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Posts Tagged ‘Michelle Monaghan’

Tom Cruise

“MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT” My rating: B-

147 minutes| MPAA rating: PG-13

The latest “Mission: Impossible” is being hyped as possibly the greatest action film of all time.

Well, there’s no arguing that “Fallout” has some of the best conceived and executed action sequences ever, with star Tom Cruise appearing to risk life and limb to deliver the thrills audiences expect. (Of course, in this age of seamless CGI moviegoers can’t even be sure that a simple sunset is the real deal. Probably best to take the Cruise heroics with a grain of salt.)

Here’s the downside.  In his effort to deliver bigger, better stunts (he’d already set the bar impossibly high with 2015’s “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation”) writer/director Christopher McQuarrie has jettisoned just about every other dramatic element.

Character development?  Hah.

Coherent plotting? You need a flow chart and a PowerPoint demonstration to make sense of it all.

Emotional content?  Gimme a break.

No, this latest “M:I” is essentially a perpetual motion machine careening from one splashy sequence to the next.  The connective material — the moments when the film slows down enough to explain what’s going on or to establish who’s who —  is actually kind of irritating.  It’s like being told to eat your peas before you can have some ice cream.

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Gerard Butler in "Machine Gun Preacher"

“MACHINE GUN PREACHER” My rating: B (Opens wide on Oct. 7)

127 minutes | MPAA rating: R

God doesn’t need more sheep, impassioned lay preacher Sam Childers tells his small-town Pennsylvania congregation. He needs wolves, men and women willing to fight — physically fight — against Satan.

The evocatively titled “Machine Gun Preacher” (it sounds like a Roger Corman exploitation effort) is very much about the wolf lurking inside the most pious of us.

The story of the real-life Childers — a ex-con who found Jesus, created a mission for orphaned children in the civil war-torn Sudan and became a sort of vengeful freedom fighter against the depredations of guerilla leader Joseph Kony and his notorious Lord’s Resistance Army — is simultaneously inspiring and deeply disturbing.

And in the hands of director Marc Forster (“Finding Neverland,” “Monster’s Ball,” “Stranger than Fiction”) and star Gerard Butler (who redeems his recent history of gosh-awful rom-coms) it becomes one of the year’s most unusual and challenging films.

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