To mark the 40th anniversary of author Thomas Harris’ invention of Hannibal Lecter and the 30th anniversary of “The Silence of the Lambs” – the only horror film to win Best Picture – we’re looking back at the four books and five films of the Hannibal Lecter series over nine Frightening Fridays. Next up is the third film, “Hannibal” (2001):
May is the month of “M:I,” as we look back at the six “Mission: Impossible” films from May 2-10. First up is the original “Mission: Impossible” (1996):
The Irishman” (2019, Netflix) pairs nicely as the back half of a double feature with 1992’s “Hoffa.” That film, which was likewise Oscar-nominated, focuses on Jimmy Hoffa’s creation and popularization of a workers’ union, whereas director Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” digs into the darker corners of the mobsters who circled around Hoffa. Both films are from the point of view of one of Hoffa’s trusted seconds: Danny DeVito’s Bobby Ciaro in “Hoffa” and Robert De Niro’s Frank Sheeran, the titular Irishman.
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.
I subscribe to Entertainment Weekly but I’m not an avid follower of the book world, so I kind of got the impression that EW was forcing things in the wake of “Harry Potter” when it became obsessed with “Twilight,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “Hunger Games.” To me, these all seem to be niche franchises that are being pushed into mainstream status for lack of anything that fits the mold better.
“Moneyball” includes so many scenes of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (Brat Pitt) and other baseball people spitting chew into cups that it almost plays like an extended version of that “Naked Gun” riff where even the players’ wives are spitting. It’s as if screenwriters Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin and director Bennett Miller were trying to paint this as a “baseball movie” in the same sense as “The Natural” or “Bull Durham” or “61*.”