REVIEW: THE LAST BET (aka LESSER PROPHETS)

CAST

Scott Glenn (The Defenders)
John Turturro (Transformers)
Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds)
Mike Starr (Ed Wood)
J.B Smoovee (Date Night)
Jimmy Smits (Rogue One)
Robert Miano (Donnie Brasco)
Steve Harris (The Rock)
George DiCenzo (She-Ra)
Amy Brenneman (Reign)

gal-lesser-prophets-jpgThe police have three bookies under surveillance, but they escape and set up shop elsewhere. By chance, one of the police finds them; instead of turning them in, he demands money that his brother, now a suicide, had lost to them. An odd guy named Leon, not entirely compus mentus, knows one of the bookies, brings them a tip on a sure thing, and they bet the farm. Meanwhile, Leon has befriended a kid in the next apartment whose mom is abused by her husband, who himself is carrying on some mysterious thievery. The cop, the bookies, the thief, his wife, and Leon’s mistakes and good heart all come together in an ending with murder and money. x240-_IJA little violent In places but without any unnecessary gore and with plenty of tongue-In-cheek humour (some a little more direct)this Is an enjoyable little gem which ought to be given more credit than has been the case.

 

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REVIEW: THE RIDICULOUS 6

CAST

Adam Sandler (Jack & Jill)
Terry Crews (White Chicks)
Jorge Garcia (Lost)
Taylor Lautner (Twilight)
Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick)
Luke Wilson (That 70s Show)
Nick Nolte (Hulk)
Will Forte (MacGruber)
Nick Swardson (Grown Ups 2)
Steve Zahn (War For The Planet of The Apes)
Julia Jones (Jonah Hex)
Lavell Crawford (Breaking Bad)
Danny Trejo (machete)
Harvey Keitel (Little Nicky)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
David Spade (8 Simple Rules)
Whitney Cummings (Made of Honor)
Jon Lovitz (Rate race)
Saginaw Grant (Grey owl)
Norm Macdonald (Dr. Dolittle)
Chris Parnell (Paper Man)
Blake Shelton (Pitch Perfect 2)
John Turturro (Transformers)
Chris Kattan (Undercover Brother)

