Feature film

Some Movies To See This Weekend, July 31, 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015 Rob Samuelson

This week is simple. If you're going to a non-independent theater, your options for seeing something new are... not many. Two to be exact. But one of them looks pretty special! It's part of a consistently watchable series, so why not give it a gander?

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writers: Christopher McQuarrie, Drew Pearce
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames

The Mission: Impossible movies are on a spectrum from not as terrible as people say (the second one) to one of the better action movies of the decade (the most recent). The neatest thing about these films is the lack of creative continuity from installment to installment, with a different director coming aboard each time to inject new blood and a different idiosyncratic vision. This time around it's Christopher McQuarrie, who directed series star Tom Cruise in the just-short-of-excellent Jack Reacher and wrote what is arguably the best Cruise science fiction vehicle (yes, possibly better than Minority Report), Edge of Tomorrow.

For the plot, this one involves some sort of spy organization attempting to run its own shadow government. Ethan Hunt's (Cruise) Impossible Missions Force -- thank you, original director Brian De Palma, for not changing the kitschy name -- gets shut down by their bosses, who are probably in cahoots with the bad guys. But the main thing to watch here is the trend in recent action films -- Mad Max: Fury Road being the ur-text of the phenomenon -- toward practically filmed stunts. The much ballyhooed plane stunt that required Cruise to be strapped to the outside of a plane as it took off and landed eight different times seems to be the centerpiece, but there is always the chance other thrilling things are in store.

Directors: John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein
Writers: John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein
Starring: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo

Rusty Griswold is now grown up with his own family, around the same age Chevy Chase was as Clark in the original Vacation movie. Thus, he wants to relive his childhood, shaded by a mountain of nostalgia to cover for the not-so-great reality of his original trip to Walley World.

Co-writer-director John Francis Daley played Sam Weir on Freaks and Geeks as a kid, but his writing career -- which has led him and writing-directing partner Goldstein to scribe the upcoming Spider-Man film -- has been 100 percent off my radar, so I cannot speak to its quality. It looks funny and I've read it's really raunchy, like, the title of the article in this hyperlink is not safe for work just for describing a sight gag in it. So take that as you will.

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