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Category Archives: Action

What! You haven’t seen it yet?

By now, most of you have seen some or all of this seasons blockbusters.

Probably one of the most anticipated large budget “super hero” films, Wonder Woman, raised the bar for DC Films. I previously reviewed it, and if I were to give it stars, it would be 4.5 out of 5, IMHO.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 came out a month before, and that was probably the preview for how Marvel was going to handle the soon to be released Spiderman – Homecoming. Lots of humor interspersed with a lot of action.

The latest Spiderman with Tom Holland in the role, revealed how we recall the Peter Parker / Spiderman of the ’60’s. Fun mixed in with teenage angst. For me this movie rated a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

Continuing to promote and have some fun with it, Tom Holland gives us a little video insight of his “action packed” role.

2017-07-13 15.41.08

 

Passing the Time Away..

John_Wick_Chapter_Two

John Wick 2 Lionsgate Pictures 2017

By now, most people who want to see the movie, John Wick Chapter 2, have already gone to the theater. If you haven’t seen it already, and intend to do so, then maybe you should skip reading this post.

If you haven’t seen the first film, John Wick, you’re among the many, but you may have missed a cult classic. This was intended to be a small budget action film, however the popularity by word of mouth spread. So much so, that the box office for this second film is over double of the first,

John Wick 2, takes the action up a notch with Keanu Reeves reprising a role he’s meant for. Jason Bourne, stay home, you’ve met your match with John Wick.

The Razzie Awards are known for identifying the worst films and actors of the year. Keanu Reeves picked up a different award after acting in John Wick, the Razzie Redeemer Award. He’s even better in Chapter 2.

I think the John Wick films are not for everyone, especially younger children. There’s a cohesive plot line throughout, it essentially revolves around a retired hit man who has been brought out of his desire to be left alone by some very nasty and clever underworld people. Things ramp up after he completes his assignment, when he becomes the target of a high-priced bounty. There’s not a lot of time to catch your breath between kills. The writing and acting keep you engaged in spite of your possible aversion to seeing this much chaos or carnage.

A fan favorite, Laurence Fishburne is in this film, along with Ian McShane. Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. better known as Common, is the principal antagonist, who, like Keanu Reeves, did most of his stunt work.

Shunning most CGI, while using innovative choreography combined with incredible stunt work, the film has a gritty reality throughout and holds your attention to the end.

What’s the body count in this film? If you’ve seen it, you might want to take a guess. I don’t know if it qualifies as the most in a film, after all we’ve seen films which include D-Day, and the Scots battling the Brits in the 14th century, as well as a lot of sandals and swords movies depicting Roman era. Not withstanding those deaths on a grand scale, we have John Wick coldly and methodically slaughtering and maiming people on a very personal, sometimes hand to hand, scale.

Don’t let this put you off, if you liked Die Hard, or Bourne films, this one will reach out and grab you, as evidenced by the remarks and the reactions I heard while in the theater.

John_Wick_Chapter_Two_kills_2

The number of deaths are almost as frequent as 1 per minute of film

Many of you may want to own the Blue-Ray release, now available.

There’s also a comic book for the John Wick series to be made available.

John_Wick_Giovanni_Valletta

John Wick Comic book announced

 
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Posted by on 14/06/2017 in Action, Box Office, Movies

 

New Film in the Works

Set in a world so dark even villains can be heroes . . 

black_russian_chris_barfoot_film

Black Russian is a film set to begin in the summer of 2017

The latest film project announced by Chris Barfoot, Black Russian launched on February 18, 2017.

Incarcerated for fifteen years- Frank leaves prison to discover that his boss Marco is no longer cock of the walk. He must infiltrate the new Russian mob and steal the largest natural diamond in the world
‘The Black Russian’…

This is a stylish and gritty British crime thriller. It is a contemporary tale of love, deception, murder and retribution- set against a universe so dark- that ‘even villains can be heroes…’

East meets West… in this clash of the gangsters!

