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2013-06-22: Transfered all of my 2011 "My Year in Music" posts from Facebook.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Guess the Movie!

He's a driver for hire – the best one there is – and if you follow his rules, he'll get you safely from the scene of the crime.
But the quiet, stoic, young man with no name is about to be in greater danger than ever before, because when you're in the big leagues, a double-cross is always around the corner. There's a bag full of cash he doesn't want, a driven, dangerous new enemy targeting him with fierce intensity... and in the middle of it all, a young, attractive woman he's just met.
As the Driver starts to challenge his own “no guns” policy, the bad guys quickly learn – the hard way – that not liking guns isn't the same as not knowing how to use them. Whatever his past may hide, the Driver doesn't need a car to cut a bloody path through whomever stand in his way.

- Know what movie I'm talking about?
(scroll down for answer)

























- It is, of course, Walter Hill's “the Driver” (1978)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Morph-o'-the-Week #3: Clint Bieber

This time around, I thought I'd combine someone who is über-macho with someone... who is not.

Clint Eastwood -------- and -------- Justin Bieber
combine to make:

Clint Bieber

In addition to this being a horrible abomination, I apologize for the poor quality of the finished image. I kinda lost interest midway through - but I had already worked too long on the picture not to post it.

I'm open for suggestions regarding the next Morph-o'-the-Week: Comment here or on my Facebook page.
Be creative, and maybe you'll get your wish. Michael Jackson morphed with Prince? Ashton Kutcher morphed with a can of tuna? The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Morph-o'-the-Week #2: Gro Thatcher

[This time, the combination of people will probably make no sense to my English-speaking visitors (if I have any), so I'll do this post in Norwegian. Sorry. You can read the bottom part of the post, though. I have no good ideas of my own.]

Gro Harlem Brundtland ----- og ----- Margaret Thatcher
kombineres, og utgjør:

Gro Thatcher

Oooooohhhh! Veldig politisk, er det ikke?
Næh. Ikke egentlig.

I'm open for suggestions regarding the next Morph-o'-the-Week: Comment here or on my Facebook page.
Be creative, and maybe you'll get your wish. Michael Jackson morphed with Prince? Clint Eastwood morphed with Ashton Kutcher? The possibilities are endless.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

the Ultimate Marvel Movies List

I've just made a list (ranked) of all the Marvel Movies I've seen.

Here it is, on MUBI.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Morph-o'-the-Week #1: George W. Obama

George W. Bush --------- and --------- Barack Obama
combine to make:

George W. Obama

Oooooohhhh! It's very political, isn't it!?
No, it isn't.

I'm open for suggestions regarding the next Morph-o'-the-Week: Comment here or on my Facebook page.
Be creative, and maybe you'll get your wish. Michael Jackson morphed with Prince? Clint Eastwood morphed with Ashton Kutcher? The possibilities are endless.

Combined Beauty --- pt.III

So! In part II of Combined Beauty, I morphed eight (arguably) beautiful women into four:

The next logical step, is to make these four into two. You, dear reader, should know the drill by now, so I won't bother to over-explain.

1) Natalie Whiteley and Bar Perry combine to make...

"Katy Whiteley":

2) Ann Munn and Mila Diaz combine to make...

"Cameron Munn":

(The naming process here is obvious, I hope - so that I don't have to explain that either).

Like in pt.II, I think that the women can still be considered beautiful, and that they haven't yet reached a level of unreality that could unnerve people who look at the pictures.
Also, I had expected them to become symmetrical much faster. I'm not sure why I had expected that (maybe I believed that one asymmetry would weigh up for another in a while), but now that I think about it, it could be just as likely that one particular form of asymmetry was dominant, so that in a few generations of non-genetical pairing, the hybrid women would end up with their right eye high on top of their foreheads (e.g.).
Now that I think about that last thought again, I realize that I'm an idiot, because those asymmetries are not "stackable" with this method of working. If I combine one woman with the right eye halfway up her forehead with another woman with the same eye halfway up her forehead... I'll still get a woman with her right eye halfway up her forehead - not all the way up. SO NEVER MIND WHAT I JUST SAID!

I'm also noting that it gets increasingly difficult to create clean outlines and details on the women. The Photographic quality of the images suffers from them being constantly copied and mashed together in new ways.
This is why I have to get increasingly creative and use more time to recycle outlines, like the one of Mila Kunis, e.g., with slight modifications. It's not because I favor some of the women - it's because it's practical and I don't want it to look like crap.

But I bore you!
To spare you all a part IV, I go straight ahead and combine Katy Whiteley and Cameron Munn into... (ta-daaah!)

"Olivia Whiteley"!


That's basically my conclusion.
All the questions I had, are left unanswered... and perhaps unanswerable.
Along the way, I haven't created a hybrid that I found more attractive than (most of) the originals, but I still think the faces look "beautiful" in an objective manner.
Also, I haven't yet stumbled across a combo-woman that looks exactly like a real person I've seen, celebrity or otherwise... so that's boring.

I could've measured Olivia Whiteley's facial features in regards to symmetry and phi and such, but I'm not that mad. Maybe someone else has thoughts about this little experiment of mine, but as for me... I'm done.
Is she beautiful? Is she creepy? Does she look like someone you've seen? Does the digital combination of faces constitute an affront to nature?
You tell me.

P.S.: The process of morphing faces is still lots of fun, though - so I'll be doing some more of that in the future. "Morph of the Week" or something.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Combined Beauty --- pt.II

At last - here is part two of the dorky experiment nobody is interested in but me. Rejoice!
As you may or may not remember from pt.I - I combined Rosie Huntington-Whiteley with Natalie Portman...
... to make "Natalie Whiteley":

Now I did the same thing with the other six women on Maxim's "Voted World’s Most Beautiful Girl" list and ended up with these four:

1: Natalie Whiteley

2: Ann Munn
3: Bar Perry

4: Mila Diaz

[Disclaimer: Some of these manipulated images don't represent my image tweaking skills properly. I've tried to maintain my sanity and reduce work time (and thus quality) a bit, so that this silly project doesn't eat my life for weeks.]

Already, I'm struggling to come up with a deeper purpose to this exercise, but a few interesting thoughts pop up.
* I'm looking at what could've been real-life women, and I wonder: are there four women out there who look exactly like these four?
If so: isn't that creepy? Is there a combination of two people out there for all of us - mix a and b 50/50, and he/she will look exactly like you?
* I'm also noticing that they haven't yet taken a full step into the realm of "unreality" - something I am sure will occur at some point of time. Not by the "first generation", then.
* I think these four hypothetical women can still be considered beautiful, like their "parents". So far, combinations of beauty have produced beauty... something that supports the idea that beauty is all about mathematics and symmetry and such.
(I'm making a mental note that I should try to combine unconventional beauty someday and see what happens. Say, Uma Thurman and... uh... someone similarly unconbeautiful).

