Entries tagged with “Tom Cruise”.

I know that I am the only one to blame. Guilty pleasures are often punished and enjoying action movies now and than is one of those. I also should know that in the first week on screens it’s mostly the hardcore fans running to see the film and writing viewer comments on IMDB, so the current stellar grade does not really mean that ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout‘ (8.5 right now) is a better film than ‘Citizen Kane’ (8.4). I took the risk of being among the early viewers and I was punished. The quality level of the installments of the M:I series is on a decreasing curve, and this is continuing with this latest issue in the series. My opinion, of course.





I am never judging an action movie with the same criteria as I am judging a drama, a comedy, or an art film. Yet, there are some elements that I look for in any film – a story that has logic and catches my interest, and characters that I care about. None of them is present in this film co-written and directed by whom trusted with writing and directing some of his latest movies. The story of the rogue terrorists threatening to blow up the planet or at least half of it is placed as many of the latest movies in the genre in an aseptic and non-politic environment with non-identifiable bad guys, so that nobody is bothered and the film can be sold in as many markets as possible. The heroes destroy half of Paris and a quarter of London killing scores of policemen and innocent by-standers with no consequences. The main hero has a couple of Ethan-girls to care about and one more who seems to care for him, but the characters seem to be frozen or maybe wearing some of those rubber masks that the heroes are experts in.


(video source Paramount Pictures)


Yes, there are good and well paced and choreographed action scenes, but their gathering of coincidences makes them non-credible. The 3D capabilities are well used, but there is nothing that we haven’t seen yet. Actually this M:I looks more like a 3D James Bond film, without the charm of Bond. There is a change of guard in managing Ethan Hunts activities, and seems to replace who probably had enough and decided to jump wagon. Frankly speaking, I am not sure that I want to see M:I7 after this disappointing M:I6. is 56 years now, and cannot pretend being 35 or 40 years old forever. He seems to enjoy the narcissistic exercises that the movies he plays in for the last ten years, but how long can these last. If I am not mistaken his last non-action role was in Valkyrie in 2008. On the other side, if he has fun and viewers have fun watching him, who am I to tell him what to do? I can only decide to not watch his next movies.


A lot of film fans deplore or criticize ‘s latest choice of roles. They all seem to be focusing on action movies, with the 55 (!) years old actor cast in roles where the ration between fights, high-speed chases and use of advance weaponry  on one side and meaningful story and dialogs on the other is dangerously unbalanced in the favor of the first. His role in the 2014 ‘Edge of Tomorrow‘ apparently falls in the same category.  However, the film directed by  (of ‘The Bourne Identity’ and ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith‘ glory) is much more than this. It is actually one of the smartest science-fiction films in the last few years.


source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1631867

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1631867


Time looping is one of the most intriguing themes in science fiction, and has a huge number of variation and derived paradoxes. The authors of the script of this film have taken the idea and introduced it into a ‘War of the Worlds’ kind of film and actually cinematography and even the evil alien’s appearances look quite similar to the one in the films inspired by H. G. Wells classic novel. What is different is that the superiority of the alien race is not based only on physical abilities but on the capability of controlling and resetting time. Luckily, at least some of the humans will be contaminated and use the trick to fight the invasion. I will stop here in order to avoid spoiling too much, with the promise that there are many more surprises, and that the solution and ending combines action and fine sci-fi.


(video source Warner Bros. Pictures)


does what he best does (and likes it) in the last decade, with a good and fit companion to his deeds. Well-paced action combines with smart writing for a film that needs no excuses to be liked.


Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is the kind of movie which I would probably have never seen unless I was on a trans-Atlantic flight, too tired to read but still sleepless, and prisoner of the Lufthansa movie list. I mildly admire  (mainly for past achievements, past meaning from another millennium) and I have no special rejection of action movies provided they make sense and offer something more than gun or fist fights and car races. So I went for this film, the result could have been worse, but also much better.


source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3393786/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3393786/



Director Edward Zwick took a few ambitious themes in the past, with mixed results. Glory may have been his … moment of glory, but then followed The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond, and Defiance – all very ambitious projects but only partial successes. Here his ambitions are much lower, as Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is the second in a series which tends to be quite repetitive – wild action with corrupt military portrait-ed as the bad guys and one (or even more) ladies in distress to help. An extra element is added here – Reacher may or may not be the father of one of the ladies to be saved and spared any pain at any cost. Not a very original story, to be candid.


