Don’t let go of that plane, Tom!
Over at Alex on Film I’ve been watching the Mission: Impossible films, with Tom Cruise as super-agent Ethan Hunt. This is considered to be a rarity among movie franchises in that most people think the series got progressively better. I’m not so sure. The later offerings (and the series is still ongoing) have been slicker productions and more expensive but they’ve also been more generic. They have nevertheless, always been entertaining in a Hollywood blockbuster sort of way. Here’s the line-up:
Mission: Impossible (1996)
Mission: Impossible II (2000)
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to dominate the news.
It really is remarkable, and a bit depressing. Every day is like Sunday, with the streets nearly empty and most of the stores closed or only open for reduced hours. School has been suspended and I wonder what the kids are doing. Are they all online? I think they must be.
I don’t know if all of the precautions that are being taken actually work. My sense is that they’re less effective than we’re led to believe. For example, I had to go the bank yesterday. They had cut back the hours of service so it didn’t open until 10 (the other bank I had to go to opened at 11). In addition, people were only being let into the bank proper one at a time. The waiting area was the vestibule with the ATM. Because of the reduced hours and the one-person-at-a-time rule a bottleneck was created so that more people were packed together than usual, in a smaller space, waiting for longer just to get in. I couldn’t see this as being helpful except as a way to discourage people from coming to the bank in the first place, which really wasn’t helpful at all.
I’m not that worried about catching COVID-19 myself. What does worry me is the amount of damage this is going to have on the economy (meaning people’s jobs) and how long it is going to last. I had a dentist appointment this week that was canceled and they asked if I wanted to reschedule in three weeks’ time. I asked, in some amazement, if they really thought this would all blow over in three weeks. They could only respond that this is what they’d been told. The public library system has also said that they will be closed for three weeks. I think it’s going to be a lot longer.
Does the name Mike Banning ring a bell? You’d be forgiven for finding it the generic and forgettable name of a Hollywood action hero, which is the Mike Banning I’m thinking of. He’s the presidential bodyguard played by Gerard Butler in the trilogy Olympus Has Fallen (2013), London Has Fallen (2016), and Angel Has Fallen (2019). There are plans for more but I think I’ve had enough. Already I have trouble telling them apart. The perfectly generic and forgettable vehicles for a Mike Banning.
Over at Alex on Film I’ve been wtaching the Riddick, or Chronicles of Riddick movies. So far there have been three: Pitch Black (2000), The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), and Riddick (2013). Will there be more? Probably, though the franchise hasn’t been a blockbuster. I’m not sure I’ll be sticking with it though.
Over at Alex on Film this week I’ve been watching some films by S. Craig Zahler: Bone Tomahawk (2015), Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017), and Dragged Across Concrete (2018). Punishing stuff. I don’t think he’s made a great movie yet, but I think he will.
From The Day of the Locust (1939) by Nathanael West:
Their boredom becomes more and more terrible. They realize that they’ve been tricked and burn with resentment. Every day of their lives they read the newspapers and went to the movies. Both fed them on lynchings, murder, sex crimes, explosions, wrecks, love nests, fires, miracles, revolutions, war. This daily diet made sophisticates of them. The sun is a joke. Oranges can’t titillate their jaded palates. Nothing can ever be violent enough to make taut their slack minds and bodies. They have been cheated and betrayed. They have slaved and saved for nothing.
From Notes of a Native Son (1955) by Richard Wright:
In America, though, life seems to move faster than anywhere else on the globe and each generation is promised more than it will get: which creates, in each generation, a curious bewildered rage, the rage of people who cannot find solid ground beneath their feet.
Just a kid. Looking out of the corn.
Over at Alex on Film I’ve been watching the almost totally undistinguished Children of the Corn movies. I say “almost” because the first movie isn’t bad, and in later episodes you can catch Charlize Theron’s debut and Naomi Watts in a leading role before she was a star. But mostly these movies are awful, which shouldn’t be surprising as they were being produced by the same company driving the Hellraiser franchise into the ground. Apparently Stephen King didn’t even keep track of how many there were. Though I guess he was getting paid since he usually received a credit for coming up with the title of the series (if nothing else).
Bottom line: the first movie is still worth seeing, but I would avoid all the others.
Children of the Corn (1984)
Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1992)
Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)
Children of the Corn: The Gathering (1996)
Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998)
Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return (1999)
Children of the Corn VII: Revelation (2001)
Children of the Corn: Genesis (2011)