Sometimes, the two-horse races at the Academy Awards are just as hard to call as the categories that are simply up in the air. This race is one of those cases.
I’ll begin with a dark horse selection. “Simple Song #3,” from the Michael Caine vehicle Youth. It is a beautiful song, but it is failing to supplant the buzz of two other songs in the category.
These songs are Continue reading 2016 Academy Awards Predictions – Best Original Song →
In the new outing for James Bond (Daniel Craig), we open on a gun barrel sequence. The classic gun barrel sequence, which we haven’t seen up front in a Daniel Craig Bond film until now. Signifying a return to classic Bond form, perhaps?
In Mexico City on Dia de Los Muertos, Bond stalks through a parade in a skeleton mask. He is on an off-book mission to assassinate a series of targets before they Continue reading Spectre (2015) Movie Review →
With Spectre just around the corner, it is only appropriate to look back at the good and the bad, the camp and the grit, the martinis and the Aston Martins. Here is a ranking of the entire James Bond franchise, not including the forthcoming 24th installment.
Note: click on the titles to read full reviews of the films.
Continue reading Ranking the James Bond Filmography →
The cold open to Casino Royale shows, in sleek black and white, James Bond (Daniel Craig, in his debut as the character) waiting in the shadows of an office for a corrupt MI6 agent. Bond explains to the man that he killed his contact. The scene is essentially a gritty fist fight cross-cut with a noir-style confrontation. It is also essentially MI6’s test to Bond, a mission that gives Bond his 00 status (because killing two people while working for MI6 makes you a 00-agent, arbitrarily). Albeit brief, it is a wonderful opening.
We then see a meeting of evil minds. Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), leader of global crime organization Quantum, is setting up private banker (for terrorists) Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) with a terrorist outfit. Later, Continue reading Casino Royale (2006) Movie Review →
In the cold open to Die Another Day, James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) goes undercover in North Korea as an illegal arms dealer trading conflict diamonds for military-grade weaponry. His identity is discovered almost immediately, and an extended hovercraft chase ensues. You read that right. Hovercraft chase.
As is standard with these Brosnan films, the chase is littered with fiery explosions and ends with a flat one-liner. Following the chase, Bond is captured by Continue reading Die Another Day (2002) Movie Review →
In The World is Not Enough, MI6 super spy James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) is sent to hunt down terrorist Renard (Robert Carlyle), the man behind the assassination of a billionaire oil tycoon who is also attempting to instigate a nuclear meltdown. Additionally, Renard has a bullet lodged in his skull that renders him with diminishing senses and the inability to feel pain.
Now that we have contextualized the absudity, let’s begin.
This is Brosnan’s third outing as James Bond. It is hard to say that he has “settled in” to the role at this point in his tenure. His acting as the spy certainly Continue reading The World is Not Enough (1999) Movie Review →
On the Russian border, super spy James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) infiltrates a terrorist arms deal in order to steal a plane carrying nuclear torpedoes before a British launched missile hits the site. One “techno terrorist” involved in the deal, Henry Gupta (Ricky Jay), is working with media mogul Elliot Carver (Jonathon Pryce), whose plan is to start World War III in order to profit off of the headlines it would provide.
The villainous plot is bonkers, don’t get me wrong. And Jonathon Pryce’s performance is exceedingly over-the-top. But it’s Continue reading Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) Movie Review →
In the cold open to GoldenEye, spy James Bond (Pierce Brosnan, in his first outing as the franchise character) bungee jumps off of a dam in Arkhangelsk in order to covertly infiltrate a Soviet chemical weapons facility. Once inside, he rendevouses with fellow agent 006 Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean). Together they easily break into the loading dock where gasoline tankers are kept. Here we get one of my personal favorite exchanges in the Bond series:
Bond: That was too easy.
Trevelyan: Half of everything is luck.
Bond: And the other half.
Trevelyan: [alarm sounds] Fate.
Bond plants explosive charges on the tankers, but Trevelyan is Continue reading GoldenEye (1995) Movie Review →
In the opening to Licence to Kill, CIA agent Felix Leiter (David Hedison) is pulled away from his own wedding in order to hunt down drug kingpin Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi). With British secret agent 007 James Bond (Timothy Dalton) in tow, Leiter tracks down the criminal, but Sanchez escapes in a plane. Fearless Bond suspends himself from a helicopter in midair in order to literally rope in Sanchez’ vehicle. Upon successfully capturing Sanchez, Bond and Leiter parachute into Leiter’s wedding.
The aircraft stunt in this opening scene is marvelous to watch. The interplay with Bond and Leiter and the fact that Leiter is holding up his wedding for the sake of work is comical. This first scene sets up the film wonderfully.
Following this scene, Sanchez is in custody. He offers Continue reading Licence to Kill (1989) Movie Review →
In The Living Daylights, James Bond (Timothy Dalton) allies in the escape of a defecting KGB agent, General Koskov (Jeroen Krabbe). Koskov is transported via natural gas pipeline into Austria and then taken to London, where he informs MI6 that the head of the KGB has reinstated an order to assassinate a series of international spies. The order, he believes, will bring about a world war. Concurrently to this debriefing, a KGB agent infiltrates the building and captures Koskov.
As one might guess, 007 is on the KGB hit-list. It’s a strong premise: it’s kill or be killed for Bond.
Dalton plays a moodier Bond than we are used to. He leans toward the dark as opposed to the sly. Some witty remarks and comedic moments are Continue reading The Living Daylights (1987) Movie Review →