Silver Screen
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Death to Ming!

Crowd: Hail Ming.

Klytus: Now the tributes from Ardentia.

Prince Thun of Ardentia: Your Majesty, we, the people of Ardentia, have suffered since you blasted our kingdom. l can offer you nothing except my loyalty.

Klytus: Prince Thun, we prize nothing more highly.  And how great is this loyalty?

Prince Thun of Ardentia: Without measure.

Klytus: We are delighted to hear it.

Ming: Show us this loyalty. Fall on your sword.

Prince Thun of Ardentia: May this deed be an example to all the kingdoms of Mongo. [shouting and lunging at Ming] Death to Ming!

[Prince Thun is frozen by Ming’s Ring. Ming pulls the sword from Prince Thun’s hands and impales the frozen prince upon it.]

Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Bond, James Bond Movies

I have been collecting James Bond Movies. I thought for my own benefit I would summarize them here. This is entirely a subjective listing

Official Bond Movies

1 Dr. No 1962
This is a great start for the Bond movies. A lot of fun. Bond is hard and even cruel in this one. Connery does a great job and sets the standard by which all the rest of the Bond movies follow. Although Honey Ryder is the quintessential Bond girl, I still love the playful gambling Sylvia Trench more.

2 From Russia with Love 1963
Yum, Tatiana Romanova. Actually, Daniela Bianchi is not Russian but Italian. This is a great movie and the scence where Bond fights Red Grant is brutal. Connery is young and good looking. Overall loved the whole S.P.E.C.T.R.E. addition. I love the idea that there is this underground criminal organization with members in every country.

3 Goldfinger 1964
Auric Goldfinger makes a great villain. He has some great lines. “No, Mr. Bond I expect you to die.” And the plot to get into Fort Knox is both grand and clever. Oddjob is creepy and great as a henchman. Pussy Galore despite having the most memorable Bond Girl name is a little too severe for me. Plus, the idea that she is a lesbian and is set straight by James is rediculous, even for James Bond.

4 Thunderball 1965
Emilio Largo with all his largess and the lovely to look at especially if you are colorblind Domino typify what I love best about James Bond movies. I love when Bond and the villain interact before the violence starts. It is like a little dance that the two characters do. Sometimes James has the upper hand, blending in with the baddies and all their money and auspices. Sometimes they baddies know exactly what he is up to and let him think he is being so tricky and cool. Oh, by the way if you are a wealthy villain and you do happen to have a yacht, naming it the Disco Volante is probably the coolest thing you could do.

5 You Only Live Twice 1967
This theme song is always buzzing around in my head. I get to singing it and I cannot shake it off. James Bond is killed in the opening gambit and given a burial at sea befitting his previous career as a naval captain, or commander, or whatever his rank was. Turns out that this is just a ruse and he is not dead, just fakering to fool the baddies. James finds his way to Japan and he meets a man, Dikko Henderson played by Charles Gray. Though not intentional, this confuses mice to no end. Charles Gray goes on to play Ernst Blofeld. In this movie, Donald Pleasence who you always see in the Halloween movies as Dr. Samuel J. ‘Sam’ Loomis plays Ernst Blofeld. James is supposedly made to look Japanese in this movie that I find hilarious. I also love Tiger’s constant contrasts from English and Japanese culture and mores. “In Japan, women come second,” Austin Powers later adds coarsely “...or not at all’. In addition, the ninjas with guns in the training camp and in the final battle just kill me. I cannot get enough of them.

6 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service 1969
My friends love to dish on this movie and Lazenby. I don’t share this sentiment and I think its a fine addion to the James Bond canon. The idea that Bond could be married is anathama to some, but I love this soft spot on an otherwise steely spy. It makes for a very dramatic movie and makes Bond’s noncommittal attitude towards women believable.

7 Diamonds Are Forever 1971
I love this movie. It might be my favorite of the lot. I love Jill St. John as Tiffany Case. She might be the most attractive Bond girl ever in my book. I love the scenes in Vegas and to me Vegas is the perfect place for Bond though it isn’t a remote and exotic location, there are “plenty” of chicks and lots of gambling, and all that kind of sin city fun that we associate with a playboy/spy/man-about-town. I love Jimmy Dean as Willard White who is a supposed to be Howard Hughes. I cannot stand Wint and Kidd, which I think, is the point. Can you think of two characters less like Bond? They are evil and they are gay. Now I am not impressed that gays are portrayed in such a poor light, but I accept them as stereotypes like every other character in these movies, not the least of which is Bond himself. Lastly, Bambi and Thumper are absurd and use gymnastics to kick James Bond’s butt. Does not happen every day.

