Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Jurassic World and Spy

 (Let me begin with a huge shout-out to the Golden State Warriors, 2015 NBA champions!)

         Beware of Large, Angry Females on the Rampage
                  (I’m waiting for the P.C. Police to arrest me for this title)
              

 While I’ve been a bit more in league lately with the overall critical consensus on the various cinematic offerings that I’ve chosen to review, this week I’m mostly going off in my own direction again concerning a couple of current, big-box-office-successes that I really don’t have that much to say about
(although that’s never stopped me before from writing short-story-length-reviews, as I’ve proudly done here in my usual-opinionated-manner), despite many in the overall critics’ community being in popcorn-tub-awe of these recent-runaway-hits (especially Spy, scoring an astoundingly-impressive 95% positive response from the many reviewers surveyed by Rotten Tomatoes—details in the links far below if you like, even if I don't agree with them much).
           
                                                 Reviews by Ken Burke
            
Take care, curious readers, for plot spoilers gallop rampantly throughout the Two Guys’ insightful reviews.  Therefore, be warned, beware, and read on when you’re ready to be transported to … wherever we end up.  Please protect your eyes from the dazzling brilliance.
              
                                         Jurassic World (Colin Trevorrow)
            
Cloned-but-dangerous-dinosaurs are on the loose again in a theme park where corporate greed has once again raised its ugly head, bringing on unintended disasters where huge, hungry beasts are out to destroy the humans this story’s focused on; just as with the first of these big-lizard-tales back in 1993 the technology is amazing, even as the plot’s very predictable.
               
What Happens: You can come into Jurassic World with no exposure to its previous installments (but, if you prefer, here are summaries of Jurassic Park [Steven Spielberg, 1993], The Lost World: Jurassic Park [Spielberg, 1997], and Jurassic Park III [Joe Johnston, 2001]—with the first 2 based on successful novels of the same names from Michael Crichton [1990,1995]) without being narratively-lost at all (although the references, especially to the 1st one, are nice for those familiar with these long-ago-"dino-ditties,” with explanations of many of those connections in the 3rd link far below regarding this movie) because—in my opinion—what you get this time is, by nature of the plot-elements involved, very repetitious of what all of these Jurassics have featured, with this one especially reminiscent of the original in its emphasis on the horror of marauding Velociraptors, the danger faced by scared kids on the run, and their needed salvation from a familiar Tyrannosaurus rex.  In this version—which acknowledges the events of Jurassic Park from 22 years ago (so it’s a clearer sequel than with the ambiguous lost time between Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome [George Miller, George Ogilvie; 1985] and the current Mad Max: Fury Road [Miller; review in our May 20, 2015 posting], which could easily be read as a reboot) but, in many ways, repeats them (even beyond the “Easter Egg” level of what’s in that aforementioned-link)—there’s much of the same stuff as before only with even-larger-critters and even-more-impressive Computer-Generated-Imagery-technology.  We’re back at the site of the original park, Isla Nublar, an island off Costa Rica, today a functioning enterprise, run by mogul Simon Masrani (Irrfan Kahn) who bought it from originator and InGen CEO John Hammond (Richard Attenborough in the first 2 movies, but not part of this cast—his 2014 death a major factor in that) but now, along with his perpetually-busy-on-site-operations-manager, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), is under constant pressure from their Board to come up with new attractions (“assets,” as they refer to the dinosaurs), so, under the direction of Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong, the only character/actor back from Jurassic Park), a lab-created-hybrid-beast (based on the T. rex but with many other additions) called Indominus rex is almost ready for unveiling in her seemly-safe-enclosure where she can be viewed from a distance.  Of course, at this point everything starts going horribly wrong.

