Jack Ryan – Season One (2018; USA; Colour; 1 x 65m, 7 x 42m-51m) **** pr. Nazrin Choudhury, José Luis Ecolar, Robert Phillips; d. Morten Tyldum, Daniel Sackheim, Patricia Riggen, Carlton Cuse; w. Carlton Cuse, Graham Roland, Stephen Kronish, Daria Polatin, Patrick Aison, Annie Jacobsen, Nazrin Choudhury, Nolan Dunbar; ph. Richard Rutkowski, Checco Varese, Christopher Faloona; m. Ramin Djawadi. Cast: John Krasinski, Abbie Cornish, Wendell Pierce, Ali Suliman, Emmanuelle Lussier Martinez, Dina Shihabi, Karim Zein, Nadia Affolter, Jordi Mollà, Arpy Ayvazian, Adam Bernett, Amir El-Masry, Goran Kostic, Eileen Li, Mena Massoud, Victoria Sanchez, Marie-Josée Croze, John Hoogenakker, Shadi Jahno, Zarif Kabier, Kevin Kent, Brittany Drisdelle, Shailene Garnett, Matt McCoy, Maxime Robin, Kenny Wong, Chadi Alhelou, Jonathan Bailey, Jamil Khoury, Stéphane Krau, Al Sapienza, Kareem Tristan Alleyne, Ron Canada, Michael Gaston, Matthew Kabwe, Yani Marin, Laurean Adrian Parau, Kaan Urgancioglu, Jessica Abruzzese, Numan Acar, Mehdi Aissaoui. When CIA analyst Jack Ryan stumbles upon a suspicious series of bank transfers his search for answers pulls him from the safety of his desk job and catapults him into a deadly game of cat and mouse throughout Europe and the Middle East, with a rising terrorist figurehead preparing for a massive attack against the US and her allies. Impressively mounted reworking of Tom Clancy’s hero as an ex-marine with a past thrown back into the field to hunt down the terrorist leader, whilst trying to protect the leader’s defecting wife and children. Action scenes are well handled and for the most part the script is both intelligent and suspenseful, only occasionally lapsing into genre conventions. Krasinski is good as the latest actor to take on the role of the eponymous hero with Pierce equally good as his superior. Suliman manages to convey menace with a deeper rooted motivation as the terrorist leader, making him a three-dimensional character. Certain elements of the background stories are left unresolved signalling a second season will follow. 
Carry on Cowboy (1966; UK; Eastmancolor; 93m) ∗∗∗ d. Gerald Thomas; w. Talbot Rothwell; ph. Alan Hume; m. Eric Rogers. Cast: Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Jim Dale, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Angela Douglas, Bernard Bresslaw, Peter Butterworth, Percy Herbert, Jon Pertwee, Sydney Bromley, Edina Ronay. Stodge City is in the grip of the Rumpo Kid and his gang. Mistaken identity again takes a hand as a “sanitary engineer” (plumber) by the name of Marshal P. Knutt is mistaken for a law marshal. Pretty good spoof from the team with most of the team thriving on change. Slapstick and wordplay are to the fore with Pertwee and Hawtrey particularly funny. [PG]
Patriot Games (1992; USA; Technicolor; 117m) ∗∗∗½ d. Phillip Noyce; w. W. Peter Iliff, Donald Stewart; ph. Donald McAlpine; m. James Horner. Cast: Harrison Ford, Anne Archer, Patrick Bergin, Sean Bean, Thora Birch, James Fox, Samuel L. Jackson, Polly Walker, James Earl Jones, Richard Harris, J.E. Freeman, Alex Norton, David Threlfall, Alun Armstrong, Hugh Fraser. When CIA Analyst Jack Ryan interferes with an IRA assassination, a renegade faction targets him and his family for revenge. Slick and efficient action thriller with Ford in excellent form. Lacks the sophistication of the first Jack Ryan adventure, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, but is undeniably entertaining. Followed by CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER (1994). 
Magdalene Sisters, The (2002; Ireland/UK; Colour; 119m) ∗∗∗∗ d. Peter Mullan; w. Peter Mullan; ph. Nigel Willoughby; m. Craig Armstrong. Cast: Geraldine McEwan, Anne-Marie Duff, Nora-Jane Noone, Dorothy Duffy, Eileen Walsh, Mary Murray, Britta Smith, Frances Healey, Eithne McGuinness, Phyllis McMahon, Rebecca Walsh, Eamonn Owens, Chris Simpson, Sean Colgan, Alison Goldie. Three young Irish women struggle to maintain their spirits while they endure dehumanizing abuse as inmates of a Magdalene Sisters Asylum. This is a powerful and harrowing drama, brilliantly directed and acted. Its downbeat tone is often lifted by moments of humour making this both a touching and disturbing film. 
JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT (2014, Paramount Pictures/Skydance Productions, USA/Russia, 105 mins, Colour, 2.35:1, SDDS/Datasat/Dolby Digital/Dolby Surround 7.1, Cert: 12, Action/Thriller) ∗∗∗∗∗
Starring: Chris Pine (Jack Ryan), Keira Knightley (Cathy Muller), Kevin Costner (Thomas Harper), Kenneth Branagh (Viktor Cherevin), Lenn Kudrjawizki (Constantin), Alec Utgoff (Aleksandr Borovsky), Peter Andersson (Dimitri Lemkov), Elena Velikanova (Katya), Nonso Anozie (Embee Deng), Seth Ayott (Teddy Hefferman), Colm Feore (Rob Behringer), Gemma Chan (Amy Chang).
Producer: David Barron, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mace Neufeld, Mark Vahradian; Director: Kenneth Branagh; Writer: Adam Cozad, David Koepp (based on characters created by Tom Clancy); Director of Photography: Haris Zambarloukos (DeLuxe); Music: Patrick Doyle; Film Editor: Martin Walsh; Production Designer: Andrew Laws; Art Director: Stuart Kearns; Set Decorator: Judy Farr; Costume Designer: Jill Taylor.
Chris Pine becomes the fourth actor in five films to play Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. This is the first film, however, not to be based on one of Clancy’s books and is in essence an origins story. Here, Jack Ryan is in his early career as a young covert CIA analyst when he uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.
By making Ryan younger and with heavy nods to his heroic military career this is an attempt to turn Ryan into more of an intelligent action hero than deskbound analyst. Pine has the right amount of energy and exuberance for the role and acquits himself admirably. Knightley becomes the fourth actress to portray his fiancée, Catrhy Muller (later his wife), but they lack the chemistry of the Harrison Ford/Anne Archer partnership of PATRIOT CAMES and CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER. Director Branagh also portrays the chief Russian heavy and there is a distinct cold war feel to the modern setting, which mirrors the increasingly cold relations between the US and Russia. The plot seems convoluted and demanding of attention, but in reality is rather simplistic and lacking in scale. Branagh’s direction prefers dialogue and exposition to be punctuated by bursts of adrenalin fuelled action. His camerawork however adopts the shaky style of the BOURNE trilogy and is a little off-putting with fast edits often adding confusion to the scenes. Also on board is Costner as Ryan’s first mentor, but he is largely on the periphery of the action.
Despite the uneven pace, this remains an enjoyable resurrection, but like its predecessor THE SUM OF ALL FEARS, which tried to re-launch the series with Ben Affleck as a younger Ryan, its movement into Bond and Bourne territory may leave it too indistinguishable to progress the series any further.