[Click on the image above to find out more]

 
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Posted by on 19/02/2017 in Action, Director, Entertainment, Movies, Plot

 

The Last Hurrah – Castle End

Castle lined up with 12th Precinct detectives

Castle with the 12th Precinct detectives.

Lets start out with a warning to anyone that watches and enjoys the TV show Castle, but hasn’t seen the last episode. Spoiler Alert! Warning! Don’t read past this point if you’re still planning on seeing the last episode and don’t want to know anything about it – including the end.

Now that’s out-of-the-way, I have to assume you want to continue to read my observations & comments. If you’re already a member of WordPress, you can add your comments below. WordPress wants to know who you are, even if you’re hiding behind an alias. No, spies don’t come here to gain access to the latest government secrets, but some Castle fans do…

Castle & Beckett disarming a bomb in NY together

Castle & Beckett disarmed a bomb in NY

Overall, last nights episode did bring some closure to the series. I must say, as a fan I was more than a little disappointed by the abbreviated ending. Clearly the last few seconds of episode 22, season 8, were rushed. It was a way of creating an ending which should have developed in several more episodes of Castle. It appeared to me they had a cliffhanger final in mind, then had to tack on the final seconds showing Beckett, Castle and children, all smiling perhaps even laughing at a dinner table together.

Castle a chill goes through her veins

Beckett & Castle working together

The season 8 writers were up against three intractable challenges. The first problem was the entire eighth season story arc revolved around a powerful shadow organization, secretly behind a prior longer story arc about the death of Kate Beckett’s mother which ran for 6 seasons. By creating this all-encompassing theme from the beginning, it obligated them to continue with it, and form a conclusion for that plot line. What they couldn’t plan on was the second big problem. Problem number two was the announcement by ABC studios, that Stana Katic and Tamala Jones wouldn’t be returning to Castle if there was a ninth season. This meant they had to write an episode explaining to the audience the reason(s) why Kate Beckett and everyone’s favorite Medical Examiner were no longer around. What could they do?

  1. Have Kate Beckett resign and leave Castle?
  2. Have a need for Kate to take time off and temporarily be away from Castle? (They sorta did that already)
  3. Have Kate Beckett appear to die in the last episode, leaving an opening for Castle to continue without her?

Beckett_sticking_her_tongue_outThere just didn’t seem to be a satisfactory way to remove Kate Beckett from the series without severe repercussions and this brings us to the final challenge. The network under a lot of pressure from the fans, announced last Thursday, May 12th, there wouldn’t be a ninth season. Do I believe the fans influenced this decision? Does the Pope reside in the Vatican? The Twitter feeds were tweeting faster and louder than Angry Birds on steroids. They were tweeting, “No Stana – No Castle!“, A petition was created to cancel the show at the end of season 8, and instructions were published throughout social media as to who should be contacted along with their business address.

Shock & Awe - faceFor a few weeks Castle fans were doing the American public a favor. They created a fire storm and were calling attention to a media phenomenon other than the U.S. Presidential bake-off. No need to thank us America, just doing our part to create a distraction from election news.

ABC had a PR nightmare on their hands which might have rolled over to other properties. The only thing at this point which they could have done to make it worse, end season 8 with Kate Beckett killed and have her on the M.E.’s table in season 9. Oh wait… they couldn’t have done that because they were getting rid of  Dr. Lanie Parish too.

If ever script writers were on the horns of a dilemma, this was that time. The writers were given 1 more hour to create an ending for the show wrapping up, LokSat and what happens to Caskett. C’mon, 1 hour?!  Well, that’s what they did. For that hour we had at least 3 episodes compressed into 1.

Beckett: I need a miracle, guys.
Ryan: Okay, you got it.
Esposito: One miracle coming up.

The episodes I’m referring to were; In the Belly of the Beast, Veritas and The Time of Our Lives. Each of them had dramatic stories with pivotal outcome.

