Movie Review: “The November Man”

Starring
Pierce Brosnan, Olga Kurylenko, Luke Bracey, Will Patton, Bill Smitrovich
Director
Roger Donaldson

Think of “The November Man” as “Mission: Impossible” with extreme prejudice. Ethan Hunt wouldn’t kill anyone that he didn’t absolutely have to kill, but Pierce Brosnan’s ex-CIA spook Peter Devereaux lives by no such code. If anything, he’s a “Do as I say, not as I do” kind of guy, which would normally make someone an antihero, but we’re talking about Pierce Brosnan here. He doesn’t know how to do antihero: even as he steals booze and downs it like it’s his last night on Earth, he’s just too damn likeable. Ultimately, this works in the movie’s favor, as Brosnan’s presence excuses a fair amount of shortcomings. The end result is boilerplate, but entertaining, just twisty enough to keep the audience guessing.

The movie opens in 2008 with Devereaux showing the ropes to new recruit David Mason (Luke Bracey) on a mission. Mason doesn’t follow Devereaux’s instructions to the letter, and though the two accomplish their mission, a civilian dies in the process. Fast forward five years, and a now-retired Devereaux is roped in by former colleague John Hanley (Bill Smitrovich) to help extract a CIA contact who has valuable intel on Russian general and soon-to-be president Arkady Federov (Lazar Ristovski). The extraction is botched on a number of levels, but Devereaux is able to get the name of the person the contact is protecting. Devereaux discovers that the mystery person is a refugee, and contacts a local shelter to ask for help. Shelter employee Alice (Olga Kurylenko) doesn’t have any answers, but Devereaux knows that her life is now in danger and that if he doesn’t protect her, she will be dead by sunset. In a second, Devereaux inherits three tasks: find the mystery girl, protect Alice, and continue to play cat and mouse with Mason, who’s clearly out to prove himself to his former mentor.

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30 Sexiest TV Actresses of 2013

Television has always been home to a parade of beautiful actresses, and with the explosion of cable TV and now Netflix, the roles have even become sexier over the years. Here are some of our favorites from 2013:

Lizzy Caplan

This sexy brunette oozes sex appeal, and she was perfect as the sexually liberated Virginia Johnson in the new Showtime series “Masters of Sex.” She certainly wasn’t shy about showing off her impressive body as her character dove into her work researching how the female body responded during sex. This was by far the sexiest new show on television this year which shouldn’t be a surprise given the subject matter, and we saw a parade of lovely actresses disrobing as Virginia Johnson and Dr. William Masters began their study, though some of the best scenes took place when the two of them took part in their own study. “Masters of Sex” has established itself as one of the best shows on television as this period drama pulls the curtain on an era where most conversations about sex were taboo, and the show works mostly due to Caplan and costar Michael Sheen as Masters. Check out our interview with Lizzy from 2010.

Episode 109
Photo courtesy of Showtime by Michael Desmond

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The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Kelly Lynch (“Magic City”)

“Olga (Kurylenko) and I like to think we’re just as terrifying together as Ben Diamond and Ike, with their guns and their gangsters and all of that. We know that when two girls decide that they really aren’t fond of each other, it’s a whole other level of cat-fighting.”


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A chat with Olga Kurylenko (“Oblivion”)

Olga Kurylenko has starred alongside “Seven Psychopaths” and nearly taken out superspy James Bond in “Quantum of Solace.” It seems only obvious that her latest role would be fighting side-by-side with Tom Cruise in the new sci-fi film “Oblivion.” As Julia, she helps Cruise determine his role as he fights to save the Earth. The beautiful Ukrainian actress recently sat down with us to discuss her latest role, as well as how being a Bond girl prepared her for it.

Bullz-Eye: Did the director give you a lot of leeway in expanding your character?

Olga Kurylenko: It’s always teamwork. I spoke with him a lot. He, Tom and I would have meetings and discuss our characters, the backstory and we rehearsed. I watched videos of astronaut trainings. I watched some old romantic movies as preparation and inspiration. It’s a working process and you grow together.

BE: Was it hard to play a character that’s so mysterious early on?

Olga Kurylenko: That’s what I found initially very interesting. There’s this mystery to Julia and that I couldn’t reveal everything right away with the first appearance of her. The fact that she had to unravel and uncover her story during the whole film, she’s a completely different thing in the end from what we see in the beginning. All that mystery was interesting to work on.

BE: You’ve recently worked with two of the biggest stars in Hollywood. How is it different working with Tom Cruise and Daniel Craig?

Olga Kurylenko: A couple of things that they both have in common is that they’re both action heroes. I think another similar thing is that they both do their stunts by themselves. They train a lot and physically work a lot. They’re very hard-working. Tom is fascinating. I don’t know what that man doesn’t know how to do. He flies a plane, a helicopter, everything. It’s very inspiring to work with them, but don’t try to outshine them in action scenes. It’s just incredible. I think a stunt guy tried to compete in running with Tom Cruise and Tom ran faster. And stunt guys are tough. They’re the strongest, the fastest, and Tom Cruise is still stronger and faster. He’s one of a kind.

BE: Creatively, what was it like working with Tom?

Olga Kurylenko: Very interesting, creatively. It was unexpected to see how much he gives. He’s a big star and a wonderful actor, but only his partners and other actors know how much he gives to the other. He gives so much. He’s such a generous partner and that’s not always the case. I’ve never seen him sit in his trailer. Even if he’s far away or in my eyeline, he would prefer to be there. He would never leave the set, even if I told him, “Seriously, I don’t need you.” (laughs) He would still be there. He is involved a hundred percent and that’s a wonderful thing. He is very supportive, of course. He’s done all these stunts. When I came on set and there was this gimbal that was spinning, he talked me through it. He knows how it works. It’s very reassuring and it’s very reassuring to have a partner like that. He’s not just an actor who is there who has no idea. He actually, technically, knows how things work. You feel safe with him.

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Movie Review: “Oblivion”

Starring
Tom Cruise, Andrea Riseborough, Olga Kurylenko, Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo
Director
Joseph Kosinski

He rides a sweet motorcycle, flies a badass futuristic stealth bomber, wears a cool NASCAR-like uniform, does a scene in zero gravity, and kisses two beautiful women. Needless to say, Tom Cruise had several reasons to sign up for “Oblivion,” and as an added bonus, writer/director Joseph Kosinski assembled a slick, compelling story around which to frame the riding and the flying and the floating and the kissing. Sci-fi fans will likely cry foul with regard to how much “Oblivion” borrows from a smaller film released a few years back (to say its name would give away too much), and rightfully so. Indeed, “Oblivion” is in many ways a souped-up, big-budget remake of the smaller film. The original is better, as is often the case, but “Oblivion” is quite good as well. It’s beautifully shot, it carries a palpable sense of unease, and it keeps its cards close to the vest. The poker face approach gets frustrating at times, but in the end it was nice to see a science fiction film that doesn’t patronize its audience.

In the years following a war that devastated Earth and killed the population, technician Jack Harper (Cruise) and his work/life partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) literally live in a penthouse in the clouds. Jack and Victoria take instructions from Sally (Melissa Leo) at Mission Control to keep a group of spherical drones functioning so the good guys can defend themselves against a group of alien scavengers who seek to undermine their efforts even though the war is long over. Jack has strange memories, though, of a woman he’s never met and a life he’s never lived. When the scavengers set up a beacon that attracts a ship, Jack investigates the landing site and is stunned to discover that the woman in his dreams is one of the passengers. Soon after, Jack receives a visit from the scavengers, and is forced to rethink everything he has ever known.

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