Are Timothee Chalamet & Lucas Hedges the new, De Niro & Pacino? That remains to be seen…

timotheeandlucas                           Over the years when a new upstart artist such as a singer, athlete, or actor comes along that is taking the world by storm the inevitable comparisons come with it. For example, in the case of M. Night Shyamalan, when he broke out with The Sixth Sense and then Unbreakable, people automatically started comparing him to two of the great directors of the last century. Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg were linked to Shyamalan. He was a suspense director who had a way with story and characters, qualities with which the aforementioned greats were associated. Now two young actors have come along that have garnered fame and acclaim. Timothee Chalamet and Lucas Hedges are two young men that people are talking about. Do they deserve the comparisons to De Niro and Pacino,though? That is the question that remains to be seen.

Obviously De Niro and Pacino have had great careers over the past 40 or 50 years, so it’s hard to make comparisons. So for the sake of argument I will only compare these two young actors to De Niro and Pacino for the length of time they have been in the limelight.

Let’s start with Chalamet. In his young career, he has been nominated for one Academy Award for his role as Elio Perlman in Call Me by Your Name in 2017. That was a breakout year for Chalamet. He also had smaller roles in Lady Bird and Hostiles. 2018 has been a good follow up or sophomore year if you will. With roles in Hot Summer Nights, in which he portrayed a drug dealer in Cape Cod, and Beautiful Boy, in which he portrayed a young man who was addicted to drugs. 2014 and 2015 were two years were Chalamet had smaller parts in Interstellar, Love the Coopers and Men, Women and Children. These first few year have been promising, but the upside is through the roof for Chalamet. Another possible Oscar nomination in his future with the Golden Globe and SAG nods he got for Beautiful Boy this year. He also stars in a remake of Little Women in 2019.

 

Now let’s talk about Lucas Hedges. Hedges came out of the blocks fast with his Academy Award nomination for portraying the son of a grieving father in Manchester by the Sea in 2016. In 2017, he had smaller roles in Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri. However 2018 is the breakout year for Hedges, with roles in three critically acclaimed films. Jonah Hill’s directorial debut mid90’s, Joel Edgerton’s Boy Erased, and his father’s Ben Is Back. Small roles in a couple Wes Anderson films, Dan In Real Life,  Zero Theorem, and Kill the Messenger in 2012 through 2014 help give his career credibility. All of these roles are distinctly different, but show Hedges range as an actor. Lucas is hoping to earn another Oscar nomination with his Golden Globe nominated turn in Boy Erased. Just like Chalamet, Hedges has as upside that is through the roof.

Now let’s compare Robert De Niro’s career the first three years or so. In 1973, he had roles in Mean Streets, directed by Martin Scorsese, and Bang the Drum Slowly, in which he portrayed a baseball catcher with cancer. The former would be the beginning of a beautiful collaboration between Scorsese and De Niro. In 1974, he would portray the younger version of Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II for Francis Ford Coppola. De Niro would win his first of two Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor. In 1974, he would star in what is arguably one of his greatest roles to date: Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver.

Pacino started out a little bit before Deniro so the years don’t add up like they do for Chalamet and Hedges. Pacino started out with the role of his lifetime in 1972, when he portrayed Michael Corleone in The Godfather, and again in 1974 in the Godfather Part II. He also starred as a heroin addict in Panic in Needle Park in 1971. Garnering and Academy Award nomination for The Godfather was just the first of many accolades he would receive. In 1973 he would get his first lead Academy Award nomination for portraying Frank Serpico in Serpico.

 

Chalamet and Hedges have garnered some acclaim and Academy Award nominations for Call Me By Your Name and Manchester By the Sea. Both are having good years this year. Building on this year is the key to growing as actors and in the public eye as celebrities. De Niro and Pacino acted in films that have garnered awards and fame for them both during the early 1970’s. The Godfather films and Taxi Driver are among my favorite films of all time and I’m not the only one that feels this way. Many years have given us time to appreciate these films and filmmakers who made them. Chalamet and Hedges haven’t had that time or years to show their worth yet. I’m sure they both will, though. Until then, De Niro and Pacino will remain in a league of their own. Right now, you can’t compare the careers of Chalamet and Hedges to that of De Niro and Pacino.

