Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes – Part 6

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It is now time for part 6 of the Scene Before series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes.” This series describes the recent happenings, or in some cases, a lack of happenings, in the film industry as the world deals with the COVID-19 outbreak.

I’m telling you guys, this is getting annoying! We now have as many entries to this series, as “Sharknado” does within its own series! This is wrong! And honestly, this may be the biggest post yet, because a lot has happened in the entertainment realm! But of course, let’s get to the real world news first! By the way, if you’re asking, none of it has to do with Kim Jung Un. I’m only counting COVID-19 matters.

Today we’ll start in a film capital, California. Last week, Florida’s Duval County was in the news because people spent time at the area’s beaches that were recently reopened. This was referenced a ton on social media, which lead to the trend #FloridaMorons. While I never found #CaliforniaMorons to be trending on Twitter, some people did make tweets with that hashtag inserted. Before we go any further, here’s some highlights related to this subject, even if all of them don’t use the hashtag.

Once again, I did not see #CaliforniaMorons trending, but just to prove that I am not the only person who is noticing this…

I know, right?! I love California! I was just there a month ago! But, holy crap! This weekend, California was hit with warm weather, reaching 80 and 90 degrees. Since it is so warm, a lot of people thought it would be a good time to go to the beach. But of course, because COVID-19 ruins fun, there is a massive chance of spreading the infection. Naturally, much of the response on social media to this matter has been particularly negative. Speaking of beaches getting traffic, San Diego officially reopened their beaches starting Monday April 27th. However, this does come with restrictions. People cannot gather in groups, park, or lie down to get some rays. Question about parking, does Uber count? Drivers need to get by in these times! Plus, Fiesta Island, piers, and boardwalks will be closed. However, you can still swim, you can still fish, you can still surf. This is part of phase 1 rules in regards to San Diego beaches. California Governor Gavin Newsom had this to say about the matter…

“This virus doesn’t go home because it’s a beautiful sunny day around our coasts.”

Although, California is not done with announcing closures, because the Orange County Fair will officially be shut down for this year. This year’s fair was supposed to last for 23 days, on every day of the week except for Mondays and Tuesdays starting July 17th and ending August 16th. The fair, held in Costa Mesa, California, has previously seen over a million visitors in a year.

Two of the celebrities who have been taking up lots of spotlight in this time of a pandemic are Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, both of whom previously been tested positive for COVID-19. However, time has passed, and the two seem to be better then they were a month ago. Although they are back in the news for better reasons. Hanks and Wilson agreed to donate blood and plasma for a possible vaccine. After all, both individuals carry needed antibodies. I will be real, I f*cking hate needles. Even if they are necessary. I feel as if I’m gonna make it out of a burning building should a vaccine be injected into me in order to avoid getting COVID-19. However, if you want to convince an anti-vaxxer to get a vaccine, tell them that Tom Hanks will now be a part of you.

Speaking of Tom Hanks, the man known for such films like “Cast Away” and “Bridge of Spies” defended a child the other day. While he was not able to get physically involved, partially because of physical distancing limitations, he did take action. When Hanks and his wife, Wilson, were diagnosed with coronavirus, an 8-year-old male Australian student by the name of Corona De Vries wrote a letter to the couple saying he loved his own name, but he was often called the coronavirus, making him “sad and angry.” Hanks saw the letter and responded back suggesting “You got a friend in me,” a phrase inspired by “Toy Story,” another film Hanks is famous for.

Say what you want about celebrities being selfish and entitled, even in these times. Tom Hanks suggests otherwise.

Now I’ve talked quite a bit about Donald Trump, who as of recently, just invented the “Noble Prizes!”

By the way, if you are wondering why I am not using Trump’s tweet for this, it no longer exists!

Last week, after Trump suggested that the coronavirus “may not come back at all” for a second time, Dr. Anthony Fauci begs to differ. He suggested the possibility of a second outbreak after having a discussion with Robert Redfield, director of the CDC. This outbreak could hit in the fall, and be more complexing considering how the flu pops up at the end of the year.

Speaking of Trump, time for some bleach drinking! In the ambitious search for a COVID-19 cure, Donald Trump has suggested the possibility of injecting disinfectant in order to rid one’s body of COVID-19. Let me just start off by saying, yes, injecting disinfectant will VERY LIKELY get rid of COVID-19, because you’re about to f*cking go down along with it. Putting bleach in the body is good for a lot of things. Erasing the lyrics of “Baby Shark” from your head! Forgetting whatever the “Cats” movie was! Oh, and trying to become a f*cking ghost! The COVID-19 crisis is not going to be solved through disinfectant going inside you! Besides, everyone’s afraid to go to the supermarket right now! You think everyone’s gonna want to pile on top of each other in the same aisle grabbing Clorox?!

I’m done! I’m really just done! I just want to go to a restaurant and the movies, is that too much to ask?! Wait…

Before we go any further, I’m going to remind everyone that in my post from last week, I documented that Georgia was planning to reopen on April 27th. Well, that was yesterday. But when it comes to movie theaters, those are not reopening. I mentioned this specific before, but I thought I’d bring it up as a refresher. Georgia Theater Company, otherwise known as GTC Movies, is not planning on reopening theaters anytime soon. They intend on waiting until July, when Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” comes out, a movie which we’ll talk about later. Speaking of which, Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, has given theaters the green light to open starting Friday with 25% capacity. Chains like AMC and Cinemark do not plan on opening until the summer. Although in addition to that, a movie theater chain that is absolutely critical to Texas is taking similar actions. Specifically, Alamo Drafthouse. For the record, these theaters are not entirely shuttered, as some are open for takeout and delivery. After all, Alamo Drafthouse is known for its food selection. However, an Alamo Drafthouse spokesperson had this to say in regards to possibly reopening…

“Opening safely is a very complex project that involves countless new procedures and equipment, all of which require extensive training. This is something we cannot and will not do casually or quickly. We will not be opening this weekend. But know this, when we do open, we will be providing the safest possible experience for both our staff and our guests and we can’t wait to see you all again!”

