Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol

Ever since James Cameron’s Avatar made an unheard of amount of money and wowed audiences with its visuals by shooting natively in the 3D format, nearly every big release we’ve seen since has tried to cash in on the craze by offering up a 3D version of itself. This has been going on for a few years though, and in showbiz time that might as well be a century. By all accounts the 3D craze is getting a bit long in the tooth, and it’s probably time for the next big trend to come along and replace it. What will that trend be? If a couple of reports that came out today are any indication, it’s going to be filming portions of your movie with IMAX cameras. The idea of filming select sequences of a film with IMAX cameras and charging customers a premium to experience the scope and clarity of the images on IMAX screens isn’t exactly a new one. Already Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and Brad Bird’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol have used the technique to create unique visuals and score some impressive box office dollars. But, with dueling announcements that two new gigantic franchise films also intend to use this strategy, we might be seeing the birth of a full-on trend.

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When it was announced that Brad Bird would be directing Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the question everyone was asking was, “Can Bird make a successful transition from directing animated movies to directing live action epics?” When Ghost Protocol was finally released, Bird answered all of our questions with a resounding, “Of course I can you idiots, I’m Brad F’n Bird. What can’t I do?” Now that Deadline Celebration has broke the news that Bird’s live action followup to Ghost Protocol is going to be a movie called 1952, there’s a different question on everyone’s lips. That question being, “What the heck is 1952?” The short answer is that Bird and his collaborators aren’t telling. The long answer is that 1952 is a big project that Disney has had in the works for a while now. While it’s known that Disney intends for it to become one of the tentpole type features that’s designed not just to sell theater tickets, but also to push merchandise, inspire theme park rides, launch Internet startups, and who knows what else, nothing is yet known about its premise. The only bit of information out there is that Lost producer Damon Lindelof was hired last year to come on as producer and write the script, the contents of which are supposed to be a closely guarded secret around the House of Mouse. And, as Lost fans can attest, Lindelof is a man who’s very familiar with secrets.

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This Week in DVD

Welcome back to This Week In DVD! You should already have the fourth Mission: Impossible film on pre-order, and other titles out this week include the very funny Bob’s Burgers, a quartet of sexy nurse movies from Roger Corman, the second season of HBO’s Treme and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Shame Brandon (Michael Fassbender) seems to have it all, at least on the outside. He has a high-paying job, a great Manhattan apartment and a life filled with beautiful women. That last one isn’t as fun as it sounds though as the arrival of his little sister (Carey Mulligan) pulls the lid back on his uncontrollable obsession with sex and reveals a man who loathes himself. It’s probably the most depressing, sex-filled movie you’ve seen in some time, but Fassbender’s performance is also one of the bravest. Steve McQueen’s film turns what could have been an unsympathetic condition into a mix of the pitiful and heartbreaking. Powerful, uncompromising performances and filmmaking.

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Ever since French actress Lea Seydoux dropped my jaw playing back-to-back roles in Midnight in Paris and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, I’ve vowed to follow her career very closely. You see, it’s not stalking, because I write about movie news. The first news about Seydoux’s career that perked up my ears was word that she was going to be starring in a new telling of the Beauty and the Beast story opposite acting powerhouse Vincent Cassel which, to that point, I thought was about the best news ever. But now there’s a new development in the lovely young lady’s career that just might rival it. According to Variety, Seydoux is set to star in a film called Blue Is a Hot Color, from Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche. It’s set to be a relatively low budget adaptation of a graphic novel by Julie Maroh that tells the story of a girl who, quite unexpectedly, falls in love with another woman and then has to face the judgment of her friends and loved ones. This not only sounds like a story that’s ripe with both dramatic and comedic potential, but it also sounds like a movie that will be full of moments that I’ll have no problem shamelessly ogling. If any of my other favorite, young, French actresses get cast as the love interest, then I just might keel over from excitement.

