Crackling Commonwealth

This week, a British spoof of spy movies. As appropriate, the reviews I review are from the Commonwealth. BONUS: see below for the Commonwealth definition of the word CRACKLE. ADDITIONAL BONUS: interesting, uniquely-Australian happenings in Sydney this summer (ie, now). Maybe they’ll move them on over to the U.S. during OUR summer.

kingsmanvalentineKingsman: The Secret Service


It parodies spy movies, especially the Bond franchise.

Colin Firth plays Henry Hart, “a gentleman spy, who works for a privately run espionage agency operating ‘at the highest levels of discretion'” (quoting Concrete Playground, below). Samuel Jackson plays the bad guy, who wants to save the world–at the expense of its inhabitants. Hart also recognizes the potential of Eggy, a young punk played by Taron Egerton, so he takes him under his wing and trains him in the art of gentleman spying.

The director is Matthew Vaughn, who also directed Kick Ass; both movies are based on graphic novels by the same author, Mark Millar.

1. From Great Britain:


Empire is a British monthly film magazine.

Kingsman-The-Secret-Service-stillReview by Chris Hewitt

Spoilers skimmable? Yes. You can tell from the wording when the spoilers are coming.

Bottom line: 4 out of 5 stars. Flawed, but still good fun: “Uneven in parts,” Hewitt writes. BUT “it’s ultra-violent, envelope-pushing, and fun enough to overcome the flaws.”  

CRACKLING relationship: “When the mentor/mentee duo [Colin Firth, Taron Egerton] are together…their chemistry fairly crackles.”

Influences: Hewitt notes that the mentor/mentee relationship is reminiscent of other movies where an older, experienced person mentors a young innocent: Trading Places, My Fair Lady, Men In Black, just like in this film, where “Harry takes Eggsy under his wing and teaches him to become a gentleman and a killer. Full Metal Smoking Jacket if you will.”

The “riskiest movie”? Hewitt calls it the “riskiest mainstream movie in years”. Perhaps it’s mainstream in Britain, but I’m not sure I would call it mainstream anywhere else. (Although in Australia, it’s a summer blockbuster–it’s summer down under). But the riskiest mainstream movie in years? I can think of another one that to me is more risky: Birdman. Of course, this begs the question–just what is mainstream movie? Birdman may seem like an indie, but it’s published by a huge movie studio, Fox Searchlight.

2. From one member of the Commonwealth (Australia):


Concrete Playground is a guide to entertainment and happenings in several Australian cities.

Review by Tom Clift

Spoilers skimmable? Yes, since there are very few!

Bottom Line:  Tom Clift loves it! He says that it’s “funny, exciting and immaculately paced, never once bogged down by grit or self-importance.”

Colin Firth CRACKLES:  “as Agent Harry Hart.”

And now for something completely different: Colin Firth uses the F-bomb with skill and aplomb.

SUMMER Fun: one of the summer blockbusters across the continent down under.

3. As promised:

Bonus #1: Crackle, Commonwealth definition:

The fourth definition of CRACKLE in to exhibit liveliness, vibrancy, anticipation, etc.

Bonus #2: Two cool Aussie happenings described in Concrete Playground:


1. Teeny Tiny Art: There’s a new exhibit space that is the smallest of the exhibits in March, Sydney’s art month. It’s in a space “no bigger than a breadbox.” The works, by local artists, include the Mona Lisa made out of bacteria. Only one person will be allowed to see the exhibit at a time, magnifying glass provided. Each piece of art is under 3cm x 3 cm x 3cm. (In American, that means REALLY tiny.)

2. Ben & Jerry’s Open Air Cinema: For the past ten years, it has been at Bondi Beach in Sydney. Now they have outdoor Ben & Jerry Open Air Cinemas across the country. The company provides a huge blow-up screen that shows movies every night. Sundays are “Sundae Sundays,” when the ice cream is FREE. Hey Ben! Hey Jerry! Don’t forget where you come from! Your Open Air Cinemas should open in the U.S., beginning with Seattle, a city that shares many of the same values as you guys in Vermont.

Summer in the City
Summer in the City

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