It seems that Alamo going to follow the footsteps of other chains and maybe reopen during mid-summer. That is, should COVID-19 not affect the safety of theater patrons. Besides, not much material is coming out in theaters these days, including a movie I am going to talk about right now.

SCOOB! GOES STRAIGHT TO DIGITAL

One of the family films that was set to come out this year is “Scoob!,” which if you cannot tell, belongs to the “Scooby-Doo” IP. Now “Scooby-Doo” has had a lot of content over the years, but in May 2020 the franchise was about to have its latest theatrically released title. A couple of films within the IP have been presented this way already, and they were written by James Gunn, who of course is now famous for his work on the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films. This film was set to release May 15th, 2020, but Warner Bros. took it off the release calendar in response to the pandemic. Turns out, it will be coming out that day all along, BUT it won’t be in theaters, given how none are practically open right now. Instead, it is going to follow in the footsteps of “Trolls: World Tour,” the animated sequel by DreamWorks, now owned by Comcast, and release onto VOD. Meaning that services including Prime Video, Vudu, FandangoNOW, and Google Play will be getting the film. I’ll be honest, had this pandemic not been going on this year, there’s a solid chance that I might miss out on “Scoob!” if it were in the theater. The only reason why I would even consider seeing it, is because I feel the need to see five animated flicks by the end of the year, because I need enough nominees at the Jackoff Awards that I do in the winter. Although, it definitely does have a market. Families would probably have gone to see it. Generations who grew up with “Scooby-Doo” will recognize the movie and pass the torch to their children. Had it stayed in theaters, it could have made for a fun outing. But of course, it’s not in theaters.

“Trolls: World Tour” was not the worst option of all the movies that could go straight to VOD instead of theaters. A lot of younger kids recognize the film, and since sometimes bringing kids to the movies can be obnoxious, putting it in a home environment is not the worst idea. That is until Amazon’s 48 hour rental period expires and they beg for the parents to spend another $20. “Trolls: World Tour” landed one of the biggest digital debuts ever, and “Scoob!” could do the same, but that is going to depend on how many kids are looking forward to it. I think there was more of an appetite for a “Trolls” sequel among children than there was for a “Scooby-Doo” movie. At the same time however, “Scooby-Doo” has had a long history of being a product for the home environment. I grew up having a piece “Scooby-Doo” media in my collection. A lot of television shows and cartoons have been a part of the “Scooby-Doo” brand. From a production standpoint, this could come off as something that was meant for theaters, but may be remembered as another fine entry to the “Scooby-Doo” home media collection.

THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND GOES STRAIGHT TO DIGITAL

Had South by Southwest happened this year, one of the films that I would have been eager to see was Judd Apatow’s “The King of Staten Island.” The film had an advantage of being a higher-profile title, alongside such movies including “The Lovebirds,” which is now going to Netflix. This film had a bright future on the big screen. Aside from a SXSW debut this March, it was supposed to come out June 19th of this year in theaters. I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that “The King of Staten Island” is getting bumped up a week to June 12th, 2020. So it’ll come out a week earlier. The bad news is, if you were looking forward to seeing Judd Apatow’s latest film in theaters, that’s not happening, and this does not come as a surprise. I have a feeling that part of this not only has to do with analyzing the potential box office results ahead, but maybe it has a bit to do with “Tenet,” which I think is going to be a better example of a film that is going to try to entice people to get back in the theaters (again, more on that later). However, starting June 12th, “The King of Staten Island,” a semi-autobiographical comedy-drama starring Pete Davidson will be available On Demand through various services. This is a release technique similar to the recently mentioned “Scoob!.” The film also features notable names including Marisa Tomei (Spider-Man: Homecoming, My Cousin Vinny), Pamela Adlon (Bob’s Burgers, Better Things), Steve Buscemi (Miracle Workers, Fargo), and Bill Burr (Breaking Bad, Date Night).

While this technique has been done for a film like “Trolls: World Tour,” which again, was fairly successful. A film with this much name power that was supposed to be in theaters has not really gotten this treatment all that much during the pandemic. I see at light at the end of the tunnel, but as of now, “The King of Staten Island” is perhaps an adult version of the “Trolls: World Tour” experiment. I honestly don’t know how this is going to go, as “Trolls: World Tour” likely had several advantages. First, that movie was going for a wider audience including children, families, etc. “The King of Staten Island” is an R rated picture. No kids allowed on this flick! Plus, since this film probably won’t be heading to a platform like Netflix, where you can watch the movie for free as long as you have a monthly subscription, it could suffer from less views because people are cheap and they’d rather watch something free than pay a rental price. “Trolls: World Tour” might as well be a product that can be put on bunches of times just to shut kids up on some occasions. It may be expensive, but the peace and quiet could be worth it. Although, Comcast’s streaming service, Peacock, which is now available for Xfinity customers, is hoping to expand its customer base starting July 15th. Maybe “The King of Staten Island” will end up on the service as soon as possible for everyone to enjoy.

Also, side note, this movie is incorrect. Pete Davidson IS NOT the king of Staten Island. The Impractical Jokers are the kings of Staten Island. That’s a fact. Prove. Me. Wrong. I dare you.

A SURPRISING SUCCESS FOR TROLLS: WORLD TOUR

Thought I was done talking about “Trolls: World Tour?” Well, I’m not! Because according to The Wall Street Journal, it turns out “Trolls: World Tour” has officially made over $100 million in a matter of just a few weeks! This ultimately means that this digital experiment Universal was trying out happened to be relatively successful so far. Again, I think part of this mainly has to do with “Trolls: World Tour” being a family movie that kids will probably be watching over and over again to the point of becoming annoying. However, it’s an interesting success story as movies like this, including “Trolls: World Tour’s” predecessor, happen to gain massive successes from big theatrical runs. I should also point out that the first film currently has made more money at the domestic box office, specifically $153.7 million. But who knows? Maybe that will be broken. Will this mean Universal does more straight-to-digital releases in the future? Honestly, I hope not. While this may have worked for a film like “Trolls: World Tour,” which I think kids were going to watch no matter what, movies in general are often built up best by word of mouth in an attempt to get people out of the house. I just hope for the love of Pete that the ninth “Fast & Furious” DOES NOT get a straight to digital treatment. As for other factors to consider, “Trolls: World Tour” is also one of the only new films to watch right now, and since we can’t leave our house, maybe that has a contributing factor to how willing we are to stay in and pay a rental price on the movie. If we were in normalcy, who knows how this would have played out? But if you ask me, EVERY MOVIE is better in a theater. Mark my words.

