Tag Archives: Henry Cavill

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) Blu-Ray Review By D.M. Anderson

MI Fallout

Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writers: Christopher McQuarrie, Bruce Geller (based on the television series created by)
Stars: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames

I spotted a true lunatic while driving home from work the other day. Like countless other egocentric morons with an inflated sense of entitlement, he was in the lane next to me, texting as he sped along at 40 miles an hour. The difference was this guy was behind the wheel of a Smart car. 

All would take is a sudden wild turn to end up getting swallowed by an SUV. It could be weeks before anyone found a single trace of him and the glorified go-kart he chose for a coffin. Man, that’s not only crazy…that’s utter Tomsanity.

Like Lou Gehrig’s Disease ‘Tomsanity’ is named after the man who’s most prominently afflicted, Mr. Tom Cruise. It’s a condition where one deliberately risks their life to accomplish a task, even though a perfectly safe alternative would achieve the same results and no one would know the difference. If Mr. Important behind the wheel of that Smart car regularly engages in such douchebaggery while driving – and you just know he does – wouldn’t a big-ass Dodge Ram have been a wiser investment? The recipient of his call wouldn’t appreciate it any less.

One key difference between Tom Cruise and that Smart car simpleton is Tom at-least trains for his stunts beforehand with a crew of hundreds to assist him. But even with tethers and wires to assure my safety, no way in hell would I ever attempt to jump from one rooftop to another as Cruise does in Mission: Impossible – Fallout (and he still broke his ankle). 

Unlike that self-absorbed motorist, Tom isn’t putting anyone but himself in harm’s way, and it ain’t for personal gratification. When he makes that 25,000 foot HALO drop early in the film, he’s doing it for us. They could have easily used a professional jumper and simply CG’ed Tom’s toothy grin into the frame, but the fact we know it’s him is part of what has always made the entire Mission: Impossible franchise special. Say what you will about him personally, one thing Tom Cruise can never be accused of is phoning-it-in. 

Maybe that’s a chief reason this is the only franchise that seems to improve with each entry. True-to-form, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is the best one to date and absolutely loaded with Tomsanity. Previous films were already notable for the lengths Cruise went for the sake of an action sequence, so I’m assuming Tomsanity must also be a progressive disorder because there are a half-dozen jaw-dropping action sequences where Tom’s letting it all hang out for our enjoyment. To truly appreciate that, check out this disc’s hour-long behind-the-scenes documentary right afterwards. 

But Fallout isn’t just a stunt showcase. The intricate, twist-laden story keeps us guessing, whisks us to various intriguing locations and introduces a few nifty new characters along with some old friends (even Henry Cavill is interesting in this one). The film doesn’t forget its past, either. In fact, Fallout is the first in the franchise that might be considered a direct sequel. It features the same primary antagonist, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) as Rogue Nation, while Ethan Hunt’s estranged wife, Julia (Michelle Monaghan), figures predominantly in the story. As such, the film does sometimes assume the audience is up-to-speed.

But it’s still mainly the Tom Cruise Show, which is just fine because, even after six films, there’s never a moment where we suspect he’s going through the motions. I don’t know how long he can keep this up, but here’s hoping he can crank out at least one or two more without killing himself. Maybe he can even squeeze-in the mother of all Tomsanity stunts: a chase where he’s driving a Smart car while texting. As it stands, though, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is currently the franchise’s high-point and the best action film of the year.

Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018) Movie Review By John Walsh

MI Fallout

Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writers: Christopher McQuarrie, Bruce Geller (based on the television series created by)
Stars: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames

It’s hard to believe that the Mission Impossible franchise is now over twenty years old. I can’t sit here and say that I was always a massive fan. I was only seven when the first came out and the early iterations were fairly repetitive affairs, with an ever changing blur of black market arms dealers making up the antagonists for Ethan Hunt to see off. That all changed with 2015’s Rogue Nation however. Christopher McQuarrie gave us a more nuanced, villainous group to contend with. 

That’s not to say there wasn’t some memorable antagonists prior to Rogue Nation and Fallout. Phillip Seymour Hoffmann’s Owen Davian from the third film was an outstanding adversary. But the Syndicate led by Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), brought an array of interesting characters. A group of freelance, for want of a better word, individuals with a shared, common goal. It’s the same group, albeit evolved, that resurfaces. They’re known as the Apostles now and they’ve got a noble, albeit genocidal cause. They’re all about world peace, but first the worlds major religious hubs and institutions must fall. 

