Quantico: KMFORGET – Doyle, Harry Doyle (Recap/Review)

 RUSSELL TOVEY, PRIYANKA CHOPRA, JAKE MCLAUGHLIN

Quantico this week got all “OO7” with Doyle being rumbled  as MI6, not quite on Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but darned close. Harry has been birddogging Alex and Ryan since they arrived at the farm and in “KMFORGET,” things came to a head when the three were implicated in a murder by Owen.

The name is Doyle, Harry Doyle: 

Doyle explains that he is there training on a sort of exchange program while one of the CIA’s agents are training in the English equivalent to The Farm.  All of this is disclosed during the “One year earlier” flashbacks.

Another thing revealed is that Harry plays for the other team, as evidenced by his between the sheets fun-time with Will Olsen. Clearly Doyle is getting close to Will in order to learn more about  Ryan and Alex. Olsen may be having fun, but he apparently only trusts Harry so far.

Back at The Farm:

Ryan and Alex zero in on Leigh. They search her room and they are both caught by Doyle as they leave. All three are drugged and left in a compromising position. They regain consciousness in the classroom semi clad and posed as “a threesome.”

The class are given another assignment and Harry volunteers to team up with Alex and Ryan.  Owen asks Leon to help him set up the journalist who ruined his career in the field. He agrees to help the instructor.

Leon, aka “Zorro” bumps into Shelby three times. While this works well for them, leading eventually to a date, Doyle realizes that Shelby must be Ryan and Alex’ handler.

The dead body:

Doyle, Alex and Ryan are set up by Owen during their “field trip.” They go to a hotel suite and find a dead man on the hotel room bed. Owen rings the trio and explains that their DNA has been scattered throughout the room.

They must clear all traces of themselves at the crime scene and get out before the police arrive. They have 13 minutes.

Alex and Ryan utilize Shelby and Raina to help frame Doyle for the murder. The aim is to frame Harry and force him out of The Farm.  They expect him to use the “get out of jail free” card which equals automatic expulsion.

After Ryan finally gets Leigh’s fingerprints Harry comes strolling in, clearly not expelled from the program and he wants answers.

(Kudos to show creator Joshua Safran as he actually surpassed himself on this episode. The double and triple crosses at the assignment were brilliant. So too was the “Mission Impossible” type montage showing how Harry was set up. Dead clever.)

One year later:

In the present, it is now more than obvious that Miranda is playing for the opposition.  She is not, however, alone. Will, who was approached Shelby for help after getting the text from Boyer, tells Shaw that he is “in.”

Alex, in another “yippee ki yay” moment takes out a small group of terrorists who are hunting for her, and almost dies at the hands of another group.  There is, however, a savior amongst the baddies who shoots the could be executioners and stages Parrish’s death.

As the rescued Alex runs up the stairwell, she literally bumps into Lydia, Owen’s daughter who is supposedly a hostage. The CIA agent is clearly not  and Parrish asks why Lydia is free.

It seems apparent that Bates is on the same team as Miranda and Olsen.  There is a lot of tricky things going on behind the scenes. Will is certain he convinced Shelby of Miranda’s innocence. But has he really?

Shelby Wyatt has always been a clever agent and it is doubtful that she completely believes that Miranda is innocent.

Final thoughts:

It has taken five episodes but finally Quantico has put its clever hat on and upped the stakes a bit.  Hopefully things will work out alright for Ryan, whom we have not seen for quite a while, and we can only hope that Miranda is not really on the enemy’s payroll.

If Harry Doyle really is with MI6 it explains so much about why he is not a member of the CIA team one year later. This episode was a move in the right direction for the series to leave out the feeling of deja vu.

Quantico airs Sundays on ABC.  Tune in and catch up to Alex’ challenge this year.

Cast:

The Last Hurrah (2016): Film Noir Meets Femme Fatale (Review)

The Last Hurrah (2016)

Written and directed by K. Patrick Tutera, The Last Hurrah is, in essence, a loving homage to film noir and another archetype of the time, the femme fatale.  It is an intimate look at two people who were married and had a child together. 

