The First ‘Men In Black: International’ Trailer Has Landed!

The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.

Directed by: F. Gary Gray

Cast: Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Rebecca Ferguson, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Rafe Spall, Kumail Nanjiani

Release Date: 14th June 2019

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Evil Is About To Get Schooled In The First Trailer For Joe Cornish’s ‘The Kid Who Would Be King’

“Old school magic meets the modern world in the epic adventure THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING. Alex (Ashbourne Serkis) thinks he’s just another nobody, until he stumbles upon the mythical Sword in the Stone, Excalibur. Now, he must unite his friends and enemies into a band of knights and, together with the legendary wizard Merlin (Stewart), take on the wicked enchantress Morgana (Ferguson). With the future at stake, Alex must become the great leader he never dreamed he could be.”

Directed by: Joe Cornish

Cast: Ashbourne Serkis, Rebecca Ferguson, Tom Taylor, Patrick Stewart

Release Date: February 15th, 2019

 

‘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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Year: 2018
Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, Simon Pegg, Michelle Monaghan

Written by Dave Curtis

I like to imagine it is fun being in meetings when coming up with ideas for the next ‘Mission Impossible’ film. Tom Cruise sits quietly in the corner staring out the window. The director and writer, Christopher McQuarrie, paces around behind him.

CM: Right Tom, with ‘MI:5’ we hung you off the side of plane?
TC: That was fun, I love planes!
CM: We tried to drown you already didn’t we?
TC: That was easy, I can hold my breath for ages.
CM: How are you with heights, maybe we have you hanging off a tall building?
TC: Seriously, Did you not watch Ghost Protocol? I was on top of the highest building in the world!
[Chris scratches his head….]
CM: So what I’m hearing is that you want to go higher.
[Chris joints down higher on a pad on paper. ]
[Tom spins around on his chair and jumps on it.]
TC: Not only do I want to go higher, I want it be fucking crazy. How about you throw me out of a  plane this time?
CM: Like on green screen or something. I don’t think the producers would like us to drop you from the sky?
TC: Tom Cruise doesn’t fake action… he is action!
CM: Have you ever skydived before?
TC: Please. How hard can it be, I’ll just learn how to –
CM: OK!
[Chris writes down skydive.]
TC: I’m also learning to fly a helicopter at the mo so maybe we can do something with that?
CM: Sure…
[He writes down helicopter.]
CM: Anything else?
TC: I really like Paris.
[Chris writes Paris down.]
CM: Well this already sounds great TC we’ve done it again!

[Chris and Tom high five.]
** End scene.**

‘Mission Impossible – Fallout’ is insane…

The franchise so far has come be to known for its big set pieces and the chance to watch Tom Cruise run, jump, shoot, drive, climb and nearly kill himself in increasingly dangerous situations. As IMF’s best spy, Ethan Hunt, Tom Cruise is still trying to save the world the only way he knows how. He pretty much makes it up and hopes for the best. It seems he is a very lucky man.

The returning director and writer Christopher McQuarrie (the first director to return to the franchise) brings back all the familiar faces – Simon Pegg, Ving Rhymes and Alec Baldwin (No Jeremy Renner, he was busy on another small film). This is also a direct of sorts sequel to ‘Rogue Nation’ (‘Mission: Impossible 5’) so Rebecca Ferguson as the mysterious Ilsa Faust and Sean Harris as the villain Solomon Lane return.

As ever the IMF team are on race against time and somewhere a clock is ticking. Hunt and team are trying to locate the remaining members of the ‘Syndicate’, who now call themselves the ‘Apostles’. He isn’t sleeping well, thoughts of Solomon Lane fill his dreams. Maybe his past is catching up with him. Lane wants Ethan to see the world he protected for so long be destroyed and lose what he loves the most.  This isn’t the Ethan Hunt of old, he is a man on the edge who seems to carry more weight on his shoulders. He is at breaking point. Lane himself, the movies MacGuffin (like the rabbit foot in ‘MI:3’), is a villain of few words and seems to be pulling strings even when behind bars. Sean Harris brings his normal intensity to role. He is even given some action scenes, but he does still feels a bit under-cooked and not as interesting as the film wants to you to believe.

The IMF crew also have Henry Cavill’s CIA agent August Walker (great name) joining them for company. Walker is a black ops assassin who is assigned to get the job done by any means necessary, whether Hunt likes it or not. Their mission, if they chose to accept it, is to retrieve some black market plutonium and stop Solomon Lanes master plan. What Cavill lacks in personality he makes up in sheer physical presence. The fight scenes feel brutal and Walker’s more heavy handed approach to Hunts more delicate touch makes for bone breaking and more believable fights. The stand out fight is the bathroom scene, it’s up there with ‘True Lies’. Cavill looks like he is enjoying playing a more questionable character and his moustache is there and accounted for, no CGI needed there.