“There cannot be peace without great suffering” is their mantra. “The greater the suffering, the greater the peace” we hear Lane and others repeatedly say. That just isn’t going to fly in a world with the IMF and its maverick leader Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) however. There’s an early dream/nightmare sequence, during which Hunt is haunted by Lane, who’s laying into his past misdemeanours, before McQuarrie thrusts us into a botched plutonium arms deal that’ll set the tone for the entire film. The deal goes south, hijacked by the Apostles, who obviously have nefarious reasons for wanting it. 

Hunt is then sent to Paris by Alan Huntley (Alec Baldwin) to muscle in on a meeting between the notorious John Lark and the equally infamous middleman/woman, the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby). It’s their only lead on the missing plutonium, but there’s always a spanner flung in the works in these films. This particular spanner comes in the muscled form of the mustachioed August Walker (Henry Cavill), a CIA agent working for Erika Sloane (Angela Bassett). She’s not too keen on Ethan and wants her own man on the mission to oversee matters, and obviously make sure things play out to her liking.

It’s later revealed that the Widow is a CIA informant, incidentally, which isn’t the only revelation to be revealed in a film that’s literally full to the brim with two timing, incredibly realistic face masks, double agents and general backstabbing. 

This is a franchise that’s became synonymous with slick, action set pieces and stunning visuals and we get all of that and more in the opening twenty minutes alone. I’ve not enjoyed the first act of a film this much in a quite some time. It’s got everything, from stunning, cloudy, electrical storms raging below a cargo plane, to an adrenaline rush of a dive down onto the night, cityscape of the French capital and then a thrilling three way fight in a nightclub toilet. Major props to Liang Yang, Cavill and Cruise for that sequence, because it was fantastic. All of this takes place before Fallout’s story even gets going, incidentally. 

Once it does swing into action then McQuarrie sends Hunt and the best part of half a dozen primary characters to various different locales across the world. It’s done in a such an organic, realistic manner too that it’s not even jarring either. For instance, Lane is wanted by Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson), an MI6 agent, that’s been tasked with capturing the rogue, British agent and so it’s only obvious that the story heads to London, and once the revelation of Walker being a double agent for the Apostles is revealed, the inevitable race against time to disarm two nukes takes the story even further afield to Asia, where Ethan’s ex is stationed.

Speaking of Walker, I thought Henry Cavill was outstanding too. I’m not accustomed to seeing the man playing an antagonist, but after his showing here, I wouldn’t be adverse to him doing it again. I’m not entirely sure that there was any need for the moustache mind, but maybe that was a classic disguise trick? Who knows. Whilst I’m on the subject of performances, I’ll fire some praise Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames way too. The latter has been synonymous with this franchise for twenty odd years, but the combination of those two and Cruise just  works so well. There’s great chemistry there and their funny chatter in several scenes, adds some comedic levity. They grow in prominence.

There wasn’t really a weak performance in the film. Cruise is in his element in this genre. He’s a bonafide action star, he does his own stunts, he can fly helicopters in real life and ride motorcycles, and so it all feels authentic when he does it in the film. And man, that helicopter sequence was glorious. He’s still in ridiculous shape, certainly for a guy in his mid 50’s and you can only take your hat off to him for battling through a broken ankle. Rebecca Ferguson was back again and there’s the hint of romance brewing between Ethan and Ilsa. I also thoroughly enjoyed Kirby’s showing as the White Widow too. 

Without giving the entirety of the plot away, I think it would be fair to say that most people will know the way the film ultimately ends. Ethan and his IMF team save the day, but not without a right struggle. The Apostles were a truly worthy opponent, they always seemed a step ahead throughout, with twists and double twists coming fast and furious. The split perspective finale was riveting, full of tension despite knowing the inevitable outcome and given the deep, interconnected, every man nature of their organisation and the fact that they’ve got members incognito, within major establishments. It opens the door for another instalment with Lane once again central to the plot. 

And that’s a refreshing change for Mission Impossible. It was a big positive I took away. The way it connected Rogue Nation, the way that the story was a direct continuation in a sense and the fact it’s almost like a trilogy within a six film franchise. 

