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.
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
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.
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
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.
The dramatics are set up early on, as we see Continue reading Everest (2015) 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.
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
From Russia With Love, the second film adaptation of Ian Fleming’s work to depict MI6 agent James Bond, cold opens on a cat and mouse chase at night. Bond (Sean Connery) steps out of the shadows and moves silently across the grassy landscape, knowing that he is being tailed. The assailant (Robert Shaw), stalks Bond, then retreats to the cover of a nearby bush to wait for the perfect moment to strike. Surprisingly, he gets that perfect moment. Bond goes down, choked by wire at the hands of the assassin. The super spy is bested.
Or is he.
Lights go up, and an army of men are revealed. The event was a training exercise and Bond: a grunt in a Connery mask. Someone is out to get Bond. Someone very powerful.
Continue reading From Russia With Love (1963) Movie Review
1962’s Dr. No is the first adaptation of Ian Fleming’s work, bringing to the screen his iconic super spy character James Bond. The first time we see Bond (Sean Connery) in this film, the stage is already set for Connery to set the precedent for how the spy is meant to look and act on screen. He puffs casually at a cigarette as he gambles and flirts with his female competitor (Eunice Gayson). His look is suave, his mannerisms subtle and laid back. Connery immediately embodies Fleming’s sharp-witted and womanizing Bond.
The film is littered with retrospective moments in which we can see precedents being set for the franchise. The iconic score blares in right off the bat, as we stare down the barrel of a gun. This theme repeats itself many times throughout the film. Bond and M (Bernard Lee) discuss Continue reading Dr. No (1962) Movie Review
Scott Cooper’s Black Mass is the story of crime lord James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) told from the eyes of his criminal underlings as they speak out against him to the FBI.
Bulger, after serving a nine-year stint in Alcatraz prison, straddles together a working crime business in southern Boston in the 1970s. FBI agent and childhood friend of Bulger John Connelly (Joel Edgerton) approaches Bulger with an offer to Continue reading Black Mass (2015) Movie Review