In the Old West era, a calm man named Tommy Stockburn (Sandler) is raised by Native Americans, where he is named “White Knife”, due to his expertise with knives. He is due to marry a Native girl named Smoking Fox (Jones). He has a run-in with a gang of bandits with eye patches on their right eyes, led by Will Patch (Forte), and manages to outsmart them and a deranged, Native American-racist food proprietor named Clem (Zahn), whose left eye is badly dysfunctional. At his Native village a bank robber named Frank Stockburn (Nolte) comes by, claiming to be Tommy’s biological father. Tommy explains to Frank that his mother was shot by a silhouetted man with tattoos on his hand when she was escorting him to school during his childhood, something that has haunted his dreams since. Frank also tells Tommy that he is dying of consumption, but that he has amassed $50,000 and buried it in a meadow next to a pine tree, which he offers to Tommy and the Natives. The next day, a group of bandits with connections to Frank come to the village, led by the ruthless Cicero (Trejo) who want Frank to give them his “big score” he gained a while back. Frank has the bandits kidnap him so he can lead them to the $50,000 at the so-called “Singing Windmill”, in return for the bandits not attacking Tommy or the Indians. With no time to search the meadow and find the money, Tommy decides he must find another way to obtain it and save his father.Tommy sets out on his quest to regain his father and decides that the best way to gain enough money is by stealing it. However, because his tribe does not condone theft and claims it is dishonorable, Tommy instead opts to steal from those who have no honor, leading him to target corrupt politicians, racist bankers, and thugs alike. During his quest, Tommy discovers that he has 5 half-brothers; Mexican burro rider Ramon (Schneider), whose innkeeper mother Frank had a fling with; mentally challenged yet happy-go-lucky Lil’ Pete (Lautner), who has a strong neck that makes him immune to hanging; feral mountain-man Herm (Garcia), who speaks incomprehensibly; guilt-ridden drunkard Danny (Wilson), who served as a bodyguard for Abraham Lincoln until accidentally leading John Wilkes Booth to murder him; and African-American saloon pianist Chico (Crews), who confesses to be only 50 percent white; all of which join Tommy. Meanwhile, Clem joins the eye patch gang in hopes of finding Tommy to take revenge on him after Clem removes his only functional eye (since the other eye patch wearers claim that removing the right eye is part of the gang’s way) before they kidnap Tommy’s fiancee, though she manages to escape them due to Clem’s poor eyesight and heads out to find Frank. When meeting Chico and Danny, they run with Chico’s boss: the aggressive, always smiling saloon owner Smiley Harris (Keitel), who was part of Frank’s gang until Frank stole his cut of their biggest score and left him to die at the windmill. He owns a large golden nugget the brothers steal after Ramon, while riding his burro, accidentally decapitates Smiley with a shovel from behind just as he is about to shoot the brothers as revenge against Frank for his betrayal, though Ramon was only trying to knock him out. While relaxing in a pond, Clem and the eye patch gang show up and while the brothers manage to overpower them, the gang manage to steal the money the brothers stole. Hope isn’t lost for the brothers, as Herm (through Tommy’s translation) tells them that a gambler named Ezekiel Grant (Lovitz) is hosting a gambling game with Mark Twain (Vanilla Ice) and General George Armstrong Custer (Spade) in Yuma. After successfully robbing the poker game, they head out to ransom their father. 1280x720-TUtAs dusk falls, Tommy realizes (through a photograph carried by Danny) that it was Cicero who murdered his mother. Not wanting to put his brothers in harm’s way, Tommy sets out alone in the cover of night to rescue his father and confront his mother’s killer. After paying the ransom, Cicero decides to part ways but Tommy insists on getting his revenge. Having successfully killed Cicero, the half-brothers (who followed Tommy) have a reunion with their long lost father. Realizing that Tommy’s group now have $100,000 after rescuing the Left-Eye Gang and getting their original $50,000, Frank double crosses them, revealing that he was in cahoots with Cicero for an easy $50,000. Tommy then reveals that their group also has a Plan B: a hidden bomb inside the bag containing the ransom money. When the bomb explodes and commotion ensues, Frank runs off with Smoking Fox (whom his group has been holding hostage) inside a mine. Tommy runs after them and successfully rescues his bride-to-be and captures his father. Also, in the process of the fighting, the Left-Eye Gang accidentally reveal that they lied about removing their right eyes, much to Clem’s outrage. Back in the Native Village, Tommy weds Smoking Fox with his brothers in attendance. Since the revelation that their biological father Frank Stockburn was no more than a two-bit crook, the Native chief decides to adopt the half-brothers as he did with Tommy.ililuiluiluiluilThis movie is just stupid fun. It isn’t trying to be the great American Western, and it doesn’t take itself seriously. The cameos are great, and the acting is superb. Just suspend disbelief, and enjoy the journey.

REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT

CAST

Mark Wahlberg (Ted)
Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
Josh Duhamel (Win A Date With Tad Hamilton)
Laura Haddock (Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2)
Santiago Cabrera (Heores)
Isabela Moner (Splitting Adam)
John Turturro (Barton Fink)
Jerrod Carmichael (Bad Neighbors)
Glenn Morshower(24)
Stanley Tucci (Easy A)
Liam Garrigan (The Legend of Hercules)
Mitch Pileggi (Stargate Atlantis)
Nicola Peltz (Bates Motel)
Tony Hale (Chuck)
Peter Cullen (Dugeons and Dragons)
Erik Aadahl (Godzilla)
Ken Watanabe (Inception)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Jim Carter  (The Golden Compass)
Omar Sy (Jurassic World)
John Dimaggio (Futurama)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
Tom Kenny (Superhero Squad Show)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Gemma Chan (Fantastic Beasts and Where Find Them)

