Tag Archives: cia

HANNA (2019 – 2020) – My rating: 8/10


Because Hanna is a streaming Cable TV series each episode was directed by a different director as well as written by several writers. Each episode is treated separately with the continuous story of a different, sheltered, and gifted young lady. Of the TV adaptation, writer David Farr says: “I’ve always felt the film was weirdly male but knew this TV series would have a more female-centric quality.” I’m happy I choose to add Hanna (a remake of the original movie of the same name) to my playlist as it was an exciting series.


**** SPOILERS ****

Erik Heller (Joel Kinnaman) is a former CIA operative whose job was to recruit a very pregnant Johanna (Joanna Kulig) to participate in an exclusive CIA program, code name UTRAX. Pregnancy is the prerequisite to join UTRAX, which secretly enhanced children’s DNA with 3% wolf in order to create super-soldiers. Erik falls in love with Johanna who eventually gives birth to Hanna (Esme Creed-Miles). Erik, Johanna, and Hanna flee the program but Johanna is shot leaving Erik with Hanna.  He rescues Hanna fleeing the UTRAX program and the CIA.  In an effort to cover up UTRAX, the CIA orders their on-site agent, Marissa Wiegler (Mireille Enos), to shut down the project and eliminate all the babies. Currently, 15-year-old Hanna lives in a remote part of a forest in Poland with her stepfather Erik, who happens to be the only man she has ever known. Erik has trained Hanna to be an incredible killer and hunter on high alert, as they continue to be unlawed.

In season one, Hanna and Erik face many trials and tribulations.  Now experiencing adolescence, Hanna becomes curious about her very being.  She ventures away from her safe haven with Erik and learns much about the world she has been sheltered from.  Meeting new and exciting people, Hanna manages to survive while keeping her secrets intact.  She befriends Sophie (Rhianne Barreto) and even develops a crush on a high school student named Anton (Gamba Cole) who she meets through Sophie.  Many twists and turns fill season one with an adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

In season two, Hanna has a new friend that’s like her named Clara Mahan/Girl 249 (Yasmin Monet Prince).  They are in serious danger since Clara escaped from UTRAX.  One of the biggest twists occurs in this season.  Adventures take place in Northern Romania, Paris, and Barcelona.  There is an enormous amount of kidnapping and trust issues between Hanna and Marissa and the team at UTRAX. Hanna, season two focuses on deciding just where Hanna will end up.

I found Hanna to be a worthwhile series that is certainly entertaining, exciting, and suspenseful. It is very much like the original movie, I’m not sure that this is a bad thing.  I do know as more seasons are introduced, the storyline usually changes.  On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 67% based on 39 reviews, with an average rating of 6.63/10. The second season holds a Rotten Tomatoes critics score of 93%, indicating universal acclaim. Hanna is airing on Amazon Prime Video with eight episodes each season, you might want to Check It Out!


CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE (2016) – My rating: 7.2/10

CentralIntelligenceYou know it’s summer when the movie fill ins start. Central Intelligence is one of them. While it’s not a bad movie, it’s not a great one either. It is funny but so unbelievable that it’s stupid. Grant you, it’s not predictable but that’s because it not believable. You wouldn’t be able to figure out the plot because there’s nothing realistic about it. The good news is the chemistry between Hart and Johnson is better than most comedy teams I’ve seen. They seem to have a genuine like for each other, which makes for a great comedy team. I found Central Intelligence to be entertaining even though it bordered on slap stick, which I’m not a fan of.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays Bob Stone a CIA agent accused of murder and espionage. He also plays the younger version of himself, Robbie Weirdicht, an overweight high school student who is bullied with no friends. TheRockmadeupThe makeup job that was done on The Rock was one of the most fantastic transformations I’ve ever seen. It’s so good, I’ve posted a picture of the Robbie Weirdicht character to show the result of the skill that went into the making of this character.  Kevin Hart plays Bob’s only best friend from HS, Calvin Joyner who turned out to be an accountant and married his high school sweetheart, Maggie Joyner (Danielle Nicolet).  Their journey is filled with lots of twist and turns including the FBI hunting them down.  Bob’s boss, FBI Agent Pamela Harris, (Amy Ryan) believes Bob has gone rogue and will stop at nothing to arrest him.  While Bob is in the fight of his life, he has recruited an unwilling Calvin to help him.  As usual, Kevin Hart is loud and over the top but teaming up with the Rock makes for a more tolerable and interesting partnership and comedy.  Again, Central Intelligence is by no means a great movie but if you have nothing else to do, it’s entertaining at best.


