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Ma'am May We Go Out? (1985)
A Movie Formula That Combines Iskul Bukol And Bagets
Well,this 1985 movie entitled, "Ma'am May We Go Out?" is a comedy that stars the comedic trio of Tito,Vic and Joey had an interesting plot with regards to three non-High School graduates who surprisingly were given an inheritance of millions of dollars if the Dennis,Chip and Jeff are able to finish High School.
Given the fact that the comedic trio of Tito,Vic and Joey are the stars of "Iskul Bukol", we expect its formula wherein the three do poorly in school.In addition to that,we also get to see some of the cast of Bagets such as J.C. Bonnin, Ramon Christopher and Jobelle Salvador as we see them become friends of the three inheritors and how they cope up with growing up as they face the realities of life as teen-agers to adapt the Bagets premise.
Well,given the facts about the plot of the movie, we know what will happen in the end. Too bad that the movie was basically formulaic, cliched and predictable. No question that the jokes can be found corny by today's standards as they are outdated for the movie was shown more than 30 years ago. Finally, some of the comedy can be simply impertinent,silly and downright stupid. Too bad that they did not capitalize on the interesting plot.
The First Movie of Gary Valenciano
Well,the 1984 movie "Hotshots" is an 80's movie that stars 3 of the 5 leading stars of Bagets like Raymond Lauchengco, Herbert Bautista and Aga Muchlach. Added to that, it also includes other cast from the movie Bagets such as Eula Valdez and Jobelle Salvador.
The only thing about this is the fact that it is the first movie of Filipino singing sensation,Gary Valenciano. Nothing more.
It just presents to us the same premise of Bagets like teen-age life with regards to coping up with problems,experiencing first love, and the realities of life. Too bad that they just included fantasy in it to make it look original as well as special effects.Too bad that people who have seen this have rated it very low. It just merely capitalized on the popularity of the Bagets cast particularly Aga Muhlach.
In the Name of Love (2011)
Has Aga Finally Refrained From His Stereotypical Roles And Have Filipino Movies Improved?
The last film that Aga Muhlach made that I saw was four years ago. Since I am not from the Philippines, I was referring to the 2008 movie called "When Love Begins". It has a disastrous rating at IMDB at 4.5/10 and I gave it a 1/10 due to the non-chemistry Aga Muhlach and his leading lady Anne Curtis. I suggested in that movie review that it is time for Aga to refrain from playing his stereotypical handsome characters and use his acting talent instead considering he has above average acting talent among Filipino actors and by Philippine cinema standards. It took me another four years to view another film of his.This time,I saw the 2011 film entitled "In The Name Of Love" that was released seven years ago. Has Aga in his 40's started to refrain from his so-called "brand" of playing stereotypical handsome characters? Have Filipino films improved over the years? The last Filipino movie I saw was Cesar Montano's 2006 "Ligalig", which apparently is a poor imitation of the French film "Haut Tension" a year ago.
Before I answer those question, I would talk about Olivia Lamasan's "In The Name Of Love". The film stars Aga Muhlach together with Angel Locsin and Jake Cuenca. It tells a story in a non-linear fashion about the love story of Emmaneul Toledo, who uses the name Gary Fernandez in his fake passport and better known as Emman, and Mercedes Fernandez,who is better known as Cedes. It tells from the time they first met in Japan when they worked as dancers until they met again 7 years later a province in the Philippines. Emman got into prison upon going home due to money laundering. But later, we got to see Cedes,who is now engaged Dylan Evelino,who is now part of the political clan of the Evelino family in the province where Emman is located. Then things became complicated when Emman was hired as a dance instructor for Cedes in preparation for the Governor's Ball considering that her fiancé Dylan has considered accepting his father's invitation to for political aspiration for the clan to remain control of the province. Both Emman and Cedes go through the intricacies like avoiding an affair as they go through the dance practice. We also got to see how their how their love relationship went through the years via flashbacks as well.
Let's answer the first question. Now that Aga,who is now in his 40's when this movie was released, has he already stopped playing handsome characters that many women desired? Apparently,Aga's "brand" have been entrenched in his movies. The mere fact that it was the woman - Cedes - who courted the man - Emman - remains in the storyline is a proof of that. We may argue that they did it for comedy's sake, but we should now realize that Aga's "brand" - playing handsome characters - will has been fully entrenched for rest of his film career. Although I must admit that he gave a good performance in this movie, the Aga "brand" will always be present in his movies.