In 484 AD, King Arthur’s wizard Merlin forges an alliance with the Knights of Iacon, a group of twelve Transformers who have hidden on Earth. The Knights give Merlin an alien staff, and fuse into Dragonstorm to help Arthur triumph over the Saxons.In the present day, most of the governments on Earth have declared Transformers outlawed, and the multinational Transformer Reaction Force (TRF) has been formed to destroy the alien robots. Despite the absence of Optimus Prime, who left the planet to search for his creator, new Transformers continue to arrive regularly; the newest ship to arrive crash-lands in the half of the ruins of Chicago, where it is found by a group of children. When a TRF mecha confronts the kids, they are saved by Izabella, a survivor of the Battle of Chicago and her Transformer companions Sqweeks and Canopy, but Canopy is killed by the TRF in the process. Bumblebee and Cade Yeager arrive and help them escape, but Yeager is unable to save the Transformer in the ship. Before he dies, the knightly robot attaches a metallic talisman to Yeager’s body—an act observed by Decepticon scout Barricade, who reports this to his leader, Megatron.On the far reaches of the Solar System, Optimus discovers that the Transformers’ homeworld, Cybertron, now disassembled into pieces, is heading directly for Earth. He finds the being in control of Cybertron’s movement, the sorceress Quintessa, who professes to be the maker he is searching for. The staff which the Knights gave to Merlin was stolen by Quintessa, and using her powers, she places Optimus under her control, dubs him “Nemesis Prime” and charges him with recovering it. Earth, she reveals, is actually Cybertron’s “ancient enemy” Unicron and she intends to drain his life force so that Cybertron can be restored.TRF member and former Autobot ally William Lennox brokers a deal between the TRF and Megatron, releasing from their custody a squad of Decepticons that will help Megatron recover the talisman from Cade. The Decepticons hunt Yeager down, following him to his junkyard hideout in South Dakota, where he and many of the surviving Transformers are holed up. During the chaos of the ensuing battle, Yeager is approached by Cogman, a Transformer envoy of British Lord Sir Edmund Burton, who takes him and Bumblebee to England to meet his master. There, Burton arranges a meeting between Yeager and Viviane Wembly, an Oxford professor. Wembly has just been kidnapped by the Autobot Hot Rod, using his long-term disguise as her Citroën DS. Burton explains that he is the last living member of the “Witwiccan” order, an ancient brotherhood dedicated to guarding the secret history of Transformers on Earth. He also reveals that Wembly is the last descendant of Merlin, and that she must find and use his Staff to prevent the impending destruction of Earth by Cybertron.Fleeing the TRF, Yeager and Wembly follow clues left by the latter’s father that lead them, Bumblebee, and Cogman to take the submarine HMS Alliance into the sea to find the Cybertronian Knights’ sunken ship, in which they discover the tomb of Merlin and the staff. Wembly activates the staff, and the ship rises to the surface; the TRF arrives to confront the group, but several Knights awaken and attack them. The attack is cut short by the arrival of the mind-controlled Optimus, and a battle between Optimus and Bumblebee ensues. At its peak, the normally-mute Bumblebee finally speaks, the sound of his voice proving enough to shock Optimus free of Quintessa’s control. Taking advantage, Megatron, who is revealed to be conspiring for Quintessa all along, arrives and steals the staff. As he flees with it, the Knights attack Optimus. However, Yeager, whose talisman becomes the sword Excalibur, stops the fight. Realizing that he is the last Knight, the Knights yield to Yeager, who urges Optimus to protect the Earth once more.Megatron delivers the staff to Quintessa, who begins draining the life force of Earth/Unicron via Stonehenge. When the military intervenes, Megatron shoots Burton, who dies with Cogman at his side. Using a ship procured by the Autobot Daytrader, the Autobots arrive to join the fight, landing on Cybertron and battling against the Decepticons and Quintessa’s Infernocons. Optimus and his Autobots, backed up by the Knights as Dragonstorm, vanquish their foes. Optimus defeats Megatron, while Bumblebee shoots and apparently kills Quintessa. Wembly removes the staff, stopping Cybertron’s destruction of Earth, but leaving the two planets connected. Optimus declares that humans and Transformers must work together to rebuild their worlds, and sends a message calling any surviving Autobots to come home.In a mid-credits scene, scientists inspect one of the horns of Unicron, which is extending out of the desert. Quintessa, who has survived and is disguised as a human, arrives and offers them a way to destroy Unicron.The transformers movies are known for being hated. Me I personally think these movies are just fun. That’s why we watch them, not for an outstanding Oscar worthy film. I know I am in the minority that I love Age of extinction. So I was pretty excited to see this film. The Last Knight is probably the best since the first!