 

Dan Skip Allen

 

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Green Book Review

MV5BMjMyNzExNzQ5OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjM2MjIxNjM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,631,1000_AL_              Peter Farrelly isn’t usually known for more serious subject matter but, Green Book mixes some comedic moments and said serious subject matter. He has directed with his brother such films as Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary & Shallow Hal etc. These films are a lighter fair. There’s some comedic moments involving Viggo Mortensen’s character Tony Lip/Villalonga and Don Shirley Mahershala Ali’s character. They both come from different walks of life. Tony comes from a tough Italian neighborhood full of gangsters. Don Shirley lives in seclusion at the top of the Carnegie Hall. He dresses in his robes and sits on his throne. This leads to some very funny scenes. One in particular involving Kentucky Fried Chicken. Part of which you can see in the trailer. 

Viggo is coming off of an Academy Award nomination a couple years ago for Best Actor for  Captain Fantastic and Mahershala Ali is coming off of an Academy Award win for Best Supporting Actor for Moonlight. So these guys are a hot commodity in Hollywood. The chance they could team up for this two-hander is a good thing. Tony Lip is a family man who works at the Copacabana a famous nightclub in New York City and Shirley is a rather famous concert pianist. On some down time from the Copa Tony picks up a part time job as a chauffeur and muscle for Don Shirley. He’s embarking on a tour of the deep South. He needs Tony for his driving skills and protection.

 

Driving through the state’s and towns of the Midwest and South provides the characters time to acquaint themselves with each other. Of course they are vastly different people in every sense of the word. The title of the film Green Book comes into play as they have to schedule accommodations and leisure time. They both end up in different locations sometimes. This is the book that tells you where African Americans can eat and sleep in the south and still be safe. Another aspect of the deep South is curfews. Neither one of our main characters knew about this little detail of their travel itinerary. This provides for an interesting dynamic between Tony and Don Shirley.

In the end what this film is really about is a friendship between the two unlikely traveling companions. How there differences strengthen their friendship by the end of the film. Farrelly really does a great job of capturing this in the the film. This makes for two great performances from both the leading actors. They are both worthy of Academy Award nominations. Also a strong script by Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga and Brian Currie could be up for Best Original Screenplay. When you’re looking for a movie to see this holiday season look no further then Green Book. It’s the film everyone should see and it’s the film I can’t talk about enough. It’s such a warm family film even though it deals with some touchy subjects such as race, religion & sexual orientation. It handles these subjects very carefully with kid gloves. This is a beautiful film for people of all ages, races and sexes. I hope everybody loves Green Book as much as I did.

 

5 Stars

Dan Skip Allen

Most Popular Film Category Put on Hold

Due to peer pressure the academy has decided to put the most popular Oscar category on hold until  further notice. I believe that more films should be nominated due to the fact that there are so many films coming out in theaters every year. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 350 films come out every year now. That’s way up from the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s or 50’s many years ago. We need to figure out a way to reward all the great films that come out every year and not bury so many great films. The awards aren’t enough anymore to just say well 10 nominees and one winner or five nominees and one winner we need to have different categories so we can show that there are more than just art house and indie films that are great. Just because a movie cost 150 or 200 million doesn’t mean it’s not a great film those film should be  rewarded for some of the things that are different than art house and indie films. Such as special effects and spectacle. As far as Black Panther goes I believe it’s not the best MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) film this year. I believe that honor goes to Avengers: Infinity War. There is so much going on in Infinity War so many characters and so many storylines for that film to look and have such an emotional impact it’s definitely the best MCU film of the year. Is the post credit scene in Ant-Man and the WASP great film? No that’s not a whole film. Black Panther I feel like is more like Captain America: Winter Soldier than it is its own movie. I understand the diversity in the black cast and the whole idea of having and all black  film and whatnot I just don’t think it’s one of the best films of the year I mean they’re easily 15 or 20 films in my opinion that are better than Black Panther. Other films like Black K Klansman come to mind that are trying to do something similar as Black Panther and they do it a better way in my opinion. So does the film I’m Sorry to Bother You and Eighth Grade and Leave No Trace and First reformed. I mean there is so many even Incredibles 2 does the superhero genre better than Black Panther in my opinion.

