Three Days of the Condor [1975)

I’m not a spy.

I just read books.

Like Michael Ruppert’s Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil.

Page 49.

And the reason I got an MBA.

Page 53.

When last I wrote.

The power had gone off.

And we went days.

Freezing in a house with no heat.

Eventually our water went off.

Not enough electricity to run the pumping stations.

In a major American city.

San Antonio.

Steve Pieczenik did not work for the CIA.

Read his book.

Buy it.

It is the most important book of the 21st century so far.

Comb through his interviews.

“I have worked with and against the CIA.”

But who was to lead the coup?

The military.

I don’t know.

The CIA.

We are getting deep into machinations which are currently tweaking the world.

The gears spin.

Some free-floating doodads.

Slowed down by the friction of a finger.

Trying to find leaks for Huber.

Trying to find plot devices for the artist formerly know as Special Activities Division.

Planning.

Directorate.

Q branch attempted to bring in Snowden for the NSA.

Look it up.

Who is sent to bring in Joe Turner?

The analogous.

17.

What was Epstein’s townhouse?

The Herbert N. Straus mansion.

Wexner.

As it turns out, Bill Gates and (a) John Roberts did indeed ride on Lolita Express.

Lin Wood was right.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7377133/Bill-Gates-REFUSES-reveal-flew-Lolita-Express-Jeffrey-Epstein-prison-release.html

Take a look at the EXIM.

It is true that the CIA devours spy novels.

This has been admitted by the Agency.

But Sydney Pollack’s film gives this a very unique twist.

https://www.martingeddes.com/how-the-bidan-show-is-saving-america-and-the-world/

Key points:

  • The corrupt mass media that is under CCP control cannot accuse Trump of being a military dictator when the US military overtly becomes in control.
  • You can do military operations that otherwise would be politically unacceptable (think Iran, Syria).
  • avoids confusion for the public of which Presidency they are endorsing”

I have reordered these.

And trimmed a bit on the final one.

Because I do not believe the Organic Act bullshit about Trump being the 19th real President on March 4.

Read the Organic Act.

Unless I have shirked my duty as a researcher, there is nothing in this legislation which even hints at an untoward redirection of power.

Indeed, it is one of the most mundane pieces of legislation I have ever seen.

Judge for yourself:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_Organic_Act_of_1871

Sure.

The actual Act is many pages long.

All of which are reiterations of the same inane bullshit.

Which is to say, this act did nothing (as far as I can tell) to change the organization or legal status of the United States.

The United States of America.

Another fallacy (I think).

While I am open minded on this point (that a word has been removed somewhere and, thus, we are on a different timeline [so to speak…in the legal sense] as a result), I do not think that there has been a word removed or added TO THE NAME OF OUR FUCKING COUNTRY and that it has gone unnoticed by all legal minds of good will.

Even the worst legal minds (acting in bad faith) are, by definition, legalistic.

Do you think someone wouldn’t have taken the opportunity before now to point out a glaring error which fundamentally changes the legal status of our country?

So, I am not a big fan of this theory.

But I am a fan of Martin Geddes’s writing (to which I have just recently been made aware).

While I do not necessarily concur with all the points he makes in his article (particularly, about Joe Biden being on a movie set, yada yada [sure…it’s possible]), I do agree with some very salient points he makes.

To restate his points from a different angle, there has already been a military coup.

Pieczenik was right.

It was a hard coup.

But it was also (it seems) an invisible coup.

How is that possible?

It does start to strain credibility.

But it is possible.

And I would go far beyond that.

I would say it is likely.

A key part of this coup may be the fact that JOE BIDEN DOES NOT KNOW A COUP HAS TAKEN PLACE.

Indeed, neither does Nancy Pelosi.

This is a secret coup.

So who is running the country?

The military.

Wizards and warlocks.

Robert Redford identifies “a CIA within the CIA”.

Yes.

That is the group that destroyed the Twin Towers (which play such a prominent role in this film).

Lucky break.

Better off dead.

NXNW.

Gunnery sergeant mailman.

Ugly motherfucker.

Same bloke dressed as a broad from Thunderball ?

Maybe not.

Stay calm.

Think.

Don’t leave me hanging on the telephone.

Do not hang up.

The is The Major.

Patriot.

A brutal game.

Yes, keep the heat on.

But drain the fucking swamp, for crying out loud.

Take your god damned time.

