later can you believe they’re bringing it back for a new version, oh the nostalgia?
And lately I’ve noticed people declaring the stealth greatness of the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE series, as if this wasn’t a thing you would be aware of just from watching popular mainstream movies. It reminded me of when FAST FIVE came out and suddenly a whole bunch of critics picked up that those movies were fun. Yeah, no shit. The only other people in on this secret are the, you know, however many paying customers it takes to get a series to part 5. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alec Baldwin, Christopher McQuarrie, Lorne Balfe, Michelle Monaghan, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Simon Pegg, Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Wade Eastwood
Posted in Action, Reviews, Thriller | 80 Comments »
Monday, June 26th, 2017
There are some things too powerful, too uncontrollable, too dangerous to play around with. Ancient, vanquished forces brought back to life in a world they were never meant for, doomed to fulfill prophecies of disaster. In this case, I’m talking about the 85-year-old Universal Monsters franchise properties, resurrected once more using the fearsome occult invocation “SHARED UNIVERSE REBOOT.”
Of course, most people don’t see this summer’s THE MUMMY as a remake of the 1932 film starring Boris Karloff in a fez, which is in my opinion the least memorable of the Universal Monster introductions. No, they see it as a remake of Stephen Sommers’ frantic, rhythmless action-adventure version from 1999, and they’re not really wrong. This one borrows the idea of a globetrotting adventurer hero, capable but fallible, who teams with a “funny” sidekick and a strong-willed female antiquities expert who he bickers with while exploring some tombs and accidentally unleashes an evil ancient Egyptian royal who has magic powers and a tragic backstory and at one point appears as a giant face in a sandstorm.
But it’s a contemporary version, not only because it takes place in the present day, but because by its imagery and content you can tell it was made after the J-horror wave, and the zombie wave, and James Wan, and years of conflict in Iraq, and most notably THE AVENGERS. So the mummy is pursued not only by our hero Nick Morton (Tom Cruise, THE LAST SAMURAI), but by a secret monster-studying militia called Prodigium, led by Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe, THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS). (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alex Kurtzman, Annabelle Wallis, Dark Universe, Jake Johnson, mummies, Russell Crowe, Sofia Boutella, Tom Cruise
Posted in Action, Horror, Reviews | 44 Comments »
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016
For some reason it’s hard to make a movie series based on a book series about some dude who has different adventures. Except for James Bond, and Jack Ryan at one point. And it tends to be only screenwriters turned directors who know this sort of thing would be cool: Brian Helgeland did a Parker book (PAYBACK), Scott Frank did a Matthew Scudder (A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES), Christopher McQuarrie did a Jack Reacher (JACK REACHER). All of these are artful takes on pulpy material, slightly elevated genre fare that’s neither generic nor ashamed to take part in a one-liner or just-how-badass-is-he speech. The latter two are really more interesting for their characters and style than for the particular mysteries they get involved in, so naturally you’re left wanting them to have a whole series of movies.
So congratulations to Jack Reacher for eking out just enough box office to justify a sequel. It feels so natural, but I honestly didn’t think it would happen. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Cobie Smulders, Danika Yarosh, Edward Zwick, Lee Child, Patrick Heusinger, Robert Knepper, Tom Cruise
Posted in Action, Reviews, Thriller | 48 Comments »
Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve watched the whole TOP GUN since the ’80s. But I wasn’t too surprised to watch it and see the primordial matter that eventually crawled out and grew into the works of Michael Bay. It’s a mix of gorgeous sunsets, heat trails, fetishized military hardware, bosses played by grizzled character actors (Michael Ironside, Tom Skerritt, the principal guy from BACK TO THE FUTURE), sweaty foreheads, sunglasses, electric guitars, crisp uniforms, the glorification of glistening bodies (in this case mostly male, and good at volleyball), and profoundly unprofessional hot shot yahoos who are supposed to represent the best of the American best.
One difference: less spectacle. This is an impressively small story. For all its bluster this isn’t RED DAWN positing a communist invasion of America. This is about a guy involved in two small international incidents, basically just encounters between jets from opposing armies (nationality unspecified, but you fuckin know it’s Ivan Drago under that helmet). And though it has a reputation as a Navy recruiting film, since it famously worked as one, it’s not politically propagandistic. There’s nothing to make these “Bogies” evil. They’re just part of a system, people doing their job. They see American fighters where they’re not supposed to be, so they try to scare them off. The reverse of what happened in the opening. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Anthony Edwards, Giorgio Moroder, Harold Faltermeyer, Kelly McGillis, Michael Ironside, Tom Cruise, Tom Skerritt, Tony Scott, Val Kilmer
Posted in Action, Drama, Reviews | 102 Comments »
Wednesday, September 9th, 2015
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 was made at a time when the world just wasn’t ready for this particular MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2. There needed to be more of a cooling off period after the first one. We needed some time to learn that MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE sequels weren’t gonna be the elegant balance of smart-people thriller and blockbuster spectacle that Brian DePalma introduced in the first one, and also that John Woo was not gonna ever seem like the exact same filmatist who made THE KILLER, or HARD BOILED, or even FACE/OFF, again. Returning to it now it’s even more evident that it’s best appreciated by watching it like we watch other post-Hong-Kong Woo pictures like HARD TARGET, or his TV ones like BLACKJACK or the Once a Thief series. You just try to enjoy it as some Hollywood bullshit that he tried to add some of his particular style to. Here he treats it as an expensive studio movie love story set against a rogue agent trying to get rich off of a man-made disease and its cure.