AMERICAN ULTRA (2015) – My rating: 7/10

AmericanUltraWhat a crazy mess of a movie, but a likable mess.  Jesse Eisenberg plays Mike Howell, a stoner who is really a CIA Operative who was part of an experiment put on the back burner because there were too many problems to move forward.  He settles down to a nice cushy life of pot, music, a sexy girlfriend, Phoebe Larson (Kriston Stewart) and one huge problem.  He can’t seem to leave the small town of Liman, West VA, where he lives, without having an anxiety attack.  He appears to be a wasted pothead with no future and no ambition.  You have to wonder about his pretty girlfriend who sticks by him no matter what.  Drug dealer, Rose (John Leguizamo) and his crew really helps to make this movie a comedy.  Mike’s journey really begins when a women named Victoria Lasseter (Connie Britton) enters into the convenient store where Mike works as a clerk and recites a secret code over and over to him, but he doesn’t seem to understand it’s meaning.  She gives up in frustration and leaves the store.  Soon after, a couple of thugs appear to be dismantling Mike’s car, when all of a sudden he is able to use powerful skills he didn’t know he had to stop them.  This is as much as I can reveal of this story because anything more would surely spoil the remainder this crazy plot.  I can only say American Ultra is totally unbelievable but fun, entertaining, funny, and ridiculous.  It’s not slap stick, which I despise, it’s just someone’s idea of a CIA mission gone wacky.  It certainly is a refresher from all the hard core flicks we’ve been bombarded with lately.  If you find yourself with nothing else to do, check it out — but I highly recommend you wait for the DVD release!

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. (2015) – My rating: 8.3/10

From the moment THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. started, I thought I wasn’t going to like it.  The old fashioned clothes, the old technology, the old hair styles, the old cars, the old music and well, I thought it was just going to be OLD!!  Not that there’s anything wrong with old, it’s just not my favorite thing to do, watch old footage of old films.  As a young girl, I faithfully watched The Man from U.N.C.L.E. every week and was quite smitten with David McCallum who played KBG Agent,  Illya Nickovitch Kuryakin along with Robert Vaughn who played CIA Agent, Napoleon Solo in 105 episodes from 1964 through 1968, but these two new guys were not those two familiar guys.

However, these two new guys are quite handsome and did a brilliant job of portraying the CIA (Henry Cavill as Solo) and KBG (Armie Hammer as Illya) agents who begrudgingly worked together for the good of their countries to get the job done.   Also working with  Illya and Solo as an Intelligent Agent is Gabriella “Gaby” Teller (Alicia Vikander) who is also the daughter of an alleged Nazi Scientist, Udo Teller (Christian Berkel) who is being held against his will and forced to build a nuclear weapon for a very rich couple’s, Alexander and Victoria Vinciguerra (Luca Calvani and Elizabeth Debicki, respectively) private organization.
  The trio, Illya, Solo and Gaby are assigned by their respective governments to stop this transaction from happening and steal the schematics when it’s over.  The agents find a way to make peace without sinking to any underhanded deceptions among themselves.

In the end, the trio is reassigned to a new international organization under Alexander Waverly’s (Hugh Grant) command. Waverly then deploys them on a new mission in Istanbul under their new code name: U.N.C.L.E.  (According to TV history, Waverly is the #1 of Section I of the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. He is one of five regional chiefs in charge of the multi-national agency.  In this film, Waverly is a high-ranking MI6 operative who reveals that Gaby Teller is an undercover agent under his employment.)  In the end, I really enjoyed The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,  excellent story telling, brilliant acting, good special effects with just the right touch of humor.  Kudos to Guy Richie who directed this film.  Well Done!  I’m looking forward to a sequel.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION (2015) – My rating: 8.5/10

MissionImpossibleRogueNationTom Cruse continues to show the world that he is able to frolic through a physical production like a young buck (who, BTW, just turned 53) with no problems.  He was injured 6 times in the making of MI, but all is well and MI – Rogue Nation is a big hit.  Still electing to do his own stunts, Tom has signed up to do a sixth sequel, to start filming in 2016.

Rogue Nation stars Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust (known for Starz’s series The White Queen).  Rebecca displayed some pretty fancy moves and was an added delight to the cast.  In this sequel, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruse) must prove that an international criminal consortium known as the Syndicate exist against their organization (IMF).  CIA director, Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) thinks Ethan’s Syndicate theory is just that, a theory, so he dismantles IMF, dissolving them into the CIA and goes after Hunt causing him to go rogue.  Hunt is captured by the Syndicate but gets away to start his journey to prove their existence.  The Syndicate is headed up by Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) who will stop at nothing to discredit IMF and get what he needs to keep the Syndicate well financed and undercover.  The Syndicate employes various skilled and dangerous villains like Janik “Bone Doctor” Vinter (Jens Hultén).  Their skill level and intelligence is tantamount to IMF.    There are many, many twist and turns, car and motorcycle chases, hidden agendas, special effects and thrill soaked scenes.  There’s some corny and humorous scenes and some very intense scenes as well as some totally unbelievable scenes.  The entire IMF gang was there, William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames).  I thought Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation was very entertaining, well acted and had a pretty descent plot.  Can’t wait for the next sequel.  Check it out!

