Nothing Is Invisible

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Posts Tagged ‘CIA’

The Company Men – Starring Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper & Kevin Costner

Posted by the editors on Thursday, 5 January 2012

The Company Men (2010) Starring Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper and Kevin Costner, written and directed by John Wells.  Given the title and the cast, one could think that The Company Men was sharp, gritty film about the CIA and its operatives.  And one would be wrong.  In fact The Company Men is a drama about upper echelon corporate American men, of various ages, all from the same global firm, and how they deal with losing their jobs.  Of course, The Company Men could have been about that same subject and been sharp and gritty as well, and it is not, and it’s unfortunate that, with such a cast, the opportunity was missed.  Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper and Kevin Costner do well with the poor script, especially Jones.  Ben Affleck’s portrayal, on the other hand, leaves very much to be desired.  However, with such poor writing and banal directing, let’s not judge the cast too severely. (PR)

See our posts on the films The Town and State of Play, starring Ben Affleck, and the films The Fugitive, In the Valley of Elah, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada and No Country for Old Men, starring Tommy Lee Jones.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs, and Blu-ray Disks, in that order, when available):

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Body of Lies – Starring Leonardo DiCaprio & Russell Crowe, directed by Ridley Scott

Posted by the editors on Thursday, 5 January 2012

Body of Lies (2008)  Directed by Ridley Scott ( Blade Runner (1982), Thelma & Louise (1991), Gladiator (2000), Black Hawk Down (2001), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), and American Gangster (2007)), starring Leonardo DiCaprio (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), The Aviator (2004), Blood Diamond (2006), Shutter Island (2010) and many others) and Russell Crowe (The Insider (1999), A Beautiful Mind (2001), The Next Three Days (2010)) with Mark Strong (Syriana (2005), Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008), Sherlock Holmes (2009), Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011)), written by William Monahan, based on the novel of the same name by David Ignatius.  In this spy thriller, set in the Middle East and the war against terrorism, DiCaprio portrays Roger Ferris, a scraggly bearded, Arabic-speaking and rather naive CIA field operative, as best he can; Russel Crowe is his overweight, out-of-touch-yet-convinced-of the-righteousness-of-his-actions, suburban Washington D.C. boss, in charge of Middle East operations.  Body of Lies is replete with terrorist bombings, spy plane footage of deserts and colorful, dangerous Middle Eastern marketplaces and a plot that has far too many weak points.  Ridley Scott’s directing seems old, and though high in cinematic technicity, is not enough, even with DiCaprio and Crowe, to cover over the weaknesses.  Mark Strong, however, as head of the Jordanian intelligence service, is really very good: sharp, smart, suave and even amusing.  See Body of Lies for its film technique, but don’t expect much of an intelligent look at a complex situation.  Stephen Gaghan‘s Syriana starring George Clooney and Matt Damon is a better choice. (PR)

See our posts on the film Syriana, and on The Next Three Days and State of Play, starring Russell Crowe and on the film American Gangster, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs and Blu-ray Disks, in that order, where available):

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The Good Shepherd – Directed by Robert De Niro, starring Matt Damon & Angelina Jolie

Posted by the editors on Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The Good Shepherd (2006)  Directed by Robert De Niro, starring Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, William Hurt, Alec Baldwin, Robert De Niro, John Turturro and many excellent others in a large supporting cast.  This very good spy drama, about the origins of the intelligence and counter-intelligence services through to the fiasco of the Bay of Pigs, though rather long, is never dull.  A complex, and even today, secretive story, one moves from the Skull and Bones Society at Yale, through the OSS and British/American intelligence cooperation, to the cold war, double agents and disaster in the years of JFK‘s presidency.  An ambitious slice of spy history, to say the least, De Niro’s directing and sense of cold darkness sets the tone for a fascinating look into the life of one man, Edward Wilson, modeled somewhat on James Jesus Angleton, head of Counter-Intelligence for the CIA from 1954 to 1974, and portrayed, consummately, by Matt Damon, as he treads a virtually soulless and secretive path through a twisted, dangerous, error-prone world.  Of course, with such ambitions, the film has some weaknesses, notably in the writing of the sub-plot involving Wilson’s (Damon) son Edward Jr. and in the actor chosen to portray this character.  Nevertheless, there is so much else to be appreciated, from the fine acting of a vast exemplary supporting cast, to the look and tone and feel of the film, that The Good Shepherd, as a tense, cold look at a complex and often horrible reality is a must-see film. (PR)

See our posts on the films What Just Happened starring Robert De Niro, Syriana, The Informant! and Invictus starring Matt Damon, Vantage Point with William Hurt and The Bone Collector starring Angelina Jolie.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library…  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs, Blu-ray Disks, in that order, when available):

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Syriana – Starring George Clooney & Matt Damon

Posted by the editors on Monday, 28 November 2011

Syriana (2005) (DVD) Written and directed by Stephen Gaghan (as writer, Traffic (2000), Rules of Engagement (2000), The Alamo (2004), starring George Clooney (O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), Michael Clayton (2007), Up in the Air (2009), The Ides of March (2011) and many others)Matt Damon (The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), The Departed (2006), The Informant! (2009), Invictus (2009), True Grit (2010) and many other films)Jeffrey Wright (W. (2008), Quantum of Solace (2008), The Ides of March (2011)) in an ensemble cast including Chris CooperAmanda PeetWilliam HurtChristopher Plummer and others.  An astounding, excellent and truly contemporary global petro-political thriller, Syriana, through multiple parallel story lines and diverse locations, is a thought-provoking, and thoroughly emotionally and intellectually engaging look at devious and dangerous international big oil, mixing politics, terrorism, business, assassination, profit and spies.  The acting is very good (Clooney won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as CIA agent Bob Barnes), and Gaghan’s writing and directing are sharp and extremely effective.  Complex and hypnotic, Syriana is a must-see thriller. (PR)

See our posts on Solaris, starring George Clooney, and The Informant! and Invictus, starring Matt Damon.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Create a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com:

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The Ghost (The Ghost Writer), by Robert Harris

Posted by the editors on Friday, 18 November 2011

The Ghost (2007)(Novel) by Robert Harris     One could call The Ghost, Robert Harris‘s sixth novel, a publishing/political thriller, and, at least in the first part, an entertainingly cynical one at that, with sharply amusing comments on the state of contemporary publishing.  Once we enter into the more political part of The Ghost, however, with the introduction of some rather predictable stock characters, not to mention the CIA, torture in the form of water-boarding, the war in Afghanistan, the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and more, Harris’s novel becomes slightly less entertaining, and most critics took square aim, attempting to drop it in its tracks.  Nevertheless, The Ghost, went on to become an international best seller.  The Ghost will not be confused as “literature”, let’s be clear on that point; it is, however, an entertaining, and yes, a rather thrilling read. (PR)

Nota: Roman Polanski‘s, well-received and quite effective 2010 thriller film, The Ghost Writer (The Ghost, in the UK), starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan, with screenplay written by Polanski and Robert Harris, is, of course, based on Harris’s novel.

We recommend that you buy your books.  Have a wonderful personal library..  Here’s a link to amazon.com:

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