  • In the Belly of the Beast – Beckett is recruited for a dangerous undercover operation with the aim of stopping a near-mythical drug baron.
  • Veritas – Beckett carries out an off-the-books investigation attempting to connect drug baron Vulcan Simmons to presidential candidate William Bracken
  • Time of Our Lives – Beckett and Castle marry in the Hamptons.

 

Castle_Beckett_together_dream_ABC_TV

But it was a Hollywood promise; not worth a damn. ~ Rick Castle

These were the problems in a nutshell, which the writers of this last episode of Castle needed to package together in a satisfactory bundle.

Were they successful? In my opinion, they did about as good of a job as you can ask for in approximately 43 minutes of normal run time. I have to say, I’m happy overall with what they did, but the last-minute of the show was so hurried, I’m not sure if I was looking at a dream sequence, a thought compression for the next set of books, or did they really get the happy ending we thought we saw?

What do you think?

Castle_Beckett_wedding_ABC-TV

Some moments we loved during Castle – all rights by owner (not me)

 

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice – review

Kal-El-symbolI’m going to start this by explaining about any review you read of a film, don’t take anyone’s word for it. There’s only going to be the slightest hint of spoilage in this review. I’m going to try and explain my opinion without revealing too much detail.

The critics of this latest DC film have been all over it, like vultures on a carcass. Well, I’m not a vulture, and the latest film directed by Zack Snyder, isn’t an old dead carcass. It’s far from that, and if you insist these iconic comic characters must conform to an older style of behavior, you’re going to be disappointed. They may resemble and look vaguely like what you remember from comics or older movies, but as suggested in this movie, this isn’t 1938.

From the moment this film starts, you’re shown images, ever so briefly of a familiar Batman childhood traumatic experience. If you saw the others, dating back to Tim Burton’s film, you know the story. This is there for a reason, and if you’re quick to criticize why it’s included, then you’re missing a larger point. I’ll explain that later. Just know this about this particular film, it’s not your Tim Burton or Christopher Nolan version of Batman. It’s also not your Richard Donner or Bryan Singer Superman movie. This is a movie that stands on it’s own, whether you like it or not, this is a solid story with bold themes and excellent cinematography. What Zack Snyder does with this movie is eschew the chains of past actors and authors. As good as Christopher Reeve was, Henry Cavill has crafted an image which he now owns. He’s not just the red – white – blue boyscout set out for truth, justice, yada-yada-yada.

After those brief introductory moments of a childhood Bruce Wayne, there’s a lot going to happen and you better set down the popcorn, and strap yourself in, because this is not only a fast journey, it’s also intense. Here’s where I really have to give credit to Zack Snyder, because he’s taken a big risk in telling a set of stories, condensed, modified, and brought together to create highly developed imagery backed by an equally intense musical score from Hans Zimmer. I’ve read the criticism, which I shouldn’t have before I saw the film; they say he combined too many story elements. This could also be viewed as part of its strength. Each of the film’s participants contributed in a meaningful way.  It’s not  a Sean Connery 007, it’s more like a Daniel Craig film.

BVS_confrontation_smallZack Snyder wants you to understand this film on several levels. Sure, there’s the obvious titled physical confrontation between Batman and Superman, but he’s introducing us to the idea there’s a lot more to this world than just one or two exceptional people. Batman being the least among equals, possessing no super powers, his role is a subset of the entire movie. An excellent subset I might add, because Ben Affleck nails his dual role.

The introduction of Wonder Woman in this movie, isn’t news to the audience, or a way just to introduce another meta-human. She’s integral to the plot, and if you look at these players, as individuals, not just a timed screen presence, you can see the most interesting aspects of this drama.

Allow me to step back for a writers moment. Just accept this as a way of explaining how well crafted this film is when you look at it in the context of graphic novels (comics). I was one of those youth who read and possessed many of the 1st Marvel Comics dating back to the early 60’s. They were imaginative and drawn in colorful action poses for the era. What attracted myself and many other young people to Marvel at that time, was the introduction of the characters having real personal problems. I’m not talking about acne or dating, they had serious character flaws, and these imperfections showed frailties and a sense of reality for the reader. DC Comics, continued to turn out strong characters, but they were barely two-dimensional. For this reason alone, I think that explains the success of the Batman TV show of the 1960’s. Even young people saw this show as stupid, cartoon characters. I think the creators saw comics as serial nonsense and decided to make fun of it through campy behavior.

