Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation Review

It’s the middle of summer, and you want to go to the movies. Most moviegoers just want to see a fun action movie, which is why films like Mad Max: Fury Road and Jurassic World have done so well this summer despite their lack of coherent story and developed characters. But if you’re like me, that won’t cut it for you. You want the characters to engage you in the film’s narrative so you care about the action better.

 

This is where Mission: ImpossibleRogue Nation comes in. The story is pretty simple. In fact, it’s exactly the same as all the other Mission: Impossible movies. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) goes rogue from the CIA to find and defeat more rogue agents and arms dealers. He runs a lot, rides a motorcycle, and does some manner of insane stunts. The two people who definitely won’t be back for the next film are the female lead (Rebecca Ferguson) and the director (Christopher McQuarrie), and the villain doesn’t leave much of an impression. If you like the other Mission: Impossible movies, chances are you might like this one.

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But you guys want to read a full review from me, so I won’t waste any more of your time because the movie certainly doesn’t. Remember that shot at the end of every trailer? The one with Tom Cruise hanging off the side of an airplane as it’s taking off? Yeah, I know this isn’t a spoiler or anything, but that’s three minutes into the movie! Trust me, I counted! They got him on that airplane very quickly, and just as quickly got him off.

 

The rest of the action doesn’t disappoint either, in fact there’s two standout action scenes later in the movie. The first is a fight between Hunt and an assassin in the backstage of an opera in Vienna, and I am a sucker for any fight scene having anything to do with an opera. But it plays a game I like to call, “How Many Assassins Does It Take to Assassinate Someone?” (I know that’s a long title, but you should see some of the other games I played as a kid). The other big action scene takes place in a water tank underneath a power plant in Casablanca (I love what they’ve done with the place, but I do miss Rick’s), during which the cinematography is at its best.

 

Both of these scenes and the rest of the movie do one thing that any action scene should. They kept me guessing the entire time. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, waiting anxiously to see what was going to happen next. Rebecca Ferguson’s character Ilsa Faust, who is appropriately named after both the female lead in Casablanca and a fictional character of German lore who sold his soul to the Devil. Her character appears to change allegiances several times throughout the movie between Hunt and the villainous Syndicate, led by Solomon Lane (Sean Harris).

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But while Hunt and Faust are very compelling characters, Lane is not. I never bought into his character for several reasons. If you’re going to have this uber-intelligent and manipulative villain in a summer action movie, there must be an unmistakable presence that shows you this guy is in charge, and I never got that from Lane. The writing is to blame for most of that, but I give the screenwriters props for focusing more on the protagonists instead. But it’s Sean Harris who takes most of the blame for this character and his voice. He sounds like a kid trying to do his best impression of Vito Corleone for his middle school’s stage adaptation of The Godfather.

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But let’s get back to the good stuff, shall we? Simon Pegg returns as Benji Dunn, and he gets many of the best lines in the movie. My favorites of his are before and after a motorcycle chase in Casablanca. I won’t give them away, but I was laughing out loud while also acknowledging their brilliance in the script. Pegg’s delivery of said lines was also a major element of how they worked. Other returning cast members include Jeremy Renner as William Brandt and Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell, and both of them are solid in their roles.

 

Overall, your enjoyment of this movie depends on how much fun you have while watching it, and I loved it. It’s action-packed, but not totally devoid of the stuff that makes great cinema like story and character. See it on the biggest screen possible because it’s the action set pieces that make this movie, and one of the reasons they work so well is because we as audience members have grown to like and care for the characters that the action is happening to.

 

Quality: 4 ½ stars

Age: Yellow (action and violence, brief partial nudity)

Sensory: Yellow (loud noises from car crashes and explosions)

 

The Autism Bookshelf: Independent Woman’s Handbook

This past week, I had the pleasure of reading “The Independent Woman’s Handbook For Super Safe Living On The Autistic Spectrum” by Robyn Steward (available from Jessica Kingsley publishers.) Now, I think it is important to disclose that I am not on the autistic spectrum. However, three of my children are—and it is with that perspective that I read this book.
COVER
One of the most interesting things that I have recognized as a parent, is just how much I took for granted when it came to social cues and situations. These are skills that have mostly come easily to me—this is however not so for my children. So, one of my biggest concerns is how exactly do I help them to navigate this world so that they may live as full and as independent a life as possible: safely and with confidence. The answer is in this book.

The book is chock full of information. Some of the topics include “platonic relationships”, “sex”, “drugs alcohol and other substances”, “money”, “work” and “moods and emotions” to name a few. The last chapter “Useful skills and strategies for multiple situations,” is followed by an appendix that offers strategies, very useful resources, and references. It is so full and informative that if there is a specific topic not mentioned—one could very easily take what they have learned and apply it to most any situation.

…how exactly do I help them to navigate this world so that they may live as full and as independent a life as possible: safely and with confidence. The answer is in this book.

Although it is full of practical solutions and common sense advice, this is much more than a “how to” book. The author, who is also on the autistic spectrum, writes in a very honest and compelling manner. Sharing both her experiences and those of others (both on and off the spectrum) that she interviewed for this book. It is both open and honest—while at the same time accepting that the reader may have a different experience or point of view. There is a very strong message/theme throughout the entire book that says “It is OK to be who you are” that will empower its readers. Giving them confidence to make the decisions that will keep them both safe and secure in their choices—while at the same time, feeling good about who they are.

While the book is gender specific, I think that it could be a valuable tool for anyone on the spectrum—as well as for parents who have children on the spectrum. Right now, my daughter is too young for some of the topics. However, this book gives me really useful strategies, tips and tools so that I may raise her to live as full, independent and safe an adult as possible. Later on, It will be a wonderful resource for her.

If you are a woman on the spectrum, a parent of someone on the spectrum or work with people on the spectrum—this is a book you should own. Its honesty, openness and practical solutions make it a must have for your bookshelf. I wholeheartedly recommend this book—and can say quite honestly, that I hope she writes some more.

If you are so inclined, you may purchase a copy of the book here.


Kathleen Leopold is a blogger, one of the co-founders of the Autism Blogs Directory, and one of The Blog Ladies seen on The Autism Channel.

Introduction to The Blog Ladies

BL_1_Kim Wombles – The Blog Ladies

Kathleen Leopold and I met online nearly four years ago. In that time, we’ve written lots of posts together, including fictional best friends Thelma and Louise, and started online communities, trying to bring parents and autistic individuals together in an open, supportive dialogue. We’re most proud, I think, of the Autism Blogs Directory, which is going on three years old. It is a collection of over 1,000 bloggers, websites, and forums that spans not only the autism spectrum but other disabilities, as well.

We think that the best way to make our way through life is by having a large support group, the bigger the better, so we try to make the Autism Blogs Directory a place that anyone can find others like them.

With seven children between us, and six of them on the spectrum, Kathleen and I are involved in autism in a very real sense, but autism is not our lives. Our kids are kids, and we do our best to make sure that this is how they see themselves: as kids first. We’re thrilled to have a community around us that understands our kids and their strengths and weaknesses, and on very good days, to look around the online autism community and realize that we are not alone.

While the directory is our joint endeavor, we both blog individually. Kathleen can be found at Herd, and I can be found at Countering and Science 2.0.