SPIDER-DELAY! SPIDER-DELAY! DOES WHATEVER A SPIDER-DELAY DOES!

In part 5, I’ve practically given DC Comics its own section to talk about in terms of delays. This time, I’m going to be doing this for Marvel, both on the sides of Disney and Sony. Starting off with Sony, one of their hit movies, the Academy Award-winning “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” was supposed to get a sequel released on April 8th, 2022. That’s not happening anymore as the sequel has officially been pushed back to October 7th, 2022. It is hard to know what could come of “Spider-Verse 2” from this release date. Maybe it could do what “Venom” did and be able to separate itself in a month full of horror movies, not that “Venom” didn’t have some elements of the genre. For all I know this could work, because the first film won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a Critics’ Choice, and seven Annies. The first film by the way released in December. I feel like the Best Animated Feature category is the least important one when it comes to releasing a film at a certain time, but experience has suggested that when a film releases later in the year, it usually gets some awards buzz. “Spider-Verse 2” could not just be a big hit, but another award winner.

Speaking of “Spider-Man,” the third Tom Holland “Spider-Man” movie was delayed! This third “Spider-Man” film was supposed to be connected to the MCU and release in theaters July 16th, 2021 as part of Marvel’s fourth phase of films. However, the film now sits in the month of November, taking a spot on the fifth day of the month. I am disappointed that I have to wait for the film, but the film opens on my birthday weekend, so I’ll take the wins as they come along. This news may have ties to how filming has not really been happening, and I am willing to bet that the delay for Sony’s “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” now coming out on June 25th, 2021, plays a bit into this. After all, that too is technically a “Spider-Man” property. Having these two movies very close to each other could potentially be weird. Speaking of Marvel…

THOUGHT SPIDEY WAS ALONE? THE MARVEL RELEASE CHANGES SHALL ASSEMBLE!

One of the most complex questions right now in regards to the pandemic is the wonder of what is going to happen to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was not that long ago that “Black Widow” was delayed from this May to November, taking “Eternals'” spot on the release calendar. This resulted in pushback upon pushback upon pushback. Guess what? “Spider-Man” is not the only Marvel character affected this week. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which was supposed to release the same weekend as “Spider-Man 3,” is now getting pushed back to March 25th, 2022. Interestingly however, “Thor: Love and Thunder,” which was supposed to come out February 18th, 2022 as of recent times, is getting bumped up a week and is now coming out February 11th, 2022. Why is that? I don’t know for sure, but maybe to get couples to go see it on Valentine’s Day. With a title like “Love and Thunder,” that’s probably the reason. And now, for everything else!

THE DELAYS NEVER END!

Going back to Sony, one of the interesting projects that they have held onto for some time is a movie based on the popular video game franchise “Uncharted,” which, appropriately, is a Playstation exclusive. Even though Tom Holland’s “Spider-Man 3” is getting pushed back to November 2021, “Uncharted,” which he is set star in, is getting bumped up. Finally! Some positive news about this movie! I have never played the video games, even though I have heard solid things about them, but as for the movie, it just goes to show that even in development, video game movies are cursed. However, “Uncharted,” which was supposed to release October 16th, 2021, is moving up to the summer of that year! As of now, it is taking the spot where “Spider-Man 3” once was! Hopefully, this optimistic bump means that production will be happening as soon as possible, considering how filming was shut down due to COVID-19 on day one. Who knows what’ll happen? This movie is an enigma! As for other projects under Sony’s control, “Fatherhood,” a new comedy starring Kevin Hart is being pushed back from October 23rd, 2020 to April 2nd, 2021. Speaking of Kevin Hart, another movie where he’ll appear, “Man From Toronto,” once set for a September 17th, 2021 release, is now coming out November 20th, 2021. And if you thought “Spider-Verse 2” was going to be the only affected animated title, you’re wrong. “Connected,” the upcoming film produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, was delayed a month. The film, which was previously expected September 18th, 2020, will now be coming out October 23rd, 2020. “Vivo,” featuring songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton” fame, was supposed to release April 26, 2021, but now is getting pushed back to June 4, 2021. Can’t believe this is a thing, “Hotel Transylvania 4!” I guess this is also known as, “Adam Sandler needs an excuse be in a movie that won’t go straight to Netflix.” By the way, “Uncut Gems” is brilliant and you should watch it if you haven’t done so already. That is even if it does try to convince an audience that the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut has a sportsbook. Anyway, “Hotel Transylvania 4” is yet another movie that is not going down the calendar, but up! Originally set for a December 22nd, 2021 release, the animated sequel will now take the August 6th, 2021 spot. This could be a strategic move as it could give families something to do over the summer, while not having to compete with Universal’s “Sing 2,” which is set to release the same day “Hotel Transylvania 4” was once supposed to come out.

Also getting delayed, Tom Cruise is gonna have to wait a little bit longer before he attempts to kill himself once more, or more specifically, twice more. The seventh and eighth installments to the “Mission: Impossible” franchise, which will be directed by Christopher McQuarrie, also known for helming the fifth and sixth installments in the franchise, both have previous release dates set to self-destruct. The seventh “Mission: Impossible” installment was supposed to come out July 23rd, 2021, once again standing out as a summer staple. As of now, the film is coming out November 19th, 2021, just before Thanksgiving. As for the eighth installment, once planned to release August 5th, 2022, that is now set for a release date that I am personally digging, November 4th, 2022. Why am I stoked? Because it’s my birthday. From what I could imagine however, these two movies may have quite a bit to do with each other and could probably go well together in back to back viewings. Kind of similar to putting “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame” together. There is always a chance that “Mission: Impossible 7” could suck more than anything that has sucked before, thus lowering my hype levels for the eighth installment. However, “Mission: Impossible” is a peculiar series that honestly has gotten better with each installment, so anything is possible.

