Mission Impossible…Improbable…Improb-apple?

I’m going to get this part out of the way first. There is a LOT of product placement in the newest installation of the Mission Impossible series. The IMF team seems to be so dependent on Apple products that I was really expecting to see Ethan Hunt ask Siri to schedule him a halo-drop into Dubai at somepoint. I’m half kidding on that. Despite my cynicism towards consumerism in films, this was actually a very entertaining film to sit through. Brad Bird directed this quad-quel(?), having previously done the immensely entertaining The Incredibles. Pacing was very quick in Ghost Protocol, but that didn’t mean the narrative or plot suffered for it. Quite the opposite. By keeping things intense it allowed for Bird and Cruise to put in some of the most eye-opening sequences in recent action cinema. As I’m sure you’ve seen from the trailers, there is a scene that involves Ethan Hunt dangling off the side of the Burj-Khalifa hotel (nope, didn’t have to Google it). It is very humbling to watch a guy who most considered a religious nut do his own stunts in a place like that. The view down, even in a 2D theater, is scary.

As mentioned before, the action was great, but where I feel the film suffered the most was in the character development area. Jeremy Renner was rumored to have come aboard to take the reigns of the franchise for the upcoming Mission Impossible films. His backstory is introduced and presented with some fun elements, but nothing really mind-blowing or amazing to where you are sitting on the edge of your seat for Renner to take the steering wheel of the franchise. Along those same lines, one of the things I enjoyed the most about Mission Impossible 3 was the characterization of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s villain as the arms dealer. He wasn’t some over the top Bond villain, he was just a dangerous arms dealer willing to do whatever is necessary to protect his business. Which was scary. In Ghost Protocol the villain feels a bit more romanticized, especially when you see how old he is and what he is still able to physically accomplish.

Despite the negative the movie was still enjoyable to sit through; sitting in the same standards of the competing Sherlock Holmes film this winter. It isn’t the greatest story ever told, but it is still worth seeing in theaters for the ride.


Sherlock Holmes, more bang for your buck.

For those of you looking for the witty and incorrigible Sherlock Holmes made famous by the original books or BBC television, I’m afraid you’ll have to look elsewhere. The action-packed, banter-filled formula of the previous Guy Ritchie manifestation has been exponenticized (not a real word) in A Game of Shadows. One of my bigger complains about the first Sherlock Holmes film was the lack of deduction. There was a tease of it during the bare-knuckle brawl, as Sherlock began to craft how he’d systematically deconstruct his opponent with palm strikes and slow motion. Unfortunately, that’s about all we got to see of it. Mr. Ritchie must have heard my complaints (I’m sure he hangs out in Washington, D.C. area bars in his free time), because the new film was chalk full of combat deconstruction. This was a very fun aspect to watch unfold on screen, especially when they played with how things don’t always end up the way Holmes predicts. However, sometimes the film felt a little like James Bond circa late 1800s, as opposed to the master detective whose genesis was bred because of the real-life Jack the Ripper case.

Per usual, Robert Downy Jr. and Jude Law are given an almost marriage-like relationship, which creates and interesting dynamic that is played out fairly well by Mrs. Watson. Despite the weird sort of bro-love-marriage triangle that is created, the dialogue between the two men can seem a bit jaded and uninspired. Speaking of misuse, there is the addition of the infamous Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes. Mycroft is supposed to be a lazier but smarter version of Sherlock. Now, there are hints to his genius and inability to connect to what others might consider “normal” because of it, but otherwise the character is completely wasted. I’m not sure if they were setting up this introduction for the next film or what, but he added almost nothing to the film.

The other new addition was that of Professor James Moriarty, one of my favorite literary villains of all time. The Professor is supposed to be Holmes’ equal in every regard, just on the darker side of a flipped coin. And he was played very well by the always entertaining Jared Harris (Mad Men, Fringe). Watching these two character actors play against each other was one of the most entertaining parts of the film, but it was the only bits of dialogue that were worth watching. The rest of the film was all about slow motion combat and some crazy physical hijinks. Don’t get me wrong, the action was extremely entertaining, albeit a bit unbelievable at some parts. Well, just about every part, but fun none-the-less.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is definitely worth seeing in theaters. It encompasses all that we have come to love from the bi-yearly blockbuster seasons, as well as what to expect from the clever acting of Hollywood and England’s greatest.

Prometheus Trailer Drops!

Androids, girls, giant faces, and space. Sounds like the perfect recipe for the prequel to all of the Alien movies and franchises. And it is! This film looks like it is going to deal with how mankind originated, or how the Alien threat originated. From what I can tell, it appears as if the alien species is something that is a hybrid of the human race and whatever it is they find on that foreign planet (or home planet, perhaps?). You see something attack the face of one of the characters, which is a very similar scenario to the original Alien films. It could be a chemical of some kind, or a gel (see : goo), but either way it’s familiar. I’ve expressed concern earlier about directors trying to recapture whatever magic they had earlier in their careers (see: George Lucas, Spielberg with Indiana Jones), but it appears as if Scott is going to great lengths to create that same feel and atmosphere from Alien. With, of course, giant explosions and falling debris and a Tom Cruise-like running scene. Hey, that’s Hollywood for ya.

The Hobbit Arrives!