Let's answer the second question. Have Filipino movies improved and are better to watch nowadays? In fairness to the movie, it had a lot of interesting themes like poor Filipinos working overseas to provide for their families, the dirty and corrupt nature of Philippine politics, and the many intricacies that both Emman and Cedes face in their new relationship as dance instructor and student respectively.Too bad that poor melodrama and happy endings have been entrenched in Philippine cinema and will live on for many years to come. It could have been a good movie but the quest for happy endings particularly the assassination scene at the conclusion made the movie felt contrived, clichéd and formulaic. It was obvious that the scriptwriters - Olivia Lamasan and Enrico C. Santos - wanted Emman and Cedes to stay together that is why Emman survived despite being shot and Dylan died in the assassination scene. Too bad that the conclusion ruined what could have been a good movie. It is evident that happy endings and poor melodrama will always be part of Filipino movies.
Philippine cinema could improve if they adapt Korean cinema, who has love for sad and bitter endings, in some of their movies, instead of the happy endings like Hollywood does all the time. Besides, life is not a bed of roses. Movies should start to portray reality rather than having a happy endings all the time.
Manedyer... si kumander (1982)
Let's Make Fun Of FPJ's Screen Persona
This movie entitled,"Manedyer... si kumander",which could be an idiomatic expression of the words "my wife is the boss" in Tagalog,stars the real husband-and-wife Fernando Poe, Jr and Susan Roces. Poe,better also known as FPJ, is known for his portraying tough characters in his film career and the Philippine version of John Wayne especially during the 50's and 60's when Western Filipino movies were shown. Now, FPJ tries to become a parody of his screen persona by playing a character who lacks toughness and who is extremely intimidated of his wife. This movie is more of a spoof of FPJ which is an accepted standard of Filipino movies.
Too bad that it did not work as both Poe and Roces are not known to be great comedians with the former being known for action movies and the latter being great as a dramatic actress.Sometimes,the story simply becomes extremely silly and downright impertinent.
The film just tries to put Poe in a different screen persona that his movie fans are accustomed to make it a comedic film. Unfortunately, it won't work especially since comedic films are not the movies that both Poe and Roces are known for and that are comfortable with.
Campus Beat (1984)
Aga's First Film As A Solo Lead Star And His Own Version Of Bagets 2
Bagets and Bagets 2 were a Filipino teen-age classic back in the 1980's. When the DVD version was released a few year back, many questioned why Aga Muhlach never did reprise his role as Adie in Baget 2. Aga's late father,Alvaro Muhlach explained his son's absence in the role by saying,"Muhlach's career has taken off". Obviously, Aga wanted to go on a solo career and wants to escape the "Bagets" gang. But nevertheless, he and his talent manager knows that back in 1984, Aga was entirely known for his role in "Bagets". But instead of having 5 different teen-agers, we get to see Aga in his own version of "Bagets 2" known as "Campus Beat".
Campus Beat has the same premise of the "Bagets" film like teen-age problems, coming-of-age problems, his relationship with adults particularly his parents, coping up with the realities of life and finally, the exploration of a teen-ager's life. Instead of having 5 stars in the cast, we simply have one in Aga. He is the central focus of the film for he is the lead star. No wonder he was considering that it was produced by D'Wonder Films,a production company affiliated with the Muhlach family.
As for the movie,it was simply another "Bagets" movie. It was crude and simplistic.It was corny and silly.Worst of all,it could be considered a spoof and parody of a Filipino teen-age film.
The only difference is that we only have one star in Aga Muhlach. It was his personal sequel of the movie wherein he was introduced. Another big difference is the fact that in this film, Aga is the lead star and the story is focused on him and him alone. It is his first film that he did as a lead star in his career.
Too bad that he never capitalized on his acting abilities but allowed himself to be stereotyped of portraying handsome characters for the next three decades of his career despite having above average acting abilities. Despite the fact that he remains a popular Filipino actor up to this day (while the review is being written), this film "Campus Beat" was simply forgotten as time have gone by.
Erpat kong forgets (1984)
Aga Muhlach's Career Has Taken Off The Wrong Way
When Aga Muhlach was introduced in the Filipino 80's teen-age classic "Bagets", he never did reprise his role as Adie in "Bagets 2". When the DVD version of the sequel was released,Aga's late father,Alvaro Muhlach explained his son's absence in the role by saying,"Muhlach's career has taken off". Obviously, Aga wanted to go on a solo career and escape his so-called "Bagets" image. But instead of taking serious roles, he has become stereotyped in playing handsome roles. As a matter of fact, he again did identify himself with his "Bagets" image and the popularity of his "Bagets" role by doing a film with Eddie Garcia entitled,"Erpats Kong Forgets" which is in English,"My Father Has Forgotten That He Is No Longer A Teen-Ager" or "My Father Forgets".
The story is quite simple. Aga plays a young teen-ager who has to deal with his father who still thinks that he is a teen-ager. It makes fun of the father's actions of acting like a teen-ager. The father is played by veteran character actor Eddie Garcia. In addition to capitalizing on the popularity of "Bagets", it once again tries to portray the teen-age problems particularly the funny aspect of having to deal with a father who thinks that he is still a teen-ager a.k.a "Forgets".