NEW HOME RELEASES

I usually save this for last, but this time, my next post has more of a climactic vibe, so this is going to be my penultimate section. When it comes to digital releases, perhaps one of the most notable titles coming out this week is “The Photograph.” This debuted in theaters last February, stars LaKeith Stanfield (Sorry To Bother You, Knives Out) alongside Chelsea Peretti and features intertwining love stories. This seems appropriate, because, again, this movie came out in February. Although for Netflix, one movie that just came out is “Extraction,” starring Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Ghostbusters) as a black market mercenary. The film is not one that I plan to review, however it is also one that I am hearing solid things about. Granted, the story is nothing to write home about, but if this film were to be solely judged based on action, I’m hearing it slaps. And this honestly does not surprise me as it is written by Anthony and Joe Russo and directed by Sam Hargrave, a stunt coordinator behind “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Atomic Blonde,” and “Avengers: Endgame.” As for whether or not this is the next “John Wick” is something that you will have to decide for yourself. Also, if you have any plans to tune into Amazon, the SXSW lineup is now available, which was made in response to the cancellation of the ambitious annual event held in Austin, TX. If you have Disney+, your inner “Star Wars” nerd is going to be happy, because not only are you soon going to be getting more of “The Clone Wars,” you’re not only getting a documentary on “The Mandalorian,” but “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” will be available on Disney+ starting May 4th, known by the fan community as “Star Wars Day.” From then on, the complete “Skywalker Saga” will be available on the service. Speaking of action-packed films…

TENET IS LOCKED FOR JULY 17TH

This is going to be the main topic of this entire post. For those of you who don’t know, Christopher Nolan is coming out with his latest blockbuster title, “Tenet,” which had a trailer release this past winter. At the same time, a short preview attached to IMAX screenings of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” was shown for a limited time. This film, among all others, HAS NOT been delayed. And if you have talked to me at all recently, it is a film that is almost my most anticipated of the year. It’s just one spot under “Dune” if you are all curious. “Tenet” is a film that has literally been designed for the movie theater experience. It was shot using film stock through IMAX and 70mm cameras, it’s got a labyrinth of a concept similar to Nolan’s other films, and the cast looks promising. Some attached names include John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Kenneth Branagh, and of course, the one and only Michael Caine. I have been worried for the longest time that this film would get gravitated from this summer, taking away yet another big movie. It’s happened with “Top Gun: Maverick,” it’s happened with “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” it’s also happened with “Morbius.” However, “Tenet” happens to be one of the last men standing in this battle against the invisible enemy. That’s also what it will continue to be going forward, because IndieWire suggests that “Tenet” will be ready to open July 17th of THIS YEAR unless theaters are closed. Is this wishful thinking? It’s possible, but this article gives me hope, and I will state, this is not the first time I am hearing this statement. However, just to hear this be reinforced a month later, is extremely fulfilling. One of my big worries when it comes to “Tenet” is the possibility of it being a lone wolf in the movie theater, there is not much of a reason for the film to play in seemingly dead space. But at the same time, Christopher Nolan has constantly marketed “Tenet” as an event film. It’s an expensive blockbuster clearly meant for the summer. It’s got a similar vibe to Nolan’s own “Inception.” I will also point out that should quarantine end around the country starting July, Christopher Nolan can utilize a huge marketing push at the end of the game, maybe reminding people how exciting it is to go see a movie in a theater. Nolan is all about that atmosphere. Nolan is not a streaming guy. In fact, when this all started in the US, Nolan wrote an opinion article in The Washington Post where he called movie theaters “a vital part of American social life.” Before hearing what IndieWire suggests in their article, I had a rather bleak thought process as to what theaters would look like only being able to show “Tenet.” A few screens would be open, while every other one is some classic title that maybe not everybody is gonna pay $12 to see when they can they rent it on Amazon. Turns out, IndieWire sees a much more optimistic point of view. IndieWire suggests the following:

“Even if theaters start opening in June (Georgia’s aggressive early plan could permit openings in early May, but NATO has stated it prefers a nationwide, concerted rollout), few will attend without new films. Going before other big films would allow “Tenet” to play on virtually every screen in the country.”

Think about it. How many films have been delayed? From smaller titles that nobody has even heard of to the big blockbusters like those that Marvel cranks out every few months, despite their differences, they have something in common. They got delayed. A few got delayed not too far up calendar while others got kicked into another year, but nevertheless, they got delayed. “Tenet,” as the last man standing, could literally possess every auditorium in every theater, at least in the United States. This is something that during NORMAL times, I would be scared of a movie doing, but now, it makes sense and I am flat out encouraging it, because something needs to light the spark. Plus, should theaters reduce capacity for safety concerns, “Tenet” has themselves covered. They have more theaters and auditoriums that could supply everybody. If you have an AMC near you that has a bunch of standard screens, an IMAX screen, a Dolby Cinema screen all in one place, there’s a solid chance that they’ll use one or two, maybe another auditorium for standard screenings of a blockbuster. In addition, the IMAX or Dolby, depending on the deal they’ve made regarding the film, will also feature said blockbuster. If you have a decent-sized theater, for all I know, “Tenet” could take every screening possible. Can you imagine a 25 screen theater with “Tenet” on virtually every single one? It’s going to be the State of the Union Address of movies. There’s no alternate program you can resort to, it’s “Tenet” or bust! And if this were a film that could easily fit in for a streaming environment, had a small budget, or lacked some of name recognition, I’d probably say maybe this theater project is overblown and a bit beyond one’s reach. However, the film was designed for the theatrical experience, is a blockbuster, and is helmed by the man who I personally think is my favorite director of all time. For all I know, he could get another Oscar nomination for this film depending on how this year pans out.