(video source Movieclips Trailers)


What are we left with? A well made violent action movie and a moralistic story that seems even less credible than the amount of fist-beaten bad guys that are badly damaged during the screening time. The talent (and the price paid to enroll it) of Tom Cruise are not well spent here.

I liked many things in ‘Oblivion‘, actually more than I expected. I am no fan of computer games, certainly not of these that are dominated by machine guns and laser guns, by cars races and space-ships races – and there are plenty of those in the film directed by . I disliked many of the films that bring to screen heroes and action inspired by comics or graphical novels, and ‘Oblivion‘ is based on one written by the director. And I am not too sympathetic to the action heroes roles that picks almost exclusively lately, the main reason being that by doing this he buries in the past an excellent actor (hopefully just puts him to freeze). Despite all these wrong starting points, I liked a lot (but not all) in this movie.


source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1483013/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1483013/


The story conceived by director, script writer and games creator happens in an uncertain future. The world as we know it ended in 2017. Earth came under attack, Moon was destroyed and the nuclear weapons of Armageddon were used in self defense. Mankind won the war but lost the planet Earth now inhabitable, and will soon be moving to a new home, one of the satellites of Jupiter. It’s only that almost nothing of what we see in the first 15 to 30 minutes of the film is what viewers are actually made to believe. ‘Oblivion‘ starts like a very standard comics-inspired film, and as we got used to its world, something happens that is quite unusual in routine movies of its genre. Characters start to develop, they learn about themselves, they ask questions about their own identity. Eventually the movie will turn into the action thriller that it was advertised to be, but this will happen in a smart manner, and the heroes end by being something very different from our initial guesses.


(video source Movieclips Trailers)


A few words about acting. and are two names that do not need any introduction. Cruise gets more opportunities for an interesting role and deals with them honorably. Freeman has a much drier part and cannot make too much to enrich it. The real surprise is , not only fit to the action role, not only looking good, but also acting appropriately in a key role.

There are two interesting aspects in which ‘Oblivion‘ breaks the rules of the genre and helps being more than just another adaptation of a graphical novel. One aspect is that the viewers discover together with the heroes that the world where the action is located is something very different from what they thought it is. This complete change in their systems of reference and values doubles with a story line that has clear ecological and political references to the present, although the action takes place in a not very immediate future. The dangers of the new technologies like AI and cloning when they fall into the wrong hands are clearly articulated. The second aspect is that the graphics fit well the idea of the two intersecting and interchanging worlds. In the beginning the film has a very computer graphics game look which describes at perfection the apparently ordered world. Later the border between the artificial and idyllic worlds and the complex realities of the future begin to blur, we see the ‘monsters’ and realize that they may not be what they seem to be. There is also a political saying about a world where drones play such a central place from fighting the wars of the humans to protecting and saving their lives. ‘Oblivion‘ has many quantities that make if different from the crowd and is definitely worth a try.


I did not see any other blockbuster this summer, but I have the feeling that having seen the latest in the ‘Mission:Impossible’ series may have been sufficient for having seen the best. I confess that good action movies are one of my guilty pleasures, but I am quite picky on this respect. Besides the mandatory portion of attractive women and spectacular landscapes, the ratio between action scenes and story telling must not be too unbalanced on any side, car chases and fight and gun shooting scenes must be well filmed and fun to follow, the pace should be alert but still allow me to understand who shoots whom, and there must be action movies logic in what happens on screen, which of course has not too much to do with the real life logic. ‘M:I 5′ comes close to perfection on all these respects.


source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2381249/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2381249/


Whoever followed the previous films know already that the writers of the scripts will not avoid doing a few things: make sure that  (alias Ethan Hunt) is on screen 99% of the time, that he will sooner or later fall in for one of the female characters in the story (Swedish actress R is on duty this time) with no good chances for a happy and long married life to follow, that enough countries and landscapes will be traveled during the movie than in a full season of a National Geographic series, and that some of these landscapes will be badly altered after our heroes visit them. This installment also continues the intrigue in the previous one, as the secret services department to which Ethan Hunt belongs is threatened by the more conventional services, which obliges the hero to go rogue and become the most chased person on the planet, followed by both the good guys and bad guys organizations.


