Perhaps the most interesting thing about Mission: Impossible— Rogue Nation, the latest inventively punctuated installment in Tom Cruise’s spy series, is that Mission: Impossible has actually become a franchise, almost in spite of itself. What began as yet another ‘90s film adaptation of a classic television show (as any film historian can tell you, these were the superhero movies of their era, in terms of “fuggit, sure, do another one” ubiquity) initially positioned itself as less a connected narrative than a spy anthology series, with each film sporting a new director and a totally different aesthetic. But sneakily, over the past couple of entries, a new element has emerged: consistency. And in the process, M:I has become one of our more reliably entertaining film series.
Public service announcement: Cameron Crowe’s new film Aloha features a party scene where Emma Stone and Bill Murray dance to Hall & Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That,” and if you (like me) are the kind of person who finds the promise of such a scene utterly delightful, let me assure you that it lives up to that promise. It’s a scene of sheer movie-star pleasure that pretty much stops the film for about three minutes; it doesn’t really move the plot (or even, in retrospect, make much narrative sense), but it feels like something Crowe had to put in, for the simple reason that he couldn’t not put it in. Maybe a more disciplined filmmaker would’ve resisted that temptation, but if we’ve learned anything about Cameron Crowe, it’s that he’s not terribly disciplined, which can be both a blessing and a curse. It seems your correspondent likes Aloha more than much of the critical community (to say nothing of the studio releasing it), but your enjoyment will hinge greatly on your level of tolerance for Mr. Crowe’s indulgences.
A sincere and heartfelt happy birthday to our hero Tina Fey, who turns 45 years old this week, and continues to be basically amazing all the time. So in celebration of this welcome anniversary of her time on earth, we focus our attention on one of her finest accomplishments: the insults of the dearly departed 30 Rock, which still proves a fine source for cuts and burns you can repurpose for everyday use. Here are a few of our …Read More
This week, the Criterion Collection is releasing a double bill of the mid-‘60s Westerns The Shooting and Ride the Whirlwind, a treat not only for fans of revisionist Westerns and director Monte Hellman, but also for those who admire Jack Nicholson, here seen in two terrific performances that predate his breakthrough in Easy Rider. There’s a specific kind of pleasure in revisiting the early work of actors who would later become famous — not the roles that made them stars, but their earlier, quieter gigs, in which we glimpse an actor just trying to do good work, yet already exhibiting the spark that would mark them for fame. Here are a few of our …Read More