Monday, December 7, 2015

Top Spy Movies of 2015

It's no secret I'm a big movie fan! For me TV and movies are my destressers--aka my favorite means of escapism. I totally blame my dad for my love of action and spy movies, I used to always watch Bond films and so many others with him when I was little. I've always wanted to tell a spy story, but from the YA side of it. There are many great YA spy books out there, but I feel like there can never be enough :)
But I digress..................
Since 2015 saw so many great spy movies released I wanted to do a comparison, my own kind of review for the best 4 spy movies of 2015.

 At the height of the Cold War, a mysterious criminal organization plans to use nuclear weapons and technology to upset the fragile balance of power between the United States and Soviet Union. CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) are forced to put aside their hostilities and work together to stop the evildoers in their tracks. The duo's only lead is the daughter of a missing German scientist, whom they must find soon to prevent a global catastrophe.

 For me this was an easy pick for the best spy movie of the year. Yeah, it didn't get the reviews MI:5 did, (I'll address that below) but Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer....not only are they drool worthy to look at all day, but they played their parts to perfection! Napoleon Solo (Cavill) was just this cool, always calm, always in control character no matter what cra-cra situation he landed in; and he was hilarious to boot! Illya Kuryakin (Hammer) was also a-maz-ing in his performance. I didn't know he could pull such a believable Russian accent! I give that yes, Illya was the not the out of control agent in the 60's TV show, but the way Guy Richie turned this movie into a hilarious, WWII male c0*K measuring contest with plenty of action blended in, was genius. I also loved our kick a$$, snarky, you'll never guess her real purpose heroine: Gaby! The little east german chop shop girl was easily the surprise of the movie!
Clearly there was almost nothing I didn't like about this one. I even ADORED the bad guys in that yes please blow them all up kind of way! :) If you haven't seen this one yet SEE IT NOW!

Fav quotes: 
Solo: I'm here to have a friendly chat about your father, Dr. Udo Teller. Hitler's favorite rocket scientist. 
Gaby: That doesn't sound very friendly.
Solo: I told you. We're teaming up with the Russians. Doesn't get any more Russian than the Red Peril here.
Illya: We need two purses please. And every day and a clutch. And grab that belt...No...No not the Dior, the Rabanne.
Solo: You can't put a Paco Rabanne belt on a Patou.
Illya: She's not going to wear a Patou.
Solo: What's wrong with a Patou?
Illya: Nothing, if you're fat. The Dior goes with the Rabanne.
Solo: It won't match

Despite having solid field training, CIA analyst Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) has spent her entire career as a desk jockey, working hand-in-hand with dashing agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law). Using high-tech equipment and a hidden earpiece, Susan is the guardian angel who helps Bradley avoid danger. However, when Bradley is assassinated by Bulgarian arms dealer Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), Susan wrangles her way into her first undercover assignment to help capture Boyanov and avenge Bradley.

Oh let me count the many many reasons I loved this movie. Okay, there are way to many to list them all but here's the top  5 best things!
1- This ain't your typical spy film! Just look at the cast and plot!!
2- The humor was off the charts, split your side great.
3- Who doesn't love seeing the stereo typical "suave, bad ass spies" get out shined and put in their place by a big chick who's smarter than all of the CIA combined?
4- The ridiculous covers they made her use, not to mention the character's full names. Bradley Fine, Susan Cooper, Rayna Boyanov, Rick Ford and Matthew Wright?!?!!?!? Total spy standard ;P
5- Plot, Plot, Plot, Plot!!! YESSSSSS!
Basically every other great thing about this movie is related to my 5 reasons above, I totally love this one and recommend it to everyone! The only reason it's not #1 on the list is because while I loved it so hard, it fell just short of the dynamic that I saw in Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Fav quotes:
Susan: Oh my God, Fine, I don't know how you do things like that!
Fine: **fixing his hair in a mirror** Hey, who's the finest of them all?
Rayna: **cocks gun aimed at Fine's head** I don't know. I'm
Ford: Here's what we do. I go into the Face/Off machine, get a whole new face. I turn up, they never know it's me.
CIA Director Crocker: Do you have quarters? Because it costs 50 cents.
Ford: What, I gotta pay?
Crocker: Imagine my surprise when I saw footage from this drill back on the Farm.
Watches Susan kick total a$$
Crocker: I must have watched this 15 times now... because what the F*ck? I almost put it up on YouTube!
Susan: I was, to say the least, uncomfortable, with the event. The instructor was not harmed.


