New This Week
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is the sixth film in the now 23-year-old franchise that was based on the highly successful 1960s TV series that ran from 1966-1969.
Not a remake of the TV series, Tom Cruise’s character, Ethan Hunt is an agent in the same elite covert operations team that was led by Peter Graves’ Jim Phelps character, played in the 1996 film by Jon Voight, a character long gone from the film series.
The latest film is the first actual sequel, all the others were stand-alone stories. Following events set in motion by 2011’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the film brings back Michelle Monaghan as Cruise’s ex-wife Julia, featured in 2006’s Mission Impossible: III.
Julia is now remarried to a doctor without borders played by Wes Bentley. They feature in the film’s climax but are not prominent in the earlier portions of the film which focus on Cruise, new partner Henry Cavill, old partners Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg, and MI-6’s Rebecca Ferguson from 2015’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. Alec Baldwin from that film is also on board, as is Angela Bassett who, along with Baldwin, represents Cruise’s controllers.
The new film, which clocks in at 2 hours and 27 minutes, was written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) who previously did the same for Rogue Nation.
Those 2 hours and 27 minutes are filled with lots of chases, by car, helicopter, and on foot but they are nicely paced and don’t seem there just to fill time and space as seems the case with too many other films these days. Cruise, who likes to do his own stunts, was injured in one of the scenes where he jumps from building to building. The accident is captured on film and the aftermath of it in which he hobbles on foot to his next encounter adds gravitas to the character’s situation. All in all, it’s 2 hours and 27 minutes well spent.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is available on both Blu-ray and standard DVD.
The biggest surprise at this year’s New York Film Critics Circle awards was the Best Actress win by Regina Hall for Support the Girls. Hall, who wasn’t on the radar despite her recent Film Independent Spirit Award nomination, became the first black actress to receive the NYCC award in her category.
The film, which was not a big hit at the box office, is nevertheless an engaging comedy that is worth your time.
Directed by Andrew Bujalski, the film takes place during one hectic day in the life of the harried manager of a sports bar in Austin, Texas. Anyone who’s ever had a management job balancing care for their customers and support for their staff against the machinations of an ignorant boss will recognize Hall’s (Scary Movie, Girls Trip) Lisa.
Anything that can go wrong seemingly does for poor Lisa from a would-be thief getting stuck in the ceiling overnight to a faithless husband packing his bags and leaving her. In-between, she has to deal with the likes of a biker customer being rude to one of her waitresses, a waitress with a very visible inappropriate tattoo, one who sticks by her abusive boyfriend, and a possible mass exodus by the staff to another establishment down the road. Through it all, Hall is stalwart and steadfast, and a joy to watch.
Support the Girls is available on Blu-ray and standard DVD.
Finally making its U.S. Blu-ray debut from Scorpio Releasing, John Dahl’s 1994 film The Last Seduction has had as circuitous route getting to its current release on home video as the film itself had in obtaining its first theatrical release in the U.S.
The thriller about a duplicitous sexpot played by Linda Fiorentino was marketed at various film festivals beginning with the Palm Springs Film Market in January 1994. With no sales as late as May 1994, it found distribution in Australia and then sold to cable TV in the U.S. for showing in July. It then found theatrical distribution in Europe, where it was very successful, so successful in fact that it was released theatrically in the U.S. in October 1994.
At year end, Fiorentino received the New York Film Critics Circle award for Best Actress as well as several other regional awards and nominations. Sadly, however, Fiorentino was ineligible for Oscar consideration because the film had been shown on TV before its theatrical release in the U.S.
The film, which had very successful VHS and DVD releases in the U.S., also enjoyed success on Blu-ray in Europe before finally being released in that format here.
The film itself holds up very well thanks to the performances of Fiorentino, Bill Pullman as her sad sack husband, and Peter Berg as her latest sucker.
Extras include a newly recorded commentary by the director.
Warner Archive has released a striking new Blu-ray upgrade of Howard Hawks’ 1951 science-fiction classic The Thing from Another World.
Although produced by Hawks, the direction of the film was done by Hawks’ long-time editor Christian Nyby (Red River) making his directorial debut.
Along with 1951’s The Day the Earth Stood Still and 1956’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, this black-and-white classic still holds up as well or better than its more elaborate full color remake. Whereas the 1982 version, called simply The Thing ,owed more to Alien than it did the original, the straight forward narrative of the original is in its own way just as gripping.
Kenneth Tobey, Margaret Sheridan, Robert Cornthwaite, Douglas Spencer. James Young, Dewey Martin, and James Arness star. The pre-Gunsmoke Arness plays the title role. He was so embarrassed by it, however, that he refused to attend the premiere.
This week’s new releases include Colette and The Equalizer 2.