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Paul Thomas Anderson

I didn’t think it was possible for me to be any more excited about P.T. Anderson’s upcoming religious drama that was at one point called The Master. First off, Anderson is one of my very favorite directors, so anything he does is going to excite me. Secondly, Philip Seymour Hoffman is starring as the L. Ron Hubbard stand-in who serves as the main character, and he’s about the best actor on the planet. And third, much like Anderson’s last film, There Will Be Blood, this one is going to feature a score by Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood. Last time around that equaled aural awesomeness. But now there’s a new rumor swirling around the project that is almost too cool to believe, and coming from these sources, I’d say it’s pretty dang reliable. Cinema Blend was peeping in on a Twitter conversation between two directors from the Pixar stable, Brad Bird and Andrew Stanton, about movies being shot in 65mm, and they uncovered the tidbit that Anderson is going to be the next director to utilize the format. Somewhere in the thread of the conversation Bird said to Stanton, “ … Nolan shot a lot of Dark Knight Rises in IMAX. I think PT Anderson’s next is 65 too.” To which Stanton replied, “The Master is indeed in 65. They nearly lost a camera shooting in the Bay.”

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Culture Warrior

In a recent article from The Atlantic, business journalist Derek Thompson poses several compelling questions about the business model of contemporary theatrical distribution. Why, he asks, must we pay the same for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol as we do for Young Adult at our local multiplex? Wouldn’t it make more sense if the comparably underperforming film, Young Adult, were distributed with lower ticket prices in order to cultivate greater competition against wintertime blockbusters, and thereby (perhaps) gain a slightly greater audience for a film whose appeal is limited by comparison? After all, movie studios don’t so much “give audiences what they want” as much as they calculate degrees success (if you don’t believe me, go ask your local AMC to bring A Separation or Carnage to your theater), so why don’t ticket prices reflect this already-transcribed fate? It’s an interesting scenario to imagine, but one that becomes more difficult to envision once one parses through the details. As the author points out in his #4 reason why we have “uniform pricing,” varied pricing would likely create an unwarranted stigma against less expensive films, much like straight-to-DVD films have. That said, two other assumptions informing Thompson’s provocative question warrant further exploration: 1) we as consumers already have varied pricing, and we have developed patterns of determining a film’s “worth” in our choosing of where and in what conditions we see a film, and 2) movies would largely benefit if the perceived value of the opening weekend lessened significantly.

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The 10 Best Action Films of 2011

Some other sites or site runners may look down on lists, but those people are what are known as no-fun douche bags, because really, lists are awesome. They are short, easy to digest little morsels that you can wash down with a carbonated beverage, argue about, and take recommendations from. If you don’t like lists, you are worse than Hitler. You know what’s better than Hitler? Lots of stuff, like peanut butter cookies with little peanut butter cups pressed into them. That, and also these ten action movies, which are my favorite for the year. Yeah, you’ll probably disagree, so comment below or get your own damn website.

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Boiling Point

Dear reader, I come to you bearing the gravest of news. Hollywood is not making enough money. Tragic, I know, but there is something we can do. Something we must do. We must get out our checkbooks and donate to the big studios. We must shower them with money. For, hide the children, movie viewership is down to a 16 year low. For crying out loud, only 1.2 billion movie tickets were sold in America! How have we as a country let this happen? Where have we gone wrong? Reuters, The Daily Mail, they’re all reporting the lackluster year Hollywood has had. This is serious, people. This is big news. Studio executives everywhere are “battling” against a soft audience and struggling to match the numbers of previous years. Let me find my tiny violin, will you?

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Opinions vary slightly on Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible franchise, but they generally go like this: Brian DePalma’s film is fantastic, John Woo’s follow-up is an epic abomination, and JJ Abrams’ third entry is an interesting but otherwise pedestrian effort. That’s the general consensus seemingly held by the majority of folks online. But that consensus is missing the point. The series has actually gotten more entertaining with each new installment. No, seriously. The dramatic quality of each is arguable and the levels of stupidity have fluctuated (although they peaked with Woo’s film), but for sheer entertainment value each successive film has been bigger, more thrilling, and more technically impressive than the last. And happily, that trend has continued with Brad Bird’s slightly goofy, deliriously fun and exciting as hell Ghost Protocol. It’s the best summer movie of the year… even if it did just open two weeks into December.