But please get the job done.

No country left.

Unless you act.

We are speaking to the counterweight.

Those who are currently running the country.

God bless you.

Let us delineate again.

We can bomb Iran.

Biden will take the heat.

We can fuck up.

Biden will be blamed.

And the most important part.

The country will come to be less confused.

It is the Pepsi challenge.

Coke wants you to be less white.

Coke is Joe Biden.

Crack is Hunter Biden.

Obi Don Kenobi is Pepsi.

The country is getting a free trial of Chinese-style communism.

When the time is right, the covert will become overt.

And it will be done in the way most beneficial to the country.

That is the ethos of those running the country.

And they are the authors of the fucking brilliant Q PSYOP.

As Tucker Carlson was having a hard time locating the QAnon website, let’s help him out:

https://qposts.online

or

https://qalerts.app

There is, of course, no one Q website.

They are all aggregator sites.

They aggregate posts made on 4chan and 8chan/8kun respectively.

Some aggregators have been doxxed.

Other sites have gone tits-up for unknown reasons.

But these two links work as of now.

Like Buffalo ’66.

Or The Tiger Makes Out.

Max von Sydow is excellent here.

An assassin.

Like Locque in For Your Eyes Only.

But more Godard.

Studious.

Professor.

Older now.

Brown frames.

Alpine.

How to evade.

Stay in the light.

How to confuse.

How to keep it up.

How to devise a long-term strategy for survival.

How to become impervious to psywar.

Know yourself.

Know your enemy.

Devise tactics.

To beat the devil.

Identify mechanism for delivery.

Thwart demoralization.

Force brute.

David Icke model.

Warm goo phase.

Working for and against.

At various times.

You must understand Pieczenik in Panama.

With Noriega.

Why did the United States send this man?

You must understand Pieczenik in Syria.

In Southeast Asia.

Trace the network.

Pieczenik has come out for decades.

He has truly defected to the people.

He has given away no tradecraft.

He is not a Snowden.

He is a rock and roller.

And he is not full of shit.

What we are seeing currently is the greatest military operation in America’s history.

Either that, or we are fucked.

Why Spanish, Dutch, and Arabic?

Oil.

Venezuela.

Royal Dutch Shell.

OPEC.

Creative communication.

Hidden in plain sight.

Steganography.

Of a sort.

Repurposed.

Spartacus.

Vendetta.

Anonymous.

Swarming.

I take a different approach.

I appreciate Thomas Jefferson.

Cutting up his Bible.

But not for me.

Because the word of God is holy.

Yet my tattered volume.

Illuminated by colored pencils.

God has tested my faith.

I am weak.

But strong in my core.

And I give my full future to Jesus Christ.

May I bring glory to God.

Even if I curse like Lenny Bruce.

May God work through me as he has worked through Trump.

Rock and rollers.

Similarities to another masterpiece.

The Conversation. (1974)

Of Francis Ford Coppola.

Condor (1975).

No such agency.

Existence of which declassified when?

Current state of affairs.

Space Force.

17th to accede to IC.

Community.

Such a fucking stupid descriptor.

Ostensibly headed by Bill Gates’s bitch Avril Haines (Event 201).

Both beholden to China.

Can’t spell China without ChInA.

The entity which gave us COVID-19.

I am going to enjoy this.

Dr. Kaufman in Tomorrow Never Dies.

Bill Barr.

The worst kind of traitor.

In the same category as Dick Cheney and Mike Pence.

And John Roberts.

Never trust The New York Times.

-PD

Tropic Thunder [2008)

Jim Marrs fought the good fight.

Straight out of The Party.

And later Being There.

Full retard.

Ritardando.

Waiting with bated breath.

After just five days.

Seven days in May.

I didn’t recognize Tom Cruise.

Impressive invective.

What is it with these Scientologists?

Why they gotta be such good fuckin’ actors?

Travolta.

And musicians.

Beck.

Never mind.

Fuck ’em!

A bunch of nut jobs!!

‘Bout to rub tiger balm on this bitch.

Coogan spontaneously combusts.

But he had the right idea.

Strait out of Spies Like Us.

Strait out of The Three Amigos.

Massive influence of John Landis on Edgar Wright.

But here, Ben Stiller.

Straight out of Blair Witch.

Homage-o-meter.

Like Pavement.

I can relate.

Restecp.

Dgfffcf.

Real bullets.

One round.

