BY JOHN CAMPBELL
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT You know that story about how, if you put a frog in a pot of water and bring it to the boil, the poor creature, because its body temperature rises with the heating water, is unaware that it is being boiled to death? Watching Tom Cruise is a bit like that. He is a fine actor, there’s no getting away from it (eg Rain Man, Collateral, American Made) but there is a tipping point in movies such as this – usually at about the one-hour mark – where, like that dying frog, you
realise what an insufferably conceited tool he is. Director Christopher McQuarrie has backed up from M: I – Rogue Nation (2015) with an even bigger and better adventure for the indestructible Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and, carp as I or any other non-fan might, it is an impressive example of what can be done with smoke and mirrors in the cinema today. This time around Ethan’s task is to track down the Apostles, a sinister outfit that has nefariously obtained
a dangerous amount of plutonium, and save us all from being blown to Kingdom Come. It is pretty much ‘as you were’ as far as plotting goes, but the stunts are absolutely brilliant, as is the photography of Rob Hardy – some of the aerial shots are breathtaking. Over time, the series has also, if not softened, then become a more ‘human’, with Simon Pegg included to add a note of much-needed levity and Michelle Monaghan returning as Ethan’s wife, Julia (from
On the flight to Stockholm to receive the honour, they meet Nathaniel Bone (Christian Slater), a biographer interested in uncovering more of their story – it is a somewhat contrived character, but,
as agent provocateur, he is essential in opening up the drama that unfolds (oddly, Bone is not a million miles from Slater’s investigative journo in 1994’s Interview with the Vampire). Through Bone’s prodding, we learn that Joan has been more than just the woman behind the great man. Flashbacks to when they met at college in Connecticut in the 60s – he as professor (Harry Lloyd), she as wannabe author (Annie Starke) – give the first clues as to the working relationship that developed between the pair. These scenes also highlight the difficulties confronted by a woman wishing to make her way in the man’s world
BY LILITH M:#4 – I had forgotten all about her). Tom screaming through Paris on his motorbike before surviving a head-on with a car is pretty specky, but that is nothing compared to him clinging to a cliff-face as the film approaches its climax. It is hard to argue that this is not the best yet of the Mission: Impossible franchise, but that is not to say that it is everybody’s cup of tea. It’s not mine – so just call me Kermit.
THE WIFE What a treat it is to see two great performers at the top of their game. In this, Glenn Close plays Joan Castleman, whose husband Joe (Jonathan Pryce) has just been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
36 August 8, 2018 The Byron Shire Echo
of publishing. Forced by the times and Joe’s overbearing nature, Joan willingly became his unacknowledged collaborator and for forty years has been content to hide her light under a bushel. But in Stockholm, Joe’s hubris and Bone’s insistence that her sacrifice has been too great push Joan to a belated but passionate self-assertion. Close delivers a slow-burn of unruffled intensity and Starkie is excellent, too, in her portrayal of the youthful Joan. The couple’s son, David (Max Irons), himself a writer with ambition, might have earned our pity as the harddone-by offspring, but for the fact that he feels sorry for himself enough already. It would have been easy for Swedish director Björn Runge to take the soft option and mercilessly put the boot into Joe, but he is not entirely contemptible, despite his self-delusion and ingratitude. For as Joan ruefully admits, ‘I was too shy to compete’. A marvellous film about how compromise is rarely fair but never irreversible.
AS URANUS JOINS THE PLANETARY GANG OF PLUTO, NEPTUNE, SATURN, MARS AND MERCURY IN RETROGRADE, IT’S ADVISABLE TO FOLLOW SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS AND REFRAIN FROM TAKING RISKS, ACTING IN ANGER OR DRIVING WHEN UPSET…
ARIES: Choose your battles wisely this week. Better still withdraw from conflicts great or small, while you figure out workable ways to negotiate. Consult your spiritual advisers and inner brilliance for guidance on letting go of war stories. Follow the great Aries Maya Angelou’s example of being the rainbow in someone else’s cloud. . TAURUS: Uranus hitting the brakes in your sign makes this the definitive no-rush week of 2018, which you’ll notice but others may not. Though does that really matter when convivial Venus moving into playstation Libra appoints you midweek ambassador for enjoyable entertaining: wining, dining, dancing and romancing? GEMINI: Yes, it’s one of those weeks when the harsh jackboot of reality tramples tender fancies, people take what you say the wrong way, arguments get aggressive and accidents can happen. Fortunately it’s also deliciously artistic and creative, thanks to the arrival of flirty Venus in vibe-lightening Libra setting social pleasures on the menu. CANCER: Getting a sense of déjà vu with old problems resurfacing? During retrograde transits past mistakes can show up again for correction. And while facing them isn’t exactly fun, joining the dots and recognising the pattern could be absolutely illuminating if you’re open to it this week, because then you don’t have to keep going back there. LEO: How to celebrate this rough-and-tumble week in the Leo jungle? If you’re feeling less than fabulous, try mirror work: spend five minutes looking at yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you. Then do a generous deed no-one will ever know about. Finally, reward yourself for doing your best and enjoy your week, majesties. VIRGO: This week wants things finalised: some permanently, others to be continued… With Mercury retrogrades stronger for Virgos than other signs, if you’re feeling isolated or misunderstood, underappreciated and overburdened, you’re not alone. Phone a friend. Reach out. Solutions to even your most chronic problems are available.
LIBRA: Librans already know magic happens through willingness to cooperate, and everything’s as magical as you make it. So when Venus sashays into Libra this week to reconcile differences and bring them into relationship, you’re able to playfully engage competitive moves with a cheerful attitude that has life smiling back at you. SCORPIO: At this time of either deepening commitments or partnership fractures, business shakeups and interpersonal awkwardness, the way to avoid retrograde rage is unwavering reliance on the strength of your spiritual, loving self. Along with remembering that when things fall apart, they’re also falling into place in a new pattern. SAGITTARIUS: Is the cosmos deliberately setting up roadblocks to give you the screaming irrits? No, it’s just saying pause. Wait a moment. Slow down and notice what happens when you take your foot off the accelerator. Which is plenty of good things, so follow this week’s prompts to revisit, rediscover and retrieve something valuable. CAPRICORN: People like yourself who do the prep and plan ahead don’t particularly appreciate being let down and having to wing it. This week, owing to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, even yours, this could happen. So may your expectations be wonderfully and creatively disrupted, with far better results than you could have imagined. AQUARIUS: Uranus, the planet associated with Aquarius, retrogrades this week with its message of change or be changed. While you might strongly object to the idea that most of the time the only person in your way is you, what is observably true is that everything around you changes when you do. PISCES: Tired of tantrum yoga? Who isn’t. If ever there was a week to investigate the benefits of laughter yoga this is it. While there’s no onesize-fits-all answer to navigating the present retrograde bonanza, just do whatever you can to put out spontaneous spot fires, expand your own comfort zone and enjoy the dance.
Byron Shire Echo archives: www.echo.net.au/byron-echo
Free, independent weekly newspaper from the Byron Shire in northern NSW, Australia.