James Bond Films: #20: Tomorrow Never Dies

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     I’m as shocked as anybody that I have a Pierce Brosnan Bond from this low on the list, but fuck here we are. GoldenEye was a tall fucking order to fulfill, and overall this installment just came up way too short. Aside from the car chase, is there really anything from the movie that’s memorable? That’s the inherent bummer of revisiting your beloved franchise; some installments just don’t hold up as well over time.
     With the threat of World War III looming, M (Judi Dench) sends 007 to investigate media mogul Eliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce) because he always seems to have the story before anyone else, especially when it comes to war ships. Soon 007 is teamed up with Wai Lin (Michelle Yoah) and both have to prevent war between China and the United Kingdom. It’s pretty standard Bond fare.
     Brosnan is as great as ever playing 007, he fits into the role with such ease, you’d swear he was born to play the role. I mentioned the car chase scene from earlier, and I’ve never seen an actor have so much fun playing 007. From the technical standpoints, it’s well made, great action, and good chemistry between 007 and Lin. It just seems to me that no matter how good you can be as Bond, the script can betray you.
     Like with any action film, a Bond movie is only as good as his villain, and there is no substitute for that rule here. It’s just a media mogul. Really, just a news guy. Doesn’t Bond have better shit to do? The previous film had an old friend back for revenge, and what this time? Bond fucked his wife once. Come to think of it, how the hell is 007 even still alive? Some jilted husband would have taken out by now, and I don’t mean for martinis.
     Taken the movie as a whole, it’s pretty lackluster. When I do find myself watching the picture, it seems more like a chore than entertainment. And no this isn’t a slight on Brosnan’s take as Bond, but revisiting some of these 90s Bonds you’re reminded of what doesn’t work. And yeah, this installment in particular reminded me of some of the Roger Moore Bonds. Trying way to hard to stay relevant and topical, instead of telling a compelling story.

James Bond Films: #21: Octopussy

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     Here we are near the end of Roger Moore’s run as Bond, and it’s become old hat. The ravages of time are starting to show, and it becomes more difficult to believe this guy can get pussy much less an Octopussy. But his performance aside, the series started to fall into a formula (that we all know and love) but there’s no energy to it now, it’s like going to that one friends house because you need to be there, instead of wanting to be there.
     The story here involves a Fabergé egg, and the death of 009 which leads Bond to India to investigate a prince by the name of Kamal Kahn (Richard Jordan) and that leads him to Octopussy (Maud Adams) where Bond has to foil to blow up a circus. Wait, really?
     The one decent thing I have to say is that Moore is still having fun with the role. And for someone playing a character for their sixth time, that’s love and dedication to your role. But Octopussy as a character is fucking bland, especially for one that has a woman army at her disposal. Yes, nothing awesome is done with that. Jordan is a fine actor, and does an admirable job in the beginning, but then is tossed aside for Octopussy. She starts off as foe, then ally, and the Kahn character suffers because of it. It’s like at the end they were saying. “Oh shit! We forgot about Kahn!!” Really.
     The worst of these movies tend to be boring as fuck, and this one really can cure insomnia. It really isn’t all that memorable either. Seriously, the first thirty minutes or so are really entertaining, but then it falls off faster than a reality TV star. At least this installment isn’t as campy as some of the previous entries, until you see old Roger Moore as a clown. Even then… Jeez. It’s sad that the only notoriety this film has is it’s title, and it’s shitty title song being butchered by Marky Mark in Ted.

James Bond Films: #22: Diamonds Are Forever

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     How could this have happened? A Sean Connery Bond film at this low on the list? Yeah, well it’s happened. This wasn’t an easy decision to come to, but in the scope of Connery’s time as Bond, this is pretty shitty. A lot of people think the campiness that Bond devolved to came about in the Roger Moore era, well the producers decided to get a jump start on that fucker.
     After the tragic events of the previous film, Bond is on a rampage! For the first 5 minutes. After that, it becomes a standard diamond smuggling flick. It leads Bond to Las Vegas with another smuggler named Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) and then comes across archenemy Blofeld (Charles Gray) who plans to use diamonds to power a laser. Yes, a frigging laser beam. At least it’s not on a shark.
     The campy tone is what not only sinks the film, but dates it pretty fucking bad. The jokes seem straight out of the Batman TV series. I’m not talking the Bond puns, but Mr. Wint, and Mr. Kidd, two assassins, that are pretty much gay. Oh, the film doesn’t say that they are, but they do like to hold hands and skip away after killing a man with a scorpion. I like to watch this scene and wonder, “Oh, how the times have changed.” It’s not even necessary, it’s put there for an awkward laugh. And shit is it awkward, especially in the times we’re living in.
     The handling of Blofeld in this picture is fucking bullshit. As I will get into in a later review, but the last film ended pretty fucked up. Do we get a fascinating follow up on the psyche of Bond after suffering a traumatizing event? Pfft, no, he was boozing it up, knee deep in women by brunch. I love the fact that apparently they don’t even try to give a shit about continuity as Blofeld doesn’t even resemble his previous portrayals. This is a character that had been set up for 4 films now, and they reduced him to some megalomaniac instead of the man who would be Bond’s foil.
     The greatest offense in the film I lay squarely at the feet of Sean Connery himself. If you want a course on how to phone in a performance, then this is the picture for you. It’s a damn near modern art masterpiece in not giving a fuck. Have you ever seen the look in an actor’s eye when they’re itching to cash a paycheck? I have. I understand that many of you will feel that a phoned in Connery performance is way better than a Roger Moore performance, and I have to disagree for 2 reasons:
     1. Moore is at least trying.
     2. I know how good Connery  
         can be, and anything less I
         won’t stand for.
     The film can be entertaining for all the wrong reasons, and that’s a fine way of looking at it. I disappointed me was the fact that this could have been a great Bond film dealing with loss, but instead it’s just generic. The second I knew something was wrong was that Connery looked like he aged about 10 years in the span of four. I know you didn’t care Mr.  Connery, but holy fuck!