Rock and road.

Full metal jacket.

Guarding the poppy fields in Afghanistan.

Pat Tillman.

Now comes the pain.

Why were McConnell and McCain in Burma?

ASSK.

toBurma.

https://wikileaks.org/clinton-emails/emailid/23471

First Secretary of State to visit Myanmar in 50 years.

Big feather in her cap.

She came, she saw, he died.

Her foreign policy achievements.

Think the CIA isn’t capable of stoking race riots?

Princess Diana.

Is this real world or exercise?

NEADS.

NORAD.

USSF.

Child soldiers.

Borat with video record.

VHS.

No more LARPing.

Thoughtful Americans can no longer have any confidence in the U.S. voting system…unless they are Democrats.

Which may be mutually exclusive to “thoughtful”.

Regardless, the machines are rigged for Democrats.

Democrats never get in trouble.

Especially the big ones like Hillary.

But also the ones like Ruby Freeman (who get $100 to stuff the ballot box).

Just as busted as Derek Chauvin.

Ruby Freeman with her knee on the neck of our vote.

And Shaye Moss.

Asphyxiating democracy at the State Farm Arena in the early morning hours of November 4, 2020.

And Ralph Jones Sr.

And an as-yet-to-be-identified fourth suspect.

Suspected of committing massive ballot fraud.

The whole country has seen it.

But Ruby Freeman walks free (apparently).

No consequences.

Because she’s a Democrat.

And it would be racist to not let a black woman cheat.

Maybe there was no Q.

Or maybe Q is about to unleash hell.

Don’t ask me.

I don’t know.

Consigned to play the role of Simple Jack for eternity.

Colonel Kurtz, I presume.

Loyalty.

Are there shifts?

I love America.

But my vote no longer counts in America.

Because of Ruby Freeman and (even more so) Dominion Voting Systems.

But also Hart InterCivic.

By way of the SolarWinds hack.

[Austin]

And even ES&S.

Why was Smartmatic interested in Burma’s vote in 2015?

Twitter.

IMG_7614

You think we are weak and defeated.

QAnon was merely boot camp for digital soldiers.

Willing to die.

How die?

Rounded up by Biden’s death squads.

How die?

Targeted by Antifa.

How die?

Imprisoned on trumped up charges.

Better to burn out than to fade away.

Rust never sleeps.

Never stops oxidizing.

We know you, but do you know us?

We took down the Soviet Union with rock and roll.

Who are we?

We scoured Zbig’s big tell.

We will win the culture war.

You squash us, but we are Levi’s jeans in Gorky Park.

Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.

You have to have balls.

To be a rock and roller.

Fuck it.

Let it roll.

Heads.

Call it in the air.

Tumbling into the basket.

Fish and loaves.

By the power of Jesus Christ.

We rebuke you.

Satan.

Q-uantico.

Larry Silverstein.

What a disgusting prick.

Human slime.

Warren Buffett too.

NetJets in Flight 93 neighborhood.

Nearest bird.

Golf tournament.

At Offutt AFB?

Lloyd Austin giving Donald Rumsfeld a run for his money.

As most pathetic, treasonous SecDef in U.S. history.

Forrestal is rolling in his grave while quoting Ajax.

Frank Olson has never been avenged.

What does Fort Detrick make of COVID-19?

Asymmetric?

Certainly unrestricted.

Warfare.

False-flag STAND DOWN.

Fake woke.

Lloyd Austin.

Traitor.

Trained actors.

Trained musicians.

Trained artists.

Information warfare.

Strategic intelligence.

CIA is Wall Street.

Hit ’em where it hurts.

GameStop.

Game continue.

The kabuki of war.

Willing to die.

Because I love George Washington.

And I love “one person, one vote”.

Because I am not a slave.

King Gary.

Gay.

Something in the Civil War.

Fog.

Bridge wired.

Stabbed by Mini Me.

War is hell.

All is fair.

I cannot accept a fake president.

How am I to participate in democracy if my vote no longer counts?

I lack “standing”.

My state lacks “standing”.

And all Democrats (and most Republicans) have also passed the buck.

Shirked their duties.

There is no justice at the Department of Justice.

But I still believe in the FBI.

I don’t believe in Comey.

I don’t believe in McCabe.

I don’t believe in Strzok (or his wife who just got a cherry position at the SEC).

I don’t believe in Lisa Page.

