Introducing JUMPCUT CINEMATES

Here at JUMPCUT ONLINE, we love film, believing no reel should be left un-played. And now the JUMPCUT team wants to watch films with you.

JUMPCUT CINEMATES, our new film club, is a way for people who love films to gather with like-minded people – like a book club, but for films.

Kicking off in Sheffield, UK, we will be hosting a monthly meet-up at the multiplex, plus special meetups, such as midnight screenings for those big franchise-feeding beasts we’re all so fond of. The date and venue will be chosen by the JUMPCUT host, and the movie picked by a poll. Watch the movie together, share some snacks (quietly please), and engage in lively discussion after.

SAVE THE DATE NOW – OCTOBER 6TH WILL BE THE FIRST EVER CINEMATES MEETUP

Can’t make it to Yorkshire? Fear not, as we’ll also be having regular Netflix parties! With a particular focus on Netflix Original releases, tune in at the scheduled time and tweet along with us @JUMPCUT_CINEMATES.

And if that wasn’t enough, join us on our weekly Wednesday #CINEMATESDebates, where we will deep-dive into various cinematic topics.

There are a few ground rules:

  1. Let’s stay on topic: films!
  2. Be nice: no name-calling and/or personal attacks will be tolerated.
  3. Absolutely no spam or political campaigning.

That’s it! Enjoy.

We can’t wait to mee(ow)t you.

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The Headliners & Hidden Gems At The 62nd BFI London Film Festival

Yesterday saw the announcement of the full line-up of films for the 62nd BFI London Film Festival (LFF), and boy is there a ton to get your teeth stuck into! But this year we have even more reason to be excited as JUMPCUT will attending and covering the festival for the first time ever!

We’ll be covering a whole range of films screening at the festival, including some of the headliners and hidden gems! JUMPCUT’s LFF Queen Sarah has kindly picked out just some of the films she thinks you are going to want to keep your eye on!

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The Headliners

Widows
Directed by: Steve McQueen
Starring: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya

Why it is worth a watch: I mean that cast list alone is worth the admission price, but this female-fronted action thriller is also helmed by the man who brought us 12 Years a Slave, a film which previously enjoyed awards success. But the talent doesn’t end there, Widows is penned by Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn and Hans Zimmer provides the score. This is an action movie of the highest calibre and one that will be well worth your time and money.

Screening at LFF: 10th, 11th, 12th October
UK Wider Release Date: 6th November 2018

Stan & Ollie
Directed by: Jon S Baird
Starring: Steve Coogan, John C Reilly, Nina Arianda, Shirley Henderson, Danny Huston

Why it is worth a watch: An ode to cinema, entertainment, and with two leading actors known for their brilliance as physical comedians, Stan & Ollie seems like the perfect film to close out London Film Festival. Coogan and Reilly bring beloved comedians Stan Laurel and Ollie Hardy to life on the big screen, focusing on the twilight years of their career. This is set to be a real crowd-pleaser and the most fitting curtain call for the festival.

Screening at LFF: 21st October
UK Wider Release Date: 11th January 2019

The Favourite
Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz

Why it is worth a watch: A divisive filmmaker, but certainly one that gets people talking, Yorgos Lanthimos brings his third English-language film in four years to the London Film Festival. With stand-out performances from Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, The Favourite promises to be bizarre, bonkers, and brilliant!

Screening at LFF: 18th, 19th, 21st October
UK Wider Release Date: 1st January 2019

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Directed by: Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring: Tim Blake Nelson, Liam Neeson, Tom Waits, Zoe Kazan, Bill Heck

Why it is worth a watch: It’s the Coen Brothers! In all seriousness, the latest from the incomparable Coens promises to be wild (west) entertainment, hilarious, offbeat, and surprisingly melancholic. Dark humour and the trademark Coen brothers flair will be here in abundance

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Screening at LFF: 12th, 13th, 21st October
UK Wider Release Date: TBA

Beautiful Boy
Directed by: Felix Van Groeningen
Starring: Steve Carell, Timothee Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan

Why it is worth a watch: Just try and get through the trailer to this one without crying. Sometimes you just need to let it all out, and this will be the film that gets audiences at LFF reaching for the tissues. Starring man-of-the-moment Timothee Chalamet, hot off the heels of last year’s Call Me By Your Name, and Steve Carell in what is set to be another great dramatic role for him, Beautiful Boy will be the one to watch for those early Best Actor hints…

Screening at LFF: 13th, 14th, 16th October
UK Wider Release Date: 18th January 2019

Suspiria
Directed by: Luca Guadagnino
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper, Chloe Grace Moretz

Why it is worth a watch: Full disclaimer, I am a massive horror wuss and will therefore not be seeing this on the big screen, but it would be very remiss of me not to mention it here. There is no denying the trailer is stunning, and the hype levels amongst the JumpCut team have reached fever-pitch for this one. It won’t be for everyone but it’ll certainly be a talking point. And also it has Tilda Swinton in it; you can’t go wrong!

Screening at LFF: 16th, 17th, 19th October
UK Wider Release Date: 16th November 2019

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The Hidden Gems

Wild Rose
Directed by: Tom Harper
Starring: Jessie Buckley, Sophie Okonedo, Julie Walters

Why it is worth a watch: After impressing in Beast, Jessie Buckley stars in what is set to another impressive film. A Glaswegian single mum dreams of being a country singer, how hard could it be?! This is the sort of film that will make your heart soar, and with Julie Walters also appearing, it is hard not to draw comparisons with the underdog story of Billy Elliot. This film is already set to be one of the truly underrated gems of the festival.

Screening at LFF: 15th, 16th, 20th October
UK Wider Release Date: 8th February 2019

The Hate U Give
Directed by: George Tillman Jr
Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, KJ Apa, Common

Why it is worth a watch: Adapted from Angie Thomas’ ‘Black Lives Matter’-inspired Young Adult novel, this film certainly feels like an important one, and one which is sadly still so relevant. Focusing on the young lives affected by the tragic shootings of their peers, the BFI are also offering £5 tickets to see this one for 16 to 25 year olds. Even outside of this age range, this film has a lot to offer, promising to be a powerful and timely watch.

Screening at LFF: 20th, 21st October
UK Wider Release Date: 26th October 2018

Assassination Nation
Directed by: Sam Levinson
Starring: Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, Abra, Bella Thorne

Why it is worth a watch: Don’t let the early trigger warnings put you off, this is a film that bears everything upfront and then unleashes all hell. Assassination Nation is the Salem witch trials meets the digital generation in this thoroughly modern cautionary tale, and one which is poised to join other teen cult classics such as Heathers and Spring Breakers. Subversive and utterly unique, this could be one of the surprise hits of the festival.

