In "SPECTRE", Bond (Daniel Craig) is no longer the European limpid eyed savoir fair gentlemen we women swooned over and dreamt of melting into those strong but gentle arms while sipping Champagne on a fabulous yacht while cruising the Greek Isles.
Rather he's a 21st century buff hard edged brute that may be somewhat enticing on the screen, watch out ladies, you're in for a bumpy ride in a ratty desert hotel with this one.
The films setting to have lost their appeal. They no longer take us to beautiful seaside panoramas of the Mediterranean awash in the color of Monet's pastel infused palette, rather we're fried or chilled in the desaturated tans and greys of a twisted Salvador Dali painting.
I know Broccoli and Saltzman's expoused philosophy about the content of the next newest Bond Film was always, " When in doubt, go back to the books." But they were referring to Fleming's bible of everything Bond, not Nostradamus' collection of Apocalyptic Predictions as "SPECTRE" feels as if it's grounded in.
Although I've heard "SPECTRE" is purported to have picked out pieces from a few of Flemings novels, I don't see it, and I've read the lot.
mission to Mexico city and eventually Rome, where he meets Lucia, the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal. Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organization known as SPECTRE. meanwhile back in London, mas Denbigh, the new head of MI6 led by M. Bond covertly enlists Moneypenny and Q to help him seek out Madeline Swann, the daughter of his old nemesis Mr. White, who may hold the clue to untangling the web of SPECTRE. As the daughter of the assassin, she understands Bond in a way most others cannot. As Bond ventures towards the heart of SPECTRE, he learns a chilling connection between himself and the enemies he seeks.
Then the terrorists start on the in on the most iconic landmarks of London, the ones that are depicted on throngs of kitsch in the throngs of knickknack shops in Trafalgar Square, not to mention they are some of the most amazing feats of architecture known to mankind; Big ben, the Tower Bridge on the River Thames, the British Museum, St.Paul's, Harrods, etc. etc.
Enter the Good Guys: The President of the United States (Aaron Eckhart) is caught up in the attack, along with his formidable secret service head extraordinaire (Gerard Butler). They are the only people in this film who have any hope of stopping world domination by the evil maniacs, well with some help from British MI-6 Agent (Charlotte Riley) who trusts no one, and rightly so, because in the end she is the one who flushes out the high level British mole, a supposed friend, who sold out his country for lots of pounds and helped organize the deadly mayhem.
Unfortunately you can't take too seriously the smorgasbord of special effects in this film, basically grey dust bombs layered over aerials of London. If you've seen any footage of 9/11, it all rings hollow. Where is the Mount Vesuvius of spreading debris? The people buried in dust running for their lives? The hoard of fireman-policeman-military soldiers running into harms way to save all those souls? And the miracle of life and goodness that manages to rise up out of
the ashes and fight back or carry-on, as the British so nobly phrase it.
Such is the fate of James Bond 007.
Even he and MI6 had to move into the future.
And since I don't know whose complete vision the new Bond Series of films is formulated on, I have to hold Executive Producer Barbara Broccoli accountable. As the gatekeeper of her father Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman's creation, in this instance, the apple did fall very far from the tree.
We're now four generations removed from Fleming's original dashing alter-ego, first penned in 1952, mirroring his own real/fantasy life, encompassing a dozen years of his international adventures as a gadabout panache global journalist, at a time when the world was immersed in Cold wars and spider webs of intrigue.
But make no mistake, the star of "Precious Cargo" is Mark-Paul Gosselaar. From his bio it seems the child stars been in some big hits for over twenty years. It's nice to meet the grownup Mark. He's very appealing in an offbeat scruffy screw=up sort of way. The kind of guy a gal feels might turn out okay if she is allowed some input in the matter.
Gosselaar carries the film somewhat on the back of sidekick Ashley Kirk, his ever present sharpshooting muse. Great chemistry there.
Claire Forlani feels a little too old to be playing the spurn-er girlfriend. For a moment it felt like we were heading down the Oedipus complex road.
