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Moriarty Decides To Accept MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3!!

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

Seriously. I got the joy, joy, joy, joy (clap) down in my heart. If this is the way we’re going to kick off the summer of 2006, then the bar has been set fairly high for the season.

And before I can write about M:I3, I have to say... this is the summer of Superman, no matter how SUPERMAN RETURNS is as a film. So much of the dynamic of this summer was dictated by circumstances surrounding the development of a new SUPERMAN film for Warner Bros. We’ve been writing about a new SUPERMAN for as long as there’s been an AICN... a full decade now... and it’s been a fascinating roller-coaster ride. One of the few times I’ve ever had a conversation with VARIETY’s Michael Fleming, it was to talk about all things SUPERMAN one day, and we both agreed... there’s a book in there for anyone willing to wade in and tell every sordid detail of what’s gone on in an effort to revive what is obviously a very important franchise for this studio.

Along the way, I stepped into the SUPERMAN mess a few times, most notably when I reviewed the JJ Abrams draft of SUPERMAN RETURNS in September of 2002. At that point, that film was full speed ahead at Warner Bros., and the studio had just decided to back this film instead of Wolfgang Petersen’s SUPERMAN VS BATMAN, which was written by Andrew Kevin Walker. I knew full well that I was punching buttons with the title of the column, and I set a certain tone right away. That piece was probably one of the most-read AICN articles I’ve ever written, and it certainly set off a wave of fan reaction that spread from here to other sites and even into other media. In the days that followed, Harry first made the cheeky decision to effectively put a geek bounty on the heads of JJ Abrams and Brett Ratner, before he spoke to Abrams and then actually read the script himself.

Now, honestly, this is one of the biggest cases of good cop/bad cop in AICN history, and over the years, it’s become accepted that I hated JJ Abrams and called for the geek nation to attack, and Harry was all peace and flowers and lovey-dovey. Go back and read those articles. That ain’t necessarily the case. Like I said... Harry called out the dogs. All I did was write about the script, making sure to include plenty of comments about what I did like as well as what I didn’t. My review was not completely negative.

For example, this comment is genuinely what I felt about the script as a piece of writing removed from how it was as a SUPERMAN story:

And, hey, if I never read a Superman comic in my life... if I didn’t give a shit about any sort of history to the character... if all of my knowledge came from commercials for SMALLVILLE and vague memories of the Donner film, then maybe I’d look at this script and say, “Well, the scale of it is certainly amazing, and it’s an ambitious story. I can see how you’ve set things up for two other films, and there’s a lot to be done with these characters. Overall, the action is pretty intense, and there is a real energy to the piece. If it works, it’s really going to work. If audiences buy the story, we’ve got two more of these ready and waiting to go, and we can merchandise the living shit out of this.”

JJ Abrams is a franchise builder. Like Joss Whedon right now. It’s a particular skill, and Abrams has proven himself to be very adept at it. What’s funny is, I don’t think he had the experience then that he does now, and I think he is as good as he is now in part because of the experience he had on SUPERMAN.

Another comment I made:

Look... I think JJ Abrams could well be the right guy for the job. I think he might have a great Superman script in him. The moments that are good are so good they make you woozy. This is the Superman that lives right alongside Santa Claus and Bugs Bunny and Luke Skywalker in the inner lives of American children from the last few generations, the simple force of good wrapped in red and blue. If there was an entire film of this stuff, I’d be weeping right now, telling you how we were in for this amazing love letter, this beautiful reintroduction to this classic character.

Hardly me attacking someone across the board.

Over the years, I’ve written about my evolving love of ALIAS, which I didn’t really tune into until DVD, although I did give a fairly positive review to the original pilot when it aired.

And LOST? Fuggetaboutit. I’m a huge LOST fan, and one of the reasons I haven’t written about it on the site is because I’m scared I’ll reveal just how pathetic a nerd I am when I really lurve something. LOST is like crack for me. I’m a raving PRISONER fan from way back, and LOST scratches an itch for me regarding television.

So when Paramount announced Abrams as director of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3, after a long development process that included Frank Darabont, Joe Carnahan, and David Fincher, I was cautiously optimistic.

That development squaredance led to several other people re-aligning in terms of what projects they ended up doing. Because the Abrams script was picked over the Andy Kevin Walker script, Walker was free to go write this summer’s ZODIAC, which was directed by David Fincher, who abandoned the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE job that Abrams took later. Brett Ratner was attached to direct that SUPERMAN, but when he was booted, that cleared the way for Bryan Singer to take over SUPERMAN (after McG flirted with it before his own fear of flying grounded him), which left the director’s chair open on X3, giving Brett Ratner a place to rebound. Wolfgang Petersen, who did not end up making his SUPERMAN VS BATMAN, stayed with Warner Bros. to make POSEIDON.

Dizzying, isn’t it?

All of this is pre-amble so that when I say what I’m going to say, people won’t ask why I “suddenly” like Abrams and his work. I always have. It’s possible to like someone’s work and respect it without always loving everything they do. I have no idea what Frank Darabont’s M:I3 was going to be like, or what Carnahan would have done with it, or what Fincher had planned. I’ve heard vague rumors at best. So I can’t say for sure whether their films would have been radically different. I suspect they would have been, because the M:I3 that is hitting theaters on May 5th feels 100% like the product of JJ Abrams and his trusted team of collaborators.

And I like it.

I like it a lot.