For a number of decades afterwards, it seemed no created TV or film could adapt the comics essential fantasy, drama, and core plot lines, without looking plain stupid. Hats off to Richard Donner and Tim Burton for making a strong popular showing, but aside from a lack of today’s technology, they failed to transcend simple child like stories. I think the big break came when Sam Raimi introduced us to his version of Spiderman (2002). That was soon followed by Jon Favreau directing Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man (2008). Audiences went to these films in vast numbers, and for the most part, the follow up films were successful. Then, almost everyone explained frustration with the 2007 release of Spiderman 3. No longer was there a story with singular continuity of a villain. Now there were several villains, and the biggest faux pas, the brief but silly Peter Parker dance moves. Sony dropped Raimi and after a pause, rebooted that franchise. Frankly I’m more exhausted from the reboots.

Gal_Gadot_Wonder_Woman_BVS.jpg

Zack Snyder and company have developed a complex drama, and taking a page out the early Marvel handbook, given us extraordinary insight on how these main characters think. Unlike simpler, earlier, graphic novels brought to film, he’s assuming there’s enough for younger people and the older comic book fan. He’s allowed the writing and fast pace imaging to weave an intelligent story. All people, no matter if they’re “super heroes” or villains have a background story. There’s recognition of the emotional complexity and the trauma of former conflicts for both protagonists. The casualties are real, not brushed away or watered down as if they don’t matter. Any active combat military veteran recognizes they don’t know all the reasons why they’re in the conflict. Each one has their own purpose for their presence in the confrontation. Even their reactions afterwards, aren’t the same. The film helps the viewer see some of that inner turmoil from each persons perspective.

Two people can share the same experience but have an entirely different reaction and memory of the events. Examining the individuals past experience, especially in their formative years, coupled with present time, gives each person a unique perspective. When you know Bruce Wayne suffers from a traumatic & turbulent childhood, Clark Kent comes from a stable Midwestern background, and Diana Prince is a much older and perhaps wiser soul, then the multiple stories coming together shared through each person’s eyes, becomes much more flavorful and interesting.

Speaking of flavorful, I’ve seen a lot of criticism of Lex Luthor as portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg, and frankly I went in with the idea this is going to be another Jim Carey (Ridler) act. Wrong! Why? Once again we’re reminded of Zack Snyders revision of a very well known and established villain. This is somlex_corp_logo_signeone who is intelligent, willing to use that intelligence to intimidate and be disarming. We see the beginning of a young psychopath, with all of the money to back up his quest to humble those he feels have too much power. Oddly enough, in his own twisted mind, he can never acquire too much for himself.  If people insist on wanting a young person to play the same role the way it’s been done before, get over it, this isn’t your grandfather’s Buick.

The final confrontation is through a creation of Lex Luthor, in a last ditch effort to gain the upper hand over Superman and anyone else bold enough to get in his way. This not only creates another conflict, it opens the door to what each of these super heroes begin to realize, there are many battles which lay ahead. This is where we see Wonder Woman in her full regalia, and the theater audience cheered when she joined in. Her back story is of someone much older than either Batman & Superman, and we see snippets of how her experience has taught her to remain in the background, avoid conflict when possible, find a way to cooperate. This is another example of the sophisticated underpinnings infused throughout this film.

I give this film a 9 out of 10 stars, because of it’s sophisticated, multiple complex stories woven well together and a critical examination into the psyche of each of the main players. This isn’t your casual, short attention span film. Watch carefully and enjoy! I know I will have to go back a second time just to see how much more I can pick up from the various things hinted, as well as the main story. wonder_woman_icon.jpg

 
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Posted by on 27/03/2016 in Action, Actors, Aliens, Box Office, Director, Emotional Awareness, Entertainment, Fantasy, Hollywood, Icons, Movies, Plot, Popular Culture, Soundtrack, Stories, Writing

 

It’s Oscars Time – You choose

It’s Oscars Time – You choose

Well that time of year has come again, It’s Oscar time. Look over this list and you choose. You can reply down below this post.