A cryptic message from the past leads James Bond (Daniel Craig) to Mexico City and Rome, where he meets the beautiful widow (Monica Bellucci) of an infamous criminal. After infiltrating a secret meeting, 007 uncovers the existence of the sinister organization SPECTRE. Needing the help of the daughter of an old nemesis, he embarks on a mission to find her. As Bond ventures toward the heart of SPECTRE, he discovers a chilling connection between himself and the enemy (Christoph Waltz) he seeks.

I have seen every Bond film ever made. Many several time over. I can even quote a lot of them at the drop of a hat. SPECTER was definitely better than Skyfall! And the movie did as promised and brought back a lot of the more lighter, humorous, colorful megalomaniac villains and a more womanizer type Bond. I still have a hard time seeing Lord Voldormort as the new M...but he pulls it off. (All this one needed was a quick "he who shall not be named" drop to make it even better). But as much as I love Daniel Craig, he's jus not Sean Connery.................oh that voice..........(can we say Dagg inspiration ;D) But I digress again.
SPECTRE was good, very good, in almost every aspect. I loved the villains, I loved the action, I loved Dave Batista and so many more things. But this most recent installment of the Bond franchise just let me wanting.......what I don't know. I can't exactly put my finger on what didn't sit well with me on this one, but the amazing cast definitely helped fill this unexplainable hole, especially with BBC's Moriarty as C!!!!! SPECTRE is still a great see and something I think most everyone can enjoy!

Fav quotes:
Dr. Bad Guy: Why did you come? 
Bond: I came here to kill you. 
Dr. Bad Guy: And I thought you came here to die. 
Bond: Well, it's all a matter of perspective.
M:Not a good feeling being watched, is it? 
C: Don't tell me you're responsible for this. 
M: No, but my quartermaster is and he's extremely talented. 
C: Oh, bravo. But in case you hadn't realized it, you two are out of a job so you're trespassing. 
M: I'm afraid you've got the wrong end of the stick, Max. We're going to stop this system going online, and then I'm going to bring you in. 
C: On what grounds, exactly? 
M: Poor taste in friends.
Bond: [over the phone] Who was that? 
Moneypenny: He's just a friend. 
Bond: At this hour of the night? 
Moneypenny: It's called life, James. You should try it some time.

With the IMF now disbanded and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) out in the cold, a new threat -- called the Syndicate -- soon emerges. The Syndicate is a network of highly skilled operatives who are dedicated to establishing a new world order via an escalating series of terrorist attacks. Faced with what may be the most impossible mission yet, Ethan gathers his team and joins forces with Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a disavowed British agent who may or may not be a member of this deadly rogue nation.

And now we come to the bottom of the list. Yup, you heard me, the latest installment of this over the top-used to be something franchise comes in dead last. That's not to say this was a bad movie, it wasn't. BUT......really.......after so many years you give us the same boiler plate plot and typical humorous lines thrown into "impossible" mission dialogue............sigh.
ROGUE NATION was definitely worth seeing, and I will watch it again on netflix or with my dad or whatever, but I am so DONE with the same things over and over and over and over from the Mission Impossible movies. Ethan is always betrayed, hunted by his own people, has to rely on his friends to get him out of things...bla bla bla bla. For me there were only 4 things that salvaged this for me.
1- Ilsa Faust--talk about the most amazing and realistic bad a$$ spy chick ever!! On this I agree with the critics: she was the surprise and stand out star that stole the movie!
2- Sean Harris as Solomon Lane (aka bad guy). I adore Sean Harris! And he does bad so well.
3- The comic relief, because it kept this thing alive and from tumbling over the cliff.
4- Like you would expect from Tom Cruise and MI movies, the action! This is the one boiler plate thing I don't mind! Love me a good fight sequence :)
So yes, see this one if you want, but I would wait until you don't have to pay to see it.

