Friday, July 14, 2023

Misson Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One

My View: Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One (2023) PG-13 Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his IMF team must track down a dangerous weapon before it ends in the wrong hands. Just how far will Ethan have to go to save the world again? I was not a fan of the first Mission Impossible film, primarily due to the idea that Jim Phelps (played by Jon Voight) would never be a traitor and that the film was all about Ethan saving the day without his team. I enjoyed the rest of the series because Ethan became a leader of a team that would do everything it could to save the world. And because Tom Cruise is nuts and does some unbelievable stunts. I am happy to say that I enjoyed this latest installment, in which he brings back his team, including a few people from the past, to save the world once again. Added to the team is Hayley Atwell, who plays a thief named Grace who specializes in sleight hand pick-pocketing. There are some cool bad guys, including Pom Klementieff, as someone you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley or even a well-lighted one. The stunts are spectacular, and Tom once again puts his life on the line in real life to give us some thrills that no one else can deliver. I think this is one of the weaker MI films, mainly because it is a part one, so I came away feeling that there was a bit of filler, with too many times characters explaining stuff to us when all we want is action. And, without giving anything away, I did not enjoy the main bad guy, which I won’t go into until Part Two comes out. Still, go see this in as big a screen theatre as you can find and watch Tom ride a motorcycle off a cliff, and then…you have to see the rest.   My Rating: Full Price  Mission Impossible Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

Indiefest: The Miracle Club (2023) PG-13 The Miracle Club takes place in 1967, and Chrissie (Laura Linney) has returned to Ireland from America after being banished by her family. She has returned after the death of her mother. Chrissie decides (uninvited) to go with her grandmother, Lily (Maggie Smith), who is going on a pilgrimage to the sacred French town of Lourdes with two of her friends (Agnes O’Casey, Kathy Bates). The women hope they will find the miracles they need, but they might find something more. The Miracle Club is a pleasant film to watch, primarily because of the outstanding cast, but untimely fails due to a script that goes too easily for the joke and never delivers the tough or touching moments that the film needs to succeed. I loved the showing of the 1967 neighborhood, but the film spends a lot of time setting up confrontations that are too easily resolved. I wanted more from The Miracle Club but instead we got a movie with its heart in the right place that didn’t deliver the goods.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  The Miracle Club Website   Now playing in select theatres.

Indiefest: The League (2023) PG The League is a documentary about a league that changed baseball forever, the Negro Baseball League. I thought I knew about the legendary Negro Baseball League, but I was wrong. This is a brilliant and insightful look at a history that many of us know little about. I found the interviews with the players fascinating, some of whom I had never seen footage of or heard their experiences of playing when the "major leagues" were off-limits. I learned so much from this documentary, especially that it wasn’t just one league but several separate leagues that got together to play a ‘World Series’ of their own. The League is a film not just for baseball fans or history buffs. It’s a documentary for anyone wanting to learn an essential part of American history that has long been ignored. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  The League Website  Now available on most digital formats.

Indiefest: Amanda (2022)  Amanda (Benedetta Porcaroli) is a 24-year-old born to an upper-class family who hasn’t had someone she could call a friend since she was a child. Now she is being forced to join the real world and must find someone, anyone she could call a friend. Into Amanda’s life comes Viola (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), who was Amanda’s friend when they were small; if Amanda can convince Viola, who doesn’t want to leave her room, that they are friends, everything will be great in Amanda’s life. Or so she thinks. This is one of those films where the main character is incredibly flawed, sometimes annoying and bratty, yet we love her. Benedetta Porcaroli gives a magical performance as a young woman who desperately wants to be in a relationship but has no idea how to go about it. Pushed by her mother, she sets her sights on a childhood friend, Rebecca, who is as quirky and strange as she is (played by marvelously deadpanned Galatéa Bellugi). The two are quite a pair who enjoy spending all their time in Rebecca’s room discussing their lives and ideas about how the world works. I loved this film, which is as strange and unique as its main character. And wait until you meet Amanda’s young niece, who is obsessed with Jesus. How can you not like a character who is told you can’t take that plate of rice and eat it while walking the streets of your town and then does so anyway? Maybe we can be that elusive friend that Amanda is desperate to find.   My Rating: Full Price Amanda Website   Now playing in select theatres.