REVIEW: SUMMER OF SAM

CAST

John Leguizamo (Kick-Ass 2)
Adrien Brody (Hollywoodland)
Mira Sorvino (Mimic)
Jennifer Esposito (Crash)
Michael Rispoli (The Rum Diary)
Saverio Guerra (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Bebe Neuwirth (Jumanji)
Mike Starr (Ed Wood)
Anthony LaPaglia (Empire Records)
John Savage (Dark Angel)
John Turturro (Transformers)

It is the summer of 1977, and New York City lives in fear of the “.44 Caliber Killer”, who shoots young women and their male companions. The killer, David Berkowitz, later identifies himself as “Son of Sam” in a note left at a murder scene. Berkowitz lives in a messy apartment, where he is driven crazy by the barking of a neighbor’s large black dog and has a vision of the dog directing him to kill. In an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, hairdresser Vinny and his pretty wife Dionna go disco dancing at a local nightclub, where they meet Dionna’s attractive cousin Chiara. Vinny offers to drive Chiara home while Dionna remains at the club. Vinny and Chiara then park on a residential street and have sex in the car. Son of Sam watches them, but he is scared off when the couple accidentally set off the car horn during sex and, embarrassed, quickly drive away. After they leave, Son of Sam kills another couple who had parked behind Vinny. When Vinny picks up Dionna back at the club, she notices the smell of vaginal lubrication on his face and realizes he had sex with Chiara, but does not let on that she knows.

On the drive home, Vinny notices police near the location where he had parked with Chiara, and sees the dead bodies of the slain couple. The religious and guilty Vinny, realizing he could have been a victim, decides that God spared him in order to give him a chance to reform his ways and stop cheating on his wife. Although Vinny loves Dionna, their sex life is suffering because Vinny enjoys anal sex, “69” and other sex acts that he considers kinky, but he cannot bring himself to discuss or perform these acts with a wife. He is also having an affair with Gloria, the owner of the hair salon where he works. The next day, while Vinny is hanging out with neighborhood drug dealer Joey T and his friends, Vinny’s old friend Ritchie, who has been away for some time, suddenly reappears, sporting a punk spiked hairdo and clothing and affecting a British accent. Vinny, Joey T, and the others dislike the change in Ritchie, and he soon finds himself unwelcome in the neighborhood. However, Ruby, a promiscuous local girl, is attracted to Ritchie, and the two begin a relationship. Unlike other men, Ritchie takes an interest in Ruby as a person, not just as a sexual outlet. She learns that he makes money by erotic dancing and prostituting himself at a gay theater, but remains loyal to him and over time begins to dress in punk fashion herself.

As the Son of Sam killings continue, tension rises in the neighborhood. A police detective from the neighborhood asks the local mob boss to help him find the killer; Joey T and his friends also make a list of possible suspects, including Ritchie whom they regard as “a freak”. Ritchie and Ruby invite Vinny and Dionna to come see their punk band perform at CBGB, but once there, Dionna feels intimidated by the punk crowd and refuses to go in. Vinny and Dionna instead go to Studio 54, where they are denied entry, and finally end up at Plato’s Retreat where they take drugs and participate in an orgy. Vinny becomes upset when he sees Dionna appearing to enjoy the experience of having sex with another man, even though he himself is having sex with other women. He berates Dionna in the car on the way home, causing her to get mad and reveal that she knows he cheated on her with Chiara. She storms off to stay at her father’s house. Vinny begins to drink and use drugs heavily, and makes a scene at Gloria’s hair salon, causing her to angrily throw him out and then inform Dionna about their affair. Upon hearing from Gloria, Dionna leaves Vinny for good.

Joey T and his gang decide that the latest eyewitness sketch of Son of Sam released by the police resembles Ritchie, and unsuccessfully attempt to track him down at CBGB. Joey persuades the unstable Vinny, who is high on drugs he has taken to dull the pain of his impending divorce, to help them lure Ritchie out of his house, since Vinny is the only local friend Ritchie still trusts. Unbeknownst to Vinny and his friends, the police have already arrested David Berkowitz, the real Son of Sam. Vinny goes to Ritchie’s family home, where Ritchie and Ruby are packing up to leave town, and lures Ritchie out on the pretext of talking about his failing marriage; once he has gotten Ritchie outside, he warns Ritchie under his breath to run, but Ritchie does not heed the warning and is attacked and severely beaten by Joey T and his gang. Ritchie’s stepfather, Eddie, emerges from the house brandishing his gun and rescues the badly injured Ritchie, telling the attackers that Ritchie is not the Son of Sam and that the TV news is reporting that the police have just arrested the real killer. Unable to face Ritchie, Vinny walks away.

‘Summer Of Sam’ was not what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it very much for what it is, an excellent snapshot of the time and a focus on interesting people’s lives and feelings. It’s a long film, and sometimes it does drag on, but it’s still one of those films you just have to tick off your list to see.