The film was crude and simplistic. Worse,it was corny and cheesy. Worst, it was extremely silly.It would also be considered a spoof of the teen-age classic "Bagets".
Added to that, Aga starts to identify himself with playing handsome characters that women would love to sleep with. Too bad that he continues to portray the same role over and over again for the next three decades whether he does dramatic or comedic roles. And this comedic film entitled "Erpats Kong Forgets" has provided the wrong take off of Aga Muhlach's career being stereotyped in handsome roles for decades to come.
James Batman (1966)
Adam West And Sean Connery's Iconic Roles Spoofed Or Better Yet Insulted
James Batman,starred by the late actor Dolphy,who is considered in the Philippines as its "King of Comedy", is a Filipino spoof movie that makes fun or better yet insults the iconic roles of Adam West and Sean Connery as Batman and James Bond respectively.
The story is quite simple.There is a dangerous organization called CLAW organization that threatens the destroy the world in 5 days. The world organization that is similar to the United Nations, calls upon the help of two people who has extreme dislike for each other, to help stop this from happening. These two people are James Hika,a spoof character of James Bond, and James Batman,a spoof character of Batman. They try to show their dislike for one another until they finally needed work together in order to fulfill their mission.
The two superheroes are performed by Dolphy in a dual role. He makes fun of James Bond as well as Batman. Although he does alright in his comedic performance in making fun of these characters, it is evident that it is a low budgeted film back in the 60's as we can see production set ups for what they are. We also get to see a cliched and formulaic film.The characterizations are thin. And we know how the film is going to end up.
We see that these type of spoof movies works in the Philippines as Dolphy has done several of them in his 50+ year career. But nevertheless, this film is more of an insult to the iconic roles of Adam West,who was Batman in the 60's TV series, and Sean Connery,who performed James Bond in several movies during the 60's.
The Sound of Music Live! (2013)
Carrie Underwood Did Her Best And The Musical Was Decent At Best
When Julie Andrews was interviewed 5 years ago that Carrie Underwood is going to portray Maria Von Trapp in an NBC remake of the "The Sound Of Music" musical, she wished her the best considering she knows how difficult the role was for her when she did it back in 1965. Instead of a TV movie, NBC did it by having a live musical stage play. No question that that NBC avoided turning it into a TV movie considering that it will draw comparisons with the iconic 1965 film as well as that of Underwood and Andrews.While it was reported that there were 18 million people who saw this on TV,many were disappointed. Obviously, many were expecting another iconic film. Too bad that it was far from it. And that turned against the musical from the people who saw the 1965 film especially against Carrie Underwood's portrayal as well as her singing the classic songs from it. That included from a cast of the former film Kym Karath,who played Gretl Von Trapp,who stated that the role of Maria isn't right for Carrie Underwood.
But in spite of it, I still gave it an "okay" rating(6/10) considering that I tried not expect another iconic movie like the 1965 film which I gave a great rating(10/10).I decided not expect too much from it considering that Carrie Underwood is a non-actress unlike Julie Andrews,who just won the Oscar Best Actress Award for Mary Poppins for 1964,when he did the original film the year after.Added to that, it was obvious that Carrie would not be up to par with Julie in terms of singing as the former is a popular country singer who happens to be a throaty singer at most who probably never had vocal training unlike the latter who is formally trained to sing songs using her head tone vocals which makes Julie the better singer. Finally,the story setting was almost the same despite a few changes in the 2013 version like Maria not singing "I Have Confidence In Me" when she was going to the Von Trapp's home. So there is nothing much to compare.
So viewers who are able to see this musical should just enjoy it and treat it as another version that does not need to be iconic. Besides,I did appreciate Carrie Underwood's guts to portray Maria knowing that there will be comparisons between her and Andrews and her effort to make it a decent musical. Despite being a non-actress and basically a country singer, I would say that she did give her best in the musical. Doing her best was average at best and made the musical a decent enough despite the fact that she isn't at par with Andrews in both acting and singing nor was the musical at the same level with the iconic 1965 film. The same goes for the members of the cast. That's all that matters.
Viewers should just enjoy another decent version of it. Others just presented negative reviews of it because of their high expectations and for it to live up to the iconic 1965 film.
The Sound of Music (1965)
It Is A Timeless Classic
The Sound Of Music is a musical film that was adapted on screen from the Broadway musical of the same name with the songs written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.It stars Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer as Maria and Captain Georg von Trapp respectively together with Eleanor Parker as Baroness Elsa von Schraeder who was the Captain's lady friend and a competition for Maria;Richard Haydn as Max Detweiler, a good friend of both the Baroness and the Captain; as well as Charmian Carr,Nicholas Hammond,Heather Menzies,Duane Chase,Angela Cartwright,Debbie Turner and Kym Karath as the Von Trapp children.Robert Wise directed this classic musical film.