The slogan of “Tenet” by the way, and hopefully I am not scaring anybody, is “time runs out.” Let’s just hope that time will not run out on this film and our chances of seeing it as early as possible, in as lively of an environment as possible. In a season of movies getting delayed like flights for United Airlines, “Tenet” is possibly going to be the last man standing. The fight against the invisible enemy shall continue, and we shall not stop until we can successfully get millions of butts sitting in cinema seats. Warner Bros., Christopher Nolan, the entire cast and crew of “Tenet,” to say I am rooting for you is an understatement. For all I know, if “Tenet” successfully enters theaters in July, I will be there opening night for IMAX 70mm. This virus is ruining Hollywood, and now we need to give it the Hollywood ending it absolutely deserves.

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Thanks for reading the sixth part of the ongoing series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes!” Look, I love doing Scene Before, but if this is what I’ll be talking about for the rest of my life, it’s going to get tiresome. I will point out that I left the house for the first time all month on the 25th. There’s that. I just want to go see a movie. If movie theaters collectively do not survive this crisis, I think I might almost be done with movies. One of the reasons why I love movies is because they are experiences, and these experiences are best had in a distraction-free environment either by myself, a few other people, or even a full house. Are the tickets and food sometimes overpriced? Sure, but moviegoing is a staple of the economy and I would flat out scream up to sky if they disappeared. PLEASE… Stay home as much as you can. Do *your* part if you want a better chance of me giving my thoughts on movies for you to possibly see. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! While it may not cure the coronavirus, if you want a better use of your time than drinking bleach, check out the Scene Before Facebook page! I want to know, did I miss anything related to COVID-19 and film? What big piece of news stands out to you? Or, since it relates to this post, what do you think are the odds of “Tenet” getting delayed? At this point, it’s a competitive and strategic game of chess. Who knows at this point? Leave your thoughts down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Mission: Impossible: Fallout (2018): Tom Cruise Is A Madman!

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Your mission, should you choose to accept it, can simply be referred to as “out with the old, in with the new.” After reviewing five “Mission: Impossible” movies starring Tom Cruise, it is time to focus on a new chapter while it is still in theaters. With the same amount of Jackassery as ever, you will find some things that if you read the other Scene Before “Mission: Impossible” reviews, or even the Scene Before reviews that aren’t related to “Mission: Impossible,” they’d be like a trip down memory lane. Whether you choose to read this sitting down, standing up, or if you’re Tom Cruise, running around the world, be sure to observe every detail of the review very carefully. As always, should you or any of your Force be caught or killed, the Movie Reviewing Moron will disavow any of your actions. This message will self-destruct in five seconds.

“Mission: Impossible: Fallout” is directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the director of the previous “Mission: Impossible” film, “Rogue Nation,” and stars Tom Cruise (American Made, Risky Business), Henry Cavill (Man of Steel, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.), Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction, Bringing Out the Dead), Simon Pegg (Star Trek, Shaun of the Dead), Rebecca Ferguson (Life, The Girl on the Train), Sean Harris (The Borgias, Harry Brown), Angela Bassett (Olympus Has Fallen, American Horror Story), Michelle Monaghan (Eagle Eye, Patriots Day), and Alec Baldwin (The Boss Baby, The Departed). This film is the sixth installment in the “Mission: Impossible” movie franchise that has been going on since 1996. While the plot of this film may have a familiar feel to it when compared to other installments in the franchise, there is no denying that it totally works. Now that the IMF is stable again, the same can’t be said for the world. The villain from “Rogue Nation,” Solomon Lane, has some remaining members of his terrorist organization, The Syndicate. These remaining members have now formed a new group by the name of The Apostles. Now it is up to Ethan Hunt and his allies to stop havoc from happening after The Apostles gain possession of plutonium. And no, they are not using it to power a DeLorean in order to travel through time, the reason is much more deadly.

Let me just start off this review as a flashback to those who read my stuff regularly and a newsflash to all of the newcomers or some of you viewers who don’t check out my content as much as some other people. Before the release of “Mission: Impossible: Fallout,” I made an effort to get through each one of the Tom Cruise “Mission: Impossible” installments. This would also help me in creating my review series for all of these movies before “Fallout” was even able to be witnessed by the public. One thing I noticed is that the franchise always seems to step up their game (personally) from one installment to the next. I thought the first movie was great, the second one, stupid, the third one, alright, the fourth one, pretty good, the fifth one, f*cking fantastic. I started to wonder, how would the sixth one be? I had tremendous faith based on how much I appreciated the trailers, the positive buzz, Christopher McQuarrie being in the director’s chair again, all that sort of jazz. I was beginning to wonder to myself, given how much I enjoyed “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation,” the fifth movie in the franchise, which just so happened to be my absolute favorite, how could this be topped? Is there any possible chance that they could top the awesome opening sequence with the A400 plane? Is there any possible chance they could top all of the crazy s*it that happened in the opera house? Is there any possible chance that they could top the scene where Tom has to deal with a security system underwater? Is there any possible chance that “Mission: Impossible: Fallout” could top “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation?”

Well, it did.

Actually, ya know what? I take that previous statement back. “Mission: Impossible: Fallout” DID NOT top “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation,” it DESTROYED it. I’ve seen a lot of movies over the past few years, many of which I’ve actually reviewed here on Scene Before, and I still find it amazing that after all of the movies I’ve seen, my jaw still drops to this day at new content. This movie literally has everything an action movie should have. Some may say the story is cliche or familiar. And while I’m not gonna say that’s an unfair or invalid criticism, I’d personally say that this familiar story was very well done. In fact, I’d say the “Mission: Impossible” movies are doing what the “Transformers” movies should be doing, because both movies seem to have plots or elements of the story that repeat from movie to movie, but the thing about “Mission: Impossible” is that it is either a little less obvious, or I care more about the characters, or perhaps both. This movie has scenes that feel raw. There is reliance on actual stunts as opposed to a green screen. You have your adrenaline rushes, you have exposition that isn’t really that boring, great characters, not too many jump cuts or quick cuts, and moments you just don’t want to end.

