Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

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When the IMF is targeted by the Syndicate – a rogue organization committed to destroying the IMF, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) reassembles his team (and is joined by a female assassin) to protect their organization, and their world as they know it.

When Tom Cruise is in an entertaining action film, what can go wrong? The series continues with tons of action, humor, and great cast members, and the franchise keeps getting better, film by film. Director Christopher McQuarrie, despite doing an awful job with Jack Reacher, brings the action and fun to life wonderfully. The action scenes are incredibly entertaining, and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Like I said before, Tom Cruise can never mess up an action movie. He does amazing stunts in all of his films, and is in great shape, despite already being 53. Simon Pegg is always great comic relief, and I loved watching him on screen as much as I did in the previous movies. Jeremy Renner also reprises his role from Ghost Protocol and does a very good, as well as Ving Rhames, another returning cast member. Rebecca Ferguson’s character, however, could have been written better, and could have been incorporated better into the script, including her dialogue, but she does know how to kick ass well. The movie’s villain is also done well, more believable than the one from Ghost Protocol, but still doesn’t beat Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s antagonist from Mission: Impossible 3.

The story and narrative in the film are very good, going straight into the action and bringing you right into the fun. There are a few obvious references to the other films (and the TV series they’re based on). Of course, by the end of the movie, I was blown away (I saw the movie on a huge IMAX screen in London, and the immense viewing and sound added to the film’s awesome experience), and hopeful about the potential it has for future films.

Overall, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is a great and possibly the best installment in its beloved series. It is incredibly entertaining, well-acted, and well-directed. It lived up to all my expectations, and I can’t wait to see what happens next with the series.

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Paper Towns

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Quentin “Q” Jacobsen lives next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman, his childhood friend from whom he has since drifted, but still has feelings for. One night, when she climbs through his window and summons him on an all-night road trip of revenge, he cannot help but follow her lead. The next day, however, Margo doesn’t come to school, and after a few days it becomes apparent she’s missing. Q soon learns that there are clues in her disappearance that seem to be meant for him to make sense of. But as he gets deeper into the mystery and discovers more about the person Margo actually is, he becomes less sure of who and what he’s looking for.

As a big fan of the book, and one of the people who was impressed by last year’s The Fault in our Stars, I had high hopes for this movie. Although it falls slightly short of what I expected, it’s still very charming, funny, touching, and often entertaining. There are a few changes made from the book, but none that bothered me or affected the story’s quality. Nat Wolff does a great job playing a funny, likable and realistic teenager, portrayed very well. However, Cara Delevingne steals the show as the fascinating Margo, beautiful and perfectly casted. The rest of the cast also do a great job. The teenage protagonists are all very charming, funny, and are portrayed in a very realistic way, in the aspect that they are all facing normal teenage emotions and maturing in a believable but very interesting way. Paper Towns is able to not only entertain and make audiences smile, but also conveys a coming-of-age message, ultimately. It teaches about friendship, desperation, and ultimately understanding what life is about. In addition to this nice story, the soundtrack is well-composed and great to listen to, like The Fault in our Stars‘ soundtrack.

Like I said before, Paper Towns was a slight disappointment. The main problem is that it is way too short. It not only feels rushed, but doesn’t take the time to explain important points of the story, like Q’s relationship with his parents (who only get five seconds of screen time), the bonding between the teenagers the film focuses on, and many people getting involved in Margo’s mysterious disappearance, which were all very important in the book. The movie should have taken at least 20 more minutes to convince us that the protagonists’ mission is worthwhile, and about their entire personality. They weren’t the changes in the book that brought the film down a little, but the pacing and uneven narrative the film has.

Like many teenage movies, Paper Towns is very funny, charming, and well-written, but doesn’t completely have the aim for the main characters that I was searching for. But I would recommend the film for any fans of the book or the film’s genre.

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Big Game

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After Air Force One is shot down by terrorists in Finland in an attempt to kill the President of the United States (Samuel L. Jackson), the President (who survived the crash) teams up with a 13-year-old Finnish hunter (Onni Tommila) to take down the terrorists who are trying to hunt the President.