As far as trying to get diversity in the acting and directing and cinematography categories.  Some of these categories I feel like you know you can compare film and movies in a way to baseball. Where  Major League Baseball wanted to get more more black Americans people to play the game of baseball. There losing people  so what did they do they started academies in places like Cuba and Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and Venezuela so they could become great prospects and baseball players in the future. This is what we need to do we’re not getting minority actors and actresses and people like this to do this kind of work cuz it’s not easy being a filmmaker in an actor in a cinematographer and a writer and so forth.  These jobs aren’t easy so I understand how having the Academy is having problems getting minorities to do this stuff is a difficult thing but force-feeding us minority films because you put a bunch of people into the academy so that’s going to change the type of films that get nominated I don’t think that’s the right way to go. We need to get the best people doing the this work you know people like Steve McQueen and Barry Jenkins as far as directors go they worked hard to get where they came up through the system made smaller movies.The same thing works  for Spike Lee he has worked his way up over the decades to become one of the great filmmakers there is. There was a time he didn’t just start out becoming a great filmmaker deserving Oscar nominations yet did he make a really good film In Do the Right Thing sure. And then what did he do? He started out doing Nike commercials. and stuff like that. so the actors and the directors need to hone their craft to get to the point where they’re successful. For instance Amandla Stenberg she worked her way up through doing the Hunger Games then she did Everything,Everything then she did The Darkest Minds this summer which wasn’t the best movie and now she’s got the Hate You Give so little by little by little she has been doing the work and so she’s going to eventually get rewarded. For that you just can’t throw these people into Oscar consideration when they haven’t had a body of work that deserves it or performance that deserves it. I think that films such as Crazy Rich Asians are interesting and entertaining films but they’re not Oscar contenders the films that are coming out in the fall like First Man, Boy Erased, Old Man, and the Gun, Can You Ever Forgive Me, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Front Runner and Roma and so many other films like these are the kinds of films that deserve to be looked at if they turn out to be bad films then you forget them. Then put them to the wasteside but we’ve already got 15 or 20 and that to me is what should be celebrated not diversity in Asians Latinos and African-Americans and film in cinematography and directing. The Brits and Aussie do it right. They have their children learn acting and filmmaking at a young age. It’s part of there school curriculum. So that’s why they are far ahead of other countries in learning to be actors, actresses and filmmakers.

For example we have three great directors from Mexico Alejandro, Gonzalez iInarritu Alfonso Curon and Guillermo del Toro. These guys work their way up they did small films they all had different paths to getting to where they are today but they’re all oscar-winning directors and they did it by working hard coming up through the system and they didn’t ask for anything they they went out and they did the work and then eventually they were rewarded for doing the work Curon for Gravity, Guillermo Del Toro for The Shape of Water, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Birdman and the Revenant. I mean these are all great films so once they build up their reputation then they were considered great filmmakers and the opportunities are out there but you have to go do the work and you have work hard at it and then you’ll eventually get rewarded. A lot of these categories I think people have to remember that when it comes to the Oscars you shouldn’t just be able to give all these Awards away to people just because they’re Asian or Black or Latino.

 

By Dan Skip Allen

Top 10 Films of 2018 2/3rd’s…of the year!

