Mission: Impossible – Fallout, or, Le Retour de Tommy C. Dans un Film d’Espionnage

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For Cinema!!!!!!!!!!!

All too often when we talk about cinema, that stuffy moniker reserved for only the finest of film, we fall back on the same few facets of the medium – writing and acting. Specifically, it seems that time and time again the films that are dubbed by the establishment and thus ingested by filmgoers as vegetables, those movies that are hearty and healthy, good for us in the long run, lean on plots and monologues. Both are certainly more than capable of profundity, but they are far from the outer limits of celluloid.

This is cinema, after all! Moving pictures! Light! Sound! To limit the heftiest cinematic discourse to film’s that excel at narrative or performance is to utterly shun the potential of the very medium and all it has to offer.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout, a film that demands the use of not a colon or a hyphen but both, is not the grandchild of Citizen Kane. It is not the spawn of The Godfather. It is the direct descendant of L’arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat, those first infamous frames of a black and white train barreling ahead at an unsuspecting audience of the very first moviegoers like a bullet from an otherworldly gun. It is a film that takes full advantage of being a film.

Christopher McQuarrie, the first returning director to the Mission: Impossible franchise, has crafted a film that harkens back to the earliest days of Bond, when that franchise was a cinematic passport, taking audiences to faraway lands and showing them extraordinary things they might never otherwise see. Here, that passport is updated for transit in a world in which facsimiles of facsimiles of those places and things are a tap away in our own pocket. This is a movie that rabidly pursues spectacle at its most authentic and whole-heartedly believes in its value.

M:I-F is of distant relation to the likes of John Wick and Mad Max: Fury Road, a work of undeniable craftsmanship, of fine-tuned and purposeful movie-making. These bathroom fight scenes, these helicopter chases, these extended wind sprints are reminders of just how pigeon-holed we’ve allowed the ideals of film to become, how thinly the critical eye for quality has squinted.

Here is a style of film that we don’t get but once a year, if we’re lucky, in which calloused hands harness raw sweat into the sort of lavish exhibition only a movie can offer.

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About This, or, Where are the Ponies? Where are the Tricks?

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Ugh, who am I kidding? It’s just a bunch of hot takes.

You may have come to this blog with bated breath, fingers crossed that you’ve finally found a reliable, steady source of amateur videos depicting equine performance.

Close. But no cigar.

Unfortunately I’m not a horse. Nor do I own a horse. Nor do I appreciate the very idea of a horse. I’m just a guy who really likes entertainment. Movies, music, television, video games, comic books, regular books, they’re all pretty great. And the only thing I like better than watching a movie or playing a game or reading a book is getting lost in the conversations and discussions they can evoke.

I’ve been known to skim review aggregator sites when I’m deciding whether or not to make a purchase, and in this fiscal sense they can be quite helpful. But reading a review has never triggered in me the sense of realization and appreciation for a piece of work that an excited or irritated conversation with friends has.

I’m not nearly as concerned with hearing what a critic liked or didn’t like about something as I am with hearing what the people I know thought was interesting about it.

And that’s what Pony Tricks is. I’ve written about different forms of entertainment, from comic books to Oscar nominees, but the through-line of Pony Tricks is discussion.

You won’t find horses doing kick-flips here, and you won’t find your favorite movie quantified or your favorite television show assigned a numerical value seemingly torn from the sky. But you will be able to find out what I thought was interesting about a particular work, and maybe in doing so you’ll be inspired to share what you thought was interesting about it.

And then maybe later I’ll film a pony doing a trick.