Screening at LFF: 19th, 20th, 21st October
UK Wider Release Date: 23rd November 2018

Burning
Directed by: Lee Chang-dong
Starring: Yoo Ah-in, Jeon Jong-seo, Steven Yeun

Why it is worth a watch: This film wowed audiences at Cannes, which is often the mark of a successful festival film! This lean slow-burning thriller promises to have you gripped right from the start, as well as exploring complex themes such as obsession, class-conflict and suppressed male rage. It will be unlikely to have a wide cinema release, so catch this one at the festival whilst you can!

Screening at LFF: 19th, 20th October
UK Wider Release Date: 1st February 2019

Mandy
Directed by: Panos Cosmatos
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache

Why it is worth a watch: Yes, Nicolas Cage. Stop reading now! Just kidding, this synopsis alone is enough to make you want to see it so we’re not even going to add to it: “In a mountain-cabin idyll, lumberjack Red Miller (Nicolas Cage) lives in perfect harmony with his great love Mandy (Andrea Riseborough). But the couple’s blissful utopia is cruelly shattered when a ragtag band of Satanic cultists invade their humble abode and claim Mandy for their own. Traumatised and distraught, Red is left with no option but to exact a bloody revenge.” (Michael Blyth, BFI)

Screening at LFF: 11, 12, 17th
UK Wider Release Date: 12th October 2018

Blaze
Directed by: Ethan Hawke
Starring: Ben Dickey, Alia Shawkat, Sam Rockwell

Why it is worth a watch: Ethan Hawke is having quite the year, and fresh from his acclaimed performance in First Reformed, his latest directorial offering his heading to LFF. This biopic about a little known musician is shot with affection and true passion that is hard to replicate, and quite frankly anything Ethan Hawke is passionate about, we love already!

Screening at LFF: 20th, 21st October
UK Wider Release Date: TBA

Rob Niter: Year One

Rob Niter is making a footprint in the film industry; with only being involved just shy of a year!

Rob has already landed commercials in Team Popp Dental and Atlanta Botanicals Garden and has recently completed a short film project as an actor in Above + Beyond.  The story leads to how powerful the ripple effects of an invitation to church can truly be. The film will be aired at multiple church locations across Atlanta and D.C.

Rob’s more prominent role to date, has been the tough detective, Capt. Terrell Vance, appearing in two episodes of Greg Galloway’s Season 2 of Music & Murder TV series on Amazon.  Capt. Vance has been on the force for years and oversees  murder cases.  He expresses his disappointments and suspicions regarding cover-up activity by department personnel in an unsolved case.

As of now, Rob is currently pulling double-duties by co-producing and appearing as Nathan in the upcoming horror feature, Chase – a film which we recently shared an exclusive first look at!

Rob will appear alongside Forbes’ ‘Top 10 Fitness Influencer’, Simeon Panda and celebrity-comedian and actor, Aries Spears. Chase is scheduled to be released 2019 and hit multiple film festivals.  Here at JUMPCUT we’re keeping a close eye on Chase, so we’ll be sure to keep you up to date!

We also recently had the pleasure of interviewing Chase’s director Michael Matteo Rossi in which he expressed his excitement for working on this project.

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Rob Niter, Simeon Pander, and Paul Duke in ‘Chase’

Rob has had a busy year, but he isn’t slowing down any time soon.  He’s taken on a minor supporting role as Cloud in faith-based feature film, Finding A Way.  Directed by Lorenzo Cunningham,  the movie entails a very compelling mix of hardships and triumphs faced by a middle class family.  The film is currently in post-production and scheduled for release in early 2019.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on Rob and his future projects, and you can too on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook – which Rob updates regularly.

How I Went From Cine-Casual to Cinephile With Cineworld Unlimited

Written by Sasha Hornby

Cineworld Unlimited changed me.

Prior to signing up, I was a cine-casual. I would go see the latest Star War or superhero outing with my closest friend or the newest LEGO movie with my son. But 99% of the time I would feed my passion for film with a healthy blend of home releases, Film4 recordings, and Netflix streaming.

Then along came Logan.

Choosing normally to visit the most mutually convenient picture house for me and my cinema buddy, on this spur-of-the-moment occasion I chose my nearest – a Cineworld. I booked my (first ever) single ticket for the last IMAX showing 15 minutes before the start time and excitedly rushed out to get there, getting seated just as the Unlimited advert began; you know the one, with Ben and his mother-in-law and his plumber. After umm-ing and ahh-ing for a month, I took the plunge. 16 months and 61 films later, it is safe to say this was a Very Good Decision™.

There are two leading cinema subscriptions in the UK – Cineworld’s Unlimited and Odeon’s Limitless. A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet, right? £17.90 per month and £17.99 per month respectively (outside Central London), they both offer similar benefits, such as truly unlimited 2D film viewings, local discounts, 10% off cinema snacks and drinks (and in-house Starbucks for Cineworld), plus exclusive screenings and previews. Cineworld upgrade memberships after 1 year to Premium, which includes unlimited 3D films and 25% off cinema snacks and drinks.

Note: for the remainder of this article, I will be talking exclusively about Unlimited, as I have limited knowledge on Limitless.

 

Film was always the religion. Cinema is now the place of worship.

 

If you ask the question “what’s the best way to watch a movie?” my answer would be on the biggest, highest-definition screen, complete with the loudest, crispest audio, in the darkest room I can find. I am, of course, describing the cinema. In the 16 months since signing up for Unlimited, I have seen more films at the cinema than in the preceding decade. A lethal combination of affordability (or lack of) and availability of cinema-going friends (or lack of) kept me from frequenting the multiplex as much as I would have liked. P.L, which I define as the period of time that began “Post-Logan”, has seen my metamorphosis into dedicated cinephile, with over 60% of my trips to the picture house being solo. Cineworld Unlimited is my affordable enabler.

For those looking for some tangible figures ripe for analysis, I’ve put together a table.  For each month I have been an Unlimited member, I have noted the number of films I saw using my membership, the cost to me, the “real cost” had I not been an Unlimited member, the saving, and, for added measure, the average rating (out of 5) I gave the films I saw.

