This week at the movies, we’ve got spies under siege (Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, starring Tom Cruise and Rebecca Ferguson) and hapless road-trippers (Vacation, starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate). What do the critics have to say?
The recipe for a Mission: Impossible movie: take a bunch of interesting actors, add the latest in futuristic technology, throw in a death-defying Tom Cruise stunt or two, and voila! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and critics say Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation is terrific popcorn entertainment that benefits immeasurably from energetic performances by Cruise and relative newcomer Rebecca Ferguson. The plot is the same as usual: the IMF is on the run from both the government and a shadowy band of bad guys. But the pundits say it’s that adherence to formula that helps to make the Certified Fresh Rogue Nation such a triumph — this is assured blockbuster filmmaking at its slickest and most pleasurable.
Few would claim that National Lampoon’s Vacation is a deathless cinematic masterpiece, but its deft balance of warmth and sustained zaniness have made it a perennial favorite. Critics say Vacation is unlikely to engender such fondness: a game cast keeps things watchable, but the film’s labored gags are often more cringe-inducing than funny. Ed Helms is the latest actor to portray Rusty Griswold, and the plot is basically the same as the original: the family hits the road for Walley World, and is met with wacky characters and bizarre humiliations along the way. The pundits say Vacation is good for a dumb chuckle or two, but it’s sour where the original was sweet.
I Am Cait aims for insight rather than exploitation, treating its subject with a respect that sets it apart from other reality programming.
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp offers more of the the goofy hijinks that fans of the cult classic crave, but outsiders might not be quite as enamored.
Also Opening This Week In Limited Release