Jeremy Renner

With this final spotlights post, we bring our coverage of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival to a close (you can read the previous posts here and here). We conclude by taking a look at six more feature films, once again using our world famous Sundance Viewing Priority Level (VPL) Guide to discern those films to seek out and those to avoid. Enjoy, and we’ll hope to see you in Park City next year!

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Film Review: Arrival

by Chad Liffmann on November 11, 2016

Arrival arrives at just the right time to make us pause and think.

Amy Adams thinks about things, as we do, in ARRIVAL.

Amy Adams thinks about things, as we do, in ARRIVAL.

It feels like it’s been quite some time since a thought-provoking science-fiction film has come along — one that makes you really think. Now, before you come to the conclusion that “more thinking” equals “less entertaining”, think again! Arrival is a spectacular blend of drama, suspense, intelligence, and engaging visuals. Arrival also employs sound and music in an interesting way, aiding in the gradual fusion of the viewer experience with that of the characters. Once you emerge from the 118 minute cinematic trance you’ve been pulled into, you’ll realize that you’ve sat through one of the better films of the last year. And that realization, somehow, will be the same whether you loved the film or hated it.

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Rogue Nation keeps the pedal to the metal to deliver exhilarating action, while losing some of its franchise identity.

Basically a much better version of Mission:Impossible 2.

Basically a much better version of Mission:Impossible 2.

‘Ready or not, here I come.’ No, I’m not just quoting the classic song by The Fugees remixed for the M:I5 trailer. I’m saying this because its how the near 20 year old franchise is approaching audiences today, July 31st 2015. With so many action films coming out these days (many of which are quite sub-par), it’s hard to get super excited for another one, nevermind a fifth entry in a franchise. But here’s the thing—the folks behind Mission:Impossible-Rogue Nation know they’re delivering something better than the rest (or most of the rest). After the first ten minutes of Rogue Nation, you’ll realize how much the marketing of the movie has duped you, but in the best way possible. Director Christopher McQuarrie has created a smart action flick so loud and ridiculous that it’s hard to catch your breath. But although Rogue Nation delivers the smarts and the thrills, it doesn’t stick to the formula that has separated (and benefited) the Mission:Impossible franchise from the rest of the spy pack. While no one was saying that the Mission:Impossible franchise was dead, especially after a $209 mil domestic box office take with 2011’s Ghost Protocol, each new installment is met with speculation whether this will be the final outing or not. Rogue Nation all but directly acknowledges this speculation when Jeremy Renner’s William Brandt says, “This may very well be our last mission. Let’s make it count…” Ha! We all know you’ll be back! I’ll put all the speculation to rest—it’s not the final outing. Rogue Nation is as energetic and exhilarating as the franchise has ever been while at the top of its game.

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Rachel Weisz and Jeremy Renner in THE BOURNE LEGACY

starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton

written by: Tony Gilroy and Dan Gilroy

directed by: Tony Gilroy

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for violence and action sequences [read the whole post]

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Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, and Scarlett Johansson in THE AVENGERS

starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow

written by: Joss Whedon (story and screenplay), Zak Penn (story)

directed by: Joss Whedon

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference

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