Sunday, August 12, 2018

Ranking the Mission: Impossible franchise

Ranking the Mission: Impossible franchise
Tom Cruise was already a breakout star in the 1980s with movies like TapsRisky Business, Top Gun, and Rain Man under his belt. Heading into the '90s, Cruise was on his way to take over the box-office and change the action genre forever with a little movie called Mission: Impossible. Starring as IMF agent Ethan Hunt in 1996, he started a franchise that twenty-two years down the road is still going strong. Honestly, it just doesn't feel like a proper summer at the movies without Cruise headlining this thrilling franchise that just keeps getting better and better. With the release of the sixth movie (read my review here), I'm ranking the Mission: Impossible series.  How would you rank the franchise so far? Feel to let me know in the comments!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

5 (Real) Ideas to Fix the Oscars

Award shows should be an exciting affair, and generally, they are for the people who they’re geared towards – Grammys ring in devoted music lovers, Tonys for the theatre crowd, Oscars for cinemaphiles, and so on. Over the past several years though, the Academy Awards has felt pressure to up its ratings despite movie fans being okay with the ceremony format (excluding the lack of diversity, of course).

With making the Oscars more dynamic in mind, the Academy Awards's planned some big changes. Two, in particular, set fire to our community: the show's running time will be limited to three hours period (by filming the technical winner's speeches during commercials and then aired as a montage). And, creating a new separate category for Popular Film instead of acknowledging blockbusters with other Best Picture nominees.

While their new ideas certainly had good intentions, it's not difficult to notice that the Oscars ceremony continues to gloss over its other mistakes. From forced comedy sketches to general pat-each-other-on-the-pack merriment, there's harmless flubs that makes it feel like we're watching the same ceremony over and over again; small reasons why the ratings continue to decline. So, how can the most anticipatory time of the year for movie buffs actually change for better? I have a few ideas. I'd love to know how you feel about the Oscars's announcements. Let me know in the comments!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Why It’s Okay To Lean Onto Fandom in Troubled Times

Every day there are always more shocking and disturbing headlines highlighting what’s going wrong in the world. Not that tragic, controversial, or destructive incidents haven’t been occurring since the beginning of time, but now with social media, the spotlight singles out every event at the same time: gun violence, net neutrality, police brutality, incompetent governments, Families Belong Together, horrific allegations of abuse and sexual assault - to name a few. As technology captures every minuscule or massive piece of news, the world never stops watching and reporting, moving faster than humans can to process one event from the next.

The news has become so rampant and extreme, reality is a blender of all of our scariest dystopias because life is becoming a real dystopia. One day it’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The next day it’s 1984. Or Brave New World or Animal Farm. Combining them all together can feel like we're in a never-ending episode of Black Mirror, so much so we only wish Rod Serling was narrating us for The Twilight Zone. While we all have the best intentions to log onto the internet or social media to stay-up-to-date, what we see and read almost binds us to our sails being deflated. No matter what at the end of the day we're still normal people with a sense of responsibility to the world around us, who are also trying to do our best. But it's also so easy to feel absolutely helpless about it all.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Top Nomination Picks for the 70th Emmy Awards


Top Nomination Picks for the 70th Emmy Awards
Summer is winding down, but the new season of television is just around the corner. Which means it's almost the biggest time of the year for TV land. On September 17th, 2018, the Emmy Awards will celebrate actors and series nominated by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Will Donald Glover make history again? Will underdogs like The Americans have a chance to sweep? I thought it might be fun to share my top picks of major award categories (check out the full list of nominees here). Who do you hope will win at the 70th Emmys? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Friday, August 3, 2018

Mission: Impossible Fallout (2018) Is The Best Franchise That Keeps Getting Better

mission impossible fallout movie review On the very rare occasion that Tom Cruise doesn’t deliver on his promise to thrill moviegoers, almost every summer we count on the world renown star to bring on the excitement as the daring spy Ethan Hunt. Waiting for another installment has become an event in itself for fans anticipating where Cruise will take his passion for this sage next. Coming back for the sixth time, Mission: Impossible Fallout proves to be the best entry in a franchise that just keeps getting better.

After failing to recover three plutonium nuclear cores, IMF Agent Ethan Hunt is forced to team up with the CIA’s top assassin August Walker (Henry Cavill) to prevent the weapons from falling into the hands of a religious anarchist group known as the Apostles. While dealing with the aftermath of capturing one of its dangerous associates Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), Hunt’s past comes back to haunt him.