Month  No. of films Cost Real Cost Saving Avg. rating
May-17 1 £17.90 £10.90 -£7.00 5.0
Jun-17 3 £17.90 £32.70 £14.80 4.7
Jul-17 3 £22.60 £37.40 £14.80 3.8
Aug-17 1 £17.90 £10.90 -£7.00 2.5
Sep-17 2 £17.90 £21.80 £3.90 4.3
Oct-17 3 £17.90 £32.70 £14.80 4.2
Nov-17 5 £17.90 £54.50 £36.60 3.4
Dec-17 5 £23.90 £53.40 £29.50 4.6
Jan-18 8 £17.90 £87.20 £69.30 3.5
Feb-18 5 £23.90 £60.50 £36.60 4.6
Mar-18 5 £20.90 £46.60 £25.70 4.0
Apr-18 3 £23.90 £38.70 £14.80 4.2
May-18 3 £17.90 £32.70 £14.80 3.5
Jun-18 4 £17.90 £43.60 £25.70 3.8
Jul-18 5 £17.90 £54.50 £36.60 4.0
Aug-18 (thus far) 5 £17.90 £54.50 £36.60 4.2
TOTAL 61 £312.10 £672.60 £360.50 4.0

I repeat, Cineworld Unlimited is my affordable enabler.

One of the criticisms I’ve seen regarding cinema subscription cards is that the viewer will end up seeing “a load of dross”. And it’s true, some months I’ve seen what I consider real stinkers – looking at you Valerian & the City of a Thousand Planets! That said, I’ve been pleasantly surprised, and in some cases pleasantly bowled over, by the films I wouldn’t typically have watched before at the movie theatre. Cineworld Unlimited has made me more adventurous, often picking movies outside of my usual sphere of interest.

Easily one of the best days of my new-found cinephile life has been watching The Shape of Water, Phantom Thread and Black Panther all in one day. I was desperate to see the new Guillermo Del Toro and Paul Thomas Anderson movies, however, without my membership I would have prioritised the latest MCU entry for fear of online spoilers. Cineworld Unlimited has means I no longer have to pick between franchise favourites and adored auteurs.

Seguing nicely into a pastime I am now very fond of: cinema days. Speaking as a single parent who works full time, my free time is limited to late evenings and alternate weekends. I didn’t start my blogging days as Binge Watch Bash for nothing – I can sit for hours engrossed in stories on screen. In a single day, I have laughed until my stomach is sore, sobbed until my face is raw, and gripped the arm rest so tight my knuckles were white. Cineworld Unlimited has empowered me to spend full days lost in other worlds and other eras.

In the past, only one film had compelled me to revisit on the big screen, The Dark Knight. Now I won’t hesitate to return to films that I feel deserve to be truly appreciated at the cinema. Easter-egg-filled chapters in major franchises (The Last Jedi, Black Panther, for e.g.) have gotten the ‘two views’ treatment, though I can’t deny this is in-part influenced by my first watches being at midnight screenings. The fully immersive experience of seeing Dunkirk on IMAX with Dolby surround sound was so jaw-dropping, that I couldn’t resist seeing it again as Christopher Nolan intended. Cineworld Unlimited makes it easy to see instant favourites again and again in all their glory, as the movie gods envisioned.

Since becoming a member of a cinema subscription service, I’ve grown in personal confidence with multiple solo visits, reignited my passion for film, found a community of film lovers I respect and admire to be a part of, got a spot writing about film, and generally broadened my cinematic horizons.

Cineworld Unlimited changed me. For the better.

We’d love to hear about your experience with either your Unlimited or Limitless cards! Feel free to share your comments below or over on Twitter! 

 

Films I Watched Way Too Young

Written by Cameron Frew

A person’s relationship with film is often rooted in childhood experiences. Whether it be that first fateful trip to the cinema, that beloved classic you ruined the VHS of with repeat viewings, your first proper horror movie experience or perhaps a movie you watched alongside your family on a regular basis. Though, anyone who’s grew up around film will likely have a story about watching something they were probably a bit too young for, a movie their fun Uncle or naive Gran showed them without much foresight as to the trauma they were about to inflict. Over time though, that trauma turns into a treasured memory, and this article will look at a few of the films I recall watching at a hilariously young age, and how they changed my perception of film forever.

Film: The Ring 2

Age: 8

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© – Dreamworks Pictures

This is a bit of a strange one. I actually watched the first of The Ring remakes back when it was initially released in 2002. I struggle to recall how that came to be, but it was likely alongside my Mum at Halloween (we’d watch a horror film every year), and yes, it bloody terrified me. But in 2005, I was on holiday in Israel, and my Uncle decided to take us to the cinema. We had no idea what we were going to see, so he said, “We’ll just have a look at what’s on when we’re there.”

So we arrived at this metropolis-esque cinema. Greeting us first and foremost at the doors was a poster for the newest horror release – The Ring 2. Now, I know what you’re thinking; that I was too young to get into such a film in a cinema. And you would be absolutely correct, I was far too young, and the Israeli age rating system is not too dissimilar to the UK’s (unlike say, Canada’s, which allows kids into 18-rated movies if they have their parents). But my Uncle was utterly determined to go see this movie. So, as I stood enjoying the cool air-con, he waltzed over to the box office and started to chat. From a distance there appeared to be a lot of charming going on from his side, and a repetitive shaking head on the other. After around five minutes, he returned to us with a big smug smile on his face, with four tickets in his hand. It was happening, I don’t know how he did it, or why he thought this was a great idea, but we were actually going to watch this on the big screen. Upon a re-watch, this sequel is staggeringly average, contrived and not as tasteful as the still impressive sequel. But let me tell you, I was speechless at the time. Utterly shook, completely taken down by it. I mean, I was 8; what did he expect? I didn’t cry or anything like that, I just sat with a chalk white, stone-cold expression, processing and trying to dispose of any post-film thoughts that were tormenting me. With time, the fear faded, and looking back now, the experience helped prepare me for the much scarier efforts that were to come in my filmography.

Film: Alien

Age: 7

 

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© – 20th Century Fox

After getting a book out the library about movie extraterrestrials, I was unhealthily obsessed with Xenomorphs. Something about the nightmarish monsters drew me in, intriguing in their horrific, unique design (at this point I was still a fairly inexperienced viewer). I soon became very aware of the franchise they came from; to my joy there was four films on offer, plus an upcoming crossover with another major movie alien called Predator. The begging to the parents swiftly begun, trying the convince them that it wouldn’t scare me and that, as was always the golden rule with movies with a high age rating, I wouldn’t repeat anything from them. Ultimately, they decided there were worse things out there I could watch, so they allowed it.