The nominations for the 88th Academy Awards are:

Performance by an actor in a leading role

• Bryan Cranston in “Trumbo”

• Matt Damon in “The Martian”

• Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”

• Michael Fassbender in “Steve Jobs”

• Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl”

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

• Christian Bale in “The Big Short”

• Tom Hardy in “The Revenant”

• Mark Ruffalo in “Spotlight”

• Mark Rylance in “Bridge of Spies”

• Sylvester Stallone in “Creed”

Performance by an actress in a leading role

• Cate Blanchett in “Carol”

• Brie Larson in “Room”

• Jennifer Lawrence in “Joy”

• Charlotte Rampling in “45 Years”

• Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

• Jennifer Jason Leigh in “The Hateful Eight”

• Rooney Mara in “Carol”

• Rachel McAdams in “Spotlight”

• Alicia Vikander in “The Danish Girl”

• Kate Winslet in “Steve Jobs”

Best animated feature film of the year

• “Anomalisa,” Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran

• “Boy and the World,” Alê Abreu

• “Inside Out,” Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera

• “Shaun the Sheep Movie,” Mark Burton and Richard Starzak

• “When Marnie Was There,” Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura

Achievement in cinematography

• “Carol,” Ed Lachman

• “The Hateful Eight,” Robert Richardson

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” John Seale

• “The Revenant,” Emmanuel Lubezki

• “Sicario,” Roger Deakins

Achievement in costume design

• “Carol,” Sandy Powell

• “Cinderella,” Sandy Powell

• “The Danish Girl,” Paco Delgado

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Jenny Beavan

• “The Revenant,” Jacqueline West

Achievement in directing

• “The Big Short,” Adam McKay

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” George Miller

• “The Revenant,” Alejandro G. Iñárritu

• “Room,” Lenny Abrahamson

• “Spotlight,” Tom McCarthy

Best documentary feature

• “Amy,” Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees

• “Cartel Land,” Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin

• “The Look of Silence,” Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen

• “What Happened, Miss Simone?” Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes

• “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor

Best documentary short subject

• “Body Team 12,” David Darg and Bryn Mooser

• “Chau, beyond the Lines,” Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck

• “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah,” Adam Benzine

• “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness,” Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

• “Last Day of Freedom,” Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

Achievement in film editing

• “The Big Short,” Hank Corwin

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Margaret Sixel

• “The Revenant,” Stephen Mirrione

• “Spotlight,” Tom McArdle

• “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

Best foreign-language film of the year

• “Embrace of the Serpent,” Colombia

• “Mustang,” France

• “Son of Saul,” Hungary

• “Theeb,” Jordan

• “A War,” Denmark

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin

• “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared,” Love Larson and Eva von Bahr

• “The Revenant,” Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

• “Bridge of Spies,” Thomas Newman

• “Carol,” Carter Burwell

• “The Hateful Eight,” Ennio Morricone

• “Sicario,” Jóhann Jóhannsson

• “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” John Williams

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

• “Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”
Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio

• “Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction”
Music by J. Ralph and Lyric by Antony Hegarty

• “Simple Song #3” from “Youth”
Music and Lyric by David Lang

• “Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga

• “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre”
Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Best motion picture of the year

• “The Big Short,” Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, producers

• “Bridge of Spies,” Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger, producers

• “Brooklyn,” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, producers

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Doug Mitchell and George Miller, producers

• “The Martian,” Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam, producers

• “The Revenant,” Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon, producers

• “Room,” Ed Guiney, producer

• “Spotlight,” Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, producers

Achievement in production design

• “Bridge of Spies,” production design: Adam Stockhausen; set decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich

• “The Danish Girl,” production design: Eve Stewart; set decoration: Michael Standish

