Tag Archives: Cold War

Cinema Dispatch: Bridge of Spies

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Bridge of Spies and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios and 20th Century Fox

Directed by Steven Spielberg

We’re well into the Oscar season by this point, but now it’s time for the BIG guns to strut their stuff, and you can’t get any bigger the Steven Spielberg!!  It also seems that he’s found a niche that he’s starting to get comfortable with considering this is his second historical film based on a bunch of lawyers and politicians arguing during a very contentious time in our country’s history.  Does Spielberg remind us once again why he’s one of Hollywood’s greatest living directors, or will this be one of those lesser films he makes that we’ll all forget about as soon as his next film is made?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins in 1957 with the arrest of Soviet Spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) and the media storm that surrounded it.  When it comes time to actually try the bastard, the US government hires a law firm to represent Rudolf so that at least it can APPEAR to be a legit trial instead of a kangaroo court.  Unfortunately for everyone, the man the law firm assigns to the case is James B Donovan (Tom Hanks) who actually believes in the constitution and won’t just let the legal system run all over this guy.  For doing the right thing, he ends up drawing unwanted attention from hot heads looking to see some Soviet scumbag hang as well as the ire of the FBI who want him to tell them everything that Rudolph has said in their meetings which would obviously be a breach of attorney client privilege.  While this is going on, we occasionally cut to Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stonewall) who is a US solider training to be a spy and will one day fly a stealth plane of USSR territories to take covert pictures.  Will fate conspire to put him in a similar situation as Rudolph Abel finds himself now?  What kinds of consequences will James incur for himself, his law firm, and his family for simply believing in and fighting for what the constitution guarantees?  Just how many awards will Spielberg win for directing a period piece political thriller starring Tom Hanks!?  Like… fifty?

“I’m willing to talk Mr. Spielberg down to forty-eight, but you need to guarantee us best picture first.”

“I’m willing to talk Mr. Spielberg down to forty-eight, but you need to guarantee us best picture first.”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

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The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures

Directed by Guy Ritchie

We get a movie based on this show, and yet I STILL can’t get a Hogan’s Heroes reboot!?  It looks the Hollywood remake machine is going all the way back to the Cold War with this re-imagining of a series that was made well before Rocky solved the Cold War by kicking Dolph Lundgren’s ass.  I’ve never seen the show before, but a good old fashioned spy thriller in the vain of From Russia with Love would be a nice change of pace from the other stylish spy flicks we’ve been getting recently.  Not only that, but having Guy Ritchie at the helm of something set in an era that’s known for its unique brand of style seems like a perfect pairing of director and film, so there’s plenty to look forward to here.  Still, you can’t say that Guy Ritchie has been one to look at for great stories which is pretty evident by his PREVIOUS adaptations of a popular series that didn’t take long to go completely off the rails.  Will this be a return to form for the venerable director, or is this just another weak outing from a guy who never learns from his mistakes?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins in early 1960’s Germany with American Super Spy Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) making his way to East Berlin. His mission is to get a local mechanic (Gaby Teller played by Alicia Vikander) to assist him in finding her father who was a former Nazi nuclear scientist and has recently gone missing. The mission is fairly simple. Convince Gaby to help the US and sneak her out of East Berlin. Things get complicated however when Soviet Super Spy Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) is acutely aware of what’s going on and tries everything in his power to stop the duo from crossing the border into West Berlin.  Fortunately for the good old Stars and Stripes, Solo succeeds in his mission leaving the not so good old Hammer and Sickle twisting in the wind. Except not really! For some reason, the Soviet government and the US government decide to work together to find Gaby’s father, so now Solo and Illya have to work together to stop whatever scheme he, or possibly his kidnappers, are planning.  So wait, they couldn’t come to an agreement to work together until AFTER Solo and Illya tear their way through East Berlin? Wouldn’t that have complicated any ongoing negotiations?  Oh well, at least we now have our premise.  It’s a spy action-comedy with the tension between Solo and Illya working for opposing sides in the Cold War informing much of the comedic strife and genuine tension throughout the movie.

“At least my country hasn’t sold its soul to the false idols of capitalistic enterprises.”     “I’m sure your people feel oh so superior as they eat their potato soup and die in the Gulag.”     “CAN THE BOTH OF YOU PLEASE SHUT UP!?!?”

“At least my country hasn’t sold its soul to the false idols of capitalistic enterprises.”     “I’m sure your people feel oh so superior as they eat their potato soup and die in the Gulag.”     “CAN THE BOTH OF YOU PLEASE SHUT UP!?!?”

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