M:I3 is, for all intents and purposes, a really big-budget retelling of the ALIAS pilot with Tom Cruise playing Jennifer Garner in a film that could be subtitled RUN, TOM CRUISE, RUN!! It’s the best piece of film writing so far from Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, and it’s absolutely overstuffed with actors who bring their A-game to the table. Ving Rhames, Keri Russell, Laurence Fishburne, Billy Crudup, Simon Pegg, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Maggie Q... it’s a dense cast, and surprisingly, everybody’s got something to do. Abrams puts the cast to great use in every scene. A few people deserve special note, though, like Michelle Monaghan as Julia, the normal girl who offers Ethan Hunt a way to recapture some of what he left behind when he joined the IMF. She’s great in what could easily be a nothing role, and I think Monaghan’s got the goods after seeing her in this and in KISS KISS BANG BANG. She’s incredibly appealing, and there’s a weight to her that makes her more than just a pretty face. Tom Cruise (personal life tabloids overexposure blah blah blah) tweaks his onscreen image here, turning it up in a way that makes it both very self-aware, but also very real. It’s a tricky balancing act for an actor, and Cruise makes it look easy here, a reminder of just how confident a movie star he is. And finally, there’s Philip Seymour Hoffman, fresh off his Oscar-winning turn as Truman Capote, playing a villain that is completely unlike the stock big-budget tentpole bad guy, but also totally true to the original MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE TV show and its archetypes.

The film starts with a great scene, probably the most intense human moment in the whole series. Tom Cruise is tied to a chair. Shackled in place. There’s no getting out of it. And across from him, also shackled into a chair... Julia. And Philip Seymour Hoffman, as Owen Davian, paces between them, explaining the way things are. He wants something. “The Rabbit’s Foot.” He sent Ethan to get it. Ethan failed. And now, at the count of ten, Owen’s going to shoot Julia in the head unless Ethan tells him where the Rabbit’s Foot is. One... two... three...

No stunts. No special effects. Nothing except three actors, face-to-face, and great, smart dialogue that pulls you right into the situation. And just when you get to the part of the scene where it’s so intense you can barely stand it, the film cuts back in time, and we see Julia and Ethan at their engagement party with friends and family. A happy time rendered almost unwatchably sad by what we’ve just seen before it.

That cut back in time is a favorite trick of JJ’s, and he uses it very well here. Like I said, this is very cleary a JJ Abrams film. Many of his signature touches are in place. One of the guys at the engagement party, for example? Greg Grunberg. Major characters aren’t who they say they are, and aren’t who they appear to be, and good and bad seem to be redefined at least three or four times over the course of the film, something that Abrams loves to do over the course of a season of ALIAS sometimes. And that opening scene... there’s no guarantee of anything as we’re watching it. All you have to do is picture Sydney’s dead fiancée in the tub in that ALIAS pilot, and you know... this could end very, very badly.

The film doesn’t introduce Owen Davian for a long time, though. He’s not the big bad guy of the movie right from the first scene. In fact, at first, Ethan’s not even a field operative. He works to train younger IMF agents. He wants a normal life. He’s trying to start it with Julia, and he has to do a whole hell of a lot of lying to her to pull it off. He’s drawn back into service for one mission, to retrieve a former student of his who has been captured in hostile territory. That mission, since he decides to accept it, kicks his ass in unexpected ways, and it leaves him empty... reeling... looking for some sort of payback.

This film actually works because Abrams plays with three separate levels of iconography here. First, it is a prototypical JJ Abrams piece. Like a lot of guys working right now, Abrams has pretty much created his own sub-genre marked by a certain dialogue style, a storytelling technique, and a recurring cast of actors. It is also a Tom Cruise Movie in a big way. Tom gets to play an intense man of action who isn’t afraid to cry, and he rides a motorcycle ‘cause he’s a rebel, Dottie, a loner. And finally, it works because it is a no-shit-honest-to-God MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE film, absolutely faithful to the spirit of the Bruce Geller show.

I spent a couple of years at a closed-captioning company, and one of the shows that we had to caption for an entire summer was MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE. I think people know the theme song better than they actually know the show, and rewatching them all, I came to an inescapable conclusion... MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE is one silly, silly show. It’s a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to have the box sets of the DVDs, but ‘60s TV in general was sort of batshit over the top silly. It’s the era of BATMAN and BEWITCHED and GREEN ACRES and JEANNIE and THE MUNSTERS and THE PRISONER and THE AVENGERS... a time when shows were not terribly interested in reality. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE was not an accurate reflection of the way Cold War spies were living. It was fantasy land from frame one. It was a cheap show, so there was no way they were competing with the Bond films. The shows tended to be overly complicated by design, elaborate plots that we would see them put together, then execute. One of the key elements of many of those plans was the poor sap who was just going about his job when the IMF team cracked his skull, tied him up, and stashed him in a closet somewhere while Jim Phelps would put on makeup to look just like the guy. The M:I equivalent of a STAR TREK red shirt. The chump.

So... what Abrams has done in creating his villain for this film... is he’s taken that guy. The chump. The guy who gets played by the team. And he’s made him into a vengeful, connected, deranged individual who is humiliated by the way Ethan Hunt treats him. A guy who won’t put up with being tied up and dangled in an elevator shaft. A guy who won’t put up with being hung out of an airplane. A guy who does not suffer indignity well, and who has the resources to make Ethan Hunt sorry.

His character’s never much deeper than that, and that’s fine. This is not a deep film in terms of world politics or the state of the art of intelligence right now. This is not that movie. The very nature of The Rabbit's Foot, the thing that sort of engines the entire movie, is a mystery even in the final frames, which is fine since that's not what we care about here. This is like the reboot of the M:I franchise. I would like three movies based on this template. The team’s in place. Did I mention how much I like the chemistry between Ving Rhames, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Maggie Q? They work great as support for Ethan Hunt, each of them playing key roles in at least three of the set pieces. Simon Pegg would have to return as this franchise’s answer to Marshall Flinkman or Q, since he’s established so well in his two scenes in this film. This film is about setting up that team, and it’s about finally turning Ethan Hunt into a character. Before this, he’s had no character continuity, or character to speak of. Here, his tragic arc with Julia is defining, his “origin moment” from this point forward. By making this a personal M:I story, Abrams has oddly made it the best team movie. By focusing on a problem for Ethan instead of some global threat, he’s created a more compelling reason for the team to assemble, and the way each of them behaves sets up who they are and how they each relate to Ethan.