8 Live and Let Die 1973
This is one of my least favorite Bond movies in that it portrays Blacks as criminals, fools, and voodun devotees. Next to this film, Song of the South looks like A Martin Luther King speech. Rosie Carver is my least favorite Bond girl and is not made out to be very sexy as much as afraid. Sheriff J.W. Pepper is not much better and is also played as a goof. Jane Seymour and Yaphet Kotto do act well against each other and Roger Moore. This is Moore’s first Bond movie and he does OK. Certainly not his best. The best thing about this movie is the title song by Paul McCartney, which holds up well on its own. In fact the song is better if you never see the movie as then you don’t have to associate it with a reverse Blacksploitation movie.

9 The Man with the Golden Gun 1974
This is really a very pedestrian plot. What I mean to say is Scaramanga is just a hired gun. I mean what happened to world domination at the hands of SPECTRE? All of that is gone in Golden Gun. Still casting Christopher Lee as Scaramanga is brilliant. And what a coup to have Hervé Villechaize. I mean you got Dracula and Tattoo acting aginast each other. What could be better? Although Scaramanga is not very ambitious as a villian but what he lacks in ambitition he makes up for in charisma. Lee is extraordinary on screen and this makes for an engaging film. Britt Ekland as Mary Goodnight is just OK. And yes, Andrea Anders is in there played by Maud Adams who would also go onto play Octopussy. But she is not even as good as Britt which is not saying a lot. Goes to show a good villain can make or break a film, especially a Bond film.

10 The Spy Who Loved Me 1977
Major Anya Amasova. Wow. She is very hot, she is a spy, she kicks ass. And they cooperate. Wow. Plus you get to see Jaws. Jaws is a great character even if he is more like a gag than a real villian. You get to see the Lotus for the first time in a Bond movie. It even turns into a submarine. However, I think the Lotus is ugly. Karl Stromberg is a little like Captain Nemo. I love his grand plan no small time stuff. A couple people get fed to the sharks in this one which is always good. General Gogol is great in this too.

11 Moonraker 1979
Bond in Space. I like Drax, not so much Holly Goodhead. This was the first Bond film I ever saw. Jaws gets a girlfriend at the end in a parody of Bond and all his female companions. This is the last film Jaws appears in. I guess having a girlfriend made him give up the thug life. All the lasers are funny in this one. Silly, but not that much more silly than the rest.

12 For Your Eyes Only 1981
I think I remember that they had the model turn her bikini around the wrong way round for the photo shot for the poster for this movie. Nowadays this would not have been a problem. Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet) is very pretty and is a greta Bond girl. Bibi Dahl is also very cute and precocious. Bond tells her, “Put your clothes on and I’ll buy you an ice cream.” It is funny to see the very young actress throwing herself at the aging Moore. Apparently, the actress Lynn Holly Johnson who played her also appeared in the movie Ice Castles. Though his name is not mentioned by name Blofeld is killed in the opening gambit in this movie. This is the one where Blofeld has the RC helicopter and almost kills Bond but Bond is able to gain control of the copter a send his wife’s killer down and industrial smokestack. Lots of fun. Like many other Bond movies, the skiing and shooting in this movie is fun to watch. 

13 Octopussy 1983
Maud Adams is too old to be a Bond girl in this movie. Nevertheless, I guess Moore is too old to be Bond at this point so its old people all around. I love the scene where the thug gets an octopus sucking his face. That is classic, classic I say

14 A View to a Kill 1985
Christopher Walken plays Max Zorin in this film. If I had to pick a favorite Bond villain than Walken would be it. At this time computers are still a relatively novel thing and computer chips are seen as very valuable. Zorin plans to set off an explosion at the right point and flood the Silicon Valley thereby creating a monopoly for his chips. Mayday played by Pop Music star Grace Jones is not especially attractive to me but she is a great villain and her laugh is quite evil. Tanya Roberts is the Bond girl du jour, and despite being a Charlie’s Angel I do not find her all that. In fact this movie is a wash for me and as far as the ladies are concerned. I like the scenes set in San Francisco including being on the cables of the Golden Gate.

