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The Mission: Impossible Series – Anyway, That’s All I Got!

mission: impossible

With the recent release of Mission: Impossible – Fallout, we here at ATAIG thought it would be the perfect opportunity to trace the lineage of the series—from 1996 to 2018—and try to figure out how and why this franchise has managed to keep going strong. We talk about the ones that worked (five of them), the one that didn’t quite work, all of the crazy stunts, and all of the insanely complicated storylines over the years. We also have an important announcement at the beginning, so make sure you don’t miss that, and enjoy!

Hosted by Sam Noland, Jason Read, and Anthony Battaglia!

Question For You: Which M:I movie is your favorite? Also, whose facemask would you want to have? But, most importantly, can you explain the plot of any of these in one sentence? Comment below, email us at ataigpodcast@gmail.com, or follow us on Twitter: @AnywayCast.

Go on…The Mission: Impossible Series – Anyway, That’s All I Got!

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The Taylor Sheridan Episode – Anyway, That’s All I Got!

Taylor Sheridan

In what is somehow our second longest episode to date, we decided to take a look at the quickly-escalating career of writer/director Taylor Sheridan, in honor of this summer’s controversial new release Sicario: Day of the Soldado. We discuss the themes, politics, and marketing tactics of the new release, as well as our predictions for the planned third installment. We were all surprised to find out how much we geek out over Sheridan’s stories, and we hope that you’ll give it a listen, whether you’ve seen the movies or not. Enjoy!

Hosted by Sam Noland, Jason Read, and Anthony Battaglia!

SHOW NOTES:

Go on…The Taylor Sheridan Episode – Anyway, That’s All I Got!

‘Arrival’ Is Something Special, But It’s Not For Everyone

arrival

I’ve yet to be as wowed by French-Canadian director Denis Villenueve as many other film lovers, but there is one thing this filmmaker deserves real credit for: adaptation. His mastery of other people’s ideas is an art unto itself, as he’s able to take what doesn’t work in, say, a Nolan film like Interstellar, and hit the landing on a science fiction emotion-core that makes Matthew McConaughey look like Peter Griffin in comparison.

Prisoners was his David Fincher archetype, then Sicario was his love letter to the Coen Brothers, but Arrival is even more different than these moody eye-candy pieces. It’s everything you liked about Interstellar and Contact without a lot of the bad. It’s the sentiment of The Martian without the hard science, and it’s the vision of Close Encounters without the wonder.

Set in our very near future and based on a short story by Ted Chiang, Arrival is about a linguistics expert, Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) who is drafted to translate the language of unidentified aliens on large, unassuming ships. They show up on Earth unannounced and without much of an impact, except the one made by humanity’s reaction, and Louise has to work with the stalwart military and mathematician Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) in order to understand the aliens’ language and ultimately, their purpose for coming to Earth.

arrival

Much of the movie focuses on this delicate process, forcing us to sit through methodical precautions the scientists have to take before they can step foot on the gravity-defying ship. It’s here that the movie has its best moments, allowing cinematographer Bradford Young (Selma) to establish the wide open spaces and thick fog of Montana that set up how massive this arrival is, and Adams is a consistently believable surrogate for our ongoing observations of these mysteries.

Watching these mysteries unfold, however, is where I suspect some viewers will be turned off, because I certainly was. There’s a grand twist involved that I saw coming far too early to appreciate, disrupting my overall experience because every step after this realization was predictable. It’s here that the puzzle became shown for how drawn out much of Arrival is, and though it’s not unbearable, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a subgenre the film was presenting that I couldn’t grasp onto.