REVIEW: MR.DEEDS

CAST

Adam Sandler (Just Go With It)
Winona Ryder (BLack Swan)
John Turturro (Transformers)
Allen Covert (Anger Management)
Peter Gallagher (New Girl)
Jared Hrris (The Quiet Ones)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Peter Dante (Big Daddy)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
Conchata Ferrell (Two and a Half Men)
Harve Presnell (Lois & Clark)
J.B. Smoove (Date Night)
Aloma Wright (Scrubs)

Multibillionaire Preston Blake freezes to death while on a mountain climbing expedition. With no widow or legitimate children, it is initially unclear who would earn the right to Blake’s massive fortune. It is found that Blake has a living grandnephew named Longfellow Deeds (Adam Sandler), who runs a pizzeria in New Hampshire and also writes greeting cards in the hopes that Hallmark may be interested in one. Deeds is contacted and flown to New York City by businessman Chuck Cedar (Peter Gallagher), who is temporarily in control of Blake Media. Deeds’ unorthodox helicopter trip includes a stop at a Wendy’s for a Frosty as well as a singing of David Bowie’s Space Oddity. Once Deeds arrives in New York, plans are made for him to sell his shares in the company to Cedar and return home $40 billion richer, but he must remain in New York for a few days while all the legal details are worked outThe story is major news, and reporter Babe Bennett (Winona Ryder), who works for a tabloid show called Inside Access, has a co-worker pretend to steal her purse in sight of Deeds, because their research indicated that Deeds wanted to meet a girl by “rescuing” her, the same way his father had met his mother. Deeds does so, and beats up her “robber”, and Babe goes out with him under the disguise of Pam Dawson, a school nurse from a made-up town called Winchestertonfieldville, Iowa (which later turns out to be a real town, which Babe is flabbergasted to find out).Though Babe initially hopes to just get a good story on the new heir, she eventually falls for the unfailingly kind-hearted Deeds, and decides to tell him that she is not who she says she is, but Inside Access, in concert with Cedar (who was fed the truth by the fake robber and was smitten with Babe) reveals it to Deeds first. Heartbroken and upset, Deeds decides to return home to Mandrake Falls and makes plans to donate his $40 billion inheritance to the United Negro College Fund. After returning to Mandrake Falls, he learns from Crazy Eyes (Steve Buscemi) that Cedar intends to sell off the company, which will cause thousands of people to lose their jobs (Cedar had convinced Longfellow to sell his shares by lying that he will work commanding the company in honor of Preston’s lifetime of work). Babe follows Deeds to Mandrake Falls to win him back, but after saving her life when she falls through the ice over a lake, he rejects her, saying he does not really know who she is.At a shareholders meeting, Cedar has everyone convinced to sell the company, until Deeds (who has bought a single share) arrives and manages to convince everyone not to sell. But Cedar claims control of a majority of the shares and the sale is approved. Bennett arrives and reveals that Emilio Lopez, Preston Blake’s longtime butler is his illegitimate son and the true heir as a result of a younger Preston having an amorous affair with his maid in 1958 (at one point he had told Deeds that Blake treated him “like a son”). Realizing Emilio is his cousin, Deeds convinces him they must stop Cedar and that he is the rightful CEO. As a result of Emilio supplanting Longfellow as the heir, Deeds’ sale of shares are retracted and Cedar is fired.Emilio immediately takes control of Blake Media. Babe then reconciles with and kisses Deeds after professing her love for him. As they leave the meeting, Emilio thanks Deeds for his support and offers him a billion dollars, some of which Deeds spends on red Corvettes for everyone in Mandrake Falls. When he returns to the pizzeria with Babe, he learns that Hallmark is interested in buying one of his greeting cards: the one he wrote for Babe when he professed his love for her. They both share a kiss as the movie ends with Crazy Eyes crashing his Corvette and coming out unharmed.It’s a pretty nice film, with a number of laugh-out-loud scenes, but it’s still a long way from the Gary Cooper-Barabara Stanwyck classic film version, at least in terms of an aw-shucks wholesome hero. This film just doesn’t have the heart and soul of the original, because it’s more concerned with cheap laughs than a moral message. Still, it has its funny moments and I found worth watching.