Clinesmith handling is a blatant double standard.

I still believe in the military.

I believe in law enforcement.

I shall remain peaceful.

I ask for the help of the military.

I ask for the help of law enforcement.

Make us proud.

Go out on the same limbs we do.

I have nothing in this life.

I am a “racist” just because I voted for Trump.

I need to be “deprogrammed”.

I need to be “re-educated”.

I will fight till my last day.

The word is mightier than the sword.

-PD

 

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation [1989)

It’s been awhile since I’ve written.

Got dumped by my fiancée.

Offered to be engaged again.

Got rejected again.

Worked my ass off at Starbucks.

Had one day off (Christmas).

And another today (New Year’s Eve).

Haven’t been feeling too well.

Failed experiments with getting off of anti-anxiety medication.

It’s tough.

People coming in the drive-thru in the wrong direction.

Getting stuck.

Taking twenty minutes to back out like Austin Powers in that infamous utility truck scene.

Work is stressful.

Christmas is stressful.

It puts a strain on many people.

Some go home and drink themselves to sleep.

While capitalism creates the most value, it is not without a price for the worker.

Getting a nice, cushy job can be easier than it sounds.

Perhaps I am dumb.

I’m not lazy, but I might be dumb.

I am smart in certain things.

But finding a place where my talents fit?

Well, I have done that a few times in my life.

But those were rare occasions.

It may be trite to say so, but life can come down to a roll of the dice here and there.

Is it chaos?

Is it God?

Did God invent chaos?

It’s true.

Some things which were formerly unexplained have become clearer as man has gained more knowledge of his world through science.

And here we come into the year 2020.

Where’s I’m at, there is a little less than two hours left.

I am glad to have my parents with me.

My dear, sweet mom.

My dear, sweet dad.

I am glad to have a roof over my head.

I’m glad to have heat.

Warmth.

Love.

And it is a joy to revisit this modern classic.

This was a film that my extended family (and my nuclear family) loved.

It is truly a city/country dichotomy.

From the very start.

Rednecks tailgate Clark Griswold as the family goes to the boonies in search of a Christmas tree.

But John Hughes does not paint a strictly disparaging portrait of rural folk.

Far from it.

For me, Randy Quaid is far-and-away the star of this film.

It is his best role.

Cousin Eddie.

It makes sense.

Quaid is from Houston.

And he has become quite a colorful character in real life on Twitter these recent years.

Scanning his bio, one can see that he attempted to migrate to Canada…with stops in Vancouver and Montreal.

But all that is secondary.

Quaid’s performance here is legendary.

And so he represents the country/rural pole.

But John Hughes, the film’s writer, did this lovingly.

Quaid is a lovable character here.

Not without faults.

Very three-dimensional.

This is where ’80s comedy approaches Dostoyevsky (in some weird sort of way).

At the other city/urban pole are the Griswold’s yuppie neighbors (notably including Julia Louis-Dreyfus).

Hughes takes as least as many pokes at the urban affluent as he does at the rural poor.

And there is nothing loving in his portrayal of the neighbors Todd and Margo.

But all of this is still secondary.

Because this film reminds me of my youth.

Times when things were a little more normal.

A big roaring fireplace out in the country.

And times when my dear cousin was still alive.

In rural areas, there is not much to do but watch movies.

And these were the days of VHS.

And video rental stores.

And so this film comes highly recommended by me.

It may not be one to watch year-round, but for my money it is more important and essential to my being than It’s a Wonderful Life.

One last thing.

Happy New Year to all!

May we not chain-smoke ourselves into early graves.

May we find peace and happiness and be able to handle the stresses of work and life.

I wish this for everyone.

 

-PD

The Matrix [1999)

I tried to make her understand.

I tried to tell her what she needed to hear.

I am still waiting.

Waiting for a sea change.

Assange is the superstar hacker.

Mendax.

QAnon lifted “follow the white rabbit” from this film.

Unless this film and the QAnon op stem from the same source.

Smith of 1984.

Turned.

Red-pill me on Tylenol.

LSD implications of Alice.

Mirror from Cocteau.

Keanu Reeves dips his fingers into Orphée (1950).

The Wachowski brothers have both now become trans women.

How fitting.

They are both (incidentally) married to women (Karin and Alisa).

From Walter Carlos to Wendy Carlos.

In which Neo wakes up in the “warm liquid goo” phase.

