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Movie Review: Get Smart
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Cinema Junkie   |  
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Get SmartGet Smart
Directed by Peter Segal
Starring Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson, Alan Arkin
Rated PG-13
Release date: June 20, 2008

“Compared to Clouseau, Attila the Hun was a Red Cross volunteer!” — Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfuss from The Return Of The Pink Panther

“They ought to put you in Missing Persons. You know everybody.” — Joe Friday from Dragnet (1987)

“A good agent doesn’t need gadgets. The only gadgets I’ve ever needed are a sharp eye, sensitive hearing and a whole bunch of bigger brains.” — Johnny English from Johnny English

Steve Carell Is In Control

Don Adams will always be Maxwell Smart, Agent 86, from the classic, subversive, and sarcastic 1960’s television series, Get Smart. I grew up watching the television series in reruns in the 1970s. It would be much later realized that the show was a clever satire written by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. I would expect nothing less from these two comic heavyweights. The show was a response to the intelligence craze in pop culture at the time when James Bond dominated the landscape. There were plenty of spoofs to go around such as the Matt Helm films starring Dean Martin, the Derek Flint films starring James Coburn, and of course, the ultimate James Bond spoof, the original 1967 Casino Royale. Think of these films as the Austin Powers of their day– Mike Myers was deeply influenced by Casino Royale. Henry and Brooks created a television series which was a response to the intelligence blunders of their times — specifically, the Vietnam War. The other great benefit of the show was the wonderful cast featuring Don Adams, Barbara Feldon, and Edward Platt. They worked very well together. The show holds up remarkably well.

...continue reading »
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Movie Review: Rendition
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LaRae   |  
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RenditionRendition
Directed by Gavin Hood
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Omar Metwally
Rated R

Rendition is about the post-9/11 American torture practices and shocks the audience into facing the truth of what their fear created, both home and abroad. Rendition made me ashamed to be associated, even by nationality, to those people who voted for, or support the Patriot Act.

A terrorist bombing rips through a crowded market street in the morning in an attempt to kill a middle-eastern official Igal Noar (Abasi Fawal). They miss the official, but it sets in motion a series of events which leads to Anwar El-Ibrahimi being kidnapped and taken to be tortured. Personally invested and morally conflicted, CIA analyist Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal) is brought in to observe the “extreme interrogation techniques” approved by Corinne Whitman (Meryl Streep) and inflicted upon the detainee, who may have information on the bombing. Anwar’s wife, Isabella (Reese Witherspoon), sets out on a mission to find her husband by contacting her old friend, Alan Smith (Peter Sarsgaard), now Senator Hawkins’s (Alan Arkin) personal aid. While Igal Noar attempts to deal with the terrorists in his country, his daughter Fatima (Zineb Qukach) starts to slip into the hands of her shady boyfriend, Khalid El-Emin (Mohammed Khquas).

The writing in Rendition takes what seems to the average American, an ethically gray area, and starts to separate the colors into a story far more black and white. Rendition asks and attempts to answer the question: What happens when the most powerful people in the world become people of convenient principle? Kelley Sane, the writer of this powerful script, asks the question so boldly and without reservation, the audience is required to face the truth of the answer.

...continue reading »
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