Cinematographer Dan Mindel has been revving up to this with the films he’s shot before now... slick commercial fare like DOMINO, THE SKELETON KEY, and STUCK ON YOU. He sets Abrams free in this film, and working with him, he’s created a kinetic vocabulary for the film that is powerfully effective. There’s one moment where Tom Cruise is running (one of many, rest assured), hauling ass along the side of some water way in Shanghai. The film almost becomes abstract motion at that point, light flashing off Cruise as he clears a path, running at top speed. It’s a long way from the budget-conscious visual style of ALIAS, and you can tell that Abrams feels unfettered. When you cut to Shanghai, it’s not downtown Burbank. There’s a sequence set on the roofs of some giant Shanghai skyscrapers that is bewilderingly real. There is a bridge sequence that reminds me of that great “killing box” sequence from CLEAR & PRESENT DANGER, a brutal, frightening set piece. And through it all, Michael Giacchino’s score, frequently incorporating his riffs on Lalo Schifrin’s original theme, absolutely fills in whatever holes Abrams has left over. He’s evolving quickly into one of the best film composers working right now, and his score for this film is further evidence for that.

There are many small things I dug about this film, like finally seeing the device that makes the lifelike masks for the agents in the field, or Keri Russell’s surprisingly kick-ass scene, in which she proves herself ready for an action movie of her own, or the first dead drop meeting in the 7-11. The film’s a real dream for any spy movie geek, because Abrams knows exactly what he likes and what he doesn’t, and he knows what he’s referencing with his movie, but he also makes it all feel organic, like it’s of a piece. It’s an impressive feature debut for Abrams as a director, and I’d say if we’re grading people this summer on how well they’ve survived their brush with SUPERMAN, then Abrams looks like an absolute winner right now.

Earlier tonight, I saw UNITED 93, and I think I need to take a day to chew on it before I write it up. I’ll keep transcribing my other stuff in the meantime, so I’ll have lots more as the week continues. Until then...

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • April 26, 2006, 7 a.m. CST


    by kwisatzhaderach

    sounds interesting...

  • April 26, 2006, 7:01 a.m. CST


    by kwisatzhaderach

  • April 26, 2006, 7:03 a.m. CST


    by ElPaw

  • April 26, 2006, 7:17 a.m. CST

    potentially fourth

    by Hell_Bender

    Not that that's a praise-worthy mantle. I've been waiting for this for a while now; Id take a Moriarty review over Harry's anyday. No offence big guy but my taste just seems more attuned to Mori's.

  • April 26, 2006, 7:20 a.m. CST

    Yeah, didn't actually read all of that...

    by CellarDoor

    But it's good right? Also, Spoiler, Tom Cruise wins!

  • April 26, 2006, 7:24 a.m. CST

    Can't wait

    by Henry's Cat

    Loved the first one, hated the second one, really looking forward to this one - great review Mori (How's l'il Toshi?) What about that John Prescott, eh? (UK Deputy Prime Minister) - What a dirty dog!

  • April 26, 2006, 7:28 a.m. CST

    PSH doesn't get defeated by bacteria

    by durhay

    in this, does he?

  • April 26, 2006, 7:37 a.m. CST

    So... it really IS just ALIAS with less testosterone?!

    by Roguewriter

    I'm stunned to hear that it bears such a strong resemblance to ALIAS, particularly the opening sequence of the series. Good news for MI:3... but it's still a rental. I've had it with Tom Cruise. And I'm still smarting too much from the nitwitty retardation that was THE ISLAND to give Orci and Kurtzman anything but the widest possible berth. Philip Seymour Hoffman as the villain? Masterstroke. But I still can't see shelling out $9 for this one. HBO will do just fine...

  • April 26, 2006, 8:09 a.m. CST


    by SpyGuy

    Seeing that there's no film of mass interest in the pipeline until X-MEN: THE LAST STAND and THE DA VINCI CODE, I imagine M:I 3 will do quite well at the box office (for a few weeks, anyway). Glad to know that Abrams did a good job with this one, but I'm still troubled by what he might do with STAR TREK XI.

  • April 26, 2006, 8:14 a.m. CST

    i love abrams

    by blackthought

    i get to see this tomorrow night..finally summer gets kicked off proper.

  • April 26, 2006, 8:14 a.m. CST's good to start summer off right

    by Lost Skeleton

    I'm geeked AICN for MI:3

  • April 26, 2006, 8:21 a.m. CST


    by beastie

    I look foward to Moriarty reviews more than Roger Ebert ones. Moriarty is able to objectively set geekiness aside and look at a film from an "everyone" standpoint. Sometimes I disagree, but I can usually tell from his review whether or not I'm gonna like a movie.

  • April 26, 2006, 8:30 a.m. CST

    can't effin' wait

    by goremonger

    to see this.

  • April 26, 2006, 8:33 a.m. CST

    I'M There!....IF

    by future help

    the action and the pacing is in league with: Die Hard, Aliens, Kill Bill, Road Warrior, Leathel Weapon, Predator, and... well, you get the picture... i could give a fuck about Tom Cruise (the film market is saturated with the over-used bastard)HOWEVER...he IS the character go with it. Im still up for ALL the OTHER characters too. and shit, if the Writer & Director can deliver strong... then pardon me but,is that not what we want? a fuckin BAD ASS MUTHA'of A SUMMER ACTION FLIC? yes...I WANT GOOD SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS AGAIN. last summer SUCKED. shit like,Star Wars III and Kong. yes...i too have a good feelin about this Summer (at least movie-wise) oh, HEY, QT...back to work.

  • April 26, 2006, 8:53 a.m. CST

    Not About MI3, But, Most of The Article Wasn't Either

    by Aquatarkusman

    Doesn't mentioning Lost with the Prisoner in the same sentence lead to some sort of credential revocation?

  • April 26, 2006, 9:02 a.m. CST

    Moriarty: Music? Kanye?

    by AdrianVeidt

    Can you or Harry let us know just exactly how Kanye's new rendition is used in the movie? Is it used in a bad ass kind of way, or strictly a closing credits sort of thing?