The funny thing is, the film didn’t scare me at all. In fact, I can’t remember all that much about that initial viewing experience apart from the uncontrollable excitement. This was like a dream come true, finally seeing this crazy alien killing all these poor engineers, and me, the single spectator the carnage, sitting wide-eyed and jaw-dropped. But that excitement was my greatest downfall, as I definitely didn’t take it in as much as I should have. Don’t get me wrong; the slimy face-huggers still gave me the creeps, that scene in the air vents made me jump out my skin, and I was cheering on Ripley as she went up against the titular monster in the brilliant climax. But it wasn’t until I reached a later age I could fully immerse myself in its claustrophobic, thorough set-design, appreciate the unnerving score, and actually understand the graft Ridley Scott put in to create such a masterful horror. It’s now one of my all-time favourites of course. Anytime I see a Xeno, it feels like home.

Film: Dawn Of The Dead

Age: 7

 

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© – Universal Pictures

This isn’t the less trashy George Romero version from 1978 we’re talking about. This was the gore-soaked, ultraviolent, hyperactive remake from Zack Snyder. And who showed me it? That ol’ reliable Uncle who took me to The Ring 2 a year later. We were heading home from a day out in Glasgow, and he said we were going to get a McDonalds and watch Constantine. I hadn’t seen the film yet, and at the time I was a massive Keanu Reeves fan after falling in love with The Matrix early on and forever more. When we got in, he couldn’t find the DVD. Disaster. “What will we watch then?” I disappointingly asked, crushed by the lack of Keanu on the upcoming viewing schedule. From his trusty disc wallet, he whipped out Dawn Of The Dead. “Aw this is brilliant, it’s about zombies!” he exclaimed, with the kind of cheeky smile like he knew it was forbidden fruit to a youngster. Naturally, I agreed. Why wouldn’t I? And while now I can appreciate the satire and gentler suspense of the superior original, I maintain the remake’s opening, with the little girl in the bedroom, is a perfect sequence. It introduces you to the dangers in the small spaces and the widespread chaos outside like an escalating nightmare. I was petrified, and the rest of the movie didn’t do much to aid that. What I didn’t realise at the time was it subconsciously wet my appetite for more flesh-eating goodness, and although I was scared, I wouldn’t change that memory for anything (not even Keanu).

 

Film: Scream

Age: 6

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© – Dimension Films

Picture the scene. It’s a rainy late night in a dark flat, blinds down, still hearing the gentle taps of the water on the window and the symphony of the strong winds. My older brother, little cousin and I are huddled on a sofa bed around a TV, after enjoying a trusty late night snack courtesy of my Gran. The clock struck 11pm, and what movie comes on? Scream – Wes Craven, you ingenious devil. The opening, which I soon learned is fairly iconic in the horror sphere, was on another level. We innocently watched as Drew Barrymore made herself some popcorn on her lonesome. Then the phone rang, and the ordeal began. Barrymore is put on trial by this nefarious phantom caller, growing more sinister as the call goes on. At first it seems like a hoax call, but there is something much worse at play here. As a 6 year old, I couldn’t handle it. The heart was thumping; the covers were clutched up at my eyes. The way it inevitably goes (avoiding spoilers in case you haven’t watched it) knocked me for six. I was in bits, destroyed by the massacre on my senses. As I sunk under the sheets, bawling by eyes out, I wondered why anyone would ever want to watch such a film. But as the years progressed, and especially now as a film obsessive, I really admire what Craven did with Scream. Not many horrors are as funnily engaging, dissecting the tropes of the slasher movie while retaining the scares. One of the very best (but certainly not for youngsters).

Film: Chopper

Age: 5

 

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© – First Look Pictures

And the winner of the most stupidly inappropriate film I managed to see at the tender age of just 5 years old, is Australian, extremely explicit gangster biopic, Chopper. Initially released in 2000 and starring Eric Bana, it’s an adaptation of Mark “Chopper” Read’s autobiography. Chopper was a man seduced into a life of crime by a love of violence – he had no will to act as one should, he just wanted to be known as a legend, living in infamy. The way the film paints a portrait of someone whose psyche is so deeply steeped in vicious desires is quite remarkable, led by an electrifying performance from Bana. Now, the thing is, this film opens with a grotesque and realistic murder in a prison, and doesn’t really let up from there. There’s an age to watch a film like Chopper, and it certainly isn’t 5. I was so out of my depth. All I saw was blood, all I heard was swearing; other than that, I comprehended nothing. But it’s one of those memories that probably attracted me to the dark world of more adult entertainment at a young age, leading me to seek out films like Snatch and Lock Stock.

What are your favourite movie memories? Did you watch something you really shouldn’t of when you were younger? Let us know in the comments.

INTERVIEW: Kevin L. Johnson

Interviewed by Jakob Lewis Barnes

Our first #SundaySpotlight for August is Jakob’s interview with Ozark star Kevin L. Johnson, who plays Sam Dermody in the Netflix show. Johnson talks about his career, Hollywood horror stories, working with Jason Bateman, and confirms whether or not he will be returning for season 2!

 


 

JLB: First of all Kevin, would you like to introduce yourself to our audience?

KLJ: Sure thing! Hi everyone! I’m Kevin. I live in Atlanta, GA. I grew up in Lake Wylie, SC and I went to Clemson University. 

JLB: Tell me about your journey to becoming an actor? Is acting something that’s always been in your blood, a lifelong ambition?

KLJ: I fell in love with acting in college.  I wanted to try something different and break out of my shell.  Auditioned for my first play. I didn’t get cast but I did do tech work because I was very interested in seeing how things worked.  I signed up for classes in college and I got cast in the big musical of the year.  After I graduated from college, I moved to Charlotte, NC and got headshots done, signed up for classes and got my first agent.  

JLB: Every performer has an audition horror story, right? So what’s your worst experience in an audition?

KLJ: I would have to say I was auditioning for a movie a year or so ago.  I asked the casting directors who would be my reader for my eyeline etc.  One of the casting directors did not take that very well and said “First off, we’re not readers we’re casting directors.” Obviously I didn’t mean it the way he thought but he took it as an insult.  So a little tip, never “call” a casting director a “reader” 

JLB: Most people will recognise you as Sam Dermody, from the Netflix hit series Ozark – which is bloody fantastic – but how did this part come about?

KLJ: Thanks! I got an audition from my agent back in 2016.  I saw the breakdown for the character: affable, real estate agent in the Ozarks who loves his dog.  I thought “Wow! This is right up my wheelhouse” So, I felt good about audition but then I heard they were going with someone older.  On my way to another audition, I got a call from my agent and he said “They want to book your for Sam in Ozark” The rest is history!

JLB: I’ve seen a lot of interaction between the cast and crew from Ozark on social media, and it seems like you all got on really well. What was the atmosphere like when you guys were shooting?