So are you intrigued yet? No?
Well, maybe you will be when I launch Part III.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Combined Beauty --- pt.I

Yeah, I guess I've finally lost it.

Sometimes, when I get an idea, I have to follow through with it - no matter how pointless it may seem.
Yesterday, I started thinking about faces. And beauty. And combinations of faces.
Suddenly, I wondered what would happen if one were to mix faces and create new ones several times, within the framework of beauty - what would happen?
* Would the faces cease to be beautiful?
* Would the faces start to look similar?
* Would the faces actually look like existing persons?
* Would certain patterns of beauty emerge?

These are a few questions I expect to not have answered at all after this exercise is completed.

So - time to be more specific:
As a starting point, I decided to use Maxim's "Voted World’s Most Beautiful Girl" list for 2011 (specifically, because it's just a list, not some annoying pop-up, fancy-pants flash photo gallery). I didn't want to use my own preferences for this experiment, because I wanted at least some faint trace of objectivity to come into play at some point.
What I had in mind, then, was to take the top 8 women and combine them in some sort of... cup system, in lack of a better term.
Something like this:

fig. 1: Cup system

Straightforward enough, I should think.
So here are the eight women:

fig. 2: the Maxim Women

You may recognize some of them - Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Olivia Munn, Katy Perry, Cameron Diaz, Mila Kunis, Bar Refaeli, Anne Hathaway, and Natalie Portman - and note how I'm on a first-name basis with all of them from now on. Hey - it's my thought experiment, so I do what I please with it.
[note: I immediately start to regret not using picks of my own when I see that this list is almost exclusively comprised of white women. I would like some more variation - but as mentioned, I would also like to use an external list and be "objective". Oh, well...]

Time for the fun part, then - the combos themselves.
I use the easy-to-handle freeware Squirlz Morph to combine the two different faces, and then I polish the results with photo editing software.

First up is the Rosie Huntington-Whiteley/Natalie Portman hybrid, as dictated by fig. 1. So Rosie plus Nat...

fig. 3a

... equals... ummm... "Natalie Whiteley"!

fig. 3b

Now isn't this fun!?
In part II, I'm going to start off by showing all of the four hybrid women, thus completing "round 1" of this experiment.

Stay tuned for the super-exciting next episode of my creative lunacy!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Yeah, so I have a MUBI profile now.

Don't know what MUBI is? MUBI is
"[...] not just about discovering wonderful new cinema or classic masterpieces. It’s also about discussing and sharing these discoveries, which makes [the website] like a small coffee shop—a place where you can gather and talk about alternative endings, directors’ cuts, and whatever those frogs in Magnolia meant. Heated debates and passionate arguments are welcome [there]."

I'm not really that active yet, but I may be more diligent later.

Hook up with me here:
Zandman75 on

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Superficial Bond Reviews --- #22: Quantum of Solace

Disclaimer: This will be a short review. Not because of Goldeneye or anything, but because Quantum of Solace annoys me, and I don't want to dwell on it too long. I apologize that this has to be the one to close up the Superficial Bond Reviews. Blame Marc Forster, Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, to name but a few.

* First of all: "Quantum of Solace"? Worst name out of all the 22 bond movies. It's a big, steaming pile of nonsense, and it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, now does it?

* Quanundrum of Solstice starts with the worst car chase I've ever seen. The director has no sense of direction, continuity, axis, movement or anything that can give the audience a proper idea of what's going on. Instead, it's the ol' "shaking the camera violently" trick that useless, uncreative directors have utilized ad nauseam for years now, because they don't know how to create a sense of intensity the proper way.
I wonder how much the camera would shake if I smashed it into the director's skull, and if it would add intensity to the experience. Thanks for the headache, shithead.

* The direction of the fight scenes in Quaalude of Surprise is perhaps the worst I've ever seen.
First, there's this film school freshman attempt at "art", where Bond is chasing someone, and it's intercut with a horse race. I laugh my "oh, that's so sad" laugh and shake my head, even though there's nobody there who can see me. I just can't help myself. Well, at least it isn't freerunning again.
That chase leads to a ridiculous scene where 007 fights the bad guy while hanging from ropes and bumping into some scaffolding, and besides the fact that this kind of shit belongs in an old Jet Li movie or in Cirque de Soleil, the direction/editing is so shitty, you can't even see what's going on anyway.
This guy couldn't make a coherent fight scene if he nailed two actors to the floor opposite each other and told them to punch rhythmically.

* There's another boat chase. Unoriginal. Also: director is shit.

* There's a shootout at the opera. The director uses some intercutting of the action with what transpires on stage. It's very film school freshman-like, meaning "it's shit".

- "I'm bored!"
- "Well, I'm MORE bored!"

* Bond is topless again! I'm actually surprised that the camera has stopped vibrating for a long enough period of time that I'm able to see this.
It strikes me that in that respect, the director may be the perfect one for Daniel Craig, since his ShakyCam is actually able to mask the fact that Craig has the face of last year's Halloween pumpkin.
You can keep your shirt on now, Daniel!

* There's an airplane duel scene, which is... hm, not so shit, actually. Interesting. And then, there's an elevator fight, which is brilliant! I'm so confused!
Maybe... no. The rest is shit.

* The so-called Bond girls are so poorly written here, that I'll ignore them completely, and skip directly to the bad guy - Some French Dude.
Some French Dude is bad because... well, I can't remember. He's so bland, I can't even call him "shit". He's like beige, odorless shit.
His sinister plan has something to do with stealing water or some kind of boring eco crime nobody gives a crap about, and his awe-inspiring lair is a cluster of shitty, wooden barracks in the middle of a featureless desert.
For some poorly explained reason, the entire barracks is packed with gas canisters that will detonate easily, so that the explosions can serve as a substitute for real excitement.
007 goes there to fight Some French Dude, and all of a sudden everyone involved in making Quidditch of Slutchutch has forgotten that Bond just beat the shit out half a dozen agents in an elevator. Bond has to fight this guy, who has no martial arts skills, no fighting experience, nothing, for all we know - and has a hard time defeating him, just because he's the end-of-level boss.

* Bond defeats Some French Guy, who promptly commits suicide out of disappointment with the 22nd Bond movie.
I'm tempted, too - but choose instead to just call QoS "the worst Bond movie ever", alongside Die Another Day.
This was worse in many ways... but at least, it kinda tried to be a Bond movie.

I can't wait for Bond #23! Woo!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Superficial Bond Reviews --- #21: Casino Royale

* So I guess it's time for what may or may not qualify for being called a "re-imagining" of the Bond movie series - Casino Royale.
OK, I'm ready. Re-impress me.
The first thing we see, is some gritty black-and-white shots. Oooh. Gritty. Re-imaginy. There's some intense chatting between an older fellow, and a dude with a head like a potato. Then, an action scene, kinda intercut with the talking: Mr. Potato Head kills some big guy in a toilet.
Then it slowly dawns on me that the guy with the turnip face is the new Bond - Daniel Craig!
Holy macaroni - is this part of the re-imagining thing? Instead of finding a tall, attractive man with lots of charisma, who can sell the suave playboy image of 007, they find someone who looks like a Polish onion farmer instead? Hm. Interesting.