The action scenes offer up some fun 007 Bond-ish type speedboat romps and car chases, well-cut without too much destruction or too many lives obliterated.
So if you want to live vicariously through one last diabolical heist before you imagine yourself retiring on your downscale boat in the Florida Keys....GO FOR IT!
Maybe that's why some of those kids ended up being part of the 'greatest generation', they had strong righteous role models who touted some great values. There was a clear line between good and evil.
Even the old TV series spurned from those newsprint adventures, as well as the crop of early Superman films, including the classic ones with Christopher Reeves and Margot Kidder, clearly towed the line: good always wins, the bad guys go down, heroes don't take themselves too seriously, and there was an air of innocence in the romance of the heart as well. remember the admiring adoring charming infatuation of Lois and Superman, Clark and Lois, at the Daily planet press room? Rather than the jump on your bones coldness of the 2016 incarnate.
This newest version - Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice - is like a twisted piece of modern art, crafted by Director- Zack Snyder and Japanese Cinematographer -Larry Fong, a team responsible for a slew of dark video game type action films. It's black edged Anime quality cuts into ones psyche like broken glass, and the storyline where everyone's a bad guy, even Bruce Wayne's butler good old Alfred, rubs one the wrong way from the start.
Batman versus Superman. Really?
Instead of Good against Evil, Hollywood is pitting Good against Good. Whoaaaa....something's gone a-wry.
Remember how these guys got their start. Whole generations of young boys from 1939 on rushed to the corner candy store to get the newest edition of their favorite comic book depicting the crime fighting duo Batman or Superman; saving lives, righting the wrongs, keeping humanity on the right track.
Most kids fantasized being them. Some even made their own Cape Crusader outfits, mainly the black leotard, black pointed boots, bat symbol on the chest, black cape and helmet with the pointed ears that only revealed your mouth. Batman was the cool one to be before cool was cool, especially if you didn't have the physique of Superman, which most boys at the age of ten didn't (an' S' on the chest couldn't make up for some skinny kid in blue tights and red underwear).
Though billed as a Bruce Willis flick, the chiseled tough guy takes a backseat in this one, seeming a bit pallid and distant in his vignettes as the bad-bad mobster Eddie. Sadly Willis is wearing his age, or his age is wearing him, enough to make him a Don Rickles look-alike around the jowls.
But you have to give the guy some respect for his long career. He's been a box office draw for decades, among the .05 percent who manage to achieve tough guy action hero status amidst the millions that try.
Maybe it's that Philip Marlowe modern Bogie private-eye persona that's still there, the one he first wowed us with in the hit TV Series "Moonlighting" way way back when, embodied in a guy that comes from a long line of blue collar people, whose bartender training probably made him comfortable relating to people 3-sheets to the wind, which encompasses most of the low-life characters he usually plays against.
If you're getting tired of the mass of odd googly themed movies pretending to be important, drowning in good intentions that miss the mark, you've just gotta ride the wave of a Bruce Willis, kick 'em in the teeth, shoot'em up, nefarious adventure flick.
"Precious Cargo" offers that all up along with some campy modern millennial humor that surprisingly works. The only drawback is it's peppered a little too heavy with that notorious four letter word that grates a bit on the nerves.
The gals in this one, plucky Jenna B. Kelly and Hollywood housewife-ish Claire Forlani, were ballsy enough, in a charming way, without having to splay out mouthfuls of obscenities.
Here's the synopsis: After a botched heist a murderous crime boss Eddie (Bruce Willis), hunts down the seductive Karen(Claire Forlani) who has double-crossed him.
Karen tries to recruit her ex-lover, broken hearted thief Jack( Mark-Paul Gosselaar) to steal a cargo of rare precious gems against his better judgement. He caves in and puts at risk his life and a new relationship with a sweet veterinarian gal (Lydia Hull), partly over the guise of Karen having his bun in the oven.