 First, Indie (my name for this terrifying-designer-creature [such a badass that she’s already eaten her brother, created at the same time as her so there’d surely be a functioning animal in case one somehow expired], although you might prefer to just call her I. rex, so as not to confuse her with Harrison Ford’s Indy [Indiana] Jones, even as … World’s Chris Pratt is rumored to be the star of a definite reboot of that series as well as the impact he’s likely to have in more Jurassic ... and Guardians of the Galaxy [James Gunn, 2014; review in our August 7, 2014 posting] sequels), with her genetically-implanted-intelligence, camouflage abilities, and trait of being able to consciously avoid heat-sensors (Huh?) escapes, leaving a path of destruction in her wake while on the trail of Zack (Nick Robinson) and Gray Mitchell (Ty Simpkins), Claire‘s nephews, sent to the park for a holiday vacation while their parents pursue divorce.  Help is immediately sought from Owen Grady (Pratt), who’s been training a group of 4 raptors to respond to human commands, which makes them a prize coveted by InGen (still involved with the park, working with Masrani’s company) security-head Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), who sees them as a successful (and lucrative) military weapon.  However, Vic does have the only workable idea to quell the chaos in the park (exacerbated by Masrani’s helicopter crashing into an aviary, killing him while releasing a flock of Pteranodons who attack the tourists, now in panic mode as they wait for escape from the island): use the raptors to chase Indie into the open where she can be fired upon with military-grade-weapons; unfortunately, part of her DNA is raptor so she turns her smaller kin against the humans until Owen can get control of them again.  Claire takes command after Vic’s killed by a raptor, making a decision to release the T. rex (same one that gobbled up the attacking raptors at the end of Jurassic Park) to even the odds a bit.  Indie appears to triumph, though, until the injured T. rex roars back (not unlike the seeming death-and-revival of the “good” monster in the most-recent Godzilla [Gareth Edwards, 2014; review in our May 15, 2014  posting]) into action, with Indie finally conquered by the sudden leap up from the lagoon by the biggest, baddest beast of them all, the Mosasaurus, whose massive jaws take her down for good.

 With the crisis averted (for those still alive), we finish on the reunion of the boys with their now-reconciled-parents, Scott (Andy Buckley) and Karen (Judy Greer) Mitchell, the confirmed romance of Owen and Claire, and the return to dominance of the female T. rex over the island’s jungles and ruins of Jurassic World theme park, roaring her defiance to any other inhabitant of Isla Nublar, at least until some other group of money-hungry-humans show up in the next sequel.  Or sequels, as this movie’s taken in about $524.4 million worldwide in just its opening weekend ($208.8 million domestically, now #1 for that title, passing The Avengers [Joss Whedon, 2012; review in our May 12, 2012 posting]; it’s also now #1 internationally, with the $315.6 million debut total outpacing Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows—Part 2 [David Yates, 2011]) so I doubt that Universal’s going to pass on the chance to keep squeezing profits out of these ready-to-hatch-golden-dinosaur-eggs.

So What? I realize that when you’re dealing with a narrative that mixes elements of the Science-Fiction and Fantasy genres that you’ve got to be willing to cut the resulting movie some slack in its plot devices and narrative credibility, but for the life of me I can’t fathom how, after the world at large became aware of the death toll and destruction caused to the original Jurassic Park site, followed by live-on-TV-coverage of the calamitously-failed-attempt to bring a T. rex onto the Central American mainland in The Lost World from the other dinosaur-infested-island of Isla Sorna (home of the labs as the original-DNA-revived-yet-modified-dinosaurs were created, then brought to Isla Nublar), that a tourist attraction could be salvaged and made profitable at the other site.  I get it that Jurassic World sets out to chastise human greed at wanting to make a profit off the presentation of genetically-engineered animals that have no business being alive (“Extinct animals have no rights.”) on a planet where they disappeared 65 million years ago (with a further critique of having to constantly up the ante with more frightening exhibits in order to keep profits high), as well as displaying human stupidity about bad ideas such as enclosures will be effective in containing carnivorous dinosaurs (one of evolution’s most effective-killing-machines in their natural milieu) or that such vicious hunters as Veliciraptors could ever be tamed enough to be useful as military weapons (although I can see the appeal of “Claws, Not Boots, on the Ground” campaigns for those who still want the U.S.A. to remake the Middle East in our own image but are having increasing-trouble with selling that campaign to a public weary of the expense-and-death-tolls of our foreign wars, even as Vic tells us that “War is part of nature … struggle is part of greatness”).  However, the original sense of “Don’t Mess with Mother Nature” from the earlier movies also served as a warning against scientific-inquiry-carried-too-far (as most Futuristic Sci-Fi and even Frankenstein-type Horror movies have been doing for decades) so simply critiquing the consequences of runaway-ambition doesn’t really provide any added-conceptual-depth for Jurassic World nor does its resurrection of long-established-plot-elements give it any particular reason for praise.