* The title sequence is certainly worth mentioning:
Elegant, excellent design - and Chris Cornell has understood that you have to scream when you're doing the Bond intro tune. "You know my name" is a good line - just the right amount of subtlety, so that when you're thinking "Bond. James Bond", you actually feel a bit clever, even though you're not.

* Another action scene soon follows, impressively showing off Craig's physical prowess. It can't be easy to run with the wind resistance from those Dumbo ears.
It all takes place in and around a construction site, and 007 and the dude he's chasing are doing some kickass freerunning that the movie audiences can marvel at, just like they've marveled at the presence of freerunning in every single action movie for the last five years.
At least, it's excellent running - and that partly compensates for the utter lack of originality.

* I laugh a lot whenever I see a scene where Daniel Craig talks to a woman or some chicks walk by him, and they instantly send him favorable looks and/or turn their heads and go "mm-MM!". It's not often I see the Sarah Jessica Parker Effect* used on a guy.
(*as I've mentioned before: the effect of repeating on screen that an unattractive person is attractive, to convince the viewer that the person really is attractive).
You know - I could easily believe in him as a womanizer, if they tried to build Craig's Bond up as someone with wit and charm, and who knows exactly what to say to women to make them give in to him - but trying to sell him as an instant head turner? Come on! How many girls do you think saw, say, Road to Perdition, and thought about Craig as someone they wanted to bang? If he weren't playing James Bond, none of you would even spit on his head if his face were on fire.

* Just notice that Craig is more often topless or naked in this movie than all the previous Bonds in all the earlier movies, combined. This is, of course, a way of compensating for his distinctly Neanderthal features and make him into a sex symbol (for those who dream of monkey sex, I guess).
What I notice about his body, though, is that it looks like a body that's generated by some personal trainer over a shorter period of time. He just looks big, not strong - and his squat frame doesn't communicate that pure athleticism you could find in Connery and Lazenby.
In a fight, both of those guys would beat the crap outta Craig - how could they not? He has a head the size and shape of a bean bag chair, and he's barely taller than my mom.

* But I'll give this to him: Craig's physical makeup is well suited for great action scenes, like the one at the airport. Props also to CR for letting Bond have cuts and bruises after going through one of his ordeals - having our hero come out of dicey situations with his hairdo intact and with no wrinkles on his suit, was always a bit on the silly side for my taste.
What I also believe, is that Bond can be a cold assassin. That icy lack of emotion that you could only see traces of in the other guys is ever-present in Craig. Maybe it's because he looks like a Serbian war criminal.

* To match 007, this year's Bond broad is Eva Green - playing someone called Vesper.
I'm being told that this Vespa is a beautiful woman, but I'm not sure. First of all, because she looks a bit like a girl, and not a woman. Secondly, because she looks like a girl who's raided her mom's makeup drawer, without quite knowing what to do with the content.
Seriously, this Green chick - does she have a special clause in all of her contracts, where it states that she has to look like a raccoon, or she won't play the part?
Anyway - this girl causes all kinds of crap in Casino Royale, mainly making 007 into a blubbering, lovestruck wimp. One minute, he's snarling that he doesn't give a shit how the bartender makes his martini - the next, he randomly invents some fruity drink with lemon peel in it, and names it after his wannabe girlfriend. Awww! Sorry, I thought I was watching a Bond movie, not Cocktail.
Later, there's a scene where Vespa cries in the shower with her clothes on after seeing some violence, because it, like, symbolizes that she feels dirty. So instead of telling her to get naked or get out of the damn shower, Bondetta gets in there and hugs her. It's like seeing a couple of emo kids in a music video.
Luckily, she eventually gets killed, so that 007 can start growing his testicles back and act like the douchebag he's supposed to be.

* A lot - and I mean a lot - of time in this movie is spent on 007 playing poker.
We all know how fantastically entertaining it is to watch other people play a game, right? Then let's try doing that for half an hour! Whee! I'd rather watch Connery play that moronic computer game in Never Say Never Again... uh... again.
OK, that half-hour is broken up into smaller pieces by inserting a couple of suspenseful sequences and action scenes in between... but to me, that actually just serves to extend the poker sequence, since the poker is the central element anyway. Jesus, "poker is the central element" - you'd think I was reviewing Maverick.
To make matters worse, there's nothing really at stake for Bond in this neverending card game. There's a lot of money, but so what? They're not his money. It's so lame, you actually have poor Felix Leiter explaining to Vespa (read: the audience) why this should be really be exciting. Why should I care? Simple: I do not.
And poker? Poker!? What the hell? Not that I hate poker per se - but that's not Bond's game - that's everybody's game now: rednecks, neo-yuppies, stay-at-home moms who play it on the Internet, rednecks... you name it. "So what's wrong with playing a popular game?" you may ask, before you instantly regret it, remembering that I'm going to call you an idiot. It's wrong because it's well-known and popular.
Baccarat is the perfect game for Bond, because nobody understands it: not me, not you, not anybody you know. And even though I've seen Bond play it several times, I've never even been curious to find out how it's played. This is perfect because it puts James Bond above us mortals, where he should be: he draws a card, looks smug, says something in French, his opponent looks pissed off, and we go "what? Did he win? He won? Awesome!" and we're happy to be ignorant as to what just happened, we just know that he's the best, and we will never be as cool as him.
Having him win at poker does nothing for me - it might as well be darts or pool, for all I care. Look out for next Bond installment, where he'll triumph at Whist and/or Bridge and win a cake for M.

* Oh, and I almost forgot about the bad guy here, played skillfully by Mads Mikkelsen, who manages to inject some life into a bland character who does nothing but play poker and cry.
Plus, and he gets to torture the naked (again) 007 by whipping his nutsack with some rope, but we know by now that Bond can take it - his nuts kinda vanished the minute he met Vespa anyway.
Then Mads gets shot by somebody who isn't Bond (boring!), and the rest of the movie kinda fades away from me.
There's this scene where some buildings tumble down by CGI while a shootout goes on inside, and then the raccoon drowns while Bond weeps like Miss Moneypenny... but I'm already out the door, mentally.

* Casino Royale has some good action, and it is well-made... but it's no more of a "re-imagining" or "reboot" than any other time they got a new actor to play 007.
There are still a lot of the old mistakes, a lot of new ones, and - for the first time in Bond history - a 007 with a head like an upside-down pear that's been used for a softball.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Superficial Bond Reviews --- #20: Die Another Day

Disclaimer: I apologize in advance for the poor quality of the following Superficial Bond Review. In this instance, the quality is not primarily a consequence of the Bond movie series having peaked with the movie Goldeneye, and the subsequent drop in interest from the articles' author (me), but rather that my half-assed efforts are still half an ass more than that which is displayed by the movie Die Another Day.
"Shit breeds shit", as they say.

