Archive for the ‘Spionage’ Category

Allied – **(*)

Posted: January 15, 2017 in 2016, Romance, Spionage, UK, USA, WW2, XX1/2

Catching this during its final week at the movie theaters, Allied does deliver. The classic WWII romantic thriller is well directed (by Robert Zemeckis) and stars the almost always fascinating Marion Cotillard as a resistance girl/spy. It stars Brad Pitt as a Canadian pilot/secret agent as well. But even though he’s also a main character in the movie, his fascination for Marion Cotillard makes him look like a supporting actor. It makes sense that the yellow press accuse Cotillard for the break-up of Brangelina.

The movie’s atmosphere reminds you of other great war classics like Casablanca (the location of the first half of the movie) and Lawrence Of Arabia (the opening dessert sequence). Much time (and money) was spent on details. The set design is impeccable. It looks really good. As far as the story goes, it’s intriguing until the end. It really does feel like it’s based on a true story. Even though it’s all fiction and several scenes don’t make sense.

Not sure if all the cursing happened back then the way it happens in the movie. And not sure if lesbian couples could be so open about their relationship back in 1942 (that scene adds nothing to the story either). Not sure how a British pilot can fly across the Channel into enemy territory and fly back home the next day like it’s nothing. Come to think of it.

Now, a day later, several things just don’t make sense. However, when leaving the theatre the feeling was good.

Ethan Hunt isn’t quite as iconic as James Bond. He isn’t charming or cool. He’s not parading around with fancy gadgets. And he has very few catchy one-liners. Yet all of the movies around his character are as entertaining, if not more entertaining, than the British spy movie series.

In this fifth instalment our rogue American spy is on a quest to bring down ‘The Syndicate’, an obscure group of former secret agents causing havoc all over the world. In the meantime the CIA was able to close down the IMF where Ethan works for, so he’s basically acting on his own and without any governmental support.

This instalment unashamedly copies the James Bond franchise. There are again several location shoots (a vinyl store in London, the opera in Vienna, the streets of Casablanca, …) and the chase scenes and fights feel like they were taken form the draft board of the 007 production team. There’s even a Hunt-girl! There’s just no sex.

But it’s entertaining. The action is good. The girl is pretty and kicks ass. Tom Cruise does what he has to do and somehow manages to not have the movie focus around him. Which is a feat on its own! It’s a bit overlong and the story sucks, but who cares? It’s over before you know it.


Far from being perfect, this Flemish series about home security does what a tv series should do: entertain (and thrill).

Even though the world may not believe it (the recent escape of terrorist Salah Abdeslam kind of makes us look silly), but Belgium does have a national security agency! With a cell in Antwerp, existing of four members only, who operate from a bunker (hence the title).

The series focuses on a different threat in each episode, but also has a bigger story including a mole in the agency who informs an important criminal, who seems as difficult to catch as our aforementioned Abdeslam. It’s not Homeland of course. One scene of that award winning show probably costs as much as an entire episode of this local version. But this lower budget isn’t a problem at all. The action and excitement are filmed very efficiently by some locally known Flemish directors. The acting is quite good, especially since the main characters are performed by lesser known actors and the celebrities just play supporting parts or occur in one episode only. Eline Kuppens is a revelation, but Sachli Gholamalizad is the real surprise. It’s pretty cool of the producers to have chosen a Flemish actor with an immigrant background as its lead.

It would be interesting to see if this show can work outside of Flanders and The Netherlands (where it will be shown later on). It’s flawed, for sure, but it’s worth the watch. Just wait until episode 3 to really get into it.

Bridge Of Spies – **(*)

Posted: December 29, 2015 in 2015, Cold War, Drama, Spionage, USA, War, XX1/2

Steven Spielberg has settled for making decent movies. His last releases haven’t been bad, but they just haven’t been great either. TinTin, The War Horse, Lincoln: all nice, but did they leave a great impression? no. The same fate awaits Bridge of Spies. It’s a solid drama about the exchange of a Russian spy for two Americans during the cold war. The simplified story is biased (of course) and told from an American perspective (of course), but it’s entertaining enough to spend your money on.

Is is a bad movie? Of course not. It’s just not great.


Spectre – **

Posted: November 5, 2015 in 2015, Action, Spionage, UK, USA, XX

I’ve seen every single James Bond movie at the movie theatre since The Living Daylights. I’m not sure why really. Just because it’s the new James Bond movie. There’s always someone who wants to see the last one and I always find myself thinking: why not? None of the movies are memorable. I’m not a fan so I really wouldn’t know which scene and location and car and gadget comes from which episode. But as a way of forgetting daily life for more than 2 hours, James Bond always delivers.

The previous episode was a huge disappointment, so this one could only be better. And it is. However, it’s again not memorable. It’s better in the sense that there is a little more action, a little more travel, a little more sexiness and some humor. It also has a great cast, with Ralph Fiennes (looking old); Christopher Waltz (playing the same role over and over again in every Hollywood movie he’s in), Monica Bellucci (four minutes of sexiness) and the great Lea Seydoux (who’s ready to push Marion Cotillard off her throne as best French actress). Daniel Craig however is boring. Time to replace him with someone else. I’m on team Idris Elba. He should definitely be the next one. But James McAvoy would be cool too.

Oh. The synopsis? Does it matter? Nothing ever makes sense in James Bond movies. Ever. So no, it doesn’t. But if you really want to know: James Bond was raised by a foster parent who got murdered by his natural son out of jealousy. And guess what? This foster ‘brother’ turns out to be the villain controlling a lot of other villains from Bond’s past and responsible for killing the women that Bond loved. He runs a company that caters digital control tools that can replace the need for secret agents.

It’s crap as usual. And again, nothing makes sense at all. Like, since when is Austria already covered with snow in the beginning of November?

Spy – *

Posted: September 18, 2015 in 2015, Action, Comedy, Parody, Spionage, USA, X

How can Spy make more than 100 million US dollars at the box office?

There are maybe five brief moments in the entire movie that produce a laugh. One of which is a battle scene between two women in a professional kitchen. That alone deserves a star.

It’s terrible as a parody because it tries to hard to be a real spy movie.

It’s terrible as spy movie because it tries to hard to be funny.

Season Four takes place in Islamabad and focuses on re-capturing a presumed killed Taliban terrorist leader. The American Embassy places a big part and so do the Pakistani intelligent forces. The narrative is more straightforward which makes this season the easiest to digest. It’s still fascinating from start to finish, but it does have several predictable moments. There is a kind of repetitiveness occurring and it’s no longer refreshing or new. The acting is – as usual – quite solid, but the characters start to annoy. Especially lead Carrie Mathison, who is such an incredibly selfish, egocentric, crazy, fucked up, irresponsible, overly ambitious, aggressive bitch, that you just want her to die at one point or another. And Saul, her mentor, who’s basically the same but with balls – literally – is an incredible douchebag too. It’s amazing to have a show with so few likable characters be so popular.

The finale makes you want to start watching Season 5 and that’s what matters.