Brave New Fahrenheit 1984.

Baby farms of dystopia.

Elon Musk has been worried about the very premise of The Matrix.

Worried that his buddies at Google are creating for us the very hell foretold in this movie.

Really.

AI.

Pacified with free porn.

Zion of Joel Silver (producer).

With the “desert of the real”, we get Slavoj Žižek a few years later.

And one of my favorites:  Baudrillard.

Or vice versa.

Oracle like Oprah.

With cookies and everything.

Great acting by Gloria Foster who died in September 2001.

After 9/11.

And this film predates flying machines being swallowed by skyscrapers.

And mass shootings.

Indeed, Columbine kicked off a new era…a mere three weeks after The Matrix was released.

Hmmm…

Many kung fu rips.

It would be four more years before Tarantino began ripping kung fu with the first Kill Bill.

So The Matrix was first here.

A new Star Wars.

Luke Skywalker of Neo.

And the Holocaust chic costumes.

Schindler’s List set this up six years previous in 1993.

Kiss of life.

Great romance.

Sparks.

Channeling Bruce Lee the whole way through.

Great drum and bass tracks.

Cool soundtrack.

I can imagine Thom Yorke really getting into this shit.

The next Radiohead album after this film was the start of a new bleep bloop era.

Kid A.

And Carrie-Anne Moss is really pretty.

Good movie!

 

-PD

The Silencers [1966)

If you wanna know why Austin Powers was a “photographer” (strange bit of dilettantism that), then look no further than the beginning of the four-film spy-spoof series starring Dean Martin.

Matt Helm (Martin) is very much in the Derek Flint vein.

A couple of interesting possibilities exist in these films.

First, Martin’s parent agency in the spooky, alphabet soup world of espionage is ICE:  Intelligence and Counter-Espionage.

Second, the SPECTRE-like organization he fights is called The Big O.

obama.png

bigO

bigO2

Which brings us to #QAnon.

Sleeper.

…all of a sudden.

Hussein.

Tung-Tse might drink egg foo yung out of a can–might be a Dr. No knockoff, but it brings up the question:

Is QAnon real?

Fortunately, we have Stella Stevens to reassure us.

Just as magical as she was in the Jerry Lewis masterpiece The Nutty Professor.

But even hotter here.

Heat among friends.

Furnace.

Learn our comms.

Cyd Charisse drops in…festooned with pasties.

Twirling like an Amish stripper.

Now comes the pain.

Panic in DC.

 

-PD

bowie

Austin Powers in Goldmember [2002)

Nice recovery.

To recap:  first episode, pretty awesome.  Second episode #prettyterrible.  And third episode?

Quite good.

In general, all of the things you may have loved about the Austin Powers debut film return here as progressed elements.

Likewise, the shoddy aspects of episode two are herein absent or otherwise fixed.

I was pleasantly surprised.

Mike Myers recovers some of the real-life mojo he seemingly lost in the shag-a-flopic middle piece.

The character of Goldmember (played by Myers) is a significant improvement upon the generally stale Fat Bastard.

Beyoncé Knowles is pretty darn good in this film as well.

I was skeptical coming in.  Didn’t really know her as an actress.  Only slightly know her music.

But there’s a reason I didn’t know her as an actress.  Because this was her film debut.

Thank you Wikipedia.

Now we’re getting somewhere…

However, perhaps the most genius (evil genius?) dimension of this film is the dream-within-a-dream fourth-wall-destroying cameo sequence of Tom Cruise, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey, and John Travolta (among others).  Lot ‘a Scientologists there…

Continuing:

The big add-on, however, is Michael Caine.  It was really a choice bit of casting to introduce him into the mix.

That said, I’ve been a bit harsh on Mike Myers.  Really, it is formidable that he pulls a Peter Sellers by playing Austin, Dr. Evil, Goldmember, and Fat Bastard in this film.  They are all distinct characters.  In truth, Myers succeeds admirably by way of his talent for dialects.  Dutch is such an odd choice (as a spin on English), but Johan van der Smut (aka Goldmember) is indeed a novel attempt.

888 to you, my friend!

Yes…it’s not coming to the Criterion Collection anytime soon (unless it’s April 1st), but that’s alright.  After a grueling day this might be just the perfect film to make you forget for a moment.

Crack a laugh if you can.

Heartily recommended for James Bond aficionados in need of psychic adjustment.

Or something.