 Still, I must admit that the execution of Jurassic World is highly-skilled, well-crafted, and very-engaging, along with the solid acting effectively capturing the tone of this latest-run-for-the-hills-tale (especially Pratt and Howard, but, in truth, they’re about the only ones given motivations and actions that take them beyond the 1-dimensional-plot-requirements; even Owen’s pack of raptors seem to have more interesting personas than the simple put-upon-victims or callous-profit-mongers that populate the rest of the cast, although Jimmy Fallon’s hilarious “safety is our first concern” purposely-gone-awry-video in the boys’ Plexiglas vehicle for traveling among the herbivores is among the movie’s best inclusions).  Further, just because it’s a rehash of very familiar territory hasn’t diminished it’s appeal, even when it had to compete last Sunday with the ratings-record-setting-season-finale of HBO’s popular fantasy-of-another-sort, Game of Thrones, and a very-competitive NBA Finals Game 5 between the tied-at-2-apiece teams from Cleveland and hard-to-locate Golden State (because no one seems to want to admit that they play in Oakland) to still draw in substantial crowds.  Jurassic World is nothing more than a well-engineered-summer-cinema-thrill-ride, but that’s all that’s wanted by most diversion-seeking-audiences this time of year, so who am I to question the wisdom of the ticket-buying-public?  (Especially regarding a movie so clever as to show claws breaking out of eggs as its initial image, giving us a sense of what we expect to soon see, then revealing the hatchers to be birds—but that gets even more clever when we realize the scientific evidence that suggests our contemporary birds may well have evolved from those long-ago-beasts.)  

 Yet, I wish that more of that box-office-moolah were going to touching stories of the human spirit such as the Brian Wilson biography Love & Mercy (Bill Pohlad; still under $5 million in receipts after 2 weeks in release) and the aging-gracefully-experiences of I’ll See You in My Dreams (Brett Haley; doing even worse with only about $3 million after 5 weeks), both reviewed in our first posting of June 10, 2015 (the second one is about Satyajit Ray’s well-honored-human-interest-classic from India, The Apu Trilogy, now playing in select cities, also unlikely to be making much money as it dares to use subtitles).  But, it’s not too expected, even my me, that trauma-induced-pop-music or septuagenarian-love could provide notable competition against massive teeth and claws for ticket-sales, so I’ll just thank the universe that such personally-focused-films also get made, to some degree because the industry as a whole continues to be propped up by the financial successes of such fare as Jurassic World, ultimately allowing the quieter moments to also be heard occasionally.

Bottom Line Final Comments: While Jurassic World’s drawn a lot of glowingly-positive-comments by my local San Francisco-area-critics, I’m just not all that hot on this movie (despite my admitted visceral reactions at times while watching it), with my 3½ of 5 stars matching up instead with the Rotten Tomatoes 70% positive nationwide-consensus (the folks at Metacritic offered only 59% positive responses, but they’re known for being more restrictive in their numbers than either the Tomato Tossers or me most of the time).  As with San Andreas (Brad Peyton; review in our May 29, 2015 posting), which I found limiting in concept but spectacular in CGI renderings of the devastating effects of earthquakes and floods, I’m impressed with how events on screen are depicted more so than with the events themselves, as San Andreas just keeps shaking tall buildings down while the various Jurassic episodes in their own way just keep finding ways of recycling humans on the run from various beasts (with these current-high-quality-depictions being most of what separates Jurassic’s dinosaurs-on-the-loose from the cheesy giant-monster-diversions of the 1950s so aptly referred to as Creature Features—not that you can’t do something substantial with this genre [Or is it a sub-genre of Fantasy?], a proposition which could lead to some interesting discussions, as shown by the original/remake versions of King Kong [Ernest B. Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper, 1933; John Guillermin, 1976; Peter Jackson, 2005] and even the wonder-of-interaction-with-long-dead-species-scenes in Jurassic Park).  I totally agree that Jurassic World is spectacular to look at (and offers some chilling moments, as when we see that the I. rex has killed other dinosaurs not for food but “for sport,” giving us reason to dread that one unintended result of our genetic tinkering is to unleash the worst aspects of us higher primates), but for me it’s just so repetitive of Jurassic Park in terms of thematics (the evils of corporate greed will unleash havoc upon the world—not that we don’t need reminders of that concept but couldn’t we find more original ways to depict it) and plot devices (even to the point of the same T. rex—more-or-less-unwittingly—saving the day for the surviving humans in each bookend of this series [so far], although requiring much more help this time, even teaming with … World’s surviving raptor, Blue [the others of Owen’s original cluster of 4 die because of human weaponry or Indie], to bring down the seemingly-indomitable I. rex).