There have been many great action movies throughout the 2010s. Some of these include “John Wick,” “Atomic Blonde,” “Skyfall,” “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Deadpool,” “Baby Driver.” Comparing “Fallout” to all of the other movies I listed, this movie beats every single one of them. A couple movies on this list, they have an action sequence that I deeply remember. In “John Wick” you have the nightclub scene where Wick basically kills everyone to some kick-ass music. You also have “Atomic Blonde” where there is this beautifully shot one-take sequence where the main character of Lorraine is basically taking everyone down on a stairwell. It was magic. A good action movie can contain a memorable sequence. But an amazing action movie can contain a bunch of sequences worth talking about. In “Mission: Impossible: Fallout,” you get an awesome bathroom fight where Tom Cruise smashes a guy into a mirror. You get a killer chase in the streets where there’s cars, motorcycles, and it’s just epic. You get a great duel on a mountain near a cliff. You get what might possibly be the best chase scene of the decade, the one where there’s a duel between two helicopters. That scene is LIFE.

Seriously, that helicopter scene alone is worth the price of admission! You thought Tom Cruise hanging on the side of a plane in “Rogue Nation” was thrilling? The thrill levels only rise from there! Tom Cruise learned how to fly a helicopter for this movie! I’m not even going to get too much into the helicopter scene, because I want to savor the flavor for those who have not been exposed to the true work of art I like to call “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Although I will say once the scene started, not to mention progressed, I was on the edge of my seat with my jaw dropping. Once the scene ended, I wanted more! It was THAT GOOD. Another advantage I had with the helicopter scene is that it was one of the sequences which gave me a bigger image in IMAX theaters. I went to a local AMC which had an IMAX screen, which in reality, is not the IMAX that I would usually go for, but it’s still a very fun experience. Not to mention, since I’m a Stubs member, it was $5 ticket Tuesday so I got a pretty good deal. Once the scene began, the aspect ratio would go from scope format to covering the entire IMAX screen through a scrolling process. It was just epic! Now, without getting into spoiler territory, one thing that I didn’t complain about but I imagine some people seeing this in IMAX would probably complain about is that there is a scene that actually cuts in between moments of the helicopter chase, and the scene is in the scope aspect ratio, so there’s brief moments where you go from the bigger IMAX exclusive aspect ratio to the scope aspect ratio and back to IMAX once again. If this were “Transformers: The Last Knight,” I’d be complaining a whole lot, because all of the aspect ratio changes in that son of a bitch, just happens to be worse than finding lots of hair on a guestroom bed.

Guys, I think it’s especially clear at this point that Tom Cruise might just be one of the greatest action stars of all time! The guy is in his mid-fifties, he still looks and acts like he’s a lot younger than that, and he just commits to his craft. While I can definitely praise Cruise for his portrayal as Ethan Hunt, making it believable, charming, and an overall delight, most of my praise for Cruise has to do with his stunts. One of the reasons why I consider the “Mission: Impossible” franchise to be some of the better action movies is that this is not done on green screen sets. I actually remember hearing that Tom Cruise broke his ankle, which by the way, there’s a moment where the ankle break is caught in the movie. Not only that, but Cruise, as mentioned, learned how to fly a helicopter. He even trained awhile to do a HALO (high altitude low open) jump. This makes Cruise the first ever person to do a HALO jump on camera. There have been HALO jumps in movies before, there was one earlier this decade in “Godzilla,” but this is basically the first REAL HALO jump. It doesn’t rely as much on stock footage, CGI, green screen, none of those cheap tricks. The tricks here are f*cking expensive! These tricks are expensive enough to make this film have a $178 million budget!

Each movie in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise always seems to have at least one notable newcomer in the mix when it comes to the cast. This time, the most notable newcomer is Henry Cavill. He plays a character named August Walker. I liked a lot of things about this character. Seeing him in action was pretty cool, the chemistry he has with Ethan, not to mention Erica Sloan was definitely charming, and I also kind of dig his mustache.

Wait a minute… Should I say that? Henry Cavill had the same mustache in “Justice League” and I didn’t like that. I don’t want to look like a hypocrite!

Another personal standout character for me is also a standout from the last “Mission: Impossible” as well and that is the character of Benji played by Simon Pegg. To me, Benji just seems like a guy who would make a lovely assistant in life. If you need something done, just get Benji to help and you’re good! If you need moral support, Benji will be your cheerleader! If you need a question answered, Benji will do his best to get the best possible answer to you as soon as he can. There’s something about Benji that just makes me want to hang out with him, maybe grab some lunch. I dunno, Benji just seems like a pretty cool dude even though he may sound like a geek. Then again, I’m a geek so yeah…

One returning character is Alan Hunley, played by Alec Baldwin. At the end of “Rogue Nation” it is revealed that Hunley becomes the secretary of IMF. Here, you actually get to see Hunley in said position. Having seen this movie, I think Baldwin is definitely a good pick for this character. That previous thought probably sounds like something I would say in a review for “Rogue Nation,” but in all seriousness, given his transition from “Rogue Nation” to “Fallout,” Hunley is probably in a very believable position and Alec Baldwin continues to play his character very well. My one disappointment however, and this has nothing really much to do with the movie itself, it doesn’t affect my final verdict at all, but it is a thing that I want to bring up. There is a scene in the movie where CNN, the cable news channel, has a heavy presence. Alec Baldwin happens to play Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.” There’s not even one point in the script that just MAYBE could have utilized a fake news joke? I do think that there are times in my life where I’d go ahead and say that I’ve had it with politics and hearing about it, but I’d probably admire the use of that sort of joke if it were to have been uttered in the movie.

And of course, we have one of my favorite cast members/characters of the film, Ving Rhames returns once again as Luther. Rhames just knows how to be charming and maintain a presence that doesn’t feel over the top. One of my favorite scenes with his character actually occurs in the start of the movie, when the plot is just beginning to unfold. Without getting into specific details, there’s this one moment where Tom Cruise is just getting pumped with rage and he basically has to take it out on someone. Rhames is trying to avoid this from happening and attempts to calm Cruise down, it’s really engaging.