I’ve seen a fair few action films already this year. With the likes of Rampage, Skyscraper and even the Meg had action elements within the overplayed shark sub-genre. Mission Impossible: Fallout doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with any of them though. It’s an infinitely superior experience. The story was intelligently crafted, the characters within were interesting, the action was fantastic, as was the visuals and the antagonists were some of the best in the entire franchise. For me, Fallout is the best film in a franchise that defies the usual trend of ever diminishing returns and instead keeps on getting better. 

It had me riveted from start to finish and I would absolutely recommend giving it a watch. 

Rating: 5/5

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

BATMAN V SUPERMAN

Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer
Stars: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Gal Gadot

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or “BvS” picks up directly into the climatic battle between Superman and General Zod fighting over the city, but from the perspective of Bruce Wayne (Affleck) who witnesses death and destruction in the midst of the fight to the death between Krypton’s finest.

I have to say that when I decided to review this, I intentionally wanted to do this after my “Man of Steel” review I did a few moths back. That was until fellow Movie Burner Kevan recommend I view the ultimate edition before making my mind up on where I stood with The DCU’s latest instalment.

Coming in at just over 3 hours you could forgive me for telling Kevan to get on his bike after watching the first incarnation (theatrical cut) which I wasn’t to in awe with in the first place. One of the major issues I had with that version was the choppy pacing and plot of the movie. It felt rushed and key elements felt missing. But enough of that. I’m here to review the “Big One” yes as I said, 3 hours of Affleck’s Dark Knight and Cavill’s Son of Jor-El. Did it surprise me? Yes, It did in fact.

Fearing that the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. This is the basis of the plot and of course the title of the movie. What I liked though was that this was actually a side issue if you please if you look at it from the real villains point of view. Yes Lex Luther played by Jesse Eisenberg is surprisingly unhinged as the famous and traditionally Superman villain. The character at times was a little annoying but to be fair I liked Eisenberg’s take on the character. He was unassuming and unpredictable, key factors in any villainous role.

Affleck’s Batman is possibly the biggest surprise in this movie and an interesting entrance for the latest version of The Dark Knight. You have to appreciate that the last portrayal by Christian Bale of the character was almost perfect in every sense and it was only 2012 that he hung up the cape. Anyone filling those shoes would find it tough to be accepted by the average fanboy. Ben Affleck up to this point was making more heads turn for his writing and directorial work, so you can imagine not everyone was pleased by the appointment. This is why I feel that this Bruce Wayne is interesting in the fact that it isn’t an origins movie (although there are a few flashbacks scenes that don’t necessarily overshadow proceedings). We’re stepping into this characters story somewhere in between a weathered Batman and still has a fight in him Batman. It is shown on screen that he has already lost a sidekick to the joker on on of his displays and I felt this was something different that could be accepted.

Cavill just appears to be made for his role as Clark Kent / Superman in every sense. He was consistent in Man of Steel and really picks up where we last saw him with ease. But it has to be said that the character is a lot darker in BvS. I suppose in the previous film you could get away with the introduction of the character finding his way and place in the world. Here that is established and that is credit to writers Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer for giving the character another dimension.

The reintroduction to Amy Adams’ Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne’s Perry White and Diane Lane’s Martha Kent cements the continuity from MoS to BvS flawlessly. All three of them have bigger part to play and have enough screen time to make an impact. Gal Gadot as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman is something that didn’t need to be there and along with some video footage of The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg was there to set us up for The Justice League Movie a year down the line. It didn’t hinder or distract the audience from the storyline. In fact, it excited fans and hinted what was coming next.

The above is basically what I would have said about either version of the film if I’m being honest. The cast wasn’t the issue, nor was the storyline. It felt The had so much material that the decision was made to cut some interesting sequences to narrow the running time down a bit, resulting in a jolting and off the pace movie. This ultimate edition fills the holes in and as a result helps keep the flow of the movie going and keeping you entertained which is strange for a movie this length.

Visually Zack Snyder’s hands are all over this. The graininess of Man of Steel is still evident and I’m glad. The shades and colour schemes once more are like another character in the movie and gives it an edge that I’ve always enjoyed from Snyder. Did the movie still have issues after viewing the extended cut? Of course it did, but this version helped me to enjoy and absorb this universe a little easier. Some of the sub plot wasn’t exactly that interesting to begin with and the whole Martha Kent / Martha Wayne revelation still has me sniggering a bit.