It is about the story of the von Trapp family singers.Maria is a young woman who gets into the consternation of the nuns in an Austrian convent.This prompted Mother Abbess to send her to become a governess for the seven children of a naval officer and widower,Captain Georg von Trapp.It later leads a romance between Maria and the captain that leads to marriage.The children who happen to be talented singers also joins the Salzburg Music Festival during their honeymoon.It contains several popular songs, including "Edelweiss", "My Favorite Things", "Climb Ev'ry Mountain", "Do-Re- Mi", "Sixteen Going on Seventeen", "The Lonely Goatherd", and the title song, "The Sound of Music".It concludes when the von Trapp family escapes from Austria to Switzerland before the Germans annexes the country.
It has been more than 50 years since the musical was released.Throughout all these years,it has remained popular.The songs would still provide delight to the viewers today and remains byword to many.The songs definitely provided a lot of joy and entertainment for they are definitely Rodgers and Hammerstein's best scores.But it is great to note how wonderful Julie Andrews was in it as Maria for she lights up the screen all throughout.She definitely can warm a lot of hearts throughout the generation when watching it.Aside from the songs,it also has everything that one wants to see in a movie like love;a love triangle between Maria,the Captain and the Baroness;children;great cinematography;great European locations;religion;comedy;war and intrigue. Overall,there is no question that this is one of the most enduring musical of all-time and it has timeless charm written over it.
"Novitiate" Is A Great Film About Traditional Catholicism,Feminism And Nuns
I was really interested in Traditional Catholicism.I was lucky that I got to see this film entitled "Novitiate" to give me a better glimpse of what the Catholic Church is all about before Vatican II.
Margaret Betts,who is in her directorial debut, presents to us a movie that stars Andie McDowell's daughter Margaret Qualley together with Julianne Nicholson and Melissa Leo,as the complex Reverend Mother, that tells the story of Cathleen,a young woman who obviously grew up in a broken family, that found comfort in God to meet her needs of love and decides to become a nun as well as how Pope John XXIII's Vatican II reforms severely affected the Catholic Church in both good and bad ways.
While many viewers will see this as an anti-Catholic film especially people are not old enough to experience what Traditional Catholicism is all about during the 50's and the 60's when mass was said in Latin and the priest saying mass turned back to the crowd; the contributions that nuns brought to the American educational system; and how nuns truly tried to become perfect like Jesus Christ as well as how they punished themselves whenever they commit sins against God. Added to that, we also see Cathleen's transformation in life from being a little child to her journey on living the monastic life from being a postulant, a novitiate, and finally a nun. It also tells us what monastic life was all about pre-Vatican II and how the reforms somehow made the Catholic Church deteriorate as followers of Christ. No wonder that there are more than 14,000+ Protestant denominations today unlike in the past when there were probably only 1,000+. It also showed us how the reforms brought the worst on Cathleen as she struggles with these Vatican II reforms in more ways than one from her faith,the monastic life that she is accustomed too, and even in terms of her sexual desires as well as her identity as a nun as well as a Catholic.
Aside from that,we are also brought to the issues of feminism especially when the Vatican II reforms were instituted as the nuns were not given any voice at all nor were asked of their opinion which was greatly characterized by the complex Reverend Mother,portrayed extremely well by Melissa Leo. At the end of the movie,we witnessed on how these reforms led to the mass exodus of 90,000 nuns from the convent. No wonder there is a shortage of both nuns and priests in the Catholic Church particularly in the United States at present. While the new Catholic Church has become open to the modern world, they definitely were hurt by these reforms as the changes brought less shepherds of Christ that led to the deterioration of Catholicism especially with less people becoming either priests or nuns.
Chappaquiddick Proved To Be A Good Movie Despite Being Far From Being No-Holds Barred And 50 Years Too Late
"Chappaquiddick" is a movie about the incident (not accident) that involved the death of Mary Jo Kopechne when he was with the late Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy in his mother's Oldmobile's car that crossed the bridge at Chappaquiddick Island on the night of July 18,1969. It stars Jason Clarke as Ted Kennedy,Kate Mara as Mary Jo Kopechne,Bruce Helms as Joseph Gargan and Bruce Dern as the patriarch of the Kennedy clan, Joseph Kennedy Sr. This film directed by Jason Curran features the event that happened from the time the former female staffers of Robert Kennedy a.k.a RFK leading to the aftermath of Ted's actions after he and Mary Jo had a car accident. It tells the actions and inactions of Ted from not reporting the incident to the police and how the Kennedy family henchmen tried to rectify the situation considering that Ted Kennedy is on his way to becoming the next President of the United States with the political success that he has achieved before it happened.
