Weekend Movies: Pulling Off the Impossible

Two new wide releases movies contend for your attendance this weekend. One is from a franchise we’ve come to trust, and the other from a franchise that hasn’t been worth watching in decades.

Who knew that Tom Cruise’s only franchise (for now) would be stronger 19 years after it began than it’s been since it started? This weekend brings ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation‘, the fifth installment to the cinematic series based on a 1960s television show. Cruise reunites with his ‘Jack Reacher’ director and ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie. With each film taking the series in a different direction, ‘Rogue Nation’ pits Ethan Hunt against something we haven’t seen him face yet: a brilliant mastermind. With the help of returning cast members Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner, plus newcomer Rebecca Ferguson, their mission is to bring down a secret organization of rogue agents coordinating and executing terrorist attacks across the globe. Not only can you expect the series’ usual fun, but also a few fantastic practical stunts that will leave you stunned to realize that there’s nothing Cruise won’t do for the sake of spectacle.

‘Rogue Nation’ was originally planned for a December 2015 release, but since the new James Bond film ‘Spectre’ features a similar plot and the new ‘Star Wars’ sequel is expected to steal December’s thunder, Paramount’s ‘Impossible’ move to late July was a smart one. However, New Line obviously isn’t happy about it. The studio bumped the release of its ‘Vacation‘ reboot up to Wednesday to get a head start.

Like most people, I didn’t really want to see a reboot/sequel to Chevy Chase’s original comedy series. Yet I was pleasantly surprised by the new ‘Vacation‘. Just as Ed Helms’ character says in the trailer and TV spots, “This Vacation stands entirely on its own.” When grown-up Rusty Griswold discovers that his family is bored with their usual summer vacation plans, he decides to spice things up by recreating his favorite childhood road trip to Wally World. This isn’t the type of reboot/remake that recycles jokes from the original, even if the trailer would lead you to believe otherwise. Sure, the movies has a few great nods to the past, but the wild experiences that the young Griswold family experiences are completely fresh and hilarious. Christina Applegate wonderfully plays Rusty’s wife and the two boys who play their kids steal every scene they’re in. Filled with colorful characters brought to life by comically perfect performers (Chris Hemsworth, Charlie Day, Ron Livingston, Norman Reedus, Keegan-Michael Key, Nick Kroll, Tim Heidecker, Kaitlin Olson, Michael Peña and Colin Hanks), ‘Vacation’ is a lot funnier than it has the right to be.

Concluding its long two-year worldwide release, the Weinstein Company is finally opening Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s ‘The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet‘ in the United States. The PG adventure flick follows a kid who runs away on an unaccompanied road trip from Montana to the Smithsonian Institute. Helena Bonham Carter is about the only recognizable actor in the cast.

Director James Ponsoldt (‘Smashed‘, ‘Spectacular Now‘) has a new film called ‘The End of the Tour‘ opening on four screens thanks to rising distributor A24. The movie tells the story of a reporter (Jesse Eisenberg) who interviews a famous writer (Jason Segel) over a five-day period. Meryl Streep’s daughter Mamie Gummer, Anna Chlumsky, Joan Cusack and Ron Livingston (who also shows up in ‘Vacation’ this weekend) co-star.


  1. NJScorpio

    I like Tom. He may come off a bit crazy, but I accept that with people I know in real life, so why can’t I just accept that with him? I have a similar stance on Mel Gibson (and me being Jewish no less). (Most) of their movies put a big smile on my face, and I’ll look forward to any future Tom Cruise movies where he is running toward the screen (as all his good movies have), as well as any future Gibson movies here he “plays” crazy.

    • William Henley

      As long as you are not an ass about your beliefs, lifestyle, or political motives, or overly outspoken (Mel pretty much errupts every few years, so its not constant enough for me), I don’t have an issue. I like most Tom Cruise movies, I like Mel Gibson. I like Ellen because, while she is fairly outspoken, she’s not a bitch about it. Jim Carry on the other hand, was a dick about his anti-gun stance.

      Pretty much, I don’t care if you are Jewish, Christian, Scientologist, Atheist, gay, straight, anti-semite, white supremist, black supremist, anti-gun, pro-gun, pro-life, pro-choice, anti-war, pro-war, democrat, republican, liberal, conservative, whatever. Just don’t be a dick about it.

        • William Henley

          History, no. What I meant was, don’t go crazy-vocal with your religious, political, personal beliefs – they are welcome to have them, but I want to know them for their acting and not their beliefs. If they are not incredibly outspoken or if they joke about it or if they are cool about it, then I am fine about it.

    • C.C.

      Also has some of the most stunning 3D I’ve ever seen in a movie (native 3D, BTW).
      The script could have used some polish and been less cloyingly sweet, and I would have not leaned on the musical theme so much (it actually becomes annoying). But Jeunet’s visuals remain amazing. May be the best use of 3D ever. It actually helps the storytelling instead of just being a gimmick.

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