KLJ: Everybody is great! We all support each other on and off set! For some of us, it’s the biggest role we’ve booked.  It’s been great to see all the success for everyone from the top down!

JLB: Jason Bateman, who we all primarily associate with being a comedy actor, took on directorial duties for much of season 1. How was he to work with as a director?

KLJ: Jason was great! He didn’t direct me in any episodes for season 2 but he was my first director in season 1.  He has a great eye for acting.  He’s good at letting the actor do what the actor is there to do but he also has a vision.  So it’s no surprise he was nominated for Best Director at the Emmy’s this year.

JLB: With season 2 just around the corner, what can fans expect from this next instalment? And will we see Sam Dermody returning to our screens?

KLJ: I will be back!  As for season 2 I can’t give anything away BUT I will say that season 2 is going to be even more intense then the first.  Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

JLB: What else does Kevin Johnson have in the pipeline for the future? Where do you hope to be in 5 years time, say?

KLJ: I have some possible projects coming up down the pipeline but nothing that I can divulge…yet.  In 5 years I would like to be a working on a show as a series regular and supporting/lead in films.  I have made great strides since I started around 10 years ago.  It’s all about pushing forward and telling yourself that every “no” is closer to a “yes”  Winning the room (casting director) is something you always strive for.  

JLB: Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring actors and actresses out there who are hoping to break in to the industry?

KLJ: Yes! Brian Cranston is a great actor and has great advice.  When you go into an audition you’re not going in there to GET a job you’re going in there to DO a job.  If you have that mindset then you’ll go far!

JLB: And finally, the big question. Pineapple on a pizza – where do you stand on this heated debate?

KLJ: Love pineapple on pizza! Sweet with savory count me in! 

 


 

Thank you again to Kevin for agreeing to be interviewed, and we look forward to seeing more of him in the future!

 

Cinema Etiquette Is Dead

Written by Sasha Hornby

If film is my religion, then the cinema is my place of worship.  I can’t remember a time I didn’t adore watching movies.  My mum will tell tales of how I would be transfixed by Fantasia while still in my baby walker, asking to immediately watch again when the VHS finished.  I vividly recall the first time I went to the cinema– it was 1997, and the film was The Lost World, the second instalment in the still-surviving Jurassic Park series.  I was 7.  We snuck in our own sweets at a time when this was considered “against the rules”, and let me tell you, the feelings that accompany such an unscrupulous act still endure to this day.  As the overhead lights dimmed, and the projector started to whir, I was hooked on the feeling: pure escapism.

Over the last two decades, I have been a regular at the movie theatre, with some of my fondest memories taking place at the multiplex.  I remember running to get a good seat (before allocated seating was the norm), after queueing for hours on the opening night of the third Lord of the Rings.  I remember marvelling with wide-eyed wonder at my first IMAX film, The Dark Knight, at the National Media Museum (incidentally the first film I would see multiple times on the big screen).  More recently, I remember taking my son, then age 3, for his first cinema visit to see The Good Dinosaur, and watching his face light up with awe in the same way I imagine mine did, and still does.

My love affair with the silver screen is long and historied.  Which is why it brings me no joy to say I think it’s time me and the cinema broke up.

The offences I witness on a near-weekly basis range from the mildly irritating to the wholly unforgivable.  Deeds that fall onto the mid-to-lower end of the “bad movie manners scale” occur with such regularity, that we, the audience, have come to expect them.  The texters, the talkers, the feet-on-seaters, the snoggers, the latecomers and the noisy eaters.  In over two-decades of theatre-going, the past two years in particular have left me despairing at the decline in cinema etiquette, with one experience in particular leaving me bereft.

Picture the scene: a cool Saturday afternoon in September, the 16th to be precise.  I went, alone, to my local multiplex to see IT, the 80s-set retelling of the Stephen King horror novel featuring the infamous Pennywise the Dancing Clown.  The auditorium was packed, buzzing with nerves and anticipation.  I wasn’t in my “usual seat” as, shock horror, it was taken.  Instead, I was seated in the middle of a row, in front of four young men.  And thus began the most anxiety-inducing 2 hours of my life that had nothing to do with a child-eating clown.   Honestly, more stressful than watching mother!

Bum barely on the seat, one suggested I might be more comfortable on his lap, and another offered to hold my hand if I got scared.  Cue the eye-roll.  As the film played, each jump scare elicited a more dramatic reaction, with over-the-top screaming and kicking of my seat.  But being the stubborn cinemagoer I am, I ignored every provocation, instead choosing to shake my head, put my hood up and sink into my chair.  Like any good horror movie, I was drawn into a false sense of security watching the credits, when I felt two hands grab my shoulders and violently pull me back.  The only words I could muster in anger were “please don’t touch me”, and the retort was “it’s only a joke”. 

I know this is an extreme example of a particularly shit shit-show, however, it is by no means an isolated incident.  After airing my frustrations and introspections on Twitter (because did it even happen if you didn’t whine about it on Twitter?) I was horrified to hear fellow patrons’ stories.  Not-so-inconspicuous sexual encounters, crying babies in 18-rated screenings, photos and/or videos being taken for social media – with flash on!  Those who visit alone regale the scariest tales of all – being grabbed, pushed, openly mocked.  There’s something deeply saddening about hearing a person picked popcorn out of their hair after a flick.

There are 3 suspects ripe for taking the blame in this unending crime-wave.  The audience, the picture houses, and the movies themselves.

Audiences have always been a bit of a law unto themselves; it’s why we have ushers.  I can admit, in a whispered voice, that I have been known, on occasion, to rest my feet on the armrest in front.  Once, to my great tasty shame, I hid a burger and onion rings in my bag and devoured them during the trailers.  Nonetheless, never have I ever used my phone, talked loudly, imposed on someone’s personal space, or been generally disruptive.  Is societal decline to blame?  Have people lost the ability to focus?  Or is it the need to be constantly connected to the world-at-large that drives a person to blind the rest of us with their blue light emitting screens?  Perhaps sitting in a dark room full of strangers mimics the anonymity of the web, where all sense of social decorum is thrown out of the window.  Whatever the reason, politeness is out, and boorishness is in.

Now, an individual should always be held responsible for their own actions, but it cannot be denied that cinema complacency has to accept some of the culpability, particularly big chain multiplexes.  The average screening will be lucky to have an usher pop in at all.  If they do, the likelihood that the person working at minimum wage in a thankless job will actually call out disorderly folks is slim – and I don’t blame them; there are rarely consequences for the mischief-makers, and a very real risk of verbal abuse (or worse) – personal safety always comes first.

