This Week at the Movies: ‘Mission: Impossible,’ ‘Vacation,’ and ‘The End of the Tour’

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It’s a busy weekend at the movies—one of the busier of the summer—with several high-profile blockbusters and indies competing for your attention. So here’s our thumbnail guide to what’s out, and what your Flavorwire’s had to say about them:

  • The 800-pound gorilla of the weekend is Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation, a relentlessly entertaining popcorn-muncher and the fifth in the Tom Cruise franchise, adapted from the ‘60s television show. It’s got spy action and vertigo-inducing set pieces and exotic locales galore; it’s also got consistency with the previous installment, a rarity in that series. More about that here.
  • The week’s other big wide release is the new Vacation, with Ed Helms stepping into Chevy Chase’s khakis as the perpetually stymied suburban father taking the family to Wally World. It’s not great, but Christina Applegate is.
  • At the art house, Jason Segel steps into David Foster Wallace’s bandana in the sharp, warm, fascinating character study The End of the Tour. Your film editor raved about it at Sundance; literary editor Jonathon Sturgeon wasn’t quite as high on it. And if you’re not as familiar with Wallace’s work as you’d like to be going in, our Emily Temple prepared this study guide.
  • Best of Enemies was another big hit at Sundance. This riveting documentary revisits the famed Gore Vidal/William F. Buckley debates that aired on ABC during the 1968 presidential nominating conventions, and in doing so, discovers the seed that blossomed into what passes for televised political discourse these days. We delve into that one here.
  • But in spite of this bumper crop, our pick for the week’s best new theatrical release is Listen to Me Marlon, Stevan Riley’s remarkable bio-documentary on the great Marlon Brando, in which the enigmatic actor (a la Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck and Amy) narrates his own life story, via a treasure trove of previously unknown private audio recordings. It’s an uncommonly personal and powerful portrait of a brilliant man and the forces that drove him. Further thoughts on the film in our interview with Brando’s daughter Rebecca.