Every Mission: Impossible has been naturally different in their own way as the films have changed hands between directors, writers, and supporting casts. Despite several transitions between movies, the series has never lost the core of what it’s always striven to be: an action-packed escape with fun characters. Though the franchise as a whole and individually are far from bad (the earliest ones are certainly dated but not the worst), Fallout takes its long-lasting success to another level. More than the previous installments, it's not just a physical rollercoaster ride, but an emotional symphony in humanizing its hero.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Watch On Netflix: Set It Up (2018)

For the past several years, romantic comedies haven't flourished like they used to. Gone are the days where one quirky love story after another swept us off our feet and dominated the box office. While The Big Sick and Love, Simon have recently become beloved favorites, regular hits seem few and far between. After significant word-of-mouth through social media, there might be some hope left for the ol' harmless genre with Netflix's Set It Up

Two hardworking assistants Harper and Charlie (Zoey Deutch and Glenn Powell, respectively) are anxious to live a normal life outside of the office and enjoy more free time to themselves. To get a much-needed break and reconnect with neglected aspirations/relationships, they decide to secretly set up their bosses Kristen (Lucy Liu) and Rick (Taye Diggs) for a quick hook-up that might just become the real deal.

Fascinatingly, Set It Up is not entirely different than most 'chick flicks' you'd find on the Hallmark channel - which isn't an insult to Netflix's surprise hit at all. Like all rom-coms, the story is a bit of a fairy-tale and more happy-go-lucky than real life fails to be; there's cutesy montages, sappy quotes about what it means to fall in love, a dance-party-Spotify-worthy songlist. Drawing on elements of what's worked in the past for the genre - heartwarming characters, the right cast, and a joyful setting - director Claire Scanlon and writer by Katie Silberman revive the rom-com wheel to create a funny and light-hearted movie night and a big hit online.

Where the movie truly shines is the leads. Zoey Deutch charms the hell out of her role as Harper, an awkward, dorky 'insert foot into mouth' aspiring writer who's become too comfortable filling out her boss's requests in order to take a leap of faith and combine her love of words and sports into a different career. (Something I relate with all too well, fyi). Glen Powell is the perfect counterpart as Charlie, a likeable guy-next-door who puts up with his hotshot boss in order to be promoted and live the high-life, but in getting everything he wants, he might inadvertently fall down the same loveless path Rick's on. As a pair they truly steal the show, wonderfully alienating each other until they fall in love as we fall in love with them.

As for Harper and Charlies' bosses, the script for both Kristen and Rick isn't horrible but could be a bit stronger. There's simply more to love about Lucy Liu's performance and wardrobe than Taye Diggs's. The former's boss-from-hell is fierce, independent, and demanding yet as down-to-earth-as possible, while the latter's quite one-sided and doesn't put his charisma to good use. Though Diggs is typically wonderful in everything he does, his character is less of a perfectionist womanizer with a heart of gold underneath, and more of a spoiled tantrum-thrower with shades of decency thrown in. While the rest of the cast has a sense of humor tailored to them (Harper's sarcastic/clever, Charlie's dry, Kristen's sharp), Rick's one-liners are so random they'll require a double-take. Additionally, Kristen/Rick's initial run-in can only be described as awkward, in comparison to the rest of the movie that's quite subtle and wholesome. While Rick's faults goes to the writing more than the actor, everyone blends together quite smoothly; Liu has a lot more to work with here (she might even get her own sequel), but with Diggs, they manage to exude 'will-they-or-won't-they' chemistry as well as Deutch and Powell.

The most refreshing aspect about Set It Up might be how it avoids falling into tropes with its characters, especially its heroine. The script, and Deutch, have a great time with Harper as a hard-working and dorky-to-the-max protagonist, and also showing that she hasn't had a lot of romantic partners but that doesn't necessarily define. Charlie, who thinks he's quite the ladies man, doesn't try to change her personality or looks to improve her life. Their relationship starts out as strangers who want the same things, which develops into a relateable friendship and something more. There's no man-boys forcing women to be something they're not (looking at you Judd Apatow) or a girl being forced to choose between work and love (looking at you...every other rom-com ever); all of the characters are on equal playing fields. As Netflix churns out feel-good flicks left and right, this one's reminiscent of traditional romantic movies that are thoroughly missed.

Set It Up might not be the most original romantic comedy, but sometimes that's the best kind of escape; girl and boy meet; for the most part get along and wear their 'friendship blinders' until they discover what they've been missing: each other. The movie has a lot to love just the way it is. With a great cast and delightful setting, it's genuinely worth a watch or two.

Rating: ★
Have you seen Set It Up? What did you think?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Wonder Women: Mission: Impossible Franchise

If Ethan Hunt is considered the quintessential American spy opposite MI6 British royalty James Bond, then his female counterparts are presumably bad-asses in their own right. Throughout the Mission: Impossible franchise led by Tom Cruise, Hunt's squad has offered actresses a wide range of love interests and agents. With the series's sixth installment Fallout hitting theaters, I thought it was about time to take a look at how the women fare throughout the franchise. Here's another edition of Wonder Women featuring Mission: Impossible. (Note: this list is in chronological order of the movies' release date and contains spoilers). Which is your favorite Mission: Impossible female character? Feel free to let me know in the comments!