Pick of the Week: “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation“ (Amazon Prime and Hulu) — When word of a fifth “M:I” was announced, I thought “Really?” Sure, Brad Bird’s “Ghost Protocol” was the high point of the franchise for me, but did Tom Cruise really need to go to the well for a fifth time? As it turns out, “Rogue Nation” (directed by Christopher McQuarrie) is sparkling entertainment that blends the humor and panache of caper films of yore with cutting-edge stunts. Bring on No. 6.
“Melancholia“ (Amazon Prime) — My full review is here. It’s the end of the world as we know it, and manic depressives like new bride Kirsten Dunst feel fine in Lars Von Trier’s gorgeous and pitiless look at humans facing mass extinction as a beautiful blue orb moves ever closer to earth. The black joke of the film is that depressives like Dunst’s character, who have felt the world was in ruins around them all their lives, are better prepared to handle the crisis that so-called well-adjusted folks (like her upbeat sister Charlotte Gainsbourg) who have never had to face that kind of darkness before.
“We’re Not Broke” (Netflix) — My interview with the filmmakers is here. As federal and state spending is slashed and slashed again, this documentary posits that if America is in a budget crisis, it’s of our own making, because we let big corporations skip out on paying taxes by hiding their profits in overseas banks in Ireland and the Cayman Islands.
“You’ve Got Mail” (Amazon Prime) — Tom Hanks plays a big-box bookstore representative who threatens Meg Ryan’s quaint little children’s bookshop, even as the two strike up a friendship over AOL. Maybe it’s time to do a reboot where Emma Stone plays an Amazon executive who pursues Hanks.
“The Way Back” (Netflix) — My full review is here. In this rousing adventure from Australian director Peter Weir (“The Mosquito Coast”), escapees from a Russian gulag must attempt a journey of over 1,000 miles across every kind of harsh terrain imaginable for freedom. Ed Harris and Colin Farrell co-star.
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