I must admit that I was expecting more of a no-holds barred account of the event like how Joe Kennedy Sr. rectified the situation by paying many people to cover up for Ted that included the police authorities that led them to inactions like not performing an autopsy on Mary Jo.Added to that,it also did not feature other events like how Joe Sr. paid the Kopechne family a humongous amount of money - $130,000 - back in 1969(now equivalent to $600,000 in 2018) as a form of "settlement" to keep their mouth shut. These are seen and found in many books and documentaries made back in the 70's,80's and 90's about the incident.Unfortunately,none of these were shown in the movie.I believe the producers definitely had to play the "safe side" as they are telling a story of a Kennedy and the clan have remained powerful and influential throughout the years until today as I am writing this review who could sue the filmmakers anytime of the day.
Nevertheless,I still saw a good movie considering that it clearly showed how "imperfect" the actions of Ted Kennedy were especially during the aftermath of the incident. Jason Clarke did well as Ted Kennedy. Added to that, it was nice to see that the movie gave a good characterization of Mary Jo Kopechne despite Kate Mara's limited screen time storywise.
As for the film staying on the "safe side", they did it through letting the viewers think and decide for themselves on the events that occurred at Chappaquiddick by presenting numerous scenes like 6 married men and 6 unmarried RFK female staffers on a party despite the fact that RFK has already passed away to show what was truly going on between Ted and Mary Jo. It also showed their scenes together that both do know each other very well that they can confide their feelings with one another. Added to that, they also showed how many times Joe Sr. told Ted the word "alibi" when the latter was telling the incident to his dad despite not showing anything that I previously stated in the movie. The viewer has to really watch this closely and think clearly and probably read books and watch documentaries regarding the subject matter to learn more about it for this movie won't provide all the explanations needed. But nevertheless, I still found it a good introduction for people wanting to learn more about it despite the fact that this happened 50 years ago and the characters involved in it have already passed away.
A Smile as Big as the Moon (2012)
Truly Inspiring TV Movie About The Triumph Of Human Spirit
Well,I have written thousands of reviews at IMDb and have stated that I am a big Moira Kelly fan. When she appeared many movies like "The Cutting Edge", "Chaplin", "Daybreak" and "Twin Peaks" back in the 1990's,she was obviously positioned to become the next Hollywood superstar being extremely talented and very pretty.Too bad that she felt that Hollywood is in contrast to what she is all about and didn't like the staples of Hollywood films - sex and violence -that she decided to leave Los Angeles and instead to do independent films like "Entertaining Angels:The Dorothy Day Story". She still found success on TV being in Aaron Sorkin's "West Wing" for one season and in "One Tree Hill" for five seasons.Now,she is relegated to doing TV movies.I started to search TV movies where she is involved with being a still a big fan of hers and found "A Smile As Big As The Moon" wherein she plays the wife of special education teacher,Mike Kersjes.
"A Smile As Big As The Moon" stars John Corbett together with Jessy Schram, Logan Huffman,Moira Kelly, and performers who actually have learning disabilities.It is based on the memoirs of the special education teacher,Mike Kersjes,who has high dreams for his students with learning disabilities. He intends to raise money for his special-ed students to join the NASA space camp which is a program best suited for intellectually gifted and intelligent students. Since it is a TV movie,we get to see the expected predictability that Mike is able to overcome the obstacles such as lack of funds,non-support of the school administration, and the lack of experience that NASA has in accommodating these type of students. But in spite of these things,I found the movie truly touching and memorable. It tries to tell the message of the triumph of the human spirit and respect for individuals despite their limitations.
Aside from this great story,I also found the portrayal of John Corbett as Mike Kersjes great especially when it presents his character's determination and persistence in allowing his special education students to dream of big things in their life.Also worthy of recognition is Jessy Schram in the role of Robynn as Mike's co-teacher in a special education class.As for Moira,I found her performance as Mike's wife great as well being supportive of her husband's ambitious project and encouraging her husband through the numerous obstacles that he has to overcome and when trying to suggest things to him with dialogues such as "Genius is keeping things simple".
Overall,this was a truly inspiring TV movie that reminds us of the triumph of human spirit and encouragement of people to reach for their goals in spite of their physical and mental impairments or limitations.It was also nice to see Moira Kelly once again and being involved in this type of projects despite being only in a supporting role nor a Hollywood superstar rather than being involved in movies that only shows sex and violence and being a Hollywood superstar at that.
Mission: Impossible: Flip Side (1970)
Stopping Illegal Drug Smuggling
Jim Phelps and his IMF team of Paris,Barney,Willy together with Dana Lambert are up against one of the largest distributors of illegal drugs on the West Coast in "Flip Side".
Mel Bracken is a drug lord on the West Coast that provide a large distribution of illegal drugs and a Pharmaceutical magnate legally sells them to a middle man in Mexico. The IMF are give a task to force Cameron - the Pharmaceutical magnate - to deal directly with Bracken in the United States.Dana Lambert is placed in a major role to complete the mission.