2018 has been a great year for films. This year has had plenty of blockbusters, documentaries, animated films and indie films alike. A lot of films have had a buzz behind them but, came and went with a fizzle. 2018 has had  quite a few sequels as well. some with a lot of fan fare. People have been looking forward to them because the first film was so popular with fans and film critics alike. With studios trying to find fertile ground to put there films not many weeks went by without seeing a big releases. February was once a toilet bowl of movie season with the occasional gem such as Silence of the Lambs coming out. March has become a huge landing spot for major studios the last few years as well. Even Disney/Marvel has changed its release date to April 27th on its tentpole film to get some breathing room from other big productions in May. May is the official beginning of the summer film season. With a film coming out each week all summer long. This year has had so many ups and downs regarding its films. Its safe to say thought that there were about fifteen great film up to the month of August, 2/3rd’s of 2018.

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15:Avengers:Infinity War: Avengers:Infinity War is directed by Joe & Anthony Russo and stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt, Josh Brolin and Tom Hiddleston. Thanos is on his mission to collect all the Infinity Stones and nothing The Avengers do can will stop him. The Russo’s up the ante for this big budget blockbuster. Teaming all the hero’s from all the MCU Movies (Marvel Cinematic Universe). This film as plenty of action comedic and scenes alike. It’s The Avengers movie we’ve all been waiting for over ten years.

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14:Blindspotting: This film is directed by Carlos Lopez Astrada and stars Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal. Collin must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning in his Oakland, Calif., neighborhood. His bond with his volatile best friend soon gets tested when Collin sees a police officer shoot a suspect in the back during a chase through the streets. Things soon come to a head when the buddies attend a party at the upscale home of a young and wealthy tech entrepreneur.

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13:Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot: This film is directed by Gus Van Sant and stars Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara and Jonah Hill. After nearly dying in a car accident, the last thing Oregon slacker John Callahan intends to do is give up alcohol. Encouraged by his girlfriend and a charismatic sponsor, Callahan reluctantly enters a treatment program and discovers that he has a knack for drawing. The budding artist soon finds himself with a new lease on life when his edgy and irreverent newspaper cartoons gain a national and devoted following.

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12:Hearts Beat Loud: This Film is directed by Bret Haley and stars Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons. Father daughter are heading in different directions until they decide to make music again. Like they did when they both were younger. The songs are catchy and the  story is compelling. I had a tear in my eye and a song in my heart. Bret Haley knows how to pull the heartstrings.

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11:You Were Never Really Here: This film is directed by Lynn Ramsey and stars Joaquin Phoenix. Joe isn’t your average Hit man. He seems to live a normal life but he gets played to rescue kidnapped children from there captures. Lynn Ramsey sends Joe on a bloody violent path of revenge. This film is gritty and bloody and violent and I loved it.   

 

The Top 10 of 2018…So Far.

 

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10:Sorry, to Bother You: This film is directed by Boots Riley and stars Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson and Armie Hammer. In an alternate reality of present-day Oakland, Calif., telemarketer Cassius Green finds himself in a macabre universe after he discovers a magical key that leads to material glory. As Green’s career begins to take off, his friends and co-workers organize a protest against corporate oppression. Cassius soon falls under the spell of Steve Lift, a cocaine-snorting CEO who offers him a salary beyond his wildest dreams.

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9:Incredibles 2: This Film is directed by Brad Bird and stars Holly Hunter, Craig T.  Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson, Bob Odenkirk, Kathryn Keener, Sarah Vowell and Huck Milner. 14 years was too long to wait for the sequel everybody has been wanting. Brad Bird picks up right where he left off literally and figuratively. This time the roles are swapped Mr. Incredible/Bob Parr stays home to keep and eye on the kids and Elastigirl/Helen Parr is out fighting crime.

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8:A Quiet Place: This film  is directed by John Krasinski and stars himself, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmons and Case Woodward. Lee Abbott is a man who care about nothing else except protecting his family from creatures who can’t see you but they can hear you. John becomes a breakout director in the genre that keeps on giving, the horror genre. Emily Blunt and Millicent Simmons are incredible without saying word.

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7:Three Identical Strangers: This film is directed by Tim Wardle. Identical triplets become separated at birth and adopted by three different families. Years later, their amazing reunion becomes a global sensation but also unearths an unimaginable secret that has radical repercussions.

