Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

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Aug 012015


Tom Cruise is back as gifted IMF agent Ethan Hunt in the fifth film of the Mission: Impossible franchise, Rogue Nation. Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie (the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of The Usual Suspects, director of Jack Reacher), it is evident during the soaring prologue that this instalment is in professional hands. While the unnaturally complex narrative does take some absurd turns, the modestly stylish action sequences are brilliantly executed and the whole experience is a great deal of fun. Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner and Ving Rhames reprise their roles from previous installments, and are joined by Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin and Sean Harris. While Ghost Protocol’s threadbare plot moved fast and mostly serviced the amazing action set pieces, Rogue Nation has more espionage and deep-rooted political corruption. This is a much heftier film than its equally incredible predecessor, and I admire the fact that the franchise has continued to evolve and not just re-create the same formula on a larger scale.

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In Cinemas 30 July 2015

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Jul 282015


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.