* Die Another Day starts right off with 007 and some other agents actually surfing to a mission at night. There is no way this movie can recover from something as lame as this, and I already know I'm going to hate it.

* Shortly after, there's a bizarre hovercraft chase scene that isn't half bad, but I'm sucked straight back into hate when Madonna delivers the very worst Bond tune of them all. I've suffered through many bad songs before this one, but this is the first title sequence I really, really wanted to skip.
She's an old woman like Tina Turner and Shirley Bassey before her: why doesn't she just scream like a stabbed cow - "Dieee Another Daaaaaayyyyyyuuuuhhhh!" - instead of doing her awful robot voice thingie? "Die. A-no. Ther. Day. Just. Die. A-no. Ther. DAY!"
No, screw that. Die NOW.

- "Glad you could make it, Mister Bond. And I see you brought along
your leather-loving transvestite bodyguard as well - how quaint!"

* James Bond gets captured in the very beginning, and subsequently held in a North Korean prison for 14 months, where he is interrogated and tortured. Hm. Here comes my rant:
You idiots!
I guess I have to school whatever moron came up with this scenario, because it's obvious that he/she/they haven't even understood the significance of the Bond character.
Bond is escapism, Bond is a refuge - James Bond is freedom from fear and responsibility. He doesn't get captured and held for months - he bloody escapes, that's what he does! Whether it's from calling a chick after he's banged her, from deep and troubling emotions or from a jail cell, he gets away clean.
Audiences come to experience a world where the hero is a handsome and invincible boy who doesn't want to grow up, where the bad guy is recognizable and utterly mad, and where international conflicts can be solved by cool toys and fast cars. Gritty realism is fine - just put it in another movie series. And for god's sake, if you do want to make a statement and "reinvent" Bond a little - stay with it! You can't have Bond being tortured in the same film where you have invisible cars and robo-gloves that fire lightning.

* (DAD is kinda all over the place, so I'm having a hard time structuring my review. Please excuse me if I ignore any form of chronology or thematic link between segments).
So how 'bout that Halle Berry, guys? When she walks out of the water in that "we want you to think of Dr. No, so that you believe this is a proper Bond movie too" scene, it's like your erection needs to rent another erection, just to take care of that extra work load. Har har! Woof! Woof!
But there's a disgusting, sweaty sex scene between Berry and Brosnan, and that shit doesn't belong in a Bond movie. "But there's a lot of sex in Bond movies!" you might interject, but then I have to remind you once again that you're an idiot. Sex is more suggested than flaunted - there's the start of sex, the aftermath of sex, hints and winks - never this 80s movie crap that makes me want to find a bucket.
Anyway: a bikini doth not a Honey Ryder make. They try hard to make Berry's character into a strong one, but I just don't care enough about that two-dimensional cardboard chick to be excited when she's trapped inside a melting castle, and Bond has to rescue her in his invisible car.
No, I'm not joking. This movie really is that dumb.

* Normally, I'd wet my pants with joy over the fact that DAD features an Aston Martin Vanquish, but when Q Branch jokingly renames it "Vanish", and introduces some highly implausible technology that can make it invisible, I'm completely turned off.
Later, it's in a car duel on ice with a diamond-faced henchman who's also got a gadget car, for no reason whatsoever. That's before the snowmobiles come out of nowhere, and I guess it's right before the diamond-covered satellite sends its death ray towards Iceland, and then the hotel melts, and Bond has to go inside a plane and fight with bad guy Gustav Graves, who is really a genetically modified Colonel Tan-Sun Moon, who 007 fought with in the beginning of the movie, and later fenced with (as Graves), but now it's Jinx who fences with Miranda Frost (Graves' chick) as Moon/Graves fires bolts of lightning at Bond through the glove of his super suit before Frost is impaled and Graves is sucked out of the plane and into a jet engine, stopping the diamond satellite's death ray.
The end! Wait, WHAT!?

* Die Another Day is the worst mishmash of incompatible elements I have ever seen in Bond movie history:
The original ideas that are actually in here, are all wrong and belong in a completely different category of movies - like, say, a Power Ranger movie or a similar lump of cinematic feces.
The rest is a bunch of stuff they stole from other Bond movies - almost every other Bond movie - and try to pass it off as "tributes" or "references".
Die. A-no. Ther. Day.
Worst. Bond. Mo-vie. E-ver.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Superficial Bond Reviews --- #19: The World Is Not Enough

* There's a good start to the World Is Not Enough - plenty of action, plenty of fun.
Then there's another shitty boat chase, and I'm instantly annoyed again. This has got to be boat chase #15 or something, and this time they let Bond zip around in some strange, little "special" boat that I have to assume Q has made for him. This boat is in my mind the aquatic equivalent to those little cars that handicapped people drive around in... only with guns.
When that boat starts skidding around on land, I'm beyond annoyed and suffering severe flashbacks from the Roger Moore era. This whole scene is not just stupid, it's Moore-stupid.

* The methods of transport will get even worse later, as John Cleese presents 007 with another, bloody BMW. I won't bother commenting any further this time.
Before I've even managed to pour the drink that's gonna shave the edge off my hatred towards the BMW, there are some bad guys in snowmobiles... uh... paragliding with... fans attached? What!? Is this "Stupid Vehicle Day" or something, and I missed the memo? Obviously, because later there's a chopper carrying giant, circular saws, and a toboggan thingie that goes though pipelines.
I get it. I'll play along: How about a giant, flame-throwing zeppelin with mechanical kangaroo legs? No? Next movie, perhaps.

* So let's talk about something nicer. Let's talk Bond girls, people.
In tWINE, we have, eh, Denise Richards playing, ha ha, Dr. Christmas Jones, hahaha, who is a, hahaHAHA, nuclear physicist! HAHAHAHAAAAAHAHA! Amazing! That's not the worst casting in Bond movie history... that's one of the worst casting choices in cinema history!
Thank Heaven for Sophie Marceau, who completely knocks it out of the park as Elektra King, and manages to be vulnerable, sexy, sweet, sadistic, vengeful and about fifty other things inside one and the same movie. Like Michelle Yeoh before her, she's a standout - but Sophie is more like an exotic island in a sea of garbage: It's hard to enjoy that time in the sun, when you're surrounded by the foul stench of rotting waste.

* The buildup for this movie's bad guy, Renard, is excellent.
It seems that 009 shot Renard in the head for looking too long at his chick or something, but Renard survived. Since then, the bullet in his skull has kept moving slowly through his brain, while killing off his senses along the way. We believe in this, because it is shown on a 3D model - like on CSI on TV.
This all means that our bad guy for this movie is an insane, murderous fanatic who can feel no pain, and doesn't fear death, since he's already a dead man. That's awesome! As soon as this is presented to me, my mind explodes with hundreds of possibilities for cool, Terminator-style scenes where 007 has to face this potent foe - and a million ways for 007 to kill him spectacularly.
You just know where this is gonna end, don't you? In disappointment, that's where.