Arrival is real sci-fi, and its other genres include esoteric themes like discovery, cooperation, and smart people being smart (which I generally love). What usually improves a film like this is something strong like thriller or horror, but Arrival manages to glide by on pure drama (or the illusion of it, at least). Many viewers will be moved by the film, perhaps even to tears and especially if they’re parents, but there’s also a lot of cerebral content here as well, including an existential question that is sure to divide couples who see this film together (and for the right reasons).

arrival

Despite its inherent beauty and the usual trappings that make Villenueve’s work stand out amidst many other fall releases, I walked away from Arrival feeling more uncurious than I was before, and almost a bit slighted by how unfascinating its resolution turned out, even as I allowed myself to get swept up in the score and Adams’ effortless visage of hope and satisfaction. This is the kind of movie just begging to be rewatched, so you can uncover even more details the twist illuminates, but by the end of it, I felt quite done with the story, which felt less inviting for interpretation, and more like a complete thought you may or may not be interested in.

Grade: B+


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Or just say hello on Twitter: @JonNegroni


‘Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation’ Review — The Bomb Cruise

mission impossible rogue nation review

Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation is the fifth film in the nearly 20-year-old franchise, once again starring Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, as well as a host of old and new characters.

One of the interesting qualities of this franchise is the frequent remix of creativity. Each Mission: Impossible has had a different director. Many of them, like Brad Bird and J.J. Abrams, have managed to breathe life in the aging franchise, while others…John Woo…have made it gasp for air.

So I was pleasantly excited to hear that Christopher McQuarrie — known for Usual Suspects, Valkyrie, and last year’s Edge of Tomorrow — would be bringing his signature style to “Rogue Nation” as both writer and director. And as you can imagine, the results are excellent.

mission impossible rogue nation review

The basic set up of the film is pretty basic. The IMF (Impossible Mission Force) has been disbanded, and Ethan is now a fugitive hunted by the CIA. He has to gather old allies to combat a shadow organization that the CIA doesn’t believe exists called “The Syndicate,” aptly nicknamed the “Anti-IMF” by Simon Pegg’s character, Benji.

The Syndicate is composed of former government agents from around the world, sort of like a “dark” G.I. Joe, making them a pretty formidable foe for Ethan and his team. They’re not as chilling as Phillip Seymour Hoffman (the franchise’s best villain so far), but the plot is certainly fresher than Ghost Protocol and the second Mission: Impossible.

As always, Tom Cruise does many of the death-defying stunts we’ve come to expect in these films, adding to the tension of actually seeing him hang off of an airplane lifting off a runway. Every set piece in this movie graciously feels like a thrill ride that’s hard to get out of your head. You can tell that McQuarrie wanted to recapture some of the thriller aspects of the first Mission: Impossible, while making sure the action was nonstop as it’s been since M:I3. And it works to great effect.

mission impossible rogue nation review

You’ll probably love the characters, especially newcomer Rebecca Ferguson, who plays a femme fatale who seems to be having the most fun with her role. She’s electric on the screen and a welcome addition to the franchise. Alec Baldwin plays a CIA…manager or something…and has a forgettable role in my opinion, though the few scenes he’s in are pretty fun and break up the action.

Overall, this is an entertaining movie with great action and likable characters. I enjoyed it far more than this year’s Fast and Furious installment, a similar franchise that’s not ready to quit. Unlike that movie, “Rogue Nation” had me on the edge of the seat and smiling like a teenager all throughout.

Grade: B+ 

The villains aren’t particularly interesting and the smart plot is undercut by predictability, but the superb action scenes and great performances make this a standout in this year’s best action films.

Extra Credits

  • Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames are back and better than ever. I highly doubt the franchise would still be this good without them. I was less impressed with Renner, but he did have a running joke that had the whole theater laughing at one point.
  • I can neither confirm or deny that this movie is good. OK, I can.
  • They actually make fun of Tom Cruise’s height in this movie. Seriously.
  • The plane is hyped up in the trailers, but it’s not even the best scene. This was a great choice.
  • Hunt is the living manifestation of destiny!

Rogue Nation was directed and written by Christopher McQuarrie. It stars Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, Jeremy Renner as William Brandt, Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn, Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust, Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell, Sean Harris as Solomon Lane, and Alec Baldwin as Alan Huntley.

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

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