Tom Cruise battles evil Syndicate in latest ‘Mission’

31 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A tribute to ‘Mission: Impossible’ composer Lalo Schifrin.

“Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation,” like the other films in this franchise starring Tom Cruise, weaves a handful of complex action set pieces into its narrative.OK, so Ethan Hunt isn’t James Bond and the Impossible Missions Force isn’t MI6, but the “MI” films are essentially Bond movies, with a touch of “Bourne” and a whole lot of Tom Cruise doing what he does best — looking about 15 years younger than his true age (Cruise recently turned 53), performing harrowing stunts, engaging in clever banter with his adversaries, and doing it all with just the hint of a smirk that tells us even when it appears certain Mr.When Buenos Aires-born composer Lalo Schifrin was hired to write the music for a new spy series called “Mission: Impossible,” debuting in the fall of 1966, creator Bruce Geller had no opening credits to show him.There was a time when cinematic spies were our only superhumans, capable of outthinking, outwitting, outfighting and outsexing the rest of us, doing undercover dirty work designed to let the rest of us sleep soundly at night.

He told Schifrin the intro would likely begin with a fuse, a match and then, boom: The music would take it from there. “Write something exciting,” Geller said. “I want them to hear it when they’re in their kitchen, with the TV set on in the living room, and I want them to say: ‘Hey! “Mission: Impossible’s” on!'” Now 83, Schifrin’s on the phone from his home in Beverly Hills, relaying the story of his fantastic theme, those fantastic flutes and bongos and brass, and how it came to be. Armed with high-tech wizardry, extensive training and a license to kill, they were above the law, humanity’s only hope against an onslaught of supervillains, terrorists and obese gold diggers. One of the many satisfactions of the new “Mission: Impossible” film now in theaters, the one subtitled “Rogue Nation” and the fifth and best of the movies inspired by the TV show, is simply hearing Schifrin’s theme again. PG It’s the smouldering suggestion of romance between Tom Cruise’s unstoppable Ethan Hunt and series newcomer Rebecca Ferguson’s inscrutable Ilsa Faust. With the fifth instalment of the franchise, writer-director Christopher McQuarrie matches the style and edge of “Mission: Impossible III” (2006), directed by J.J.

Paramount is eyeing a Rogue Nation debut closer to $40 million, but some are predicting that Tom Cruise’s latest adventure will go even higher, possibly even reaching the mid-50s. But the shift in market share from superspy to superhero has done wonders to those hidden in deep cover, because it’s forced us to accept them for who they really are: ordinary humans, made of flesh and blood, capable of actually being killed if the dice hit wrong. And the Stockholm-born Ferguson strongly resembles fellow Swede Ingrid Bergman, who starred opposite Humphrey Bogart in the classic wartime romance situated in and titled after the Moroccan desert city. Rogue Nation reunites Cruise with Christopher McQuarrie, who also wrote and directed 2012’s Jack Reacher. (He also helped write last year’s Edge of Tomorrow.) Rogue Nation is expected to outstrip both of those, as Edge of Tomorrow opened to $28.8 million and Jack Reacher only debuted to $15.2 million.

It’s in this world that Tom Cruise exists as Ethan Hunt, his go-to character, who debuted in 1996, almost five years before the first X-Men movie, and more than a decade before Robert Downey Jr. changed the world by becoming Iron Man. Before its Wednesday opening (on the 32nd anniversary of the original), Vacation was expected to perform similarly to another late-summer, R-rated comedy: 2013’s We’re the Millers. Hunt does this in the opening sequence that has already been revealed in the trailer for this fifth impossible mission, which this time has been capably directed by Christopher McQuarrie, Cruise’s favourite screenwriter, who shares the script duties with Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3). The great Alec Baldwin hams it up nicely as Hunley, the gruff and fantastically clueless head of the CIA, who forces the IMF out of existence because that’s what gruff and clueless government bureaucrats do in movies like this. But so far, Vacation has only earned $3.8 million (including Tuesday previews), putting it on track for a slightly lower $30 million five-day period and a $20 million weekend.

