James Bond, the legendary MI6 spy we all know and love, is starting to struggle with his own morality in terms of his government job. A psychiatrist notices his unhealthy associations with bits of his career which puts doubts in his future capability. In addition to that, his trust in his boss M is put to the test as her past starts to creep back up on her. MI6 is then place under threat by a nefarious villain known as Raoul Silva. Though, with 007 questioning his own loyalty to the government, just how far is he willing to go to protect it?
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The CIA is confronted with the consequences of previous events that have taken place involving Jason Bourne. They decide that they must shut down Operation Outcome (the subsequent operation to Operation Treadstone) which will involve the assassination of Outcome agent Aaron Cross and Doctor Stephanie Snyder who helped produce the agents. They must find an escape or be killed.
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James Bond struggles with his career, experiencing lassitude and depression concerning his MI6 role as becomes clear when he is analysed by a government psychiatrist. His allegiance to MI6 chief M is put to the test when secrets from her past come back plague her. The secret service organisation becomes under serious threat and it is safe to assume that villain Raoul Silva is behind it all. How far will agent 007 go this time to eliminate the threat?
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The man in question is Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a pudgy volcano of a corporate hustler with a trophy wife. Gina (Marisa Tomei) fits that role to a T as she spends Andy's money and enjoys mid-day quickies with Andy's brother Hank (Ethan Hawke). Hank's money goes towards his ex-wife (a great Amy Ryan) and daughter while Andy's cash, when not with Gina, is spent on heroin in the très chic twentieth-floor apartment of his dealer in Manhattan. The boys need dough and their bourgeois office jobs aren't keeping it coming in. That's when Andy gets the idea.
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Make no mistake: Amazing Grace is not a complex movie. The good guys are good and the bad guys aren't so much bad as they are yet to become good. Such a simple and optimistic moral vision may seem antiquated to some, but Amazing Grace doesn't apologize for its old-fashioned piety. As the action starts, Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffudd) undergoes a religious conversion. His long-abandoned childhood faith has once again stirred his heart and moved him to commit to doing whatever he can to improve the world. Already a member of Parliament, he asks several of his friends -- including the clergyman John Newton (Albert Finney), who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace" -- if he should continue his political career or move on to a more spiritual pursuit. At all of his friends' urging, Wilberforce chooses politics and not long after takes an unpopular stand on the issue that will dominate his political career thereafter: the slave trade.
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Witness The English Patient, which turned out to be filmable after all. And then there was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which wasn't. But maybe unfilmable is the wrong word. Breakfast of Champions might have proved filmable, but it sure isn't watchable.
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"Traffic" is a socially and politically grandstanding soap opera about the narcotics trade and the futility of the "war on drugs." It's a film about how that war is propagated by bureaucratic demagogues in the United States government, not because they think they can stem the flow of illegal substances but because they think saying they want to is a way to win elections.
OK. Point taken.
"Traffic" is also gritty and realistic feat of cinematic logistics, following no less than 15 major characters (and more than 50 speaking parts) through several complex, well-acted storylines about all sides of the drug trade -- from kingpins to cops to policy wonks to addicts. So my hat is off to the picture's ever-brilliant director, Steven Soderbergh ("Erin Brockovich"), who certainly does a fine juggling act, involving the audience in every story on a personal level.
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