It’s a full house as I’m joined by my friend Brittany (along with her husband Andrew, my wife Aubree and of course, Ebert the Corgi) to discuss Eighth Grade, the directorial debut of stand-up comedian Bo Burnham. Then we go over some other titles we’ve been watching, including TV Land’s series Younger and the parenthood dramedy Tully. It’s gonna be lit. Find us on Facebook, Twitterand Letterboxd.
For 22 years now, the Mission: Impossible franchise has distinguished itself among its peers in the action genre by crafting increasingly audacious setpieces that favor dazzling stunt work above computer-generated effects. From the jaw-dropping Burj Khalifa sequence in Ghost Protocol, during which our hero Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) scales the largest building in the world, to the opening of Rogue Nation that depicts Hunt hanging off the side of a cargo plane during takeoff, these stunts all revolve around the intense dedication of its main star. That dedication is in full effect for Fallout, the sixth entry in the ever-impressive action series that features at least one or two sequences destined to become new favorites for fans and newcomers alike.
Taking place 2 years after 2015’s Rogue Nation, Fallout rejoins Hunt with his IMF (Impossible Mission Force) teammates Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg) as they attempt to intercept three plutonium cores but are foiled by a shadowy group codenamed The Apostles. Upon hearing of the botched mission, CIA director Erica Sloane (Angela Bassett) directs one of her agents named Walker (Henry Cavill) to monitor Hunt and his team as they work to recover the stolen material. As the plotline progresses, characters from previous films including Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) and others that are best left un-spoiled, are woven into the narrative.
As things become more convoluted and the inevitable double-crossing begins, it’s probably best not to get hung up on the specifics of the plot and instead, just take in the often breath-taking sights and sounds that this film has to offer. Two scenes in particular, including a HALO (high altitude, low opening) jump above the Grand Palais in Paris and an extended aerial helicopter chase that features Cruise actually piloting the aircraft, will no doubt leave audiences speechless. More and more films are being released in IMAX these days, often unnecessarily, but Mission: Impossible remains one of the only tentpole series to truly make the most of all the format has to offer.
Fallout is unique to the franchise in at least two ways: it is the first time that the same director (in this case, Christopher McQuarrie) has directed back-to-back films in the series and it also boasts the shortest gap in production time between two films (3 years, while past sequels have taken 4-6 years to develop.) Unfortunately, both aspects seemingly contribute to my main criticisms of this entry, which is that it suffers in comparison by the high bar McQuarrie set for himself in the series-best Rogue Nation and it’s hamstrung by an under-developed script that would have benefited from a revision or two. The screenplay is rarely the centerpiece of any M:I film (most action films, really) but absence of fun character moments and memorably one-liners drags the film below a few of its predecessors.
Still, this film succeeds on the strength of its visceral action sequences and it cannot be understated just how much these films benefit from the insane commitment of Tom Cruise. At 56 years old, he’s attempting stunts that action stars half his age wouldn’t give a moment’s consideration. In the instance of this film, he’s even suffering the consequences of those choices, evidenced by an ankle break that he suffered while jumping across rooftops in a high-speed foot chase. It’s difficult to know just how many more of these films Cruise has left in him, especially considering that he could potentially be in his 60s for the next entry, but if Fallout does end up being the concluding chapter in the Cruise era of Mission: Impossible franchise, it would be a fitting high note for an exceptional series.
Score – 3.5/5
Reprinted by permission of Whatzup
I’m joined by my friend Andrew as we choose to accept to review Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the newest film in the Tom Cruise-starring action franchise. Then we discuss some other recent offerings as well, including the new Hulu series Castle Rock, the surprisingly effective comedy Blockers and the generally dismal Ready Player One. I also somehow mix-up Brian’s Winter with Brian’s Song, so there’s that. Find us on Facebook, Twitterand Letterboxd.
I’m joined by my friend Paul as we break down the wild and sometimes wonderful Sorry to Bother You, the first film from rapper Boots Riley. Then we get to other films we’ve digested recently, including the new Sicario sequel Sicario: Day of the Soldado and the Fred Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (tissues are highly recommended for the latter). Find us on Facebook, Twitterand Letterboxd.
On the tenth episode of Awake in the Dark, I’m joined by my incredible in-laws Deb and Dennie Doud as we discuss Incredibles 2, the new animated film from Pixar. Then we discuss some other things we’ve been watching, including Netflix’s Flint Town, The Death of Stalin, and The Endless. As Dennie says, “any movie is better than no movie!”
I’m joined by my friend Logan as we pass down some of our thoughts on Hereditary, the new horror film from indie distributor A24. Then we talk through the Alien franchise, specifically the prequel Alien: Covenant, and I give a sorta recommendation for Thoroughbreds, the feature debut from writer/director Cory Finley. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Letterboxd.
The Star Wars spin-offs continue as my friend Kate and I discuss the latest entry Solo: A Star Wars Story, which delves into the background of everyone’s favorite scruffy-looking nerf herder: Han Solo. We then discuss the daunting task of catching up on Arrested Developmentin time for the brand new 5th season and also recap the unhinged silliness of the new comedy Game Night. Find us on Facebook, Twitterand Letterboxd.
We brought the whole family together, including my wife Aubree and our dog Ebert, as we talk over Isle of Dogs, the new stop-motion animated film from Wes Anderson. Then, we go over some of our streaming favorites these days, including the harrowing new season of The Handmaid’s Tale and the re-mixed fourth season (and upcoming fifth season) of Arrested Development. Of course, neither of these are a match for the guilty pleasure that is Catfish: The TV Show. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Letterboxd.
2 guests are better than 1 as my friends Matt and Nick join me to discuss Avengers: InfinityWar, the super-sized superhero film that serves as the climax of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We also give shout-outs to the final season of the Netflix series Loveand to the upcoming second season of the HBO series Westworld. I also refer to the Paddingtonfilms as “charming” no fewer than 4 times. Find us on Facebook, Twitterand Letterboxd.
This week on Awake in the Dark, I’m joined by my friend Bailey Suits as we break our silence on the new supernatural thriller A Quiet Place, starring (and directed by) John Krasinski and his real-life wife Emily Blunt. We then recap our latest binge sessions with the Netflix series Grace and Frankie and the Amazon Prime series Sneaky Pete, whose 2nd season was just released last month. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Letterboxd.