Spybreak: Matthew Vaughn Introduces Us to Kingsman: The Secret Service

Harry Hart (Colin Firth, center) introduces 'Eggsy' Unwin (Taron Egerton, left) to Internet billionaire Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson, right).
Harry Hart (Colin Firth, center) introduces ‘Eggsy’ Unwin (Taron Egerton, left) to Internet billionaire Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson, right).

Parodies of spy pictures – and the James Bond variation in particular – are a dime a dozen, with a fairly mixed bag of results. The cream of the crop may be the first two Austin Powers movies, International Man Of Mystery and The Spy Who Shagged Me. The low point is arguably a spoof based on Ian Fleming’s first novel, the star-laden 1966 attempt at Casino Royale with Peter Sellers, David Niven, and Woody Allen that needed a whopping five directors to be completed. Now X-Men: First Class and Kick-Ass filmmaker Matthew Vaughn has entered the territory and assembled an impressive cast to realize Kingsman: The Secret Service. Is his vision of what a spy movie should look like up to the task?

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The Midget’s Lament: Tod Browning’s Freaks, or the Birth of Cinema from the Spirit of the Fair

The midget Hans (Harry Earles, left) is ridiculed by the trapeze artist Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova, right).
The midget Hans (Harry Earles, left) is ridiculed by the trapeze artist Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova, right).

Every once in while movies give a new direction to pop culture by starting a new epoch. Take A Clockwork Orange (1971), which influenced the punk movement by providing a new dress and language code for youth culture. Moreover, a hip-hop culture without Scarface (1983) would be hard to imagine. The movie I am going to discuss in this article is not only such an epoch-making movie but also the maker of a new medium known as ‘cinema.’

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