(video source moviemaniacsDE)


When all these happen on screen my first thoughts were to remember that this is almost the same script that was written for the latest James Bond series (with the changes of M, remember?). Actually under the hands of director and script writer the latest ‘Mission: …’ looks more and more like a James Bond film, even better than one on some respects. Just listen to the variations of the music theme for example. The two series address now the same space in the movies spectators preferences and the borders are being effaced. It’s good that the releases seem to be coordinated to avoid bringing to screen the new films in the two series during the same summer seasons. If the quality stays at this level I will not complain. This summer’s ‘Bond/Mission’ was well written, alertly directed, Tom Cruise who gets near his mid-50s is in an acting and physical shape of an early 30-er, and even the stiff-as-usual acting of  could not spoil too much maybe because his role was of a stiff CIA boss. The bad guys were also quite schematic, and Cruise will need a more ferocious adversary in the next one. Yet – highly recommended to all fans of action movies – get your popcorn, sit back, relax and enjoy!

It’s good to be Tom Cruise. Famous, rich, with an impressive list of impressive ex-es, and even gone through a high profile divorce. After having gone through all major role that make a bright career Tom Cruise can afford now to invest and become a producer. He can take a book by Lee Child and make the action film he wants out of it.  He can take the role a 6 feet 5 inches hero and tailor himself in it. He can afford beautiful and talented Rosamund Pike as a partner, and Robert Duvall and director Werner Herzog in the the veteran good guy and villain roles. And the result is pretty acceptable.


sursa http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0790724/

sursa http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0790724/


So, who is Jack Reacher? Ex-army investigator, a man hard to discover and trace to the point that some doubt he exists. A man dedicated to finding the truth to the extent that he is ready and willing to sacrifice anything to make justice. A man capable at any moment to fist-fight five tough guys, to put three bullets in the center of the target from any distance, to destroy the heavily arm need of armed bad guys. In other words – a super-hero.


(video source JoBlo Movie Trailers)


No need to tell too much about the story. It’s about an apparent clear cut case of mass killing in an American city that proves to be something very different that what you and everybody else in or out the film think excepting Jack Reacher, of course.  Viewers get another well done action film, Tom Cruise does his job as an actor as we expect, Duvall and Herzog have fun and so do we as viewers.   Christopher McQuarrie is a rather inexperienced director, this was only his second film, but producer and actor and superhero Tom Cruise trusted him with the new film in the ‘Mission Impossible’ series, so he must have been satisfied. So are we, if we look for good quality action entertainment from Hollywood.



The Mission Impossible the Bond series share growth pains. They are both making huge efforts to adapt and behave nicely in the new millennium.It’s not an easy task for series whose characters, rules and conventions have been written originally in novels of the 50s, or in TV series of the 70s. They both answer by building darker stories (in the mood of the pessimist start of the millennium), hiring new actors (with the exception of the eternal Tom Hanks of course), and new directors who put the emphasize on building flesh and blood characters, humans who can feel pain and sorrow.


source - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1229238/


Directing is trusted in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol to Brad Bird whose all previous successes were with animated movies. I cannot say that this is felt at all, or at least I did not detect any flaws in the fluency of the story telling or the work of the actors which are as little cartoonish as a MI-series film can be. The story this time has the quality of being well written, keeps the number of characters almost to the minimum needed and thus is easy to watch. We are still jet-flown in a handful of different countries, impossible infiltrations and games of masks are still part of the action, messages self destroy and at least one symbolic building is badly damaged – but there is an overall effort to make the intrigue, the relations between characters and even the extreme situations more credible, and this effort is mostly successful.