It is also about all things that make noir so popular. That invasive feeling that either one, or both, of the two protagonists are doomed. It also features a little greed, some lust and bit of double crossing…

Aleksandra Vujcic is Petra, a gorgeous classy looking dame (She has to be a dame; Sam Spade, the black and white medium and Lew Archer make it a necessity.) She is the foreign femme fatale that leads her former husband down a lane of deceit. 

Michael Bronte is Samuel, not a gumshoe with a dangling cigarette and lisping delivery, but a robber, as is Petra. He sees their sharing of the spoils in her apartment a chance to reconcile their differences. 

The director has a cameo as the “Man in Black” he is not Johnny Cash instead he is a  killer for hire. He could possibly be Petra’s new lover. It is not clear who the man really is.

While the characters do not deliver their lines with that 1940’s rapid fire staccato of a Howard Hawks film, the dialogue is reminiscent of that time period.  Snap brim fedoras, fox stoles and three piece suits mark the time period of this film.

The apartment could have come straight out of The Maltese Falcon  or The Big Sleep.  Camera work for the short feature is fairly stationary. The Last Hurrah could be done on the stage but it looks brilliant.

While the action is nearly claustrophobic in nature, the storyline and the interaction are perfect for the tale told here.  The former couple, who find that they can still work together perfectly, are a glamorous couple of crooks.

Petra, with her fractured English and Greta Garbo type delivery,  is a brilliant example of  strong female leads from back in the day.  The kind of woman who drove the men crazy while getting exactly what she wants from any relationship.

In this instance, the couple have a child in common. Petra uses the boy as a tool to force her ex husband into cooperating. Their offspring is also used as a diversionary tactic.  Samuel may be the muscle of this team but Petra is clearly the brains as this little vignette shows.

The Last Hurrah ends on an almost surprising note. This femme fatale, with the two-toned nails and lipstick that we know is a deep blood-red color, has gotten exactly what she set out to achieve.

Tutera gives us a spider and fly scenario set against the stark black and white world of the 1930’s and ’40’s.  The music chosen to set the mood could be lifted from any film during that time period and the director is not afraid to allow silence to frame a scene.

Philip Hurn, as cinematographer, lights the set brilliantly and the framing of each scene is spot on. The set and the designs feels right on the nose.

The Last Hurrah feels like a love letter in shorthand to Howard Hawks, John Huston and Billy Wilder. While the film is not perfect it does a great job of invoking those long ago days of cinematic glory.

Film producer, director and writer K. Patrick Tutera has informed us that his film will premiere at the Film Noir Festival in Albert, France 10, December this year. Fans of noir will want to check this one out.

This project is a high 4.5 star effort from all involved. It entertains and is an excellent homage to  the days of big studios.  Catch it if you can.

The Best Birthday Ever (2013): Political Party Punch Line (Review)

Cole Jaeger

Not being a huge fan of politics or political satire, “The Best Birthday Ever” could have been bypassed by us completely.  However the uber short film about a teenager, who talks like a small child, celebrating his birthday  is amusing and somewhat pithy.

Written and directed by Cole Jaeger , this five minute film stars Jaeger, as Dimpton, Timothy J. Cox as Father Bo and Scott Schuler as Uncle Bib.  The film starts with Dimpton reading  his “book.” The crayon illustrated book has three title pages and Dimpton reads each and every one out loud.

He talks about his presents, Father Bo (the republican) and Uncle Bib (the democrat.  His special day includes a trip to the beach and chicken mcnuggets. He puts glue on his special meal.  

Father Bo tries to talk reason to the boy but his sage advice, given rather gruffly, is ignored.  After Bo yells at Dimpton for putting glue on his snack, the boy continues eating his mcnuggets while a revolted Bo looks on.

The initially comes across as so much nonsense. There is, however, more going on here than a odd look at a birthday boy’s antics. In order to get what Jaeger is up to, one has to look at the visual messages of the film.

At one point, Father Bo is pushing Dimpton in a swing. Uncle Bib, the democrat, steps up and starts pushing the boy.  Bo snarls “democrat” at his brother and the two men argue.

The point here, and in the film overall, is that political parties push their themes to a helpless public. Although to be fair, it could mean something else altogether, but that is the message this reviewer got.