REVIEW: GOD’S POCKET

CAST

Philip Seymour Hoffman (Red Dragon)
Richard Jenkins (The Cabin In The Woods)
Christina Hendricks (Drive)
Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men: First Class)
Domenick Lombardozzi (Sneaky Pete)
John Turturro (The Good Shepherd)
Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes)
Molly Price (Third Watch)

Actor turned director John Slattery brings his trademark black humor and cynicism from his Mad Men role (and effective helming of occasional episodes) to the big screen with the successfully offbeat God’s Pocket, a faithful adaptation of Pete Dexter’s 1983 novel about the Lower Depths of a Philly neighborhood. Clearly not for all tastes.Slattery shows great confidence in never explicitly referring to the film’s time frame (’80s) -there are no superimposed Time Cards, no narration, just the period clothing, cars and old rotary telephones to indicate we’re watching a period piece. Hoffman is cast as an outsider in the Philadelphia slum cynically known as God’s Pocket, married to the glamorous Christina Hendricks, living with her nutty and self- destructive son.

Hoffman’s partner in crime is skillfully etched by John Turturro, who like Hoffman is a gambling addict. They are more in danger from The Mob than the police due to their inevitable debts arising from playing the ponies, and Turturro’s pipe dreams of owning a race horse some day.

The ensuing comedy of errors gives Slattery the opportunity to distract and surprise the viewer with unexpected turns of events and shocks. Themes of the story, personal to author Dexter and drawn from his stint as a reporter in Philly, are brought out by the nearly washed-up columnist effortlessly played by Richard Jenkins. His adulterous romance with Hendricks’ character is unbelievable, but Hendricks does lend her ambiguity and nuance known to her legion of fans from Mad Men’s Joan to almost make it work.

Dealing with the venal undertaker Eddie Marsan, Hoffman descends into strange and uncomfortable black comedy dealing with the “body removal” antics involving his stepson, treated by Slattery using a flashback structure that may or may not have been the best choice for storytelling. Various violent outbursts lead to a coda which almost parodies happy endings.

Critics generally dismissing God’s PocketT are clearly entitled to their opinions, but miss the point. Like the great B movies of the ’40s and ’50s (including films noirs), many of which have lived on to entertain future generations of movie buffs who have little time or patience for the big-budget blockbusters (and Oscar-bait) of that era, Slattery has crafted a character-driven, idiosyncratic entertainment that is out of step with current trends.

REVIEW: THE GOOD SHEPHERD

CAST

Matt Damon (Jason Bourne)
Angelina Jolie (Maleficent)
Robert De Niro (Joy)
Alec Baldwin (Mission: Impossible 5)
William Hurt (The Host)
Joe Pesci (Home Alone)
John Turturro (Transformers)
Billy Crudup (Watchmen)
Tammy Blanchard (Into The Wood)
Michael Gambon (Harry Potter)
Timothy Hutton (Secret Window)
Keir Dullea (Black Christmas)
Gabriel Macht (Suits)
Lee Pace (The Hobbit)
Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
James Faulkner (X-Men: First Class)

A photograph and an audio recording on reel-to-reel tape are dropped off anonymously at the home of Edward Wilson (Matt Damon), a senior CIA officer, after the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba fails due to an undisclosed leak. In 1939 Edward is at Yale University and is invited to join Skull and Bones, a secret society. He is compelled to disclose a secret as part of his initiation: he reveals that as a young boy in 1925 he discovered the suicide note left by his father, Thomas (Timothy Hutton), although he says he never read it. After the ceremony, a fraternity brother tells him that Edward’s father, an admiral, was to be chosen as Secretary of the Navy, until his loyalties were questioned. Afterwards Edward is recruited by an FBI agent, Sam Murach (Alec Baldwin), who claims that Edward’s poetry professor, Dr. Fredericks (Michael Gambon), is a Nazi spy, asking Edward to expose his professor’s background. Edward’s actions result in Dr. Fredericks’ forced resignation from the university.

