Showing posts with label Esai Morales. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Esai Morales. Show all posts

Friday, July 14, 2023

Review: "MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - Dead Reckoning Part One" Embraces the Impossible

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 32 of 2023 (No. 1921) by Leroy Douresseaux

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (2023)
Running time: 163 minutes (2 hours, 43 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 intense sequences of violence and action, some language and suggestive material
DIRECTOR:  Christopher McQuarrie
WRITERS:  Christopher McQuarrie and Erik Jendresen (based upon the television series created by Bruce Geller)
PRODUCERS: Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Fraser Taggart (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Eddie Hamilton
COMPOSER: Loren Balfe


Starring: Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Esai Morales, Pom Klementieff, Shea Whigham, Greg Tarzan Davis, Frederick Schmidt, Maria Garriga, Cary Elwes, and Henry Czerny

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is a 2023 action-thriller and espionage film directed by Christopher McQuarrie and starring Tom Cruise.  It is the seventh film in the Mission: Impossible film series, which is based on the American television series, “Mission: Impossible” (CBS, 1966-73), that was created by Bruce Geller.  In Dead Reckoning Part One, Ethan Hunt and his IMF team race to obtain half of a key that is connected to something that could be a doomsday device.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One opens in the Bering Sea.  Beneath the surface, an advanced Russian submarine, the “Sevastopol,” prepares to test a new AI (artificial intelligence) system.  But disaster strikes.

Later, Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny), the director of the IMF (Impossible Mission Force), offers IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) a new mission.  Should he accept, Hunt must retrieve half of a mysterious cruciform key.  It is currently in the possession of his ally, the former British agent, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who also has had a 50-million-dollar bounty placed on her.

Next, Hunt and his team – Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Luther Stickwell (Ving Rhames) – must trace the current holder of the second half of that cruciform key to a buyer.  However, the mission is complicated by the intercession of new players:  Grace (Hayley Atwell), a professional thief; Alanna Mitsopolis (Vanessa Kirby), a black-market arms dealers also known as the “White Widow;” and Paris (Pom Klementieff), a French assassin.  The most shocking new player is Paris' boss, Gabriel (Esai Morales), a powerful terrorist with an intimate connection to Ethan Hunt's past.  Ethan and his IMF team clash with these new people in a struggle for a key that is connected to something that could rule the world or destroy it, The Entity

I divide the six Mission: Impossible movies into two trilogies.  Mission: Impossible (1996), Mission: Impossible 2 (2000), and Mission: Impossible III (2006) make up the first trilogy.  Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011),  Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015), and Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) form the second trilogy.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is something new.  It was originally meant to be the first part of a two-part send off for Ethan Hunt, but that has apparently changed.  Still, Dead Reckoning Part One feels like the beginning of the end.  It's as if Ethan is facing his ultimate test, a mission in which most of the potential resolutions can make things worse for the U.S. and the rest of the world.  Honestly, this feels like a mission in which Ethan should not survive.

That aside, should you choose to accept this mission, dear readers, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is a non-stop thrill machine full of heart-pounding races, car chases, standoffs, and Tom Cruise running more than he ever has.  I balked at the runtime of two hours and forty-three minutes, but the film doesn't feel that long.  It's always moving and grooving to a electrifying pace.  The plot is a bit thin, and even that thinness manages to be a bit convoluted, but Dead Reckoning Part One moves too much to allow you to think about any inconsistencies.  Why think about plot when the action and thrills are so mesmerizing and exhilarating?  I had seen several video clips of Ethan Hunt's motorcycle cliff dive, which is the super-big stunt in Dead Reckoning Part One, but seeing the entire thing on the big, silver screen still made me nervous.  That's the peak power of the extravagant action movie treats that this film offers.

Dead Reckoning Part One has beautiful cinematography and a hypnotic, pounding film score, and killer production values.  Everyone is dressed so nicely, and all the sets put the art in art direction.  The cast is amazing, and I couldn't get enough of Pom Klementieff's Paris.  But the stars here are true movie star, Tom Cruise, and director Christopher McQuarrie.  They wanted to give people a reason to come back to movie theaters, and they have.  Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is the kind of high-quality and breath-taking entertainment that demands to be seen in a darkened movie theater with a bunch of other people as equally thrilled as you or I are.