Indiefest: Lakota Nation vs. United States (2022) PG-13 Lakota Nation vs. United States is a documentary exploring Indigenous peoples’ fight to get back the Black Hills from the U. S. government. The Black Hills, a sacred ground for the Lakota Nation, was originally to be a part of their reservation until gold was discovered, and the government took it. One of the best documentaries of the year, this is a course on how and why the Black Hills of South Dakota should be given back to the Lakota Nation. This is a film that uses both words and visuals to make its points with stunning results. The film flows out of the people that tell its story, and it’s one of wonder, tears, and heartache. The documentary is a testament to the resiliency of the Lakota people and how they have survived every attempt to destroy their way of life. From the 400 treaties that have all been broken, to the sending of their children to boarding schools to be shamed into leaving their beliefs and way of life behind. Lakota Nation vs. United States is a history lesson that we all need to learn and understand so that wrongs are righted and that we don’t forget the past.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    Lakota Nation vs. United States Website Now playing in select theatres. 

Indiefest: Final Cut   (2022) A small film crew is shooting a low-budget zombie film and trying to do it in one take. There is one problem that could ruin the shoot; they are attacked by real zombies. I will warn you the first third of this film is a bit hard to watch as it is a movie that looks as if it was shot in one take and is full of overacting and lots of horrible dialogue. Stay with this film because what follows is a fun ride into the world of low-budget filmmaking with a cast that commits to their parts with gusto. The film is from Michel Hazanavicius, whose 2011 film The Artist won an Oscar for Best Achievement in Directing. I loved how no matter what the father/director (Romain Duris) does, he can’t win in the eyes of his daughter (Simone Hazanavicius), a budding filmmaker herself. The film is buoyed by Bérénice Bejo (who was also in The Artist), who plays the director’s wife, a former actress, with a secret that slowly comes out during the film. I will say this, if you enjoyed this film, check out the 2017 film One Cut of the Dead, which this film is a remake of. And check out the short final scene at the end of the full credits.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Final Cut Website    Now playing in select theaters. 

Forgotten Film: A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006) R  Dito (Robert Downey Jr.) gets a phone call from his mother (Dianne Wiest) to come home after 15 years to see his dying father (Chazz Palminteri). In a series of flashbacks, we see Dito (Shia LaBeouf) in his early years as he tries to survive with the help of his friends. This is an interesting film with a great cast that is based on the filmmaker’s (Dito Montiel) own life and was shot on location where the director grew up. I think Downey goes a bit overboard, but the rest of the cast, including a very young Channing Tatum, is so good in this film that it’s worth a watch. It’s about realizing that you might not have survived without your friends. Sometimes, you recognize that you have had saints watching over you during times of trouble.   My Rating: Full Price  A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints Info   The film is available for rent/buy on Amazon and Apple TV. 

Weird Credits: From the credits of Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One: Speed Flying Instructors

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Haunted Mansion (2023) PG-13 A single mom, Gabbie (Rosario Dawson), has just bought a mansion, and it’s haunted. What’s mom to do but hire a tour guide, a psychic, a priest, and a historian to help exorcise the ghosts? This film has been in the planning stages for a while, with Guillermo del Toro and Ryan Gosling attached to it. Disney is very high on this film, and it’s said that the plot differs vastly from the 2003 film that starred Eddie Murphy. The cast includes Winona Ryder, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jared Leto, Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, LaKeith Stanfield, and Tiffany Haddish.  Haunted Mansion Website In theaters nationwide on July 28th.

Until Next Time!

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