* Speaking of bad guys - it strikes me that using Goldie as a henchman might be the laziest move I've ever seen. Those grotesque gold teeth are his own, so they just hire that washed-up DJ and let him hang around, doing nothing?
"Yeah, he's like Jaws. Only smaller. And not dangerous. But he's got weird teeth, too!"

- "Heeeyyy, everyone! It's me - the henchman!"

* As so often before, there is always one scene that soothes me, even in the blandest Bond movies. This time, it's the scene where Brosnan and Marceau get to play together, before 007 shows what he's made of and blows the bad girl's brains out.
What I love about this, is that this is not one of the cartoony Bond deaths that are designed to take the edge off: it's a straight bullet to the head. Shooting a woman in the head, no matter how evil she may be, is not something that should be taken for granted. So hats off to tWINE for showing some balls.
Granted, Brosnan tries to screw the scene (and the Bond character) up by going all emo, but I'm tempted to let it slide. Just watch the dude closely, and you can see that he's as bored with Bond as I am. The way he delivers the "Bond. James Bond." line in this movie is so flat and joyless, you want to punch someone, just to know you can still feel something.
Brosnan, perhaps. Just because he's there.

* Speaking of feeling nothing:
After the whole movie has passed, and nothing exciting has been done with the vast potential that is Renard, there's a "climactic" showdown between him and Bond at the end. For some reason, they fight by doing a mix between pole dancing and punching on some metal bars inside a submarine, and the whole shitty affair ends when Renard is impaled by... some kind of... metal rod that shoots out of... a... um... thing because... I just don't know!
Obviously, there's a thing inside a sub that shoots bars when you cut the right tube. It's just that nobody bothered to explain it to me.
OK. Whatever. Glad he's dead. Can I go now?

* The World Is Not Enough just seems so lazy and uninspired through and through, and guess what - it rubs off. Sure there are many other scenes in this movie I could comment on, but why bother? None of them are exciting, important, or even memorable.
Instead, I prepare myself for the next Bond movie - and from what I remember from it, I'd better get ready for some heavy drinking...

The Superficial Bond Reviews --- #18: Tomorrow Never Dies

Disclaimer: This Bond Review and (almost) every Bond Review following this one, will be extra superficial, due to the indisputable fact that the Bond series peaked with Goldeneye, and any further in-depth analysis of the franchise will thus be viewed as meaningless.
* So Tomorrow Never Dies, eh? Woo hoo!
There's a nuclear threat in here, and that's good. International intrigue is what I like to see, and that always comes with nuclear missiles. Chinese and Brits and Americans and whatever, just aching to nuke the shit out of each other - that's Bond territory.

* Alarm bells are ringing when James Bond shows himself and punches out some cigarette smoking bad guy and simply goes: "filthy habit".
What? No! You smoke, man. You are a smoker! What does this mean? Are they trying to tell us that Bond never smoked? Or even worse - did Bond quit, and then became an asshole about it? Either way, it's a load of politically correct crap that doesn't belong here.
And what's with the line "filthy habit"? What was the writer thinking? That's not a dry, witty quip - it's just a humorless statement. No word play, no nothing.
Humorless and politically correct. Sheesh, I can't wait for the rest of this movie.

* The main bad guy, Elliot Carver, is a mean-spirited media mogul, and the movie seems to try to make some kind of statement about media manipulation, I guess.
It's hard to be sure, because Jonathan Pryce overacts so badly that I have a hard time focusing on anything else than his ridiculously arched eyebrow. Yes, he actually does the villain arch - perhaps he thought he was in Spy Kids, and not in a Bond movie.
Thankfully for him, he's surrounded by other, useless people - like the overacting Dr. Kaufmann, who belongs in an Indiana Jones movie; and the spray-tan robo-Kraut named Stamper, who really belongs in the German techno band Scooter.

* Along with the overacting comes the over-ridiculousness (ahem) that is often expected in Bond movies. There's a stealth boat, which I guess is OK, but then there's this stupid super-drill that chews its way through ships' hulls and seems to operate outside the laws of physics. Whenever I see that thing, I arch my eyebrow in disbelief, like some kind of Spy Kids villain.

* Teri Hatcher somehow pops up in TND, and we're told that she and Bond had a deep and meaningful love affair once upon a time. I have an easier time believing in an anti-gravity super-drill, especially when I notice how saggy Hatcher has become.
An actress nobody has given a crap about since she hung around with the dude with his underpants on the outside. Great casting, people.
Michelle Yeoh, though - she's something quite different. She plays a good, strong, character; she's a gorgeous, elegant woman; she has the ability to kick all kinds of ass.
She could kick Bond's ass (although I have to give props to Brosnan's fighting in here), and she could definitely kick Carver's ass, even if he displays some truly awesome skillz at one point.
Oh, the irony. What may be one of the - if not the - most impressive Bond girl of them all - wasted on a mediocre Bond movie.

Wai Lin: Whose motorcycle is this?
Bond: It's a steam engine, baby.
Wai Lin: Whose steam engine is this?
Bond: STFU already!

* Nobody has understood the significance of the Bondmobile, and I'm getting tired of pointing it out. However, I am also stubborn, so I will go on:
In Tomorrow Never Dies, they're sticking to their whore contract with BMW, and this time, they're taking the full step into lunacy.
Oh, it's not the car per se. It's a really boring model, dull enough that I won't bother looking it up, but still better than the horrible, blue BMW Z3 from Goldeneye. Where that car could've belonged to a dot com billionaire, this model could've belonged to a banker. Bland though it might be, at least it has a really cool remote control function, and its own kickass scene in a parking garage.
No, the true BMW horror comes in the shape of a motorcycle. Bond & babe have this crazy-ass rooftop chase scene on a motorcycle, and what vehicle is chosen for this particular event? Why, if it isn't the largest, clunkiest, least maneuverable lump of metal in the area!
Director: "We need a light and nimble motorcycle for this scene."
BMW guy: "Nein. You vill use tis von right here. Ve pay you."
Director: "Yes, Sir."

When sponsorship starts to interfere with logic and really sticks out in your movie, you might as well step into those pumps and call a whore a whore.

* Oh, and the uninteresting bad guy and the henchman I don't care about probably die in some violent, semi-ironic way that I can't remember.
I bet the goddamn drill is involved somehow.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Superficial Bond Reviews --- #17: Goldeneye

* The party starts with 007 making an insane bungee jump off a dam.
There's already gadgets in play, wires 'n' lasers 'n' shit, and we still haven't seen Bond's face. Instead, there's an almost expressionistic shot of his eyes, instantly reminding me of the shot of Lazenby's eyes in the rear view mirror from On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
Then our new James Bond, Pierce Brosnan, shows himself. Ta-daaah! Good start, man. Welcome!
And, as if I weren't happy enough already, Sean Bean pops up as 006, and we finally get to know another 00 a little better. Not only that - did I mention it's Sean Bean!? I love Bean!
The next second, everything explodes in an insane action scene, 006 eats a bullet, and Bond drives a motorcycle off a cliff and dives into an airplane.
As a wise man once said: Shit, meet pants!

