Tag Archives: tom cruise

Movie Review – Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

Ba na na na na na na na na ba na na na na na na na na na….highway to the danger zone! Highway to the danger zone!

Welcome to the danger zone, 3.5 readers. BQB here with a review of this long-awaited sequel to everyone’s favorite fighter jet movie.

Ah, where does the time go? I remember being a little kid just yesterday, my parents taking me to see the original Top Gun. They bought me GI Joes afterwards. Then I blinked and suddenly I am a decrepit old bastard running a blog that is only read by 3.5 readers. I forgot to do a lot of stuff I wanted to do between the original and the sequel but oh well. This isn’t about me, right?

As we return to the world of Top Gun, we find Maverick as a test pilot, pushing the envelope, still taking unnecessary risks that infuriate his superiors. As they note, anyone with his long record of service should be an admiral or a statesman by now, but Maverick being the mavericky maverick that he is, just can’t follow the rules.

However, the brass admit that Maverick is the most awesome and badass fighter pilot at the Navy’s disposal, so they dispatch him back to Top Gun school to train a new generation of volleyball playing fighter pilots to take out an unsanctioned uranium enriching facility operated by an unspecified rogue nation. As a viewer, you are required to ignore a) the wimpiness of the film for not specifying which nation this is, for the enemy fighter jets have no specific markings and their helmet visors are kept shut at all times so you can’t guess their ethnicity and b) let’s be honest. If a rogue country is operating a uranium enrichment facility in this day and age, it’s probably because America paid for it in the wimpy hope that by buying them off they’d promise to only use the uranium for energy purposes. If anything, the mission in real life would be for Maverick to drop pallets of cash into the rogue nation’s airspace with his trusty F-15 Tomcat.

Alright, I digress. Besides, I give the film credit for at least admitting that blowing up an illegal nuke operation in the hands of evildoers is a good idea and something to promote through film in this age of wokesterism.

Moving on, Maverick’s new recruits include Phoenix, a lady pilot because you gotta have one. Bob, a nerd because they allow nerds to fly planes now. Back in the 1980s, nerds were only allowed to play with calculators and polish their pocket protectors in movies so they have progressed since Mav’s heyday. There’s the token jerk Hangman and a few others with cool call signs. I forget their kickass fighter pilot names. Lenny and Squiggy and Dopey and Sleepy and Sneezy and Doc, I think. Long story short, Rooster (Miles Teller made up to look like a young Anthony Edwards) is following in the footsteps of his late father as a fighter pilot. This leads to tension between the two as Rooster still blames Mav for the death of his BFF Goose so many years ago. Meanwhile, Mav blames himself and the fear of being responsible for the deaths of two generations of the same family of fighter pilots is too much for him to bear, such that he is crushed by the possibility that he wouldn’t be able to go on if he allows something bad to happen to the R-man.

Truth be told, even the flick admits that fighter jets are somewhat obsolete as drones and guided missiles typically take care of a lot of the work they used to do. Even so, Top Gun school continues in real life just in case the world needs aerial dog fighters to save the day. You have to suspend a bit of disbelief and just enjoy the sights and sounds. The flying stunts and tricks are a lot of fun and must be watched on the big screen.

Oh, and Jennifer Connelly stops by as Mav’s love interest while Jon Hamm takes the role of the stereotypical superior whose main job is to tell Maverick he is an asshole who is going to get everyone killed but then never offer any constructive alternatives.

Touching cameo from Val Kilmer who played Maverick’s frenemy Ice-Man in the original. It’s sad what time can do to a man but the cameo is tasteful. Honestly, even the whole movie is respectful, straddling the line between going its own way and not just being a cash grab rehash of the original.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. In all seriousness, this film as well as the original captured a sentiment lost on the public, namely that the ability to create, build, maintain, fly and use fighter craft is nothing short of magic. All the resources, manpower, time, effort, money and yes, skill and talent in keeping this metal birds in the sky is a marvel of modern science that seems like it should be impossible yet somehow it is. It really is a testament to a nation’s greatness when they are able to operate fighter jets and movies that celebrate US awesomeness are few and far between as of late, so kudos for Hollywood for making it.

Double kudos for Tom Cruise who really proves he is one of the last true movie stars. Yeah, he had his weird little freak out when he jumped on Oprah’s couch years back but he really does make a good flick and even comes out as himself before the film to thank you for watching it (oops, spoiler) so that’s awesome.

