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Casino Royale
Perfect 75 Points 2006

Is there a better Bond movie? From the B&W opening’s clever incorporation of Bond shooting at the camera, to ‘Bond, James Bond’ not coming till the final line, Casino Royale visits the de rigueur touchstones in fresh, inventive ways. Daniel Craig barely cracks a smile, let alone a smirk yet…

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Lust, Caution
Really Great 79 Points 2007

Lust, Caution is well titled. If you go for the NC-17 lust, make yourself comfortable because the build-up outweighs the slow-to-arrive albeit hot climax. Whatever, this superbly accomplished film immerses us in a foreign and bygone world, one timeless in its passions (yes, its lust), jealousi…

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The Debt
Really Great 83 Points 2011

A mashup of Israel’s bravura capture of Adolph Eichmann and the moral confusion of Munich, The Debt pays off almost completely, missing perfection by ceding reality. Well that and because the Mossad agents’ reluctance to kill the fictional Surgeon of Birkenau annoys as much as it galvanizes….

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WikChip Image The two visages of Rachel Singer.
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Really Great 66 Points 1964

Goldfinger has everything we love about James Bond, other than a memorable Bond girl. It’s got Sean Connery driving his legendary Aston Martin, complete with ejector seat and machine guns. It’s got a great “Bond, James Bond” and “Shaken, not stirred.” Most valuably, Goldfinger himself is a t…

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WikChip Image Oddjob's killer hat.
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Tinker Tailor S...
Great 83 Points 2011

The best spy movie ever isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Why? Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy unspools its complex story in non-linear fashion via a swirl of supporting characters declaiming with extreme British reserve. Many people thus find the movie nigh on impossible to follow and deadly solemn to …

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WikChip Image Deep Gravitas: Oldman's Quiet Man
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Great 17 Points 1998

How did I miss seeing Ronin for so long? DeNiro is really great as an ex intelligence agent part of an elite spook-squad for hire and sent on a hunt for something everyone seems to want. Plenty of tension, action, shooting without gratuitous blood, some amazing car chases in crowded European str…

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Great 66 Points 1966

Judith features Gentile moviestars playing Jewish freedom fighters during Israel’s War of Independence. It’s amazing how glamorous a story centered on early kibbutz life at the end of the British Mandate can be.

To that end, Judith is a fabulous Sophia Loren movie. The great Loren stars a…

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WikChip Image Kibbutznick Extraordinaire
Great 83 Points 2010

Angelina Jolie does everything but introduce herself as Salt, Evelyn Salt in this geopolitical ultra-action thriller. Possessing the suave savoir-faire associated with Bond, James Bond, her Salt is the kind of old-school secret agent that trades in glamour as much as grit. Put it this way: …

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WikChip Image Mata Hari: Angelina Jolie as Evelyn Salt
The Man Who Kne...
Great 66 Points 1934

Though more than a little dated, the original Man Who Knew Too Much remains a must see for fans of spy thrillers and classic filmcraft. Dryer than a vermouth-free martini, perfectly shot in high contrast B&W and crafted in such accomplished fashion that Hitch’s nickname – The Master – could h…

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WikChip Image Classic Lorre: Oily, Sinister, Depraved
Kingsman: The S...
Great 83 Points 2014

The same brilliant, depraved and amoral crew who brought us Kick-Ass have now delivered Kingsman: The Secret Service, another comic take on a well-trod movie topic. James Bond movies are the inspiration this time. The result is tremendously entertaining, albeit as sordid as it is sleek. And i…

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WikChip Video Samuel L. Jackson talks Evil Genius