Another factor could be the growing trend to make the cinema experience like your home away from home.  Comfy seats with reclining backs, or even sofas, food and/or drink that goes beyond the usual popcorn and an Ice Blast – a cinema in Leeds offers freshly baked pizzas and cocktails delivered to your seat!  Please don’t think I am kicking the proverbial gift-horse in the teeth, I welcome the cosy chairs like Sophie welcomes her 3 dads in Mamma Mia – with open arms, singing with glee.  I can’t help but wonder, though, if it feels like home, is one more likely to treat it like home?

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Cinema-going has undergone something of a resurgence in recent years, surely helped by the introduction of subscription cards.  In the UK, two of the largest chains, Cineworld and Odeon, both offer a service where you pay a set amount each month, and can go to the cinema as many times as you wish.  Another UK chain, Vue, introduced an “Every Film Every Day” £5 scheme – a great deal considering average ticket prices in the UK are twice that (at least).  Does this cheapen the experience as a whole?  I posit that it does.  It is much easier to put up with a dreadful crowd when the perceived monetary cost is low.  It is also much easier to put up with a dreadful crowd when you’re seeing a film “for the sake of it” to “get your money’s worth”, as I imagine some subscription card holders do.

On to those wonderful filmmakers, their part is small, yet let me say this.  My local is showing 10 different films tomorrow (a Wednesday).  Of those 10 films, 5 have a runtime less than 2 hours.  And of those 5, 3 are kid’s movies.  My point is this – films are pretty long these days.  With adverts and trailers averaging anywhere between 30 and 45 minutes, you could be sat on your butt for over 3 hours, not moving, not taking care of critical faculties, not engaging with anything but a big screen.  Bliss for some, difficult for many.

Before I continue, I must state the obvious.  NOT ALL MOVIES.  NOT ALL CINEMAS.  NOT ALL MOVIE-GOERS.  There are trends.  Certain genres, for instance, attract the ghastliest cinema-sinners.  The same genres that are often not taken seriously by the likes of the Academy are also often not taken seriously by the wider audiences: horror, comedy, romance (mystifyingly known as a “women’s genre”), big-budget CGI-heavy franchises.  Conversely, certain screenings attract the most innocent of film fans.  Midnight screenings, marathon screenings, screenings in superior formats such as IMAX, screenings in well-preserved legacy formats such as 70mm, screenings for limited releases of indie films or non-Hollywood films – the kind only those ‘in the know’ really attend.  Heck, even off-peak screenings pull in a more polite bunch.  With a little effort, it would be relatively easy to avoid those deserving of picture house hell.  But should you have to put in the effort?  The quick answer: no.

So how do we fix it?  I have seen op-eds crying for ushers for months.  “Proper” ushers, who show you to your seat and check in regularly.  Who aren’t worked to their bare bones serving popcorn only to clean it up off the floor 2 hours later.  What I hear from people who actually work serving snacks and inspecting tickets is “I don’t get the time to look in on screenings, as I’m so damn busy doing everything else.”  (That quote is minus 1 or 2 expletives!)  It seems to me that adding just one or two extra people in peak times would ease the strain – better for staff and customer alike.  I’m just saying, more ushers mean more sets of eyes available to observe busy screenings.

Blue sky, outside-the-box thinking, bring back intermissions.  If it worked in the Golden Age of cinema, why can’t it work now?  Just make sure the movie isn’t cut mid-sentence!  Perhaps 15 minutes in the middle of a 3-hour epic would give you a chance to check your phone, stretch your legs, nip to the loo, get a drink or a hot dog, and chat excitedly with your friends before going back for the final act.  We are so spoilt for choice between 2D, 3D, IMAX, VIP, 4DX, etc., that adding showings with interludes can’t hurt?

Still, ultimately the onus is on us, the audience.  A tale as old as time, we need to stop being dicks to each other.

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I’ll close with this, a 10 commandments if you will…

  1. Switch your goddamn phone off. Airplane mode that bad boy.  No exceptions.
  2. Are you the director? No.  Then keep your commentary to yourself.  Also keep your spoiler talk out of the lobby.  Think of the cinema as a movie library and hush.
  3. If you’re going to insist on resting your weary legs on the seat in front, I’d like to think it goes without saying to not do so when someone is sat in front of you, and under no circumstances do you remove your shoes or socks. Seriously, just stop it.
  4. Don’t hook up. There have to be dark places better suited to such exploits.  The rest of the room shouldn’t have to sit awkwardly trying to ignore two people getting freaky under a coat.
  5. You know what’s cool? Punctuality.  Arrive on time.
  6. You know what else is cool? Sitting in your own bloody seats.  Yes, this only applies to allocated seating, but heads will roll if this simple rule keeps being ignored.
  7. Speaking of seats, I’m looking at you armrest hoggers and manspreaders. You’re in a shared space, so take up only what you really need.  And no, the aisle seat does not mean extra legroom.
  8. When it comes to food, ask yourself this – does it snap, crackle or pop? Will it stink up the place?  If the answer to either of these is yes, leave it at the door!
  9. Got rubbish? The floor is not a bin.  The seat you are vacating is also not a bin.  Clean up after yourself.
  10. And finally, never ever ever ever lay an uninvited hand on, or get in the personal space of, a perfect stranger. Apply this one 24/7.

“If we are kind and polite, the world will be right” – Paddington Bear

INTERVIEW: R.M. Moses

Interviewed by Jakob Lewis Barnes

We’re continuing our #SundaySpotlight this week with an interview with R.M. Moses, an award winning independent filmmaker from East London. Jakob talked to Moses about his films, inspiration, and his goals for the future!


JB: For any of our readers who aren’t aware of your work, would you like to introduce yourself?

My name is Remi Moses, professionally known as RM Moses and I’m a filmmaker from East London. In the past 4 years of being a filmmaker, I’ve created over 30 films and counting, I’ve won multiple awards around the world in film festivals and award ceremonies. I hate the spotlight and so you’ll rarely ever see me at events and things that require me to leave my bat cave, unless I have to wear a suit… Them I’m showing up in full effect.

JB: I’m always curious to know if there was a certain moment in a filmmaker’s life when the idea of chasing that dream was first sparked; do you recall such a moment for yourself?

I was making youtube videos before I was filmmaking and that was really where I gained the knowledge on how to film/edit. It got to a point where I was creating so much content, I became jaded and I didn’t know why. One day I realized I didn’t want to make youtube videos for a living, that wasn’t the career I wanted, so I quickly transitioned into filmmaking. I took courses and read books on how to write for screen before actually making a film. Then when I found out how to piece the puzzle together of writing, filming and editing, I just loved it.

