Posts Tagged ‘Wes Bentley’

Of Your Best Intentions

Mission Impossible: Fallout

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Sean Harris, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Wes Bentley, Michelle Monaghan, Angela Bassett, Frederick Schmidt

If the formula works, stick to it. Better yet, embellish on it and make it superb. If this is the maxim that brought superstar Tom Cruise to work again with writer director of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, then it proves that it works in the highly thrilling adrenaline fuelled sequel Mission Impossible: Fallout set mainly in London and Paris.

Cleverly bringing elements of the original 1996 Mission Impossible, the tightly controlled script adds some new characters in the form of the gorgeous blond femme fatale White Widow wonderfully played with suitable panache by The Crown star Vanessa Kirby who plays the daughter of the elusive espionage facilitator Max, played by Vanessa Redgrave in the original Mission Impossible.

Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and Michelle Monaghan reunite with Tom Cruise once again reprising his role as the IMF agent Ethan Hunt in a convoluted double crossing narrative in which arch enemy Solomon Lane played by Sean Harris is extracted in a daring sequence on the Parisian streets.

Newcomer to the franchise is Henry Cavill (The Man from U.N.C.L.E) as CIA assassin August Walker who brings a whole new level of male rivalry in the testosterone fueled action sequences containing Walker and Hunt.

Rebecca Ferguson returns as the lethal Ilsa Faust who is moonlighting as a Mi6 agent but secretly helping Ethan Hunt and his team.

From a spectacular rave sequence in Paris to the exteriors of The Tate Modern in London, Mission Impossible Fallout is a brilliant, gritty action film which proves that the combination of McQuarrie as writer and director and Tom Cruise as star is a winning formula.

Unbelievable helicopter stunts over Kashmir and a chase sequence in Paris, makes Mission Impossible: Fallout a must see action films especially recommended for fans of Rogue Nation and Ghost Protocol.

Ethan Hunt’s best intentions fallout as everything goes south literally in this superb sixth installment of the hugely successfully spy series.

Highly recommended viewing and possibly one of the best so far, Mission Impossible Fallout gets a film rating of 9 out of 10.

 

 

Party Packing a Punch

We Are Your Friends

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Director: Max Joseph

Cast: Zac Efron, Wes Bentley, Shiloh Fernandez, Jonny Weston, Jon Bernthal, Emily Ratajkowski, Alex Shaffer

Taking place during a steaming summer in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, documentary filmmaker turned feature director Max Joseph’s fantastic trance film We are your Friends starring Zac Efron (The Paperboy, That Awkward Moment) as Cole an aspiring DJ who along with his friends are struggling to make ends meet, while attempting to make that one track which all DJ’s become famous for.

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Soon Cole falls under the influence of the much older and debauched DJ, James wonderfully played by Wes Bentley (American Beauty, Interstellar) who introduces him to a more affluent crowd of party goers. James’ assistant is Sophie played by new actress Emily Ratajkowski last seen in Entourage who naturally becomes attracted to the much cooler Cole.

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Yet its Cole’s group of San Fernando buddies which he ultimately falls back on including Ollie played by the gorgeous Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood, White Bird in a Blizzard) along with the hot-headed Mason played by Jonny Weston (Taken 3, Chasing Mavericks) and the youngest member Squirrel played by Alex Shaffer, which make up his brat pack.

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Hence this foursome form the rather inane title of the film We are your Friends. Look out for a supporting role by Jon Bernthal (Fury, The Wolf of Wall Street) as a morally dubious property tycoon Paige who takes advantage of poor people’s homes moments before foreclosure.

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The crux of the narrative is the predictable yet destructible love triangle which forms between Efron, Bentley and the pouty yet clear-headed Ratajkowski as the action moves from L.A. to Vegas.

We are your Friends is like watching a film during a Trance Party, and as the music is so brilliant and while director Joseph’s stylised direction can be forgiven, it is a wonderful and energetic film to watch clearly aiming at the millennial generation, almost giving the viewers a sense of constantly being in a nightclub.

The stylization both works for and against the film, and is particularly effective during a frenetic scene when James takes the impressionable Cole to an upmarket art exhibition while both tripping on PCP or Angel’s Dust and suddenly the pop art on the walls take on an animated form.

