Day 102: Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

kingsmanThere are so many different spy movies in the world today and the question always remains what makes them different than any Bond film ever released. In 2015, they finally released Kingsman: The Secret Service worldwide and I didn’t see it until now. For Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton), there is much point to be a good ole boy when you come from the wrong side of town. That is until you are bailed out of jail by a man (Colin Firth) who claims to have known your father (that you never got to know). Eggsy is recruited to join a very secretive spy organization known as the Kingsmen, a group modeled after King Arthur and his round table. The organization needs a new recruit when one of their own is killed by a mad man named Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) looking to rid the world of humans because of global warming. Now it’s up to them to save the world before it’s too late. The film also stars Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes) as Merlin, Jack Davenport (Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl) as Lancelot, Michael Caine (The Dark Knight) as Arthur, Sofia Boutella (Monsters: Dark Continent) as Gazelle, Mark Hamill (Star Wars: A New Hope) as Professor Arnold, and the film was directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass).

kingsman 2The only thing I regret about this movie is that I didn’t see it earlier than this, but better late than never. This is yet another film that I truly enjoyed watching this month and that is kind of the point of this blog. The film has tons of action in it, plenty of that dry British humor that we all love, and a really cool villain. He’s not your stereotypical villain with his lisp, but he has a bad ass hench-woman by his side. The woman has prosthetic’s with swords or blades on the ends of them and she can slice dudes up with them. Kingsman is actually a breath of fresh air for the spy genre for people looking for something different. If the film is a spoof like people say it is then I’ll gladly take another serving of the film from the franchise. If they play their cards right this is definitely a series that could be around for quite some time as long as the writing is good. One of my favorite scenes in the film is definitely when Colin Firth’s character goes into the church and it’s a bloody massacre in there. That is such a cool action sequence that just blew me away. Some of the special effects in the film are very good especially with a head exploding sequence at the end that is very colorful. Oh and Hanna Alström has an amazing asset that she shows off at the end of the film. This is definitely another favorite of mine that is going to make picking a clear and concise top 25 very difficult at the end of the month. With that being said, I am going to give the film an A-/A because it lies somewhere between those two.

Day 73: Bridge Of Spies (2015)

bridge-of-spies-656There are certain actors in Hollywood that when you hear that they are starring in a film, you immediately want to see it because of how amazing they are. The same could be said when you hear a certain directors name and Bridge Of Spies is one of those films that works for both those cases. The film stars Tom Hanks (Catch Me If You Can) and it was directed by Steven Spielberg (Schindler’s List) and it takes place during the cold war at a time when both The Soviet Union and The United States were deploying spies. One day, a Soviet Spy by the name of Rudolph Abel (Mark Rylance) is caught and arrested. James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) is tasked with the duty of representing Abel in a court of law and then he is tasked with having to set up an exchange between the two mega powers. The film also stars Domenick Lombardozzi (Phone Booth) as Agent Blasko, Victor Verhaeghe (The Wolf Of Wall Street) as Agent Gamber, Joshua Harto (The Dark Knight) as Bates, Alan Alda (M*A*S*H) as Thomas Watters Jr., Amy Ryan (Escape Plan) as Mary Donovan, Mikhail Gorevoy (Die Another Day) as  Ivan Schischkin, Sebastian Koch (A Good Day To Die Hard) as Wolfgang Vogel, Burghart Klaußner (Goodbye Lenin!) as Harald Ot, Will Rogers (The Bay) as Frederic Pryor, Austin Stowell (Whiplash) as Francis Powers, and Jesse Plemons (Black Mass) as Joe Murphy.

sp1Mark Rylance who played Rudolph Abel, the accused Soviet spy won an Oscar this year for Best Supporting Actor and it was the only Oscar the film won I believe. I have still not seen many of the other pictures that were nominated to really make a critique, but I didn’t think he did enough to earn the win. It was a great performance none the less from the man, but there was more of Tom Hanks than there was of him. I do however understand the point of Best Supporting Actor who is there to support the lead actor. Nevertheless, you are probably wondering what I thought about the film itself. Like I said in the above paragraph, there are actors that you see their name and you do not question it at all. Tom Hanks is definitely one of those guys and he puts on a superstar performance in the film as James B. Donovan. Donovan’s character is very interesting because here is a man representing someone we labeled a spy knowing full well that he was going to be hated because of it. yet, the man kept going and did one of the most unthinkable things later on. I’m not giving away any spoilers because it’s based on a true story. The film is compelling and the story was well written. This isn’t an action film or a psychological thriller, but a drama that is historical and I guess is a little bit of a thriller towards the last half of the film. The cinematograghy in the film was amazing and you have to give it up to the set design and costume department for making us believe we were 1950’s New York and a dilapidated Berlin. I love films that are based on true stories because they are so much more compelling. That is why I am going to give this one an A- for a final grade.

Day 69: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

the-man-from-u-n-c-l-eGoing into today’s Ass Whoopin Wednesday film, there were two reasons I chose the film The Man From U.N.C.L.E. with one being that it was directed by Guy Ritchie (Snatch) and the second being that it stars Superman himself Henry Cavill (Man Of Steel). The Man From U.N.C.L.E. takes us all the way back to the 1960’s and the cold war as our setting for the film. Cavill plays American CIA operative Napoleon Solo while Armie Hammer (The Social Network) plays KGB Agent Illya Kuryakin in a film where the two agents are forced to team together against one common enemy other than each other. There is a rumor that some Nazi enthusiasts are close to creating an atomic bomb and along with the help of the beautiful Gaby (Alicia Vikander) they will try to infiltrate and retrieve the bomb before it is completed. The film also stars Hugh Grant (Four Weddings And A Funeral) as Waverly, Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby) as Victoria, Luca Calvani (When In Rome) as Alexander, Sylvester Groth (Inglorious Basterds) as Uncle Rudi, Jared Harris (Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows) as Sanders, Christian Berkel (Valkyrie) as Udo, Misha Kuznetsov (25TH Hour) as Oleg, Marianna Di Martino as the desk clerk, and David Menkin (Zero Dark Thirty) as Jones. To check out the rest of the review and see some stats, click here.