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.

Disney’s released a minute-long clip from Beauty and the Beast, and it’s a great one: Emma Watson performing “Belle.”

Belle skips around town as the townspeople observe the “funny girl” in this uplifting sequence from the movie. You can’t help but get excited for Beauty and the Beast after watching this, and Emma sounds great!

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Disney’s released a minute-long clip from Beauty and the Beast, and it’s a great one: Emma Watson performing “Belle.”

Belle skips around town as the townspeople observe the “funny girl” in this uplifting sequence from the movie. You can’t help but get excited for Beauty and the Beast after watching this, and Emma sounds great!

In related news, the cast and crew kicked off their press tour today in Paris. Disney released the following adorable photo of Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Josh Gad, Luke Evans, director Bill Condon and composer Alan Menken as they start publicizing the movie, which opens in theaters March 17:

Can’t wait to see it!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Read full article

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Free will and humanity. Sacrifice and love. The nature of reality — and even of life itself. Beneath the plot, surprises, and pain, that’s what’s really going on in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spring finale.

That, and the characters who get caught in the middle.

Jed Whedon is Not. Playing. Around.

Executive producer and showrunner Jed Whedon is the man behind the pen and the camera in “Self Control,” and he’s there for a reason. Whedon’s first try at the director’s chair on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is operatic, incisive, and perpetually gut-clenching.

Yes, there are lovely and disturbing vistas, an artistry that comes from a deliberate and careful eye. But more important is the unshakable Whedon impulse that animates Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, that builds through the episode like a cresting tide.

You know that unmistakable sense that someone is laughing behind the scenes? Yeah. That’s why Jed Whedon is here.

What’s next?

Well, that’s a very good question. “Self Control” leaves us with a few razor-like possibilities, all of which lead down spiky corridors of questions. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 is here to leave us thirsty for the season’s final seven episodes, and that’s exactly what it does.

Oh, and to answer your next question…

Cliffhanger?

Uh, yes. Cliffhanger.

Oh boy, cliffhanger.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, “Self Control,” airs Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.

What are your top theories for ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 4×15?

Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

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Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

‘Liberty’s Kids’


Liberty’s Kids aired in the early 2000s on PBS. Liberty’s Kids follows three teenagers from varying backgrounds throughout the American Revolution, mentored by Benjamin Franklin. It is geared for children but is still pretty enjoyable for adults. In each episode, the teenagers encounter a significant person or event from the revolution, giving a concise and entertaining history lesson. The show features many important figures throughout the revolution, showing even more presidents than in Hamilton. As one can imagine, Washington is among these.

‘Lincoln’


Lincoln is a 2012, Oscar nominated movie, directed by Steven Spielberg based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals. Instead of a biopic of Lincoln’s entire life, Lincoln is specifically about his passing of the 13th amendment. Essentially directed between each of his science fiction blockbusters, Spielberg also made many significant historical movies, Lincoln among them. Lincoln not only shows his power as a president, but also humanizes him through an Oscar winning performance by Daniel Day-Lewis.

‘1776’


Hamilton is not the first musical about American history. Thankfully, though, because this way there are other options, one of which is 1776. Even more conveniently, the musical 1776 was adapted into a movie in the early 1970s. Heavily implied by its name, 1776 is about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 1776 definitely has a more classical musical theater vibe than Hamilton. The strange combination of American history and musical theater allows for a humorous yet educational experience. However, as reflective of the history of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Washington is not a character in the musical; yet, it obviously includes many other significant historical figures.

‘The West Wing’ or ‘The American President’


Unlike the other items on this list, these two are about fictional presidents. But it would be nice if they were real. Of the many politically charged movies and television shows by Aaron Sorkin, these two are specifically about presidents. If you have the day off and want to attempt to binge watch seven seasons, then you may want to check out The West Wing. The West Wing follows President Bartlet and his staff and advisors during their time in the White House. If you want a movie to help you transition between Valentine’s Day and President’s Day then The American President is worth watching. It is a romantic comedy about President Shepherd, who falls in love with a lobbyist.

How else will you celebrate President’s Day?