IMDB Score: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Directed by: Brad Bird
By Ben Dauber
Stylish, sexy, and frantically paced Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol has what it takes to keep butts in the seats.
The makeover of the franchise was successful as director Brad Bird was able to keep all of the action while updating, among other things, the cast and the overall feel of the film.
As always in Mission Impossible films the plot is laid out very simply, and if you choose to accept it and allow the gadgets and hand to hand combat to do their job is always worth a watch.
The gadgets are present in full effect and the exotic locales certainly lend an element of novelty and nuance to the film that was present in its successors.
Despite its PG-13 rating (which to me is a death sentence o most action films) the movie has its fair share of ass kicking, it lacks a love scene but hey you can’t have everything.
Tom Cruise delivers a predictably badass performance as one of his namesake characters Ethan Hunt, but the actors cast around him are what make the film a successful reinvention.
Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, and Simon Pegg each add an element necessary to make the film a successful update on the 90’s hit.
Renner has become an action movie must have and lends a certain sarcastic edge that is his trademark.
Paula Patton is the heartthrob without doubt. Tan, mysterious, and able to kick your ass she makes the film worth watching even if it’s on mute.
Simon Pegg (AKA Shaun of the Dead) lends a plucky sense of humor that helps ensure that the film doesn’t take itself too seriously. This was one of Bird’s major successes in the film, keeping the action but ensuring the movie still had some comedic perspective and some self-deprecating jabs.
Definitely worth a watch, holiday ass-kicking helps people like me stay sane.
Directed by – Martin Scorsese
IMDB – 8.5
Rotten Tomatoes – 94%
A surprising departure from the average children’s film Hugo pairs excellent narrative structure with superb casting to make Martin Scorsese’s fantastic children’s narrative a must watch.
Ranking at an 8.5 out of 10 on IMDB and a shocking 94% on Rotten Tomatoes critics agree that Hugo is something to behold.
Hugo’s Rotten Tomatoes rating eclipses Cinderella, Beauty and The Beast, and Aladdin. I personally wouldn’t mention Hugo and Aladdin in the same sentence but the hype surrounding this film is undeniable.
Hugo is reminiscent of Charlie and The Chocolate if it was bolstered by the advent of 3D and the strong, emotional, and detail heavy narrative style Scorsese brings to all of his films.
The film centers around an orphan named Hugo Cabret, played by Asa Butterfield. Losing his father to a fire at a young age Hugo is pushed into the hands of his drunken uncle who is responsible for maintaining the numerous and ornate clocks of a large train station in Paris.
As Hugo struggles to find his purpose, and what may be left of his family, he goes on an explorative journey that could entertain just about anybody.
The movie is mainly shot on film but Scorsese melds CGI and animation seamlessly to create a truly magnificent dream-like style of moviemaking.
Another area where Hugo excelled was with an excellent supporting cast. Veteran character actor Ben Kingsley and the surprisingly effective Sacha Baron Cohen fill out a strong group of actors that truly make Hugo come to life.
Known for starring in shock-comedy films like Borat and Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen makes a surprising departure into family films. Providing will timed comedic breaks and a convincing portrayal of the station inspector and villain Cohen was a strong addition to the cast.
Ben Kingsley also had a convicing performance as the enigmatic Georges Melies whose emotional transformation throughout the work is one of the main reasons the film is worth watching.
Strongly cast, creatively shot and emotionally satisfying Hugo is a holiday family film that would be a shame to miss. The 3D is a plus but the selling point here is the story. The price of admission is more than worth it as Hugo truly pushes the expectations of family films.
IMDB Score: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
Directed by: Brett Ratner
By Ben Dauber
Every year as Thanksgiving rolls around a handful of family films seem to be released in an attempt to grab our attention as we sit at grandma’s house the day before the big meal. It’s a film that everyone can watch. It usually has a love story and some family directed emotional appeals, but most of all it has some cheap laughs and a happy ending (that even though it embarrasses me to admit it) makes you feel a little warm and fuzzy on the inside.
Tower Heist securely falls into this category, more gimmick and flash than actual substance the film is entertaining up to a point. And as far as the family/holiday film genre goes it is a solid but not excellent entry.
The cast is comprised of past-their-prime comic icons, and despite playing the same characters they play in every movie Stiller and Murphy still manage to get their fair share of laughs. Ben Stiller is again the neurotic and constantly underestimated hero of the film who is complimented by the brash and extroverted humor of Eddie Murphy.
Even though the style of humor is nothing new the duo still deliver enough entertainment to push the film through its less interesting points. Where I feel the film excelled is in putting a twist on some of the basics as well as bolstering the two stars with a strong supporting cast.
The film centers around the hardworking staff of The Tower condominium complex that houses New York’s ultra-wealthy. Stiller is the manager of this relatable gang of misfits, and it is he that spearheads the heist when they find out their pensions have been defrauded by the excellently evil Arthur Shaw (played by Alan Alda).
Stiller then patches together a band of golden-hearted misfits which help him plan the impossible robbery of Shaw’s penthouse in order to get the working folks of The Tower their money back. With the help of small-time criminal and child hood friend Eddie Murphy the rag tag crew goes through an entertaining series of criminal training exercises.
Without telling you too much about the film (because it is the surprise and single use only comic ploys that make it worth watching) it undoubtedly has the classic Hollywood happy ending we all expected.
A cinematic achievement it is not, but there is something to be said for a film that you can watch with mom and dad without blushing that is still somewhat worth your time. Unless you plan on entertaining your family I may not spend the money to see it in theaters, however if you get the stomach flu and run out of sick-day Netflix options you could do much worse than Tower Heist.