In the end, there are so many things I can continuously talk about that’s related to “Mission: Impossible: Fallout” until the day I die. From the action to the twists and turns to the cinematography, there’s so much to love about this movie. But one thing that needs to be addressed is that this is pretty much the opposite of what someone like myself would expect out of a movie franchise. Usually you start off good and your future is full of inferiority. While I wouldn’t call each movie a complete step up from the one before it, most of the movies in the franchise are worthy of that label, and “Fallout,” when compared to “Rogue Nation,” to my surprise, is no exception. The first thing I said once I finished watching the movie was a slow but steady “Holy crap.” There was multiple parts where I whispered to myself “Oh my gosh.” There were several moments where my jaw dropped. Every single frame had my attention and I was totally entertained, not to mention appreciative of the genius filmmaking efforts. Towards the end of the movie, I couldn’t breathe. It was one of the best feelings I had in my life, and when I was breathing, that felt equally fulfilling. When it comes to 2018 movies, I can declare that “Mission: Impossible: Fallout” has something in common with “Ready Player One,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?.” Why? That’s because I’m gonna give “Mission: Impossible: Fallout” a 10/10! This might just be my best movie of the year so far. I can’t say for sure, because a part of me is still trying to process what exactly I just saw, but I really couldn’t help but love every minute of my kick-ass experience. One last thing I will mention, Tom Cruise has an EPIC running scene in this movie. Look forward to it! Thanks for reading this review! I’d just like to take a moment to remind my viewers that I’m going to be utilizing a Facebook page specifically dedicated to Scene Before. If you want to like it or follow it, click the link below that way you can take yourself to the page and do your thing. Also, if you guys currently have “Mission: Impossible” fever, feel free to check out my reviews for the other “Mission: Impossible” movies. Be sure to check all of that out and stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Mission: Impossible: Fallout?” What did you think about it? Or, which “Mission: Impossible” movie is your favorite of the bunch? Another question I’ll ask, what is your favorite action movie of the 2010s? I currently don’t have an answer for that as this is still certainly a contender and I am not sure where it should be ranked. But if it is not my favorite, my number one choice would something like “Inception.” Nevertheless, leave your comments below, check out my Facebook page, and be sure to follow me here on Scene Before to stay up to date on my latest reviews, countdowns, thoughts, and more! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/03/30/mission-impossible-1996-this-movie-review-will-self-destruct-in-five-seconds/

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/04/29/mission-impossible-ii-2000-impossible-to-enjoy/

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III REVIEW https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/mission-impossible-iii-2006-the-young-and-the-fearless-spoilers/

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL REVIEW https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/06/18/mission-impossible-ghost-protocol-2011-your-movie-review-should-you-choose-to-accept-it/

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION REVIEW https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/07/25/mission-impossible-rogue-nation-2015-a-revisit-to-my-first-mission-impossible-movie/

Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015): A Revisit To My First Mission: Impossible Movie

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Your mission, should you choose to accept it, has been leading up to this point. The movie reviewing community’s biggest Jackass is about to review the last available “Mission: Impossible” movie before the release of the franchise’s upcoming film, “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Your mission is to read through the review. You will eventually discover that this movie is directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who also directed another film starring this film’s lead actor, Tom Cruise, “Jack Reacher.” McQuarrie, believe it or not, will also be directing “Mission: Impossible: Fallout,” making him the first director to do two “Mission: Impossible” movies. As always, should you or any of your Force be caught or killed, the Movie Reviewing Moron will disavow any of your actions. This message will self-destruct in five seconds.

“Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation” is directed by Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher, Way of the Gun) and stars Tom Cruise (Edge of Tomorrow, Oblivion), Jeremy Renner (The Avengers, The Bourne Legacy), Simon Pegg (Star Trek, Shaun of the Dead), Rebecca Ferguson (The White Queen, Hercules), Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction, Lilo & Stitch), Sean Harris (The Borgias, Prometheus), and Alec Baldwin (The Departed, 30 Rock). This film is about IMF agent Ethan Hunt as he’s back for another round of action, as he cooperates alongside his team to take down an organization known as the Syndicate, an international rogue organization.

Back before this movie came out, I remember seeing the trailer for this film. I knew what “Mission: Impossible” was, but at the time I technically haven’t been exposed to any of its material. Having seen the trailer and hearing that this film is getting a special countdown in IMAX, I felt it was necessary to go ahead and check out this film in the IMAX format while it was still in theaters, which I did.

For all who happen to be judging me, SHUT UP! That is a PERFECTLY JUSTIFIABLE REASON! I didn’t go to use my phone! I didn’t go to fall asleep! I didn’t go to chit chat with those around me! I went for the experience! Speaking of the experience, I had a really fun time, therefore making me really excited to watch this movie again on Blu-ray, especially considering it has been nearly three years since my first watch. And guys, let me just tell you, out of all the “Mission: Impossible” movies I’ve seen thus far, this is definitely my absolute favorite in the franchise!

Over the past number of days, I’ve been thinking to myself, “Mission: Impossible” is just like “Fast & Furious,” the movies just get better as they go on. The main difference however between “Mission: Impossible” and “Fast & Furious” however is that when it comes to overall quality, it feels like that is something that more associated with the “Mission: Impossible” franchise. Both movies have similar feels that will give adrenaline rushes, but “Mission: Impossible” feels a lot like a movie made for smarter audiences. I’m not saying those who go see “Fast & Furious” are stupid, I enjoy those movies, and one of my personal friends from Texas has a huge fascination towards the franchise. But what I am saying is that when it comes to “Mission: Impossible” and “Fast & Furious,” two franchises that if you look at them, have many similarities, I’d say that “Mission: Impossible” comes off as more than just popcorn entertainment. “Fast & Furious” feels ludicrous, maybe that’s because it’s lighthearted and while perhaps there is stuff at stake, you as an audience member might be more focused on chewing on your popcorn. As I watch “Mission: Impossible” however, I’m absolutely curious to know more about it. Maybe because Tom Cruise has built this reputation of being the biggest daredevil action star of his generation, but when I watch these films, they don’t feel like products meant to feed to the throats of the masses (except “Mission: Impossible II”), these feel like movies. I seriously want to know about these characters because I truly deeply care about them, for example, Ethan Hunt! How could I not care about him at this point?