Tom Cruise (JACK REACHER) returns as Ethan Hunt, who has graduated from IMF support man to lone wolf and is now so awesome that he spends his vacation rock climbing out in the middle of nowhere with no equipment. He doesn’t have his phone on him (it was 2000) so the agency has to send a helicopter to fire a rocket at him containing douchey sunglasses that give him his mission briefing. This is a good idea because the ol’ “this message will self destruct” means he throws a pair of sunglasses at the camera and they explode into the title, and everybody wants to see that. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Anthony Hopkins, Dougray Scott, Hans Zimmer, John Woo, spy, Thandie Newton, Tom Cruise
Posted in Action, Reviews | 58 Comments »
Monday, August 3rd, 2015
It’s been a joke for quite some time that Tom Cruise, like Prince or Keanu Reeves, never ages. Actually, now he’s starting to show some age, and I like it. He has a few more lines on his face, a little more character. Good work, Tom. Also his new MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE movie is good.
It has been a tradition in the series to have a respectable actor in a position of authority over Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his Impossible Mission Force team. In part 1, Jon Voight played the boss and mentor. In part 2, Anthony Hopkins sent Hunt on his missions. In part 3 there was Laurence Fishburne to question his actions, and in part ghost Tom Wilkinson was “the Secretary.” Now in part 5, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION (M:I-RN), we have the most involved of all of these characters, Alec Baldwin as CIA director Alan Hunley. He gets the entire IMF agency disbanded and tries to capture or kill Hunt, who is still in the field trying to finish his last mission.
What I’m getting at is that Alec Baldwin’s famous narrator voice gets to deliver a very good Just How Badass Is He? speech for Ethan Hunt, which includes the appropriately hyperbolic phrase “he is the manifestation of destiny.” That’s one of the many advantages of having Christopher McQuarrie aboard as director and co-writer. The man made JACK REACHER. He loves a good Just How Badass Is He? speech. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alec Baldwin, Christopher McQuarrie, Drew Pearce, Dylan Kussman, Jeremy Renner, part 5s, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Simon Pegg, spy, Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames
Posted in Action, Reviews, Thriller | 69 Comments »
Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
I don’t know about you guys, but I have found that it’s weird watching Brian DePalma’s MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE for the first time since the 1990s. Tom Cruise sure doesn’t look 52 now, but he does look a little younger here than he does now. I kinda forgot he used to be like this. More fidgety and cocky, kinda smarmy, playing it really different from in the other movies, because he’s newer. His Ethan Hunt is not the leader, he’s the apprentice of the original TV series hero Jim Phelps (now played by John Voight), forced to strike out on his own, without his mentor or his team, for the first time. Yeah, he seems much younger.
Holy shit, this movie is 19 years old. That’s almost 20 years old. Which is alot of years in my opinion. And alot has changed. I forgot how different this series got over time.
I think MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE is unique among the summer blockbusters. It has a bunch of the usual qualities: it’s a big movie star vehicle, based on an existing “property,” climaxes in a noisy special effects-laden action spectacle, did end up becoming a franchise that’s still going today. At the same time it is a Brian DePalma movie, it doesn’t feel like he had to compromise anything. He got to take his style and his interests and experiment with them on a little larger canvas than usual. His gimmicky suspense sequences, twists and tricks are right at home with characters who elaborately deceive for a living. His POV shots put you right into the action when you enter a party as Hunt in disguise, but also they show up in the form of cameras actually worn by the agents to keep tabs on each other and, in one case, to mislead each other. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Brian De Palma, Danny Elfman, David Koepp, Emmanuelle Beart, Henry Czerny, Jean Reno, John Voight, Kristin Scott Thomas, Robert Towne, Steven Zaillian, Tom Cruise, Vanessa Redgrave, Ving Rhames
Posted in Reviews | 31 Comments »
Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
Back in 2003, when THE LAST SAMURAI was new, I had a cynical, kneejerk reaction to it. “Yeah, right… Tom Cruise is the last samurai? Who’s next, someone from the brand new TV show this year America’s Top Model?” I was offended that they wouldn’t make a movie just about samurai, it had to be about the white guy that meets the samurai.
Some things I wasn’t taking into account at that time:
I. The DANCES WITH WOLVES type story of a westerner taken in by an enemy tribe of some kind and learning their ways is a longstanding tradition, and it’s a cool idea to do one with samurai instead of Native Americans. In fact it was partly inspired by real stories of a French soldier who did something like that.
II. There are hundreds of great samurai movies made in Japan, and director Edward Zwick of COURAGE UNDER FIRE was not about to beat them at their own game. It’s simply more interesting if he does his own thing here than if he just tries to imitate Japanese samurai movies. Come on.
III. What the fuck are you talking about here 2003 Vern, you LOVE the white ninja tradition of movies – ENTER THE NINJA, NINJA, AMERICAN NINJA, Steven Seagal… how could there not be value in seeing the big expensive studio from-the-director-of-GLORY version of that?
(read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Edward Zwick, John Logan, Ken Watanabe, samurai, Tom Cruise, white samurai
Posted in Reviews, War | 35 Comments »
Monday, June 9th, 2014
GROUNDHOG DAY is an American classic in my opinion. It has this crazy Twilight Zone type of premise (what if you had to live the same day over and over again indefinitely?) that seems too out there for a 1993 studio comedy, and yet there it is. It’s funny and clever and last time I watched it I realized it was also beautiful and profound. It’s a complete original, so it’s weird to think that after two sci-fi spins on the premise, SOURCE CODE and EDGE OF TOMORROW, we could be headed toward a world where young people see it and don’t think there’s anything unique about it. I’ve seen this before, but with action scenes. I’m bored.
(read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Bill Paxton, Christopher McQuarrie, Doug Liman, Emily Blunt, time travel, Tom Cruise
Posted in Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 69 Comments »