Friday, August 28, 2015

Film Fridays! -- August 28, 2015

*movie titles link to IMDB pages*


Okay, I promise. This is going to be the last ALL-review edition of Film Fridays! It's been a busy month, but I've managed to watch quite a few movies. So here we go!

Mission: Impossible series

Title: Mission: Impossible
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Ving Rhames

Thoughts: For the longest time, I had absolutely no interest in watching this series. The first came out when I was little and my parents never really cared about it either, so it wasn't part of my childhood. But when Ghost Protocol came out a few years ago, it just looked so good. So we bought the boxset of the first three, and then the fourth when it came out. And this summer, when Rogue Nation came out, we decided to finally marathon through them.

And I am so glad we did!

This first film is fun. It's got a great cast and the action is always fantastic. The famous scene where Tom Cruise ends up dangling an inch from the floor? I knew it was going to happen, and I still gasped when it did. I was rooting for Ethan Hunt the entire time, and it was fun trying to figure out who the real bad guys were. Better yet, it set up the tone for the rest of the series. After I watched this first movie, I knew exactly what I was in for with the rest. And because of all the awesome spy technology used, it hasn't dated itself...very much. They do still use a floppy disk, which made me laugh. Overall, it got me really excited for the rest of the series!

Rating: B

Title: Mission: Impossible II
Starring: Tom Cruise, Thandie Newton, Dougray Scott

Thoughts: After watching the first movie, I looked up the Rotten Tomatoes score of all five movies. And once we started watching this movie, it was easy to see why it had received the lowest score of all. 

This installment was directed by John Woo, and even from the opening credits, it is highly stylized. Blurred movements and weird camera angles abound, and the action sequences are the worst offenders. Even Tom Cruise seems slightly ill-at-ease in this movie, making strange facial expressions and wearing the Vanilla Sky-era longer hair that pretty much no one liked. He's less charming here, for which the film definitely suffers. Plus, the acting here is probably the weakest in the franchise.

But all that's not to say that I didn't enjoy this movie. Because I did! I enjoyed Ethan's relationship with Thandie Newton's character, Nyah. I loved seeing Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) again. And the story overall was thorough and engaging. However, this movie almost feels more dated than the first, just because of the overly-stylized sequence and camera work. 

Subjectively, I really liked it for what it was. Objectively, I can see why it's the least-liked entry in the franchise. 

Rating: C+

Title: Mission: Impossible III
Starring: Tom Cruise, Michelle Monaghan, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Maggie Q, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Simon Pegg

Thoughts: I loved this one. Tom  Cruise is definitely back on top of his game here, charming and sexy and intense all at once. Have I mentioned that Tom Cruise does his own stunts? I mean, the guy nearly slides off an inclined glass roof in this movie. It's insane, and awesome. 

I loved Ethan's team in this movie: Maggie Q and Jonathan Rhys Meyers are both fantastic, as well as Ving Rhames, as usual. They worked together so well, and unlike in other movies, I never questioned any of their loyalties. Philip Seymour Hoffman makes a pretty fantastic villain, as well. 

Of course, the plot twists and turns in unexpected ways, and I was never sure exactly what was going to happen. The relationship between Ethan and his girlfriend Julia (Michelle Monaghan) also gave me plenty of feels. This movie has it all: emotions, action sequences, amazing spy gear, and an engaging plot. This was my favorite of the first three!'

Rating: A

Title: Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol
Starring: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Jeremy Renner

Thoughts: Now this is my favorite so far. 

Tom is still super charming, yet a little melancholy. I liked Paula Patton's character, and I loved Jeremy Renner's character. And Simon Pegg is basically always the best, so I am so glad he stuck with the franchise after a relatively small part in the third movie. 

Even more than the third movie, this one really has it all. Everything the third movie had, this movie has it in spades. Plus, this movie has some downright hilarious moments. Between Simon Pegg's usual humor and Jeremy Renner's dry, skeptic humor, I laughed out loud more in this movie than the previous three. 

I just loved this movie so much, and I can't wait to see Rogue Nation when it comes out on DVD.

Rating: A

Title: The Gift
Starring: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton

Thoughts: I was pretty skeptical about this movie for a while. But I heard so many great reviews and my mom wanted to see it so badly that we went to see it last weekend.

I was definitely pleasantly surprised.

What I didn't realize until the end of the movie, was that Joel Edgerton had written, produced and directed it, in addition to starring in it. That's a talented man, there, because he excelled in all aspects.

All three of the main actors are superb. There's this overwhelming sense that nothing is as it seems all throughout the movie, but very few things are explicitly spelled out. The audience is given snippets of things and expected to suss out the implications, which made it a very smart thriller.

I don't want to say much, but the ending is a little abrupt. When the credits started to roll, I felt a little unsatisfied. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized, that it was a perfect ending for the movie, because I couldn't imagine what more of the story would need to be told. I appreciate the movie for taking a risk, because it paid off. I'm still thinking about it almost a week later, so it has done its job.

Rating: B+

Title: Unfriended
Starring: Shelly Hennig, Renee Olstead, Will Peltz

Thoughts: A new scary movie came out. Of course we were going to watch it. This movie follows a group of friends who are harassed online by someone who claims to be a girl who committed suicide one year before after being the victim of cyberbullying.

When I watch a scary movie, I usually ask myself three questions.

1) Was the storytelling original? Yes. The entire movie is shown through the main character's computer screen. We see her Skyping a group of her friends, Googling things, playing music from Spotify, checking Facebook, and using iMessage.

It's a very unique movie in that respect, though I do have a feeling that the Millenial generation would understand it more than anyone else. One picture that shows up on the Facebook profile of a character uses the acronym "STFU" and my mom had to ask what that meant. And to someone who is not as used to multitasking on a computer, the mere use of so many applications at once might be confusing. But I really appreciated the unique format the film took. There's so much to look at on the screen to catch easter eggs and small hints, which is fun for a filmgoer such as myself, who revels in finding the details.

2) Was it predictable? A little. Once the movie got going, it was very easy to see what was going to happen next. Even though the way the story is told is extremely original, the story itself takes a very typical route, through to the ending. Though I knew what was going to happen in the end, the way it happened still took me by surprise.

3) Was it actually scary? Not really. There are a few creepy moments, and the death scenes are certainly unique, but nothing really made me jump out of my skin. I was definitely intrigued, and the way the story was told had me on edge a little, but most of it was because of the technology aspect instead of the actual scares.

So would I recommend this movie? If you're interested in seeing a movie with a really cool, unique format that's interesting to watch, then yes. Especially for the ending. Tell me if you're as taken by surprise as I was. But if you're looking for a great scary movie that will make you want to sleep with the lights on? I'd skip this one.

Rating: C-

Tell me: what movies have YOU seen recently? Any that you'd recommend to me? Let me know in the comments below!

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