The second episode provides the viewer a great performance coming from Lesley Ann Warren as Dana Lambert as her character Dana is in a major role during the mission.Added to that,there a great moments in this illicit pharmaceutical smuggling of illegal drugs despite I would consider it somewhat mediocre plot.But nevertheless,it consists of effective guest stars and fun action sequences in addition to Warren on the focal point.
Mission: Impossible: The Martyr (1970)
To Prevent A Premiere Into A Dictatorial Rule
Jim Phelps and his IMF team of Paris,Barney and Willy are given a task by the IMF wherein they deal with a Premier of an anti-Western and East Bloc state that intends to act on evil plans in this episode known as "The Martyr".
Premier Anton Rojek,who heads an country against the Western countries intends to hold a so-called "Youth Congress" with the hopes of convincing the young people of the country to support his evil plans and objectives as well as the endorse his leadership. The IMF intends to prevent this from happening as they include a folk singer in Roxy and to have Paris disguise himself as the missing son of the late President of the country that many of the youth still admire.
This was the final episode of the 4th season and it presents a transitional episode that will transfer to its fifth season.This was obviously some sort of a remake of "The Heir Apparent" as well as an update of the supposed episode wherein the IMF prevented a dictator into gaining power into the country.With that in mind as a remake of the first episode during the 3rd season,this particular episode looks dated as the viewers are already familiar of how the IMF accomplishes its task of preventing a would-be dictator into a dictatorial rule.
Mission: Impossible: The Killer (1970)
Lesley Ann Warren's First Episode
Jim Phelps and his IMF team of Paris,Barney and Willy together with its new character IMF agent Dana Lambert - portrayed by Lesley Ann Warren when her screen name was Lesley Warren - are up against a contract killer who makes decisions at the last minute to ensure that he remains unpredictable in the first episode of the 5th season called "The Killer".
The IMF goes up against an unpredictable contract killer wherein Barney becomes his next intended victim.The IMF tries to prevent this from happening and they try to stop the contract killer's murder spree as he gets close to Barney.
The first episode the fifth year was definitely a pleasant surprise as we get to see the IMF go against an unpredictable assassin that carries out its killing spree unpredictably at random.This provides a different mission that the IMF tries to accomplish as it lacks the complexities that normal episode do have in the past.Added to that,Robert Conrad presents a fresh villainous performance and the presence of Lesley Ann Warren was a welcome surprise that adds fun and entertainment.
Mission: Impossible: The Choice (1970)
Stopping A Mystic
Jim Phelps and his IMF team of Paris,Barney and Willy are given a task by the IMF wherein they deal with a mystic that is manipulating a member of the royal family in a vulnerable nation in order to assume power in "The Choice".
Grand Duchess Theresa of a European duchy of Trent has come under the influence of a mystic called Emile.The IMF needs to help the Grand Duchess's nation and to prevent the mystic into becoming the ruler of Trent.Apparently,the mystic intends to become a dictator and his leadership will turn disastrous to the country as well as the United States as he intends to align himself into the enemies of the U.S.IMF team uses Paris considering that he has great similarities to the mystic in order to reveal to the Grand Duchess his true colors.
Despite the lack of realism and the unlikely scenario of the Paris being a doppelganger,the episode remains fun and entertaining.Added to that,the great performance of Leonard Nimoy provides a good episode particularly in revealing himself and into convincing the grand duchess.
Mission: Impossible: Death Squad (1970)
A Mission During A Vacation
Jim Phelps and Barney are on a vacation.But they got accidentally entangled into another impossible mission in this episode known as "The Death Squad".
Jim and Barney are in a Latin American country wherein the latter falls for an artist named Alma Ross.But the brother of the local police that happens to be a chief is obsessed with Alma and got furious when he discovered that she is going out with Barney. In one of their dates,the brother goes to scare Alma with a knife but Barney defends her and got hit in the process.Added to that,Barney is scheduled to be executed by a secret death squad.Jim calls on the other members of the IMF team to save Barney before he gets killed.
This was a nice turn for we get to see IMF goes on a mission during their vacation when Barney gets on the wrong side of the police chief and gets implicated in a murder that he didn't commit.This was definitely a great improvised mission wherein the IMF team gets on a mission that is not given by the IMF that could probably be not classified categorically as a mission impossible considering the characteristic of the case.
Mission: Impossible: The Crane (1970)
Rescue Mission Of A Revolutionary Leader
Jim Phelps and his IMF team of Paris,Barney and Willy are given a task by the IMF to rescue a revolutionary leader and to hide him from the military the fighter is up against while they maneuver the officers of that military into a fatal confrontation in "The Crane".
Although we get to see a lot of familiar elements and recycled plots in it from past Mission Impossible episodes,it remains passable in terms of entertainment and what viewers normally expect from it despite this obvious fact.Added to that,there is nothing really new in what the IMF does in order to accomplish their mission.
