You Only Live Twice (1967) Movie Review

 

You Only Live Twice, the fifth James Bond film and the fifth to feature Sean Connery in the lead role, opens on space, where a manned, United States spacecraft is hovering over Earth’s orbit. As one of the two astronauts leaves the craft, a larger spacecraft starts barreling toward them. This larger, unidentified spacecraft swallows the U.S. craft whole, leaving the external astronaut for dead in open space and the U.S. government up in arms over their lost craft.

 

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After seeing this international kerfuffle over the missing spacecraft–the U.S. blaming the Soviets and England blaming the Japanese–we meet Bond in Hong Kong, where he is Continue reading You Only Live Twice (1967) Movie Review

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Thunderball (1965) Movie Review

 

In the opening scene of Thunderball, James Bond (Sean Connery) attends the funeral of a man that he wishes he could have killed himself. Following the ceremony, there is an action sequence almost immediately. It is very well choreographed and fast paced–something that can’t be said about all of the action sequences in this movie. He eludes more armed baddies and escapes into the Paris day.

 

Oh, and he also has a jetpack. Just saying.

 

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The opening credits sequence kicks in, and we hear Tom Jones singing the titular theme. It is a well-sung song. Perhaps it is apocryphal, but the story goes that Jones passed out in the recording studio after Continue reading Thunderball (1965) Movie Review

Listen to Me Marlon (2015) Movie Review

 

Listen to Me Marlon opens on a digital rendering of Marlon Brando’s face as he laments that the process may signal the end of great acting as we know it. We cut back to this face intermittently throughout the film, it serving as a motif for the disparity between Brando and, really, the world.

 

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The film is a series of recorded audio tapes that Brando recorded himself. Tapes that have not been heard by the public until now. We also get Continue reading Listen to Me Marlon (2015) Movie Review

Everest (2015) Movie Review

 

In 1996, a pair of commercial expeditions to the summit of Mount Everest went terribly wrong. Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) and Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) both lead competing commercial expedition companies. They decide, due to overcrowding of climbers attempting the voyage up on the same day, decide to work together to reach the summit.

 

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The dramatics are set up early on, as we see Continue reading Everest (2015) Movie Review

Willow Creek (2014) Movie Review

 

Caution: minor plot spoilers ahead

 

Indie found footage horror flick Willow Creek cold opens on nothing. Darkness all around as the camera sits idle in a patch of grass blowing lazily in the breeze. We sit in this moment for a tad too long, then the sound crescendos into the title card.

 

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Next, we are in a car with a couple. Jim (Bryce Johnson) is testing out the sound equipment, goading his girlfriend Kelly (Alexie Gilmore) to speak into the microphone while she drives. She recites lines from a feminine hygiene product commercial that she failed to book. They joke about the Continue reading Willow Creek (2014) Movie Review

Most Anticipated Movies of Fall 2015: October

 

The October slate of movies this year stirs up a distinct feeling in me: Hesitation. There are plenty of films that I hope will blow me away, but, as I outline below, I have my reservations about many of them.

 

Note: for the sake of this series of articles, the “Fall movie season” refers to the span of time beginning with the first weekend after Labor Day weekend and ending with the last weekend in December.

 

 

 

The Martian

 

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Matt Damon (the Bourne films, The Departed) carrying the acting load. Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) penning the script. Ridley Scott (Alien, for chrissake!) at the director’s chair. The credits seem to Continue reading Most Anticipated Movies of Fall 2015: October

Goldfinger (1964) Movie Review

 

The cold open of Goldfinger has in it seemingly every James Bond trope. Bond (Sean Connery) sneaks and fights his way into a guarded facility. He uses a gadget to blow something up (for God knows what reason). Then, he strips down to a white suit and diffuses into the social world, where he rendezvouses with another agent. There’s also an attractive woman dancing, just for good measure. A woman Bond then attempts to bed, only to be approached from behind by an armed assailant. And, as always, the altercation ends in a one-liner.

 

It is James Bond in a nutshell.

 

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Following this cold open, we get one of the better Bond opening title sequences. A stark black background and projected film footage casts gold-painted women in shadows. All the while, Shirley Bassey’s voice erupts above the stagnant visuals. It isn’t hard to see Continue reading Goldfinger (1964) Movie Review