Monthly Archives: June 2015

Spy—Heavy On Chuckles

Spy poster Spy 1 Spy 3My close friends know I don’t see too many “comedies” because I don’t think there are any comedic minds left in today’s cinema with the exception of Mel Brooks. However, I was attracted to the premise of “Spy” since I have rarely seen that genre skewered, with the notable exception of “Spy Hard”. This one goes like this:

Melissa McCarthy is Susan Cooper, the vocal link to fellow CIA agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) on all his adventures and has secretly developed a crush on him. When a mission to recover a nuclear weapon goes wrong and Fine is eliminated, a conference is held to appoint a new person on the case. Susan decides that she owes Bradley and should do this, but fellow agent Rick (Jason Stratham) argues that Susan is “just a secretary” and he will quit if she gets the nod. She does and Rick storms out in a huff.

Here it gets really engaging and funny as Susan gets entrusted with highly unusual equipment and a new name she doesn’t like. She’s instructed to observe and report only but things spiral out of control and she becomes deeply involved, along the way often running across Rick, who keeps reminding her about how he’s a really tough spy, and arms dealer Rayna Boynov (Rose Byrne) and her right hand man. Susan’s hand is forced and she threatens the strongarm guy with tearing off his manhood and gluing it to his forehead.

Yes, this is comedy, but unlike Austin Powers, which was pure nonsense, director Paul Feig ,who also co-wrote the script, injects enough action into it that allows you to understand that this is primarily a spy film. It skewers the James Bond type but keeps both feet on the ground to even make the audience gasp in surprise. There are repeated instances of rough language and a few scenes that young children may not understand, but spy movies are for adults, anyway.


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Jurassic World Is A Thrill-A-Minute Ride

Jurassic World 2 Jurassic World 3 Jurassic World 4 A lot’s happened since the original Jurassic Park movie in 1993, and this movie tries to tie all the loose ends in a fashion that makes it believable and easy to follow. Here’s the gist of things: the original architect of all this, Hammond, is dead, but InGen Corporation has secretly taken over everything and keeps the original scientist on the payroll. That would be Dr. Henry Wu (B. D. Wong), the only one back from the original film, and as the movie goes on, he begins to have doubts about the writers of his paycheck.

Jurassic World is now a fully-functional park, with over 20,000 visitors a day. It’s been open for quite a while, and as its director Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) discusses with investors, people are getting bored with dinosaurs, so they need to inject some “wow” factor—and that’s where the Indominus Rex comes in. The first genetically engineered dino, of which movie director Colin Tremorrow (who also co-wrote the screenplay) gives us faint glimpses in roundabout ways until Owen (Chris Pratt) is brought in to evaluate the creature’s containment facilities. Owen has a way with velociraptors, being able to approach them and make them listen to him–a “mutual understanding based on respect”.

There are underlying subplots, however. Park security chief Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) is looking to prove to his InGen backers that the Velociraptors can be used for warfare, and he sees the Indominus escaping as the chance to set his idea in motion. When he tells Owen he’ll do it with or without his help, Owen agrees because he wants to save the raptors, and the real reason for this movie to exist gets launched. Adding to the chaos are Claire’s two nephews, Zach and Gray, who are visiting the park and wander off on their own after ditching their chaperone, and wind up interacting with the Indominus.. The park’s owner, Simon Masrani (Irrfan Kahn), is a dreamer similar to Hammond who believes in the park’s ability to educate mankind while worrying about his guests’ safety and security. He doesn’t make it to the end.

Some distracting eye candy keeps showing up (if you’re into dinosaurs). We see stegosaurs, triceratops, ankylosaurs., and even a  mosasaur, which winds up having one of the best sequences—first when it snacks on a great white shark, and near the end when—I won’t ruin that for you. Also on hand is a technician wearing an original Jurassic Park shirt which he says he bought on EBay.

The ending was a bit confusing and leaves you wondering what happened to a few dinosaurs, thereby setting up sequels for this movie, which brings back the T-Rex we first saw in the original in a major role near the end. Tension mounts when the raptors change their mind about the hunt after “communicating” with the Indominus, who is part raptor herself.

Jurassic World is a two hour and four minute wild ride that will leave you breathless, in spite of the bad press the other critics gave it. Sure, there are some liberties taken with the science aspect of it, but I went to be entertained, not watch a dino documentary.

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