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    Movie Reviews
    August 12, 2015 12:29 pm  
    Movie Reviews

    by Liam Haber

    Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

    There are not many movie franchises that get consistently better with age, but two were released this past year that break that rule, and both are some of the most fun I’ve ever had watching a movie. The first was this April’s Furious Seven, which was also one of the most financially successful movies ever, currently third on the all-time box office earners. The second is Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. And I doubt that anyone would be able to guess that the fifth movie in a twenty-one year franchise would end up its best.

    After the events of the previous movie, the CIA is hoping to shut the IMF, halting an investigation into “The Syndicate” by Tom Cruise’s Agent Ethan Hunt. After the IMF is shut down, Hunt is forced to go rogue and find The Syndicate without any help from his country. He allies himself once again with his old friends and fellow IMF agents Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames, Pulp Fiction), Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg, Shaun of the Dead) and William Brandt (Jeremy Renner, The Avengers). But when Hunt finds a conspiracy that runs under some of the most powerful governments in the world, he finds himself in deeper than he’d ever imagined.

    Christopher McQuarrie has written and directed the best entry in this long running franchise with a history of great directors, including Brian de Palms, JJ Abrams and Brad Bird. He knows how to make action scenes pop with style and finds increasingly exciting scenes filled with nothing but dialogue. His sense of humor is ideal for a movie of this variety, and he has the perfect cast to make a movie like this. Although he isn’t the most accomplished director, with only two other credits to his name, he is an Oscar winner for writing The Usual Suspects. His sense of dialogue is strong, light but nevertheless impactful.

    What might be the strongest asset to this movie is the star-making turn of Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust. She handles the action well, which certainly is important, but she also is able to play off of one of the most famous actors in the world and not only hold her own, but also upstage him. She is the biggest highlight of the cast, along with fan-favorite Simon Pegg replaying his role of Benji with an even greater sense of fun than in his past two movies. But this time, he even to have a role in action scenes as well, driving and fighting and having fun with far more than just computers.

    I would not be surprised if 2015 goes down as one of the best action movie years ever. With this, Furious Seven’s massive success, and the similarly great styles of February’s Kingsman: The Secret Service and June’s Mad Max: Fury Road, action movies are both successful and, more importantly, doing more than the average action movie. This is a step above what the past has brought along, and I’m imagining that I won’t be the only person thinking that.

    Rogue Nation contains three of the best action set pieces of the past few years, namely the car chase in Casablanca, the dive into the turbine, and the opera fight. And I can promise you right now that those scenes won’t have nearly as much power if they aren’t seen on the big screen. So do yourself a favor and get to the nearest theater as soon as possible to see this next step in action movie history. I have now seen the movie twice and it gets better each time. This is the movie of the summer thus far, and one of the biggest successes of Tom Cruise’s career.

    Liam’s Rating: 5/5 Stars

    Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. Directed by Christopher McQuarrie. Starring Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner. Rated PG-13. Now Playing at Sayville Cinemas!

    Fantastic Four

    I’ve stated already in a number of previous reviews that I am a very big fan of comic books. I feel strongly for the characters and care about how they are shown to the outside world. I have long been a fan of the Fantastic Four, since well before the first movie about them was released ten years ago. When 2005’s Fantastic Four came out, I enjoyed it despite its multitude of flaws, and I still find both that and its 2007 sequel serviceable, if not good. When it was announced last year that this version of Fantastic Four was going to be released, I was worried, because it was only made in order for Fox to retain the rights to the character. As more news of the production and behind the scenes drama was revealed, I became more and more disheartened. And then I saw the movie. And all of my fears were right – and many more.

    This is a terrible movie. It is a terrible adaptation of characters I have been following for almost two-thirds of my still short life.  And I have never hyperventilated or shaked with as much anger as I did after sitting through the end credits of this movie, still cursing out the writers, directors, actors, producers, composers, computer animators, best boys, assistants, caterers, drivers, and quite literally everyone who had in any tangential way been related to the production of this film. It is a trainwreck and an abomination that perverts the characters I’ve loved into shells of their former selves. And it didn’t have to be like this.