 However, to close out my commentary on Jurassic World, I’ll offer you the Musical Metaphor of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” music video at https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=w6iRNV wslM4 (from their 1969 Green River album); admittedly, this song has a more appropriate placement as a comedic comment in an “assault of the lycanthropes”-type-movie (as is was used, to fine effect, in An American Werewolf in London [John Landis, 1981]), but it seems to me to be useful for this dinosaur-disaster-tale as well, especially as it fits with songwriter-performer John Fogerty’s oblique-inspiration from watching The Devil and Daniel Webster (William Dieterle, 1941), leading to these lyrics “about the apocalypse that’s going to be visited upon us.”  There’s sure dino-delivered-death waiting around the corner throughout the latter half of Jurassic World, no matter whether the doom comes initially during daylight hours or lingers into the night until the queen predator has finally been destroyed, but even if you still don’t think this song’s quite right for this particular movie at least it’s got a bouncy beat that can carry you into the silly-secret-agent-world of my next review.
                  
                                                           Spy (Paul Feig)
           
A CIA computer-jockey goes into the field undercover in this comic version of a Bond/Bourne movie because the agent she’s got a major crush on was killed by the cold-hearted-villain who’s about to sell a nuclear bomb to a deadly buyer; lots of humor here if you like dirty words, physical gags, and intentional stereotypes, but it does wear thin after awhile.

What Happens: Ex-teacher Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is now part of the CIA Agent-Support team, working in Langley's bat-and-rat-infested basement (for no particular reason, just to add to the absurd comedic aspects of this movie), where she provides up-to-the-second-precise-surveillance-intel to Field Agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law), gathering satellite and body-camera data to feed to him via an earpiece, frequently saving his life as his self-opinion of being unbeatable is a bit inflated (an example of that comes in Bulgaria when he’s cornered Tihomir Boyanov [Raad Rawi], the only guy who knows the location of a deadly suitcase bomb, but Fine accidently shoots him as the result of an allergy-sneeze, leaving his superiors in a temporary fix as to what to do next).  Back home, Fine invites Susan to dinner in thanks for her excellent work, but her unrequited passion for him is mismatched with his clueless gift of a cute cupcake necklace; back on the job, he’s stalking his previous victim’s daughter, Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), on the hope that she’s got the bomb, but she catches him off-guard, presumably killing him on camera for Susan to see.  Rayna then reveals to no-nonsense-CIA Deputy Director Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney) that she knows the identities of the agency’s top spies so there’s no use in sending anyone else after her.  However, Susan volunteers to go undercover in an effort to avenge Fine, thoroughly infuriating foul-mouthed-Agent Rick Ford (Jason Statham) who quits after Crocker accepts Susan’s offer.  She goes to Paris to trail Rayna’s associate, Sergio De Luca (Bobby Cannavale), but instead of any exotic identity she’s disguised (much to her disgust) as Carol Jenkins, a frumpy Midwesterner housed in a cheap hotel; then she’s shocked to encounter Ford working rogue on this case, still insisting that Susan back off (she’s now got her own earpiece-handler, her friend Nancy Artingstall [Miranda Hart], living vicariously through Susan’s lucky break to be on a field assignment but terrified that her buddy’s endangering herself by getting too involved, although Susan’s surprisingly-well-versed in gunplay and martial arts).  Susan prevents Ford from being blown up with a backpack bomb, accidently kills the intended-killer after a chase around Paris, then heads off to Rome to follow De Luca.

