Friday, July 31, 2015
Posted by Kam at 1:11 PM
Posted by Kam at 12:24 PM
Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation
Film Review by Kam Williams
Cruise and Company Reunite to Topple Terrorist Organization
Rogue Nation is the fifth installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise featuring Tom Cruise as the dashing and daring Ethan Hunt. This episode has everything you'd expect from an action-oriented espionage thriller: international intrigue, irresistible eye candy and edge-of-your-seat fight and chase sequences.
Just past our unflappable protagonist's death-defying airplane stunt in the picture's opening scene, we find him put out to pasture and retiring to Europe where he soon disappears from the grid entirely. It seems that his Impossible Mission Force (IMF) is being disbanded by the U.S. Senate Oversight Committee at the behest of CIA Director Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin), an inept, if well-intentioned bureaucrat.
A governmental directive for IMF spies to come in from the proverbial cold gives evil a license to thrive, especially the Syndicate, a clandestine confederacy of assassins bent on what else but world domination. Ignoring the orders of his superiors, Ethan instead recruits former colleagues William (Jeremy Renner), Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) for help in toppling the power-hungry terrorist organization. And the team of veteran sleuths is ably assisted in that endeavor by Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson), an inscrutable double-agent with mysterious motives.
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie, MI5 is as cerebral and multi-layered as it is high-octane and visually-captivating. Overplotted to the point of incomprehension, this is one brainteaser you might be better off not bothering to decipher. I say, simply sink into your seat and soak in the sweeping panoramas, the IMF team's infectious camaraderie, and wave after wave of their derring-do, whether by land, sea or air.
The epitome of a bona fide summer blockbuster!
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for action, violence and brief partial nudity
Running time: 132 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
To see a trailer for Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOW_azQbOjw
Posted by Kam at 2:46 AM
Thursday, July 30, 2015
BIG BUDGET FILMS
Posted by Kam at 6:55 AM
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Posted by Kam at 2:42 PM
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Film Review by Kam Williams
Next Generation of Griswolds Heads for Walley World in Travel Franchise's 7th Episode
National Lampoon's Vacation is an enduring film franchise launched back in 1978 by the late John Hughes, the brains behind such Chicago-centric screen classics as Ferris Bueller's Day Off; Trains, Planes & Automobiles; Home Alone; Uncle Buck; and Baby's Day Out, to name a few. The original Vacation adventure featured the Griswold family's very eventful road trip from the Windy City to L.A.
This nostalgic seventh installment not only resurrects Walley World amusement park as its destination point, but has Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo reprising their iconic roles as Clark and Ellen Griswold, respectively. However, they couple's been reduced to a cameo appearance in favor of a plot revolving around their son Rusty's (Ed Helms) nuclear family.
At the point of departure, we find Rusty sorely in need of a break from the rat race as an overworked pilot for a budget airline carrier. He plans to both spice up his stale marriage and spend some quality time with his sons during the drive across the country. Of course, the highway gods have other ideas in mind, as the perils laying in wait range from robbery to raw sewage.
My biggest problem with this relatively-salacious episode rests in its obession with sexuality, and often in offensive fashion. For example, when younger son Kevin (Steele Stebbins) asks, “Dad, what's a pedophile?” he is inappropriately informed that “It's when a man and a boy love each other very much.” It doesn't help that the kid subsequently encounters a “glory hole” in a rest stop bathroom ostensibly cruised by gay men.
There is also a homophobic tone cast over the entire picture, coming courtesy of Kevin's relentless bullying of his effeminate big brother, James (Skyler Gisondo). The mean-spirited mistreatment includes teasing his sibling about having a vagina and choking him with a plastic bag. Even the boy's father piles on periodically, like when he suggests that Kevin scratches like a girl when he fights instead of punching. Rusty's wife Debbie (Christina Applegate) isn't much of a role model either, between overimbibing in a “Chug Run” during a pit stop and 'fessing up about having developed a bad reputation in college for showing her breasts to anybody who asked.
From full-frontal male nudity to an F-word laced theme song, Vacation is a cringe-inducing disappointment that bears little resemblance to the original it so desperately endeavors to pay homage to.
Fair (1 star)
Rated R for brief male frontal nudity, sexuality, crude humor, mature themes and pervasive profanity
Running time: 99 minutes
Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures
To see a trailer for Vacation, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kleG7XCqOb4
Posted by Kam at 4:31 PM
Best of Enemies
Film Review by Kam Williams
Sixties Documentary Revisits Legendary Debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley
Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, Jr. were among the most brilliant and articulate minds of their generation. The pair were also polar opposites, politically, which made the idea of hiring them to appear in a series of televised debates an absolute stroke of genius.
This was the brainchild of ABC-TV back in 1968, at a time when the network's news department lagged far behind both CBS and NBC in the ratings. The plan was to have the liberal Vidal and conservative Buckley square-off during its coverage of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions being staged that summer in Chicago and Miami Beach, respectively.
Arranging the showdown proved to be easier said than done, since the men not only hated each other politically, but personally as well. After all, Buckley saw himself as the defender of old-fashioned values and the status quo in the face of the Sixties' counter-cultural revolution demanding equal rights for blacks, gays, women and other oppressed groups.
As expected, sparks flew during the spirited tete-a-tetes marked as much by effete Buckley's arcane syntax as by firebrand Vidal iconoclastic comments. However, because neither participant wanted to lose, what began as sophisticated intellectual analysis eventually degenerated into an exchange of insults.
When Vidal referred to Buckley as a “crypto-Nazi,” he lost his composure and called his opponent a “queer.” A defamation lawsuit and counter-suit ensued, and the litigation would drag on for years.
Co-directed by Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville, Best of Enemies is a fascinating documentary which revisits a seminal moment in the history of TV. For, the explosive Vidal-Buckley arguments over hot-button topics ranging from religion to sexuality served to usher in a new era in terms of discourse over the airwaves.
Besides archival footage of the debates, the conventions and anti-war demonstrations raging right outside, the film features commentary by luminaries like Frank Rich, John McWhorter and the late Christopher Hitchens. A must-see account of the birth of passionate, television punditry.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for sexuality, nudity and profanity
Running time: 88 minutes
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures / Magnet Releasing
To see a trailer for Best of Enemies, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzgfQvB2dvA
Posted by Kam at 3:48 PM
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Posted by Kam at 8:36 AM
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Posted by Kam at 6:09 PM