But when the job goes down, Karen's true allegiance becomes a bit cloudy. Betrayal lines are crossed leaving Eddie, Karen and Eddie- backed by his team, facing off in a fateful showdown.
LONDON HAS FALLEN
Directed by: Babak Najafi
Starring: Gerard Butler Aaron Eckhart Morgan Freeman
The whole of the film felt like a continuance of the de-saturated 'Day of The Dead" Mexican festival sequence it opened with (which in real life is quite a colorful extravaganza), the look of a 'GUESS JEANS' commercial, while Bond's Joi-de-vivre spirit has been replaced by that of the Terminator. No fun at all here.
So I am mourning the loss of the debonair spy who stylishly made love to oodles of stunning woman while saving the world and leaving us all smiling.
But I will try to warm up to this radical incarnate who is here to stay...for now....dummdeleedum dahdahdah..dummdeleedumm...dahdah de dahdah...dadahdah...
** Lea Seydoux did smolder on screen, a European beauty who deserves the hallowed crown of BOND GIRL.
** Ben Whishaw shined as the quirky English Techy "Q" but he needed more gadgets.
**Monica Bellucci has wonderful screen presence hope she shows up more often.
Film Synopsis: A cryptic message from the past sends James Bond on a rogue
WARNING: They're messing with a charming iconic figure I've loved forever.
I acknowledge finding a clone of the original prototype Bond: Britain's sexy, sophisticated, quick-witted super spy about town, oozing with Joi-de-vivre, is nearly impossible (I'd say Clive Owen might fill the bill), especially in this day and age when sophisticated is a dirty word.
So I guess the producers of the new Bond flicks decided to not even try.
Rather they re-invented the classic (much like the Jaguar that now resembles a Pontiac).
But hey, evolution is inevitable.
It may just be the milieu it's been repackaged into.
Director: Sam Mendes
Producer: Barbara Broccoli
Starring: Daniel Craig Lea Seydoux Ben Whishaw
So, I would say this could be considered a 'feel good movie' of sorts, even though there is mass destruction and lots of shooting. In the end it's Uncle Sam kicking some serious terrorist butt! America to the rescue once again, but like the old days., we actually WIN THIS ONE!
***** If you are partial to Morgan Freeman, he's over in the Whitehouse bunker fighting the good fight for most of the film.
You can catch Angela Bassett at the beginning, but they kill her off within the first fifteen minutes. Too bad, they should have kept her along for the whole ride.
It really was a Gerard Butler tough guy showcase, so if you're a fan, ENJOY!
dead fish Clark Kent and a peevish embarrassed weak fish Superman.
The boy next door, Ben Affleck , played a pouty Darth Vader batman. Nasty Stuff.
I feel for Amy Adams trying to bring some heart, warmth, and a little reporter gumption to Lois Lane, but the Director cut this thing into so many fragments there wasn't a chance in hell to get anyone onboard.
Jesse Eisenberg has great screen presence but is more suited to a geeky Silicon Valley kid then taking over Gotham City.
Poor beautiful Diane Lane. they had her looking like an 80 year old tortured bag lady.
And a wasted use of Holly Hunter's talents, having her spout mumbo jumbo analysis of the value of Super Heroes.
London falls hard in this one, not soberly into the financial abyss pf Brexit (which all the British bookies got wrong) but by a 9/11 times ten Armageddon wrought attack by the global enemy number one, Middle Eastern Terrorists, who now really are wreaking havoc weekly across the 2016 world.
The storyline: Pakistani Terrorist mastermind Barkawi and his son want revenge on the US for prior drone attacks and to create a new kind of world in their own image, of course. they're the bad guys.
After the British Prime Minister passed away under mysterious circumstances, all the leaders of the Western world gather in London to attend his funeral. But what starts out as the most protected event on earth, turns into a deadly plot to kill the world's most powerful leaders.
The whole panoply of Chancellors to Heads of State are picked off with the usual tools; bombs in limos, bombs in boats, and army of merceneries disguised as Royal Guards and the British police.
