In honor of “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” hitting home rental this week, I thought I’d do a ranking of all six “M:I” movies in which Tom Cruise plays Agent Ethan Hunt. As an action movie junkie, my views may differ from the typical critical rankings. Cruise does almost all of his own stunts, and they are just as much the star of the show as he is, so I’ve included a nod to the best action sequence in each film.
“Lost” Season 2 (2005-06, ABC), episode 1 – “Lost” is not the best show on TV (it’s not even the best show in its time slot). The weaknesses became apparent last season when Claire (Emilie de Ravin) was kidnapped and Jack (Matthew Fox) and his gang couldn’t be bothered to seriously search for her even though they didn’t have anything more pressing to occupy their time. (They eventually found her while searching for Walt’s dog.)
“Lost” Season 1 (2004-05, ABC), episodes 1-11 – I was hooked on “Lost” (7 p.m. Wednesdays on ABC) from the get-go. The pilot came complete with a plane crash and a monster; if it had been a summer blockbuster, it’d be topping my year-end movie list. But “Lost” is a TV series, and the key to its longevity is, as with “Veronica Mars,” back stories.
“Alias” Season 1 (2001-02, ABC), episodes 1-5 — A close runner-up to “Smallville” for Most Unoriginal Show is ABC’s “Alias,” which took over “La Femme Nikita’s” 8 p.m. Sunday timeslot in addition to stealing all its ideas. Because “Nikita” ended last year, one could argue that “Alias” is filling a void rather than trying to steal an audience. However, the first five episodes suggest that “Alias” merely wants to re-hash old ideas, just at a much faster pace.
“This Is Us” will soon to bring the “people living their lives” genre back to TV, and it seems to feature character/story paths distinct from each other. So I thought it would be a good time to look back at a similar show, “Six Degrees” (2006-07, ABC). The 13-episode series from J.J. Abrams falls halfway between the genres he’s most associated with: It’s a character piece like “Felicity” or “What About Brian,” but it also flirts with bigger ideas like “Lost” or “Fringe” (albeit much more tangentially).
“Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens,” the first big-screen building block in Disney’s takeover of the empire formerly owned by George Lucas, is frustrating on many levels: It copies the plot of “Episode IV — A New Hope” without adding any new perspectives, it gives no sense of the scope of the events, and it regularly taunts us with the fact that a much more interesting story happened between Episodes VI and VII. Overall, I wasn’t so much thrilled by the return of “Star Wars” to the big screen as I was saddened by how Disney only seems to care about the shallowest aspects of the saga. (SPOILERS follow throughout this review.)
Trying to parse out the plot and character details of a movie based on a trailer – particularly a teaser trailer – is a ridiculous exercise. But – if only to give myself something to look back and laugh at after the movies come out – here are my thoughts on the buzzed-about trailers for “Jurassic World” (June 12, 2015) and “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens” (Dec. 18, 2015). My thoughts are relatively spoiler-free, based only on the trailers and the most broadly known facts about the films.
Like director J.J. Abrams’ 2009 “Star Trek” film, “Star Trek Into Darkness” gets all the Trek-isms correct. Everyone is still spot-on as alternate-universe versions of the iconic characters, Scottie and Chekov have thick accents, there are winks about red shirts, Bones says a variation on “Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor …” and so forth.