-PD

Johnny English Reborn [2011)

With film reviews, a critic either reviews the film or reviews themselves.  Selves?  Self.

Continuing…  There are two major modes of writing about art.

If I tell you that film was designated the seventh art by Ricciotto Canudo, am I telling you more about film or more about myself?

I would argue that I am trying to flaunt my intellect.

Every once in awhile my brain serves me well.  At other times I am painfully aware of my shortcomings.

And so, Johnny English…not exactly King Lear by Godard.

Nay…  ,,but a near piss-perfect spy spoof.

Piss-perfect?

Now there’s an odd turn of phrase.  Can’t say I’ve thought of that one in awhile.

Really, it makes little sense…unless…drug test?

Who knows…

It’s certainly not timoxeline barbebutenol.  No.  I’m assured by my ever faithful companion Wikipedia that that (2) is a fictional drug.

It does, however, share a molecular formula with two actual drugs:  amobarbital and pentobarbital (respectively).

C11H18N2O3

Yes…

Now<>  If I followed this particular tangent I would be indirectly commenting on the film at hand.

The ostensible “meaning” would be that this film is so devoid of substance that I had been reduced to concocting literary small talk in its absence.

But that is not the case.

And so in the great literary tradition of the Choose Your Own Adventure books, I shall forego the pharmacological flourish and focus on what’s really important.

Johnny English Reborn, while not a masterpiece in the Palme d’Or sense, smashes both the first two Austin Powers films (and indeed its own predecessor) to infinitesimal bits.

[If I allowed myself the indulgence of an aside involving quantum computing and its version of bits (qubits) I would really be showing my arse.]

Because I don’t know quantum computing from linear regressions.  [Figuratively speaking.]

And so I will be plain as day ->  I identify with this film

I know.  It’s sad in a certain way…

“The Great Pretender”…I sometimes think.  I think of Richard Manuel crooning that song with such pain in his heart.

Yes, Levon Helm was right:  the moments that Richard took the spotlight for ballads…those were the real highlights.

“Georgia On My Mind”…

A guy with a great big beard.  As weird and wistful as Brian Wilson in a giant sandbox.

Uhhh…yes.  Where were we?

Johnny English.

Reborn no less…

Indeed, a few things are different here.

First we must thank director Oliver Parker.

This film really holds together.

Lucky for him he had Rowan Atkinson in top form as the title character.

But there are two supporting players who deserve special mention.

The first is Daniel Kaluuya.

Mr. Kaluuya, himself of Ugandan ancestry, fills some very big shoes left vacant by his predecessor Ben Miller.

I really did Miller a disservice by failing to mention his fine performance in the first Johnny English film.

But Kaluuya takes a somewhat different tack.

I may be imagining things, but I get the feeling that Kaluuya was playing this role for all it’s worth (like an athlete or musician with a make-or-break chance).

Sure…films employ multiple takes.  Drop a line?  No problem.  Let’s take it again.

And yet, Kaluuya adds a gentle urgency to this farce by way of truly accomplished thespian abilities.

I certainly hope someone in the film world was paying attention as his filmography does not reflect an appreciation for his immense talents.

And finally, I must mention the redemption of Rosamund Pike (reborn, if you will).

I last left her on my site as a rather tragic villain figure in the actual Bond film Die Another Day.  Mercifully, she does not exit this film with a volume of Sun Tzu shishkababbed flush to bosom.  [What?]

Quite the contrary…for here she is the good guy (girl)…and her acting is as impeccable as her true beauty.

But poor Johnny…poor Rowan Atkinson.

I’ve hardly mentioned him at all.

Must I tell you again what a genius this fellow is?

Perhaps so.

I haven’t been effusive enough regarding a man whose talents are of the most rare kind.

True, born-to-yuck talents.  Born-to-ham.  I would only put him in a race with Roberto Benigni.

Those two.

They are of another era.

Like Peter Sellers.

Like Jacques Tati.

And, of course, back to the fondateur Charlie Chaplin.

The modern world does not embrace this visual sort of humor.

Every once in awhile it reappears.  Benigni wins Best Actor.

And then it’s gone again.

Atkinson, dear boy, if you’re out there on the brainwave wavelengths…

You’ve still got it, old chap!

-PD

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me [1999)

This one is painful.  No getting around it.

Mike Myers is a very talented guy, but this film is seriously lacking in creativity.

