Battle of the Blockbusters: <i>Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol</i> and <i>Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows</i>

After the year-end glut of prestige pictures and awards bait, it's kind of a relief to settle in for a pair of high-concept blockbusters that have no greater ambition beyond blowing stuff up real good. That's the mission statement behind Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol, the second and fourth installments in their respective franchises. The former reunites director Guy Ritchie with Robert Downey Jr. as a strapping, ass-kicking Sherlock and Jude Law as his right hand man/pseudo boyfriend Dr. Watson. The latter matches Pixar wizard Brad Bird (making his live-action directorial debut) with Tom Cruise reprising his role as Ethan Hunt, the Impossible Missions Force's premiere covert agent. Both films emphasize spectacle over story (Ghost Protocol even more so, since several sequences were filmed using IMAX cameras), action over acting and explosions over erudition. But only one of them actually makes good on its promise of escapist entertainment.

Five Unexpectedly Great Philip Seymour Hoffman Performances

by Ethan Alter February 3, 2014 2:45 pm
Five Unexpectedly Great Philip Seymour Hoffman Performances

In recent years, it's been taken for granted that Philip Seymour Hoffman could do just about anything. That's the kind of trust a performer builds with both filmmakers and moviegoers when he or she is able to cultivate the kind of long and varied career that Hoffman enjoyed right up until his tragic passing on February 2.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, December 6, 2011

by Zach Oat December 6, 2011 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cowboys fight aliens. How can you possibly screw that up? Here's how...

Tom Cruise Recycles

by Tippi Blevins July 1, 2008 10:32 am
Tom Cruise Recycles Tom Cruise is really getting into recycling these days, it seems, and he's not stopping at separating the glass from the plastics before putting them out on the curb. No, he's recycling his actual career, according to an article in Variety. The actor is gearing up to play yet another secret agent in Columbia Pictures' Edwin A. Salt. According to the article, Cruise will play "a CIA officer who's accused of being a Russian sleeper spy." Naturally, "[he] must elude capture long enough to clear his name." Early bets have him spending most of the movie looking frantic, running around, jumping off buildings and/or geographical features, blowing things up and being nearly blown up himself. He could save himself the trouble and recycle footage from his past movies.

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