In cinemas this week: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Far From Men, Coming Home, Max and Noble.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) returns for yet another top-secret assignment as hot property screenwriter Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3, Pacific Rim) takes over writing duties for the fifth instalment of the phenomenally successful spy franchise. Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher) directs. Following up Brad Bird’s superior franchise instalment is no easy feat, but this has all of the ingredients (including returning cast members Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner and Ving Rhames) to be a standout action blockbuster.
Far From Men – Algeria, 1954. While the rebellion rumbles in the valley, two very different men thrown together by a world in turmoil are forced to flee together across the Atlas Mountains. In the midst of an icy winter, Daru, the reclusive teacher, has to escort Mohamed, a villager accused of murder. Pursued by horsemen seeking summary justice and vengeful settlers, the two men decide to confront the unknown. Together they fight to gain their freedom. Viggo Mortensen stars.
Coming Home – Lu Yanshi (Chen Daoming) and Feng Wanyu (Gong Li) are a devoted couple forced to separate when Lu is arrested and sent to a labor camp as a political prisoner, just as his wife is injured in an accident. Released during the last days of the Cultural Revolution, he finally returns home only to find that his beloved wife has amnesia and remembers little of her past. Unable to recognise Lu, she patiently waits for her husband’s return. Directed by veteran Chinese director Yimou Zhang (Raise the Red Lantern and Hero).
Max – A military dog from Afghanistan is adopted by his late handler’s grieving family in the U.S., where his close bond with the soldier’s brother leads to a life-altering revelation in this family-friendly adventure from MGM and director Boaz Yakin (who penned the screenplay alongside writer Sheldon Lettich). Lauren Graham and Thomas Haden Church star.
Noble – They broke everything but her spirit. They took everything but her dream. This is the incredible true story of a fearless Irish heroine driven by her daring vision to escape the slums of Ireland and risk everything on the streets of Vietnam.
Weekly Recommendation: Rogue Nation. No one works harder in action films than Tom Cruise, now arguably the biggest action star of all time. This time he is hanging onto a plane as it launches into the air. I’m in. For something different, festival-regulars Far From Men and Coming Home have been well received, and have promising pedigrees. Sam included Coming Home in her Best Films of 2014 after catching it at TIFF14.