Fav quotes:
Benji: [Ethan wants to drive the car just after he was resuscitated after drowning in a water tank] Whoa, whoa, whoa, are you sure you wanna drive? A minute ago you were dead. 
Hunt: What are you talking about? 
Benji: [Benji gets in the car] This is not gonna end well.
Brandt: You said you could find Ethan and Benji. 
Luther: I said I could LOCATE them, you have to find them. 
Brandt: How are we gonna find them here? 
[they find Ethan and Benji, Ethan waves his hand on Brandt and Brandt waves back]
Brandt: Found them. 
[Brandt attemps to follow them just to find out that Ethan and Brandt are being chased by gang of motorcyclers which pass by their car]
Brandt:  Aw, c'mon! It's a high-speed chase and you just had to bring a four-wheels to it! 
Luther: You bought the car! 
Brandt: You just had to have it! 
Benji: She tried to shoot me! 
Ethan: That doesn’t make her a bad person.

Honorable mention (2014 title)

Gary "Eggsy" Unwin (Taron Egerton), whose late father secretly worked for a spy organization, lives in a South London housing estate and seems headed for a life behind bars. However, dapper agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth) recognizes potential in the youth and recruits him to be a trainee in the secret service. Meanwhile, villainous Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) launches a diabolical plan to solve the problem of climate change via a worldwide killing spree.

You want a classic spy movie feel with a new edge, this is the movie for you. If this had released in 2015, it would certainly have been #3 or maybe even #2 on my list. This one had everything you could want and all done in a way only Sam Jackson movies seem able to deliver. Newcomer Taron Egerton was great in his roll of boy from the wrong side of the tracks just trying to get by and help his mom and little sister. Colin Firth proved he is Way WAy WAY more than Mr. Darcy and can do the reserved humor at the same time as totally kicking bad guy a$$ and taking names. Samuel Jackson, is there a movie that he's done that isn't good? I can't think of one, but I am also a huge fan of his so I might be biased. Like all the spy movies, it's got the action, intrigue and inappropriate humor nailed. The cast was well put together and the movie was better than I had expected it to be. The visual effects, script, plot were all on point. I just wish it had gotten more buzz than it did when it was in theaters. This is a hidden gem in the spy movie world and if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend you do! It's a great movie night choice :)

Fav quotes:
Hart: [to bigoted church lady] I'm a Catholic whore, currently enjoying congress out of wedlock with my black Jewish boyfriend who works at a military abortion clinic. So, hail Satan, and have a lovely afternoon, madam.
Hart: The suit is the modern gentleman's armour. The Kingsmen are the new knights.
Eggsy: How deep does this fucking thing go? 
Hart: Deep enough
Valentine: Do you like spy movies, Mr. DeVere? 
[Hart notices Gazelle sitting behind him, pointing one of her bladed legs toward him]
Hart: Nowadays, they're all a little serious for my taste. But the old ones... marvelous. Give me a far-fetched theatrical plot any day. 
Valentine: The old Bond movies. Oh, man. Ah, when I was a kid, that was my dream job: gentleman spy. 
Hart: I always felt that the old Bond films were only as good as the villain. As a child, I rather fancied a futuristic colorful megalomaniac. 
Valentine: What a shame we both had to grow up.

And my movie rant/gushing is done for today.........
<3 always L.H.