I get it…  The James Bond series is very formulaic, but a spoof franchise can’t afford to be so predictable.

And thus it is little wonder that Austin Powers only lasted three installments.

But to be fair, let’s give this film a chance.

Austin starts out learning that his luck was too good to be true.

Elizabeth Hurley.  Not a professional model until age 29.

Speaks of a certain beauty.  Timeless.

Perhaps.

Daughter of Angela Mary Titt (!)…you can’t make this stuff up.

Bruce Beresford cast Hurley in Aria (1987) [a compilation film which happened to feature a vignette by my idol Jean-Luc Godard].

Aria was her debut.

Ok, enough about Hurley. She’s not in much of this film, but I really did her a disservice by completely failing to mention her performance in the first Austin Powers movie.  Really, she is a fine actress and her contribution to that movie was significant and impressive.

By now you may be noticing that the current film under consideration (installment two) must be quite a clunker for me to be going on about an actress who appears in about ten minutes of this feature.

If you have surmised thusly, you have surmised correctly.

Moving on…

There are moments in this movie when things briefly coalesce.  Dr. Evil’s headquarters atop The Space Needle hosts one such moment.  The schadenfreude I felt as a patron of a particularly lackluster Starbucks (watch the movie) was, in this scene, among the highlights of a rather limp film.

There is, of course, the addition of the 2′ 8″ Verne Troyer in this installment.  Troyer does a fine job as Mini-Me.

Even the Fat Bastard character is entertaining (up to a point).

I suppose that is the M.O. of the Austin Powers franchise: to go beyond the limits of ridiculousness and good taste.

When it works, it’s quite special.  When it doesn’t (as in most of this film), it’s a rather tragic affair.

Unfortunately, Rob Lowe is not really allowed to shine in this film.  His comedic gifts deserved better.

One player who makes the most of her small role is Kristen Johnston.  Kudos to her for making the sport of chess as exciting and bizarre as Marcel Duchamp and Henry Miller would have done had they wound up in this shambles of a film.

And now on to the bright spot of the film:  Heather Graham.

Yes, I know…I know.

Though it’s not as powerful as her breathtaking performance in Boogie Nights, it’s not a bad performance.

No…far from it.

Graham takes the charm of Elizabeth Hurley and ratchets it up a few notches.

But the story…oy vey, the story.  Really, there is no story.  The same story.

It’s pretty sad when a spy spoof is less entertaining than a Bond clunker such as Moonraker.

Back to Graham…anyone who’s dated Adam Ant is alright in my book.

Pushing onwards…

Dr. Evil at least happens upon the perfect name for his doomsday laser:  The Alan Parsons Project.

Like the evil Starbucks Space Needle, it is one of few highlights.

One of the few storyline threads to come through intact is the one involving Powers’ mojo.

Unfortunately, the naïvete of enlightenment which somehow alighted upon the first Austin Powers film is not present here to sustain the promising premise of mojo lost and found.

Strangely, the series itself seemingly lost its mojo in this its sophomore slump.

There’s one final twist at the end involving Fat Bastard.  For a moment the film threatens to redeem itself.

But alas, as they say…

-PD

Johnny English [2003)

What to say…  A witty beginning, perhaps?

An arresting turn of phrase?

No, I shan’t deign preface my critique with decorum.

Rather, one needs must hold steadfast to the cocked-up tone of this talkie in order to convey its essence.

Johnny English.

Take three measures of Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther films, one of Sean Connery in Dr. No, half a measure of Joseph Beuys.  Shake it very well until it’s gasp-inducingly funny (might take quite a bit of shaking, er…), then add a surprisingly adept turn by Natalie Imbruglia.  Right?  Right.

What could go wrong?

Well, in contrast to this film’s beginning, pleasantly little.

It’s true:  the opening credits of this picture have not aged well at all.

They make the kitsch titles of Austin Powers’ first film (which also suffers from clunky mise-en-scène) seem positively polished in comparison.

It’s a shame neither of these spy spoof franchises sprung for a Maurice Binder.

But I digress…

My point is that Johnny English gets better over the course of its 88 minutes.

Coming into this experiment I figured that Rowan Atkinson clearly had the superior comedic chops vs. Mike Myers.

And he does.

But Johnny English suffers from some strange virus of general incompetence.  Something doesn’t quite click in the process of potentially calling the film under review a masterpiece.