Other new additions to the franchise such as Vanessa Kirby’s White Widow and Angela Bassett’s head of  CIA, Erica Sloan, slot in nicely. Kirby’s underworld broker shines. She is not in it much but she steals every scene. Bassett’s head edge manner also brings Erica Sloan to life, this is not a woman to cross. She’s badass to the bone. What was once a man’s franchise brimmed to the rim of testosterone, ‘Fallout’ is so refreshing. Rebecca Ferguson’s MI6 agent Ilsa Faust once again nearly steals the film from everyone. She is still a match for Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt. Gone are the lingering shots of her legs. This time it’s all about her and the mission.

To be honest the ‘Mission Impossible’ films have never really been about plots and characters. It’s all about the big set pieces, the unbelievable stunt work and Tom Cruise being Tom Cruise. The plot does just about make sense, but the film really comes alive when Tom Cruise is doing some kind of death defying stunt. There are car and bike chases through the tight streets of Paris, the halo skydive (which Cruise trained a year for), crazy rooftops chases (that’s where he broke his ankle) and a helicopter pursuit which needs to be seen to be believed. Why does he do all this? It’s because he loves to entertain. He knows the audience want to see him in these situations. I also think he enjoys it. It seems Christopher McQuarrie and him enjoy pushing each other and seeing how far they can take it.

Not only is ‘Fallout’ fun to watch, it is also technically brilliant. From the score to the cinematography and the stunt work, it’s amazing to think about the hours of hard work the crew have had to put in to make a movie like this. They are the real MVP’s. I salute them.

‘Mission Impossible – Fallout’ is hugely entertaining. It is a proper popcorn flick which only has a few minor flaws. To think this franchise has been going for 22 years and it still feels this fresh and new is a testament to the director and star. I can’t imagine what they have in store for Mission Impossible 7.  Surely only outer space beckons now.

Dave’s Rating:

4

New ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ Featurette Showcases Cruise’s ‘Most Dangerous Stunt Yet’

With each passing ‘Mission Impossible’ film there’s always one question on fans minds… What the hell is Tom Cruise going to do in the next one to top it!?

We’ve witnessed Cruise versus 16 tons of water as he blows the glass on a fish tank and quickly has to escape, free climbing Dead Horse Point, scaling the Burj Khalifa, base jumping, clinging on the to side of an aeroplane as it takes off, holding his breath for 6 minutes underwater, almost taking a knife to the eye… you name it, Cruise has probably done it!

But, even after his aeroplane stunt in ‘Rogue Nation’, Cruise still promised he would out-do himself, as he always somehow manages to do. From what we’ve seen so far in teasers and trailers, Cruise has upped the ante once again as he clings from a rope on a helicopter in mid-air, climbs up said helicopter to then fly it, leaping from buildings (and consequently breaking his ankle!) and of course, the Halo jump!

Whilst we eagerly await the films release, Paramount have released a featurette for the Halo jump, which showcases how the cast and crew trained and shot the scene that will have no doubt kept McQuarrie up at night!

“MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT finds Ethan Hunt and his IMF team along with some familiar allies in a race against time after a mission gone wrong. Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett, and Vanessa Kirby also join the dynamic cast with filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie returning to the helm.”

Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie

Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin, Wes Bentley, Frederick Schmidt

Release Date: July 25th, 2018

Ethan Hunt Is On The Run In The Final ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ Trailer

“The best intentions often come back to haunt you. “MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT” finds Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, along with some familiar allies,  in a race against time after a mission gone wrong. “

Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie

Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Alec Baldwin, Michelle Monoghan, Angela Bassett

Release Date: July 27th, 2018

The Greatest Showman

Year: 2017
Directed By: Michael Gracey
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II 

Written by Fiona Underhill

Perhaps it is fitting to conclude 2017 with a film simultaneously both awful and fantastic. Truly dreadful wigs, bizarre CGI, catchy songs, Zac & Zendaya – ‘The Greatest Showman’ really does have it all. A passion project of Hugh Jackman’s; this movie has been in gestation for at least a decade, to the extent that I’m surprised he didn’t take the directorial reins himself. Instead, we have the inexperienced Michael Gracey – whose IMDb credits are mostly visual effects and art department – which is….intriguing once you’ve seen ‘The Greatest Showman’. There are rumours that ‘Logan’s’ James Mangold had to come to the rescue on ‘The Greatest Showman’ and this certainly makes sense of the tonal and editing inconsistencies. Hugh Jackman has certainly had quite the year: starting with an Oscar-worthy turn in Logan and ending with this.

I sound as if I’m being really negative about this film and while it is a trashy mess, I will say that I immediately wanted to watch the whole thing again once it was over. For those going to the cinema expecting an historically accurate biopic of PT Barnum will be sorely disappointed. This being a glitzy, feel-good musical, it certainly glosses over the fact that Barnum was not the ‘saviour of the down-trodden and oppressed’ as portrayed here. In fact, his real-life treatment of the disabled people, people of colour and animals who populated his ‘freak shows’ left much to be desired. He certainly exploited them (even after their deaths) and presented them as exotic curiosities, simply for being ‘foreign’ or outside of the Victorian norm. Barnum’s exaggeration and manipulation of certain characteristics is touched on in the film, but much more could have been made of one man constructing a reality to fit the bigoted viewpoint of the audience. The parallels with another purveyor of fake news and the invention of show business and celebrity could have been an interesting exploration, but instead we have a paper-thin musical.