James Bond Films: #23: Live And Let Die

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Note: A ranking of all the Bond films leading up to Spectre.

     Picking a worst Bond film is like picking which of your children do you hate the most. Sure, there’s stuff about them you like, but in the end, they’re a bit of an asshole. To be fair, this bottom film has changed over time, but as of right now, this movie, is just… Good God, did anyone making this think any of this was a good idea? I mean… This was the 70s, was it not a more progressive time? I mean shit..
     Here we have the first movie with Roger Moore as James Bond, and it is a time to rejoice. I guess. Sean Connery just walked away from a substantial run, and needed to move on. So, what do we have in store for Moore’s Bond? Well, just some international drug trades from Prime Minister Kananga (Yaphet Kotto). So, after an agent is killed 007 is sent to investigate this dastardly crime. And he bangs a psychic named Solitaire (Jane Seymour), and how!
     It’s a rather simplistic synopsis, but it’s a simplistic movie. Moore does what he does best, and that’s having a shit eating grin for the camera. I’m all for having a different interpretation as your predecessor, but good god, this?? A joke filled 007 that would have made Ian Fleming turn over in his grave? If you’ve watched the Daniel Craig Bond films, you’ll want to throw this one out.
     I hate to be this guy, but the movie is mind fuckingly racist. I get that this is the early 70s, and Shaft is all people can talk about, but holy fuck man. Having a cabbie take you to a KKK rally for 20 bucks is just a smidge insensitive, don’t you think? Oh and let’s the Pimpmobile ready for a middle aged British agent to blend in with along with a hillbilly redneck sheriff to lighten things up. Actually, this is all pretty funny.
     Yeah the action scenes are well done, but shouldn’t we get more? I do enjoy a bad movie, but a boring one? Fuck that. In the end, that’s what truly matters, if you’re entertained or not. So, aside from the racism, intentional or not, the plot meanders, and the villain does jack shit. Aside that he’s a Prime Minister, there’s nothing more to him. I have to say, the title song is amazing, and will live on forever, it’s just a crying shame that nothing else from the movie will.

Entourage Review

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     I was dreading writing this review. Nothing on the quality of the movie, but whenever I’m giving an opinion on a film that follows a TV series I get asked the same fucking thing over and over:
     “Do I have to watch the series before I see the movie?”
     There’s two ways to honestly answer this. One is to say, “Why don’t you watch some of the series to gage if you’d like the movie?” The second is, “The fuck should I know, this show is seeped into my DNA, why didn’t you watch it when it was on??!!” Yes, I saw all 8 seasons of Entourage and no I can’t say if you need to see it or not when I saw the whole thing. That and it’s a follow up, so maybe there’s a wee bit of a hint there.
     I will say that it is more of the same when it comes to the plot of the movie as Vinnie Chase (Adrian Grenier) is making his directorial debut, E (Kevin Connolly) dealing with impending fatherhood, Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) living it up as a self made man, and Drama (Kevin Dillon) being Drama, and Ari (Jeremy Piven) now a studio head with his job on the line because of Vinnie going over budget. It’s basically a 2 hour episode of the show, and that’s not really a bad thing.
     Speaking as a fan of the show, this movie has everything you could want. The humor is very referential, and it does manage to catch you up to speed quickly, then it moves onto the main story. The great thing about the movie is that it feels like you’re catching up with old friends, and as a continuation film, that was pretty much the one thing it had to get right. Fuck that up, and you leave the fans with a wasted opportunity, and you have sunk before you swam.
     Because I’m not a bullshitter, there was a problem I had with the movie, and it’s the same one I’ve had on the show, and that’s concerning E and Sloane. This will they or won’t they horseshit needs to fucking stop. This is some Ross and Rachel shit, and if I wanted that, I’d have a bottle of Jack, a tub of Rocky Road, singing “I’ll Be There For You” and wondering where the fuck I went wrong in my life. I don’t want that in my Entourage; either let them be happy, or just end it. It holds this back from being the true joy that this film needs to be.
     The film really works when it’s about the core five guys, and what their friendship and brotherhood really means to them. When those moments shine through, you remember that that’s why you watched the show in the first place, and what could make converts of the uninitiated. This is one hundred percent a comfort film that puts you in the peace of mind that you have your friends by your side and that’s all that matters. Except those guys have supermodels and blow, but hey nothing is perfect.