 After faking her way into a high-class-casino (where Ford’s still shadowing her), Susan prevents yet another assassination, this time a poisoned cocktail meant for Rayna, who then takes our novice spy onto her private jet to Budapest but the pilot also turns on Rayna so Susan has to save her again, covering up her blown-identity with her own foul-mouthed-exaggeration (another characteristic of Ford’s, whose exploits—if true, or even feasible—would make James Bond look like a small-town-librarian by comparison [a stereotype, I admit, but well within the spirit of this farce]) of being hired by Rayna’s father as a secret bodyguard.  In Budapest, Susan encounters Nancy, sent by Crocker as further protection, which she needs when they’re almost killed by double-crossing-double-agent Karen Walker (Morena Baccarin) but someone shoots her first.  Ultimately, we find that “someone” was Fine, working a ruse as a fake double-agent himself, to get close to Rayna, so Susan also uses that angle with Rayna during the negotiations for selling the bomb to a Russian gangster, but he’s killed by De Luca, who wants to then eliminate everyone else before leaving with the briefcase-of-diamonds-payoff—along with the bomb—but he simply escapes to a helicopter after Ford blunders in, causing enough of a distraction that Fine is only wounded while everyone else survives.  Susan finally saves the day after jumping onto De Luca’s helicopter, climbing aboard (dropping Ford into the nearby lake in the process), being saved from him by Nancy’s rifle-shot from another ‘chopper that belongs to rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson (just noting that he’s part of this plot shows you how intentionally absurd it is, so I won’t bother explaining how he got there; I also won’t note subplot details about Aldo [Peter Serafinowicz], who’s either an Italian agent with a lustful interest in Susan or Albert, a British MI6 agent pretending to be such, although he does show genuine interest in her either way), with De Luca falling to his death as he tries to grab Susan’s cupcake necklace but she opens the clasp.  In the aftermath, Crocker recovers the bomb and promotes Susan to Field Agent, Ford sets off on a seaside-cruise not realizing he’s on a lake, Fine asks Susan to dinner but she (probably aware that there’s nothing but professional teamwork between them) opts instead for a celebration with Nancy (who got a stash of champagne and beef jerky from Fiddy), then wakes up the next morning to find that she’s likely spent the night with Ford (much to her shocked dismay).

So What? From an income standpoint, while Spy’s not bringing in the record amount of bucks attached to Jurassic Work it’s no slouch either, having grossed about $56.9 million after only 2 weeks in release; further, it’s getting raves from the critics, with that lofty, aforementioned 95% at Rotten Tomatoes plus a hefty 75% from the Metacritics, which is quite generous relative to what that group usually has to offer (more details in the links farther below).  McCarthy demonstrates versatility with her smooth transformation from meek, browbeaten data-gather to profane, gutsy, limber field agent, while Law is appropriately self-centered and self-important, Janney is consistently fierce until the very end (not the mode you want if you’re working for her), Byrne is a great ice-princess (but not like Elsa in Frozen [Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, 2013; review in our January 24, 2014 posting])and Statham is impressing everyone with hilarious parodies of his normal action roles, coming across as a bit of a moron who may only have a successful career by dumb luck rather than any particular skill on his part.  (In fact, Spy leaves you with the impression that CIA agents as a whole are mostly bumbling or corrupt, a rather discomforting thought as our Congress muddles through what to do with legislation intended to protect us from terrorist threats such as the bomb-sellers in this movie; I’m no advocate of unlimited-government-surveillance, but if these “protectors”—who seem to depend on their earpiece-handlers for their very survival—are anything like our actual frontline of defense [as many recent stories about idiocy by our Secret Service and TSA agents imply], then I think Rand Paul and his fellow “Don’t Tread on Me” libertarians might want to reconsider their absolutist-privacy-stances in favor of some tools to better defend against terrorists who aren’t so smug and easily-defeated as the ones undone by McCarthy—OK, enough politically-charged-conflation from me about silly movies and real national security issues, but given many of the news stories we find on a regular basis you have to wonder sometimes who’s producing the crazier “scripts,” Hollywood or the collective operations of our national government—Democrats and Republicans alike.)