Mission: Impossible: Orpheus (1970)
Identification Of An Enemy Assassin
Jim Phelps and his IMF team of Paris,Barney and Willy are involved in a race-against-time mission to know the identity of an enemy assassin in this episode known as "Orpheus".
Phelps disguises himself as a drug addict and an intelligence officer who intends to sell information as well as a defector towards the contact of the said enemy assassin in order to know the identity and expose their criminal activities.Added to that,guest IMF agent Valerie was sent to look at the assassin's organization in order to look for the wanted criminal.
We get a great episode in this IMF mission as we see how Phelps himself was key in order to solve the task assigned to his IMF team by selling a fake drug addiction and posing as an intelligence defector.We also get to see wonderful performance from Peter Graves as Phelps together with Jessica Walter,who portrays guest IMF Valerie.Added to that,the plot has great moments of deception and manipulation particularly the IMF as they operate on the case.
Mission: Impossible: Lover's Knot (1970)
Emotionally Involved Mission
Jim Phelps and his IMF team of Paris,Barney and Willy wherein some members of the IMF get into a love triangle with a British spy in "Lover's Knot" when the IMF was tasked into a mission to find out details with a U.K. spy ring that was led by Lady Cora Weston.
Apparently,Lady Cora seduces men who belong to intelligence.Phelps poses as a U.S. naval officer who become a target of seduction of Lady Cora.Unfortunately,problem begins when Lady Cora herself also falls for Paris,who is also posing a U.S. official, and when he found himself sharing the same feeling with her.What even made it a bigger problem is the fact that the IMF discovers who Lady Cora really is and her role in the U.K. spy ring.
The love triangle in the mission breathes a new life and provides a different direction for normal episodes that we witness in Mission Impossible.Despite the fact that there is somehow lack of romantic chemistry between Leonard Nimoy,who portrays Paris; and Jane Merrow,who portrays Lady Cora,the episode's love triangle remained interesting.Added to that,we also get to witness an emotionally involved mission from the IMF.
Mission: Impossible: Phantoms (1970)
Using Ghost Cons
Jim Phelps and his IMF team of Paris,Barney and Willy are once again given an interesting mission in "Phantoms" wherein they deal with an aging dictator that is hoodwinked by the "ghost" of an old flame.
Leo Vorka is an aging dictator similar to the characteristics of Joseph Stalin in a Communist nation.He is about to being another purge which was assigned to his secret police.The IMF were given a mission to deal with him.Phelps poses as a writer.Barney disguises himself as a technical guy and Paris deals with make up to convince the dictator's aides that Vorka's murderous past has gotten the best of him by driving him into insanity and this is a sign that the dictator needs to vacate his position and his authority in order to retire.Ghosts are being used into that.
The episode has a great villain in Luther Adler as Leo Vorka as well as the use of the so-called "ghost cons" by the IMF team.Leonard Nimoy provides another great performance as IMF agent Paris wherein he has one of his better performances as well as one of his better disguises in accomplishing the mission.
Mission: Impossible: Terror (1970)
Exposition Of The Terrorist
Jim Phelps and his IMF team of Paris,Barney and Willy are once again given an interesting mission wherein they deal with a notorious terrorist who is serving a life sentence and who has secured a pardon from one of his secret supporters in his nation's government. The IMF team was given a task to expose the traitor and to prevent the release of the said terrorist.
The IMF goes head-to-hear with El Kabir,a Middle Eastern terrorist that is determined to achieve power.He was able to secure a pardon within his government through a supporter.The IMF was given a mission to prevent his release from prison and to expose him.
This episode deliver an intricate web of deceptions and many complexities particularly alliances which made it both compelling and interesting that it rose somehow into the ordinary episodes of Mission Impossible and the normal missions of the IMF teams.
American Made (2017)
Does Tom Cruise Makes A Comeback?
After the last two movies made by Tom Cruise that somehow placed my own doubts on his mega stardom - "Jack Reacher:Never Go Back" and "The Mummy" - with the former being far less of a money earner - earning only $162 million as compared to the $500+ million that his Mission:Impossible movies make - and the latter being trashed by critics considering it as an unsuccessful and messy reboot of "The Mummy" franchise,the question is:Did he make a successful comeback in "American Made"?
Before going to the review proper, let us discuss what "American Made" is all about.It is a film written by Gary Spinelli and directed by Doug Liman.It stars Cruise together with Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Alejandro Edda, Mauricio Mejía, Caleb Landry Jones and Jesse Plemons.The story or screenplay focuses on Barry Seal,who happens to be a former TWA pilot that became a drug smuggler for the Medellin Cartel during the 1980's.In order to avoid getting into prison,Seal decided to cooperate and be an informant for the DEA - Drug Enhancement Board - when he was approached by the U.S. government.
The movie only earned $30 million in the United States and $100 million worldwide despite having a budget of $50 million with Tom Cruise commanding at least $20 million in salary.No question that it did not earn much being a Tom Cruise movie considering his Mission:Impossible movies can earn as much as $500+ million globally.