* The title sequence is more elegant than I've seen in years - since Goldfinger, I guess.
Tina Turner is this year's artist, and tries to outdo Shirley Bassey in every way, belting out the title tune like a rabid camel moaning through a broken tuba: Gooooooaaaaalldeeehhhhnnnnnneeeeeeyyyyyyyyeeeeeehhhh!!!
Can't say I blame her.

* Goldeneye is on a roll from early on - and we can thank chicks and cars for that, to a large extent.
Before the temporary deafness from Tina Turner exposure has fully dissipated, we are treated to some kind of sexual car duel between the ever-so-suave Brosnan and this movie's villainess, played by Famke Janssen. It's a brilliant scene, and every element in it reflect the characters' identities, even the cars (Bond owns an Aston Martin DB5 privately now - I'm guessing that MI6 pays him vast sums).
After this dramatic encounter, 007 immediately bangs his shrink. She's way below his league, but she can give him a clean bill of mental health - so he whores himself out. No lovvie-dovvie bullshit here, just straight ol' prostitution.

* Famke Janssen's Xenia Onatopp should be more thoroughly discussed, I feel, as she's definitely the best femme fatale in the entire Bond series.
Having a character who gets a joygasm whenever she kills someone, and whose favorite assassination method is crushing her victim with her thighs during sex, is a recipe for success. The scene where she and 007 have... uh... intercourse?... is simply a fantastic blend of humor, hanky-panky and hand-to-hand combat.
So on second thought: She's hot, she kicks ass, and she makes you think "aaaaawwwyeaaaahhh!" about the prospect of being assassinated. What's to discuss?
Too bad that Janssen completely overshadows good Bond girl Isabella Scorupco. She's doing a good job with what she has to work with, and she's not horrible to look at, but... sorry, not enough.

* At this point, you may think that I have a major hard-Walther for Goldeneye (and you may be right), but all is not well in Bond Town.
- Bond still can't connect with his women - this is a perpetual Bond problem - and having some kind of looong, tiresome chick flick scene with emotions on the beach won't fix that. Everybody's just thinking about Xenia's thigh muscles anyway.
- For all the finesse in writing and direction that's introduced here, we are still treated to another ludicrous death trap scene. "I must kill you, mister Bond, so I - ha ha! - let you live and put you in this thing here, where I'm sure you can't escape, ever! Goodbye, mister Bond!"
No wonder that Canadian guy had to make fifteen Austin Powers movies. Too much material!
- Oh, and there's the car.
I've been complaining that too many Bond movies has left our hero without a car, but when it's time for Goldeneye to present its choice... it's a stinky, rotten, metrosexual, blue BMW Z3! Christ - a German car!? Is that the way you communicate the ultra-Englishness of James Bond? And you communicate 007's suave and cool nature with a blue convertible? No! That's communicating "I'm a dot-com billionaire with a receding hairline and a small penis"!
You have to consider that James Bond is a brand... and this choice urinates on that brand by being wrong. You may think that it's "just a car", but that's because you're an idiot.
The bitter irony of it all, is that Bond never gets to use the car for anything special. Maybe it's Q Branch's sick idea of a joke.
Hey, guess what. I'm thinking that maybe Bond shouldn't have a car anyway.

- "My name is Bond. James Bond. IT consultant."

* Having gotten that out of the way, I can get back to praising Goldeneye. Not necessarily the satellite itself, I mean the movie. Because honestly, the titular piece of space junk doesn't exactly offer anything new to the Bond saga (although I do have to admit that special effects have gotten so good by 1995, that the camp sci-fi factor has diminished).
What this movie does have, is scale: The EMP-firing space cannon, the huge satellite dish in the jungle, the insane tank chase through Soviet streets! It's proper Bond scale, not chasing down some lame drug dealer in Mexico or whatever.
Goldeneye even has the balls to introduce epic qualities to its dramatic scenes as well - just watch the scene where 007 confronts the Beanmeister in the park with the broken statues. "Beautiful and poignant" is something I never thought I'd say about a Bond movie, but there it is. It's official. Goldeneye has made me into a limp-wristed, pompous douche who uses words like "poignant". That's how powerful it is.

* And then we end up at the heart of the movie - 006.
Played with cutting intensity by His Royal Beanship, the fallen agent holds up a dark mirror to James Bond and shows him what he could've become. It's a real valuable experience, if you go for all that psychobabble shit, to see it play out - but it also raises the question "why the hell did it take them 17 (seventeen!) movies to come up this?"
After the talky parts that those fruity film theory geeks care about are finally over, we are even treated to one of the most awesome fight scenes in Bond history, when 006 and 007 put words into action. Throwing, kicking, punching, chains, shooting and the kitchen sink - it's intense enough to short-circuit your brain into thinking that Bond might get his head bashed in by a plank.
Until Beansky gets squished, that is.

* Bold statement alert!
Goldeneye is the best Bond movie of them all, and it's not even a close race.
In no other movie do all the elements that are needed for a James Bond adventure blend together so perfectly and give us what we've waited for for such a long time. We, the fans, have seen these elements and always knew that they could come together some day - and that's why we've suffered through so many shitty movies. Hope. Perseverance. Single malt.
Too bad that I think this is going to be the only time everything clicks and that all that's left for us is boredom, repetition and the occasional flash-in-the-pan "reinvention" that does absolutely nothing for the series.
Remember this in fifty years - when you've just seen Bond #45, and you wonder how the hell you can get those two hours back that you just lost.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Superficial Bond Reviews --- #16: Licence to Kill

* So Licence to Kill opens with a rather bland scene, involving a drug bust. I'm thinking "drug bust? So what?" when OMFG! Holy crap! Talisa Soto!
It's nice to know that even if the movie should suck, there's always something to cheer you up (if you're a heterosexual male/homosexual female, that is. Otherwise, Timothy Dalton is a total babe).

* The Miami Vice villain who's stumbled into this Bond movie, Franz Sanchez, captures Bond's buddy Felix Leiter, and makes shark food out of him as a thank-you for busting up his drug operation.
007 later arrives, and finds Leiter's dead wife and Leiter himself - eaten, but somehow alive. Bond gets all serious and swears revenge... heyyy, wait a minute! Drug baron? Revenge? Isn't this Chuck Norris territory? I'm thinking maybe Steven Seagal, as James Bond decides to go rogue and punches out some MI6 people who try to stop him.
Oh, and the MI6 dudes return the favor by shooting at Bond! I didn't know that this was standard practice at MI6 - what if they actually hit him? "Yeah, see, he punched us, so I thought it was OK to kill the highest-ranking agent we have. After all, he said something about murdering a drug lord out of revenge, and we can't have that, now can we?"