  • April 26, 2006, 9:03 a.m. CST


    by kidsake

    I CANNOT wait for...I too became an Alias through DVD's(bless 'em), and this could be the kickoff to a GREAT summer of movies...Supes, X-men, DaVinci Code(whoever cast The Hanks should get a mega raise)A Scanner Darkly...I'm also one of the few who believes that LOST wont suffer while JJ goes and gives us Star Trek...he has stated himself that Damon is more of the brain behind LOST, and as long as Damon stays away from writing comics, LOST should be just fine...

  • April 26, 2006, 9:10 a.m. CST

    Thanks Mori... Feeling better about this.

    by brycemonkey

    OK, I'll change my opinion to 'actually quite keen to see this' from 'probably going to be crap'. Sounds like quite the movie... Cruise is still bat-shit crazy but hey, I'll watch this if it's as good as people are saying. Peace.

  • April 26, 2006, 9:15 a.m. CST

    And kidsake...

    by brycemonkey

    "whoever cast The Hanks should get a mega raise". Dude, if studio execs had their way they would cast the Hanks in *every* movie. Personally, I don't like him and don't understand why people have a massive boner for him. I liked him in Catch Me but pretty much every other role is 'pensive but likeable every-man who wins through in the end'. Fanboys set phasers to Flame!

  • April 26, 2006, 9:18 a.m. CST

    FUCK "cuts back in time".

    by Nate Champion

    If you can't tell a story from A to B to C without relying on flashbacks and flashforwards to create suspense, then you deserve a bullet in the head. If this scene came where it should in the narrative... well, MAYBE Abrams could have toyed with the idea of Philly actually making good on his promise. Instead... we go back to learn what leads up to that point... and then... TOM BREAKS FREE AND SAVES HIS GIRLFRIEND, THE DAY, THE WORLD, ETC ETC ETC ETC!!! Fuck that shit. Give me a filmmaker who plays for real, not this happy horseshit.

  • April 26, 2006, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Script review quid pro quo

    by MKiro

    I think JJ Abrams should review the Cigarette Burns follow-up script Mori is writing... and post it on this site.

  • April 26, 2006, 9:24 a.m. CST

    You've got red on you....

    by GrandMuffTarkin

    No love for Simon Pegg? I'm interested in seeing how he fares post-Shaun.

  • April 26, 2006, 9:26 a.m. CST

    Nate... Um...

    by GrammarPolice

    I thought the point was he DIDN'T save his girlfriend. I know you've been to a few writing workshops. How about going to a few "attention to detail" courses, as well.

  • April 26, 2006, 9:55 a.m. CST

    Good review, Drew

    by JasonPThompson

    Not that it can be trusted. Drew McWeeny on CRASH:"his movie is a load of crap, pure and simple. Its point-of-view on race is so muddled, so lunk-headed, and so in love with itself, that the film begins to collapse under its own pretension with that first line of dialogue where Don Cheadle talks about LA and how no one walks here. " Quote from a 1994 Drew McWeeny play called STICKS & STONES:"This is Los Angeles, post Rodney King, post riots. This kid has grown up scared, worried every day that the color of his skin is going to get him killed. They

  • April 26, 2006, 9:55 a.m. CST

    Hey Mori, regarding you and script reviews

    by BankyFan

    Is it just me, or did your SUPERMAN and AVP2 script reviews seem to yield similiar results? The only thing that seems different between the two is that Abrams is the better writer.

  • April 26, 2006, 10:35 a.m. CST


    by brycemonkey

    Hell hath no fury like a writer scorned!Stop the internet fight and just have a real fight. IMDB doesn't list your vitals Drew... have you been practicing your Rex Kwan Do?

  • April 26, 2006, 10:41 a.m. CST

    so MI 3 is a reworking of alias..

    by Silver Shamrock

    which was a reworking of La Femme Nikita. I hope there aren't any OMG-tom-cruise-was-really-john-voight-all-along with a great mask gags this time, JJ overused that toy in Alias.

  • April 26, 2006, 10:45 a.m. CST

    and Mori trying to do damage control with JJ

    by Silver Shamrock

    this long after the fact is kinda pathetic.

  • April 26, 2006, 10:46 a.m. CST

    Two glowing reviews so far?

    by Novaman5000

    Color me particularly surprised.

  • April 26, 2006, 10:46 a.m. CST

    JJ Abrams' Superman...

    by trojanwilliams

    ...was a great screenplay. I read it a bit after the initial blow-up on AICN and couldn't for the life of me see why Moriarty hated it so much. JJ changed 2 plot points of the original comic in an attempt to re-imagine a dead franchise and Mori basically bit his head off for it. What worked in the script worked like gangbusters and waht didn't work didn't work but I don't htink it deserved the raping that Moriarty administered that day. Script revisions are a part of the industry to help scripts take shape. First draft doesn't work? Then allow the writer the chance to re-write is several more times till it does - don't leak the entire story onto the net in an attempt to crush the project entirely. Mori basically killed a great script's potential with his assination of JJ that day and I still think that JJ's Superman would have kicked everyones collective asses more than anythign Singer will turn in. The latter 2/3rds of JJs script included what I still think of as some of the best big-budget action writing ever. The changes in mythology that JJ made could have been rectified in subsequent drafts but because of Mori and this site leaking the script JJ never even got that opportunity. Maybe it was WBs fault for listening to the fans moral outrage at a screen play most of them hadn't read, and maybe it was Moriarty's fault for not explicitly stating that the script had great potential but didn't need to take so many risks with an established mythos. Either way I haven't disagreed with Mori as much since but I still regret not having the opportunity to see what could have been the best comic adaptation to date.

  • April 26, 2006, 10:58 a.m. CST

    Whatever anyone thinks of Alias, Lost or MI:III

    by MrBoinfoint

    Abrahms' Superman script was a piece of shit and would have ruined the character. He's genius with his own ideas, but can't adapt others (even Mission Impossible has become a Malias). Look at someone like Joss Whedon and Astonishing X-Men. That's the way to faithfully reinterpret and udpate a beloved concept. I'm glad Abrahms got booted off Superman Returns, maroon cape, superboy Routh and all. At least Lex Luthor isn't a Kryptonian played by wife abusing porn addict Charlie Sheen.

