Paul Walker’s Brian O’Connor returns in 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS (2003), street-racing in Miami after losing his badge (due to his decision at the end of The Fast and the Furious). Busted by the cops, he agrees to help the cops take down a drug dealer with the help of Brian’s former best friend (Tyrese Gibson) and undercover agent Eva Mendes. I was surprised how much better this played than the first film, whether because of John Singleton’s direction or because the multiple clashing agendas make for more drama as it’s harder to guess who’s selling out whom. I’ll get to the third film eventually though I’m not in a rush. “This is some Dukes of Hazzard shit, bro.”
I wasn’t blown away by MISSION IMPOSSIBLE (1996) when I first caught it but as my friend Ross points out, it has the distinction of lasting six films (with more to come) where attempts to turn The Man From Uncle or Get Smart into a franchise tanked. The film has Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and Claire Phelps (Emmanuelle Béart) the sole survivors when a traitor sells out the IMF; with Ethan fingered by the government as the probable traitor, can they clear his name and catch the real bad guy? Rewatching I found it enjoyable, and certainly well cast, with Jon Voight as Jim Phelps, Ving Rhames and Jean Reno as former IMF agents Ethan recruits and Vanessa Redgrave stealing every scene she’s in as an arms and information broker. The high-tech break-in at the CIA was the least interesting part, compared to the con games used to manipulate their adversaries. And even though it isn’t that faithful to the series (the big twist is one that cropped up a lot in spec scripts and invariably got shot down), it is a glossy, competent action film with a bankable cast, so maybe that’s enough. “Would you care for something from the Ukrainian cinema?”
I used the first season of YOUNGER (2015 to now) mostly as a talking lamp while I was doing other stuff, but it’s pleasant enough for that, and occasionally quite funny. Protagonist Liza (Sutton Foster) is a divorced fortysomething who finds her years out of the workforce make her unemployable. The solution? Reinvent herself as a 20something just starting out, which lands her an editorial assistant, a new buddy (Hilary Duff) and studly 20something boyfriend Josh (Nico Tortorella). Can Liza keep up the pretense? Is Josh becoming more than just a convenient lay? Can Liza fit in with twentysomethings who see the world very differently? The first season ends pretty much where I expected, but it was enjoyable enough getting there. “That was from the Torah? I thought it was from Game of Thrones!”
Based on the same-name novel, THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY (2018) has a writer in post-WW II Britain traveling to the Channel Islands to write the story of the eponymous group and its role in fighting the German occupation (not fictional — Germany really did hold Guernsey and the other islands for a while) only to discover she’s stepped into a complicated drama and has a few of her own to deal with. I couldn’t get into this, but it may have been me rather than the film (COVID-19 worries were bound to distract me sooner or later).
My brother plays Adam in GENESIS — THE BIBLICAL MUSIC EXPERIENCE (2020), a stage show in LA that’s now streaming on Amazon. You’re probably familiar with the story, which starts with Creation, then the Fall, then ends with Noah’s flood and the aftermath, using a video-screen backdrop to expand the action (the sets are simple and sparse, which works fine). This well done with some excellent singing, though I’d have liked it better on stage — this kind of creative staging never looks as good on screen. “Eat not of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
#SFWApro. Adam and Eve by Albrecht Durer, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.