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” production design: Colin Gibson; set decoration: Lisa Thompson

• “The Martian,” production design: Arthur Max; set decoration: Celia Bobak

• “The Revenant,” production design: Jack Fisk; set decoration: Hamish Purdy

Best animated short film

• “Bear Story,” Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala

• “Prologue,” Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton

• “Sanjay’s Super Team,” Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle

• “We Can’t Live without Cosmos,” Konstantin Bronzit

• “World of Tomorrow,” Don Hertzfeldt

Best live-action short film

• “Ave Maria,” Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont

• “Day One,” Henry Hughes

• “Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut),” Patrick Vollrath

• “Shok,” Jamie Donoughue

• “Stutterer,” Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage

Achievement in sound editing

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Mark Mangini and David White

• “The Martian,” Oliver Tarney

• “The Revenant,” Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender

• “Sicario,” Alan Robert Murray

• “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Matthew Wood and David Acord

Achievement in sound mixing

• “Bridge of Spies,” Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo

• “The Martian,” Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth

• “The Revenant,” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek

• “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

Achievement in visual effects

• “Ex Machina,” Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams

• “The Martian,” Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner

• “The Revenant,” Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer

• “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

Adapted screenplay

• “The Big Short,” screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay

• “Brooklyn,” screenplay by Nick Hornby

• “Carol,” screenplay by Phyllis Nagy

• “The Martian,” screenplay by Drew Goddard

• “Room,” screenplay by Emma Donoghue

Original screenplay

• “Bridge of Spies,” written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen

• “Ex Machina,” written by Alex Garland

• “Inside Out,” screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley; original story by Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen

• “Spotlight,” written by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy

• “Straight Outta Compton,” screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

oscar-deadpool-whyGo here for a printable Oscar ballot.

 

Have you been Bonded?

What is the Bond formula?

License to thrill

Bond, James Bond. One of the most iconic names in cinema. Why has this series lasted for over 50 years? What sets it apart as a franchise that can almost always be counted on to be a box office success?

Here are the top movie franchise numbers:

Franchise No. of Movies Total Domestic Box Office Total Worldwide Box Office First Year Last Year No. of Years
Marvel Cinematic Universe 21 $3,593,035,726 $9,064,124,991 2008 2019 11
Harry Potter 10 $2,389,091,642 $7,726,174,542 2001 2018 17
James Bond 25 $1,995,428,818 $6,502,989,456 1963 2015 52
Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings 6 $1,852,429,850 $5,895,819,745 2001 2014 13
Star Wars 12 $2,252,377,758 $4,486,158,822 1977 2019 42
Spider-Man 7 $1,578,645,759 $3,963,173,282 2002 2017 15
Fast and the Furious 8 $1,288,761,483 $3,899,849,616 2001 2017 16
Transformers 5 $1,324,862,942 $3,778,297,170 1986 2014 28
Pirates of the Caribbean 4 $1,279,211,336 $3,710,254,215 2003 2011 8
Batman 16 $1,895,558,266 $3,702,844,521 1989 2016 27
Jurassic Park 5 $1,458,040,584 $3,692,144,312 1993 2018 25
Shrek 7 $1,412,794,900 $3,540,580,419 2001 2018 17
Early graphic of James Bond, commissioned by Fleming.

Early graphic of James Bond, commissioned by Fleming.

The James Bond series were authored, beginning in 1953 by Ian Fleming, who wrote twelve novels and two short-stories, featuring this now world known spy. The first film release in 1962, Dr. No, introduced the character by simply uttering his name in a reoccurring setting, the casino. Although James Bond wasn’t hugely different from the standard American western, pitting a hero against great odds, exotic locations, beautiful women, elegance in fashion, all established a popular theme. The franchise repeats a formula, often imitated or spoofed, but largely successful in spite of some overly dramatic acting, relying on gadgets to save Bond, and the bevy of Bond women with sexually suggestive names. Although chase scenes have always been a feature, the placement of unrelated action sequences in the beginning of each film, set these movies apart from other movies in the 1950’s and 60’s.

