MOVIE RE­VIEWS

Irish Examiner - Weekend - - TV & Film - De­clan Burke

Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble — Fall­out ★★★★✩

Ho­tel Tran­syl­va­nia 3: Sum­mer Va­ca­tion ★★★✩✩

Apostasy ★★★★✩ The Apos­tles, an an­ar­chist group bent on de­stroy­ing mod­ern civil­i­sa­tion, are the tar­gets for the IMF team in Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble — Fall­out (12A), the sixth in the fran­chise and the most wildly im­prob­a­ble and hugely en­ter­tain­ing of the se­ries to date. When Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), Benji (Si­mon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) screw up a sim­ple cash-for-plu­to­nium ex­change, they take off on a race against time to pre­vent the Apos­tles from dev­as­tat­ing Rome, Jerusalem and Mecca with nu­clear weapons. CIA agent Au­gust Walker (Henry Cav­ill) tags along to en­sure Ethan doesn’t mess up twice, but can Au­gust, and the CIA, be fully trusted? Christo­pher McQuar­rie, who wrote and di­rected Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble

— Rogue Na­tion (2015), is back at the helm again, and es­tab­lishes a fe­ro­cious pace from the off, pack­ing in a tense Mex­i­can stand-off and the cat­a­clysmic de­struc­tion of ma­jor ci­ties into the first 15 min­utes or so, be­fore pulling off an au­da­cious se­quence in which Ethan HALO-jumps out of a mil­i­tary air­plane into a light­ning storm (there’s also a high-speed mo­tor­cy­cle chase through the streets of Paris, the oblig­a­tory Cruise fulltilt sprint, this time through Lon­don’s St Paul’s Cathe­dral, and a mind-bog­gling se­quence fea­tur­ing a he­li­copter dog-fight). De­spite all the thrills and a wel­ter of spies, as­sas­sins and dou­ble-agents, it’s rather long at al­most 2½ hours, and mat­ters aren’t helped by Henry Cav­ill’s pitch-per­fect im­per­son­ation of a se­quoia. For the most part, though, Fall­out is ter­rific fun, with Michelle Mon­aghan, Alec Bald­win, An­gela Bas­sett, Wes Bent­ley and CNN’s Wolf Bl­itzer all pop­ping up in cameos, al­though Re­becca Fer­gu­son again steals vir­tu­ally ev­ery scene she’s in as the rogue MI6 agent Ilsa Faust. Bleh-ble­hbleh-bleh. Adam San­dler re­turns as the en­dear­ing Drac­ula in Ho­tel Tran­syl­va­nia 3: Sum­mer Va­ca­tion (G), the lat­est of­fer­ing from Sony An­i­ma­tion which opens with an amus­ing se­quence de­tail­ing the nu­mer­ous at­tempts the hap­less Van Hels­ing (Jim Gaf­fi­gan) has made to kill Drac­ula over the cen­turies. When Drac­ula’s daugh­ter Mavis (Se­lena Gomez) de­cides that her fa­ther is in need of a hol­i­day to get away from the pres­sure of run­ning the Ho­tel Tran­syl­va­nia, all the mon­sters — in­clud­ing Franken­stein’s Mon­ster (Kevin James), Grif­fin the In­vis­i­ble Man (David Spade) and Wayne the Were­wolf (Steve Buscemi) — take off on a cruise (through the Ber­muda

Tri­an­gle, nat­u­rally). Co-writ­ten and di­rected by Gen­ndy Tar­takovsky, who has helmed all the Ho­tel Tran­syl­va­nia movies, Sum­mer Va­ca­tion suf­fers from the law of di­min­ish­ing re­turns. Many of the jokes are mi­nor re­work­ings of pre­vi­ous gags. That said, it’s all very fast-paced and vividly ren­dered, and chock-a-block with the kind of prat­falls and sight gags that tend to ap­peal to the very young viewer, and my 10-yearold com­pan­ions were far more en­ter­tained than was their cyn­i­cal old chap­er­one. Set in North­ern Eng­land, Apostasy (12A) cen­tres on 17-year-old Alex (Molly Wright), a de­vout Je­ho­vah’s Wit­ness who is obliged to shun her older sis­ter Luisa (Sacha Parkin­son) when Luisa aban­dons the faith af­ter fall­ing preg­nant to ‘a worldly boy’. When her mother, Evanna (Siob­han Fin­neran), col­ludes with the Elders to ex­clude Luisa from their lives, Alex be­gins to ques­tion God’s love — an is­sue as phys­i­cal as it is spir­i­tual, as Alex is anaemic, and is for­bid­den from re­ceiv­ing blood trans­fu­sions should she re­quire them. Writ­ten and di­rected by Daniel Koko­ta­jlo, Apostasy is a grip­ping ex­plo­ration of un­ques­tion­ing faith, and a heart-break­ing ac­count of the clash be­tween in­fal­li­ble creed and the hu­man in­stinct to love and nur­ture. The sub­text, of course, is that of ma­lign pa­tri­ar­chal in­flu­ence, even if Steven (Robert Emms), the young Elder who be­friends the fam­ily, is both kindly and well-mean­ing — ul­ti­mately, three gen­er­a­tions of women dis­cover them­selves at the mercy of a be­lief sys­tem that es­chews nu­ance and rides roughshod over the women’s finer feel­ings. Molly Wright and Sacha Parkin­son are ter­rific in the cen­tral roles, with Parkin­son in par­tic­u­lar in sparkling form as Luisa at­tempts to bridge the gap be­tween the es­o­teric the­ory of re­li­gious dog­ma­tism and the ne­ces­sity of liv­ing in the real world, but Siob­han Fin­neran, de­spite her de­lib­er­ately un­der­stated turn, is sim­ply stun­ning as a mother who is ut­terly con­flicted as to whether her daugh­ters are bet­ter served by ma­ter­nal love in the here­and-now or by the prom­ise of eter­nal love in the here­after. The low-key per­for­mances, nat­u­ral light­ing and the ab­sence of any mu­si­cal score all con­trib­ute hand­somely to a film which mir­rors the Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses’ lack of af­fec­ta­tion while si­mul­ta­ne­ously ask­ing hard ques­tions about the moral­ity of blind faith to any creed or religion.

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