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BQB’s Classic Movie Reviews – Risky Business (1983)

Sometimes you just have to say fuck it, 3.5 readers.

Those cool dude sunglasses. That blazer and black shirt over a pair of jeans. That cigarette dangling from the lip. It’s so rare that a young actor’s first big role becomes his most iconic role, but all these years later, any good Tom Cruise impressionist will adopt that costume as part of their act.

Funny, I had never seen this one before and of course, the corona lockdown is giving me time to check out a lot of flicks I otherwise had never gotten around too.  Now that I’ve seen it I think – Top Gun, Mission Impossible, a lot of other big movies that I’m forgetting about at the moment, Cruise has done it all but this seems to be his greatest film.

It’s the early 1980s and straight laced high school senior Joel is such a good doobie. He’s an A student, a member of every club and he’s been diligently applying to big name colleges.

His world changes when his parents trust him enough to be on his own when they go on vacation. At first, it’s a chance for a young man to get his first taste of freedom. Joel raids his parents’ liquor cabinet and slides across the hardwood floor in his socks while cranking up Bob Seger’s Old Time Rock n’ Roll, a famous scene if there ever was one.

Naturally, Barry also invites friends Miles and Barry to come over and hang out. Barry (Bronson Pinchot of Cousin Balky from Perfect Strangers fame) is similarly straight laced while Miles (Curtis Armstrong of Booger from Revenge of the Nerds fame) has managed to find the balance that we all need in life – i.e. somehow he has found the ability to be chill and not worry while still bringing in those great grades that will get him into Harvard.

Long story short, Miles pranks Joel by inviting a prostitute to Joel’s home. Said prostitute turns out to be a man in woman’s clothing (or, according to 2020 rules, a woman!) but Joel, not being into that sort of thing, thanks his visitor for his (in 1980) or her (in 2020) time and sends said person on their way.

Before she leaves, she turns Joel on to a friend who would be more to Joel’s liking – Lana played by Rebecca DeMornay.

Joel goes gaga for Lana and from here, he spirals down a rabbit hole of seediness and depravity, trying to keep his straight laced high school career going while also delving head first into debauchery.

Throw in the convenient destruction of his dad’s car (in 1980s teenager comedies, destroying your father’s car was literally the equivalent to the end of the world) and Joel needs money.  Coincidentally, Lana needs a place for her and her friends to peddle their wares after a falling out with their pimp, Guido (a young Joe Pantoliano with hair.)

Joel’s parents’ house gets turned into a brothel, Joel becomes a teenage pimp and the rest is history.

For a film that’s silly and unlikely at times (I don’t think anyone in suburbia could be this brazen about running a prostitution scheme without ending up in the clink), there are some deeper themes.

The three that come to mind are:

1) How your choices in high school really do impact the rest of your life, which seems absurd as everyone is so young and these kids don’t know squat about the world, but a bad grade on a test here or not joining a club or something can throw years of work right into the trash and prevent entry into a top college – this whole process is parodied well and

2) Trust – Joel’s parents trust him not to wreck the house or do anything bad while they’re gone and this weighs heavily on him. Joel trusts Lana and the line is often blurred because its hard to tell whether she’s rolling the kid or if she genuinely likes him.  Somehow, we all have to learn to trust people even though this means you put your life into the hands of another who could burn you and

3) Taking risks (risky business) i.e. if you don’t take a risk, you won’t gain anything.  Conversely, if you don’t take risks, you won’t lose anything, but will you gain anything worth losing?

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. A lot of actors in their youthful prime here. Tom, obviosuly, but also DeMornay.  Booger and Balky didn’t go on to super stardom but they weren’t slouches either.

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Movie Review – Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)

Hey 3.5 readers.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read this review.

This blog will self-destruct in…oh, who am I kidding?  This shit blew up a long time ago.

BQB here with a review of “Mission Impossible: Fallout.”

I went into this film thinking that this series was surely about to jump the shark.  Tom Cruise is 56 now, thus the only death defying actor who performs his own stunts that I know of who qualifies to receive an AARP card.

Sure, he’s preserved to a level that only a fortune built in La La Land can provide, but even so, I wondered if maybe it wasn’t time to hand this series to the next generation.

