New movie releases
Tom Cruise is 56 years old. Fifty. Six. And he’s been making Mission: Impossible movies for 22 of those 56 years. By all rights, Fallout, his sixth high-flying mission, should be to M:I what A View to a Kill was to Roger Moore’s Bond (Moore being only a year older than Cruise is when he made his final 007): tired, creaky and a bit embarrassing. Astonishingly, however, the opposite is true. This is easily the best, slickest and most daring Mission: Impossible installment. Not only that, it’s the finest action movie of the year so far. The bait-and-switching, double-crossing plot twists and twists again, with Hunt still haunted by his now-incarcerated Rogue Nation nemesis Solomon Lane (a superbly creepy Sean Harris) and dealing with the global terrorist power vacuum left by Lane’s capture, but you won’t care with all the sinew-straining spectacle on show. This is thanks largely to writer-director Christopher McQuarrie. Being the first director to return for a second go at the franchise, he brings a sense of continuity hitherto lacking. Fallout is a direct sequel to Rogue Nation, bringing back most of the key players and upping the stakes from the most knowing of perspectives. McQuarrie also builds on the last film’s self-aware level of wit and, most importantly, its set-piece-crafting sophistication. No action sequence is allowed to peter out, or be chopped to ribbons in the edit, or lean on the crutch of CG augmentation. From a frantic Parisian chase to a brutal brawl in a
Starring Shailene Woodley (Fault in Our Stars, Divergent films) and Sam Claflin (Me Before You, The Hunger Games films), ADRIFT is based on the inspiring true story of two sailors who set out to journey across the ocean from Tahiti to San Diego. Tami Oldham (Woodley) and Richard Sharp (Claflin) couldn't anticipate they would be sailing directly into one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history. In the aftermath of the storm, Tami awakens to find Richard badly injured and their boat in ruins. With no hope for rescue, Tami must find the strength and determination to save herself and the only man she has ever loved.
If Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox was a slice of whimsy, his latest foray into stop-motion creature features is a more complex beast. Set in a near-future Japan, it’s a dystopian, fitfully funny tale in which crusading young people take on a corrupt establishment. But it’s mostly about the dogs: Banished from the city of Megasaki after outbreaks of snout fever and flu, cute canines are dumped on Trash Island and left to fend for themselves amid piles of garbage. Their barks are conveniently translated into English for us by a typically Andersonian voice cast: There’s a loyal pack led by alpha dog Rex (Edward Norton), gossip Duke (Jeff Goldblum), sports mascot Boss (Bill Murray) and pooch actor King (Bob Balaban). Snarling on the sidelines is Chief (Bryan Cranston), who’ll rip your ear off to get to a can of maggots but who slowly emerges as the soul of the story. Chief’s arc kicks in when a 12-year-old Japanese boy, Atari, lands a tiny plane on Trash Island, intent on finding his banished, beloved companion Spots. Depicting the bond between boy and dog is what Isle of Dogs does best, and its focus is oddly affecting. While the film’s pace is speedy to a fault, it pauses just long enough to ponder the emotional contract between master and pet. Bitches, it must be said, are relegated to the sidelines: There’s a potential Lady and the Tramp romance between Chief and Scarlett Johansson’s ex–show dog Nutmeg, and Greta Gerwig voices an American foreign-exchange student who at l
Two people—a man and his teen daughter—adopting a simpler life in the backwoods of America may sound like the beginnings of a Bon Iver concept album, but in the hands of co-writer/director Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone), it forms the crux of a smart, heartfelt examination of outsiderdom in a society that doesn’t just prize conformity, but demands it. For a small story, it tackles some pretty big themes, gauging America’s reactionary social climate through the eyes of father Will (Ben Foster) and his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie), living outdoors in the misty Oregon rainforest. Like a Bear Grylls family outing spun wildly out of control, the pair forage for food, nursing fuel supplies and essentials scrapped together with money Will makes selling painkilling meds to fellow veterans. As the title implies, the duo is ever-wary of betraying their presence to the authorities. It’s a hardscrabble rural existence that’ll be semi-familiar to anyone who’s seen Granik’s Ozarks-set drama Winter’s Bone, although here there’s an element of choice and, initially, an air of quiet satisfaction at sticking it to The Man. Of course, it doesn’t last: they’re soon sucked back into the system and processed by social workers whose uncomprehending kindnesses only rub salt in the wounds. Unlike Sean Penn’s Into the Wild, another film that explores the quiet radicalism of disappearing off the grid, there’s no big emotional swells here. Leave No Trace is a more hushed, contemplative movie. Grani
Sicario, the grisly 2015 narco-thriller about an FBI agent on a black ops mission in Mexico, combined slam-bang action with PhD-smart analysis of the moral ambiguities of America’s war on drugs. Now here’s a sequel, missing key players: actor Emily Blunt, director Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049) and cinematographer Roger Deakins have all bailed. Sicario 2 is decent enough, but you can’t deny the weapons-grade star power is gone. We’re back on the Mexico-US border where the drug cartels have upped the ante: now they’re trafficking Islamic terrorists alongside immigrants. (In a horrible scene at the start a suicide bomber blocks the door of a supermarket in Kansas City while a woman clutching a little girl begs him not to detonate his bomb.) Josh Brolin is CIA agent Matt Graver. He may look like a stoner dude, but Graver is the guy the US government calls to do its dirty work on foreign soil. His response to the terrorist attack is to plot the kidnap of a Mexican cartel boss’s teen daughter and start a gang war. Director Stefano Sollima (TV’s Gomorrah) and writer Taylor Sheridan bring authentic-feeling details to the film and we get more Benicio del Toro as Alejandro, the prosecutor-turned-assassin determined to avenge the murder of his family. Del Toro is the Ernest Hemingway of screen badasses: the less he says the better he is—he does his most convincing work while looking like he’s about to nod off. Sicario 2 sets up a future installment centered on him: that sequel
James (James McAvoy) is a British agent under the cover of a water engineer, while Danny (Alicia Vikander) is a bio-mathematician working on a deep-sea diving project to explore the origin of life on our planet. On a chance encounter in a remote resort in Normandy where they both prepare for their respective missions, they fall rapidly, and unexpectedly, into each other's arms and a deliriously wild love affair develops, even though their jobs are destined to separate them. Danny sets off on a perilous quest to dive to the bottom of the ocean. James's assignment takes him to Somalia, where he is sucked into a geopolitical vortex that puts him in grave danger. Both characters are subject to different kinds of isolation as they pine for each other; their determination to reconnect becomes as much an existential journey as a love story.