As listeners of Hypable’s Cinema Hype have recently become aware, this writer has a deathly fear of heights and was advised therefore to not see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol on an IMAX screen. If I had heeded this advice, I would have been robbed of one of the most exhilarating film experiences of the year.

No one was sure what to expect when a fourth Mission Impossible film was greenlit, but as casting information was slowly revealed and Pixar directing guru Brad Bird was chosen to direct, it seemed that Ghost Protocol was shaping up to be better than its predecessors.

Well, the proof is in the pudding now. Ghost Protocol has proven that Ethan Hunt isn’t done yet, and director Brad Bird proves that an imagination that doesn’t confine itself to the rules of live-action film-making will produce the best result.

It would have been so easy to create a static action film around Ethan Hunt, the smoother than smooth action-spy extraordinaire, but Ghost Protocol went a different route completely and decided to not make this just any other mission.

A bombing at an international landmark leads to the disbanding of the Hunt’s organization, IMF. Because of this, a rogue team (featuring the beautiful Paula Patton [Precious, Hitch] rising star Jeremy Renner [The Hurt Locker, The Town] and funny-man Simon Pegg [Shaun of the Dead, Paul]) must assemble to stop the real terrorists before they can successfully steal a live missile launch code.

The stakes are (literally) sky-high in this feature that promises the beginning of the nuclear holocaust should Hunt and his team fail. Their mission takes them to a half a dozen unique locations, each with its own unexpected twist that forces the team to think on their feet.

Speaking of thinking on their feet, what an excellent idea it was to take Brad Bird (the director of The Incredibles and executive consultant of the first 180 episodes of The Simpsons) and put him into the Mission Impossible franchise. That amount of creativity and exquisite mastery of clever plot devices that makes the Pixar films so identifiable is ever-present in this installment of the Mission Impossible franchise. One can almost see the animated movie underneath, and this works to Bird’s advantage.

The movie begins with a larger than life and ostentatious opening credit sequence. It’s almost cartoon-y in its composition, but then again, so is the rest of the film. For most of Ghost Protocol, Cruise and his team are acting on the fly, relying on impulses and hunches to get them through their mission. In a film that takes itself too seriously, this would have seemed unrealistic and recklessly dangerous.

Under Bird’s supervision, the entire movie is dashed with humor, cool gadgets, risky plans, and more than a pinch of Pixar’s trademark cleverness. Who’s idea was it for an action set-piece that takes place in one of those ridiculous automated parking structures? How about a car-chase through a sand-storm? How about gecko-scaling the tallest building in the world?

Christopher Nolan once remarked that he wanted to bring the spectacle back to movie-making, and Brad Bird has absolutely done this. During the sweeping action scenes, I found myself on the edge of my seat, gripping the cup-holder on either side of me. This is not something that happens often. I found myself sucked into the experience, and I also found that when Brad Bird isn’t handling his audience with kid-gloves, he can have a pretty firm grip.

I was happy to spend my money on Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. It, like many films choosing to film using IMAX technology, has brought spectacle back into movie theaters where it belongs.

Grade: A

Rated: PG-13 (for sequences of intense action and violence )

Mission Impossible:Ghost Protocol opened in limited IMAX release on December 16; it opens nationwide December 21.

Fox has moved the third and final Maze Runner movie to 2018.

The cast and crew were only a few days into filming The Death Cure in March when Dylan O’Brien suffered serious injuries on set, prompting the production to be put on a break so he could recover. When his recovery ended up taking longer than expected, the production was put on an indefinite hold.

Now, a plan to resume the shoot seems to be in place. Fox announced Friday The Death Cure will be hitting theaters January 12, 2018, which is nearly a year later than the original February 2017 date. The last Maze Runner movie, The Scorch Trials, opened last September.

Production on The Maze Runner: The Death Cure likely won’t resume until late this year or early next. Dylan O’Brien has already committed to another movie which is expected to shoot this summer.

Getting the rest of the cast and crew back together to shoot The Maze Runner finale may be a bit of a challenge since they may’ve committed to other projects that were supposed to be shooting after they finished The Maze Runner. However, the new Death Cure release date suggests Fox has found a time that’ll work for everyone.

Tom Cavanagh will return to The Flash in season 3 as a series regular, though which character he’ll be playing remains to be seen.

Cavanagh has had a unique acting challenge on The Flash, playing a different version of his character in each of the first two seasons — and now it looks like he’ll be doing it for a third season in a row, as EW confirms that he will be a series regular in season 3.

In season 1, Cavanagh played Eobard Thawne, aka the Reverse Flash, in Harrison Wells’ body. Thawne, after traveling back in time, killed the original Wells and took his form to expedite the development of the particle accelerator so he could return to his own time. Thawne was written out of existence in the season 1 finale, though, leaving fans curious about who Cavanagh would be playing in season 2.

This past season, Cavanagh played the Earth-2 version of Harrison Wells, nicknamed Harry, who was a significantly different character from the man we thought was Wells in season 1. However, in the season 2 finale, Harry and his daughter, Jesse, returned to Earth-2.

The Flash season 2, episode 6 recap Wells

So, who does that leave for Cavanagh to play in the third season?

My guess would be the Earth-1 version of Harrison Wells, who we only briefly met in a flashback in season 1. Why the original Wells? Because in the final moments of the season 2 finale, Barry traveled back in time and stopped Thawne from killing his mother. This means the timeline in which Thawne killed Wells and took his form no longer exists, so Earth-1 Wells would be the version left alive.

Assuming he does play the original version of the character, the one who was killed and had his identity stolen, it will be interesting to see Cavanagh inhabit yet another version of the character. While we already met Wells briefly in the flashback to his death, that was a small sample size. I look forward to seeing him differentiate another Wells from those he’s already played for entire seasons.

Are you excited to see more Tom Cavanagh on ‘The Flash’?

‘Glee’ alum Mark Salling indicted on child pornography charges

The actor is facing a lot of jail time.

4:55 pm EDT, May 27, 2016

Following an arrest in December, Glee star Mark Salling (who played Puck on the Fox series) is now facing child pornography charges.

A federal grand jury has charged the 33-year-old actor with two counts of child pornography after a search of his home turned up “thousands” of images and videos involving children, TMZ reports. He will be arraigned in early June.

Salling’s charges potentially come with big sentences: 5 to 20 years in prison for receiving child porn, and another 20 years for possessing it.

After Glee went off air last year, Salling has worked on only one project: The action movie Adi Shankar’s Gods and Secrets which is slated to hit theaters later this year.

The actor has been in trouble with the law before — he was sued for sexual battery in 2013.