Velociraptor birthday cake!
I hate sleep. I despise it. Or rather, I hate that we need it, and there’s no way of avoiding it. It’s a barren wasteland whose purpose seems only to make me forget things I need to do the next day. I was discussing with a friend of mine this week how idyllic society would be if sleep wasn’t necessary. She, being a fan of sleep, argued that if sleep were optional, then she’d be shunned for spending so much of her time unconscious, so we came to a compromise that the world would be wonderful if sleep wasn’t essential, but was recommended. Like reading. People tend to look up to or have some kind of respect for people who read more (he says hopefully, glancing at the bookshelves around him) but it’s not exactly a requirement for everyday life. Thus, people would be encouraged to sleep, but wouldn’t have to. In such a utopia, I wouldn’t be held to the mercy of my drooping eyelids mid-movie. I wouldn’t be forced to retire to bed every evening when there are so many more important things I could be doing, such as the six reviews I have pending, or the Lego Jurassic World game of which I’ve only finished the story mode and have so much more to unlock. Alas, this world remains in the dreams I supposedly have but never remember (another reason I hate sleep; I don’t even get the sparks of inspiration others derive from their R.E.M. states, and don’t even get me started on napping, I’ve never once awoken feeling refreshed, only more tired than when I went to sleep), and as such I struggled to remain awake in front of the television on four separate occasions this week. Four! Speaking of which, here’s what I fell asleep to this week:
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
Still catching up for last weekend’s Mission: Impossible Franchise Lookback Lambcast episode (which will be posting soon), this was the film I was most intrigued to re-watch, especially given the news last week that some people really hate it. Well, I’m not such a person. It’s by no means perfect, but there’s a gaping chasm of quality between this and part 2, and I fail to comprehend anyone who thinks differently. Philip Seymour Hoffman is, in my eyes, the best villain of the franchise (more on this later), I greatly approve of the addition of a home life for Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), specifically his relationship with his fiancée (Michelle Monaghan), and how he tried to keep his emotions in check from her, despite some traumatic events occurring. Laurence Fishburne is fun as the IMF higher-up, taking over from Anthony Hopkins’ thankless role last time around, and Ving Rhames is, as always, great as well. My only complaint is how underused Maggie Q and Jonathan Rhys Meyers are as the cardboard cut-outs comprising the rest of the team.
Choose Film 7/10
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
Easily the best of the franchise, Brad Bird’s outing is tremendous fun, never giving you a chance to breathe amongst the constant action. Everything is an action sequence, even something as simple as driving along a straight road detailing the plan gets interrupted by a herd of camels on the road, and Ethan can’t simply board a train, no he has to operate a retinal scan on the outside of a moving carriage, avoiding obstacles as he goes. Sometimes it’s silly, but it’s never boring. And the sequence surrounding the Burj Khalifa is outstanding, not least because it sees Cruise climbing the outside of a building I’d be nervous looking out the window of. Michael Nyqvist’s villain isn’t much to write home about, and I always wish they’d used Anil Kapoor more than the one scene he gets, but the fact that he’s in there at all is a good thing. Jeremy Renner was a fun new addition of someone looking in on the ridiculous events going on and calling them out as being insane, which is unusual in this kind of film, I love the prison escape cold open (I’ve said it before, but I love prison escapes, and heists, and this franchise is essentially a series of heists tied together with scenes of people typing and motorcycle chases), Simon Pegg gets more to do and is great doing it, and Paula Patton is so wonderful that I’m furious she wasn’t brought back for part 5, apparently because she’s stuck filing World of Warcraft. Sigh.
Choose Film 9/10
Reversal of Fortune (1990)
Watched as part of my USA Road Trip series for French Toast Sunday, this was my choice for Rhode Island. I’d never even heard of it before, am still surprised it’s on the 1001 List, but did at least enjoy it.
Lists: 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, USA Road Trip
Full review here.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)
I’ve decided the Mission: Impossible franchise was not made with the intention of all the films being watched in close proximity to one another, in the same way that I wouldn’t advise watching all the James Bonds in a row. They each for the most part deal with a separate, standalone story, with if anything only mild references to what has gone on before, so there’s no benefit to lining them up over a few days and knocking them each out. If anything, doing that takes something away from them, because the films all kind of blur into one. This is very much the case with Rogue Nation, which feels like just another Mission: Impossible movie, and doesn’t really set itself apart from the others. The stunts aren’t any more thrilling – almost the entirety of the opening plane ride is shown in the trailer, ends almost as soon as it has begun and barely plays into the plot, whereas Ghost Protocol‘s tower climb was an integral, memorable centrepiece – the plot twists around itself unnecessarily and Sean Harris’ villain is barely better than Dougray Scott in part 2. His acting style is basically keeping his face emotionless and whispering in a vaguely creepy but not at all threatening way. Rebecca Ferguson is decent as the new female character, the decidedly not English-sounding Ilsa Faust, but judging by this franchise she won’t return for the next one (women get at best a cameo for their second outing), but I didn’t think she was as wonderful as she’d been built up to me by literally everyone I’d heard discussing the film. Also, due to my heavy rotation of 30 Rock at the moment, I’m completely unable to take anything Alec Baldwin says seriously, especially when he uses lines like “He is the manifestation of destiny, and he has made you his mission.” Nonsense.
Lists: 2015 Movies
Choose Film 6/10
Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)
One of my birthday presents was Birdman Blu-Ray (I also got Interstellar, but I’m saving that for some other time), so we popped that in to watch on my birthday evening, after a day that had involved a cinema trip, a delicious burger, a steak dinner and the greatest birthday cake ever made, that velociraptor wonder at the top of the page, so maybe it was understandable that I was a little tired and drifted off towards the end of the Best Picture winner. It didn’t hold up as much as I’d liked, having absolutely loved it when I saw it back in January, but I still appreciated the film-making techniques on display, and how much work went into it all. This is one of the films that’s an absolute certainty to be added to the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list later this year, as the Best Picture winners always get added (and usually hastily removed a year or two later), but I’m going to refrain from writing my full review until after I’ve seen it again with fresher eyes.
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
Nominated for me to watch by Terrence Faulkner of the Focussed Filmographer, I’ll be reviewing this soon.
Lists: Nominated Movies, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Full review coming soon.
Posts you may have missed:
USA Road Trip: Rhode Island: Reversal of Fortune
Lambcast #281 MOTM JFK – I was joined by Todd Liebenow, Nick Rehak and Will Slater to discuss Oliver Stone’s conspiracy theory classic, JFK, which I still need to write a review for and hopefully will this week.
Aim: Watch all 61 saved TiVo films
To go: 23
Should be on: 38
On Track: Yes!
Aim: Watch 59 movies released in the UK in 2015
To go: 29
Should be on: 26
On Track: Yes!
Aim: Review Kate Winslet’s remaining films
To go: 1
Should be on: 2
On Track: Yes!
Aim: Watch 12 “bad” films from the 1001 List
To go: 5
Should be on: 7
On Track: Yes!
Aim: Watch 1 nominated film a week from the 1001 List
To go: 21
Should be on: 32
On Track: No!
Aim: Cross off 75 films from the 1001 List
To go: 23
Should be on: 46
On Track: Yes!
Aim: Finish French Toast Sunday Road Trip series
To go: 12
Should be on: 4
On Track: Yes!