* This whole vengeance thing has turned LtK very American, somehow. There's even a ridiculous, Western-style bar fight in it. All that's missing, is the cowboy hats (Maybe there are cowboy hats, I dunno - I'm too busy being annoyed to pay attention).
Carey Lowell, the other Bond girl in this installment, is also more worthy of attention than the stupid fight. Soto + Lowell might be the most attractive pair of Bondettes in the entire series. Enough eye candy to give your retinas diabetes.

* Following that whole direct-to-video, Chuck Norris vibe, LtK has tons of stupidity to go with the good action elements.
- There's waterskiing behind an aeroplane! But there's also a harpoon fight, where the bad guy grabs hold of Bond and cuts the line to his oxygen tank. Hey, mr. Henchman! If you're close enough to do that with your knife... why not try the throat instead!?
- There's a camera gun! But it's never used as a camera, making the presentation of the whole gadget completely useless. Might as well have a gun shaped as a gun, then!
- There are friggin' ninjas again! Who turn out to be Hong Kong narcotics agents! Whose leader later kills himself with a cyanide capsule rather than spill his guts to Sanchez! What!? Cyanide capsules on narcotics agents? Does the DEA give out the same to their agents?
- My favorite is when 007 complains that Sanchez is too hard to kill where he sits behind his fortified glass window - "I need a cannon to get to him!" Yeah, that, or you could go up the stairs and kill the two useless bodyguards who stand between you and the bad guy. I wonder who issued you that licence to kill in the first place, Bond.
At this point of time, I'm actually more amused than angry at the incompetence involved in coming up with this crap.

- "'Licence to kill'? No, baby. I said 'Licence to rape'."

* Anyway - the movie kinda trots along. It is pretty entertaining all the way, although never really thrilling. I'm having a hard time stringing my notes together, because few scenes in between the start and the finish seem really important to me.
Then there's this huge drug bust towards the end, where Bond raids Sanchez' headquarters. Action, action, action!
I'm marveling at the sight of Sanchez' main henchman - a young Benicio Del Toro (!) - and how wiry, fit and dangerous he looks (Today's version of Del Toro, by comparison, looks like if the old version has been soaking in water since 1989). He falls into some kind of shredding machine and gets mashed into a bloody pulp. Oh well - maybe he survives it, like Felix Leiter survived his shark attack. If not, he's tied for the #1 "horrible death" spot in this movie. Some other guy's head explodes in another scene, and I'm wondering whether I'm watching a Bond movie or Big Trouble in Little China.

* After the bust: More action!
Now there's the obligatory chase - and it's in huge tanker trucks! Honk! Now that's actually pretty cool. There are stunts, rockets, huge explosions, you name it.
James Bond finishes his revenge mission by acting like a badass and setting Sanchez on fire with his cigarette lighter. I cringe, and half-expect 007 to say "hasta la vista", or something equally profound.
It also strikes me that Bond has just avenged... his friend's... injury? And his friend's wife's death? Uh, OK. It's not exactly "this is for murdering my brother!" is it?
Also - it's just some lameass drug lord he's killed. Not exactly Blofeld.

* Really nailing that campy 80s vibe in the end, Bond and his squeeze jump in a pool together, deliver a vomit-inducing callback line, and make out while shitty music assaults the one sense that isn't already scarred.
I'm all the while thinking that Licence to Kill isn't a Bond movie, just like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom isn't an Indiana Jones movie. They're both serviceable action movies - but that's the category they belong in... not in the part-of-a-relatively-homogenous-series category.

* Taliiiiissssaaaa Soooootoooooo!

[remember to insert witty comment to justify the picture of Talisa Soto]

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Superficial Bond Reviews --- #15: The Living Daylights

* Now this is a good start:
Two 00 agents get killed, and this - as I've previously stated - is a good thing. Our new James Bond, Timothy Dalton, immediately chases after the assassin on top a burning jeep full of ammo, kills him and parachutes off to a yacht to bang some chick he's never seen before. On top of that, he's deliberately late for work.
This may be the best opening in Bond movie history.

* The Norwegian 80s pop deities a-ha [sic] provide this year's bond tune, and it's great.
It's incredibly catchy, unbelievably well-made and... I can't possibly describe how good it is. Best Bond tune ever.
No, this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I'm Norwegian, myself. How dare you question my objectivity!?

a-ha: the glue keeping the Living Daylights - and possibly the World - together

* In an early scene, we see 007 about to perform an assassination, and I really, really like the idea of that - Bond sniping the crap outta someone on Her Majesty's orders. It's edgy, it's kinda provocative, and it gives great depth... oh, never mind. Bond misses his target deliberately, and says something like "stuff my orders!" which makes me collapse with disappointment.
So he's the headstrong cop who won't take orders from his boss, eh? Guess we're still in the eighties, then. Yawn.

* If Bond actually blew his target's brains all over the wall, the way he was supposed to, I wouldn't have to put up with brainless bond bimbo Maryam d'Abo.
She's a walking pout with stupid hair attached to it - she's like Diane from Cheers, with no sex appeal or humor. Yeah. Diane from Cheers, then.
Seeing that Timothy Dalton is such a babe, and that he's so cool (he smokes and everything!), I'm having a hard time believing that he'd nail her, unless it were strictly in the line of duty.
Every scene with those two lovebirds, is like some sort of artificial, half-assed opera, where they bolt after one another across the room and go "oh, James!" and "you can't come with me - it's not safe for you" and all that kind of dreary crap.
Next time, 007, you follow your damn orders!

* Thank God for the Aston Martin. Sorry, I mean - the ASTON MARTIN!
In tLD, they finally decide to give Bond a car again, and what a car! The Aston Martin V8 Volante - it's as if an American muscle car from the 70 met with a classic, English automobile and made a beautiful, beautiful love child together.
Of course, it comes with the "optional extras" too, and we get a few great scenes involving missiles and carved-up Soviet cars and stuff... but come on: Making Bond's car carve a hole in a frozen lake with its wheels, so that his pursuers fall in? Nobody thought that might not belong in a movie for grown-ups?
Obviously not - this is the same movie where 007 and Diane from Cheers go tobogganing in a cello case.

* The Dangerous KGB Henchman in this movie, Max Headroom, has gotten the right balance of silliness/violence, though.
Granted, there's a looot of silliness in throwing explosive milk bottles and rigging a sliding door to crush someone, but the sheer brutality of it makes it very fun, and very Bond. By not even showing the body of the guy being slammed by the door, the movie suggests that the results are awful; and the exploding milk bottles really pack a punch and send dudes flying around like meaty rag dolls. Got milk, bitches!?

