Rapid Review: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

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the man from uncle poster

“There are only two masters in this world: fear and pain.”
– Uncle Rudi

SYNOPSIS: In the 1960s with the Cold War in play, CIA agent Napoleon Solo successfully helps Gaby Teller defect to West Germany despite the intimidating opposition of KGB agent Illya Kuryakin. Later, all three unexpectedly find themselves working together in a joint mission to stop a private criminal organization from using Gaby’s father’s scientific expertise to construct their own nuclear bomb. Through clenched teeth and stylish poise, all three must find a way to cooperate for the sake of world peace, even as they each pursue their own agendas. – via IMDB

the man from uncle opposing sides

GRADE 8.5Ah, this! This was incredibly entertaining! I expected to enjoy it because it looked really good, plus Henry Cavill (I mean seriously now, as if Guy Ritchie’s name wasn’t draw enough), and because of the era. I am fascinated by the WWII era and the Cold War aftermath. This movie was so much more than I was hoping it would be.

Let’s start with Henry Cavill’s Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer’s Illya Kuryakin. The two worked together phenomenally – so much great chemistry there and they dominated every time they were together on screen. Their constant one-upmanship and little skirmishes were dead entertaining, and how they are similar and yet polar opposites of one another never ceased to entertain me. Solo just oozes charm and is suave, collected and very slick, whereas Illya has a volatile temper that can barely be kept in check, and is so patriotic you cannot help but smile and definitely has quite a set of morals set in stone.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is stylish to boot, and it looks amazing. I mean all of it. The outfits were fantastic and Cavill and Hammer were simply delicious, not to mention Vikander thrown into the mix, too. I was a big fan of the way that the whole arms race of the Cold War was not forgotten, as Solo and Kuryakin constantly throw their respective technology in on another’s faces the whole time as being more superior to the other’s. Each has something that is better, and it is hilarious to see this. I like how those little things were brought in. They were at odds the whole way through. A particular scene that I enjoyed involved a motorboat and a picnic – it was brilliant!

Alicia Vikander was, again, worth a watch, and I really did like to see how she and Armie played off of one another – awkward when necessary, just a little haughty, undoubtedly attracted to each other, it just worked so well. Really good chemistry. In fact, they drove me mad at the best of times. The cast was actually exceptionally good for the film. The story is simple, no super fancy frills and not nearly as complicated as other Ritchie plots are known to be, but it was fun and simple and came together nicely. I know that the movie brings nothing new to the table, I know that it isn’t revolutionary or anything like that, but it is fun, and it is entertaining, and it is well worth a watch, just once at least. If you nitpick and expect something super serious, you are likely going to miss what makes this a simple joy to watch.

Rapid Review: The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

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bourne ultimatum

“This is Jason Bourne, the toughest target that you have ever tracked. He is really good at staying alive, and trying to kill him and failing… just pisses him off.”
– Pamela Landy

SYNOPSIS: Bourne is once again brought out of hiding, Jason Bourne is now hunted by the people who made him what he is–legendary assassin. Having lost his memory and the one person he loved, he is undeterred by the barrage of bullets and a new generation of highly-trained killers. Bourne has only one objective: to go back to the beginning and find out who he was. – via IMDB

bourne ultimatum

GRADE 8.5Ah, Jason! Just as you think the story is over, a way is found for Jason to be back in the cross-hairs of the United States Government – and really, where else would we want him? Well, for our entertainment at least. The Bourne Supremacy features more shaky cam than I would like, and the end, while brilliant, is a little bit saddening because it took away the whole conspiracy aspect if he made the choice himself, doesn’t it? Matt Damon, of course, was simply excellent here, though we expect nothing less. Joan Allen returns as Pamela Landy, and she still is a wonderful person to hunt Bourne. She is definitely not like the others though, and has a totally different view of Bourne, and I highly appreciate it. Little bits and pieces of Jason Bourne/David Webb’s story come about, and it just continues to ensnare, interest and entertain. The movie is fast paced and thrilling, with a super smart story and excellent performances to carry it. David Strathairn’s Noah Vosen was such a crooked dude, and so necessary for the story. I loved the strife between him and Pam, it was intense, and at extreme opposites to the relationship that has been forged between Pam and Bourne. Nicky Parsons got some more time in this outing, and that was also pretty good. The movie is shot exceptionally well, the performances are spot on, visually the film is great and that choreography? Again absolutely mesmerizing. The Bourne Ultimatum proves why the Bourne trilogy (and yes, people, in my mind it is a trilogy only) is so successful – each installment is equally as gripping and entertaining, and they are all smart. I had an absolute blast revisiting this franchise, it has been well worth the time.