  • April 26, 2006, 11 a.m. CST

    What I love about this site

    by trojanwilliams

    Is that the post right after mine could take a completely opposite stance on the same topic. I respectfully disagree Mr. Boinfoint.

  • April 26, 2006, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Wooah there Boinfoint...

    by brycemonkey

    Say what you like about Superman. But you leave Charlie Sheen alone! You big bully. Reserve your criticism for Mono-brow Richards...

  • April 26, 2006, 11:10 a.m. CST


    by Henry The Dork

    And I can't wait until Shane Salerno -- who wrote a discarded draft of Zodiac years ago -- posts a review of Race With the Devil.

  • April 26, 2006, 11:18 a.m. CST

    God, some of you guys are dickless shitballs...

    by Roguewriter

    AICN is a REVIEW SITE. Moriarty is a REVIEWER. Sure, it would be fun to see J.J. Abrams come on here and offer a review of "Cigarette Burns," but since that's probably not going to happen, why won't you useless bags of cybershit help yourselves to a nice steaming mug of shut-the-fuck-up already? Nobody respects you because you exhibit the "balls" to slag off the site owners for their opinions. And that's ALL they are, guys. Opinions. Grow the fuck up already, jesus effing slapdaddy kee-RIST!!!

  • April 26, 2006, 11:25 a.m. CST

    How do you people get paid for this slop!?! - McGuffin

    by mustang_dvs

    "The very nature of The Rabbit's Foot, the thing that sort of engines the entire movie, is a mystery even in the final frames, which is fine since that's not what we care about here." Is that even english? It's sure as hell demonstrates a lack of film vocabulary -- that "engine" that doesn't matter much through the whole film is called... A McGUFFIN, you moron. /// /// /// Oh, and there is NO FILM called "Mission: Impossible 3" -- Gran High Thetan Cruise officially go the film rebranded as "M:I-3". /// /// /// And, personally, I think it's a shame that this film appears to be so well done, since I and most of the people I know are going to avoid it just on the principle that we don't want to give that Batshit Crazy OT-VII Nutcase Tom "I don't want to come out of the closet" Cruise any of our money.

  • April 26, 2006, 11:27 a.m. CST

    Tom Cruise is one smart nutball.

    by veritasses

    He always aligns himself with quality directors/crew and actors and by all accounts, he works very hard at his job. And every movie set for him is a fanstastic learning opportunity to hone his craft (how can you NOT learn something about the art of making movies when you're working with the likes of Spielberg, Mann, Kubrick, Crowe, Reiner etc) and get better at making enjoyable (to varying degrees) movies. While there're so many places in the movie making process that can go wrong or get totally f'ed up, with the kind of caliber he's always working with and his experience and work ethic, the odds are always in his favor that the end product is going to come out pretty good. Kudo's to him for that. I'm sure MI3 will do very well and make him bankable for yet another high budget movie. BUT, He's still a damn crazy nutjob and he needs to keep his personal life and personal cult philosphy to himself. It's a damn shame that his crazy antics overshadow his body of work.

  • April 26, 2006, 11:34 a.m. CST


    by MKiro

    Firstly, Mori is NOT a reviewer - his 'day job' is scriptwriter. Therefore, he is as much fair game as the people he writes about. I find it unfair that he can criticise a peer's work with impunity as that peer (in this case, JJ) has no recourse. Sorry, I think I'm being overkind labelling Mori as his 'peer'. Oh, and secondly it's ok for Drew to criticise other people's work, but wrong for readers of the Talkback to do likewise with *his* work? At least some of us can do so intelligently without resorting to the childish abuse some of you ('Roguewriter') believe pass for mature articulation.

  • April 26, 2006, 11:41 a.m. CST


    by MrBoinfoint

    Yeah, that was wierd. And I type faster too. Wierd. From what I gathered, Krypton not blowing up and mid-air Matirx-like kung fu were sort inseperable components of the Abrahms script. As was the nonsense about Jor-El meeting the Kents or something. Kinda hard to remove the stuff that doesnt work when it's the central plot of the movie. And Brycemonkey, whatever Denise Richards made up about spousal abuse, Sheen stil wasn't right for Luthor. And even if he is a porn addict, why can't he just spank it to her? I mean, she's right there!

  • April 26, 2006, 11:59 a.m. CST

    I can't watch this movie

    by quadrupletree

    No matter how much it gets hyped. Not going to happen.

  • April 26, 2006, noon CST

    Long, drawn out expectations

    by DeadPanWalking

    1,158 words before you even talk about the movie? Who are you? Charles Dickens? Check rule 13 in your copy of Elements of style before you wreck rule 13 in your copy of Elements of Style.

  • April 26, 2006, 12:12 p.m. CST

    Nothing funnier than someone who...

    by brycemonkey

    criticizes the writing, spelling or grammer of another and messes it up with errors of their own. Check rule 3 about repeating your Elements of style before you repeat your rule 3 Elements of style. :-P

  • April 26, 2006, 12:13 p.m. CST

    Jarv, that day already came

    by LaserMonkey

    and he sent his lawyers after the site, and he whined that the scripts were "early drafts." But that's ok because there is more out there and more coming. I am carrying the Torch of Truth right into Lightning City, baby.

  • April 26, 2006, 12:15 p.m. CST

    And yes, irony and sarcasm working as a team.

    by brycemonkey

  • April 26, 2006, 12:28 p.m. CST

    Grunberg just signed to play Captain Kirk

    by TodayzSpecial

    ... just kidding ... I hope. He'd be a better Scotty.

  • April 26, 2006, 12:43 p.m. CST


    by vinceklortho

    why can't you watch this movie? just wondering...your post left me curious. oh, and please don't say cause Cruise is a Scientologist or it's a big budget hyped-up blockbuster of a movie. You can say that, but it would just be hilariously predictable.