Overall BvS could have been much more. But the Ultimate Edition is the only version I will watch now for its filling in the pacing a bit better and to be honest. The expectation of a Batman/ Superman face off is far greater than what actually came out but I can accept that as I don’t regard this as a bad movie at all. It is entertaining and multiple viewings are required to absorb the plot. If you haven’t seen BvS (any version) I would recommend the ultimate edition. If you have seen the theatrical cut and were initially put off (like me) I would give this one a chance. Recommend.

The Man From Uncle (2015) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

THE MAN FROM UNCLE

Director: Guy Ritchie
Writers: Guy Ritchie (screenplay), Lionel Wigram (screenplay)
Stars: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander

Plot: In the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons.

Running Time: 1 hour 56 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 66% Audience 73%

Why I Watched it: I had watched the TV on reruns as a kid, my mother was a big fan, it was a pretty good show so I knew the source materiel, I will say I was worried about Guy Ritchie directing it.

Thoughts: I will say I’m always a little worried when they make a movie out of an older show, The Man From Uncle is from the 60′s a much different time and even though they were doing it in the time period I was afraid they change the characters and try to make it more modern cause let’s be honest the kids don’t know this show. Also being a fan of the show I had a bias watching a new movie with old characters.

What I liked: The first thing is that Guy Ritchie did a good job not turning it into a big loud slick Guy Ritchie movie, it is slick and pretty well directed but he did stay pretty true to the source material.

I liked the look and I liked that it was a period piece, they didn’t try to convert the show to the modern time, the best part for me was Henry Cavill he was not only very slick and cool but I liked his take on the character, he took things in stride, he wasn’t yelling and screaming and he wasn’t trying to macho it up too much, he was a thinking man’s spy and a criminal. He did have chemistry with Armie Hammer, of course this was the beginning of the partnership so of course they had to be at odds. It was also good to see that Alicia Vikander had a somewhat fleshed out character and that she wasn’t just playing the love interest. I also liked Elizabeth Debicki, I liked her look and acting someone to watch for. I did like that Vikander was the love interest for Hammer and not Cavill.

The plot was fine, these kind of movies have to have something to do and the story was decent enough, they had stakes, they had to work together. What I liked most about the film was the tone, this was a tough back film for me, some people call it slight but I liked the slick and fun films where the actors got to have fun, look good and be witty. It was somewhat of a light tone but that’s what the show was, and if the movie nailed anything almost perfect it was the tone and look.

There was a couple of nice bits, one was Hammer and Cavill arguing over women’s fashion and there’s a really cool bit with Cavill being drugged, realising it but also knowing there isn’t anything to do about it so he’s talking and also getting a pillow and a place to lay down so when he falls he won’t hurt himself, very cool.

What I didn’t like: They changed the characters especially Illya Kuryakin, they also changed Solo has well don’t recall him being a thief in the series. If there was a flaw in the film it was casting Hammer he’s fine a decent to good actor but playing a Russian not his strong suit and he did stick out, I think they should have gone more rugged with that character to balance out Solo. The film was also a tad long at almost 2 hours, it did drag a bit and I also wished they would have made this a more stand alone as clearly this was suppose to be set up for another film.

Final Thoughts: I liked it, it was a change of pace for me something lighter and more breezy, it made me smile a few times and overall enjoyed watching it.

Rating: 7/10

Man of Steel (2013) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin

MAN OF STEEL

Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: David S. Goyer (screenplay),  David S. Goyer (story)
Stars: Henry Cavill,  Amy Adams,  Michael Shannon, Russel Crowe, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne

Back in 2013 the “Man of Steel” opened the DC / Warner Brothers expanded universe doors and with a slight bump in the tracks regarding Batman versus Superman and Suicide Squad although it looks like they are on the right road again with this summer’s release of Wonder Woman directed by Patty Jenkins.

