“Le Carre’s Panama – the young country of 2.5 million souls which, on December 31, 1999, will gain full control of the Panama Canal – is a Casablanca without heroes, a hotbed of drugs, laundered money and corruption.”
This is how the inside dust jacket of John le Carre’s The Tailor of Panama introduces us to the spy yarn. It’s a seedy world, not meant to titillate so much as to intimidate. A brief history lesson for those who may be unfamiliar with the story of the Canal might be in order. Prior to the completion of the Panama Canal (which opened for business in 1914), any vessel wishing to traverse from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific had to circumnavigate all of South America. The chance to traverse through a canal in Central America held great appeal for obvious reasons. The United States considered a canal route in Nicaragua, but after the French abandoned their efforts in Panama, it was decided to pay $40 million to purchase their leftover work and equipment and pursue the completion of the Panama Canal. Read the rest of this entry »
We were warned. Y2K would bring a complete collapse of our computers. Provided that didn’t send us back into the Stone Age overnight, it would require a reboot. The computers, as it turned out, were fine… but Hollywood hit the “reboot” button anyway.
Just when you thought it was safe to head back to the Flickchart Blog, another Reel Rumbles is here to determine once and for all what is scarier: a murderous great white shark on the loose in a small fishing village or a lone member of a mysterious alien race haunting the jungles of Central America? Separated by twelve years and undeniable advancements in special effects, this looks, on paper, to be a match for the ages. But is it really that close? Does testosterone-fueled action and a Die Hard pedigree trump master filmmaking and deep characterization? Read on and find out in Jaws vs. Predator.
This week’s Reel Rumbles deals with the subject of kicking ass and taking names. And for this task there are no two men better qualified than James Bond and Jason Bourne. Both men got their start in the literary world – Bond in author Ian Fleming’s iconic novels and Bourne in the 1980 novel by author Robert Ludlum. Though both writers are now deceased, they live on in two of the most recognizable characters in all of literature and film. While many have taken on the mantle of Bond over the last 50 years, none have done so with the intensity of Daniel Craig, who had some big shoes to fill in his 2006 debut. As for Bourne, Matt Damon had a much easier time making the role his own, with Richard Chamberlain his only previous competition from The Bourne Identity’s 1988 mini-series. Both films are arguably the best in the history of their respective franchises, but which one wins head-to-head? Find out in Casino Royale vs. The Bourne Identity.