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Showing posts from July, 2017

Ranking the "Mission: Impossible" Films Worst to Best

The Mission: Impossible movies, based on the 1966-73 television series, are about Ethan Hunt and the Impossible Mission Force doing something that seems impossible at first, but always ends up being possible. Tom Cruise stars in all the films as Ethan, and other members of the team are Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg). I like the Mission: Impossible movies because each film has a different director and thus each one has their own distinctive feel. Sure, there are a couple of constants (Cruise is in them all, they all are spy/action movies, and they all have people wearing masks - a nod to the TV show), but going into a Mission: Impossible movie you are never quite sure what you are going to get. Sometimes it's a silly fun spy franchise, other times it feels like nothing more than an excuse for Tom Cruise do to some sort of crazy stunt. Since the first film was released in 1996, there have been five movies, with a sixth on the way. Here's how I would rank the movies …

"Dunkirk" is a Cinematic Experience You Will Never Forget: Review

Film Review: Dunkirk Seeing Dunkirk in 70mm on an IMAX screen was an intense experience. The enormous screen and super loud sounds put you right up close to the harrowing action. I loved it every second of it. Christopher Nolan has a made an artful, gripping, and truly unforgettable survival film.

The film is about the Dunkirk evacuation from the Second World War, which, if you don't know, was when some 400,000 Allied troops were cornered on the beaches of Dunkirk, France in 1940. It took over a week and over 800 ships to get the soldiers across the 26 miles of English Channel to England and it is considered to be one of the biggest military retreats in history.

Nolan's film follows three storylines that are intercut, but play out on distinct timelines. The first follows three young soldiers (played by Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, and Harry Styles) desperately trying to get off of the beach and onto one of the few ships, and it spans a week. The second follows a civilian mar…

A Muppet Fan's Reaction to the Firing of Steve Whitmire and the Recasting of Kermit the Frog

By now I'm sure you have heard the news that Steve Whitmire, the longtime portrayer of Kermit the Frog (and other Muppets), has been fired after 27 years of playing the frog and 39 years of being with the group.  At first, the circumstances of Whitmire's departure from the Muppets were unclear. Whitmire later released a statement revealing that Muppet Studio executives had made the decision to recast Kermit, citing two instances as the reason for the recast; Whittier's vocal input on the creative direction of the character, and what he described as a "union issue". Disney (who owns the Muppets) then released a statement claiming Whitmire had been fired due to "unacceptable business conduct".  According to Brain Henson (who, along with his mother Jane, had handpicked Whittier to succeed his father in the role of Kermit after Jim Henson's death in 1990), Whitmire made "outrageous demands and often played brinkmanship" and commented that he s…

The Seventh Annual Timmy Television Awards

The Timmys annually honor the best in television from the past season. Winners are in bold. Best Comedy Series:Veep (HBO)Mom (CBS)The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)Search Party (TBS)Shameless (Showtime)Best Drama Series: American Crime (ABC)Bloodline (Netflix)The Leftovers (HBO)Stranger Things (Netflix)This Is Us (NBC) Best Actress in a Comedy Series:Katy Mixon - American HousewifeDrew Barrymore - Santa Clarita DietMinnie Driver - SpeechlessEmmy Rossum - ShamelessAnna Farris - MomAllison Janney - MomSutton Foster - YoungerBest Actor in a Comedy Series: William H. Macy - ShamelessAziz Ansari - Master of NoneGael Garcia Bernal - Mozart in the Jungle Donald Glover - AtlantaTimothy Olyphant - Santa Clarita Diet Ted Danson - The Good PlaceBest Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Anna Chlumsky - VeepCarol Kane - The Unbreakable Kimmy SchmidtBernadette Peters - Mozart in the JungleJaime Pressly - MomAndrea Martin - Great NewsDebra Winger - The Ranch Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Serie…

"The Big Sick" is a Fresh and Funny Romantic Comedy: Review

Film Review: The Big Sick
It's been a number of years since the last truly great romantic comedy. Thankfully, that dry spell is over with The Big Sick, a fresh, heartfelt entry into the genre. 

The movie is about Kumail (played by Kumail Nanjiani), a guy dealing with his struggling comedy career, his traditional Pakistani parents, and his relationship with his girlfriend Emily (played by Zoe Kazan), which is complicated when Emily is put into a medically-induced coma due to a mysterious illness. 

Written by Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon (his real life wife) based on events from their own lives, The Big Sick has an honest and easygoing vibe that doesn't feel forced or contrived like many romantic comedies of late. Some of the funniest scenes in the film are the scenes of Kumail having dinner with his parents (played by Anupam Kher and Zenobia Shroff).

