They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

Respectable Spies Like Us

What a glorious weekend. The first week of class and as the week progressed it got hotter and steamier. Thursday and Friday was in the high 80s with a heat index up to 100°F. Plus rain. Saturday and Sunday? Highs in the 70s, blue skies with puffy white clouds. Lows dry and around 49°F. Mmm.

Saturday means movie day... And nothing like the Matinee rate at Woodland.

A Most Wanted Man [R]
Celebration Woodland Theatre #1 3:30pm 2x$5.00

Ah, it has been a long term since we had a good romp with a John le Carré spyfest. With the Soviet Union gone and the Cold War, which gave us George Smiley and any number of great spy thrillers, where do we go from here? Well, Hamburg, Germany, where 9-11 was hatched among other terror plots.

Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in his last leading role as a dissolute, tired, chain smoking, hard drinking spymaster trying to do the right thing, get results, with as little damage as possible. Oh, he's with a very small unit -- think the CIA operations in the Bourne movies in a shoebox but still modern and up-to-date. And he got dumped in Hamburg after his unit was sold out in Beirut and remains haunted. You know things can't go right here.

Willem Dafoe is a Hamburg banker dragged into things. You sure he's not really a rich, privileged German banker? And he has the shiniest black car I've ever seen in the movies. Robin Wright is American Embassy/CIA-maybe. She was such a nice girl in The Princess Bride. Since getting into House of Cards, she's just evil. (grin) Rachel McAdams is the German social justice lawyer -- very good performance, but there are no Germans in Germany who can speak English with a German accent? Nina Hoss is an actual German actress, who plays Hoffman's assistant -- you can tell they've been together a long time. Most of the rest of the cast is equally terrific, but though I know I've seen them, I only can pinpoint one as one of a pair of killers from an older version of the Matrix in The Matrix Reloaded, which was just on the other night.

A good spy story should be about ambiguity and confusion, not truth and light. Is this Chechyan refugee a good man? Or trying to fund a terrorist cell? Is he even Chechyan? It's clear that some in this espionage game hate the whole Muslim world. But you have to be smart and set aside both your own personal feelings as well as the manipulations of the filmmakers.

Satisfying? You bet. Because it's a great spy story, not because the ending is the ending you want. I think I need a cigarette and a stiff drink after this one. (evil-smirk)

HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION

Trailers: Gone Girl Did Ben Affleck kill his wife? Can Ben Affleck act? Is Ben Affleck Batman? Might answer 2 of 3, if we cared about this movie. Calvary is not what I thought it might be, given the West Michigan Christian Reformed community. Instead, it seems to be about a good man who is a small town Irish priest -- and targeted to be killed not because he was the priest who is guilty, but the one who is innocent. Seems like a mix of Doubt -- which starred Philip Seymour Hoffman in the movie version -- and High Noon. A Walk Among The Tombstones seems too reminiscent of the new Pierce Brosnan movie The November Man only with Liam Niesen. Retired secret agent brought back for one last job, either officially or unofficially. We always liked Brosnan in Remington Steele and as .007, but we love watching Liam chew up bad guys. Could be fun. Le Week-End is a lark of an old English couple trying to have a weekend in Paris. They fight, or not. It's hard to tell. She laughs when his knee finally gives out and he's laughing while writhing on the ground because she's laughing... And heading down the street without him. The glorious Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan and Jeff Goldblum. Looks very cute. Life Itself is the documentary on eminent film critic and human being Robert Ebert. It's only playing once a day, but it's one of a September series of movies, so we do still have time to see it at Woodland. And I STILL can't wait til November and Interstellar.

Dr. Phil
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