Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. The IMF gets shut down, leaving Ethan Hunt on the run from the CIA whilst trying to take down an organized crime group called ‘The Syndicate’. More than in the past few movies this feels like it’s completely merged into the Bourne/Bond universes – it’s particularly Skyfall-y. IMF is outdated and up for debate (like the 00 program), ‘The Syndicate’ are a collective that trigger world events (hello SPECTRE!), and the main villain is pretty much Raoul Silva (Bardem) from Skyfall, but with no development beyond ‘he’s villainously European and wears turtlenecks’. True to the franchise the big action set-pieces are fantastic (Plane opening, Motorbikes, Opera Fight) but it digresses into foot chases and pistol fights, which are ten-a-penny these days. The opening half is everything you’d expect from an M.I. film, but the second part loses momentum with twist after twist after twist, which leaves the story feeling bloated and stretched: it’s 2hrs 10 long! A big problem for this movie is that Ethan “the living manifestation of destiny” Hunt is never on the back foot and has an air of invisibility – worse still Tom Cruise is an action star that can act, but he’s wasted here, coasting as the cocksure and invincible agent. The main female (Ferguson) – an equally kick-ass, deadly, and capable agent in her own right – is presented as a strong heroine, yet made to prance about in leggy frocks, bikinis, and even topless (from the back) for no real reason. When you think of the best scenes in the Mission Impossible franchise and I bet they’re wringing out tension and suspense during the ‘impossible’ missions – hence the name – but Rogue Nation gets tangled up with simple thrills and a flabby, tortuous plot.
Mission: Impossible II
Mission: Impossible III
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist: 3 gay guys try to set up the ultimate band-nerd guy with the ultimate Indie Cindy, for double the awkwardness. Michael Cera plays himself again but to balance it up there’s loads of shots of Kat Denning‘s extraordinary, super-sized, super-bouncy, jiggly-and-beatuiful… lips. The first hour has a drunken side-story that Ke$ha seems to have based her career on, although it’s got the most rancid (toilet) gross out I can remember. Samberg & Burrell get blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos. The film only just loses out to (500) Days of Summer on the quirk score leader board, no mean feat! There’s some good running gags (chewing gum/Taxi) and a few good scenes; the romantic moment where the camera follows the mic leads through to the studio is great. It’s enjoyable but totally vapid and inoffensive with a predictably boring N.Y. based indie/art rock soundtrack.
Godzilla: 60% mega monster destruction and 40% bittersweet romance between two of the mains. It has the tried and tested 90’s mix of epic action and silly fun that you don’t often find these days. The one thing that struck me when re-watching this was that it has a lot of memorable scenes; Godzilla’s entrance at the pier, streets ‘jumping’ with his footsteps, ‘zilla on the Brooklyn Bridge, ‘zilla taking out the choppers – too many to name! The opening scene with a-bomb test footage and epic orchestrated score is pretty chilling. There’s a load of cheeky reptile references throughout which is a nice touch, and the stereotypical sneaky French guys (fronted by Reno) are good fun to watch. There’s also a lot of subtle product placement, the likes of which hadn’t been done again until I-Robot: although not quite as subtly! unfortunately, the beast hasn’t aged too well, with a shed-load of dated cultural references and naff CGI / mini-models. Despite this, it’s still a classic, and great fun to watch. Entertaining big buck blockbuster.