As it turns out, Tom’s still got the moves.  The plot is complicated, so much so that your eyes will go crossed if you actually try to follow it.  Honestly, sometimes I wonder if the writers of these films count on that.  In the theater, you’re sitting there, doing the mental calculations of what is transpiring in your head until….oh, wow!  Explosions!  Car chases! Fights!  Stunts!

While Tom’s still got it, I can’t help but notice Hollywood keeps insisting that he get a younger sidekick, i.e. Jeremy Renner in the previous film, or in this one, Henry Cavill of “Superman” fame.

Shit.  I wish I were Henry Cavill.  I’d get so much poon.  Damn it.  Why am I so ugly and yet this guy wakes up every morning, looks in the mirror and realizes he’s got a license to print snatch?

But I digress.

To the film’s credit, there’s a main plot device, i.e. Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, despite a lifetime of espionage and intrigue, still maintains a moral compass.  He will never put a team mate in danger (Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames return as Ethan’s long suffering tech lackies, Rebecca Ferguson and Michelle Monaghan as his past and present love interests), even to keep a mission from failing.

Meanwhile, Cavill’s August Walker will gladly put a friendly down for the greater good.

That’s sure to make for a good international buddy cop drama.

The film centers around a plot in which various villains plan to set off nuclear bombs in the world’s holiest cities – Jerusalem, the Vatican and Mecca.  It will be up to Hunt and his crew to save the day.

One thing, and if you’re a fan of the series then it’s not really a spoiler, but as cheesy as the old “take a mask off to reveal another person” gag gets, it never ceases to amuse me.  I won’t give it away, other there was a point early on in the film where I thought the film was starting to look like it would be a dud, only for such a gag to happen, and make me realize it was actually going to be good…and it was.

A last thought.  For awhile now, I did think these films were fun throwaways, largely built around complicated plots that you forget and instead, you remember the stunts.  Instead, this film, and the last one, really do draw on a long, rich history, especially when you consider this series began in 1996…I freaking remember seeing it when I was in high school!

So Tom, I doubt you read this fine blog, though you should because you are missing out if you don’t, but I’ll just put this into the air – if you do only have one, maybe two of these films left in you, please make sure that they’re not only good but that they wrap up Ethan’s long life story.  Give him a happy ending, either he finally gets the girl and gets to relax, or he goes out doing what he was born to do – saving the world one last time.

Ethan might get his kicks hanging off of cliffs, but just don’t leave your longtime viewers hanging.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – The Mummy (2017)

Women can be mummies too, people.  Come on.  It’s 2017, you misogynist bastards.

BQB here with a review of The Mummy.

It’s hard to call this a reboot of the 1990s Brendan Fraser films, partly because those films were, themselves, reboots of Universal’s much older Mummy movies and partly because, in theory, mummies belong to us all.  I have a feeling that Universal might try to slap you with a legal stick if you were to call your next book, “The Mummy” but otherwise, there’s no reason why you couldn’t pen a tale where mummies run around with reckless abandon.  It was the Egyptians who invented mummies, after all, not some Hollywood suit of the Golden Age of Film Era.

Another reason why I hate to compare this film to the Fraser films (which I really loved at the time they came out and even to this day if I catch them on TV, I’ll watch them until the end) is that they’re both very different movies.  Fraser’s were epic fantasy while this is an attempt to make a more serious, modern day monster film.

It’s also the first installment in Universal’s “Dark Universe” series, which I just learned, is a thing.  I don’t know how this one got by me, seeing as how I am a reviewer of pop cultural happenings and all, but I assume Universal is trying to compete on Disney’s success of the ongoing Marvel movies and Warner Brother’s semi-success (the verdict is still out) with the DC films.

Universal was a pioneer in bringing movie monsters to life, wowing audiences of the long bygone black and white era with films about Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, Creature of the Black Lagoon and so on.

Apparently, Universal intends to bang out a bunch of these monster flicks in the coming years.  Will the films tie in together?  Will the monsters work together or fight one another in a great, big “let’s get all the big actors for one movie” type of film?  Your guess is as good as mine.

In this version of “The Mummy,” Tom Cruise plays Nick Morton, a soldier/scumbag who robs historic sites in Iraq of their ancient riches only to get away with the dirty deed knowing that terrorists will attack the sites and anything looted will be blamed on them. This is a rare role for Cruise as this essentially makes him an anti-hero.  He’s not a good guy, but he does a good deed in the film, i.e. fights the Mummy.

