Topaz has a lot to work with. Based on the real-life Martel affair, in which a Soviet defection triggered a crisis in American-French relations, it has a good spy story, believable characters and exotic locations.
Alfred Hitchcock does a competent job weaving it all together, but the end result somehow lacks momentum.
The story sounds exciting on paper. A high KGB official defects to the United States and reveals the presence of nuclear missiles on Cuba. The CIA recruit a French secret agent, André Devereaux (Frederick Stafford), to get proof from a member of the Cuban delegation — who would not cooperate with an American — that is visiting New York for the United Nations.
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When French president Charles de Gaulle agreed to Algerian self-determination in 1961, his right-wing supporters were outraged. They had returned the general to power only three years earlier so he could put down the bloody uprising in France’s most prized colony. Some of the pieds-noirs, the Algerian French, and their sympathizers in the army banded together in the paramilitary Organisation de l’armée secrète (OAS) to stop the independence process with assassinations and bombings.
The Day of the Jackal, based on Frederick Forsyth’s novel of the same name, fictionalizes the group’s plots against De Gaulle.
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Seven Days in May, based on the highly successful novel of the same name by Charles W. Bailey II and Fletcher Knebel, tells the story of an attempted military putsch in the United States.
It’s the early 1970s. An unpopular President Jordan Lyman (Fredric March) has signed a nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviet Union and is facing strong opposition from the military and the right. The charismatic Air Force General James Mattoon Scott (Burt Lancaster) has convinced all but one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to support him in a coup against the president. Colonel Jiggs Casey (Kirk Douglas), director of the Joint Staff, finds out about the plan and teams up with Lyman to stop it.
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Full disclosure: I have read neither the manga, nor watched the Fullmetal anime adaptations. So I went into this Netflix original with no more information about this than what Netflix made available to me. I saw the trailer, the dieselpunk elements and figured I’d give it a go.
And boy, what a waste of my time this was.
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Mute is a neon-noir futuristic detective story in which we follow mute bartender Leo on a desperate search through the gritty underbelly of an almost dystopian Berlin for his missing girlfriend Naadirah.
Throw in all kinds of criminal underworld types and random characters and you have the story.
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There have been dozens and dozens adaptations of the famous books by Edgar Rice Burroughs of which The Legend of Tarzan is the latest in line.
This version is a bit of a mixed bag. They do take a good amount of parts from the books, such as Jane Porter being an accomplished adventuress in her own right and not a damsel in distress, and including the legendary city of Opar (without any of the actual literary backstory and with different characters) and couple it to some historic facts about the Belgian occupation of the Congo. With a lot of fiction added in, of course.
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Tim Burton’s sequel to his Alice in Wonderland adaptation from a few years ago is once again based on a book by Lewis Carroll, this time Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, published in 1871.
As far as adaptations go, this is very liberal. Burton doesn’t follow the book much at all, uses very little elements of it and weaves them into what is essentially a sequel to his previous Alice movie. If you haven’t seen that one, make sure you do before you see Alice Through the Looking Glass or you’ll be very confused.
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Guy Ritchie — maker of the two recent steampunky Sherlock Holmes movies starring Robert Downey, Jr. — gives us a great spy-fi comedy adventure this summer that dieselpunk fans ought to be interested in.
Although the The Man from U.N.C.L.E., based on the 1960s television series of the same name, takes place in the post-dieselpunk era, it contains many of the genre’s tropes and themes: spies, unrepentant Nazis in a plot against the two superpowers, missing nuclear weapons, speedboats, helicopters, industrial decors reminiscent of Thunderbirds and dashing Space Age costumes.
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Big Hero 6 may seem like the umptieth Disney movie, especially the umptieth digitally animated one. Considering it’s by the team of Frozen, people may expect something along those lines. Nothing could be further from the truth. Big Hero 6 is one of the best things released by Disney since well, quite a while.
This Marvel/Disney collaboration is proof that both companies should work together more often. The film is not only a magnificent feat when it comes to animation, but also has the same kind of imaginative storytelling and feel of adventure that Marvel movies have become famous for in the last decade.
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Imagine a space opera-style movie with both casual, practical and elaborate costumes, visually pleasing combat scenes, all kinds of alien, human and everything in-between species, interesting villains and bombastic space ships as well as magnificant scenery.
Well, you don’t have to imagine it any longer, because the creators of the Matrix trilogy are back with a new cyberpunk sci-fi epos: Jupiter Ascending.
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