Ethan Hunt is great once again in this movie, I totally bought Tom Cruise as him, and I think I cared about his character here just about as much as I did in the first one. When it comes to his character, I wouldn’t necessarily say that my appreciation towards Cruise not specifically to just Hunt himself, but I rooted for him. The way his mission is set up in this movie is brilliant, awesome, and kind of sets the stage for what’s to come. Without going into detail, the terrorist organization Hunt is supposed up against, the Syndicate, just became a whole lot more threatening in just a short matter of exposition. However, they’re not the only thing standing in Hunt’s way. Again, without going into detail, Hunt is pursued by the CIA in this movie.

Speaking of Tom Cruise and Ethan Hunt, let’s talk about one of the most disturbing scenes I’ve watched in any movie. This scene might be more disturbing than most horror movies! Remember how in the first “Mission: Impossible” Ethan had to go down into this restricted area on a wire? It might be the most famous scene in all of the “Mission: Impossible” movies. As much as I love this scene, I think I have a much softer spot for another scene in “Rogue Nation.” There’s a scene that is conceptually similar to the famous wire scene in the first movie that appears in this one. But the thing about this scene, is that while Hunt is supposed to go into a restricted area for the sake of completing a mission. And as if this task weren’t already heavy enough, it involves constantly being in an area that’s UNDERWATER. I felt like I was on the edge of my seat during this scene! I am just amazed that five movies in, I STILL manage to feel like this is the original production and I’m watching this franchise for the very first time. Then again, maybe not, because I’ve seen Ethan Hunt grow as a character, therefore I care about him a lot more than I would than if I saw him for the first time (depending on the scenario).

I will say that there are definitely action movies out there that rely on entertaining audiences simply on great action, and maybe leaving story as an afterthought. I wouldn’t say that when it comes to “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation.” The story in this movie is pretty solid, I cared about the characters and where this movie happened to be going. But the action scenes in this movie are nothing short of top notch.

You know how I said that the exposition for the Syndicate really set the tone for what’s to come? Well, I was referring to a moment after the opening credits in a record shop. There is one scene that takes place before the opening credits involving a plane, and my gosh, it is one of the best openings to a movie I’ve ever seen. Everything from the cinematography, the music, the writing, it kind of gives you tension as an audience member, I just ate it up! Afterwards, the movie does its opening credits, and while I will give “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol” some credit for being the most creative opening of the “Mission: Impossible” movies, I thought this opening might have been better. It’s a lot like the first movie’s opening, but the music is slightly different. While I did praise the first movie’s opening because it had a TV show feel, I may sound like a hypocrite here, but I really don’t care, this one deserves my praise for its movie feel. With five installments that are technically movies and not TV shows, I personally think that’s a fair sentiment to have.

Speaking of scenes with vehicles, let’s take about that scene where Tom Cruise rides a motorcycle! It’s awesome! It’s quite an amazing ride! Seeing Cruise blaze through the streets in this bad boy is nothing short of a treat, and it’s definitely better than that climax in “Mission: Impossible II.”

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One last scene I’m gonna talk about is the action sequence inside the Vienna State Opera. Before this whole scene begins, there is one line uttered by Ethan to Simon Pegg’s character of Benji that I will probably use so many times for the rest of my life.

“You want drama? Go to the opera.”

And drama there was indeed! This is one of the slower-paced scenes in the movie, but it completely worked. The intensity got higher and higher by the second, it was almost as if I didn’t know what was going to happen even though I watched this movie once, and it just reminds me why I think opera might be an underrated art form. In fact, this scene probably wouldn’t have worked if there was a different form of music. If this were a pop concert or jazz band or something, there would be a lot less intensity. The scene might still work and be effective, but it wouldn’t have that oomph that it got here.

In the end, “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation” is DEFINITELY the best the franchise has had to offer in all of its movies. Tom Cruise shines as Ethan Hunt, supporting cast members like Jeremy Renner, Alec Baldwin, Rebecca Ferguson, and Simon Pegg all do a great job as well. The direction and screenplay was probably what I’d want out of a summer blockbuster such as this, and speaking of that, Christopher McQuarrie, a screenwriter and the director behind this film, has his name on the credits of the next film, “Fallout,” which is set to come out not long after this post’s publication, once again in the director’s chair and as a screenwriter. Given the job he has done on this movie, it makes me extremely faithful in this upcoming installment. I’m going to give “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation” a 9/10. Thanks for reading this review! Be sure to stay tuned for my review of “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” This completes my series of older Tom Cruise “Mission: Impossible” movie reviews, most of the movies have been good, one although has been a near-death experience. And I don’t know how long it’ll take me to get my “Fallout” review up and ready to go, but I’m making sure I can do it as soon as possible. As for other series’ of older movies I can review, I wanted to do a Jason Statham series since “The Meg” comes out August 10th, but I wanted to do one movie per week, and I’m not quite sure I actually have the time for that, so that’s cancelled. If I do come up with another series of older movie reviews, I’ll make an announcement in a future post, until then, stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, what are your thoughts on “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation?” Or, have you gotten a chance to see “Mission: Impossible: Fallout?” Tell me your thoughts on that! Also, if you want to check out my other “Mission: Impossible” reviews, links to those will be provided below! Check em out, follow me, enjoy your day, all that jazz! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/03/30/mission-impossible-1996-this-movie-review-will-self-destruct-in-five-seconds/

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/04/29/mission-impossible-ii-2000-impossible-to-enjoy/

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III REVIEW https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/mission-impossible-iii-2006-the-young-and-the-fearless-spoilers/

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL REVIEW https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/06/18/mission-impossible-ghost-protocol-2011-your-movie-review-should-you-choose-to-accept-it/