8 of 10
★★★★ out of 4 stars

Friday, July 15, 2023

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Review: "Fast Food Nation" a Stomach-Turning Great Movie

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 50 (of 2007) by Leroy Douresseaux

Fast Food Nation (2006)
Running time: 113 minutes (1 hour, 53 minutes)
MPAA – R for disturbing images, strong sexuality, language, and drug content
DIRECTOR: Richard Linklater
WRITERS: Eric Schlosser and Richard Linklater (based upon the nonfiction book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser)
PRODUCERS: Jeremy Thomas and Malcolm McLaren
EDITOR: Sandra Adair


Starring: Patricia Arquette, Bobby Cannavale, Paul Dano, Frank Ertl, Luis Guzmán, Ethan Hawke, Ashley Johnson, Greg Kinnear, Kris Kristofferson, Avril Lavigne, Esai Morales, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Lou Taylor Pucci, Ana Claudia Talancón, Wilmer Valderrama, and Bruce Willis

Richard Linklater’s film, Fast Food Nation, is a fictional take on Eric Schlosser’s 2001 best-selling nonfiction book of the same name. Like the book, the film critiques America’s fast-food industry, and the narrative covers everything involved in manufacturing, marketing, and selling hamburgers. Linklater was nominated for the “Golden Palm” at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival for his work in this movie.

The story takes place in and around the imaginary city of Cody, Colorado. It begins with Don Anderson (Greg Kinnear), a hotshot marketing guru at the fictional Mickey’s burger chain. Don arrives in Cody to investigate why there are contaminants in the frozen patties used to make, “The Big One,” Mickey’s best-selling hamburger. His visit takes him inside the bowels of their patty supplier, Uni-Globe Meat Packing, where undocumented workers toil in wretched conditions. As he visits strip malls, ranchers, and suppliers, and people recommended to him, Don doesn’t see nearly all the people who are connected to him and his company. He wonders what his investigation will make of all these perspectives because the fast-food world turns out to be fraught with more peril than he ever realized.

Richard Linklater achieves that rare feat of directing two great films released in the same year: the trippy, animated, sci-fi drama, A Scanner Darkly and the recent socio-political drama, Fast Food Nation. Both films examine flawed, but likeable people caught in larger dramas and dealing with forces of which they have no control or have much less than they think. Both films are at their best when Linklater allows the narratives (and audience) to hang out with an eclectic collection of flawed characters. In that, Nation has some similarities to Robert Altman’s Short Cuts and John Sayles’ Sunshine State. Fast Food Nation, however, deals with the immediate world in which we live today.

While it may seem as if Linklater and his co-writer Eric Schlosser, the writer of this movie’s source, are condemning Nation’s characters to hopelessness, this film is a rallying cry to all of us to wake up about the food we put into our bodies – both the food itself and how and who produces it. Although Nation isn’t merely a message film, it is informing us of our food culture, and Linklater and Schlosser allow the characters to inform us in concise, but rich and vibrant banter and debates. To that end, the filmmakers assembled a far-flung cast made of one bona fide Hollywood megastar (Bruce Willis), some well-known film and TV stars (Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, and Greg Kinnear), some acclaimed veteran actors, (Luis Guzmán and Kris Kristofferson), and some up and coming young talent (Paul Dano, Ashley Johnson, and Catalina Sandino Moreno). It’s obvious watching these earnest performances that the cast believes in this film, and each actor does his or her point to tie the various sub-plots and storylines together, so rather than something disjointed, we get a coherent multi-layered narrative.

Fast Food Nation will make you think about fast food, in particularly meat: the dangerous conditions in which meat packing workers toil; how the industry obtains these workers and then virtually enslave them; and how the animals that become our food are treated. Perhaps, Nation’s strongest point is revealing again the conditions in which these animals live and what food and drugs they are given. In a matter-of-fact, but engaging visual style, Linklater turns real world news into cinematic art – the most essential and important, important film in years.

9 of 10

Tuesday, March 13, 2007