Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

To my eyes, easily the best film in the series. Easily. Director Christopher McQuarrie breaks tradition by being the first returning director of the series, mounting two instalments instead of the traditional one. He can’t exactly reinvent the series the way a director shake-up can, but instead iterates it and perfects it, identifying all the…

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

The movie is frontloaded by far its best scene, Tom Cruise literally gripping the side of a plane in flight. For the first time in the franchise, Tom Cruise doesn’t use a stuntman at all in the film – every frame of Ethan Hunt is him. Director Christopher McQuarrie seems more interested in the past…

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)

Brad Bird’s breezy entry into live-action, well, action. More similar to its predecessor than any Mission Impossible entry had been previously, but mostly less memorable, if a bit better executed. Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner work great as the supporting cast, and it’s a shame only the latter was brought back. The Burk Khalifa climbing…

Mission: Impossible III (2006)

J. J. Abram’s entrance into the franchise is immediately striking, thrusting it into the position it would largely iterate from for its future entries. He grounds it, focusing on hero Ethan Hunt’s relationships, showing a lot more interest in character than De Palma or Woo had. Michelle Monaghan transcends the typical girlfriend-to-the-hero role even as…

Mission: Impossible II (2000)

I adore the beginning of this film. Words can’t capture how gloriously, deliriously shlocky it is; a cooly-long-haired Tom Cruise performing an insane free rock climbing sequence at Dead Horse Point in Utah. The strategic whip-off of sunglasses containing a super-spy message. The quip and cut to titles. It’s beautiful. The rest of the movie…

Mission: Impossible (1996)

An extremely 1990s, taut action-thriller that feels like what it is, Brian De Palma delivering a hit he needed. His touches spark up the movie (split diopter shots, POV tracking shots, mounting tension presented through sudden switchover to dutch angles), but the lack of a script while shooting shows, and the whole thing feels very…

The Beguiled (2017)

Thomas Cullinan’s 1966 American Civil War drama novel about a wounded northern fighter slowly recovering in a southern plantation seminary for young women intentionally foregrounded the feminine aspects of its story, giving every single character of the story multiple viewpoint chapters while its lone male figure received none. Don Siegel’s 1971 adaptation with Clint Eastwood…