TV Review: Agent Hamilton (S1) | More Complicated than it Needs to Be

The Scandinavian spy thriller is loosely based on the Carl Hamilton novels book series by French-Swedish author and journalist Jan Guillou. Written for the screen by Petter S. Rosenlund, the show stars Jakob Oftebro (The Letter for the King) as the title character Carl Hamilton; Nina Zanjani as Kristin Ek aember of the SÄPO black ops division; Peter Andersson (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) as Christer Näslund, Head of SÄPO; Krister Henriksson as ‘DG’, the head of the most classified part of the Swedish Military Intelligence Agency, OP5; Katia Winter (Sleepy Hollow, Dexter) as Sonja Widén, and Chris Austin as Sami al-Ahfiz.

Premise: Carl Hamilton has just returned to Stockholm as a series of cyberattacks and bombings are plaguing the city. An ex-member of the Swedish Military Intelligence, he is asked to work with the Swedish Security Service (SÄPO) to identify the attack source. Hamilton soon finds himself on a life threatening mission against an invisible enemy with traces leading to the Russian, Swedish, and American intelligence services

Review: The premiere is light on action and that pretty much sets the tone for the whole series. It’s a lot of mystery and suspense with antagonists seeming to come from all sides. There’s of course some action but it’s far what most spy thrillers offer. The story is also a bit wonky and convoluted but it kind of works. There are no clear bad guys or good guys – maybe one -, which is why I said antagonists earlier, because everyone seems to be operating in a gray area. Their actions motivated by gains rather than believes.

The series explores many things, or at least tries to. At first it seemed like the show centered around loyalty and patriotism, the struggle between work related duties and one’s home country’s self interests – when these two don’t align. However, the focus sort of shifted from that, going into foreign and national intelligence agencies rivalries to the characters’ own self interests rather than their countries’. It’s also when the plot got a bit muddied, when the twists and turns got to be too many. Not that it’s too hard to follow but it’s not smooth or well written enough.

The acting is solid it’s the main reason why I wasn’t completely bored out of my mind at times. Although Oftebro is the title character, Zanjani is the most interesting and less polarizing one in the series.
In conclusion Agent Hamilton is slow to start, well acted, over-complicated, yet entertaining.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

Agent Hamilton has been renewed for a second season that premieres on April, 18th, 2022

Jurassic World Dominion | Trailer

  • Writer: Colin Trevorrow (story & screenplay), Emily Carmichael (screenplay), Derek Connolly (story), Michael Crichton (based on characters created by)
  • Director: Colin Trevorrow
  • Stars: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Laura Dern, Sam Neil, Jeff Goldblum

I didn’t know that I needed to see some Velociraptors chasing people through a city but I’m glad I found that out today. The movie looks amazing and seeing the original cast returning is great.

Jurassic World Dominion will hit theaters on June 10th

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Nightmare Alley (2022) | A Chilling Subtlety Worth Studying

Going in I didn’t know what this movie was about, I was aware of its director Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy), and the star studded cast which includes Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Cate Blanchett (Cinder, Button, Hobbits), Toni Collette (A Long Way Down), Willem Dafoe (No Way Home, John Carter), Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Carol) and many more. I also knew that the book that it’s based on is on my TBR, it’s one of the books I have but I am yet to read. I wanted to read William Lindsay Gresham‘s of the same name before seeing this newest adaptation – the first one being in 1947 by director Edmund Goulding and screenwriter Jules Furthman – but life got in the way and I ended up watching this movie first and it’s quite chilling.

It’s about Stanton Carlisle, an ambitious carny with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words – I want to stop here because to me this is enough – hooks up with a female psychiatrist who is even more dangerous than he is.

Unless I missed it, it was a while before we even heard Cooper’s Stanton Carlisle speak – the first 10 minutes or so of the film. We spent an entire day with him, following him on the start of his journey, his beginning is the end is the beginning. When he finally spoke, it was to his future – it’s a minor spoiler, but it’s the journey that counts – I guess that was the first step toward the end is the beginning is the end – ok I’ll stop with that phrase. I have to admit that I didn’t realize it while watching the film, even though I had a sense that there was a cautionary tale at play but the ending was not the one I thought it would be.