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6:Eighth Grade: This film is directed by Bo Burnham and stars Elsie Fisher. Thirteen-year-old Kayla endures the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of middle school — the end of her thus far disastrous eighth-grade year.

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5:Won’t You Be My Neighbor: This film is directed Morgan Neville. Love is a way of life for Fred Rogers. He has dedicated his life to showing children via his tv show about the world and it’s problems. Talking heads discuss how he has made the world around him and there lives better.

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4:Hereditary: This  film is directed by Ari Aster and stars Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Ann Dowd, Alex Wolf and Milly Shapiro. A mother has to deal with a recent death but also tries to juggle the problems of her daughter and son. She enlists help from a support group friend but it makes things worse for her and her whole family. This is a mind blowing film of tragedy terror.

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3:Leave No Trace: This film is directed by Debra Granik and stars Ben Foster and Thomason McKenzie. A father and daughter live a perfect but mysterious existence in Forest Park, a beautiful nature reserve near Portland, Ore., rarely making contact with the world. But when a small mistake tips them off to authorities, they are sent on an increasingly erratic journey in search of a place to call their own.

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2:First Reformed: This film is  directed by Paul Schrader and stars Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried and Cedric  The Entertainer. Reverend Toller meets a man and his wife and this fateful meeting makes him spiral out of control. With pressure from Super Church Pastor and a local businessman he questions everything he knows. Paul Schrader crafts an absolute masterpiece of cinema.

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1:Black K Klansman: From visionary filmmaker Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an American hero. It’s the early 1970s, and Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. The young detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation of a lifetime. Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group as the organization aims to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream. Produced by the team behind the Academy-Award® winning Get Out.

The rest of the year has plenty of other potential films that could end up on this list by the end of 2018. Films from Damien Chazelle, The First Man, Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk, Steve MaQueen, The Widows and of course your holiday fair. Such as Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindlewald, Aquaman, Spider-man:Into the Spider Verse, Mary Poppins Returns, Bohemian Rhapsody and Bad Times at the El Royale just to name a few. You never know a surprise of two could pop up as well. we will just have to see which films rise to the top to become the cream of the crop of 2018.

Dan Skip Allen

 

 

 

Sorry, To Bother You Review

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Sorry, to Bother You-Review

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Lakeith Stanfield plays Cassius Green a struggling guy who lives with his girlfriend Misty, portrayed by Tessa Thompson, in his uncle’s garage in Sorry, to Bother You. Cassius is applying for a telemarketing job so he can pay his rent and take care of his girl and himself. It’s not the ideal job he wants but it’s all he can get at the moment. As long as he Sticks to the Script (S.T.T.S) he’ll do ok. Cassius catches on quickly at Regalview and gets a promotion upstairs to become a power caller.

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Cassius alienates his friends and coworkers who are trying to get better rights and pay for the workers at Regalview. They plan a work off by doing a phones down stance. And later picketing scabs. At this point Cassius is one of the big shots and his girlfriend Misty doesn’t like what he’s become at the expense of his friends. She leaves him all alone with his new apartment and car, Maserati.  

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Bootz Riley has assembled a great cast of up and comers such Steven Yun as Squeeze a co worker at the telemarketing office, Terry Cruz as Cassius’s Uncle and Armie Hammer as an aloof owner of a controversial company called Worry Free. Riley has never directed before so to get all this young talent for his feature debut was quite the cue. The script and subject matter are the reasons why they all signed on to this film.

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If you ever worked for a company or employer who uses the laws to underpay or mistreat employees you can relate to Sorry, to Bother You. This film has a political viewpoint of the treatment of people at the hands of greedy businesses and the like. Riley wants you to understand your the victim at the hands of these people. It’s not your fault your poor and struggle from day to day. You are owed a better life by these companies and businesses in terms of better benefits and wages.