SPY (2015) – My rating: 8.5/10

SpyBeing a Melissa McCarthy fan, I must say, she didn’t let me down, Spy was great. I laughed all the way through the movie. Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a trained spy, but works in the basement of the CIA HQ where there are bats in the ceiling and mice running all over the place. She is the trained eyes for her teammate Bradley Fine, (Jude Law) when he is in the field. She is secretly smitten with him and pines her life away hoping someday he will give her more than the time of day. She gets no respect from the higher ups and no prospect of ever getting out of her current work situation. Without giving away spoilers, the situation changes and Susan goes out into the field where she becomes a super spy. While there’s a lot of unbelievable stunts, Susan’s role takes on a new meaning, giving entertainment a life of it’s own. McCarthy brings her own brand of comedy to the film and has you routing for her every step of the way. It was truly fun to see straight actors like Jason Statham, who played Rick Ford and Richard Brake, who played Solsa Dudaev in a comedy of this caliber. Rose Byrne’s role as Rayna Boyanov was played to perfection, as the ruthless daughter of an arms dealer who’s father was killed earlier in the film. After meeting Rayna, McCarthy was transformed from an uninteresting, grandmother looking type to a sexy fighting machine who had it all together. Spy was more than I expected — it was just a fun, fun, fun movie. There were a couple of twist and a couple of surprises. I highly recommend seeing Spy. It’s not slap stick or stupid and has a fantastic cast.

ALLEGIANCE – My rating – 9/10

AllegianceThere are several series out that deal with national and international affairs but there are none that deal on the level of Allegiance.  A couple, Katya (Hope Davis) and Mark O’Connor (Scott Cohen) are retired Russian spies or as the pilot suggest, current sleeper cells.  The O’Connor’s have 3 children, Natalie (Margarita Levieva),  Alex (Gavin Stenhouse) and Sarah (Alexandra Peters).  Sarah is also a Russian Sleeper Cell but her brother, Alex is a gifted CIA analyst who is assigned to a joint FBI/CIA investigation into a SVR plot to destroy critical infrastructure within the United States.  Their younger sister, Sarah, has no clue as to the whole spy endeavor.  Alex also has no clue about his sister, Natalie, or his parents true lifestyle.  In fact Katya is the only family member originally from Russia.  She recruited her husband and daughter.  Katya and her husband have no desire to spy or carry out any Russian task but are being threatened by the SVR ( Sluzhba Vneshnei Razvedki (Russian Foreign Intelligence Service; post cold war intelligence service).  As an alternative to recruiting their son, Alex, who is “unrecruitable”, the O’Connors have agreed to spy on their son, giving the SVR access and information that will keep them several steps ahead of the FBI and CIA during their investigations regarding their (Russia’s) plot against the US.  Allegiance is very well written and very informative.  I find the series intelligent, entertaining and suspenseful.  I think it’s going to be around for a while.  Allegiance airs on NBC — check it out!

Obviously, I really liked this series, however, I just found out it’s been cancelled after 5 episodes.

THE INTERVIEW (2014) – My rating: 7/10

TheInterviewIf it had not been for all the hoopla surrounding The Interview, Sony wouldn’t have enjoyed the revenue this film raked in over the holidays.  The Interview is entertaining and somewhat funny but it’s certainly doesn’t score as a block buster movie.   A popular US talk show host, Dave Skylark, played by James Franco and producer Aaron Rapoport, played by Seth Rogen host a celebrity tabloid show called Skylark Tonight.  They get word that they are favorites of the most dangerous dictator in the world, Kim Jong-un of North Korea.  Dave and Aaron decide to take advantage of this situation by conducting an interview with Kim, in North Korea.  When the CIA gets wind of the interview, they decide to seize the opportunity by asking Dave and Aaron to assassinate Kim.  The fun begins watching these 2 dim witted guys try to make this a reality.  Dave gets lost in the propaganda which prevents him from getting the job done.  On the other hand, Dave’s partner Aaron is extremely focused and tries to carry on despite Dave.  I grew tired of their silly antics but found the film tolerable.  I understand Sony is now going to release the film in multiple theaters with plans to make The Interview more available on line for $5.99 to rent and $14.99 to purchase.  The interview is not terrible but it’s not great either.  It’s your average silly comedy with a message about North Korea.  Who knows, this whole incident may have opened up a new idea in movie viewing.  Releasing movies on line would enable an entire family to watch for $6 bucks instead of $12+ per person.  Of course this would eliminate the need for most theaters but it would also be safe, if you care about that sort of thing!  I would say wait for the DVD but it’s already streamed.

