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What are you watching? 2018 edition


#1998

I honestly hope nobody really thinks Walter was a good guy. I can understand rooting for him because he was a great character but if this guy was for real he would just be a psychopathic killer who should rot in jail.


#1999

Walter is a self-made Stanford Experiment. He puts himself into the position of being a ruthless drug dealer. then behaves accordingly. He becomes the role he set for himself.


#2000

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
After the very enjoyable Ghost Protocol, this was a bit of a let down. The direction was fairly non-descript, the tone oddly bland and there was a lack of cool new gadgets. The main problem is that the decent cast can’t quite make the story work.
The idea of an anti-IMF is good (and somewhat taken from the original TV show), but the film’s decision to turn its leader into some kind of binary opposite figure for Hunt is clumsy and trite. The film gets bogged down in ideas about Hunt being some maverick genius, which is really making a meal out of the character and it all ends up feeling like it wants to be a Mendes Bond movie. Plus, the plot doesn’t even really make sense as the macguffin turns out to be a load of untraceable money, which the unflappable, super-powerful terrorist organisation needs for some reason, despite doing perfectly well funding all its ops and assassinations up til then. The name doesn’t even really make sense either, as the Syndicate’s not a nation. (Ok, sure it turns out to created the UK, but Hunt uses that term to describe them long before he finds that out).
It all ends up oddly charmless, relying a lot on that eyebrow-raise-head-tilt thing Cruise does as its main source of charisma between some nice action set-pieces.
Edit: also, it’s pretty silly that it’d tie itself so closely to the events of the previous film, despite the four year or so gap and it being a series of fairly loose continuity, and then decide to repeat the same “the IMF gets shut down, Hunt’s team are on their own!” thing.


#2001

It seems like that has become SOP for the IMF. Was MI2 the only one where Hunt wasn’t a fugitive from his own Intelligence Service?

Elementary is usually pretty enjoyable. I tend to prefer standalone episodes more than those connected to Sherlock’s past or some external overarching conspiracies.


#2002

As people pointed out back when Spectre was released, Rogue Nation has a very similar plot. You can decide which is better!

Did you not like the phenomenal underwater mission becomes a car chase then a motorbike chase? Or how about Isla Faust for maybe being the best character in this franchise?


#2003

That was enjoyable, but a movie needs more than just the action set-pieces to work. MI2 has a fairly fun motorbike chase, but it’s still a naff film.
Ilsa… she’s ok.


#2004

‘Rogue Nation’ had big script problems. It was heavily rewritten and reshot.

As sometimes noted in discussion, additional photography/reshoots are normal, but this was a lot of material, including much of the third act. They shut production down to regroup, which happens less often.

But McQuarrie is an experienced script doctor who had helped fix a lot of movies in the past (often uncredited) and he’d been instrumental in getting ‘Ghost Protocol’ over the finish line, so this wasn’t new to him.


#2005

I recognised his name but was surprised to see, after looking on imdb, how much he’s doing with Cruise these days, including Jack Reacher. The worry there, surely, is that all Cruise’s action pictures start to homogenise into one style. I’ve not seen Reacher, but Rogue Nation feels less like an MI film than the previous ones.


#2006

People move around, but McQuarrie and Cruise got along well on ‘Valkerie’ and have worked more and more together since then.

McQuarrie (in interviews) comes across as a pragmatist who learned how things work through the school of (Hollywood) hard knocks.

His twitter feed is great too;


#2007

I really like the Mission Impossible movies, but I’m not sure they’re meant to be watched in a marathon over the course of one week, as a few people are doing right now. I would think what’s special about them would start to feel routine pretty quickly.

I remember liking Rogue Nation, although I haven’t seen it since it was in theaters.


#2008

I did five in five days and I think it worked fine. The long gaps in production between them and the changes in director and cast meant that they all felt different enough that it didn’t get routine and I didn’t become inured to the action scenes and stunts. Rogue Nation didn’t suffer from being watched so closely after the others, it just suffered from not being desperately interesting in its own right.


#2009

Indeed.
I didn’t dislike it, but it was very tepid. A few nice moments, but it felt very dry and not very energized.
The biggest high I got from it was when Tom Hollander showed up as PM.


#2010

I liked that it was a Rev. reunion for Hollander and Simon McBurney.

Rogue Nation worked a lot better for me on rewatch.


#2011

For me, it rides on Fallout.
I’ve definitely warmed on it on rewatches, but doing the bare minimum with a great opening and conceit for a bad organization…I’m just glad Fallout is picking up the thread and hope it leads to something neat.


#2012

The only MI movie that suffers on re-viewing, in my opinion, is John Woo’s MI:2.

Rogue Nation suffers from requiring us to suspend disbelief too many times in the service of the plot. Ethan has no trouble bypassing layers of security in order to get close to the Prime Minister, and is able to lead Lane to the exact spot where his team has (in record time!) set up a trap for him – but he couldn’t get out of the record booth?

Still, if that film is showing on HBO or Epix, I will watch it every time. :slight_smile:


#2013

I’ve gone back to watching some old SNLs (late 2000 currently) and they’ve reminded me of the existence of Tom Green. Jesus. Dark times.

On the plus side, this season has the start of Tina Fey’s tenure on Weekend Update and she’s brilliant. Jimmy Fallon, less so.


#2014

Mission Impossible - Fallout is a load of fun. Feels a bit slow at times (though there’s still loads of good fights and chases throughout), but that’s mostly as they save most of the crazy stuff for the third act, which is one of the best third acts I’ve ever seen in a big-budget action movie.

I’m glad that McQuarrie realises the audience know Cavill is a mole from the start, and doesn’t even try to hide it.

Baldwin’s death didn’t do much for me, but I’m glad he knew the “Ethan’s gone rogue again” stuff was bullshit, and his few scenes are fun.

I really liked the Michelle Monaghan stuff. Nice wrap-up for her character, even if it lets Ethan off a bit too easy.

I might go see it again, on a bigger screen.


#2015

Just got back from Sorry To Bother You.
It’s a really good movie. Nearly a great one.
But it really fumbles the ending and takes the path of least resistance. Something that was really beneath it and the darkly comedic tones it was playing with.

Still the rest of it and the genuine creativity and imagination make it worth a watch.


#2016

I really want to see SORRY TO BOTHER YOU. Sounds authentically original.

I finally saw THE MUMMY STARRING TOM CRUISE!!! (I believe that is the full title except I may have left off a couple exclamation points).

It was kinda like a remake of LIFEFORCE.


#2017

But less boobs I’m guessing…