Cold Opening

Truth - Some of the most iconic scenes in television programs and films have been the ones that thrust you straight into the story. Without warning, preparation, or any context you're transported into the cosmos of the art piece you're viewing. It's truly amazing just how invested you can become in just one scene if it's done in an enticing way. Whether it be an intense action sequence complete with ass-kicking combat, intricately woven shots with feats of cinematography, or heartfelt moments that hit you right in the feels, cold openings are a powerful tool. If your life were a movie what would your cold opening be?

"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story"
Orson Welles

Cold openings are a technique used by directors to tease what is to come by showing a portion of what is to come before rolling the title sequence or opening credits. From dream sequences to flash forwards/rewinds, plot revolving points, and adjacent scenes, they add to a story and draw you in by giving you just enough information to keep you locked in. In real life, they show up in more ways then you would actually think. All those times that you're caught of guard, thrown into a challenging situation without context, or even just barely given a hint at what is to come. It's both exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. You want to know how the story ends but you also want to be surprised going through it. It's a tough juxtaposition of future yearning but striving to live in the moment. For me it's been starting this new journey in "the real world" and grad school and having no idea what it's going to entail. Starting work and just being thrown in to a new setting, being tasked with advising students, and figuring out how to be a professional while also remaining accessible has been my cold opening. I'm ready for the title sequence to start - call it "Clueless in Cleveland" a brand new hit sitcom coming to a TV near you. I'm over this cold opening.

Since I literally have no friends, I spend most of my days outside of work alone. I have grown fond of my time with myself and realize now more than ever that I like being me, a whole heck of a lot. I'm strong, capable, and perfectly okay with being on my own. In doing so, I've been going to movies by myself (matinĂ©es because I'm cheap and it helps me refrain from the urge to purchase overpriced movie theater popcorn, with extra butter). I'm returning to my roots and giving you recaps of the movies I've seen recently (all on premiere days - told you I have no life). In another life I work for Entertainment Weekly, or the Hollywood Reporter interviewing actors about their craft - a man can dream can't he?

Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation - 4.5/5 Stars
This fifth installment in this film series capitalizes on the smash hit success of it's predecessor. It does exactly what the last one did best in breathtaking stunts, impeccable cinematography, and light humor. It also doesn't take itself too seriously. The plot was intricate and the twists thrown in are beyond foresight. It leaves you on the edge of your seat and wanting more. Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt aka Tom Cruise proves that he's willing to do anything for an audience. The femme fatale counterpart in Rebecca Ferguson's Ilsa Faust serves as a perfect foil who is equally capable of taking down villains and gets ample screen time to do so. She's not there as a frivolous love interest but has her own successes and also has the sensibility to pause, take of her heels and haul ass, in multiple chase scenes (*cough Jurassic World, really?). The supporting cast is wonderful with an especially outstanding performance from the comic relief in Simon Pegg's "Benji." Definitely a movie worth seeing and enjoying. I was thoroughly impressed and if the series keeps with this revitalized style - you can expect many more movies to come.
Fantastic Four - 2/5 Stars
This Marvel superhero reboot was given simple awful film reviews. I gave it the benefit of the doubt and was thoroughly excited to see it especially with Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan playing "Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic" and "Johnny Storm/the Human Torch" respectively. The reviews however were absolutely correct. The movie was disappointing in so many ways. It was unimaginative, unnecessarily dark, flimsy, and lacked any real heart or emotion for that matter. The climax was anything but and the retelling of their origin story was excessively drawn out. There was barely any use of their powers and the big bad in Dr. Doom had lazy reasoning for his typical catastrophic end of the world destruction plot. The movie ended and I said outloud "that was it?" Others walked out of the theater mumbling how they wanted their money back. The characters are well cast but the charisma, connection, and coolness is nonexistent in the lines they're given to work with. A flop is what you get when you rush movie-making a supposedly massive film.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - 4.4/5 Stars
This film is based off a popular 60's spy show that throws together American and Russian agents of espionage. Ironically British men Henry Cavill (aka Superman) dons a classic American accent for "Napoleon Solo" a suave womanizer and reformed thief turned C.I.A. special agent, whereas all-American Armie Hammer (Winklevoss Twins  from the Social Network & the Lone Ranger) adopts a thick Russian accents for his role as Illya Kuryakin - a KGB operative with serious anger issues and a rough background. The trio is rounded out by actress Alicia Vikander who perfectly embodies the 60s style. The film is slick, quirky, and so much damn fun. The costuming was impeccably, the music was potent, and the landscapes were iconic. The ways scenes were shot and edited are thoroughly inventive. Cavill and Hammer perfectly balance rivalry and cross-cultural bromance. The cast chemistry is palpable and rounds out an overall wonderful movie I would see again and again. The main villain commands the screen and are dastardly as they come in Elizabeth Debicki (best known for Daisy in the Great Gatsby). It was a solid ride and I hope a sequel follows soon.

Cold openings can be a powerful thing. MI5's takes the promo shot of Tom Cruise dangling from an airplane and puts it into motion, FF begins with a middle school science experiment, and MFU follows Henry Cavill's debonaire self swaggering across the Berlin Wall. Each and every one has it's own iconic style but what is to follow may be something complete different. You never know what lies ahead in the rest of the what is to come whether that be in life or on-screen. Next up on my list is the Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, Spectre, the Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, and Star Wars: the Force Awakens. Let me know what you thought about the last movies you saw in theaters, especially the ones I reviewed above! X

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