Paul McGuire Grimes, author of Paul’s Trip to the Movies, gives us his review of Mission: Impossible-Fallout and two movies you can stream at home.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT (theatrical release) Ethan Hunt is warned that a storm is coming. His previous mission dealt with a group only known as The Syndicate. Following the mission, only a few anonymous members remain taking on the code name “The Apostles” lead by someone going by the name John Lark. Their goal is to use three nuclear weapons full of plutonium to blow up the Vatican, Jerusalem, and Mecca. Hunt works under the covert group IMF (Impossible Missions Force), but the CIA wants to abort their mission and have their own agents take over. Hunt and his crew have their eyes on a The White Widow, a femme fatale with knowledge of where these WMDs are located. She has her own stipulations, and when the purposed exchange goes awry, Hunt’s allies and adversaries are tested in a race to find and disarm the nuclear weapons before The Apostles use them. -Starring: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Angela Bassett, Henry Cavill, Alec Baldwin, Rebecca Ferguson -Now that Cruise, Pegg, and Rhames have starred together in the last few movies they bring a rich chemistry and banter to their characters in how they work together. There’s a nice balance between humor and heavy action. -The sixth and best Mission movie to date following the original’s release back in 1996. There’s absolutely no slowing down for Tom Cruise and his commitment to this character and the legions of fans that have stuck by these movies. -Full of the Mission: Impossible staples: rubber masks, death-defying stunts, twists/turns, double-crossing agents. -Every action sequence is meticulously choreographed and easy to follow along with making you feeling right in the middle of the action. Utilizes the architecture and layouts of Paris, London, and Kashmir exceptionally well as Hunt and his crew weave through narrow streets, jet across the River Seine, and hang off cliffs in Kashmir. Showcases how cool and historical these locations are turning them into integral parts of the movie. -Thrilling and edge of your seat the entire time. Director Christopher McQuarrie wrote the film and keeps the action escalating throughout; each action sequence gets bigger and better while keeping the characters and their stakes in check. It’s not just about blowing things up or running through the streets. There’s a thrill factor in wondering how Ethan Hunt will work his way through every seemingly impossible situation he finds himself in. Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? The best Mission to date. RATING: 4.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS READY PLAYER ONE (home release) In Columbus, Ohio in 2045, reality is a real bummer. The need to escape to a different world is paramount for so many people. The OASIS is a virtual reality world that provides an escape for people to get away from their desolate home life. Wade Watts puts on his visor to morph into his avatar Parzival to carry out the majority of his day in the OASIS. There are people he meets inside like Art3mis and Aech who are his best friends, yet he has never met them back in the real world. The man behind the OASIS is James Halliday whose recent death has the world in mourning. His final proclamation to his fans is the announcement of a new game. Buried deep within the Oasis are three keys all with clues leading to the golden Easter egg. Whoever finds the egg becomes the grand prize winner and inherits his stock and fortune from the Oasis. It’s no easy feat, even for those staunch Halliday and Oasis aficionados. Five years pass by and no one has found the first key. Parzival uses everything he knows about ’80s pop culture and the life of James Halliday and finds the first key. He’s not the only one desperate to get his hands on the Easter egg. Ben Mendelsohn stars as the token villain, Nolan Sorrento. He’s the head of an evil corporation named IOI (Innovative Online Industries) and sets out and orders his minions to kill Parzival whether it’s in OASIS or in the real world. -Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Mark Rylance, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, Simon Pegg -Director Steven Spielberg has made a love letter to his fans with this film. Watching it feels like he made it for me and the legions of other movie and video game geeks out there. It’s stacked to the brim with pop culture references from all things Spielberg, Stephen King, Atari, and other video games and songs that made up the 1980s. -Based on the beloved book by Ernest Cline. -The film mixes live action, motion capture, and other CG tricks as it goes between real life in the Stacks versus what happens in the OASIS. It’s a visually stunning feat with seamless transitions. -Story is quite simple and effective. Part of it is the underdog David and Goliath story with Wade/Parzival going up against Sorrento. It’s all set to a very Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory model. -The film asks the viewer to find their purpose in life, like Wade has, so there isn’t always this instant urge to run off to a different reality as found in video games, movies, or television. Can we put our phones and devices down and actually interact with each other in reality versus in virtual reality? -Diversity is key in realizing how we are all bound by a common goal regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. I FEEL PRETTY (home release) In I Feel Pretty, Amy Schumer starts to feel pretty down on her luck. As Renee, she doesn’t look like any of the other pretty girls at soul cycle and oftentimes gets mistaken for a man. She works for Lily LeClaire, one of the most prestigious high end cosmetics in the world. That being said, her position is pretty low on the totem pole sequestering her office to a tiny basement space far removed from the fancy corporate office. At her most recent trip to soul cycle she decides to take a positive approach to exercise heeding the instructor’s advice as the class starts spinning. Renee gets going a little too fast to the point off falling off her bike and hitting her hand on the wheel. She comes to after being knocked out, and sees the gorgeous, skinny version of herself in the mirror. This newfound confidence and body positivity is all in her head as a result of the injury. Her friends, Jane and Vivian, don’t see Renee’s new body type like she does. It’s all a shock to Renee, but as she settles into what she thinks she looks like, she starts approaching life with her head up ready to conquer the world. She applies for the receptionist job at Lily LeClaire beating out the usual model types hoping for their way into the company. CEO Avery LeClaire loves Renee’s confidence and believes her “real girl” personality could be just what the company needs for their new Target line of cosmetics. -Starring: Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Lauren Hutton, Aidy Bryant, Busy Phillips, Naomi Campbell -From the same writers/directors of How to Be Single, The Vow, Never Been Kissed -It’s refreshing to see Amy Schumer take on a different kind of character. She’s playing off brand as the character isn’t the usual vulgar, crass, sex-crazed we associate with Schumer. It’s a reminder that Schumer can act and find the vulnerable and raw sides to a character. -One of the biggest takeaways is Michelle Williams. She rarely does comedy and her performance is beyond anything we’ve seen from her. She adapts this high-pitched soft baby voice, yet makes her character more than the stereotype we would associate with someone like her. She has such deadpan delivery that she steals every scene she is in. -Most of the characters are not your traditional stereotypes whether it’s the way they’re written or in the casting. Renee’s new found confidence yields a new boyfriend, but he’s your sweet, boy next-door attainable type, not the typical sexy stud we often see in rom-coms. -Character discovery comes first over cheap laughs. The film’s message of finding your true inner beauty and confidence always rings true and can be powerful for many moviegoers. How do we find and accept ourselves the way that others see and view us? -Really resonates for people, like myself, that have gone through struggles of acceptance and body confidence