Friday, July 31, 2015

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

This movie snuck up on us! (That's kind of weird to say, considering it's been four years since its last installment.) Initially scheduled for a December 2015 release, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation did an almost unprecedented move up five months ahead of its original release date. After the surprising treat that Ghost Protocol was in 2011, I knew it was only a matter of time until a fifth installment in the M:I franchise was released. Of course, I thought it would get here a lot sooner than now, and I assumed it would star Jeremy Renner. However, after a couple of sci-fi hits (to use the term loosely, given the meager box office returns of Oblivion and Edge of Tomorrow), it seemed more and more like Cruise was staying with this franchise for the long haul. Indeed, this movie puts Cruise front and center, which would be mind-boggling for anybody who hasn't kept up with him since his couch-jumping antics in 2005. We suddenly love Tom Cruise again! For me, who wasn't crazy big on the megastar in past performances (see my review of Oblivion for more on that), I am grateful to see his evolution as a movie star. After seeing the first trailer for Rogue Nation, I instantly regretted not putting it on my list of most anticipated films for this year. But how well does the movie follow its marketing promise?

Thursday, July 23, 2015


I always seem to start these reviews with a brief history of my expectations for the film in question. I'm not going to break from tradition here, and yes, this was another movie on my most anticipated list for 2015. Admittedly, I was more excited for Ant-Man when it was an Edgar Wright project (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), particularly given the lack of recognition I had for the main character. However, given Marvel's golden reputation lately, I had a feeling this would still end up being a really fun movie. The casting sure didn't let me down, with names like Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd in the starring roles, even if the director that was eventually signed didn't excite me all that much. Regardless of the production woes this film seemed to have, I still hoped that Ant-Man could pull off something unique and entertaining that would be a much-needed change of pace after the massive throw-down that was Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Terminator: Genisys

It's been a few years since we've had a Terminator movie, and a heck of a lot of years since we've had a good Terminator movie. I contemplated doing a FlashBack Friday series in anticipation of Terminator: Genisys (given that it was on my list of most anticipated films for this year), but with a busy 4th of July week and a slew of theatrical releases I wanted to cover during that time, I knew I wasn't going to be able to pull it off. After seeing this movie, however, I kind of wish I had. It's very self-referential and plays on story beats from the previous films (at least the first two) in a way that will surely work best for those familiar with those movies. With pretty poor word-of-mouth, and some incredibly questionable marketing choices, I went into my showing of Terminator: Genisys with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Friday, July 10, 2015


With Jurassic World and Furious 7 already tearing up the box office, it's crazy to think that Universal Studios still has its Despicable Me cash cow to bank on this summer with this weekend's release of Minions. For years now, the high water mark of animated sidekicks has been the little yellow... whatever they are... and they were always a diverting highlight of both Despicable Me films. Given the clever premise that was laid out in the trailers, I went into this screening with a certain amount of optimism. Sure, this wasn't going to reach the highs of Pixar's latest and greatest, Inside Out, but I was hoping it would at least reach the bar set by the previous films in this series.