Lately this summer, most movies I’ve watched were very disappointing, and were either bad or decent at the most. However, Big Game is a movie that I enjoyed at moderate level. I actually had very low expectations for this movie. The marketing and trailers made the film look incredibly awful and cliche. It is, without question, a very cliche movie, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be more than a boring, predictable action flick. The action actually happens to be pretty fun, and even though it isn’t anything we haven’t seen before, it does have an entertaining factor. The action is well done, and not as predictable as most recent films of its type. It has some fun comic-book styled violence, and feels a lot like a 80’s or 90’s action-adventure movie. The performances from Samuel L. Jackson and young Finnish actor Onni Tommila are both good. Their characteristics are convincing, with Samuel L. Jackson conveying an interesting point about being the president, and Tomilla acting as a relatable character my age.

The story is constructed well, despite the fact that the movie is extremely short, especially for an action movie (it’s only an hour and a half long). There is one point at the end that remains a loose end and isn’t quite clear. Some of the dialogue doesn’t work, and some sound extremly familiar, being previously used in action movies of its type. The movie does use one-liners, but they mostly work. The movie also has a limited humorous factor, which works as well. Like I said before, many plot points turn out to be cliche and familiar, but the movie is still entertaining and not completely predictable.

Overall, Big Game is a very fun movie with great action and good performances, but not much more. If you simply want to have fun at the movies, then this movie is a good recommendation.

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Ant-Man

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The next movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe finally brings Ant-Man to the screen. Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

As Marvel begins to enter a darker phase of films, with films such as Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War coming out, it’s starting to adapt to a very likable new style, with tons of unpredictable humor being thrown into their movies. Ant-Man is able to partly convey it, but is a letdown considering the fact that its from Marvel Studios. Paul Rudd is a superb star, as he coveys all the humor and heart I wanted from him. Michael Douglas gives a decent performance as mentor Hank Pym. I was let down by Evangeline Lily and Corey Stoll. I was expecting a deeper and more emotional character from Lily, and a villain that was more incorporated into the script and convincing enough from Stoll. Michael Pena is able to deliver a charming performance as one of Lang’s buddies, and Bobby Cannavale does an awful job, not to anyone’s surprise.

The style the film takes on is fun, but doesn’t fulfill the story’s needs and character developments. The subplot involving Scott’s relationship and connection with his daughter (and his hatred of his ex-wife’s new fiance, who also happens to be a cop played by Bobby Cannavale) is extremely cliche and has been used hundreds of times in the past decade in cinema. Same with Scott’s training to become Ant-Man, it’s not anything we haven’t seen before or wouldn’t see coming. The dialogue needs a lot of improvement, with too much awkward dialogue and things that kept repeating themselves. I never felt so close to the characters, since they aren’t given enough time to connect with the audience, because the movie is way too rushed, not to mention it’s very short, with a run-time of only 115 minutes. However, the film still keeps the humor from its preceding Marvel movies, and does not fail to entertain. The movie even has a few callbacks to the Avengers to remind you that it’s a Marvel movie, and a post-credit scene worth staying for.

Overall, I was let down by Ant-Man due to its lack of convincing character development, its run-time, and its script, but it is still able to entertain and make you laugh. The film would’ve been much better with Edgar Wright sitting in the director’s chair. Moving forward, I have faith in Marvel that they will do a great job with Phase Three, but I was disappointed with Ant-Man, as it’s meant to be a more moving finale to Phase 2.

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Terminator Genisys

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By the 2020s, a program named Skynet has taken over the world and wiped out billions of humans via nuclear apocalypse. The remaining humans, fighting for survival against Skynet’s forces, are led by John Connor (Jason Clarke). When John sends Sgt. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and safeguard the future, an unexpected turn of events changes the past completely. Now, Reese finds himself in a new timeline, where he is faced with unlikely allies, including “Pops” (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a Terminator programmed to protect Sarah, dangerous enemies, and an unexpected mission: To reset the future by preventing a sinister app named Genisys from going online.

