Thursday, July 30, 2015

      Mission Impossible and Fast and Furious have a lot in common. They are both franchises that get better with age. It is tough to reinvent and top the amazing stunt sequences in both franchises, but they keep doing it. Tom Cruise at 50 plus is still on point as Ethan Hunt. You can tell he has fun doing these and they put the effort into the story. Tom is one of the most polarizing actors in Hollywood, but he turns in more quality films than garbage. The latest Mission is one of the best yet.

  1.   The IMF is now disbanded and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise)is disavowed and a new threat --called the Syndicate -- soon emerges. The Syndicate is a network of highly skilled operatives who are dedicated to establishing a new world order via an escalating series of terrorist attacks. Faced with what may be the most impossible mission yet, Ethan gathers his team and joins forces with Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a disavowed British agent who may or may not be a member of this deadly rogue nation.  Hunt and his team must avoid the C.I.A., British Intelligence, and save the world from it's most dangerous threat he's seen. 

   Everyone has seen the trailer with Cruise on the plane. The plane stunt is cool, but the movie goes next level with the rest of the sequences. The water tank is incredible and Rogue Nation has one of the best chase sequences filmed in recent years. Cruise does all of his own stunts and these are impressive. I didn't think you could top the building stunt from the last film, but they managed to do it. The film is more than just stunts. The story is on point. The right amount of twists, drama, action, and comedy. 

 The cast gels. Jeremy Renner is a star on the rise. He stole the show in Avengers earlier this summer and is definitely a bright spot in a movie that has a lot of them. The old cast mixes well with the new and Cruise is the glue that keeps it together. Good story. Incredible stunts. Great cast. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is an intense , but fun ride. It proves again how some franchises get better with age. See it in XD. A film like this is made for the best digital sound and picture. The sixth installment has already been green lit and it is a mission that I will certainly accept. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ant Man- Big Block Busters Come In Small Packages

   Once again Marvel attempts to take one of their heroes that isn't a household name and strike gold. Fan boys will recognize that Ant-Man is one of the corp members of The Avengers. The Marvel Cinematic Universe plays out a little differently. This time he gets a solo outing and attempts to carry his own film. Gaurdians of the Galaxy wasn't a household name either and it worked out pretty well. Can Marvel strike gold with their small hero?

 Paul Rudd plays a different version of the title character with Michael Douglas as a retired version of the more familiar comic book version.  Forced out of his own company by former protégé Darren Cross, Dr. Hank Pym  recruits the talents of Scott Lang   a master thief just released from prison. Lang becomes Ant-Man, trained by Pym and armed with a suit that allows him to shrink in size, possess superhuman strength and control an army of ants. The miniature hero must use his new skills to prevent Cross from perfecting the same technology and using it as a weapon for evil.

   Ant- Man is a lot of things. It's a heist movie, it's a comedy at times, it's adventurous, and still finds places to be very faithful to it's source material. Pym in the comic version, creates Ultron. The film universe takes a different spin. He's a retired scientist/super agent. Marvel makes this work pretty well. His adventures are told in flashback and are built into the world of Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. Pym is faithfully painted as one of the greatest minds in the Marvel Universe.  They handle Wasp well even though we never really meet her. Yellow Jacket is cool, but we don't see enough of him in action. The little we do see works. The best part of Ant Man is Ant Man. Paul Rudd might be an unlikely hero, but he really pulls it off. In the same way RDJ personifies Tony Stark, Rudd does Lang. 

     The whole cast is pretty good. Douglas still has the swagger to play Pym. He brings enough arrogance to the role and seems to have fun. Corey Stoll from House Of Cards is a lot of fun. He's direct, evil, and has little likability. Evangeline Lily doesn't do much, but stick around for the post credit scene. She will have more to do sooner than later. Lang's heist crew also provide some refreshing comic relief. 

   It's a little Honey I Shrunk The Kids and that isn't a bad thing. The cameos are on point. Agent Carter, The Falcon, comic book references, and a few iconic places. Ant Man does a great job of setting it's place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It never takes itself too seriously and that might be one of it's flaws. It's pretty good. I kind of compare it to Thor: The Dark World or Iron Man 3. Certainly watchable, but not one you will watch over and over. I am a little tougher because I compare them all to Winter Soldier. Ant Man is good for taking a few small steps to a even more expanded universe. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Pedestals. We have been putting people on them for years. Little boys start with super heroes and continue into man hood wearing other men's names on their backs. Girls do it with dolls, boy bands, and movie stars. These are not bad habits. We all need heroes. We need people to admire and strive to be like. It can make us better people if we let it.

  Social media has given heroes and celebrities more power that they should be able to have. Fans do what their heroes tell them. Sometimes that is a good thing, but most of the time it isn't. Social Media has allowed too many people the wrong voice. We are malicious, see what we want to see, and are usually way off base. We love our heroes, but we love to see the mighty fall. We put them on those pedestals, but look forward to the time that they come down.

 Bill Cosby was an icon to a lot of people and not all of them are black. If you grew up watching The Cosby Show, you saw the ideal family. They had problems , but they stayed together and worked out their issues. Cosby taught us to love Jello Pudding and allowed us to enjoy clean humor. He couldn't be a monster. Could he?

 Jared Fogel was the fat kid that taught us all a thing about weight loss. His story put a sub franchise on the map and gave normal people everywhere goals. He is awkward, but likable and people related. They bought into what he sold and have been for years! Jared is the mid-western guy next door. He couldn't be a monster. Could he?

  In the case of Cosby, was it always there. We just choose not to see it. The people we believe to be good cannot possibly do things that are so bad. We are a nation that turns a blind eye to lots of things. Almost Cosby's words. We forgive domestic violence because a person has talent. We condone drug abuse because we like some one's music. We look past horrible things because we think we know someone. The reality is that we don't know them. We see them, admire them, and make them a part of our lives. We do not know them. They are paid entertainers. They are not always worthy of the place we put them. 

  Once upon a time, this country believed in the concept of, "innocent until proven guilty." We have successfully reversed that. Now, we must always prove our innocence. I don't know Jared Fogel. I have met him 10 or 20 times and interviewed him a few times here and there. I don't know what he is like behind closed doors. He is caught up in a situation that one of his employees started. I don't know if Jared is guilty. People believe that where there is smoke there is fire. There might be. Time will tell and if the Subway guy is one of the worst kinds of monster, then I truly hope he pays for what he may or may not have done.

  Jared is already destroyed. He is cooperating. He hasn't been charged, but he is done. His name is destroyed. The court of social media has pegged him something he may or may not be. He will not be asked to do appearances and whatever good work he might have done is tarnished forever. I wouldn't be shocked if Jared ends up in a very dark place someday soon.

  Christian's believe that we shouldn't worship false gods and there is a truth to that. I think that we need heroes. We need someone to try and relate to. I think we need people to show us that we can be more than what we think we can. Those are good things. What we have to remember is the pedestal. The higher we put someone up there, the longer and harder the fall.