Blue Book Ends 2ndSeason

DATELINE: To be or not to be…

 It’s Cold out There.

The end of the History Channel non-truth in advertising series may be at hand. Project Blue Book, which has gone off the deep end, goes the distance in the final show of the 2ndseason by dealing with USOs and the Antarctica connection.

Once again, in 1953, Senator John F. Kennedy seems to wield more power than a junior senator might—and he is now giving orders to Project Blue Book personnel, sending Dr. Hyneck and Captain Quinn off to a North Atlantic goose chase.

We have to tie together all the loose ends to make a genuine cliff-hanger and to let the actors all know that, if the series returns, they will be part of it. We suspect all of this is as doubtful as the basis on truth in the episodes this season.

You have paranoiac admirals running military exercises and dumbfounded that such an idea as UFOs is in their crew.

You have the blonde Russian agent asking to see Dr. Hyneck’s wife to renew their lesbian association, in front of the generals yet.

And, of course, we have Hyneck now ready to prevent World War III single-handed when his colleague Mike Malarkey steals a submersible and goes diving to find the glory of underwater space city.

The show ends fittingly with the hint that Captain Quinn has merely been abducted and kidnapped to Antarctica where he no doubt will meet up with the cast of Ancient Aliens and a few Nazis.

Whether this show returns next year is doubtful more than any of this non-compelling story lines.

 

 

 

  Double Your Spies

DATELINE: Double or Nothing?

 Gere & Topher!

It only took us a decade to come around to The Double, a Russian spy infiltrates the CIA and/or FBI thriller. This one slipped through the cracks ten years ago, and we wondered why.

Perhaps the stars were box-office poison back then. Today, they look like classic performers, doing Hamlet.

You might be held back because of the smarmy leads: there is Richard Gere, in varying shades of white and gray as he plays himself in 25-year flashbacks as the ubiquitous CIA wrecking crew.

Then, there is the ever-irksome millennial Topher Grace as the research librarian turned field agent for the FBI.

They are forced to team up to find the former Soviet agent called Cassius who led one of the most dangerous murder groups out of Russia back in the 1980s.

You need only watch the trailer for this film, and you have a pretty good idea who the double is and how dangerous he may be. You will be on the road of the Red Herring.

Topher Grace’s analytical agent claims Cassius is not dead, not executed by Gere in his last act before retiring. They disagree, and then we begin to suspect that the double is the agent leading the hunt.

All of this is droll and clever until improbable meets impossible in the grand finale. We still aren’t sure who was supposed to kill whom for what government. Oh, Martin Sheen is along as head of the CIA. So, you can trust him.

As for the rest of these double agents, you sympathize at your own risk. Well, it was diverting.

Tinker, Tailor, Puzzle-maker

DATELINE: Cold Warriors

Hardy boy

 Hunky Hardy Boy!

If you want to be challenged by John LeCarre’s masterpiece of espionage during the Cold War, you might well take in the movie version of George Smiley’s hard work in finding a mole that caused the death of Control in the British secret service.

One kingfish at the agency seems to have a direct connection to the Kremlin. Though Smiley (Gary Oldman) has been forced out into retirement with his mentor, Control (John Hurt), he must work covertly to restore the integrity of the Circus.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is for those who enjoy armchair psychology and thought-provoking shades of gray.

Through complex flashbacks, and even more complex human relationships, you will find these are not pleasant men. The cast is stellar beyond compare: Toby Jones, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciaran Hinds, Tom Hardy, are stand-outs.

The sexual peccadilloes are unspoken, but there is a strong scent of blackmail and unspoken ties among the men. It is nearly as much a guessing game about their bedtime bedmates as it is about their political bedmates.

The complexity and subtlety of the film probably makes it beyond the tolerance level of your standard James Bond satire fans. This is the low-key, grubby, office worker mentality of the Cold War. Oldman is particularly wooden to hide his tormented feelings.

Every spy ought to be brought in from this Cold War before their tedious work drives them to distraction.

Oldman plays much older, and the young men (Hardy and Cumberbatch) had better days ahead as superstars. They could not be more stunningly attractive in 2011 and quickly made a mark with this film.