So much of todays modern adaptations of heroes vs. villains borrow heavily from these ingrained cinematic motifs. These include, dangerous stunts, high speed chases (usually involving but not exclusively cars), exotic locations, beautiful fashionable women, expensive high tech gadgets, firearms, explosions, and at some point Bond is required to wear a tuxedo. He always dresses in expensive fashions, while enjoying fine dining and signature alcoholic beverages. Lastly, don’t most of us know the theme music? Title music was almost always a hit with the public, but the James Bond theme is part of the memorable moments in any of the films.

Inevitably, there’s a final confrontation between Bond and the villain du jour. The villains are compelled to confess their master plan to Bond as if he were their priest. The dialog follows this formula with slightly different words; “this is the end of the world, this is the end of civilization as you know it, Mr. Bond!” The timing of this confession couldn’t be better because, even though there’s usually not a backup rescue group, Bond has managed to find a way to escape the clever capture / trap of this evil genius. Evidently none of them have figured out, just kill him and monologue after.

Despite the predictability of the plots, and the various actors who have portrayed him, people continue to flock to the theaters rather than wait for the Blue Ray or DVD to be released.

George Baker strongly preferred by Fleming to be Bond before Connery. Screen test 1962

George Baker preferred by Fleming to be Bond before Connery. Played 2 different roles – ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ & ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’

  1. Barry Nelson played Bond in a 1954 television production of Casino Royale
  2. Sean Connery – 7 Movies
  3. David Niven in the 1967 spoof of Casino Royale
  4. George Lazenby – 1 Movie
  5. Roger Moore – 7 Movies
  6. Timothy Dalton – 2 Movies
  7. Pierce Brosnan – 4 Movies
  8. Daniel Craig – 4 Movies to date

An unknown actor played Bond in the earliest film sequences. James Bond, played by stuntman Bob Simmons, casually walks along a white backdrop and is seen through a gun barrel. Aware that he is being watched, Bond quickly turns and shoots the assassin which dissolves the backdrop into red. This sequence became a trademark of the series. 

Speaking of Trademarks.

Trademarks and copyright laws vary by country. Some of those rights are about to or have expired.

Trademarks and copyright laws vary by country. Some of those rights are about to or have expired.

Should you bother to go see the current bond film, SPECTRE?

Of course you should, if you’ve read this much of this blog, you’re likely a fan. I will say this much about this latest film, Daniel Craig is Bond. In my opinion, he’s the best one so far. I know there are thousands of critics of any film, but Craig moves, looks like a tough protagonist, and can act with the appropriate emotional context for any of the films he’s played this role. Roger Moore, when questioned about Daniel Craig after seeing ‘Casino Royale’ said, “he did more action in the first 30 seconds of the film than I did in 14 years of playing Bond.”

This film isn’t all that different when you consider my description of Bond films. This movie plays well in context of our time, something which doesn’t hold up well when you go back and look at movies such as Dr. No. They may have fit well for that era, but Craig, along with the writing and cinematography, work very well now. For long time fans, there’s nothing that will really surprise you but the villainy is good, the set pieces are shot beautifully, action is excellent, and the story line holds together, despite some people who love to criticize. SPECTRE brings together all of the elements found in the first 3 films, packages them neatly with adequate explanation, set against the changes in spy craft forced by government austerity and modern tools. Maybe it’s not riveting, if you want to compare it to the pageantry of a Marvel or Harry Potter film, but it’s certainly closer to some of the reality in a modern world, 50+ years after Dr. No.

As Marvin Hamlisch once wrote, in the Bond theme for the “Spy Who Loved Me”, sung by Carly Simon, “Nobody Does It Better.”

If you’re familiar with all of the Bond films, compare your ranking to that of someone else.
(Not mine, I disagree with the order)

Every James Bond Film Ranked.

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Comments Off on Have you been Bonded?

Posted by on 13/11/2015 in Action, Actors, Box Office, Entertainment, James Bond, Movies

 
 
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