JB: Are there any filmmakers who really inspire you, who you draw from when working on your own projects?

Not anyone in particular just because I love so many different kinds of movies, but if you were to ask me my top 5 films, you would definitely see 3 Chris Nolan movies in that list. His perfectionism and talent in his craft is something I aspire to, I love the depth and thought in his movies. I follow a lot of cinematographers on Instagram who give me sooooo much content for my private mood boards, so, if anything, I would say they give me the most inspiration.

JB: Of course, every filmmaker has their own identity and style, so tell me how you would describe your work?

I personally like to think my work is very dialogue driven, emotionally heavy but painted with a very subtle brush. I tend to write better for strong female leads, but just in general, I think my work is best reflected upon actors who can reach a certain level of emotion that promotes a realism to the scripts. CJ Beckford and Sarah Isabella are two actors I’ve worked with recently who have this quality. I can’t really articulate it, but they have sensibilities that make your scripts so full of complexities and wonders. I love that.

JB: As an independent filmmaker, there are plenty of obstacles along the way; what are some of the challenges you’ve faced and how did you overcome them?

I think funding has been the hardest part because sometimes that is the difference between average work and being able to accurately paint what you see in your head. You can still tell effective stories with no budget but as a perfectionist, you need the funding to create the perfect painting. Other than that, I haven’t had any obstacles because I mainly produce all my own content, so I don’t have to rely on other people.

JB: Your films have garnered a lot of praise, which must give you great hopes for the future. Where do you hope to be in five years time?

I’m going to be nominated for a BAFTA or OSCAR. Then hopefully, with my foot in the door, I can create all these ideas I have, with no obstacles. I just want to create as much as I can, and as much as I don’t like the spotlight, if I have to go and pick up and award just to give my work some credibility, so be it.

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JB: Speaking of praise, I saw Letitia Wright – of ‘Black Panther’ fame – gave you a shoutout recently. Congratulations, first of all. How important is it for these kind of stars to support those of us trying to break into the industry?

Letitia has been to a couple of my past film premieres and I love her to bits. When she gave me a shoutout, my phone was going crazy the whole week. I think its testament to her personality, being so kind and humble, but it happens a lot in the industry, just on a bigger scale. We always see interviews with big stars name dropping their well-known celebrity friends but I think it’s important to talk about the emerging talent coming through. We don’t usually get wind of filmmakers until they get Oscar nominated, which is crazy but that’s what I mean when these awards give creatives validation. The indie film community in London is pretty close-knit but there isn’t much going on in terms of support and development. The support from people in the industry, as mentors and teachers, is critical for our growth in this country.

JB: I also saw on Twitter, that you were considering writing a British gang movie; is this an avenue you will genuinely be pursuing? Because I would love to see that!

I’m creating a 3 minute short film called “MANDEM” which is for the RODE film competition. It’s more of a proof-of-concept than a film because it’s so short but I think it could go far. It comes out during the first week of August so watch out for that.

JB: What can we expect from you in the near future, what are you working on?

I have a short film called “Grounding” starring Sarah Isabella and Stefan Boateng which is about anxiety in a relationship and the fallout of poorly dealing with your mental health problems. It’s a 7-9 minute short and is incredibly beautiful, so raw and elegant. I have high hopes for this in the film festival circuit. Also I’m working on a web series at the end of the year which should be available online sometime early 2019.

JB: Do you watch many films yourself? What have you been enjoying lately?

I haven’t seen much recently because work has been intense but I’d like to think I’m an amateur cinephile. ‘Ready Player One’ made me cry recently after watching it for the second time. I had read the book so I knew what was to come but that was one of the best cinema experiences I’ve ever had. And of course, ‘Infinity War’, absolutely blew me away. Just recently I’ve been preaching about the new horror movie ‘Hereditary’. Such a brilliant film, the acting is some of the best I’ve seen in recent years. I really do urge people to see it, not because it’s a horror movie, but because the filmmaking is soooo good.

JB: What’s the best piece of advice you could offer to other aspiring filmmakers out there?

Learn to wear as many hats as you can. Don’t limit yourself to one specialty, learn how to edit, produce, direct, write, and increase your value to a future agency or studio. Make sure you learn as much as possible, don’t be naïve to think you can be in the industry without training. Read books, pay for courses, study your craft as much as you can because you can never learn too much. Educate yourself and go and create as much as you can. The theory is only 25% of it, filming/producing content is another 25% and the last 50% of becoming a filmmaker is making mistakes. Like any creative field, we only get better with practice. I’ve made over 30 films in the past 4 years and I feel comfortable and confident being able to specialise in any department because I’ve put myself through the process of making mistakes and learning how to get better next time. Sounds cheesy but it’s true.

JB: And finally, the most important question of the day, maybe ever – Pineapple on pizza? Right or wrong?

I’m sorry, but it’s so wrong. Anyone who eats that combo probably binges YouTube videos of people gaming and doesn’t value their life.

Strong words there! We’d like to thank Moses once again for taking the time to talk to Jakob and answer his questions.

 

Moses’ latest short film, Mandem, is now available to watch on YouTube!

 

 

 

‘Mission: Impossible’ Retrospective: Part 2

Welcome back. My mission, that I’ve chosen to accept, is to look at the recent era of the M:I franchise. If you missed it, check out Part 1 of this retrospective.

Amidst growing opinions about Cruise’s personal life and despite the commercial success of Mission: Impossible III, Paramount were reportedly undecided on the future of their spy adventures. With everything quiet on M:I front for a few years, it wasn’t until august of 2009 that the matches considered to be lit once more. Writers Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec brought on to write the screenplay.

Like Abrams before them, the two writers had cut their teeth in the TV circuit and Ghost Protocol was to be their big break. Funnily enough, Nemec had actually served as a writer prior on Abrams successful show, Alias. With the script in the works, the search for a director was underway. Due to scheduling conflicts, J.J Abrams made it clear that directing would not be an option for him; opting to take a producing position instead alongside Cruise.

March 2010 saw the preliminary talks of bringing The Incredibles director Brad Bird on board. By May of the same year, it was confirmed that Bird would be sitting in the director’s chair. This was to be Bird’s first live action feature; a choice that Bird didn’t take lightly.

This was his chance to flex his already outstanding skill set, in a now well oiled franchise. Consideration towards the direction of the brand itself was in the air, going right down to the “Mission: Impossible” namesake. Discussions were taking place to consider scrapping the established brand name, to be more akin to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Thankfully, it was decided that going into a subtitle phase would be the suitable way forward for Mission: Impossible IP.

