Showing posts with label bond. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bond. Show all posts

Friday, December 7, 2012

Signal Re-Watch: Skyfall (2012)

Not much to say.  I met The Admiral at the movies and we watched Skyfall, me for the second time.

I think on this go-round I got to appreciate a little more of Sam Mendes' direction and how taught the movie is as a Bond actioner.  I pondered getting up and hitting the men's room, but there was never a place in the movie I thought it'd be all right and I wouldn't miss anything.  That might be too much info, but it's a pretty good sign that I didn't want to miss 180 seconds or so of a movie I watched just a couple of weeks ago.

It's not a flawless movie, but, gosh, I still like it.  It has a lot of the traditional Bond issues tied up in Bond's misogyny, and I'd like to see that tackled a bit differently just to shake things up a bit in a future installment, without inserting some Mary Sue she's-better-then-him-at-everything-wink-cute character.

I look forward to seeing who shows up as the next villain and what sort of plot/ issues we'll see in the next film.  I don't see Daniel Craig's Bond in a Moonraker repeat or fighting dudes with submersible secret bases - but I think Mendes and Craig can put out a compelling Bond without going totally sci-fi.

Anyway, Connery will probably always be Bond in my head, but I am pleased that a new generation can think of Daniel Craig as "their" Bond.  I'm a fan.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: Skyfall (2012)

The trick with any franchise character is that, after a while, they can take the path* of becoming less a character and more a collection of quirks and ticks that become recognizable to the audience, but there's not really much of anything there behind the catchphrases, costume, etc...  It's pretty common in sitcoms.  And you can sort of tell when a character (or, heck, public persona of a real person) has hit this point when they become readily satirized and spoofed with a few tell-tale signs.

I think, in a lot of ways, Bond had become a sort of nebulous concept of "things that happen in a Bond movie".  Particularly during the tail end of the Moore-era and again in the Pierce Brosnan era, you can blame the actors to some extent, but the scripts and directing never sought to do much but move the Bond-shaped character through Bond-like situations that were pretty awesome when Connery brought it to the big screen, but by the time I was watching Pierce Brosnan driving around in a tank in a tux with perfect hair, I think I hung it up on Bond after GoldenEye.**



I'm not reporting anything new in remarking that Daniel Craig in Casino Royale completely rejuvenated the Bond concept for a lot of us, and despite many missteps that harkened back to the doldrums of circa 1980-era Bond, Quantum of Solace had its moments - even if it didn't live up to the promise of Casino Royale.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Signal Watches: For Your Height Only

So.

How do you make a Bond-knock-off better?  You cast a homunculus of an action star who the audience will adore.  I am, of course, speaking of Tom Cruise in all four Mission Impossible movies, but that's not what we watched this weekend.

Saturday night Doug was here, and that meant he came with media fit to seer the brain.  In our case, it was the 1981 spy thriller For Your Height Only, starring internationally renowned superstar, Weng Weng.



For years The Alamo Drafthouse has shown clips of this film as part of their pre-show, enough so that I knew exactly what this movie was when it started.  And, frankly, if they don't show some of this before SkyFall, I'll be shocked.

I've now watched this movie, and I could not tell you what it was about.  Golden banana thieves?  Evil bakers?  Kidnappers?

Everything about this movie holds together a bit like when you're in college and you watch a movie while drinking and try to remember the plot later.  I was stone cold sober, and yet trying to hold the movie in my mind is like waking from a sweaty fever dream wrapped in pool of prescription medicated hallucinations.

I do know the characters were snappy dressers.

only bad guys would so brazenly mix stripes and patterns

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Signal Reads: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

I was born into the Cold War, and I often wonder if The Kids whose sense of awareness crested after 1992 really understand what it was like.  As far back as 2001, I was taking a martial arts class where the "adult" class meant high school and up.  After class we were putting on our shoes and chatting and somehow I managed to ask one of the kids if they even knew what The Cold War was.  Long story short, he knew it had something to do with Russia, but he didn't know why we may have been in conflict with The Russkies.



It's now been more than 20 years since I sat in class and watched video of Germans dancing on the wall, and I still don't really understand how one day we had An Evil Empire with whom we were locked in the world's worst staring contest, and the next, we had Eastern-block countries cut loose from Mother Russia and spiraling into fresh, new problems (see: Sarajevo) and Russia deciding that a government based on something that looks an awful lot like gangsterism should take the place of the death-mask Stalinist taskmasters.*

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Movie Watch 2012: "The Spy Who Loved Me" and "Godzilla: Final Wars"

Bond

It was Bond week this week at Austin's Paramount Theater.  Sadly, I was pre-occupied and unable to make it to the screening of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, which I really wanted to see.

One summer when I was in middle school, Jason and I would go to the video rental place, return the last Bond movie we'd rented and check out another.  In this manner, we watched every Bond movie but Thunderball, which I still haven't seen.  The problem with this method was that within two years, all of the movies had sort of bled together in my mind, so I could only remember specific set pieces and the occasional Bond girl.

Thanks to TBS and a few other sources, I've watched several Bond movies over since then, and I do like catching the movies over again now, but I make an effort to watch them pretty far apart so they don't blend together again.  And, for the record, Connery, of course.

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) stars Roger Moore as Bond, and it's from the point where the Bond franchise became a bit too enamored with quippy one-liners and just took it for granted that women melted under Bond's icy gaze.  It's a fun movie, and it has some great Q gadgets, a phenomenally cool villain base, gadgets and private military (sherbet colored uniforms?  Where do I sign up?!).  The plan is pretty poorly sketched, but whatever.  It's post-Connery/ pre-Timothy Dalton Bond, and its not all that different from what we'd see with Pierce Brosnan later.

And, hey, this is the one with the Lotus that turns into a submarine.

The movie makes an attempt to give Bond a sexy female Russian counterpart, but, truthfully, the base misogyny of the Bond franchise hadn't quite sort through itself, leaving Barbara Bach mostly standing around beside Bond as he Bonds his way around.  I'm not sure Bach is also the most compelling Bond girl, but she does the job.

It's not my favorite Moore entry (For Your Eyes Only, probably), but it does feature "Nobody Does it Better" performed by Carly Simon, which is a pretty great Bond theme - and has a Bond opening sequence that well reminds you why they changed those for the Daniel Craig years, even if it's pretty brilliant.

Godzilla

Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) was Toho's "we can't top this" ending to production of Godzilla movies after 50 years.  I'd heard they'd planned to stop making them prior to the US produced Godzilla starring Matthew Broderick, but after that trainwreck, they felt like they needed to keep making their own films.

I will give Godzilla: Final Wars this:  you have no idea where this movie is going when the movie begins.  I can promise you:  mutants, aliens, Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan and a dozen other Kaiju, super ninja fights, matrix-style battles, sexy biologists and reporters, international/ interplanetary intrigue, the destruction of a half-dozen cities on at least four continents and a wildly out of control costuming department.  Oh, and a really amazing mustache.

I don't really know how to sell this movie other than to say: hold tight and leave expectation at the door.

And, f-yeah, Godzilla.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: From Russia With Love

I did.  I totally saw this at The Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane.  Its Connery as Bond.  Robert Shaw all huge and dyed Aryan.  Its a great Bond movie.

Thanks to Jamie, Simon, Leta, JAL, The Admiral and KareBear for coming out.

Also:  if you go down there, may I recommend "The Vesper"?  Its James Bond's cocktail of choice, and its now mine.

I do not have time for this.