Behind all the debauchery, there is also a flimsy moral lesson which each character has to learn and this gives the film some deeper resonance. In the end, Cole does find that one track that will secure him an impressive debut at the annual Summer Fest, but it’s not sounds generated from his laptop, but rather a more organic experiential track.

We are your Friends is a remarkably interesting film about the art of being a successful DJ and the sacrifices that go with it, within a completely hedonistic environment filled with parties, nightclubs and music festivals. This party film packs a punch reminiscent of the Brett Easton Ellis inspired film, Less Than Zero starring Robert Downey Jr in one of his first major roles.

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We are your Friends will be sure to find a cult audience amongst those born in the 1990’s, with an electrifying performance by the smouldering Zac Efron, who continually lights up the screen with his boyish grin and beautiful blue eyes.

 

The Lazarus Missions

Interstellar

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Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, John Lithgow, Casey Affleck, Matt Damon, Wes Bentley, Ellen Burstyn, David Oyelowo, Topher Grace, Timothee Chalamet

Memento meets Gravity in director Christopher Nolan’s epic space opera, Interstellar, a convoluted time travel astrophysical fantasy about a NASA astronaut who gets caught up in a mission to travel to an alternative Galaxy in a bid to save the remaining humanity on earth from a dwindling supply of oxygen.

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Assembling an all star cast is what director Nolan does best at insuring that his films have credibility as a blockbuster and with a range of stars, yet unlike Inception or The Prestige, his earlier films which dealt with dreams and magic, Interstellar tends to emulate the great director Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece: 2001: A Space Odyssey, yet falls short of its celestial aspirations, by not being a touch more sinister.

In parts, Interstellar is brilliant and ambitious, wonderfully scored with atmospheric music by Hans Zimmer and incredibly shot with those signature spiralling shots that Nolan is so fond of. However, Interstellar suffers from two shortcomings, taking the films weighty significance too seriously and secondly a serious lack of editing. The first and last sections of Interstellar weighs down the brilliance and absolute clarity of the middle section.

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With McConaughey fresh from his Oscar win on Dallas Buyers Club coupled with Hathaway fresh from her win in Les Miserables it seems like a perfect casting choice, but it’s flawed by its very contrivance. The part which does stand out so brilliantly is that of Murphy superbly played by the underrated Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain as Cooper’s grownup and embittered daughter who is hell bent in following in her father’s footsteps and traveling beyond the black hole to discover the reason for the earth’s imminent demise. Watch out for cameo appearances by Ellen Burstyn, Wes Bentley and David Oyelowo.

Fellow Oscar nominee Casey Affleck is also good as the stubborn yet stoical brother of Murphy in a part which is severely underwritten along with that of Oscar winner Michael Caine as Professor Brand who plays Hathaway’s enigmatic father, a scientist who masterminds the space exploration from the outset knowing that the intended consequences of such a doomed mission are dire and certainly revelatory at best.

Interstellar ‘s post-structural narrative gets more blurred, the further the astronauts travel through a celestial wormhole, around a vast system known as Gargantuan, soon realizing that their mission much like their own destiny is doomed to fail, resulting in a multitude of Lazarus missions.

The only subversive element is a rescued astronaut Mann, wonderfully played by Matt Damon, found on a frozen wasteland of a planet which seems to be the only alternative to the dust clad environment of a doomed earth, who is wily in his attempts to escape his icy predicament.

With a script by Jonathan Nolan, Interstellar suffers from too little said and not enough explained, while most of the narrative rests on some remarkably clever visual clues which only make sense in the last section of the film, which resembles a pastiche of Inception mixed with an unquantifiable mystical factor.

The cast with a threadbare script had little else to work on besides their own doomed destinies and the terrors of space. Thus there is loads of human anguish thrown in along with some stunning visuals, but at nearly three hours long Interstellar could have been expertly edited to make a more concise tale of 21st century doomed space exploration. Besides Anne Hathaway just doesn’t cut it as an astronaut and should stick to period dramas, where at least the claustrophobia is explained by historical context and not subliminal infinity.

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As an avid fan of Christopher Nolan films and trust me I loved The Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception, I personally found Interstellar fascinating yet an ultimately flawed and slightly contrived piece of cinema crippled by its unendurable length, without enough plot twists to generate sufficient audience excitement. Like Inception, Interstellar will certainly be open to discussion.

 

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