Thursday, October 29, 2015

"THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM" (2008) Photo Gallery

Below is a gallery featuring photos from the 2008 costumed action fantasy called "THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM".   Directed by Rob Minkoff, the movie starred Jackie Chan and Jet Li:

"THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM" (2008) Photo Gallery

Sunday, October 25, 2015

"DUPLICITY" (2009) Review

Duplicity (2009)

"DUPLICITY" (2009) Review

Several years ago, "BOURNE" franchise scribe/director Tony Gilroy went another direction and wrote and directed this 2009 comedy thriller that barely earned a profit at the box office. This romantic spy flick centered around a pair of romantically involved former intelligence spies who team up for a business scam that would allow them to enjoy an extravagant lifestyle together. 

"DUPLICITY" began five years in the past in which MI-6 agent Ray Koval is ordered to seduce and spy upon a woman named Claire Stenwick, who unbeknownst to him, is a CIA agent. After Claire drugs Ray and steals classified documents from him. The movie's opening shifts to a physical fight between CEOs Howard Tully of Burkett & Randle and Dick Garsik of Equikrom, establishing the longstanding professional rivalries between the pair. Several years later, Ray, who has become a corporate spy for Equikrom, encounters Claire in New York City. He eventually discovers that she has been an Equikrom corporate spy, working undercover at Burkett & Randle. Ray and Claire decide to create a con job in which they manipulate a corporate race between Tully and Garsik to corner the market on a medical innovation. A con job they hope will reap huge profits for them. 

When I first saw the trailer for "DUPLICITY", I figured that Gilroy would have a smash hit on his hands. He had two leads whose screen chemistry had already been established in the 2004 romantic drama, "CLOSER". He also had Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson (both fresh from winning awards for their performances in the 2008 HBO miniseries, "JOHN ADAMS"). And he had an interesting story line. What could go wrong? Apparently, a good deal went wrong.

To be honest, "DUPLICITY" was not a terrible movie. The four leads and the supporting cast provide excellent performances – especially Roberts and Owen. And Gilroy managed to write a very witty script. Unfortunately, I also found his script slightly confusing thanks to the flashbacks that featured Roberts and Owen’s budding romance and a slow build up to their scheme to scam Giamatti and Wilkinson. But what prevented "DUPLICITY" from being a winner for me was the ending. As it turned out, Wilkinson’s character had been aware of the scheming ex-spies all along and used them to bankrupt his rival, Giamatti, with phony plans for a new medical innovation. A flashback revealing the listening bug in Roberts’ apartment revealed how he had learned of their scheme. But the movie failed to explain how he had become suspicions of the two in the first place. I also have to add that I was disappointed that Roberts and Owen’s characters had failed to succeed in their scheme. I usual hate these ironic of endings in comedic movies that feature con artists.

What else can I say? "DUPLICITY" featured some excellent performances from Julia Roberts (who had earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy for her performance), Clive Owens and the rest of the cast. Tony Gilroy's screenplay also featured a good deal of witty humor. But if anyone plans to watch this film and expects a well written and fascinating narrative, I suspect that viewer might end up disappointed. I certainly was.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Five Favorite Episodes of "THE MOD SQUAD" Season One (1968-1969)


Below are images from Season One of the ABC series, "THE MOD SQUAD". Created by Bud "Buddy" Ruskin, the series starred Michael Cole, Clarence Williams III, Peggy Lipton and Tige Andrews: 


1 - 1.01 The Teeth of the Barracuda

1. (1.01) "The Teeth of the Barracuda" - In the series' pilot episode, Captain Adam Greer's newly formed squad - which consists of Peter "Pete" Cochran, Lincoln "Linc" Hayes and Julie Barnes - investigates a cop killing and discovers that a politician's daughter might be involved.

2 - 1.06 A Time to Love A Time to Cry

2. (1.06) "A Time to Love, A Time to Cry" - A probation officer joins the squad in its search for a young photographer accused of murdering his model.

3 - 1.19 The Uptight Town

3. (1.19) "The Uptight Town" - When Captain Greer disappears while on a fishing trip in a remote town. Pete, Linc and Julie go looking for him and discover that the townspeople and sheriff are aloof and want them gone.

4 - 1.04 When Smitty Comes Marching Home

4. (1.04) "When Smitty Comes Marching Home" - Linc asks the squad to help him clear an old buddy, a Vietnam veteran, of the murder of a police officer.

5 - 1.15 Flight Five Doesnt Answer

5. (1.15) "Flight Five Doesn't Answer" - While transporting a former mob boss by commerical airline; Pete, Linc and Captain Greer face death after the plane is forced to crash.

HM - 1.22  Child of Sorow Child of Light

Honorable Mention: (1.22) "Child of Sorrow, Child of Light" - Posing as an unwed expectant mother, Julie infiltrates an extortion racket that blackmails parents of adopted babies.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

"TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY" (1991) Photo Gallery

Below are photos from the 1991 sequel called "TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY". Directed by James Cameron, the movie starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick and Joe Morton: 

"TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY" (1991) Photo Gallery