Review: Dr. No (1962)

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DR NO COVER

“The Americans are fools. I offered my services, they refused. So did the East. Now they can both pay for their mistake.”
– Dr No

007 Agent James Bond (Sean Connery) is sent off by his superior, M (Bernard Lee) to investigate the disappearance of one of their agents, John Strangways and his secretary in the tropics of Jamaica. Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) and James flirt shamelessly, but before we know it he is off.

DR NO

“You Limeys can be pretty touchy about trespassing.” – Leiter

Out in the unknown, during his investigation 007 finds out that the CIA is also looking to find out what the hell is going on with missing agents, tales of dragons on islands not far off the coast as well as files that have gone missing with Agent Strangways. He partners up with Felix Leiter (Jack Lord) of the CIA, and they find that Strangways was investigating the island with the dragon rumours, Crab Key Island. Bond establishes that the locals are terrified of the island, and that virtually nothing is known of the owner, Dr Julius No (Joseph Wiseman). A native of Jamaica, Quarrel (John Kitzmuller), is brought in to help the respective services in their desire to find out what is going on.

James Bond and Honey Ryder Dr No

“Have you any idea what they’ll do with us?” – Honey

007 journeys to the island when he learns of Dr No’s plans of toppling and disrupting an American NASA-launched rocket with a radio-beam weapon, and he meets Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress). Being hunted across the island and ultimately captured, Bond learns that Dr No is a coldblooded murderer who is very well protected, and needs to be stopped at all costs. Bond is taken to the underground lair of his latest nemesis and finds out that Dr No is a member of SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, Extortion) and aiming for world domination when meeting with him for dinner. Dr No is an ingenious scientist, feared and revered by both his friend and enemies alike, Bond is dealing with a whole new level of criminal.

Bond, James Bond Dr No

“Bond. James Bond.”

The time is here to step up and be the spy that MI6 has trained him to be. His 00 status is important as ever right now. Will Bond be able to stop Dr No’s evil plans and halt his desire for world domination in its tracks? Will he be able to make it off the island alive and get the girl, as well as do a huge favour for the American government?

A 7/10 for Dr No. Not a bad way to start an immensely successful franchise, that is for sure. Connery was a good Bond. I loved how the women in these old school films were not overly, anorexically skinny. It is very interesting to watch the films and see how much times have changed; everything from dress sense to smoking policies. I thoroughly enjoy Bond, though I feel that the more the franchise progressed, the better it got. Bond has a few really lame and cheesy lines in it, and I like that seeing as they are not the predominant lines. I must comment on the quality of the image and sound that I experienced from this new box set – it is phenomenal! Everything has been remastered, and it makes for a fantastic viewing experience. Not always the easiest film to follow, but not bad. The acting was also not completely disastrous for the era, and the camera work was fine. Typical Bond soundtrack, too! The villain was also interesting, being rich and a genius. What a way to start the Bond movies!

Review: The Double (2011)

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“This guy has used every single weapon you can think of. From an M-24 from 800 meters, to a rusty nail.”
– Martin Miller

Here was a movie that came in highly recommended by a  very good friend of mine that usually has impeccable taste. I am not quite sure what happened here though. This movie had a pretty good plot, but not really that great an execution.

A retired CIA operative, Paul Shepherdson (Richard Gere), is called from retirement by CIA director Tom Highland (Martins Sheen) to pair up with a young FBI agent, Ben Geary (Topher Grace), to begin the hunt for the elusive Soviet assassin Cassius. The two are thrown together when a US senator is killed in a style that is remarkably similar to the technique used by Cassius. Paul spent decades of his life attempting the capture of the elusive Soviet assassin, and refuses to acknowledge that Cassius has returned, seeing as Cassius went into hiding and ceased his kills altogether. Ben wrote a thesis on Paul’s fruitless hunt for the killer, and is convinced of it that Cassius roams freely, and that this is his work.

The two agents butt heads continually, and their visit to attempt to extricate information from inmate Brutus (Stephen Moyer) turns out to be slightly rewarding, although Paul claims it is not. Paul’s past is rapidly catching up to him and he is desperate to cover his tracks and will stop at no cost.

A Russian sleeper cell operative is activated and brings many Russian war criminals into the States from the Mexican border, so that no one would suspect. Paul catches one glimpse of the most elusive character he has sought before: the murderer of his wife and child – Bozlovski (Tamer Hassan), though that secret is known by no one.

The Double is only worth a 5/10 for me. I was waiting to be thrilled, and the kick was sorely lacking, . I must say, I was extremely underwhelmed with Topher Grace’s performance, and I don’t know why. I almost think that he is an exclusive comedic actor for me. His role just did not feel real, accepted and proper. I don’t know, I have not been this disappointed in a very long time by a film recommended by a friend.