Among the most creative assignation coup; the Italian Prime Minister bumped off while kissing his mistress on the roof of Westminster Abbey. What a view! What a way to go!
That's where the film fell short. After the big attack, the city became unrealistically devoid of any people, like somehow they slipped down a drain and that drained the film. It came down to a few terrorist nuts (are there any other kind) on motorcycles chasing an American President Aaron Eckhart around and the real star of the film, with the most screen time, secret service agent Gerard Butler, trying to stay one step ahead of them by outsmarting them or bashing them upside the head, take your pick. You know the story had to be concocted by British writers. They're the only ones who dare go straight at Terrorist plots with ballsy gusto. They are after all on the front lines of European plots and attacks. It's a subject depicted frequently in their drama series with a cutting edge and frank realism we would never accept here in American television. It is sooo not politically correct, even our FBI has wimped out and scrubbed any tough terms from their Lexicon, according to the dictates of the President who wants us to hug the terrorists into submission.
That is if you could understand the storyline. In this case it was un-comprehendable, like having puzzle pieces jammed together every which way, their edges forced together uncomfortably though it still became a disjointed mass.
The sound quality was horrible. The dialogue that actually made it through at times made no sense, wallowing down to a discussion along the lines of whether 'Superman is a God.' Whoaaa....where did that come from. I think these writers have a lot of their own issues. They probably relate more to the psychotic Lex Luthor wierdo than they care to admit.
Come-on Hollywood...let some light back in. This dark stuff is getting waring.
*** Only character that rang true to something resembling a human being was actor Laurence Fishborne playing Editor in Chief - Perry White as a sort of 'Lou Grant' at the Daily Planet.
Henry cavil as Superman looked like a deer in the headlights most of the time whileembodying
Even as the beginning credits rolled against the backdrop of the old iconic lava lamp bubbles fluidly infused with the silhouettes of diving and breast stroking naked woman, they ruined it by punctuating it with a black rubber Octopus slithering around an almost naked Daniel Craig who is sexier with his clothes on.
In fact throughout the film his clothes seem so shrunk-in-the-dryer tight that I'm sure it must have been the reason for the way he was walking and the numerous cuts of his backside.
Other than a few glimpses of the classic Aston martin sportscar, a toy we'd all love to own, or the punchy Italian Opera juxtaposed against the car chase through Paris, or the few classic lines delivered by Bond's nemesis Mr. White, subverted by the evil organization Spectre:
"You're a kite dancing in a hurricane, Mr. Bond"
" I always knew death would wear a familiar face but not yours Bond,"
or the slim ray of warmth present in the cozy banter between Bond (Daniel craig) and madeleine( Lea Seydoux) on the train ( even steel has a melting point), I don't see any resemblances to the original crop.
Starring: Bruce Willis Mark-Paul Gosselaar Clair Forlani
Ashley Kirk Lydia Hull
Director: Max Adams
* Society is fearing there should be no Superman because of his alien like actions and the collateral damage in human lives that occurs when he is fighting some bad guy.
* A gnarly malcontented Batman, along with an equally malcontented butler Alfred, makes it their mission to take Superman down.
* Love sick Clark Kent-aka-Superman is obsessed with Lois Lane and the fact that Batman's actions are reckless, so he's making it his mission to take Batman down.
* And both Super Heroes, or in this case Super Duds, are concerned that Lex Luthor, owner of Lex Corp, is plotting something that will destroy mankind. Which he is.
* Then you've got a CNN style discussion in the halls of Congress, and on the streets of Metropolis by the people, whether Superman should be praised as a Hero or if he should turn himself over to the authorities.
* On a side note, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman shows up.
* Who will triumph? Will the world face doom?
* WHO CARES!
BATMAN VS SUPERMAN:
DAWN OF JUSTICE
Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: Chris Terrio David S. Goyer
Stars: Ben Affleck Henry Cavill Amy Adams