15 The Living Daylights 1987
I have not seen this one. This is because I have seen License to Kill.

16 License to Kill 1989
This is the one where Robert Davi plays a drug dealer. This guy is in almost everything. The year before he had done Die Hard and that same year, he was in Action Jackson. This guy is still busy playing bad guys all over the place. I did not really like this when I saw it, but I think I need to watch this one again.

17 GoldenEye 1995
Bond is back and for the first time played by Pierce Bronson. We have got a new M played by Judy Dench and a new Moneypenny in Samantha Bond. James Bond drives a BMW Z3 in this movie. Famke Janssen is a type of vinyl-clad Sadist in this movie. She later goes on to star as Jean Grey in the X-Men movies. I first saw her in a Star Trek Next Generation episode playing a character called Kamala who we affectionately called Uberwhore, but I digress. This is the one where his buddy Alec Trevelyan fakes his own death at the hands of the Russians. He later shows up not as Bond’s ally and buddy but as his enemy. The best Bond movie in years, though not Bronson’s best.

18 Tomorrow Never Dies 1997
Good parts - Michelle Yeoh. Bad Parts - Teri Hatcher and Jonathan Pryce. The idea is this Media Mogul, Elliot Carver, is inciting war in order to improve ratings and sell papers. Sort of a modern day Spanish American war with Pryce being Hearst. Kinda dumb really.

19 The World Is Not Enough 1999
This is my favorite Bronson-as-Bond movie. Renard is a very creepy and dangerous villain. A person with nothing to lose is a very dangerous adversary. Sophie Marceau is very hot in this movie. She acts well and is written well to make the story interesting. I love the theme song by Garbage. It’s hip and sultry just like a Bond movie theme song should be. Denise Richards is cute in it. My only complaint re: Denise is for her agent. You should have got her this gig before she was famous, not after. Also to her agent - Denise is not a convincing Nuclear Physicist. Oh also Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid in the Harry Potter movies) is such a huggable Valentin Zukovsky. He adds some great humor to this movie. And if a Bond movie is without humor it is not doing its job properly.

20 Die Another Day 2002
Jinx, ala Halley Berry. Dude. She pretty much ruins this movie. The character was written in this Diet Pepsi kind of Princess Power Feminism. We really need to get back to getting unknown actresses to play the Bond girls. I’m not saying they have to be bimbos, just not wearing the same outfit as Bond. Never again wearing the same outfit as James. Also, no more making the Bond car invisable. That was fricking ridiculous. The Korean villain, who genetically altered himself in order to punish the white devils of the west, also struck me as improbable - even for an action movie.

Unofficial Bond Movies

0 Casino Royale 1967 David Niven
This is such a fun movie and so wild. I love it. Ok so it’s not a Broccoli / Saltzman show. It is still great.

00 Never Say Never Again 1983 Sean Connery
This is such a weird movie. It’s not produced by the Broccolis so its missing many of the things you would expect of a Bond Movie. The good side is Connery is in it. The bad side is Connery had quit being Bond twelve years prior. He really is too old to do this movie. The good parts are Blofeld is played by Max Von Sydow. Who is a great baddie. Kim Basinger is a Bond girl in this movie and she is very attractive here. I think that is it though. I cannot stand Klaus Maria Brandauer as Largo. He is kinda sticky and looks like he needs a bath. Fatima Blush is way overacted and needs to be just slightly realistic. The movie lacks class, any sophistication, and worst of all it was already done successfully in Thunderball. It is like when a band covers a song, a good song. The cover the song but not in such a way that brings out anything new or unique. In short, the original is great and the cover is lousy.

Friday, December 16, 2005
Women in Revolt

Of the four Paul Morrissey/ Warhol films I have watched in the past weeks* this has got to be the oddest. Three drag queens (Candy Darling, Jackie Curtis and HollyWoodlawn) prattle on endlessly and pretend that they are feminists.