The Bond theme, credited to Monty Norman (though debates continue about John Barry’s fleshing-out of that legendary danger music), set the mood for impervious, imperialist mayhem in a tuxedo. Just because IMF has been disbanded doesn’t mean Hunt will relent in his pursuit of the Syndicate, a mysterious (and some say purely mythical) organization of former good-guy operatives now working in the shadows to spread evil and blow things up and kidnap world leaders and BRING THE WORLD TO ITS KNEES, BAHAHAHAHAHA! The crown prince of danger music, Henry Mancini, wrote so many ripe themes for television and the movies, he may as well have changed his middle name legally from Nicola to Danger.

The latter is the Rogue Nation in question, a group of highly trained individuals dedicated to, um … changing the world through surreptitious violence that doesn’t qualify as terrorism. Rebecca Ferguson does stellar work as the beautiful, deadly and alluring Ilsa Faust, an agent who also might be a double agent and could even be a double-DOUBLE agent. Ilsa and Ethan exchange smouldering glances even as Ethan is trying to decipher whether she’s trying to kill him or save his life, but there’s no time for romance in “Rogue Nation,” not with so much intrigue and suspense lurking around every corner. Even though it opened below expectations, Ant-Man squeaked by Pixels last weekend with $24.9 million, hanging on to its first place spot for the second weekend in a row.

Better yet, think of the Mancini “Peter Gunn” theme, so outlandishly threatening in its pulsating, undulating notes and orchestration, you’d laugh if the music didn’t obviously mean business. Really, that bit is the least important, because though it’s ultimately laid out in a manner that’s more complex than necessary — leading to the film’s overlong two-hour-plus running time — it also sets up the movie’s set pieces, which are frequently extraordinary. Her motives and loyalties are as unreadable as her emotions, which helps maintain interest in a story that rekindles the fugitive status for the Impossible Mission Force previously established in the fourth chapter, Ghost Protocol. Past Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have dropped an average of 49 percent in their third weekend, and if Ant-Man follows suit, it’ll bring in about $12.7 million.

Another great TV theme, Fred Steiner’s music for “Perry Mason,” carried the title “Park Avenue Beat.” The music was absurdly dangerous in the context of what it underscored, at least in one incarnation of the show’s opening credits: Raymond Burr looking over legal briefs and smiling. Part of the arrangement of allowing us to shoot in and around their opera house was to actually use the Vienna orchestra and to record in their preferred venue.

Alec Baldwin plays the CIA chief determined to once and for all shut down the IMF, which has been deemed to be engaging in “wanton brinksmanship.” All the covert cooing between Ethan and Ilsa means other IMF characters played by Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner and Ving Rhames end up looking like bit players, although Pegg’s gadget guy Benji is increasingly more of a serious sidekick than comic-relief clown. Still, Despicable Me 2 fell short of $1 billion, only (only?) earning $970.8 million globally, and despite its enormous opening, Minions has been dropping at a much faster rate than Despicable Me 2. Chief among those is Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson), a British agent who seems to be playing everyone on every side, and more importantly, Sean Harris, who villains up the joint in precisely the way that is needed.

His 5/4 “Mission: Impossible” theme created an irregular, suspenseful feeling. “I needed to create the idea, the sound, of impossible missions, and make them swing.” Touring to Vienna one year with a jazz combo accompanying the Vienna Philharmonic, Schifrin decided to have a little fun with a local journalist. His is a fairly unfamiliar face to most, but he’s been a journeyman player for years who is finally given a shot that he absolutely makes the most of. They need to do this because they have to switch a code so Ethan’s sidekick Benji (Simon Pegg, excellent comic relief) can access a facility in order to, you know, thwart the bad guys.

His answer, delivered with a straight face, was that the U.S. government had recently found an extraterrestrial with five legs, and where the alien came from, his species was frustrated — they didn’t have the right music to dance to. Credit for all of this goes chiefly to McQuarrie, who got his big break writing the screenplay for “The Usual Suspects.” He and Cruise have formed an ongoing collaboration that nicely benefits both of them. And today, somewhere in the galaxy, Schifrin’s indelible, infectious, eternal danger theme is playing at a wedding or a prom — or a retrospective of the coolest themes ever composed for an earthly mass medium.

Playing: SilverCity Ancaster, SilverCity Burlington, Jackson Square, SilverCity Oakville, Oakville Mews Encore, SilverCity Hamilton Mountain, 5 Drive-In Theatre (Oakville), Starlite Drive-In

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