Posts Tagged ‘espionage’

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License Renewed: “Spectre”

November 11, 2015

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If you’ve followed this blog even casually, you know that I’m a James Bond superfan and roundly consider the Daniel Craig installments to be a human achievement roughly on par with the pyramids, Hoover Dam, and, well, democracy. And you would be right to assume that I might not be the most impartial of critics when it comes to James Bond movies. I will admit that if Spectre, the 24 entry in the James Bond franchise, consisted of nothing but 120 minutes of Daniel Craig reading aloud from a Nicolas Sparks novel and punching a dolphin in the face I’d probably leave the theater thinking, Well that was a bold direction to take the character and then immediately buy the limited edition Omega watch.

Still, I’d like to think my love for the franchise also gives me a keen sense of what should and should not be in a Bond movie. And Spectre pretty much gives us mostly the former with a little of the latter.

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The hunt for a new action hero: “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”

January 19, 2014

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After more than a decade hiatus, CIA analyst Jack Ryan–Tom Clancy’s signature creation—is back on the screen. First embodied by Alec Baldwin nearly 25 years ago in a career-making (and, perversely enough, career-derailing) performance in The Hunt for Red October, the role then went to the more appropriate, but less interesting Harrison Ford in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. An attempt to reboot the character was made in 2002 when Ben Affleck stepped into the role in The Sum of All Fears, and that went about as well as everything else Affleck did in the 2000s. Now, Hollywood as decided to reboot the reboot with Chris Pine stepping in to retcon the character yet again in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. This time, however, the results are far more positive.
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Now on DVD: “Skyfall”

February 11, 2013

[To coincide with the DVD release, here is my original review of Skyfall]

Bond is back.

Skyfall, the 23rd entry in the 007 franchise, comes to us six years after Daniel Craig’s debut as James Bond in Casino Royale, and four years after the interesting, but developmentally-compromised Quantum of Solace, and with itwe finally get the James Bond film we have been waiting for: a return to all the things that make this franchise so beloved—gadgets, girls, foreign locations, intrigue—but also a film possessed of an emotional nuance not seen before in the franchise. It’s also finally recognized what the past 17 years of Bond films have mostly missed: the best Bond girl is Judi Dench.
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The spies in their wilderness years: “The Fourth Protocol”

February 2, 2013

4protOkay, so this one isn’t so much an action movie—more of a thriller—but it certainly is obscure. I’m not even certain this was released in the US. I remember seeing posters for the VHS release, but can’t recall ever seeing a commercial for a theatrical release. That’s kind of too bad, since The Fourth Protocol is a nice, understated spy movie–a good espionage tale adapted from Frederick Forsyth’s novel. Plus, hey, it’s got Michael Caine and Pierce Brosnan! How can a movie with those two guys possibly be bad? Answer: it can’t. Plant those dudes in Caligula and I guarantee you’d walk out of theater thinking, “Well, you know that one scene was pretty good. That one where Michael Caine and Pierce Brosnan swapped stories about growing up in the UK, while Malcolm McDowell sodomized a horse in the background.”
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A 143 minute-long orgasm: “Skyfall”

November 10, 2012

Bond is back.

Skyfall, the 23rd entry in the 007 franchise, comes to us six years after Daniel Craig’s debut as James Bond in Casino Royale, and four years after the interesting, but developmentally-compromised Quantum of Solace, and with itwe finally get the James Bond film we have been waiting for: a return to all the things that make this franchise so beloved—gadgets, girls, foreign locations, intrigue—but also a film possessed of an emotional nuance not seen before in the franchise. It’s also finally recognized what the past 17 years of Bond films have mostly missed: the best Bond girl is Judi Dench.
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Bruce Willis gets killed in the first reel: “The Cold Light of Day”

September 7, 2012

(The Cold Light of Day was released in Thailand already, so I got an advance taste of this waste of celluloid. Below is a reprint of my orginal review posted April 10, 2012)

Yeah, Bruce gets it about twenty minutes in, just as the plot gets moving. There, see? I just saved you from being as disappointed as I was when I realized that I was going to have to spend the rest of this movie following Henry Cavill around. Because, as I pointed out in my review of his last starring feature, Immortals, Cavill is a terrible action lead. He’s pretty much the embodiment of everything that’s wrong with today’s crop of leading men: he’s a pretty boy with chiseled physique, but you don’t believe for a minute he could hold his own on a Milwaukee bowling alley, let alone with some international thugs. Every time the little twerp is on screen, one word ran through my head: DOUCHETARD.

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Bruce Willis gets killed in the first reel: “The Cold Light of Day”

April 10, 2012

Yeah, Bruce gets it about twenty minutes in, just as the plot gets moving. There, see? I just saved you from being as disappointed as I was when I realized that I was going to have to spend the rest of this movie following Henry Cavill around. Because, as I pointed out in my review of his last starring feature, Immortals, Cavill is a terrible action lead. He’s pretty much the embodiment of everything that’s wrong with today’s crop of leading men: he’s a pretty boy with chiseled physique, but you don’t believe for a minute he could hold his own on a Milwaukee bowling alley, let alone with some international thugs. Every time the little twerp is on screen, one word ran through my head: DOUCHETARD.

Read the rest of this entry ?