Terminator Genisys ultimately doesn’t do a great job reviving the beloved classic franchise, but I’m not surprised. The storyline isn’t very good. It takes everything we love about the originals and turns it to crap, with bad characters, performances, and a terrible script. Arnold Schwarzenegger still does great as The Terminator. Even at an old age, he is still very charming and entertaining as his iconic character. Even though his performance is great, none of the other cast members managed to impress me. Jai Courtney didn’t do a terrible job in this film, but he was so uninteresting and I disliked the fact that the story is told from his point of view. Like I predicted, he couldn’t capture the heart and badass of Michael Biehn’s Kyle Reese. Emilia Clarke sure does make a good female badass, just like Linda Hamilton, but she doesn’t deliver her lines and her character’s personality to the audience well. Most of the time, she feels like a teenage girl constantly complaining and hard to stand. Jason Clarke doesn’t actually do such an awful job as John Connor, but he isn’t good, either. The twist with his character is pretty clever, but unfortunately, the trailers ruined it by giving it away. J.K. Simmons’ supporting character is useless and barely used at all. But from the entire cast, the worst performance comes from Lee Byung-Hun: The Korean actor casted to play the iconic T-1000 from Terminator 2. In this movie, the T-1000 is completely underused (he only delivers one line, but it’s enough to convince you he was a horrible casting choice), horribly written, and felt very forced into the script.

I was let down by the cast of this film, but that’s not the only disappointing thing it did to the franchise. The story messed up a lot about what I loved about the original 2 films, and I explained a lot of it in the previous paragraph. I didn’t like the new perspective or stars. The action is very entertaining, and the pacing is just right. However, the dialogue is so predictable, and the movie keeps throwing in these messages about time and the future that are so constantly used in film, that they’re more than just cliche. It doesn’t have the tone of the original movies, and is simply a copy-paste of expensive action movies that failed to impress me (G.I. Joe, Jupiter Ascending, etc.) that Hollywood doesn’t know when to stop making. It’s best to leave this franchise alone forever, and just appreciate its original movies, which helped shape films of its time and genre.

Overall, Terminator Genisys is a disappointment for fans, so I wouldn’t recommend it for any of you Terminator die-hard fans like me, but if you aren’t one, you may think differently about the film…

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Minions

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Minions tells the origin story of the hilarious, adorable, lovable yellow creatures from the Despicable Me movies. They have existed since the beginning of time (starting as single-celled yellow organisms living underwater), eventually evolving and serving villains for ages (accidentally killing every one, however). The soon isolate themselves and build a new society, but feel meaningless and depressed by 1968. Three brave Minions, going by the names Stuart, Kevin, and Bob, decide to go on a journey in order to find a new master. They find themselves in Villain-Con in Orlando, and soon end up working for female super-villain Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock), who has the most menacing heist planned.

As a fan of the Minions and the Despicable Me franchise, I found Minions to be a big disappointment. Obviously, the Minions are still hilarious and lovable, and never failed to crack me up. I loved the references to popular ’60s music (don’t worry, The Beatles are in there), and the soundtrack of ’60s hits rocked. Their origin (leading up to the main plot in 1968) was set up very well and crafted in a great way, with good narration and great humor. After that, the plot starts to gradually fall out of place, and by the end, its incredibly predictable. There are a few plot points that aren’t quite clear, and a few points that don’t deliver. The ending is a good set-up to Despicable Me and further, but is incredibly predictable, with tons of cliches being thrown into the screenplay. The final 20 minutes of the film simply recycle events from the final battle of Despicable Me 2, and I really didn’t enjoy it. Despite Inside Out being a great original hit, almost all family movies nowadays recycle the same ideas that have been used forever, and unfortunately, this movie is an example. Despite the humor being great, I was let down by the story and originality of the movie. I also felt that the pacing was very uneven. The movie is about an hour and a half, but feels more like an hour, and is very rushed after the first 20 minutes.

Overall, Minions is a huge disappointment, with uneven pacing and a bland plot that lacks the originality of its predecessors. However, its one redeeming factor is its awesome humor (enough to earn it a decent rating), which the franchise holds onto, and hopefully still will in the future, as well as polishing up the flaws from this film.

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