Spectre, the Evil From Within

Spectre POSTER


Slipping into theaters this weekend and beating the rush of blockbusters, Spectre the new James Bond thriller should garner a lot of box office bucks from its loyal fan base. The movie however drags between action scenes and falls short in supporting roles. That said, Spectre does entertain with cinematography that’s picturesque, explosive and slathered with CGI. If you are a big fan of the series then get in line for a ticket to another big film featuring 007. Read more

Kingsman: The Secret Service, a Spy Thriller

KINGSMAN box art


Move over James Bond, there’s a new game in town and they have as many gadgets and toys. Kingsman: The Secret Service is very cool and aptly fills the void for a sci-fi adventure comedy left by Guardians of the Galaxy. The main characters in Kingsman are smart, fascinating, and often time violent, getting the job done one villain at a time. Even though “The Secret Service” comic book does have a slightly different story and characters are renamed for the movie, for the male audience it’s still the best game in town. Read more

Skyfall, James Bond at its Best (Film Review)

One of the best James Bond pictures ever made, Skyfall makes its way into theaters this weekend for what I believe will be a box-office blowout.  The action packed thriller starts with a bang and doesn’t disappoint in the finale.  For all you 007 addicts it’s time to check it out on the 50th anniversary of a solid film franchise.

Bond (Daniel Craig) finds himself vanquished when a bullet meant for his foe takes him out atop a train.  His mission was to retrieve a list of secret British agents before they got into the wrong hands.  With a mission failed, M (Judi Dench) finds herself under the heat of the British Government when six of the spies on the list get targeted for death.  When M gets a formal threat on her life and they find Sylva (Javier Bardem) an ex-spy is involved, Bond shows up to track him down. Read more

THE DOUBLE, a Thriller on Blu-ray

Although a little lingering at times, The Double, now on Blu-ray/DVD still entertains.  The CIA spy thriller plays a game of cat and mouse that’s sure to please those that like good brain stimulation. Well acted by Richard Gere and Topher Grace it’s also a sweet treat for the ladies.

The movie surrounds the murder of a US Senator and an indication that a Soviet assassin code-named Cassius has surfaced.  Thought eliminated years ago, this murder however, has all the trademarks of the cunning killer.  Chief CIA investigator (Martin Sheen) starts working the case, but getting nowhere fast he calls upon retired operative Paul Shepherdson (Richard Gere) to work the assignment since he knows Cassius.  The trail goes cold so Paul elicits the help of an FBI Agent Ben Geary who boasts he knows all about the infamous spy. When the two team up, and with time of the essence, Paul and Ben dive into a risky plan.

Although I did like the cast very much, some of the plot points in the script are a bit far fetched. This aside however, that’s how most spy thrillers are played out.  After all, who really knows how a trained operative moves around in the real world?  The upside includes fine performances by the whole cast with Gere taking center stage with another cool as a cucumber characterization this time a relentless CIA agent.  In support, Topher Grace makes a very good sidekick and when it comes to the action he doesn’t hold back.


Direction by Michael Brandt (screenwriter for 2 Fast 2 Furious) does go a little off center dragging the film out with a bit too much build up. This may be due to the fact that this film marks his first directorial outing. I do like his twists and turns, one of which I truly did not see coming.  The surprise helps make the film a winner pushing it to above average.  The ladies will get a lot of Gere magnetism and with Grace at his side; it’s double the ‘hunk a hunk a burning love’.

The bonus features include a featurette and audio commentary featuring writer/director Michael Brandt and co-writer/producer Derek Haas. So after you’ve watched the film, turn on the commentary and watch it again.  Even though you will already know the plot twists, it’s fun to hear how some of the scenes play out in their eyes.

FINAL ANALYSIS: An above average intriguing spy thriller that entertains.  Feature (C+), Bonuses (C ), overall experience (C+)


  • Cast: Richard Gere, Topher Grace and Martin Sheen
  • Directed by: Michael Brandt
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images and language
  • Genre: Thriller, Action/Adventure
  • Running Time: 1 hour 38 minutes
  • Format: AC-3, NTSC
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1, Widescreen, 1080p HD
  • Sound: Dolby, DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, Surround Sound
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
  • Street Date: January 31, 2012
  • Distributed by: Image Entertainment


If you have been watching Burn Notice than you know that Michael Westen (Jeffery Donavan) is a former intelligence agent, a spy that has been burned (booted out, black listed by the organization that trained him) and has been on the trail of the person who caused this situation.  In between times he takes on odd jobs with his partner Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell) and girlfriend Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar).  Each weekly episode starts where it left off and includes at least one of the jobs Westen’s been roped into.

I am a pretty consistent fan of Burn Notice, but because of some inconsistency in directing, I’ve strayed now and then. But, that’s my quirky thing.  Depending on the Director’s ability to get a good performance (the actors had been vacillating in the first and second season between realistic and amateurish) I find the series very entertaining.  This fourth season found me more engrossed in the plot; eager to see the next episode and enjoying the action show more.

Season four finds Westen hooking up with Fiona and Sam in some incredible situations from bad bikers, Chinese mafia to black listed spies and a dock worker (and that’s just the first disc). I do have to admit, the addition of Cody Bell, as burned spy Jesse Garcia, is a brilliant move. The writing seems to get better from season to season and I found four right up at the top.

Having the luxury of seeing season four on DVD, paying more attention to the story, and no commercials has helped my desire to continue with the spy thriller.  Of course being in Florida and spending most of my life in South Florida where the program gets filmed doesn’t hurt either.  Seeing the beaches, glitzy clubs, lot of hot bods and surroundings I’m familiar with, makes Burn Notice a must for me.

Included on four disc DVD are bonus features that include deleted scenes from most all of the weekly shows.


FINAL ANALYSIS:  A nice addition to your video library and a great way to get caught up. (B)