(video source VISO trailers)


Acting is exactly what is expected. The only regret is that Michael Nyquist has no real role and not enough screen time to demonstrate the huge talent we admired in the Scandinavian version of the Millennium trilogy. Tom Cruise who turned 50 this year is more and more involved in the MI series, he is here not only the lead actor but also the producer. One difference between the Bond and the MI series is that Ethan Hunt’s role was never undertaken by another actor but Cruise, while at least five actors featured in the 23 Bond films. Of course, Cruise is still in great form, but the problem will be on the table maybe two series and ten years from now and the question is whether the MI series will over-live Cruise’s aging. We shall live and we shall see.


The plot to kill Adolf Hitler put together in July 1944 by a group of military was the last in a series of attempts to kill the head of the Third Reich and save what could be saved of the German honor, and spare Germany the total defeat and unconditional surrender. This is one of the most fascinating and intriguing pages of the history of World War II and any film that is inspired by this action has interesting premises to base upon despite the fact that the end is known to everybody. The plot failed and the was continued for another ten months, Adolf Hitler committed suicide and escaped human justice, but not the justice of history.


Claus von Stauffenberg, source http://poopdeck90210.com/ww2his/stauffenberg.htm


The man who led the plot and who had the courage to put a bomb in the meeting room where the commanders of the German army were gathered together with Adolf Hitler is one of the fascinating characters of history. He was a complex character, that his wife Nina von Stauffenberg who survived him for more than half a century described in the following words:

He let things come to him, and then he made up his mind … one of his characteristics was that he really enjoyed playing the devil’s advocate. Conservatives were convinced that he was a ferocious Nazi, and ferocious Nazis were convinced he was an unreconstructed conservative. He was neither (source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claus_Schenk_Graf_von_Stauffenberg)


source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0985699/


Claus von Stauffenberg is the principal character in Valkyrie, the historic thriller directed by Bryan Singer. Tom Cruise could have been the ideal casting, even if he is about ten years older than the age of 37 that Stauffenberg had at the time of the events. He was not, as both director and lead actor seem to focus on the action side of the story, on the details of the plot that involved activating a program designed by Hitler himself that mobilized the reserve army in the eventuality of a successful plot to the life of the Fuhrer, and on the reasons – mostly of human nature and of hazard – that lead to the failure of the plot.  The historic details are interesting, but the documentary quality is not enough to fully sustain a Hollywood production with stars of such quality, and too little of the human dimensions, dilemmas, fears of the plotters make it beyond the screen.


(video source watch Culturerainment)


‘Valkyrie’ could have been a much more interesting film, a drama focused on the tragic complicity of the German military class with the criminal Nazi regime and the choice that few of them made to become traitors to their country in order to save something of the honor of the nation. Instead of that we get a docu-drama made with the expensive means of the Hollywood studios, which bows respectfully to the plotters of July 1944, but fails to bring on screen their human and true historic dimensions.


Knight and Day was one of the 2010 summer blockbusters. With a plot line that is one of the less credible action stories ever seen on screens there was not much alternative left for director James Mangold but to play on the combination between the special effects and the charm and chemistry of the two mega-stars in the cast – Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. To a great extent he succeeded.


source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1013743/


There can be no pretensions of credibility in a plot in which in order to get hold of a device the size of a battery (oh, it is actually a battery!) the bad guys simply make so that a whole commercial flight is populated by their men – passengers, pilots, stewardesses with the exception of our heroes, of course, who will kill everybody and land the plane relatively safely with no prior training or book of instructions. So as a viewer you better focus on the well choreographed actions scenes and on the ever changing landscape, with countries and continents changing at a pace that would make the envy of James Bond.



(video source TheTubeTrailers)


While actions scenes are good, they are not enough to explain that this film has charm and humor and makes for a good entertainment. The rest is especially added by the performances given by Cruise and Diaz, who enjoy themselves and seem to enjoy working with each other. The two actors are towards the end of the period when they can play the action people with romantic interest, Cruise is doing it for 25 years (since Legend and Top Gun more precisely) and Diaz for a shorter period, but it may be one of their last occasions for such casting.  The film does not take itself too serious at any moment and this is why we can enjoy its lighter touch.