 And, if I’ve irritated any of you with my political opinions (not my intention, but you have to speak pretty blandly these days to avoid that), I’d hate to think that I didn’t also fire up some opposition to my combining of McCarthy’s character with the rampaging Indominus rex in Jurassic World for my title about “Large, Angry Females on the Rampage,” because I assume the complaints would center on inappropriate implications about Melissa’s girth, as if I’d actually said “fat” or “overweight” (although Rebel Wilson’s Fat Amy character in the Pitch Perfect movies [Jason Moore, 2012; Elizabeth Banks for the current sequel] aims to reclaim that concept by proudly owning rather than rejecting such terms; McCarthy’s characters, though, generally don’t even comment on their plus-size-status, as if it's not necessary).  But, such was not my intention in this case either, as “large” is simply a descriptor relative to other characters in either of these movie environments (while “angry” is clearly appropriate in Spy’s case, given Susan’s fury over Fine’s presumed death at Rayna’s hand).  In fact, I admire the presentation of McCarthy’s character as someone who resents being pigeonholed as a clueless hick by her CIA superiors while bristling to Ford about not being taking seriously as being an attractive woman (with Aldo’s sincere come-ons as proof that she’s not delusional).  But, if offensive has been given here, then please accept my apologies for typical male boneheaded-ness, another target at which Spy consistently takes aim.

Bottom Line Final Comments: In trying to determine my stars rating for Spy I found myself thinking back to my discussion about such decisions in my review of San Andreas, mulling over the evaluative difference between praising something for simply being an enjoyable diversion when that’s all it tries to be vs. assigning a larger-cultural-context-value that compares the current object of discussion to a larger framework of relevant conceptual considerations (films in this case, which I usually—haughtily—differentiate as “movies” when they fall into my 3½-stars-or-below-categories).  There (as I noted in my comments on Jurassic World, where I made a similar decision) I was wiling to go to the 3½ level (which is actually pretty high for me; I normally don’t go above 4 stars, reserving the highest numbers for films that truly make a lasting mark on both the cinema industry and the culture that surrounds it, as with The Apu Trilogy) in respect of how San Andreas takes its main reason for existing—the depiction of physical catastrophe in the arena of the Disaster genre (or, maybe a subgenre parallel to Futuristic Science-Fiction where the calamity comes in our present time, presenting us with a natural phenomenon impossible to overcome, reinforcing fears of our human limitations, with the Futuristic Sci-Fi stories taking us a step up the cinematic-conceptual-ladder by presenting warnings about external-crises-of-existence [not internal-existential-crises; those are stories for angst-ridden-independent/artistic-filmmakers] that are caused by human intrusions into what should be a more benign natural order)—to a level of significant impact with its special effects.  With Spy I must admit that I admire the far-fetched-parody-attitude toward James Bond-Jason Bourne-Ethan Hunt-movies (the latter character is from the Mission: Impossible series, if you have as much trouble as I do remembering that protagonist’s name; there’s another one of these—Rogue Nation—due on July 31, 2015, directed by Christopher McQuarrie, once again starring Mr. Smug, Tom Cruise), the opportunity for Melissa McCarthy to further demonstrate her extensive verbal and physical comedic range, the opportunity to see more of Budapest (even when it was filling in for Rome, as well as Paris some of the time), and the amusing final credits sequence where we get details of Susan’s later spy exploits.  

 However, unlike many other critics who’re praising Spy as one of the best of the year, I found it funny but easily forgettable, hence my mere 3 stars.  Because of the obsessive desire of marketing-teams to put most of what matters about a movie into the trailer in order to lure us immediately into the theaters rather than just stream something that came out 6 months ago, we all come to a screening with a lot of expectation about what will transpire; while I may be satisfied if all I get is what I expect, I’m not really moved to full admiration unless I get even more, which for me was not the case with Spy where expectations of solid humor were fulfilled but not, unfortunately, exceeded.