Jaeger’s entire, and extremely short, film appears to be a massive poke at US politics. With Dimpton as the “Joe Public” figure, the birthday boy is the unsuspecting, uneducated voter. Visual images include the Democratic party “Donkey” laying on its back, like a helpless turtle, and crying.

There is also a mention of Obama, made while Dimpton cowers in his “cave” as Father Bo and Uncle Bib are arguing. Once again the implication is one of willful ignorance and a certain helplessness toward political issues.

The Best Birthday Ever is classed as a comedy and it really is focused on making fun of politics, or more accurately the political party system. For instance, Jaeger, as Dimpton, reads his title three times. This appears to be a nod to the three party system, i.e. the  Republican, Democrat and Independent party.

The film is a clever little production that benefits from having too little time spent on anything other than its message. It is an interesting look, in a very abstract way, at the “system.”

If Jaeger is not cocking a snook at American politics, he has managed to make an interesting comment on the state of the US system and its voters by delightful accident.

It will be interesting to see what other projects Jaeger may have in the pipeline.  He certainly makes his minimalistic cast and story work very well, although his ace in the hole is character actor Timothy J. Cox.

The Best Birthday Ever  feels like a cinematic  version of flash fiction, or perhaps a movie made following the guidelines of YouTube, where 15 minutes is considered too long. Regardless of the influences behind the film, it is an interesting project.

Cole Jaeger’s film is a 3 star effort. The editing works well and the cinematography is competently done. The Best Birthday Ever is definitely worth a look, or two, as a sort of political party punchline with a very short buildup.

 

Narcos: Nuestra Finca – “Our Farm” (Recap/Review)

Netflix Narcos

In episode nine of Narcos “Nuestra Finca” (Our Farm) Pablo has finally lost it all.  Narcos continues with the slow downfall of Escobar as he runs out of places to hide. He finally takes temporary refuge at his father’s farm.

Tata is panicking as Gustavo de Greiff tells her that the protective custody is ending.  She insists that Los Pepes will kill them all and he suggests hiring private protection. Tata cannot get in touch with Pablo either so her troubles are twofold.

Later, one of the guards tries to help by turning over the radio frequencies and times from Tata’s radio. Javi thinks the man wants money or a visa to the states but he does not.

Los Pepes disband as Escobar has lost all his power, troops and money and is literally on his last legs. The group also have all of Escobar’s  product.  As they stand in a room full of cocaine, they call Rodriguez and ask what they should do with the weapon used by Flaggstudl stuff.

The head of the Cali cartel tells Carlos to keep it. He tells the Castaño brothers that it can be used for their cause; fighting the communist threat.  He also tells them to do what they wish with Judy Moncada.

Initially they try to kill her, via a bomb in her Mercedes. They fail and eventually Bill Stechner from the CIA, who are already partnered up with the brothers, arranges for Judy to become a CIA informant. She is flown to America to give an interview on the Today show.

Pablo and Limon head out to Abel Escobar’s farm to hideout.  While they are there the two men help build fence and do other odd jobs around the place.

Escobar sends Limon out to dig up $500 thousand dollars he buried on his father’s farm. Limon does this and discovers that the money has rotted in the case.

He then goes to see Maritza. He wants the money back that they gave her earlier. She resists and ends up being shot. Limon throws some loose bills on her bed and leaves with the money.

Pablo and his father get into an argument and he decides to leave the farm.  Limon comes back with the ruined money and what he got from Maritza. He tells Escobar they only have around $6 thousand dollars.

Colonel Martinez okays the use of the radio codes to track Pablo. Escobar and his father have a falling out. Pablo leaves a large amount of the money with his father. He finally gets a decent signal for his radio and he calls Tata.

Javi learns from super spook Bill Stechner that Messina has been removed rom from her post. Bill also hint that potato chips cannot eat.

Narcos is streaming on Netflix. Tune in and see what happens  best.

The  series has one more episode before Narcos is defeated, permanently. Tune in and see how it all ended for the man who was one the richest criminal in the world.

Cast: 

Luke Cage: Just to Get a Rep – Crossover Time (Recap/Review)

Mike Colter as Luke Cage

Opening to Jidenna singing “Long Live the Chief” (a song Cage would hate because the “N” word is pretty darned prevalent in the lyrics) Luke is clearing away rubble to find that swear can and Claire Temple gets mugged.  “Just to Get a Rep” offers up a little crossover time in the first part of the episode.