Production began on September 29th 2010 and ran all way to March of the following year. Carrying on the globetrotting element of M:I III, locations would include the Czech Republic, Hungary, Moscow and Dubai. Most of the crew heading into the production, Cruise in particular, felt that M:I III was a turning point for the franchise in regards to tone and how to combine action with a gripping story. The aim was to continue this approach and give audiences a visceral blockbuster experience. With the director of thrilling stories like The Iron Giant and The Incredibles, Cruise and Bird were ready to turn the tide.

Fan favourites Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg returned to the cast, while newcomers Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton were brought onto the I.M.F team. It could be seen that Renner was maybe a contingency plan, should Cruise fail to deliver the goods on his fourth outing, in a franchise with an uneasy start. The ball was in Cruise’s court to turn public perception around and give them new contest for exactly why he might be referred to as “crazy” or “insane”. How exactly would do that? Hanging off the side of the tallest building in the world isn’t a bad idea to start with.

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Ghost Protocol would up the ante for the audacity of death defying stunt work. Cruise being the workhorse that he is, was ready again to cheat the reaper on screen. The Burj Khalifa sequence in Ghost Protocol is a stomach churning endurance test for the best of those unafraid of heights. Like the best sequences in the recent entries, this set piece isn’t shoehorned in just for the sake of it. The height induced paranoia is in service of the story.

Bird’s touch and sense in Ghost Protocol has the same air of style and sophistication displayed in The Incredibles. In tandem with the returning Michael Giacchino and Robert Elswitt making the first of two contributions to M: I, Bird oozes an aura that’s closer to Bond but refined rather than copied beat for beat. Of course with bigger action, comes the realisation that M:I retains a license to be sillier if done right. While my soft spot for M:I II remains, it’s more of a Bond shaped ghost than a competitor to Daniel Craig’s grounded character study approach.

Cruise is dialling it all the way. Sandstorms and a descending battle through a multi-level car park see Cruise proving he is the anchor on this ship. No contingency is needed. Mission: Impossible was now your go to vender for blood rushing action.

Filling into cinemas on December 16th 2011, Ghost Protocol became the highest grossing entry in the franchise and Cruise’s biggest grossing film. Critical consensus also offered the installment the highest praise of the series (until Fallout).

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Following previous collaborations and the release of an adaption based around Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novel series, Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise were ready to get back to work again on a project together. Following McQuarie’s uncredited rewrite on Ghost Protocol, Cruise already impressed with Oscar winning McQuarrie’s ideas and was eager for him to helm the next installment of M:I.

Hungry to get back in motion, Paramount announced in August of 2013 that Christopher McQuarrie would be taking on the director’s mantle for the next endeavour. With a story from Iron Man 3 writer Drew Pearce, McQuarrie sank his teeth in concocting the screenplay. Taking cues and inspiration from De Palma’s original outing and admiring the franchise’s growing legacy, McQuarrie decided to bring the story back it’s insider operation roots. After hints of the next installment were left literally in the last seconds of Ghost Protocol, it was the first time that Mission: Impossible were considering having a direct-sequel narrative.

Once again however, Bond was being thrown back into the conversation. As both productions were set to feature narratives about villainous organisations (S.P.E.C.T.R.E and The Syndicate), the topic of which film would come out on top began to dominate itself amongst fans. Was Bond even a threat to Mission: Impossible at this point? Not a chance.

Production began on Rogue Nation on August 20th 2014 and concluded in March of 2015, a week before the official announcement of the title and teaser poster were released. Rogue Nation felt confident from the get go. With the critical affirmation of the franchise in it’s past two entries, Cruise and his team were in business. It was time for Bond to see how far this franchise had come in full force.

How should we start out movie? Cold open? Shadowy objectives via sunglasses? Let’s throw the audience in head first.

The intro sequence of Rogue Nation couldn’t encompass what this franchise is about more if it tried. Ethan’s team are in position. Communication is assertive, panicked but assertive. Where is Cruise though?

Enter the iconic notes of Lalo Schifrin’s theme and the definition of movie star enters the frame. The objective is simple: stop a plane from taking off and secure the payload. Sure? Not in this franchise.

The excitement sets in and we’re off to the races. Cruise mounts the airbus, clinging for dear life, more than ever. The airbus storms into the air and takes Cruise with it, at 5,000 feet in the air. No stunt double.

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The pressure is increasingly mounting both for Cruise and his team. Alas, the objective is secured and we’re strapped into the grin inducing title sequence.

This IS Mission: Impossible in all its glory. Everything you need to know about this series is given you to in an exhilarating injection of adrenaline. From there on, McQuarrie’s direction is assured, composed and almost pitch perfect. I could go on about that Opera sequence for days but I think its already clearer how dynamite that set piece is.

Sean Harris is also a saving grace for the antagonist aspect of these films. Where Ghost Protocol lacked a memorable foe, Rogue Nation rectifies this and gives us the sometimes underused Solomon Lane. With his nasally voice and soul inspecting stare, Sean Harris dominates the role every chance he is given. I can’t explain how claustrophobic I feel when Lane bests Ethan in the record shop.

The sheer terror on Cruise’s face explains it all.

Rogue Nation is an excellent feat for both McQuarrie and the series. Unfortunately, I do feel like the transition from Morocco into the third act is unfocused at times. It was reported in February of 2015 that production was on hold so that Cruise, McQuarrie and an unknown party could reconfigure the third act (specifically the ending). This may explain why Rogue Nation struggles to find its ongoing purpose after the superb beats that have come before it.

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Have I mentioned Alec Baldwin’s speech in the third act? In any other film where the hero is referred to as the “living manifestation of destiny”, I would erupt with laughter. Here, I have a massive grin on my face as you made clearly aware just how bad ass Ethan Hunt has become over the past two decades.

Opening in July of 2015, Rogue Nation would go to make just slightly less than its predecessor, with a box office take of $682.7 million. Just like Ghost Protocol, Rogue Nation was another freshly received entry to the franchise that was confidently set to rival Bond’s November outing later in the year.

So now we’ve reached 2018 and this week sees the release of the sixth (sixth!!) installment of Mission: Impossible. In a series first, McQuarrie has returned to deliver his second take on Ethan Hunt’s ongoing tale of defying the impossible. It really is incredible to see a franchise like this still going strong after all this time. Tom Cruise has to be commended for his undying commitment to his endearing goal as an actor: to entertain an audience the best he can.

I have seen Fallout currently three times and you can bet I’ll be catching it a forth. If you want to know what JUMPCUT makes of it, head over to Dave’s review to see his take on McQuarrie’s critical darling.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this retrospective of Mission: Impossible.

This article will not self destruct in five seconds.