Throughout the movie, every warnings, omen, and words of wisdom were there, laid bare for Stanton to learn from – thus giving the viewers a major hint of what’s coming – but it’s still interesting to see how Stan still went down the path that he was warned not to take, the one that resulted in his mentor’s demons.

“You never do a spook show, no good comes out from a spook show.”

This movie has plenty of meaningful moments, visuals, and lines that may seem unimportant but they inform on the characters and/or move the story forward. For example at some point there’s this “gun” that’s introduced – it’s not an actual gun – but it’s clear that it’s “the instrument.” It’s made important before you even see it; it’s done in a beautiful and subtle way. The movie is very well structured, there’s little to no waste, and it’s very informative – I learned a lot about carnival life.

So this film reminded me of Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist, I read it a long time ago so I might not remember it well but the “full circle” moment of the film reminded me of that book. Anyway the cast of Nightmare Alley is top notch, the character arcs are great, and the movie is captivating and chilling.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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Book Review: Killing Floor by Lee Child

Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He’s just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he’s arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Jack knows is that he didn’t kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn’t stand a chance of convincing anyone. not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.

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How was it?

My first experience of Jack Reacher was the Tom Cruise Jack Reacher: Never Go Back version back in 2016 and the trailers for the 2012 movie before that. So I was curious about the original book version.

It starts out very slow and methodical, just like how Jack Reacher seems to be. A quiet man who observes, analyzes and acts accordingly. We are taken along on his thought processes and see how he scrutinizes everything around him. It’s quite fascinating if it weren’t for how obvious the bad guys were. Maybe the trailer for that first Cruise Reacher movie spoiled this book for me and that opening scene from the trailer seems to be summing up this story.

Another striking thing about Reacher, he’s not willing or eager to help, at first. He intervenes when he has to and when it serves him. He might be a bit selfish but to me it came off as a guy who just minds his own business. However the reason why he gets involved into the case made sense, yet seemed a bit too coincidental. Too much time had been spent establishing that he didn’t want to get involved so it had to be something big enough for him to join the investigation.

Although there is a small chunk that I zombie read, I’m pretty sure there are some plot holes in this book, an obvious one for me was the big deal that was made of Reacher not carrying any ID but he somehow took a plane and I don’t remember him going to get his ID or nothing. The other thing that really doesn’t make much sense is how Finlay got his job because they needed an idiot for it but there’s someone involved in the scheme at play here that who should’ve known that he’s a competent investigator.

So there are major non-sensical things in this book but it still entertains. It never became a chore to read or boring for me, despite admitting zombie reading some of it. It is a bit cliché for sure but the investigation part of the story was good even thought I would have expected it to be more action driven.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Killing Floor is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

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TV Review: Station Eleven (Premiere) | A Fascinating Start

Review: Following a group of seemingly unrelated people during the outbreak and years into a deadly pandemic, Station Eleven tells the story of those who crossed paths with actor Arthur Leander. The three episode premiere sets the stage for the saga of these individuals in a very enigmatic and suspenseful way.

Right off the bat I loved the glimpses to the future we had in the pilot. Some strong choices were made in adapting this story and I love how Jeevan and young Kirsten’s stories were intertwined because for one it gave the situation a sense of urgency and limited option, and two showed Jeevan’s character. He went the extra mile to help a total stranger during a crisis, maybe it was due to the fact he didn’t think the flu was that bad but I think he’s just a decent man who did what he could to help. Yet at the same time he also seemed a bit unhinged, which why the plane scene was so important because it validated Jeevan’s fear to the others.

It was interesting to me when and where they decided to go, when jumping to adult Kirsten’s life, I thought it set up the traveling symphony and the people living in this post Georgia flu world well. It gave us a sense of how things have settled after the mayhem of the first years of the pandemic.

For some reason, I began to think that we’d be spared the Hollywood part of the story, even though I knew that the dinner scene was important, so I’m glad it’s here because it was awesome, I loved every bit of it.

The show seems to be doing justice to the novel so far, with its somewhat confusing time jumps in depicting this beautiful and tragic story.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

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Stay Close | Trailer

  • Writer: Harlan Coben (Novel), Daniel Brocklehurst
  • Director: Lindy Heymann, Daniel O’Hara
  • Stars: Cush Jumbo, James Nesbitt, Richard Armitage, Eddie Izzard, Jo Joyner, Youssef Kerkour, Sarah Parish, Daniel Francis, Bethany Antonia 

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