Friday, May 5, 2017


Year 9, Day 125 - 5/5/17 - Movie #2,620

BEFORE: I've got a little over a week until Mother's Day, and about three and a half weeks until Memorial Day - no problem, I'm breathing easy because I've got a chain that gets me to both holidays, to the end of May even, and it also allows me to watch "Guardians of the Galaxy 2" next week.  That's a win-win for me.  But I've still got no clue about what to watch in June, I could start with a few documentaries once my linking runs out, but what then?  I'll have to review the whole remainder of the list in about 2 weeks and really prioritize what's left.  I can't move into back-to-school or October horror films so soon, so where will that leave me?  Maybe I should just borrow the whole pile of Academy screeners I have access to and work my way through it, but that feels a bit like cheating.  As it is, my chain for May includes two films on screeners and two that I'll have to buy on either Amazon or iTunes, just to keep my linking going.

David Harewood carries over from "The Brothers Grimsby", and this is the third and final spy film in this chain, I want to add "Bridge of Spies" (which is running on cable now) to the watchlist, but there's no link there.  It's probably better to save that one for a Tom Hanks chain, with "Sully", "Inferno" and "The 'Burbs", that keeps my options open.  

You might ask, why did I separate this film with Peter Firth from the other two ("Risen" and "Equus")?  Well, I needed to extend the chain, and since that was 18 days ago, I was able to squeeze in a whole lot of films between the Firth films.  So sometimes it makes sense to NOT run one actor's films all together, I have to look at the big picture and see all the paths, which eventually tend to circle back to certain actors again, it's just the way it works.  Same goes for Tim McInnerny, he's back tonight after appearing in "101 Dalmatians" and "Eddie the Eagle" last week, but running all of his films together wouldn't have created the same flow, it would have felt more disjointed to me. 

THE PLOT: When a terrorist escapes custody during a routine handover, Will Holloway must team with disgraced MI-5 Intelligence Chief Harry Pearce to track him down before an imminent attack on London. 

AFTER: So it turns out that "MI-5" the movie is based on "MI-5" the BBC TV series, which is called "Spooks" in the U.K. (a much more horrible title, it could lead someone to think the show is about ghosts) and this film was released in some countries under the title "Spooks: The Greater Good".  Let's face it, "MI-5" is much cooler, and this way some U.S. movie fans might accidentally think that it's part of the "Mission: Impossible" franchise, which could only help.

But the series "Spooks" went on for a long time (10 seasons), it seems to be the British equivalent of our "Law & Order", in that every working actor seems to have appeared on it as a guest-star at some point.  (The "Law & Order" franchise has been running so long, it's rare to find an actor who hasn't been on it at least twice, often playing different roles.)  A quick scan of the cast list for the series reveals a lot of big names: David Oyelowo, Richard Armitage, Matthew Macfadyen, Gemma Jones, and hey, there's Sophia Myles from "Tristan & Isolde", and there's the woman who played the young Mon Mothma in "Rogue One" and...well, you get the idea.

But since the show was on for so long before the movie, and the characters in the movie make some references to things that might have happened on the show, it's now wonder why I was feeling like I'd been dropped into the middle of things.  Maybe I'm wrong, because the ex-MI5 agent was asking the head of Intelligence about how his father died, and that guy must have been an agent like 25 years ago, so those events would have probably pre-dated the TV series, right?

I don't know why there seems to be this competition among spy films to see how can make one that is the most confusing, with the highest concentration of double-agents and double-crosses, so that in the end, you're not sure whom to root for.  I guess all of these smaller films are in competition with the James Bond and Mission: Impossible franchises, so they have to keep upping the ante, and this is the only way they know how.  "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" and "Spectre" both pulled similar "we have to find the traitor within our own ranks" storylines.

I don't really buy the premise here, the possibility that if MI-5 proves itself to be incompetent or corrupt, that it could get taken over by the C.I.A.  Umm, why would the U.S. want to run British intelligence?  How could they even do that - it makes no sense.  Didn't we fight a war to get away from the British government, wouldn't this be a step backwards?  Why couldn't the U.K. just sack everyone in the organization and bring in more competent spies?  There's no reason to torch the whole system to the ground just because part of it's not up to snuff.

Also starring Peter Firth (last seen in "Equus"), Kit Harington (last heard in "How to Train Your Dragon 2"), Jennifer Ehle (last seen in "The Forger"), Elyes Gabel (last seen in "Interstellar"), Lara Pulver (last seen in "Edge of Tomorrow"), Tim McInnerny (last seen in "Eddie the Eagle"), Hugh Simon, Eleanor Matsuura, Tuppence Middleton (last seen in "The Imitation Game"), Geoffrey Streatfeild, Elliot Levey, Michael Wildman, Cosmo Jarvis, Ronan Summers, Amra Mallassi, Dominic Garfield, Derek Horsham, Larissa Kouznetsova.

RATING: 4 out of 10 security cameras

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