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Frame by Frame: A Family-Friendly Movie Blog

    Frame by Frame: A Family-Friendly Movie Blog

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    Movie Review: Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

    Posted: 26 Dec 2011 11:14 AM PST

    Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol


    PG-13 for disturbing images, violence, sexuality,
    partial nudity and some thematic elements.
    Genre: Spy, action
    Running Time: 2 hours 12 minutes

    Academy Award-winning director Brad Bird of Ratatouille fame makes his live action feature directing debut with the fourth installment of the Mission Impossible franchise. This time around the Kremlin has been bombed and the blame has fallen on the IMF. As a result, the President initiates Ghost Protocol and accuses Ethan Hunt and his team of placing the bomb in an attempt to incite a global nuclear war.

    In order to clear the IMF of terrorism charges Ethan assembles a new team to uncover the truth by using every high-tech trick in the book. But this time they are on their own. If they’re caught, the entire world could be plunged into a nightmare from which there is no waking up.

    Did We Really Need Another One Of These?

    Mission Impossible, Ghost Protocol, is the fourth movie in this series starring Tom Cruise as IMF spy Ethan Hunt. Assembling his own team to clear his agency’s name and prevent another attack not only is Hunt putting together the pieces of a complicated nuclear war plot, but he’s also trying to figure out the motives of his fellow IMF fugitives.

    It’s amazing Tom Cruise found someone who would actually bank roll his Mission Impossible project considering the debacle following the 2009 release of Mission Impossible III. After that movie Cruise had an apparent meltdown and was dropped by the studio. He received bad press and the movie ended up being a box office flop, in spite of all the promotional hype surrounding the flick. With a production budget of $150 million dollars, Mission Impossible III lost approximately $16 million dollars. While it’s true very few movies actually make money, the ego-maniac Tom Cruise was crushed with this failure and seemingly disappeared from the Hollywood scene for awhile.

    Fast forward to the year 2011 and we find a slightly smaller production budget of $145 million dollars for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. We also discover not only top notch director J.J. Abrams involved, but also a cartoon director who won an academy award for the animated movie Ratatouille. Then toss into the mix the fact that Tom Cruise has his name all over the production of this movie too and it seems at times more like a crash scene of genres colliding than a spy movie full of intrigue and suspense. From time to time the stunts and film technique, while not in animated form, do look rather cartoonish and lack luster. Apparently those holding the purse strings held a tight reign on Cruise’s stunt and film production budget when it came to special effects.

    Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol also suffers from a case of long-in-the-tooth syndrome. Clocking in at almost 2 hours 15 minutes there’s a good 30 to 35 minutes that could have been easily dropped from this movie. The set up is too long and by the middle of the movie it begins to drag some too. I did look at my watch with about 35 minutes left in the movie thinking to myself – “Are we done yet?”

    A Few Notable Moments

    After saying all of that I also want to point out that Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol isn’t a total loss. Simon Pegg returns reprising his role as Benji Dunn a computer spy whiz who loves the toys and likes to stay behind the scenes when fighting the bad guys. Pegg is simply an incredible actor and also adds a great comic-relief characteristic to this movie.

    However, the most amazing aspect of this fourth Mission Impossible movie revolves around the fact that it appears as though Tom Cruise is more willing to not take himself too seriously. In preview movies from this franchise they seemed to be nothing more than vanity flicks for Cruise. It was all about Cruise showing off and doing the amazing stunts. But such is not the case for Ghost Protocol. If anything the character of Ethan Hunt is showing his age and wear and tear from all the years of catching the bad guys. Instead of pulling off all the movies with precision, the movie almost becomes a comedy of errors which somehow work.

    When all is said and done, it is refreshing to see Cruise make fun of himself here. I went into the movie saying “Not another Cruise vanity film please”. I came out saying – “Okay, a little long but entertaining and a good movie to simply turn your mind off too”. There’s not a lot of substance here. It’s just an action movie which makes you say time and time again – “They could never do that!”

    Enjoy the show!
    Dr. Rus

    Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows

    Posted: 26 Dec 2011 11:11 AM PST

    Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows


    PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, action and some drug material.
    Genre: Action, Mystery
    Running Time: 2 Hours 9 minutes

    Warner Brothers returns to the scene of the crime with this sequel to their successful re-imagination of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes character. Once again Robert Downey Jr. stars as the super-sleuth alongside Jude Law, Rachel McAdams and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Noomi Repace. Mad Men’s Jared Harris also joins the cast as Sherlock’s arch villain, Professor Moriarty.

    Elementary My Dear Watson

    Sherlock Holmes has always been the smartest man in the room – until now. We briefly met him in the first Sherlock Holmes movie and now he’s back in all his splendor in A Game of Shadows. Professor Moriarty not only has the intellect of Sherlock Holmes, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience may give him an advantage over the renowned detective. Holmes’ investigation into Moriarty’s plan becomes even more dangerous as it leads him and Watson out of London and across Europe, to France, Germany and finally to Switzerland.

    Robert Downey Jr. along with Jude Law are back reprising their roles as Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson. While Law seems a little out of water at first as he tries to get back into the groove of his Watson role, Downey Jr. once again shines as this eccentric and what appears to be an out-of-touch-with-reality detective. Once the movie gets rolling Law does catch his stride alongside of Downey Jr. and then the pair are a treat to watch on the big screen. Rachel McAdams is once again wonderful but the kid on the block – Noomi Rapace ends up stealing the screen with her presence. As for Professor Moriarty, Jared Harris puts in an admirable performance, but for some reason there’s just something lacking in the believability department for this character.

    Rarely does a sequel stack up with the first in the series. But such is not the case with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. This follow up to the 2009 Sherlock Holmes does indeed shine just like the first one. From the opening scene you’re pulled into the magical, complicated and yet simplistic world of the greatest detective that ever lived. He’s the master of disguises with an amazing power for deduction and observation. He calls it a curse, but the so-called curse makes him one of the most brilliant masterminds when it comes to solving crimes. But, in this new movie, it also appears Sherlock Holmes may have met his match. The cunning Professor Moriarty is always one step ahead of the great detective as he spins a web of death and destruction. It’s all part of a great plan – and if he succeeds – the plan will change the course of history too.

    More Than Just Sleuthing

    Clocking in at slightly more than two hours I wondered if A Game of Shadows would hold my attention. Any doubt that this would be nothing less than an edge of your seat type movie were put to rest from the opening scene. The scriptwriters waste no time when it comes to building a sense of suspense. It’s also worth pointing out there’s more going on here than just suspense and detective sleuthing. There’s a great chemistry between Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law which catapults their performances of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to a jump off the screen performance. Couple that with the suspense aspect of the movie and toss in the comic relief that’s sprinkled throughout and it all makes for a stand out movie.

    Overall we really enjoyed Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. It’s a refreshing sequel and it’s nice that it is not merely a rehash of what went before. While you don’t necessarily need to see the first movie to enjoy this second installment in the franchise, it will help if you have seen it. The writers do well in making sure new viewers will not be lost. However, the viewing enjoyment will be bolstered if you’ve seen the first Sherlock Holmes movie before seeing A Game of Shadows.

    When it comes to rating, we have to say this movie is not family-friendly. We pondered a cautionary warning but even with a PG-13 rating there are images and portions of this movie which simply slide it out of the family-friend genre. While there’s no cursing, swearing or sex scenes, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows does contain some rather violent scenes that are not suitable for a younger audience.

    Enjoy the show!
    Dr. Rus