Finally, the trailer for Peter Jackson’s long awaited prequel has arrived. The Hobbit trailer is now on the interwebs, and I couldn’t be more excited. Watch the trailer for yourself at youtube, and let’s identify what it is that we are seeing. I recently read that Elijah Wood had to go back and do some filming for The Hobbit, which I now see will take shape as a retelling of Bilbo’s adventures. Next we see a lot of prosthetic make-up, all to create the party of dwarves lead by Thorin Oakenshield. Their singing is their introduction into the new (original) fellowship. Making another appearance is the broken sword that was reforged for Aragorn in the LOTR series, placed neatly upon the statued pedestal where it ceremoniously rests. A surprise scene was the romantic vibes being drawn between Galadriel and Gandalf in this trailer, as she carefully brushes some hair out of his eyes. And, if I’m not mistaken, those are men of Minas Tireth riding in circles in an Elven city. Then we get orcs, trolls, bad-guy fighting, and finally … Gollum. What a great way to end the debut, with the final lines of “precious.” I’m pumped for this, and I’m really hoping Jackson doesn’t get George Lucas on us and ruin a franchise with a prequel. I don’t think he will. Jackson, more than anyone, knows that one doesn’t simply just walk into a previous set of stories…

From the creator of The Professional and The 5th Element comes…

This movie looks good. The same type of swaggering cowboy bravado that Bruce Willis was sporting in The 5th Element is brought back via Guy Pierce in this new film. Empireonline.com is showing this as a red-band trailer, so if you’re at work and within earshot of the boss don’t bother watching it. However, once you get home it is definitely worth taking a look at. Does this look extremely entertaining or what? Despite the ridiculous plot line, which Pierce makes fun of himself, this looks adventure filled and lense-flarey enough to be fun for all adults. Check it out.

The Beginning of Prometheus

Okay, so this one has had more rumors around it than the Kennedy assassination. For those of you who don’t know, this is Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s newest film, and rumored to possibly be the prequel to all of the Alien franchise films. No one has confirmed (or denied) this yet, but there have been a few hints dropped here and there that it could be. Perhaps a big reveal at the end of the film? Regardless, the premise is about a team of space explorers who go searching for the origins of mankind in the stars, as opposed to here on Earth. Obviously, there will be danger and excitement, otherwise what’s the point in going to see it? I’ll keep you up to date as news progresses.

Spider-man images strung up

Over at the official page there are new Spider-man images from the upcoming summer film (damn July 3rd seems like a long time from now, doesn’t it?). Looks like they are going for a tinge more realism than the Raimi films, if you notice the grips on the bottom of his shoes and gloves. Like the Nolan Batman films, it seems as if they are going for a bit more practicality in the suit, but not too much, obviously. It’s Spider-man, after all. The page is a bit awkward to view the stills on, so just keep your mouse at the bottom of the screen and you can scroll through the full-screen images. I, for one, and looking forward to it.

Expendables 2, really?

The Expendables is a film franchise that is capitalizing off of the wave of ironic movie-goers these days. Films like Fast Five know exactly what they are, and they play to it. The first Expendables also tried to be an overly testosterony action movie, but it was just stupid. Now they are making another one, and it’s got everyone who was ever considered a tough guy back in the 90’s, and even today. I can’t tell if the makers are being serious anymore, but somehow I think they aren’t. Check out the new trailer over at Apple.

Winter is coming!

The new season of Game of Thrones is kicking off in April, and if you haven’t caught the show yet, you are really missing out. I’ve previously posted an article about how the series has changed the face of drama and narrative structure in regards to the “rules of televsion.” The newest trailer doesn’t seem to be pulling any punches this time around either. There are some iconic moments from the second book already being shown, but I won’t touch on those because this is one series I don’t want to spoil for anyone who hasn’t seen it. Of course, we see Stephen Dillane as the middle Baratheon, Renly, Jaime Lannister, Rob, John Snow, Caitlyn, and a host of others, so it appears that the season will be keeping with the second book. I’m very excited about this show, and if you aren’t, you should be. Winter is coming.

GI : Joe No mo!

Awesome title, isn’t it? And it isn’t referencing my wish to see that this franchise was just killed off, but from the opening scene of this trailer is appears that a lot of the characters were just KILLED OFF! Awesome! I would love to get a petition going to keep Channing Tatum off of the screen forever. That thug-ish wannabe white kid act has served zero purpose, except when he was trying to convince people he can dance in the Good Will Hunting of dance films. I just made myself laugh at that comparison. Anyhow, it appears that The Rock is continuing his return from the kid flicks into more films like Fast Five. He gets some lube, a bullet proof vest, and the biggest guns out of anyone, and testosterones his way through the scenery. It is very entertaining, as long as you go into it with the right mindset. So, will G.I. Joe have that right mindset to mindlessly enjoy (with a lot of laughs as well)? Let’s take a look at what’s in the trailer. Ninjas, check. Blindfolded hot girl learning to be a ninja, check. Disassembly by the government that the organization was sworn to protect, check (notice hints of the A-Team and the upcoming Mission Impossible : Ghost Protocol in this narrative?). Betrayal seems to be a hot topic this movie season, but that is for another article entirely. I must admit, the trailer was losing me towards the end. That is, until I saw the cliffside ninja fight, and then the final nail that will keep me in line to buy a ticket for the film. John McClane in the back of an El Camino shooting a machine gun at bad guys while talking about his cholesterol. Bravo, universe. And for those of you wondering what the music was during the trailer, it’s here.