    Had this movie never been made, everyone still involved in its production would be okay. All of the actors are, in their own right, great. Writer and director Josh Trank is responsible for one of my favorite super hero movies made, Chronicle, and his fellow writer Simon Kinberg was the writer of the better X-Men movies. Even the comic book storylines this is more directly based off of, from the Ultimate Fantastic Four line, are good, although by no means perfect. But combining all of these elements is not something that should have happened. The movie is horribly cast, mainly because the script has nothing in the way of character development. But even the editing seems to exist solely to make the movie seem bad and take all character development away from the characters.

    I’ve never wanted a movie this bad to be longer, but so much of the movie makes so little sense that it really feels like an entire hour of this movie was cut in order to release it here. The main characters aren’t in the same shot until over an hour into the film, and, if I recall correctly, two of the titular four don’t talk to each other at all. But everything about this movie leads me to think that there were about five other scenes from this movie that were left on the cutting room floor. The movie is a curt hour-and-forty-five-minutes of problematic dialogue and disturbing imagery.

    Speaking on that last note, this is not a movie for children. There were a few kids under ten years old behind me, and one ended up leaving the theater crying because the movie was just that scary. Even I was uncomfortable watching some of the scenes. And when the self-proclaimed “body horror” isn’t disgusting and terrifying for all the wrong reasons, it is laughable, with computer graphics that seem to be have been made on a ten-year old’s laptop in two days. I highly doubt that anyone involved with this movie really liked it, because it just seems disappointing to them as well. This isn’t what anyone wanted, and I am sad for them.

    There is no real plot to this movie, either. Reed Richards (Miles Teller, Whiplash) is a scientist who is asked to develop teleportation technology along with Susan Storm (Kate Mara, TV’s House of Cards), her brother Johnny (Michael B. Jordan, Chronicle) and Victor von Doom (Toby Kebbell, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes). The former three get super powers, along with Richards’ friend Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell, TV’s Turn). Doom is turned into an evil megalomaniac with powers that no one defines and seem to be limitless, along with seeming omnipotence and the ability to change matter with a single glance. In fact, no one even attempts to explain how these powers work, or were developed or anything. There are some references, but even those are very strange and don’t go to great lengths.

    There is supposed to be a history here between some of the characters, but that is never once explained. Even attempts to discuss why the white Susan Storm is the daughter of the black Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey, TV’s House of Cards) feel shoved into the movie for no apparent reason, only there to allow an explanation. And once it is mention, it never come up again. There is so little dialogue in the movie that isn’t there solely to move the plot forward that in the end, it doesn’t even feel like a movie.

    I sincerely hope that this movie doesn’t ruin the careers of anyone involved in the making of it. All of them are good in their own right, particularly the actors playing the main foursome and the director. But this was not made for them. It was a disaster that 20th Century Fox decided was more important to waste money on than risk losing a failing property. This belonged on a reject pile, and I really never want to see anything like this ever again. This was a mess of the highest proportion, and not even in the good way. There are bad superhero movies like Batman & Robin and Catwoman that are fun to watch if only to make fun of them. This, on the other hand, is a wreck that should have been rejected on day one.

    The first two comic books I remember buying were an issue of “Justice League of America” and, more importantly, “Fantastic Four and Power Pack #2”. I remember that the second movie was soon to be released and I was eagerly anticipating it, so I bought a comic book to brush up on my knowledge. After this movie, I doubt a kid at that age will be picking up an issue of Fantastic Four for a long while. And, sadly, I don’t really blame them.

    Liam’s Rating: .5/5 Stars

    Fantastic Four. Directed by Josh Trank. Starring Miles Teller, Jamie Bell, Michael B. Jordan & Kate Mara. Rated PG-13. 1hr 40min. Now Playing at Sayville Cinemas.

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