Blah, blah, blah, Tom has a partner, Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) who is mainly in the film for comic relief and a love interest, archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis).  Shenanigans ensue when a lady mummy (Sofia Boutella) is released and seeks to carry out an evil plan that she hatched thousands of years ago.

Rounding out the cast is Russell Crowe who (SPOILER ALERT) plays Dr. Henry Jekyll.  That’s right.  The Henry Jekyll as in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”  I found this to be a curious role and as I watched the film, I wondered if somewhere there was a writer who couldn’t decide if this film should be a Mummy movie or a Dr. Jeykll movie and then after I googled “Dark Universe” when I got home, I realized that Universal is raiding its long shut tomb of public domain/famous literary monster adaptations and bringing them together for our viewing pleasure.

It’s an interesting gambit and one that I hope works out for Universal.  Disney/Marvel seems to be playing a game that other studios want in on.  Though I’m not sure they’ll ever be topped, this movie is a solid attempt and arguably, a better one than the turd sandwich “Batman vs. Superman” that Warner Brothers dropped on us.

I’m sorry.  I will never stop saying bad things about “Batman vs. Superman.”  How do you screw that premise up?  How?  Someone tell me.  Seriously.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Worth a trip to the theater.  Tom Cruise might be a closet mummy as he is well-preserved for his age.

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Movie Trailer – The Mummy (2017)

Hey 3.5 readers.

Have you checked out the trailer for The Mummy reboot?

I gotta be honest, The Mummy and it’s first sequel were two of my favorite films from, sigh, “the turn of the century,” if we have to get technical.  They were full of fun and whimsy and Brendan Fraser was an atypical nerdy hero.

Thus, I’m kind of surprised that Tom Cruise was picked as the young buck to replace Fraser, given that, as far as I know, Cruise is older than Fraser.

And in theory, a new movie about The Mummy doesn’t necessarily have to be considered reboot.  Hollywood was making movies about mummies long before the Brendan Fraser outing, after all.

Anyway, it looks hella legit and if it is half as good as the trailer then it will be considered shelf-worthy.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Movie Review – Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)

So a hot babe and a short man walk into a bar…

BQB here with a review of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.

Author Lee Child has a loyal following for his Jack Reacher novels which chronicle the life of an ex-Military Police officer as he wanders the earth and solves mysteries, beats up bad guys, and rattles off quips and one-liners.

I’ve never read them but people who have tell me they’re excellent.  A few told me that when the 2012 Jack Reacher film came out, their main disappointment was that Tom “Shortest Man in Hollywood” Cruise was cast to play a man who, according to the books, is nearly seven feet tall and all muscle.

And just throwing it out there – there probably aren’t a whole helluvalot of parts out there for an aspiring actor who is close to seven feet tall so the Cruise Missile probably could have allowed some exceptionally tall actor to have this one but oh well.

My take on the first Jack Reacher film is about the same as this one – there’s lots of action that you can eat your popcorn to but then there’s also a lot of snore worthy information being thrown out you to the point where it feels like you’re watching an extended Law and Order episode.

Like most mystery movies, I, at some point, just start nodding at the screen. “Yup. Uh huh. So and so worked here, now he does this, and he was seen there and he transferred some money and a witness said this so uh huh…yeah…no please don’t draw it out any longer I’ll just take your word for it that he’s the bad guy because I am too busy to get a notebook and a pen and sketch this all out in a diagram.”

Cobie Smulders, as her name suggests, is smolderingly hot.  I’ve always liked her as an actress, going back to her How I Met Your Mother days.

Like her character Robin in that show, she seems intelligent and hot, a babe who has read a book or two.

Jack Reacher as a movie character is hard to pin down.  Is he the American anti-Bond?  He has little patience and does not suffer fools lightly so he does a lot of fighting and insulting but not much charming or beguiling.

Cruise is OK in the role if you can get over his lack of height.  At times, you lose track of the fact that Cobie and Cruise are supposed to be romantically interested in one another because it looks more like a hot chick is being forced to drag around her elderly yet well preserved due to Scientology alien worship uncle.

I won’t give away the plot, mostly because I can’t because I never did draw that diagram, but basically Cobie’s character, Major Turner, is framed for espionage by bad dudes doing bad things and it is up to Reacher to clear her good name.