I was almost convinced back when “Man of Steel was released that it wasn’t originally being set out as the first in this universe. Yes we spotted the LexCorp and Wayne Security Easter eggs planted throughout the movie but probably right up to a month ago I stubbornly refused to believe that DC and Warner Brothers had this planned back then. It convinced me even more this was the case when not until the last couple of years that the studio have gone full pelt on their comic book universe. But I have now been told that I am wrong (and even did a bit of research in secret shhhhh) and that of course “Man of Steel” is DCs what “Iron Man” is to Marvel (enough with the comparisons)

So we Kick Off the movie with Russel Crowe portraying Jor-El (Superman’s father) debating with the Kryptonian Council that he is convinced the planets core is unstable and the planets existence will cease in a matter of weeks. Falling on deaf ears, Jor-El and his wife Lara Lor-Van (Ayelet Zurer) decide to take action of their own and save their child Kal-El (Superman) by sending him to the nearest inhabitable planet for his survival and the survival of the Kryptonian people. The sequence itself is just an updated version of the now legendary scenes starring Marlon Brando as Jor-El and Susannah York as Lara from “Superman: The Movie” from 1978.

I had always enjoyed rewatching the original movie back in my childhood. The John Williams score, the special effects had us believe a man could fly and the awesome casting of Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Ned Beauty, Jackie Cooper and upcoming stars in Margot Kidder and the late great Christopher Reeve who incidentally does not appear in the original movie until a good hour into it. “Man of Steel” on the other hand introduces the main players very quickly and at this point I think it’s only fair to say that I will not be making anymore comparisons between “Man of Steel” and “Superman: The Movie” from now on.

Michael Shannon is fantastic and ruthless as the military leader of Krypton “General Zod” and from that opening 10 minutes we realise how passionate and loyal he is to the people of Krypton in his own mad way. Zod and his Crew are captured and sentenced to the Phantom Zone (a solitary dimension) by the Council.

The scene involving Kal-El’s launch into the unknown is heartbreaking for Jor-El and Lara and you can sense the moral dilemma the father and mother endured to save their child. Kal-El’s arrival on earth is quick and effective that we don’t have to go into any great length or detail into his arrival into the small town of “Smallville” and Snyder’s  direction and Goyer’s writing allows us to focus more on the emotions of the characters throughout the movie without being bogged down with obvious exposition. The planet’s implosion visually is stunning and tragic and baby Kal-El is sent hurtling in space towards his new planet (plotted on some Kryptonian sat nav)

It is at this point we are thrown forward in time to the present and we are introduced to Henry Cavill as Clark Kent (Superman’s disguise) on a ship in his late twenties. The movie jumps back and forth throughout Clark’s younger years but it is done in a way that doesn’t interrupt the flow of the movie nor confuse the audience members. It is also a great way to introduce Clark’s earth parents Martha and Jonathan Kent played by veteran actors Diane Lane and Kevin Costner. Martha and Jonathan’s role throughout the movie cannot be ignored or underestimated as they are essential to the upbringing and moral values that Clark has inherited and defines his character.

Another particular scene that has to be mentioned is Jonathan Kent’s beliefs
and willingness in guiding Clark in his growth as he develops his “special powers” and keeping them at bay for his own good and only using it when the time is right is powerful. For anyone who hasn’t watched this film yet I won’t spoil it but there is a moment during a hurricane sequence that in a brief moment is sad yet poignant to Jonathan’s relationship to Clark. This is storytelling and character development at its best and can never be taken for granted. The look Costner gives Cavill will hit you right in the feels.

Zod’s return is of course predictable and after Krypton’s doom it was inevitable and to be honest pointless sending him and his crew to the Phantom Zone to begin with as once the planet imploded it released them and Zod’s mission was to track down Kal-El and extract components from his DNA to give Krypton a rebirth using planet earth as a base.

Amy Adams as Lois Lane appeared to be a great casting decision and I always saw Lois as an earthy Princess Leia back into day. Headstrong and a leader in every sense. Adams manages to portray this character very quickly and is key to earth’s understanding of how we come to understand Superman and how the human race must trust this one man who is clearly their only chance against the General.

The climatic battle between Superman and Zod is shattering to say the least and if DC / Warner Brothers have one thing over their competitors that is their cinematography. Visually “Man of Steel” is shot uniquely and Zack Snyder’s hands are all over it, in a good way. The imagery is so crisp and precise and the choice of colours throughout the movie depending on the mood of the scene is vivid and stunning.

Overall, “Man of Steel” is a Superman movie in its own right. Yes it does retell the origins story and yes it does rely on a well known villain but Snyder and Goyer take the movie from a different angle and set the tone for the DC / WB cinematic universe going forward. Highly recommendable.