* Then, for some reason, Bond et al end up in Afghanistan - and that part of the movie is a train wreck. (A boring train wreck, if such a thing is possible. A remote-controlled cargo train full of pillow cases derailing at 20 mph, falling sideways onto grass).
First of all, the Afghanistan sequence has that foul stink of writers trying to make a political statement without actually knowing anything of substance. Second of all, it's all the dumb scenes I have to suffer through.
In one scene, Bond escapes a nasty little jail with a nasty little jail guard. As he's leaving, some bearded dude asks Bond to help him get out, and Bond throws him the keys. What? Really? How the hell does Bond know what he's in for? For all he knows, he's releasing a cannibalistic serial child rapist! That it's an "evil jail" doesn't mean that everyone who's locked up there is good.
In another scene, Bond escapes a dangerous situation and gets hold of an AK-47, which he fires into the air - to scare people from following him, I guess. Why's this so bad? Because most of the bad guys are standing right in front of him! He has the chance to absolutely, positively blast everyone into little pieces, but chooses to shoot air instead.
Is that one of your "judgment calls", like when you refused to puncture Diane from Cheers' skull with a bullet? Explain that one, 007!

* When everyone's finally left Afghan soil, there's a fantastic action scene to behold. Here, James Bond fights Max Headroom on a huge net full of drugs, hanging on the outside of a cargo plane.
Spoiler warning: Bond wins.

* There's a showdown between Bond and the fat main villain, and Bond manages to annoy me for one last time before the movie ends. The bad fat guy has a bulletproof shield mounted on his gun, something that 007 discovers when he tries to shoot him in the face. Completely puzzled by the existence of bulletproof glass, and forgetting that he had such glass in the Aston (and even pointed that out to Diane) earlier in the movie, he proceeds to shoot more bullets into the glass. No, not into the cubic mile of fat torso under the glass. That would be too easy.
As usual, the main villain is totally forgettable. Even the people involved in the Bond franchise realize this, and will later get that same actor back to play a completely different, good guy character in Goldeneye, eight years later. Nobody on Earth give a shit.
I fear that Blofeld might have created an impossible void to fill after his unworthy demise. I, for one, miss a good nemesis for James Bond.
Nemeses certainly don't grow on trees, but at least I get a chance to show everyone that I know the plural form of "nemesis", like the dick I am.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Superficial Bond Reviews --- #14: A View to a Kill

* All alarm bells are ringing when A View to a Kill starts off with another bloody ski sequence.
I've completely lost count how many there are now - and this time, the lack of originality goes so far as to rip off the whole continuing-on-with-just-one-ski routine from On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Sad.
Then it gets even sadder, as 007 uses a makeshift snowboard to escape his enemies - subtly accompanied by the sound of the Beach Boys. Yes, we get it. It's a board. Much like a surfboard. But on snow. Thank you!
You might think that's as sad as it gets... but no! Bond escapes this dangerous situation in a motorized iceberg (I'm not making this up!) with some chick who's a full thirty years younger than him. Our action hero is now 58 years old, and sucks his mummified lips onto this poor young thing, in what has to be an attempt to drain life force out of her and be around to plague the Bond franchise for a few more years.

* I have to admit that I enjoy the intro tune from Duran Duran. If you disagree, that's OK, but you can put it into perspective by listening to, say, the For Your Eyes Only tune first. That'll make you wanna kiss Simon John Charles Le Bon's feet and thank him.

* Some people seem to be weirded out by the fact that Grace Jones is in this movie, since she's so... well, weird. I think she's excellent because she's weird.
You know those odd figurines of half-naked black women that some people seem to think it's OK to own and display? She's like one of those, if it came to life, grew to full-size and wanted to take revenge by raping you to death. I know, I know: this is what everybody thinks - but I had to say it anyway.
What I do not appreciate, however, is the mental image of Roger Moore and Grace Jones having sex. I picture some kind of humanoid version of a night stick being flung repeatedly against a pink bean bag. Ebony and ivory it ain't.

Grace Jones

* James Bond encounters May Day (Jones) in Paris, and there's an action scene on the Eiffel Tower. That's nice - I like it when the Bond movies utilize landmarks. If done properly, it enhances the feeling of being somewhere real, and also provides a spectacular backdrop. Too bad that I keep breaking out in laughter when the movie tries to fool me into believing that Roger Moore can run up more than three flights of stairs without breaking his hip.

* For some ungodly reason, there are a lot of horses in this movie, and scenes involving horses. Since I'm not a 12 year old girl (or a cowboy), I don't care.
I zone out and amuse myself by exchanging the word "horse" with "whores" in popular movie titles, bands and such. Neil Young & Crazy Whores. The Whores' Whisperer.
I'm not pulled back into the movie until there's an actual action scene with horses. The reason I snap back isn't that this scene is good, but rather that it's so idiotic that I can't help being amazed.

* Again, the Bond villain potential is largely wasted in aVtaK, although the mighty mighty Christopher Walken tries as hard as he can to infuse some nasty fun into the part. The character Max Zorin is just too poorly written - and we end up with something as rare as a boring homicidal maniac.
Blah blah microchip. Blah blah Silicon Valley. Blah blah some plot thing that reminds me of Superman the Movie. Blah.

* Zorin and his band of idiots also get to the finals in the "Who Tries to Kill James Bond in the Stupidest Way?" competition.
Just listen to this: After discovering 007's identity, they choke his associate Tibbett to death and shove his fat carcass into the backseat of their Rolls. Cool. They then confront 007... and do not choke, stab or shoot him. Nope, they knock him unconscious and put him in the backseat with his dead pal, before they drop the car in a lake and watch for a couple of minutes. Yeah, he must be dead by now. Go home and watch some TV.
So there's no plan to make it look like an accident, no reason to rush, and no prolonged murder method to get a sadistic kick out of the kill. It makes no. sense. at. all.

Strange figurine

* There are long periods of time where my level of interest is so low, I almost ignore what happens on screen altogether.
Not the fire truck chase, though. Good piece of eighties action, that is - blasting a huge vehicle through city streets and generating massive havoc.
Note how, in one moment, Bond descending a ladder is treated like a herculean effort (when you see that it's Moore performing his own "stunts"), and in the next, he's dangling and swinging acrobatically from the fire engine at full speed through traffic.
Well, I guess that a fire truck is a good substitute as any... when you still have no damn car of your own! How many times do I have to say it? Get Bond a car! Damn!

* The grand finale is atop the Golden Gate bridge, where Bond and Zorin finally duke it out.
OK, so I said nice things about using landmarks, but once for each movie is enough. Otherwise, you start questioning how plausible it is to always end up somewhere instantly recognizable when you fight. You better justify that shit properly, at least.
This is my last chance to make fun of how perversely old Roger Moore is, so I'm going for it: At first, I thought 007 was swaying back and forth in the strong wind, but then I realized that it was Roger Moore's geriatric version of "fighting". He moves a bit like a man in a space suit.
Goodbye, Roger!
Now what am I going to ridicule?