David Arata

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Spy Game Review


OK
Oh sure, it's all fun and games in the CIA. Robert Redford's CIA, that is. Of course, if Redford ran the world, we'd all be wearing $98 bison leather moccasins while we drank our lattes.

And so we go back to 1991, where haggard spy Nathan Muir (Redford) is retiring from The Agency, but wouldn't ya know it -- that very day, his old protégé Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) has gotten captured on a mission in Eastern China. And Tom is going to be executed -- when? In 24 hours, of course. And the CIA isn't going to save him. In fact, they're trying to paint him as a crazy renegade unaffiliated with the U.S.

Continue reading: Spy Game Review

Brokedown Palace Review


Excellent
So the words "justice system" are an oxymoron in Thailand. Last year, Return to Paradise vividly portrayed just how corrupt and ruthless the law can be for ignorant tourists who presume that an American passport is a "get out of jail free" card in Southeast Asia. Brokedown Palace, directed by Jonathan Kaplan (The Accused, Love Field) elaborates on this theme, only this time it's two juvenile girls from Upland, Ohio facing trouble inparadise.

To celebrate high school graduation, Alice Mareno (Claire Daines) and Darlene Davis (Kate Beckinsale) plan an eleven day sojourn to Bangkok. ("Las Vegas without parents and laws," Alice proclaims to the more cautious Arlene) After a few days of fun in the sun, the two get a little more than they bargained for after they meet the seductive and alluring Nick Parks (Daniel Lapaine) who invites them on a weekend excursion to Hong Kong. In their rush to get to the airport, they fail to realize that Nick has planted over a kilo of heroin in Darlene's backpack. They both are arrested in the airport and once in prison, Darlene is tricked into signing a confession. They are each convicted of drug trafficking and given 33 years apiece in a hideous prison ruefully described by it's inmates as "The Brokedown Palace." Desperate for help and down to their last hope, the girls turn to "Yankee Hank" (Bill Pullman) a maverick American lawyer who takes up the daunting challenge of defending them. Together the three attempt to salvage their lives and their freedom against the tyrannical Thai government and outlandish justice system.

Continue reading: Brokedown Palace Review

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