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The way he goes about this is the odd thing. This film really has weird turn in the third act but by then the message is loud and clear. You just have to overlook the weirdness of this part of the film. This is an incredible film with a great story. Until the end that is. Even only having 3 channels on tv when Cassius is flipping stations is part of the overall depth of this film. An art show by Misty is very self indulgent though. By this point in the film Riley is hitting you over the head with opinions of the world we live in. Life isn’t fun more times than not. People are always going to struggle. And the Rich are going to keep trying to be richer any way they can. I hear you Bootz Riley loud and clear. Your message doesn’t get past me at all.

 

4 stars

Dan Skip Allen

 

Mission Impossible:Fallout Review A dream foreshadows an ominous time for Ethan Hunt, played for the 6th time by Tom Cruise, in Mission Impossible:Fallout. Getting a call from his IMF liaison Alan Hunley, played by Alec Baldwin, gets Ethan, Luther and Benji, reprising their roles again are Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg, back into action. They have to make a deal to buy some weapons grade plutonium from from some Irish arms dealers. When the deal goes south all hell breaks loose. It turns out a group of men calling themselves the Apostles led by Solomon Lane are responsible. This gets the CIA involved and Deputy Director Sloane, played by Angela Bassett, is not a happy camper at what happened in Berlin. She sicks her dog otherwise known as Walker, portrayed by Henry Cavill, on Ethan. They have to remain together for the rest of the mission to get the plutonium back from these terrorists. So they both go to France to broker a trade with The White Widow, portrayed by Vanessa Kirby, from the Netflix show The Crown. Add in the return of Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa and you have another remarkable edition to the Mission Impossible Franchise. Tom Cruise is known for doing his own stunts in these Mission Impossible films and others over the years. A bathroom fight scene is nothing to shake your head at though. Walker and Hunt are in a fight for their lives and they barely make it out alive. Then again you know they will. Trying to do a prisoner extraction Ethan has to to run from quite a few French police officers. This leads to an incredible motorcycle chase scene. Even incredible for Tom Cruise. Ilsa even gets to join in on the fun. That’s nothing compared to this though. A helicopter scene near the end of the film will take your break away. I was hyperventilating watching this scene unfold on screen. It’s one of the most harrowing scenes I’ve seen in my entire movie watching life. And I’ve been watching movies for 35, nearly 40 years. The stunt coordinator deserve their pay and some for that scene alone. The cinematography is breathing as well. Especially during the helicopter scene. Of course if you read the title of the film you know bombs or explosions are a big part of the film. This could have multiple meanings though that’s all I’ll say on that. The plutonium plays a major role in the film and those were some great scenes. The story is a bit convoluted with names like John Lark. You are confused by who this man is throughout the film but like everything else in Mission Impossible Fallout it’s resolved to your satisfaction. This film captures are minds because of the things going in the world. All of the terror activity makes what you see on the theater screen that much more realistic in nature. Christopher Mcquarrie has worked on the last two MI films. Rogue Nation being his last. He has an eye for action and suspense. When you hear that iconic MI theme music you know something crazy is about to happen. MI:Fallout is a relevant film for the times but, it also has a story and plenty of action and suspense to make it one of the best in the franchise. I could see these films as long as Tom Cruise wants to make them. This was an incredible action packed thrill ride from beginning to end. 4 ½ stars Dan Skip Allen

The Best Films of 2016

Movie Nation

Perhaps we, ok I, have been too hasty to write off 2016 at the movies.

Sure, the dead stretches have been corpse-strewn, but a year that started with “Deadpool” can’t be a total write-off, can it?

The exceptional films are as rare as they always are, but the great muddled middle brow/middle-ground fare seems to be of a somewhat higher caliber.

Mainstream thrillers like “The Accountant” and “Girl on the Train” were watchable, a true story action picture like “Deepwater Horizon” is almost enough to restore your faith in Mark Wahlberg. I can’t recall a movie whose dazzling visuals and sound made me duck at what I was sure was flying off the screen the way that one did.

Horror produces so much that’s forgettable, that remembering what’s good enough to attract a decent cast (“Ouija 2”) or new twists on basic fears (“Don’t Breathe”) is a worthwhile exercise.

The…

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