With regards to his performance,no question that Tom Cruise did better as compared to his Jack Reacher and The Mummy films but I personally found him somewhat of a miscast considering that he has to have somehow a Louisiana-devil-may-care attitude and present himself as the youthful Seals on his 20's despite being 55 years of age.I felt that despite the energy he brought to the character,he wasn't able to provide a good characterization being a limited actor that can only provide life to arrogant and charismatic characters like Maverick in "Top Gun".
While many critics considered it a good film,it could have been a masterpiece and a big earner like "The Godfather" had it been under more talented people particularly a more capable director and a versatile lead actor instead of Doug Liman and Tom Cruise respectively.
So to answer the question "Does Tom Cruise make a comeback?",I would say no he doesn't.His cold streak from "Jack Reacher:Never Go Back", "The Mummy" and "American Made" continues.No question that the presence of Tom Cruise at 55 years-old is no longer enough for his movies to be successful.He definitely has to be in the right role and the right material to continue his success as a Hollywood megastar.
The Mummy (2017)
Arguably The Worst Tom Cruise Starrer I Have Ever Seen
After watching "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" a few months ago,I asked this question to myself: Is Tom Cruise approaching the period of downward slope of his extremely successful movie career? When I made the review for Jack Reacher,it was reported that the movie earned $160 million worldwide so I stated that he wasn't going down yet.But considering that his movies normally earned like $682 million world-wide for his latest Mission Impossible movie - Mission Impossible:Rogue Nation, I do believe that his movies should be placed in a different standard considering he is a megastar and on another level as a movie star.
Then came "The Mummy" which was shown this year. Normally Tom Cruise movies are considered money earners and critically acclaimed.Too bad that this movie "The Mummy" isn't. Despite the fact that it earned $409 million worldwide and it earned $172 million on its opening day globally which happens to be a record for a Tom Cruise movie,it was critically thrashed and many critics saw it as a very poor movie.
Before going to the review proper,let us discuss what "The Mummy" is all about.The new Tom Cruise movie is a reboot of "The Mummy" movie franchise and it is the first film made.It stars Cruise together with Annabelle Wallis,Sofia Boutella,Jake Johnson,Courtney B. Vance and Russell Crowe.This film directed by Alex Kurtzman tells the story of the Mummy,who has fascinated many cultures since the dawn of civilization.Apparently,the said creature is safely entombed deep beneath the unforgiving desert.Then an ancient princess led to its awakening that that brought with her malevolence grown over millennium and terrors that defy human comprehension.From the Middle East through modern-day London,the Mummy brings new intensity into the existing gods and monsters.
Apparently,the critics thrashed this new movie franchise that Tom Cruise is in because it lacks fun and entertainment.Added to that,it was even considered worse as compared to previous movies of the previous "The Mummy" franchise which were also considered trash and unimpressive.Many also are not impressed with it and this new movie does not provide any new reason on why people should watch the reboot this time with Cruise in it.No question that this is actually the worst movie I have seen Tom since I saw him first in "Top Gun" three decades ago.
No question that while Tom Cruise has remained a movie megastar,his movies will continue to earn money and people worldwide will continue to watch anything that he is on with his presence alone.But I must say that he is definitely reaching a point that he must start thinking about the future movies that he is going to make to continue becoming successful as a movie star being more than 50 years old and sustain moneymakers after three decades in Hollywood.It was obvious that his last two movies - "Jack Reacher:Never Go Back" and "The Mummy" - have become poorly rated movies and did not earn as much as his Mission Impossible movies that earned at least $600 million with Jack Reacher earning only $162 million and the first Mummy movie earning $409 million after the producers spent $120 million producing it.Compared to an ordinary movie star,they are still impressive.But for a star like Tom Cruise,who commands more than $20 million in salary and should be placed in another standard, they are not really impressive.It is about time for Tom Cruise and the producers to realize that his presence alone in movies is no longer enough for people to flock in theaters.
Definitely,Tom Cruise must be in the right material for them to do so for they do care nowadays whether his films are good or not.
Mission: Impossible: Gitano (1970)
Clumsy Direction And An Irritating Performance Despite A Solid Screenplay
Jim Phelps and his IMF team of Paris,Barney and Willy are once again given an interesting mission into dealing with a teen-age kind of a small European principality that has been falsely convinced by regents that intends harm and evil plans against him.
The IMF must save a teen-age king of the European principality that apparently has been fooled and has taken his refuge on a neighboring country that intends him harm.The villain involved is a general who intends to kill the young ruler.The IMF gets into a rescue mission in order to protect the young king's life.
Despite having a solid screenplay and an interesting turn from Leonard Nimoy and Margarita Cordova as IMF agents disguised as a gypsy couple involved in a fake accident,we get to see some clumsy direction and an irritating performance from Barry Williams.