IF you can choose to view ‘The Greatest Showman’ simply as a fictional fantasy, there is something to enjoy here. I am not above being excited by the sight of Zac Efron in a ringmaster’s costume and delighting in seeing him singing and dancing again. His duet with Hugh Jackman, when they make a business deal in a bar, punctuated by the rhythmic downing of shots is a thrilling spectacle. Zendaya is magnificent as a pink-haired flying trapeze artist, who shares another delightful duet with Zac. The casting of Michelle Williams, however, is so glaringly erroneous it lept out, even in the trailer. We are supposed to accept that Williams and Jackman (who have a 12 year age-gap) are the same age (they are portrayed as childhood sweethearts), she is donned in a long blonde wig and given a thankless task of a role. A total waste of Williams’ acting talents.

The songs are cheesy but catchy and I have sought them out since seeing the film. Some of the choices made in this film are so bizarre though; like the casting of Hugh Jackman as his own boss for no apparent reason in a short scene. Rebecca Ferguson is cast (in another terrible wig) as a singer who Barnum inexplicably takes on tour across the country, getting into yet more debt. Another dubious casting choice, when apparently she did not do her own singing.

Frankly, thinking back on this film is giving me a headache. It is a frustrating mess, with much to mock. However, I do admit to being swept along with some of the musical numbers and circus scenes. Keala Settle’s barn-storming performance as Lettie Lutz – The Bearded Lady, leading her troop in a rousing number did stir something inside me. So, ultimately I have to accept that a large part of me enjoyed ‘The Greatest Showman’, because after all THIS IS ME.

Fiona’s Rating: 6.0/10

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Hugh Jackman Prepares To Put On A Show In New ‘The Greatest Showman’ Trailer

“Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.”

Directed By: Michael Gracey

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson

Release Date: 1st January 2018

The Snowman

Year: 2017
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Chloë Sevigny, J.K. Simmons, Val Kilmer, Toby Jones

Written by Corey Hughes

After a 6-year directorial break since ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in 2011, Tomas Alfredson returns to the director seat for the woeful adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s best-selling Scandi-noir murder mystery ‘The Snowman’, the fifth entry to the Oslo Sequence series of books starring Harry Hole.

Following a series of missing persons and murders in Oslo, acclaimed detective and loose-cannon Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) and newcomer Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson), with their own personal intentions, hunt the aptly named Snowman down; a serial killer who leaves a snowman in his wake.

Fassbender, whilst trying his outmost to provide a plausible performance, fails to play the inner-tormented, broken man with the same gravitas that he brought to the table in similar roles in ‘Shame’ and ‘Hunger’; an unfortunate addition to a string of bad decisions from the immensely talented actor. The performances from the rest of the cast are moderate at best – Kilmer; an odd casting choice whose dialogue appears to have been dubbed in post production, Ferguson; who is unconvincing in filling the boots of the strong-willed Bratt, and J.K. Simmons; who provides a caricature-esque performance as the grotesque and completely unsympathetic Arve Støp.

Keeping within touching distance with Nesbø’s novel, Alfredson brings to the table experience from working on ‘Let The Right One In‘ by showing the goriness of the Snowman’s murders in their most truthful, explicit and uncensored form. The murders are set against the backdrop of Dione Beebe’s swooning cinematography, a successful depiction of bringing the cold, snow-engulfed Oslo to life, but in the grand scheme of things he is merely disguising what is ultimately a bleak, unforgettable experience.

There have been reports surfacing that during the editing process, Alfredson and editor Thelma Schoonmaker came to the realisation that chunks of the plot were missing, resulting in last-minute reshoots. Such disorganisation not only shows Alfredson’s lackadaisical approach in adapting the novel to the big screen, but also accounts for ‘The Snowman’s’ directionless nature; focusing on things that are insignificant whilst quickly glossing over things that are instrumental to the plot, an oddity that Schoonmaker is far from accustomed to from her partnership with Martin Scorsese (who was supposed to direct this mess before Alfredson stepped in).

Disregarding the inclusion of intricate, overlapping subplots evident in Nesbø’s novel, screenwriters Hossein Amini and Peter Staughan provide an unfaithful translation of the source material. Condensing a layered, 400-page novel to a mere 2-hour film is difficult but undoubtedly achievable, yet Amini and Staughan seem to struggle with adapting Nesbø’s multiple plots into a conceivable screenplay. The film cuts out a catalogue of important moments from the novel, which ultimately results in each character having the most minimal amount of depth and motivation possible. You aren’t given any reason to care about the characters, or the situations they find themselves in, an extreme flaw for any murder-mystery story.

‘The Snowman’, with so many acclaimed names attached to its production, with even Martin Scorsese as an executive producer, is a gargantuan disappointment. Use your price for admission towards Nesbø’s novel instead. You’ll thank me later.

Corey’s Rating: 4.0 out of 10

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