sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Americans (Series Review)

The Americans is a television series on the FX Network, created by Joe Weisberg, a former CIA officer turned high school teacher, turned screenwriter, which premiered on January 30, 2013. It's a Cold War series based on a group of Soviet KGB Officers (Directorate S) who are sleeper agents.

Matthew Rhys stars as Phillip Jennings, a KGB officer posing as a normal family man living in the Washington DC area. He's married to Keri Russell (Elizabeth Jennings), also a KGB officer, and they have two American children together who don't know that their parents are foreign spies.

Noah Emmerich plays FBI Agent Stan Beeman, who moved in across the street from the Jennings family, unaware that they were his principal adversaries.

I've viewed the first three episodes in the first season and have found both the writing and the acting to be first rate. There is an undercurrent of accuracy with enough sensationalism to play well on television.

I rate THE AMERICANS a MUST SEE. Good acting, smart writing, and solid production. It rates up there with some of the other good FX productions such as Sons of Anarchy, which gets a similar must see review from me.

By episode 5 the contribution of Noah Emmerich (plays Stan Beeman) to the overall series has become more important and his acting talents are swinging into high gear. His relationship with Annet Mahendru (Nina), a dragooned asset that he's developed from the Soviet Embassy in Washington DC has become more critical and it's helped to develop the Stan Beeman character more fully.


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The Old Whore: A Novel of Cartel Wars

In the parlance of the Central Intelligence Agency, old whores are clandestine operators who would do anything to get the job done.
(excerpt)
"Sanctioned assassination, extraordinary rendition? You weren't sitting in the big chair that you're in today, but the Outfit handed it off to the Special Activities Division for resolution two years ago." He leaned forward in his chair. "Why not do it again? They're very good at that sort of thing." 
"Not possible under the present guidelines. We ran it past the Director of National Intelligence and he ran it past the President's godfather, the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He said that we should forget about it." 
"So we forget about it?" 
"Uh, no, Frank, definitely not. We simply can't do anything directly, but we can use a cat's paw."

House of Cards (Series Review)

Netflix produced a series that I'm watching now, HOUSE OF CARDS

I give it very high marks as a 
MUST  SEE

In Washington DC where everything is bought, sold and traded, Kevin Spacey performs brilliantly in his role as US Representative Francis (Frank) J. Underwood, a Democrat from South Carolina's 5th congressional district and the House Majority Whip. I've seen a lot of Kevin Spacey's work and found his acting credible, but he outdoes himself in House of Cards.

A couple of quotes from Kevin Spacey's character in the second episode:

"When the tit's that big, everybody gets in line." 
"What a martyr craves more than anything else is a sword to fall on." 
"He chose money over power. In this town, a mistake that nearly everyone makes Money is the mansion in Sarasota that starts falling apart after ten years. Power is the old stone building that stands for centuries. I can't stand a person who can't tell the difference."

Robin Wright plays Claire Underwood, Frank's wife and co-schemer. She runs a non-profit that gets mixed up in the political mix.

The entire first season premiered on February 1, 2013 on the Netflix streaming service.  A second season of 13 episodes is currently in production

Kate Mara does a very believable job as a cub reporter for the Washington Herald who makes a devil's deal with Frank.

Usually Hollywood takes cheap shots at the Republicans. HOUSE OF CARDS lays out the grim truth that Washington DC (and all politics) is based on double dealing, treachery, sex and lies. It's just that in this unusually well written series, the Democratic Party is the worst of both bad guys.



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The Old Whore: A Novel of Cartel Wars

In the parlance of the Central Intelligence Agency, old whores are clandestine operators who would do anything to get the job done.
(excerpt)
"Sanctioned assassination, extraordinary rendition? You weren't sitting in the big chair that you're in today, but the Outfit handed it off to the Special Activities Division for resolution two years ago." He leaned forward in his chair. "Why not do it again? They're very good at that sort of thing." 
"Not possible under the present guidelines. We ran it past the Director of National Intelligence and he ran it past the President's godfather, the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He said that we should forget about it." 
"So we forget about it?" 
"Uh, no, Frank, definitely not. We simply can't do anything directly, but we can use a cat's paw."

New York Stripper Mom

(Fox News) Police say a mother who got on stage and started to strip during an upstate New York school assembly is facing child endangerment and lewdness charges. 
Albany police say 24-year-old Aydrea Meaders was arrested at North Albany Academy on Friday morning. They say school staff told them the assembly was halted and the cafeteria cleared after Meaders began dancing onstage and took off some of her clothes. 
She's charged with seven counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of public lewdness.
So there you are at the kid's assembly and this fat, unkept, cross eyed woman gets up on stage and pulls her blouse off, displaying flaccid breasts that look like two old hound dog's ears, for the school staff and parents. You have several options - but being as New York is a 'progressive state', shouldn't they have allowed her to complete her dance of self-expression? The same thing is funded (at vast public expense) by the National Endowment for the Arts over and over again. New York legislators crowd to 'gentlemen's clubs' to have the same woman throw her filthy under ware in their faces as they cheer her on.

What is the country coming to?  ;^)

I've been to Albany, and always thought that this sort of thing went on all the time. Imagine my shock to hear that there was some sort of public push-back. The next thing you may see is Aydrea Meders running berserk through Up-State NY seeking revenge because of her ethnicity.