Is there even a word of dialog written for this? It seems like 97 minutes of improv. It actually makes Glen or Glenda look pretty organized.

How can a film be Art? I assumed that if it was possible that it would come to fruition with Paul Morrissey and Warhol. Now I’m not so sure. “Women” is more like a Christmas play than a piece of Art.

*Flesh for Frankenstien, Blood for Dracula, Heat, and this one.

Sunday, August 14, 2005
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

It is Mrs. Mice’s birthday and yesterday we went to go see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We both liked it just fine. It really was what you should expect from Depp and Burton. Depp’s performance was not unlike Ed Wood. The one thing that is much better is the music. Danny Elfman continues as Burton’s one and only choreographer. The music is much more sophisticated than the original.

It has my seal of approval but (as if you didn’t know) I’m very biased and a fan of Tim Burton so don’t necessarily believe me. You might hate it.

Today we went to Ikea and I must be a good husband because I HATE Ikea. I hate the crowds, I hate the not always helpful staff, I hate how nothing I want is in stock. However, mostly I hate the crowds. I hate how the families of 12 walk so very, very slowly. The walkways are small and it’s all I can do sometimes to keep from grabbing someone’s decrepit grandma by the face and pushing her into a kitchen display.

Little Bit was also not very patient and that did make for an overall pleasant shopping experience.

The shelves we got stuck out of my SUV and that worried me greatly. Regardless we made it home OK.

I suppose I do all this in the hopes that my wife will take pity on me and love me. Hey, it could happen.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Alive

This is such a great movie.  I saw this when I was in the Drum and Bass club in Austin. It is great fun.

Thursday, June 23, 2005
The Batman

I saw this almost a week ago and haven’t had a chance to comment on it.

This is a great movie. It’s really what a comic book movie should be.  It is not, however for the kids, no matter how much they think they love Batman, it’s not for them.

There were so many talented actors in this movie I can hardly name them all.
First off with Christopher Nolan (Memento) at the helm it’s really hard to go wrong. I mean for such a new filmmaker he really has a very strong vision and great storytelling skills.

Christian Bale is a fine Batman but as Bruce Wayne he is so much more engaging. He really sparkles as the American Psycho Bruce Wayne millionaire playboy.

Michael Caine as Alfred. Wow. I mean it’s a little beneath his station but he does a great job against Nolan as his butler whilst actuality being his surrogate parent.

Qui-Gon Jinn er.. Liam Neeson is great in this. I really think he is an exceptional actor. He does not disappoint here.

Katie Holmes is just eh..

Gary Oldman as Detective Gordon one day to be Commissioner Gordon must have been doing someone a favor to appear in this movie. He was so believable and sincere in this. Just superb.

Cillian Murphy as Crane is so so eauugughgh. I don’t want to give anything away. While he is not good, he is GREAT.

My main man Roy Batty Rutger Hauer plays the CEO of Wayne Enterprises. He is just always going to play jerks. I’m sure he has come to grips with it.

Ken Watanabe from Last Samurai has a small part as Ra’s Al Ghul. I really hope he gets better roles than this though. He is much better than just a bit part. He deserves to be a leading man.

Lastly, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox also has a tiny part as essentially the Quartermaster. Again, not a very good role for someone of his caliber. Still he puts a sparkle in the role that makes the movie rich.

The story is the story of how Bruce Wayne becomes Batman. It takes the seed of the story from the comics but very creatively embellishes on the story and takes Bruce far from Gotham for his inspiration. The story his very cyclical and gives Batman a context.  A lot is explained in this movie. And although liberties have been taken, they all make so much damned sense that it’s hard to imagine this movie unfolding in any other way.

A couple friends and family have said this is the best comic book movie ever. I’m not sure I agree that it’s the best ever but it’s certainly one of the best.

Thursday, May 26, 2005
Rules of Fight Club

First of fight club is - you do not talk about fight club
Second rule of fight club is - you DO NOT talk about fight club
Third rule of fight club - if someone says “stop” or goes limp, taps out, the fight is over.
Fourth rule - only two guys to a fight
Fifth rule - one fight at a time fellas
Sixth rule - no shirts, no shoes
Seventh rule - fights will go on as long as they have to
And the eighth and final rule - if this is your first night at fight club, you haveta fight

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