  • April 26, 2006, 12:45 p.m. CST

    I mean quadrupltree!!!!

    by vinceklortho

    sorry brycemonkey...but I would like to know why quad just really doesn't want to see this. I thought the trailers were pretty geeky and cool.

  • April 26, 2006, 12:46 p.m. CST

    I didn't know after reading Harry's review...

    by Jonesey1111

    ...but now I'm definately going to see it. Can't trust Harry, but Mori is allright by me.

  • April 26, 2006, 1:21 p.m. CST


    by DeadPanWalking

    Oh come on! That's nitpicky. Was anyone actually confused by the interruption? It was a style choice. Also, you're comparing the significance of a talkback to that of an article. Are they really on equal ground? Also, I'm not getting paid for the talkback, nor do I have an editing staff correcting mistakes I might have made. Actually, I wasn't so much giving Moriarty the business as I was promoting The Elements of Style. In fact, I really enjoyed the article. I've been curious for a while about Moriarty's shifting allegiences to J.J. Abrams and who was lined-up to direct Superman during different years past and Brett Rattner ending up with X-Men and what was I saying?

  • April 26, 2006, 1:50 p.m. CST

    It's cool DeadPan...

    by brycemonkey

    I guess I'm in a sightly pissy fram of mind today... There seems to be too much debate over wether people are allowed to review movies/scripts etc. That and I'm waiting for BIG news rather than waiting to find out the RV sucks balls... Peace.

  • April 26, 2006, 1:54 p.m. CST

    sorry for spelling etc.

    by brycemonkey

    trying to eat lunch, take phone call and post to TB...

  • April 26, 2006, 2:01 p.m. CST

    You don't need to explain yourself so much ..

    by Borgnine JR us Moriarty becuz we really don't care THAT much about what you think...about anything.

  • April 26, 2006, 2:29 p.m. CST

    AICN sucks Scientologist Cock!

    by fiester

    Seriously. What's with the long sloppy blowjob reviews for this movie. Anyone else dubious? And the recent addition of the MI:3 related cartoon graphic in the upper left hand corner? How much cash/swag did they lay on you goons for this kind of velvet gloves treatment?

  • April 26, 2006, 2:38 p.m. CST

    My distaste for Tom

    by blackwood

    is slowly erroding in the face of my interest in everyone else involved. Dammit.

  • April 26, 2006, 2:59 p.m. CST


    by Sir Loin

    BAHAHA...nearly spewed my diet Coke, nice one. I do hope Grunberg's in the Trek movie, though, maybe a badass Starfleet Academy drill sergeant or something.

  • April 26, 2006, 3:22 p.m. CST

    'laughably predictable' but true...

    by quadrupletree

    Why can't I watch this movie? Since you ask I'll tell you. Well for starters it's the third installment in a horrible series of movies. Did the first two have all the hype behind them going into the summer blockbuster season? Yes. Did they suck unholy amounts of ass anyway? You better believe it. I'm not a fan of the original anyway, but I really don't see why they keep making sequels to this franchise. Even if this one turns out to be good, I'm not rewarding 'Hollywood' for continuing to opt to shove sequels to terrible movies down our throats. It's cliche but, how about making something original for once? Secondly there's the JJ Abrams factor. He wishes he was a geeky director but I don't buy it. The thought of him taking over Star Trek fills me with dread. Especially after hearing the premise. The guy who didn't know shit about the superman mythos wants to do Trek? Forget about it. Even though I'm a fan of Alias and Lost, I don't credit him with much. Well, ok, he has a great visual style of directing but.. I don't think he can tell a story worth shit. Alias WAS good till he came back from a hiatus from the show and 'rebooted' it, then it all went to shit. And my guess is that he hasn't had much involvement with Lost, I see it as Lindelof's baby, JJ just put his name on it. My understanding is that he hasn't done much since the pilot cause he's been working on M:I3. Finally (here it comes) Tom Cruise is a smug, bat shit crazy egomaniac. Happy?

  • April 26, 2006, 3:22 p.m. CST

    Since Tom Cruise is in this

    by decypher44

    I'll skip it.

  • April 26, 2006, 3:30 p.m. CST

    Still not gonna happen.

    by OBSD

    Doesn't matter how much this site circle jerks this movie, I'm boycoting M:I:3 (notice how much Tom like to fit in all those colons? -apologies to Bill Bahr's writers-). Is it cuz' Tom Cruise is gay and every second he spends in the closet is an insult to the courage it takes average non-famous gays to come out? Is it because the last MI was so horrificly bad I stood up in the theater and yelled "Die you mother fucker!!!" when Tom jumped off a skyscraper? Is it because Tom Cruise plays the same character every single time and has the same range as a ball of tissue paper? Is it because he's in a cult that brainwashes people and extorts their life savings in the name of salvation? Is it because he had 4 other starlets lined up to play the role of his girfriend before Katie Holmes? Is it because one of those was Scarlett Johansen and she took off running, then dropped out of this movie because she was so creeped out? Is it because he made a movie called "Dances With Ninjas" that was a rippoff of Costner's best film? Is it because he's donating 25% of his paycheck to his cult? Is it because he had his pregnancy faked (no pregnent woman's stomach gets bigger then smaller as much as Katies did. And no pregnant woman can still fit into her size 2 jeans at 9 months.)? Is it because he was a little bitch when that guy squirted water at him last year? Is it because of his stupid asshole jock smirk that I want to smack off with a shovel? Yes.

  • April 26, 2006, 3:35 p.m. CST

    I meant "Bill Maher"

    by OBSD

    Sorry, I have a cold.

  • April 26, 2006, 3:49 p.m. CST

    Flashbacks with depth

    by KabutoKoji

    Posted this before, but again ***SPOILERS*** The movie opens with Ethan Hunt and girlfriend kidnapped by Hoffman's character. Then Hoffman kills her right there at the beginning of the film, and then come the flashbacks to how everything got to that point. So it has a little bit of Bourne Supremacy right there, with a little bit of Lost as well. ***END SPOILERS*** I picked this as one of the top five films of this summer. And for your consideration, if interested in reading the countdown to #1 this summer, read this blog, Thanks.