The film is brought to the next level by the wonderful supporting performances by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano, who play Emily's …

2017 Emmy Nominations: Snubs and Surprises

Reaction to the 2017 Emmy NominationsThe Emmy nominations were announced this morning, here are a couple of things that stood out to me:


SURPRISE: David Harbour and Stranger ThingsThe Stranger Things sheriff was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series when few thought he would be. Harbour took advantage of the open space left by last year's winner, Ben Mendelsohn, being moved to Guest Actor category. Unsurprisingly,  Habrour's costar Millie Bobby Brown was nominated in Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her breakout role as Eleven, but unfortunately, Winona Ryder was snubbed for her big comeback role. Most inexplicably of all, Shannon Purser was nominated in Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Barb. I mean, Barb was fun and all,  but Emmy worthy? C'mon Emmy voters, that's insane.


SNUB: Drew Barrymore
The Best Actress in a Comedy Series category is an absolute mess. Drew Barrymore is an A-list celebrity starring in a Netflix series, a …

Hollywood Has Failed Kate Hudson: A Report After Watching All Her Movies

Why has Kate Hudson been in so few good movies? 17 years later, the actress is still waiting to make good on the promise she showed in Almost Famous. 
When Kate Hudson first appears about 20 minutes into Almost Famous, the tenor of the movie changes. She's like a lightning rod of energy that once Cameron Crowe's camera finds her, it has no choice but to tell her story. She radiates off the screen, demanding you pay attention to her performance. And what a performance it is. Intense vulnerability hidden behind a vivacious exterior of fur-lined coats and round sunglasses. It's such a great performance and a great movie that I was shocked to look at Kate Hudson's profile on Metacritic sometime in late 2015 (when I first saw Almost Famous) and find merely one movie since Almost Famouswith a green Metascore. Could it be possible that an actress as talented as Kate Hudson has only been in two good movies in the past decade and a half? How had out of the 20-something movies sh…

"A Ghost Story" is Mysterious and Moving: Review

Film Review: A Ghost Story
BetweenPersonal Shopper and David Lowery's A Ghost Story, 2017 has been a good year for thought-provoking ghost movies. Lowery's film is the stranger of the two, but still one of the most memorable movies in quite some time. It's an entrancing contemplation of love and loss, an exploration through time of what it means to be connected to a place, to a person. 
Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck play an unnamed couple. We don't learn much about them, but we learn that they are in love. A heavy sense of dread pervades these early scenes of the film. Affleck's character dies and his ghost returns to his house to observe first Mara, then other occupants of the house and the land on which it sits. It has been said that when a person dies in a sudden traumatic way (like the car crash Affleck's character dies from), their soul remains tethered to something that feels familiar. For this ghost, that place is the house he shared with Mara's chara…

Diane Lane Delivers in Sleepy Charmer "Paris Can Wait": Review

Film Review: Paris Can Wait "Are you at peace with your life?"
That's one of several questions Diane Lane mulls in the new movie Paris Can Wait. Written and directed by Eleanor Coppola, the film marks Coppola's fiction film debut, as she joins the family business (her husband, daughter, son, and granddaughter are all filmmakers) at the age of 81. In Paris Can Wait, Lane plays Anne, the wife of a film producer (played by Alec Baldwin) whose drive from Cannes to Paris with Jacques (Arnaud Viard), a business partner of her husband's, turns into a two day road trip of the finest dining, views, and sights that central France has to offer. 
The film is light and breezy, in a very appealing way. It moves along at a sleepy pace, providing a veritable feast of gorgeous locales and delicious food. Anne has recently closed her dress shop and isn't finding fulfillment in her marriage. She's itching for a creative outlet, as evidenced by the pictures she takes with her …

Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell are Miscast in Irredeemable Misfire "The House": Review

Film Review: The House I have been known to give dumb comedies a pass every once in a while if they make me laugh. If they do their job by being funny, who cares if the film isn’t the greatest. The House is not that type of comedy. The House did not make me laugh once. The House is poorly-made, nonsensical, needlessly violent, all-around terrible excuse for a movie. 

The premise of The House is that suburban parents (played Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler) need money so they can send their daughter to college, so with the help of their friend (Jason Mantzoukas), they open up an illegal casino. It starts off trying to be a satire of suburbia and then shifts to a parody of movies like Casino, but none of it is funny. Part of the problem is it's two majorly miscast leads. Why hire two SNL alumni known for their big, over the top characters to play boring squares? Amy Poehler is someone I have an abundant amount of fondness for, but she has never been worse than she is here. It's an aw…