STATE OF AFFAIRS – My rating: 7.5/10

StateOfAffairsAn unlikely plot when 2 high ranking women decide to plot murder on the terrorist responsible for the death of their son/fiance.  In other words, revenge.  Alfre Woodard and Katherine Heigl are CIA and President of the United States, respectively.  Katherine Heigl plays Charleston Tucker, the CIA Official who was engaged to Aaron Payton, the President’s son, played by Mark Tallman.  Alfre Woodard plays President Constance Payton, a former war veteran and Courtney B. Vance plays the President’s husband, Marshall Payton.  For some reason, they were all together in Kabul, Afghanistan where they were attacked by a terrorist group lead by Omar Abdul Fatah.  Aaron was killed but the women were not.  It appears that their mission, going forward, is to kill any and everyone responsible for Aaron’s death.  There are many secrets yet to unfold.  While I love a good drama, I’m not sure this one is going to make it.  There’s  nothing wrong with the acting or the characters, except I’d hate to think that the President’s main agenda is revenge, yet I was happy when we took down Osama Bin Laden.

The pilot features  Dr. Benjamin Butler who is working in Africa and who resembles the President’s dead son, Aaron.  While in Kenya, the doctor and his colleagues were kidnapped and threatened with decapatation by a newly formed terrorist group.  In the meanwhile, the mission to take down the  much sorted after Omar Abdul Fatah, already targeted and  in clear site of a US ground military strike team (MI6) was called off by CIA Official, Charleston, in favor of rescuing Dr. Butler instead.  It wasn’t quite clear if the mission was redirected in favor of saving the doctor over killing Fatah because of the doctor’s resemblence to Aaron or Charlie’s  explanation “waiting 6 months would allow us to get Fatah and his entire network instead of just Fatah”.  A lot of risky business here.  It’s worth waiting to see what happens in the next few weeks.  One thing is clear, there is more going on than meets the eye.  A relationship was introduced between Charlie and Nick Vera (Chris McKenna) a CIA asset who worked for Charlie and is keeping a secret regarding Fatah.  There seems to be an obvious resentment between the two despite their romantic involvement.  Nick has been “dark” for over a year.  Secret photos that suggest Charlie and Nick are semi quasi partners in crime are repeatedly sent to Charlie’s cell phone.  Charlie does not remember all that happened the day Aaron was killed.  Her therapist is suggesting that Charlie is blocking out something she doesn’t want to remember.

I find this series a little ambiguous and I don’t think it’s very authentic.  The busyness of the Presidential Staff and the ambiance of the White House is missing.  Scenes like the President walking away from her son’s grave site, after speaking at a memorial, without visual body guards or Charlie being the President’s Daily Briefer which in real life is done by the Director of Intelligence, which is totally separate from the CIA and the fact that we don’t really ever see any of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,  gives support to the unofficial look and feel of this White House.   Also, there are a lot of black women e.g., Angela Bassett, Viola Davis, Kimberly Elise, Thandie Newton or Jenifer Lewis,  I feel would have made a more believable US President — it’s not an acting thing, it’s the unnaturalness and the energy I find lacking.    State of Affairs airs on NBC.  I still think it has potential.

THE NOVEMBER MAN (2014) – My rating: 8/10

TheNovemberManAfter seeing the trailer and reading the abstract on The November Man, I thought it was going to be the run of the mill, same old plot with a has been still trying to prove he has what it takes to compete on the big screen.  It was kind of that but it was so well done and so well acted, all negativity went out the window.    A retired CIA agent named Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) is asked to resume his position as an operative by extracting Natalia Ulanova, a deep cover CIA operative from Russia, played by  Mediha Musilovic,  to the US.  On the way, Peter learns the Russian president elect is guilty of war crimes that include starting a war between Russia and the Chechens.  He ends up looking for a women played by the Olga Kurylenko, who could blow the whole thing open and cause the new president elect, Arkady Federov played by Lazar Ristovski, his position and maybe his life.  During this task Peter is deceived, hunted, pitted against his former student (Mason) who is  played by Luke Bracey and betrayed on many levels.  The excitement is thrilling and the action, non-stop.  Overall, the story is very personal for Devereaux who has to make some profound choices.  There’s not much out there that’s worth seeing this week, so I recommend checking out The November Man.  It’s probably the best movie to see until next week.