TV & Movie Reviews - Week 10
The Movie Maestro, Evan Wade
First up this week is a movie combo of Mission Impossible 5 & 6. I went with both because out of the entire franchise 5 & 6 are the two films that have the most overarching plot and returning characters. They're also by far the best instalments in the franchise. I dropped off the MI movies after 4, which although it did have a very impressive and fun stunt scene atop the Burj Khalifa, the rest of the film felt lack-luster to me. My favourite MI used to be MI2 (which turns out was most people's least favourite) due to the John Woo style of action, the brilliant Hanz Zimmer score and the over-the-top madness. I also had a fondness for J.J. Abrams grittier and far darker MI3. But having watched the entirety recently and having finally seen 5 & 6 (Rogue Nation, Fallout) I was blown away by the vast jump in quality. Everything has improved, from the action and the cinematography, to the writing and the score. Even the acting and cast have stepped up a notch from the earlier days. 5 & 6 (2015, 2018) are spy action movies to rival that of the latest Craig Bond movies, and sometimes they even surpass them.
MI veterans Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames return in both films as the witty tech team duo joined by series new comers Alec Baldwin and the fantastic and breath taking Rebecca Ferguson who's ferocious screen presence goes far and beyond that of any Bond girl. Sean Harris serves as both film's recurring anarchist villain with an eerily calm demeanour. in MI6 Henry Cavill joins the team and adds some incredibly powerful fight scenes to the mix. But the main star has always and will always be Tom Cruise. Especially in these latest two films. Now in his late 50's Cruise still performs all of his own stunts in such nail biting moments such as hanging from flying cargo planes to jumping across rooftops and hanging wireless from the edge of cliffs. The MI franchise is truly his and he has brought it a long way since 1996, 24 years ago. The plot is more intriguing than it's ever been and the fight scenes -especially vehicle chase scenes are extremely intense and gripping. If you haven't seen any Mission Impossible and don't fancy slugging through them all, you can certainly start at 5, move onto 6 and then look forward to what's to come from in the future.
2nd this week is David Cronenberg's 2011 drama/thriller A Dangerous Method. In 1904 a Russion woman named Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) arrives at Carl Jung's (Michael Fassbender) clinic, seeking treatment for hysteria. Jung is eager to test Sigmund Freud's (Viggo Mortensen) theories on Sabina and successfully does so. Two years later Jung and Sabina meet Freud in person, and Jung takes over the treatment of Otto Gross, whose influence leads Jung to begin an affair with Sabina, contributing to a rift with Freud.
I first saw this film in college in 2012. The only Cronenberg film I had seen at that point was his famous remake of The Fly, nothing like A Dangerous Method. However it still held that sexually charged 'clash between body and mind' theme that most of his other films contain. A Dangerous Method explores this theme among the backdrop of the golden age of psychoanalysis. Viggo brings the legendary Freud to life with his straight portrayal of the factual, sometimes smug psychologist who's theories of the mind are almost always rooted in subconscious sexual desires and fantasies. Fassbender (in the era when he had a new film out almost every month) delivers a greatly believable curiosity of lust through the relationship with his patient Sabina and their performances together are electrical at times. But Keira is the star of the show here with her incredible (and disturbing at times) performance as the mentally ill Sabina as she explores herself as a person and her own sexuality with that of Jung's. A Dangerous Method is as interesting as it is shocking and definitely worth seeing.
Lastly this week is last years 2 season Netflix Original The Umbrella Academy. When a dysfunctional family of adopted superhero siblings, who were born to un-expecting mothers at the exact same time around the world, reunite to solve the mystery of their father's death, they soon find themselves having to deal with the threat of an impending apocalypse.
That may not sound like your cup of tea, but I assure you Umbrella Academy is not just Netflix's attempt at Marvel-like superheroes. Based on a comic from 2007, Umbrella Academy delves into the world of turbulent family issues, but they just so happen to have powers. It's weird, it's whacky and it's a whole lotta fun. It stars the likes of Ellen Page, Robert Sheehan (who is a delight to watch as always) and Kate Walsh. With a clever time travel perspective and time traveling organisation of assassin's, it's got incredibly imaginative situations and scenarios constantly wowing you. It might sound over the top, and at times it is, but it always stays within it's grounded realistic approach to the genre. And the choice of soundtrack is always perfect. It's definitely one of Netflix's best originals and totally worth checking out if you haven't already!
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is currently available on Sky & Now TV
Mission Impossible: Fallout is currently available on Sky, Now TV and Netflix.
A Dangerous Method is currently available on Amazon Prime Video
The Umbrella Academy is currently available on Netflix.