Established May 2010.

Gordie: Do you think I'm weird?
Chris: Definitely.
Gordie: No man, seriously. Am I weird?
Chris: Yeah, but so what? Everybody's weird.

Film Critic for Twin Cities Live

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Monday, December 19, 2011

MOVIE REVIEW: Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol, The Adventures of Tintin

Director: Brad Bird
Starring: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Jeremy Renner

After an IMF mission to steal Russian nuclear codes goes astray, a prison break-out is put into action to release Ethan Hunt (Cruise) from the Russian cell he is being held captive. Hunt is whisked away and joined by fellow IMF teammates: beautiful Jane (Patton) and wise-cracking hacker Benji (Pegg). Hunt is informed that there is a person of interest known as "Cobalt"(Michael Nyqvist) who has come in control of a Russian satellite and certain codes that can lead to nuclear war. The team sneaks into the Kremlin to gain access to secret files that could identify "Cobalt". An underground explosion under the Kremlin interrupts the mission after the IMF team has been spotted. They are put under blame for the explosion and the mission has been shut down. During a limo ride with the secretary of the IMF (Tom Wilkinson) and analyst Brandt (Renner), Hunt is told that the US President has ordered a "Ghost Protocol". The mission has now turned to an under-the-radar style operation. Hunt, Benji, Jane, and Brandt identify "Cobalt" as a Russian man named Hendricks. They must track down him and the nuclear codes down before nuclear war destroys the country.

Confession time. I went to the Great Clips IMAX at the MN Zoo to see it solely for the six minute prologue for The Dark Knight Rises. I don't even know if I would have see this latest Mission if it wasn't for the prologue. I don't think I've ever been disappointed by a movie I've seen on the massive IMAX screen. Mission:Impossible-Ghost Protocol is no exception. Numerous parts of the movie were filmed on IMAX cameras, and it is stunning. Bird shows off the majestic landscapes and action scenes with the IMAX shots. It makes this explosive edge-of-your seat even bigger and even more jaw-dropping. My fear of falling/heights definitely got to me. I consider that a good thing when a movie can get those feelings out of you. Say what you will about Tom Cruise, but he wears the Ethan Hunt shoes, tux, and sunglasses at ease. He feels right at home with one of his most popular characters. You have to give him credit for performing all of his crazy stunts in this movie. You will know what I mean during the scenes at the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest structure in the world. From the start of the movie to the last frame, the action does not let up. The pacing is sharp and tense. Pegg offers a warm sense of humor to balance all of the action. Even if you have a slight interest in seeing Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol, go see it and see it at the Great Clips IMAX at the MN Zoo. It's well worth the trek and money. You won't be disappointed.

RATING: **** (4 out of 5 stars)


Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost

The Adventures of Tintin is the first collaboration between Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings). This also marks Spielberg's first animated movie that he has directed. Tintin (Bell) is a young journalist out for a stroll in the market with his dog Snowy. He buys a model of three masted ship for one pound. Just as he is about to walk away with his new purchase, he gets accosted by two other gentleman wanting to buy it. They warn him of the dangers of this model ship, but Tintin refuses to resell it and heads home. One of the two men turns out to be the evil Ivan Sakharine (Craig). Back at home, Tintin props it up on the table only to have it knocked off when Snowy and the cat start chasing each other. As it falls to the floor, a small metal tube rolls under the shelf. After his ship is stolen, Tintin pays a little visit to Sakharine. He discovers there are two ships and that Sakharine is after scrolls that are hidden in the ship. Tintin comes back home to find it ransacked but finds the scroll in the tube that rolled under the shelf. Sakharine's henchman come to Tintin's home and kidnap him to get the second scroll. While trapped on the SS Karaboudjan, Tintin and Snowy meet Captain Haddock (Serkis) who was also taken captive due to his history with the ships and scrolls. Tintin and Haddock discover there are three model ships and three scrolls that Sakharine is after. They must escape the SS Karaboudjan and figure out the location of the third scroll before Sakharine gets to it and discover what the message in the scrolls reveals.

The Adventures of Tintin
feels part Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Pirates of the Caribbean. It is based off an old comic series by Hergé, which I am unfortunately not as familiar with. Spielberg and Jackson use motion-capture technology to bring the Tintin story to life. Not only does it still feel like a comic series, it brings the characters to life and gives them three dimension over having simple voice-over work done. Like the classic Spielberg movies from before, there is plenty of action, chase scenes, and bumps in the road for our hero. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are hilarious as two bumbling policeman who are on the search for a pickpocket. With Hugo still in theaters, it's great to have two fantastic movies out there for young kids that are smart, engaging, daring, and fun for the whole family.

RATING: **** (4 out of 5 stars)

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