Together, they go on the run and along the way, they rescue Samantha (Danika Yarosh) who may or may not be Jack’s daughter because Jack may or may not have banged her mother because Jack bangs a lot of chicks and doesn’t remember their names or anything.

So he is the American Bond!

There are some plot holes and questionable choices. Case in point – when Turner and Reacher are on the lam, Turner talks a cabbie into giving her his baseball cap.

From thereon, Turner wears the hat around town as if the hat provides her with some kind of cover but she’s still a hot chick with big boobs wearing military fatigues and the bad guys are aware that they’re supposed to be looking for a hot chick with big boobs in military fatigues so…I’m not sure the hat did her much good but oh well. She tried.

I’m happy for the Cobe-ster. She’s been plugging away at the Hollywood game a long time and though she has had a supporting role in The Avengers movies for awhile, this is her first lead role in a major film and hopefully we’ll see her in more.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy, but more of a rental.

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Movie Review: Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Dun dun dun da dun dun dun dun…doo da dooo..do da dooo…doo da doooo…da doo doo!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, 3.5 readers, is to read this review.

This review will self destruct in 5 seconds….


Movieclips Trailers – Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

I can’t believe this movie franchise has been going strong for so long, 3.5.  I really can’t.

Want to know how old this franchise is?

Ving Rhames took the role as Hunt’s associate Luther Stickell when he was hot off of playing crime boss Marcellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction.

Time, where oh where did you go?

Cruise, well-preserved, likely due to praying to the alien gods of Scientology (it pays to swear fealty to the Mighty Potentate) is as cool as ever in this one.

To Cruise’s credit, he’s a man who’s lived an extraordinary life, has nothing left to prove and yet, for our viewing pleasure, hooked himself up to the side of a flying plane.

Here’s a CNN article about how Cruise pulled this one off.  It involved special contacts to protect his eyes from flying debris (a piece of dirt flying at high speeds could have blinded him), a safety harness, and so on.

Amazingly, there was all sorts of safety precautions taken, yet the final shot looks as though he was just holding on with nothing but his hands.

Would you strap yourself to a flying plane moving at 185 mph?

I would not.  I would tell the writers they need to rewrite that shit.  Those terrorists need to be foiled on the ground.

So kudos to Tom.  You were married to Nicole Kidman, Katie Holmes, and now you’ve literally flown.

So, the setup.  This go around it’s IMF vs. the Syndicate, an evil organization bent on bringing down the world.

To throw a monkey wrench into the works, Hunt has also cheesed off the CIA and MI6.

Fast cars, exotic locales, insane stunts…it’s an action movie that’s got it all.

I don’t know about you, 3.5 readers, but with these types of movies, I just go for the pretty colors and fancy special effects and don’t waste a lot of time getting bogged down by the plot.  There’s so much explanation of how someone is going to break in to some place and blah blah blah, here’s how it’s going to happen and here’s what everyone is going to do.

Perhaps you sit there with your popcorn, trying to parse out all the details, but to me, it’s all just:

ETHAN:  To break in, we’ll need the thing to do the thing and get past the thing.

BENJI:  You’ll need a thing.  But the thing has to be done with the exact thing or the thing will happen to the thing.

LUTHER:  Nope.  No way.  You can’t do that thing with this thing.  You’re going to need that other thing and when that thing happens, you’d better be ready to do that thing.

ETHAN:  So it’s settled.  We’re going to do the thing.

This is a big role for Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa (not Elsa, no one sang, “Let it Go,”), the British agent who works with Hunt.

Sean Harris is exceptionally creepy as the film’s uber villian Solomon Lane while Jeremy Renner and Alec Baldwin get into a bureaucratic turf war over whether the CIA should absorb the IMF’s functions.

Last but not least, Simon Pegg, a nerd after my own heart, returns as Hunt’s tech savvy sidekick Benji.

It’s worth the price of admission with some awesomeness you have to see on the big screen.

I always look forward to these whenever they’re out.  In this nerd’s opinion, when it comes to spy action movies, MI is second only to 007.

And by the way, there’s a great Spectretrailer before this one.  Can’t wait for it.

Interesting side note:  I noticed this movie was backed by the China Movie Channel and Alibaba Films.  (Alibaba being the Chinese version of Amazon).  Will the Chinese become major players in the American film industry?  Eh, it seems new but then again Asia bridging the gap to Hollywood isn’t all that new.  Japanese backed Sony has been around forever.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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