Not that I expected as much…

Happily, Johnny English is a tremendously enjoyable flick.

I laughed harder and more earnestly during this picture compared to Austin Powers’ debut, yet Jay Roach delivered a more seamless spy spoof for Myers than the film under consideration.

But let us not throw Peter Howitt under the double-decker quite yet…

Howitt turned in a quite an admirable film.

In actuality, the story of Johnny English is stronger and more convincing than that of Austin Powers:  International Man of Mystery.

But back to comedic chops…  When Mike Myers is good, he’s very good.  When Rowan Atkinson is good, he’s great.

And so, there are moments in this film which I wouldn’t trade for anything in the Austin Powers opener.

I can’t say the converse is true.

Natalie Imbruglia is as good in this film as John Malkovich is bad.

I know, I know…

Sounds impossible…

I have a feeling that Malkovich cherished (in some perverse way) the clunky role he was given.

He plays it as if he’s in a high school musical.

I am not doubting Malkovich’s acting skills.  They are world-class.

Yet, for some reason, he is the acting equivalent of a Styrofoam cup herein.

Imbruglia, on the other hand, amazingly (!) out-acts Elizabeth Hurley.

Notice, if you will, the fact that I did not even mention Hurley in my piece on Austin Powers.

That was because her performance was largely limp.

Sure…she’s exquisitely beautiful.  Yes, she has acting chops…

But Imbruglia took a small role in a cursed film and turned it into a moment in which to really shine.

But but but…

Let’s not get too lost in the praise.

Really this whole thing would be lost at sea were it not for Rowan Atkinson.

He indeed approaches the genius of Harpo Marx.

That is no small feat.

I, for one, wish Atkinson’s oeuvre was larger so that I could devote more attention to his talent.

Perhaps the best is yet to come.

We can certainly hold out such hope!

-PD

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery [1997)

I imagine I’m the only film critic in the world simultaneously engrossed in the oeuvre of Godard and the semi-genre of spy spoofs.

Yet it’s true.

And this film sets a sort of modern standard.

When I first saw this picture it didn’t have the same effect on me which it does now.

The difference?

Total immersion in the James Bond series.

This brings me back to my first statement…stated differently:

How could a person delve into the deepest recesses of French intellectual film and yet appreciate a notoriously shallow succession of pseudo-cinematic pap?

The James Bond franchise succeeded in its early years on sheer will of confidence (expressed in the nonchalant swagger of Sean Connery).

And so for those of us who are drawn to films such as Dr. No like moths to a flame Austin Powers provides just the right measure of fun to mercifully deflate our nonsensical ambitions.

Truth be told, most average citizens (myself included) would make horrible secret agents.  We can’t keep secrets.

We can’t outrun a young assassin.

But we like to dream.

There are always analyst jobs.  Perhaps…

But let’s get on with it…

What makes this film special?

It is that outsider/outcast aspect which plagues Austin “Danger” Powers.

The most poignant (poignant?) touch is Austin in the casino bar flashing a peace sign (V) of naïvete to a tableful of unsympathetic twits.

It should be noted that Mike Myers actually does a formidable job of not only referencing the various minutiae of Bond films but also of evoking the humanism of Chaplin embodied in the closing speech of The Great Dictator.

Put simply, this is a very smart movie.  Don’t let the fart jokes fool you.

Sure…some aspects of this film have not aged so well, but it was made in a spirit of fun.

Did this opening installment in the franchise pander to the mediocre intelligence of American movie-going audiences?

Of course.

But hey…that spirit has powered (no pun intended) some of the great films of all time.

What Austin Powers brought to the world was really a reawakening of the American comedy zeitgeist from the 1980s.

Think of those great, enjoyable films like The Three Amigos (and especially Spies Like Us), Trading Places, the National Lampoon movies, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles…  I don’t care what anyone says:  those were great movies!

Those are the films I grew up on.  Airplane, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure…heck, even Romancing the Stone pulled me in every time it came on TV.

Director Jay Roach did a really nice job of providing that enjoyable experience with this film.  We all need some laughs.

Life is too hard; too sad.  Too serious!

But Austin Powers is most of all the gold standard of Bond spoofs.  When you can’t watch Goldfinger for the umpteenth time, give yourself a break with this film.

It will feel like a masterpiece.  We all need a funhouse mirror in which to see our own reflection and laugh.

There’s no shame in that 🙂

-PD