  • April 26, 2006, 3:54 p.m. CST

    Did you call Joss Whedon a "franchise builder"?

    by Billy_Batts

    My brain just exploded.

  • April 26, 2006, 3:55 p.m. CST

    Too funny

    by monkeybrow

    Very funny smack regarding Tom and his cult..however, it always amazes me that one with so much baggage will once again bring the hammer and dominate the box-office next weekend.

  • April 26, 2006, 4:25 p.m. CST

    well, as far as rehashing sequels...

    by vinceklortho

    you're preaching to the choir at that one, quadrupltree. I'm in the boat of the majority of you that wish they could make original summer blockbusters instead of using these popcorn seasons in "rebuilding" franchises or making the same things. But, since it sounds like you are a fan of Alias or Lost, I'm suprised that you won't give it a chance. Mori spelled it out to you in his review of how he felt the same way, and he loved this movie. Hey, you don't have to see it, but then you will never know, even though it seems that your curiosity is piqued somewhat. Hey, no one will call you a Scientologist if you see it...I promise! I don't understand this Tom Cruise thing. What does his personal life have to do with the movie? Haven't all of you nerds seen War of the Worlds, Minority Report in the past couple of years?

  • April 26, 2006, 4:46 p.m. CST

    KabutoKoji... nice list.

    by brycemonkey

    However, you can't have X3, Spidey3 and Superman all up there. At least 1 'comic' movie is going to tank and tank hard. Personally I think it will be Supes but that's just a guess. Looks (even ignoring the Harry review) that MI:3 has pulled it (finally) out of the bag. DaVinci Code will do well as (for some reason I can't fathom) people line up round the block for Howard/Hanks movies. Anyway, not all of these can be winners, can they?

  • April 26, 2006, 5:14 p.m. CST

    Moriarty's backtracking...

    by DonkeyBalls often the best thing on this site. Sure, he added some caveats in his merciless review (as he always does, in case the film becomes embraced by geeks), but that was a savage review. Read it again. It isn't "There's some great stuff, and some terrible stuff." "It's, "This script is embrassingly bad, random, out of the mythology, ludicrous, etc...but there are some parts where they retread stuff about the superman we all know and love that are good." Please. Don't be so embarassed about hating on Abrams now that he is going to be a player with a good movie under his belt. It's okay. You and Harry got him kicked off of Superman, and now you want to play nice. Don't be a pussy, embrace your true feelings!

  • April 26, 2006, 6:15 p.m. CST

    Lemme guess: The chick is the Rabbit's Foot.

    by Some Dude

    So much for that normal life that Ethan Hunt wanted. Anyone?

  • April 26, 2006, 6:21 p.m. CST

    ok, now i'll see it...

    by Deadwood Dan

    ...actually, like many, the fact that it's the director of that fantastic 'Lost' pilot already makes it more interesting than anything else in May.

  • April 26, 2006, 6:23 p.m. CST

    Tom Cruise is a CYLON!

    by Kubla_Khan

    OK, here's my view. Mori is a great reviewer. Much as I love Harry's rabid delirious ranting reviews of stuff he likes and gruff four-paragraphers when he's really disappointed, I personally find Mori the more balanced reviewer, and am more prone to agreeing with his opinion in general. I think he's generally pretty careful to point out the good when he sees the bad as well. I don't give a ahit about his credentials, the man can write. The amount of Harry-bashing and Mori-bashing going on in the talkbacks is hilarious though, and necessary, lest the two of them get too complacent (and no, I don't consider they have yet.) Worth remembering that without the 2 of them, the 50 or so of us that always seem to post wouldn't fucking be here with the opportunity to bleat at each other about how Lucas sucks devil dick, why Singer's homosexual mindset will make Superman mince that little bit harder, why X3 will suck cos Wolverine's suit still isn't yellow, why Whedon is god cos he wasn't popular at school either and he still made good in the world, and finally why Ford is too old to play a character that has no specific age requirement anyway. Where would be if we weren't here spreading our shit? I don't know...Congress? Okay

  • April 26, 2006, 6:37 p.m. CST

    SO whats all this about anyway?


    DO I have time to read all that? Sheeeeeesh keep it simple shhhhh

  • April 26, 2006, 6:56 p.m. CST

    But Jarv, Mori's job is writing right? So we can bash

    by JUSTICE41

    His written words can't we?. His opinions aren't just opinions they are his job description just as is any editorial writer ,so yes, we can and will and should bash or praise Mori on his writing. Besides I don't need a fuckwit telling me or anyone else what we should be able to do or not to do.

  • April 26, 2006, 7:27 p.m. CST

    I knew when I saw that cartoon

    by Blue_Demon

    animation in the corner that these guys were going to give glowing reviews to this movie. Have you guys seen the reactions that lame trailer gets in theaters? Also, who was the comedian who did a great joke about people in movies "riding the explosion?" Seeing my favorite Operating Thetan surfing that expanding fireball (again!) into the car always reminds me of that. Seriously, once a bit has been ridiculed like that, you don't want to do it again.

  • April 26, 2006, 9:01 p.m. CST

    Can't wait, thanks for another P.O.V.

    by donkeypark

  • April 26, 2006, 10:16 p.m. CST

    J.J.'s Superman:

    by crazyeyezkillah

    he gets his powers from the suit. he flies around in the suit when he's a little kid. full-sized suit, little kid. Jor-El travels to Earth and tells the Kents what's going to happen, gives them the suit years before. There are all kinds of Kryptonians flying around and, oh yeah, Krypton never blows up. Lex Luthor is secretly from Krypton. Moriarty doesn't quote the part where he writes "I... I... sweet God, I hate this script." It doesn't get any dumber folks. It's a worse screenplay than Batman Begins. Abrams will always be the guy who tried to royally fuck up Superman. Thank Rao he never got the chance.

  • April 26, 2006, 11:27 p.m. CST

    Abrams slams back!

    by Virtual Satyr Hmmm.