At the  club the Rap/Hip Hop artist continues singing as Temple chases her mugger down and kicks his butt into submission. She gets back her purse as Luke finds the can and leaves.  Misty Knight comes up to the bomb site and shifts a little rubble herself. She finds a photograph.

As the song ends, Cottonmouth calls a “state of the union” meeting. He learns that all he has left is about $250 thousand and his property. Stokes is broke.

Koko speaks up and talks about benign neglect and leaving Luke Cage alone. Cottonmouth shoots him. Stokes then orders Zip to hit the streets and build up the coffers. Shades reminds Cornell that he is there representing the big boss, Diamondback.

Zip and his goons go through Harlem and bleed the streets dry. It is all happening as the funeral preparations for Pop continue Cottonmouth’s minions are spreading the word about Cage. They tell all their victims that it is Luke Cage’s fault.

Bobby Fish pays out some serious money to have Dapper Dan get Luke looking “right” for the funeral.  Fish reminds Luke that he is not lucky, but blessed. He also tells Cage to make “sure they always spell your name right.”

Fish also gives Luke the key to Pop’s apartment to make up for his own crib being blasted to pieces. One of Zip’s victims, Aisha Axton, goes to Luke and demands that he get her father’s stolen ring back from Zip.

Later Aisha dispenses some of her own justice by shooting the thug who helped Zip trash her shop. Before that Luke goes to make sure “Cottonmouth spells my name right.”

Cage starts collecting all the things taken by Zip’s cretins. He retrieves everything before Pop’s funeral. Misty Knight and her crooked partner Scarfe warn Luke not to attend his friend’s service.

Luke visits Cottonmouth at his club.  Stokes sets his goons on Cage who tells the gangster to leave Harlem alone. He then takes out all the thugs and gets shot with not effect. Shades suddenly realizes that Cage is Carl Lucas.

Before leaving the club, Luke warns Stokes to “keep my name out your mouth.” Stokes asks “or what?” Cage says nothing  as he walks out the door.

Claire is still at the diner and she talks about Daredevil and Luke. She explains that she wants to help people with “abilities.”  This allows not only a Daredevil crossover of sorts but it also ties in with Claire Temple’s world in Marvel full stop.

Scarfe’s nefarious activities  for Cottonmouth have been observed. The captain warns Misty to steer clear of her  partner. Later it is revealed that the captain’s right hand man, the L.T. is also crooked. He warns Scarfe that Internal Affairs is looking into him.

He also tells the detective that Cottonmouth wants the guns out of the evidence locker.  Shades shows Stokes a new type of exploding bullet that he thinks will kill Cage.  It is made of metal not of this earth.

There is a problem however. Cottonmouth either has to pay an exorbitant price for the ammunition, per cartridge, or ask Diamondback to kill Cage. If Stokes does ask and Diamondback agrees, Cottonmouth will lose everything.

This prompts the gangster to order Scarfe to retrieve the stolen guns. He believes that this will put him right with Diamondback again.

Luke finds Zip who shoots Cage. This has no effect and Luke then  retrieves the ring.  Cage goes to the shop and meets Aisha’s father.

Both Cage and Cottonmouth attend Pop’s funeral service. Luke gives Aisha back her father’s ring. He also crushes the gun in her purse.  Cottonmouth delivers a eulogy and finishes to applause.

Luke then goes up and talks about how he saw Pop. On his way to the podium he remembers how his friend died.  Cage wins over the mourners by telling the truth of what Pop stood for.  He manages to undo all the trouble that Cornell attempted to put on him via Zip and his thugs.

Misty tells Cage to back off from Cottonmouth so she can catch him the right way. He refuses.

Luke Cage is firing on all cylinders. The Netflix original series has dotted all the i’s and crossed every little t.  Earthy, bluesy and moody, this Marvel hero cruises the mean streets and does it in such a low-key fashion that it stands out.

The series is on Netflix at the moment. All 13 episodes are up and ready for binging. Tune in and catch a show that dares to mix Rap and Hip Hop with 1970’s Motown Funk.

Cast:

Guest starring Dapper Dan, Jidenna and Ninja N. Devoe as Aisha Axton.