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UPDATED: Dear Commenter Jhester24, you have won with your entry “Mission: Impossible — Women.” Please email the editors to claim your prize!  Good day, Mr. FSR Readership. Just in time for the release of Brad Bird’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, we have a pair of stylish boots from Giorgio Brutini as featured in the film. These men’s boots are plain-toed, six inch calf leather and are generally damn sexy. Take a good look at this slick pair below. Your mission, should you wish to win the boots, is to complete the post-colon, secondary title to the next Mission: Impossible film. What we’re looking for is the funniest, cleverest, most laugh-inducingest title continuation. For example… MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – PICKLE JAR. Does that one suck? Absolutely! So come up with a better one and post it in the comment section on this piece. We’ll choose a winner on Monday who will be stylin’ like a bad IMF’er. This post will self-destruct…never. Feel free to peruse more incredible footwear designs from Giorgio Brutini

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The Reject Report

It’s December 16th, and the winter blockbuster season is very nearly upon us. This coming weekend sees three huge movies hit, all of which are sure to be box office megastars. Yes, even the chipmunks. One of those films, the one where that one guy from Top Gun runs a whole lot, is only hitting IMAX, so it’s day of box office bloodletting will have to wait. In the meantime, Sherlock Holmes and, yes, the chipmunks are going to be taking the box office by storm. Plus, unlike 2009, they won’t have any blue aliens to contend with. It’s this week’s edition of the Reject Report, and this shiz is about to get Chipwrecked.

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This is it: the final month of the year, a.k.a. the month to shell out as much cash as you got at the theaters. December is always the best and worst movie-going time. There’s so many damn pictures hitting the screens, and it’s the time where everyone’s running around, trying to get things done before the New Year. It’s wonderful, annoying chaos. This December is different, though. In fact, it’s going to be about 100 times more chaotic. Folks, if you plan on seeing all of the good to the “this will be up for Oscars, kid!” movies this month, plan on forking out a lot of dough. This is unquestionably the strongest month for films this year. Without further ado, here are the ones to end the year on a great note with:

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Boiling Point

The press for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is warming up, granting me ample opportunity  to watch Tom Cruise’s most excellent wirework as he tears ass down the face of the tallest building in the world. It’s truly a sight to see – there are no stuntmen, and the footage is exciting. I’ve seen it in IMAX, twice, and a few times on the television. With all the death Ethan Hunt is defying, there is one thing I can’t take my eyes off: his pants. Sure, Tom Cruise is a handsome fellow, and I’m not staring at his pants out of lust, but rather, out of confusion. Why am I seeing his ankles? Wait, why is he wearing climbing shoes? Are those capri pants? This is not the manly wardrobe of the world’s greatest super spy.

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Sometimes writing about movies on the internet has some benefits. I mean, we get all the crappy straight to DVD movies you can think of and sometimes free popcorn. We make next to no money, but in return we get to see movies early and sometimes, just sometimes, we get to see bits of movies before they’re ready. Such was the case recently when I, along with a few other journalists, got a chance to see about twenty minutes of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol projected in a true IMAX theater. If my description, reaction, and thoughts isn’t enough to get you wet with excitement, we’ve also got the new trailer for you, so come on in and read some more.

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For a while there, with the exception of the Toy Story films, it didn’t seem like Pixar was very interested in doing sequels to its big hits. The company focused instead on creating new characters and exploring new worlds every time out. But that focus has seen a shift recently with the studio putting together projects like Cars 2 and Monsters University. And if there ever was a Pixar property that felt like it could use a sequel, even back before Pixar was doing sequels, it was Brad Bird’s tale of a family of super heroes The Incredibles. So what gives? The super hero genre is inherently serial in nature. Why haven’t we heard any news about the further adventures of the mighty Parr family?

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Remember Avatar Day? Remember having to procure tickets for what was essentially an extended trailer? Remember feeling really strange about going to a movie theater for a less-than-twenty-minute presentation? Oh, well, me either, because I didn’t do any of those things, but let’s work from the same sort of frame of mind, but with an actual film attached. Our friends over at /Film are reporting an exclusive tip that Warner Bros. is attaching a six-minute “prologue” for The Dark Knight Rises to all IMAX prints of Paramount’s upcoming Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol release. Though the films are coming from different studios, should this prove to be true, such a slice of marketing mayhem will no doubt push interested moviegoers and fans of the Batman to check out the Brad Bird-helmed franchise entry in the IMAX format. Paramount is already making a to-do of their film’s IMAX release, putting that version in theaters on December 16, five days before the film hits regular theaters on December 21. Both Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and The Dark Knight Rises will feature “extensive scenes” shot for IMAX, so this may prove to be the holiday season’s best pairing (beyond egg nog and whiskey). Warner Bros. has declined to comment on the story to /Film, but the team over there has gathered a couple of other sources that confirm it. Will this drive you to check out Ghost Protocol in IMAX? And just what the heck do they mean by “prologue”? Aren’t two previous films […]

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