Edward begins a relationship with a deaf student named Laura (Tammy Blanchard), but while on Deer Island, Edward meets his friend John Russel’s (Gabriel Macht) family and is later aggressively seduced by his sister Margaret ‘Clover’ Russell (Angelina Jolie). General Bill Sullivan (Robert De Niro) asks Edward to join the OSS, offering him a post in London. Later while Edward and Laura are at the beach, Margaret’s brother privately reveals that she is pregnant, so Edward marries her. At the wedding reception Edward accepts the London OSS office position, while his new wife remains in the United States. In London he meets Dr. Fredericks again, who is actually with British intelligence. An intelligence officer in the British SOE, Arch Cummings (Billy Crudup), tells Edward that Fredericks’ indiscriminate homosexual relationships pose a security risk. Edward is asked to deal with his mentor, who refuses to protect himself by returning to teaching. Shortly afterwards, he is brutally killed and his body is dumped into the Thames, all while Edward watches.In post-war Berlin, where both Allies and Soviets are recruiting German scientists. Edward encounters his Soviet counterpart, code named “Ulysses”, for the first time. After learning from his son, Edward Jr., during a phone call home that his wife is having an affair, Edward has a one-night stand with interpreter Hanna Schiller (Martina Gedeck); the same night, he realizes she is a Soviet agent and she is killed. Edward returns home to his wife and son. His wife confesses her adultery, and Edward confesses his. General Sullivan approaches Edward again to help form a new foreign intelligence organization – the CIA – where he would work with his former colleague, Richard Hayes (Lee Pace), under Phillip Allen (William Hurt). Edward accepts, hiding the details of his position from everyone but his wife.Edward’s first assignment deals with coffee in Central America where the Russians are trying to gain influence. Edward spots Ulysses in the background of footage of the country’s leader, but doesn’t disclose this. Edward arranges for airplanes to fly over and release locusts during a public event where the Russians (including Ulysses) are present in order to intimidate the Central American leader. An American agent’s severed finger is sent to Edward in a coffee can. At a Christmas party, Edward’s son wets himself. At the same party, General Sullivan tells Edward that Phillip Allen was going to be on the Mayan Coffee Company’s board of directors, prompting Edward to ask Sam Murach to look into Phillip’s finances.A Russian man requests asylum and claims to be high-ranking KGB agent Valentin Mironov. While attending the theater with Mironov and Cummings, Edward encounters his former sweetheart, Laura. They begin seeing each other again. Sometime later, Margaret receives photos of Laura and Edward getting into a taxi together and kissing. After she confronts him, Edward ends the relationship with Laura. Another Russian defector appears, claiming that he is the real Valentin Mironov, the other man being an impostor called Yuri Modin, a KGB operative working for Ulysses. Thinking he is lying, agents torture him, and administer liquid LSD believing it to be a potential truth serum. The second defector does not break, instead telling them how the Soviets’ power is just a myth, before hurling himself through a window and down several stories. The first man claiming to be Valentin Mironov, who has watched the entire ordeal together with Edward, offers to take LSD to prove his innocence, but Edward does not take him up on his offer. Edward visits his son, who has, like his father, joined the Skull and Bones society at Yale, and been approached by the CIA, which he joins despite his mother’s misgivings, widening the rift between his parents. Edward Jr. overhears his father and Hayes discussing the imminent Bay of Pigs invasion. His father warns him to be silent. Margaret leaves Edward.

Returning to the recording at the beginning of the story, detailed analysis points to Leopoldville, in the Congo. Having tracked down the room where the recording was made, Edward realizes that the source of the leak was his son speaking to his lover, revealed to be a Soviet agent by Ulysses when he appears and plays Edward an unedited version of the recording in an attempt to turn him. Edward confronts his son, who plans to marry the woman. Growing suspicious, Edward discovers evidence that Cummings and Mironov (really Yuri Modin) are double agents. Meeting Ulysses in the National Air and Space Museum, Edward finally refuses his offer, but argues that, having won in Cuba, there is nothing to be gained for the Soviets in hurting his son. On their wedding day, Edward Jr.’s fiancée is killed by being thrown out of the plane she was taking to the ceremony. When Edward Jr. asks if his father was responsible, he denies it.

Edward meets with Hayes at the new CIA headquarters still under construction. Allen is resigning under a cloud of financial improprieties, and the President has asked Hayes to be the new director. Hayes makes Edward the first head of counter-intelligence, an entire wing of new building. At home, Edward retrieves and reads his father’s suicide note. In the letter, his father confesses to having betrayed his country. Edward burns the note. The final scene shows Edward leaving his old office for the new position.

Some might wonder how so many actors could be recruited for such small roles, like Alec Baldwin, Michael Gambon, and Joe Pesci, but one only has to see as far as the director to get their answer. Don’t let the big names and the anagram CIA get you. This movie is as edgy as it is intricate with twists and turns that take the viewer through the world of trust and the human element. A man like Edward Wilson is just the perfect vessel for the journey.