  • April 26, 2006, 11:28 p.m. CST

    Mori, it's, "I'm a loner, Dottie, a *rebel*."

    by Lenny Nero

    How dare you misquote my favorite movie of all time. Or you were being ironic. Whatever. Great review. Can't wait.

  • April 26, 2006, 11:58 p.m. CST

    Lay off Cruise...

    by KryptonsLastSon

    For Christ's sake does anyone really care what this midget fuck does with his spare time or what he worships? Its like saying you won't see a Woody Allen movie because he's Jewish. Or watch a Spike Lee movie because he's a hypocritical prick. Anyways I may hate Liberals, but that doesn't keep me from seeing movies they're in. Otherwise I'd never see movies, and you know what, I fucking like to watch movies. So God damnit I want to see MI:3 and Superman Returns, even if they're starring a brainwashed dwarf and directed by a guy who bats for the other team. I could give two fucks what they do with their free time, movies are for escapism, I've got enough problems in life without worrying about if Jennifer Aniston is getting donkey punched by Vince Vaughan or Brad Pitt this week. Also for anyone in America who is following Tom and Katie, or any other celebrity "couple", FUCKING QUIT! Everyone who has an actual life, job, and family are sick to death of hearing about celebrities, their problems, their fuck buddies, their therapy, their fucking divorces, and their offspirng who bear fucked up names that will forever brand them as fucking celebrity brats. In essence my post can be summed up as: QUIT BEING A FUCKING IDIOT. That is all.

  • April 27, 2006, 12:05 a.m. CST

    We care about Cruise's beliefs when...

    by Lenny Nero

    ...he tries to thrust them upon us. That's why I don't like loud outspoken members of any religion/cult who give me a hard time for living my life.

  • April 27, 2006, 12:34 a.m. CST

    Drew sings his greatest hits.

    by Serious Black

    Ahhh. It seems like only yesterday...

  • April 27, 2006, 1:30 a.m. CST


    by vinceklortho

    did Tom Cruise just say I should not take pills to deal with my depression? That fucking asshole has no right to fucking tell me what to do! Fuck him and his beliefs! You know what? I'm going to hit him where it counts the most....I'm not going to go to the AMC to see Mission Impossible 3 this weekend. That will teach him to shut his big mouth about his fucking beliefs that keep seeping into my brain and make me think about things! Stop telling me what to do Cruise!

  • April 27, 2006, 4:07 a.m. CST

    After sitting through Silent Hill...

    by donkeypark

    MI:3 will be an absolute work of genius. In fact I didn't sit "through" Silent Hill. I went outside for a smoke and came back in and didn't miss a fucking thing. Afterwards somebody said to me "well you didn't play the game" to which I replied "I didn't see any fucking controlers in the theater". He didn't laugh. I wasn't laughing either. Bring on the MI:3!!!

  • April 27, 2006, 7:05 a.m. CST

    I dont care if Cruise chooses to believe in aliens

    by Drathan

    but I care if he tries to censor south park, make money for the shadiest cult on earth, or preach his anti-psych babble in live TV, which sadly, is only effective on the people who -need- psych services to begin with. So yeah. . Nuff said.

  • April 27, 2006, 8:42 a.m. CST

    by monkeybrow

    what a complete waste of time...yes, Tommy is a kook...but this film will crush at the box office if we like him or not...advance word even outside of AICN has been good

  • April 27, 2006, 1:47 p.m. CST

    Funny to read original reviews of the Alias pilot...

    by minderbinder

    The reviews sent in not only hated it, but thought 24 wouldn't even last the whole first season. Great call that was. I'm torn on this great so far, great cast, and big fan of Abrams and Giacchino...but I hate to plunk down my eight bucks for anything Cruise is involved with.

  • April 29, 2006, 3:56 p.m. CST

    Empire magazine, the best film magazine in the UK

    by emeraldboy

    Gave this movie three stars. Said it was good but could have been greater and said PSH was chilling. They fact that they gave the film three stars is suprising. The Hype suggests one thing the reality is possibly another. While this film while may not stink it may not be too spectacular. It seems like an episode of Alias written for tom cruise. I will see this next week and let you all know what i thought then.

  • April 30, 2006, 7:36 p.m. CST


    by TheAnomalist

    When I enter J.J. Abrams' name into IMDB, his multiple credits as creator/writer/producer/director/composer for hit franchise TV shows like Alias, Lost and Felicity pop up as well as his screenwriting credits for films like Armageddon, Joy Ride, and Regarding Henry among others. When I enter Drew McWeeny into the IMDB I discover that he has been working on (for years..) the hotly anticipated sequel to the multi-thousand dollar blockbuster Mortal Kombat 2, well as two other films (Invasion, Race With the Devil) that read like watered down versions of better movies- or films that were simply stitched together from the product of his unfocused daydreaming during screenings of films he was reviewing for AICN. (like maybe Joy Ride?) This entire article is a joke- he barely has anything to do with MI:3. Rather it is a rebuttal in a one-sided feud that Abrams probably isn't even aware of being the object of -since he's too busy writing, getting paid for what he writes, and seeing his work produced. It is really sad that AICN has sunk so far that they have to invent shit like this and call it news. And these AICN guys will always have a hot nut for people that are actually in the industry- working professional writers- this is because, unlike other mediums, once you read a screenplay- you write an article about it- so you are using the same tools essentially.You can't tell me these guys running this site would rather be turning in that script for next summer's blockbuster film instead of writing one annoyingly venomous movie review after another for a backwater movie site whose existence only a select group of cultish cinegeeks are even aware of. Also, I was glad to see Harry's pet project John Carter of Mars was shitcanned again- it's KARMA!

  • May 2, 2006, 1:08 p.m. CST

    Dude, fuck Superman.

    by Jaka

    GAH!!! I don't want to read about Superman in a damn MI3 review. This is NOT the summer of Superman for everyone - BELIEVE THAT!!

  • May 2, 2006, 1:11 p.m. CST


    by Jaka

    ...the novel length pre-amble ruined it for me. I give up.