Tag Archives: James Bond
Sam Mendes as director, Christoph Waltz as main villain, Daniel Craig finally owing the role as 007, after good performances in Skyfall and Casino Royal, at least one age-appropriate Bond-girl (Bellucci)… this film had all the ingredients for being a worthy new chapter in the suave spy’s history. Alas, it doesn’t deliver on all its promises. To begin at the beginning: the title sequence with Sam Smith’s song is neither remarkable nor particularly memorable, so no, not a good start (it was difficult to top Skyfall, I know). Our hero is on a mission from M (the deceased one, not the current one) but he doesn’t really know what he’s chasing or looking for. The not-so-greving widow (the above mentioned Bellucci) of the man Bond most recently killed points him to a secret meeting of a secret organisation… and I was waiting for someone to say “Hail Hydra!”… I’m too jaded I guess for a serious take on an all powerful, worldwide criminal syndicate. It did work well in the sixties when the franchise started but now, after so many homages and parodies (I’m looking at you Austin Powers!), I think it lost its aura of menace and uncomprehending evil. Blofeld is not truly convincing as psychopathic megalomaniac, Waltz’s valid efforts notwithstanding, and makes the whole story a little flat. While our globetrotting spy is involved in all the classic Bond-action scenes — foot and car chases in cities, beating up henchmen, saving the damsel in distress and gathering intelligence — on the home front M (Fiennes), Q (Benshaw) and Moneypenny (Harris) are fighting the ugly face of progress, personified by C (Scott), who wants to bring the British intelligence into the 21st century. Of course, we know from the get go that there’s more to it and it helps bringing the plot full circle in the third act of the film but…really! Demonising the digitalisation process it’s a bit old… Sarah Connor told us decades ago. Anyway, I’ve been very negative so far, so here’s the good part: the cinematography is spectacular, the action is quite breathtaking and the cat-and-mouse chase during the Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City is amazing. All actors give solid performances and the story moves along smoothly, Mendes, after all, knows his job. Maybe my expectations were too high and I felt let down, only time will tell. Spectre wants to be sinister and serious but lacks the more raw and grim elements of Skyfall to be as good as the latter. Unsatisfactory –5.5/10
Focusing again on great songs/titles combinations, what is more iconic than James Bond’s films? All the songs has been written for the film, usually with the same title, and, especially in the last couple of decades, by famous artists. This is my top five. Honourable mention for: Live And Let Die (Paul McCartney & The Wings), View To A Kill (Duran Duran) and Thunderball (Tom Jones).
1. Goldeneye – Goldeneye, Tina Turner (1995)
Nothing beats Tina’s voice!
2. Casino Royale – You Know My Name, Chris Cornell (2006)
Speaking of voices, I always had a thing for Chris’ and rock just makes it better.
3. Skyfall – Skyfall, Adele (2012)
4. The World Is Not Enough – The World Is Not Enough, Garbage (1999)
The film was kind of crappy but the intro with Shirley Manson & Co. is great.
5. Tomorrow Never Dies – Tomorrow Never Dies, Sheryl Crowe (1997)
Not a big fan of this film either but the song is pretty amazing.
This four-episodes mini-series stars Dominic Cooper as legendary 007 writer Ian Fleming, and his real life spy exploits that influenced the Bond novels… well, a fictionalized version anyway. He is the second son from an affluent and well-connected family, always outshone in his widowed mother’s eye by his big brother Peter. It’s 1939 and Nazi Germany is on a rampage in Europe, Peter is doing his duty for King and Country while Ian hankers for something better in London, working at a job he clearly hates and giving into debauchery. To prove to his family and friends that he’s worth his salt, he enlists as a Navy Intelligence officer, putting to good use his undeniable skills of spinning tales and giving lies the ring of truth, along with his knowledge of German and European high society mores. His new boss Admiral Godfrey (West) and second officer Monday (Chancellor) are initially bemused by his brash attitude and unconventional ideas and methods, and they seem the blueprint for M and Miss Moneypenny or the other way around, who knows how much of this story is fiction. However Ian gets his way most of the times and he’s more successful than not in his job as “spy”. He also has a rather complicated love life, having a girlfriend, Muriel (Wallis), and an affair with a married woman, Ann (Pulver). The story is overall intriguing and Cooper pulls the suave persona off quite well, the dynamic with the other characters is quite convincing: playful banter with Monday, respectful/antagonising behaviour with Godfrey, torrid passion with Ann and idealised love with Muriel. The settings and cinematography are rich and colourful, glamour and danger dosed just right and there are plenty of homages and references to our favorite spy and his escapades. Entertaining and alluring. —7/10
Far better than the last installment of the 007 series but that does not really say much. It brings back a little humor with tongue in cheek references to the golden era of James Bond. Our favorite spy is a little worse for wear due to his hobby and his beloved country is under attack. The villain du jour has a personal grudge and a penchant for computers… he even outwits the new Q (brilliant Ben Whishaw)! But his thirst for vengeance has the better of him and he goes overboard, so our hero saves the day. As action goes the film really delivers and the cinematography is pretty spectacular. Judi Dench is always impeccable as M and Daniel Craig can fight like a pro and wear a Tom Ford suit with style (still, he is not my favorite 007). I’ve enjoyed very much Albert Finney’s part: cantankerous and ironic. All in all, a quality Bond movie. —6.5/10