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Classic Noir And A New ‘Mission Impossible’ This Weekend

Check out something old, something new at the movies

Photo caption: John Garfield and Lana Turner star as a couple who have an illicit affair and...

Photo credit: MGM

John Garfield and Lana Turner star as a couple who have an illicit affair and then plan a murder in James M. Cain's "The Postman Always Rings Twice."

This weekend you can find something old and something new at the movies to escape the summer heat.

Noir on the Boulevard

The weather is not the only thing heating up this summer as Noir on the Boulevard continues with the 1946 film "The Postman Always Rings Twice." James M. Cain’s hard-boiled classic screens Sunday at 1:00 pm at Digital Gym Cinema. Lana Turner and John Garfield star in this tale of lust and murder that the Production Code Administration had at one point deemed "definitely unsuitable for motion picture production."

Turner and Garfield generated on screen heat despite the restrictions of the Hays Code. The film was remade in 1981 with Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson. Although the remake could be more sexually explicit, it failed to capture the same tension as the original.

Cain's novel had previously been filmed abroad as "Le Dernier Tournant (The Last Turning)" in France in 1939 and as "Ossessione (Obsession)" in Italy in 1943.

Then on Monday the temperature continues to rise with the contemporary noir "Body Heat," also part of the year-long noir series that I co-host at Digital Gym Cinema. "Body Heat" also boasts a very young Mickey Rourke in a key role.

'Mission Impossible: Fallout'

Cinema Junkie Recommends Noir and 'Mission Impossible'

Now for something new: the latest entry in the "Mission Impossible" franchise, "Fallout." If this film only had its bathroom brawl (featuring Liang Yang), it would be worth the price of admission.

I was not a fan of the franchise until Brad Bird (directing the 2011 "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol") and Christopher McQuarrie (writing and directing "Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation" in 2015) re-energized it with humor and jaw-dropping action. One of the keys to the success of the franchise after Bird and McQuarrie is that they deflate Tom Cruise’s square-jawed action hero image by constantly beating the crap out of him, which I have to confess I really enjoy since he always seemed too smug on screen.

Plot is irrelevant here, and made overly complicated, but what carries it is great fight choreography, chases and pacing and a ridiculous sense of fun. The opening captures the spirit of the original 1960s TV series created by Bruce Geller, and then McQuarrie (returning as writer-director) just keeps things zipping along. In the kick-ass bathroom fight, he uses no music and keeps the camera and editing simple to let the action just impress you.

So there you have it, the perfect weekend fare of "Mission Impossible: Fallout" as well as the film noir classics "The Postman Always Rings Twice" and "Body Heat."

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