Ethan Hunt is no mere agent. He’s a force of nature that keeps pushing himself to the brink of imminent death every single time we meet him. Last time he hung on the side of a high rise, and this time he hangs along the side of a flying aircraft. Not to mention he merely drowns in one of the many close call operations he and the disbanded IMF commit towards. Tom Cruise lends the character an intensity and bug eyed gutsiness that make him a hero you want to root for, and someone you most definitely want on your side at all times. Hunt has met his match this time with the evil Lane (Sam Harris), a leader of a rising organization called the Syndicate, who is always one step ahead of Hunt, while sidekick Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) displays an enigmatic aura that makes Hunt uncertain if she’s friend or foe.
It’s nice to see director Brad Bird inject a new sense of excitement and novelty in to the “Mission Impossible” movie series, as it now embraces its episodic origins to completely reboot the epic story of Ethan Hunt. After the pretty good third outing, “Ghost Protocol” sports an entirely different atmosphere, where the team from the IMF are still out and lurking about, while Ethan Hunt has become a pariah, now jailed in a Russian prison. After Simon Pegg’s character Benji stages a caper to free Ethan from prison, Ethan discovers that the world must be in dire trouble if he’s being turned to for help.
If you haven’t seen “Spaced,” the odds are you’re missing out on the final puzzle that will cement you as a fan of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, or Edgar Wright. The UK series was a massive hit for two seasons, and fifteen years later it still has a major following today. Many of the series’ stars went on to huge things in America and their home countries, including Simon Pegg, series director Edgar Wright, Nick Frost, and Jessica Hynes.
Fifteen years later, the show is still fresh, hilarious, and worth the hooplah it garnered when it finally arrived to the US a few years ago. It’s never too late to explore “Spaced,” so here are five essential episodes you should look out for while coasting through its fourteen episode run.
Director Edgar Wright finishes his “Cornetto Trilogy” (the first two being “Shaun of the Dead,” and “Hot Fuzz”) finally with “The World’s End,” a film very much in the tradition of the first two installments. Wright and co. dwell on the prevalent themes that have fueled the first two stories. They’re tales about xenophobia, alienation, conformity, coming of age, the fear of progress, and the dangers of nostalgia. Much in the way Woody Allen did with “Midnight in Paris,” director Wright warns about nostalgia and how our memories can lie to us and become a crutch, preventing us from growing up and moving on with our lives.
As an unofficial capper to the pop culture bash that has been “Shaun of the Dead,” and “Hot Fuzz,” I wish I could bring greater tidings to fans of Pegg and Frost who anxiously awaited their third foray in to another genre adventure, but as it stands “Paul” is merely an okay movie. It’s not the worst comedy of the year, but it’ll far from be remotely remembered as the supreme comedy the gentlemen Nick Frost and Simon Pegg partook in. “Paul” feels like a watered down dose of Edgar Wright fare and unfortunately without him in the equation, this third outing as a team doesn’t entirely succeed as a comedy.
I’ve never been much of a fan of “Star Trek” as personally I’ve always found the intelligence vastly oversold by zealous fans, but I digress. I’ve spent most times admiring the light saber than I have the USS Enterprise and I think JJ Abrams has found a great balance where even folks who have written off the franchise can enter with a clean palette. And that’s not easy considering the Trek has lost its punch over the last ten years with a waning film series and television stake. “Star Trek” is a film that reboots the aforementioned franchise with all of its guns loaded as it looks to not only show what becomes of James T. Kirk and Spock but who their parents were and how they lived as soldiers of the Star Fleet.
Take the attempted humor and characterization of “Shaun of the Dead,” the central plot behind the second half of “Night of the Creeps” and team it with “Return of the Living Dead” and you have yourself a sick and rather amusing little hybrid known as “Dance of the Dead” yet another zombie movie that branches off from Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s universe and tries for the same comedic momentum with a modicum of teen angst that doesn’t always work, but is nonetheless a fun indie romp. Let’s face it, the zombie genre is all but a skeleton of itself but that doesn’t mean director Gregg Bishop doesn’t give it the old school try by making his version of the Pegg-Wright romzomcom.
Hey nineties brats, do you remember the running man? You know what I’m talking about, that dance that’s a mixture of running in place and the moonwalk sans the motion? Well, that’s what I was doing when I received this from Warner. The running man. I thought I’d forgotten how to, but apparently not. “Spaced” finally comes to DVD in the US bringing with it a slew of extras, and some of the funniest comedy in a sitcom that took many years to get to the states.