 As for a Musical Metaphor to finish off my comments on Spy, I first considered the theme song from Thunderball, both because the faux song under Spy’s floating-ink-swirled-opening-credits most reminded me of this actual James Bond tune and because it’d be great to hear Tom Jones staining his voice to the limit again; then I thought maybe I should use something more obvious, such as Johnny Rivers singing “Secret Agent Man” as a comment on how expectations are such that we assume spies leading dangerous lives to be male (which gets us back to “Thunderball” connotations again, if you follow my dirty pun) and of a certain athletic build and appearance (although a look at Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy [Tomas Alfredson, 2011; review in our January 6, 2012 posting] would tell you otherwise on the appearance front, although the principals in that opaquely-plotted-film are all from the traditional XY-chromosome-team).  However, I finally settled on Kim Carnes’ version of “Betty Davis Eyes” (on her 1981 Mistaken Identity album, the biggest hit single of that year [9 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, also #1 in many other countries], winning the 1982 Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Yearwritten by Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon in 1974, originally recorded on DeShannon’s New Arrangement album that year; the line “she knows just what it takes to make a crow blush” was mistakenly recorded by Carnes as “make a pro blush,” which could have some oblique meaning but isn’t nearly as evocative) at https://www. youtube.com/ watch?v=tuleYF5KF84 (with some interesting visuals of famous Hollywood female faces added or here’s just Kim singing it in her official music video at https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=EPOIS 5taqA8) in tribute to Susan Cooper’s emerging-self-image (after being pushed away from higher aspirations by her limited-vision-mother) where she sees no reason why “All the boys [can’t] think she’s a spy” because she’s quite ready to “take a tumble on you, roll you like you were dice” if she feels like doing so, with no hesitation that she should be seen as capable of such despite the insults she gets from Ford and the dowdy disguises that the stereotype-focused-brains in the CIA echelon think are appropriate for her.  Maybe Susan’s not yet “pure as New York snow” (not a compliment if you’re talking about what accumulates on the ground in the city—I've lived there; I know—rather than more upstate in the Adirondacks) but she sees herself as having such potential, even as she realizes that cocky Agent Fine isn’t really the man of her dreams after all.
               
Related Links Which You Might Find Interesting:

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Here’s some more information about Jurassic World:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAi07z-B7IA (“Easter Eggs” and other references to previous Jurassic Park movies that are contained within Jurassic World)



Here’s some more information about Spy:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwnHirAj27g (this is a Red Band trailer with language retained from this R-rated movie so you have to sign in to prove you’re at least 18 in order to watch it; if you’d prefer a more sanitized version here’s one at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltijEmlyqlg) 

Here are a couple of short clips from the movie for you to watch at https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=wLGD8g7pTfo (Jason Statham’s character raising hell about why he’s not being sent in to stop the villain—this one and the next also have original saucy dialogue as well so be forewarned) and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bTCurSCdtg (Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham argue about tactics while she’s on the job in disguise)



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If you’d rather contact Ken directly rather than leaving a comment here please use my new email at kenburke409@gmail.com.  Thanks.

By the way, if you’re ever at The Hotel California knock on my door—but you know what the check out policy is so be prepared to stay for awhile.    Ken

P.S.  Just to show that I haven’t fully flushed Texas out of my system here’s an alternative destination for you, Home in a Texas Bar, with Gary P. Nunn and Jerry Jeff Walker.

WE DO OUR VERY BEST TO PRESENT THESE TWO GUYS POSTINGS IN A VISUALLY-CONSIDERED GRAPHIC LAYOUT, BUT EXTENSIVE TRIAL-AND-ERROR HAS SHOWN US THAT UNLESS YOU’RE READING OUR REVIEWS ON A MACINTOSH COMPUTER USING MAC OS X 10.10.3 AND SAFARI 8.0.6 YOU’LL LIKELY SEE A SLOPPIER PRESENTATION THAN WHAT WE INTENDED (but Google Chrome 43.0.2357.124 usually comes fairly close to our intentions).  OUR APOLOGIES FOR ANY INADVERTENT SLOP THAT WE CAN’T CONTROL.

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