Sunday, 27 July 2014

License to Kill

Sunday 27th July

Starting very non-traditionally at a wedding Bond’s playing the part of best man at Della and Felix’s wedding. The actually wedding goes quite smoothly if you ignore the quick detour to capture some drug dealer guy called Sanchez before parachuting back in for the vows. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be a wedding in a Bond film if the wife survived past the first day and after he’s escaped Sanchez is pretty set on revenge.  It’s back to basics and feeding people, or at least parts of them to sharks, Felix survives and is rushed to hospital two limbs lighter.

Torn between avenging his friends and his next mission in Iran Bond throws a hissy fit and resigns from the secret service, which I think is the second time he’s pulled that one when things don’t go his way.  Unable to let him just get on with it Q tracks James down to stock him up with gadgets, well if you’re going to go after a billionaire drug dealer you defiantly need a camera with an inbuilt laser.

In terms of Bond girls, James teams up with one of Felix’s associates Pam and after very mild resistance she quickly falls into the highly clingy category.  Sanchez’ girlfriend, who I’m not even sure had a name pops up every now and again to try and steal him but Bond manages to fob her off on the Argentinian president instead.  

Just like the last Dalton film, I didn’t start enjoying this until the last half an hour when Bond manages to sneak his way into Sanchez’ laboratory; it would seem that no matter how clever hiding cocaine in petrol is it does leave the whole operation highly vulnerable, especially if part of your little demonstration to investors involves lighting the petrol.

So with the bad guys dead and Felix recovering in hospital it’s a typically happy ever after Bond ending, who would of thought Bond would save the day at the last moment and end up with the girl? Shocker!

One slightly confusing thing, we’re now on 1989 and the gadgets are still a bit naff… this film is only two years older than me so there’s no way it can be old (because I’m not).  While Q remains my favourite thing I was expecting better gadgets as we moved forward in time, but no we get a laser in a camera and an overly excited lighter – I think I preferred it when a briefcase that grew legs was cutting edge.

This also marks the end of Timothy Dalton’s brief stint as Bond, nor particularly sad to see him go, not particularly excited for Pierce Brosnan – yes it is comfy sat on this fence thanks for asking. In my opinion he’s by no means the worst Bond, Lazenby I’m looking at you but no rival for Sean Connery, maybe on par with the better Roger Moore ones, so I’m putting him second on my current list of Bonds.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Mini Netflix Reviews – July 2014

The idea behind this is simple, short summaries/reviews of the random things I stumble across on Netflix.

The Pill
It’s a truly magical modern love story. Boy meets girl; boy goes back to girls apartment; boy assumes girl is on the pill; boy finds out he was wrong about girl being on the pill; boy panics.  Ok, so maybe it’s not quite that magical…

After convincing Mindy to take the morning after pill Fred blows her off using ever classy “I’ll call you” method; then he’s told Anna needs to take the second part dose of medication 12 hours later and is forced to spent the day with her to make sure she takes it.  Obviously the rest of the day is stupidly cheesy and entirely predictable but surely that’s the point of romantic comedies!

Weirdly I enjoyed this, not one I’ll re-watch or one I’ll probably even remember in twelve months’ time but if you’re after a light hearted, slightly different rom-com with an hour and a half to spare I’d recommend it.

The Words
The words a film about the story of a book being told within another book. My head hurts trying to find a good way to word how intertwined the books are.

Reading the little summary Netflix gives you I was expecting something similar to Limitless, maybe just because it’s the same actor, I’m not sure.  Struggling writer comes across an extremely easy but not entirely ethical way to achieve him dreams but once he’s there he has to deal with the consequences and baggage associated with how he got there – actually that is a very similar plot to Limitless!  Bradley Cooper really has had a lot of practise at that troubled pensive look.

Honestly – it’s not great and I’m struggling to put it into a genre. Defiantly not a comedy, there’s no action or adventure.  It’s just a film about a book and I suppose lightly about morality..?

It did teach me one thing though; how to get rid of brain freeze – how had I never know that until now!

The Giant Mechanical Man
Honestly, I have no idea what even happened in this film; a 30-something year old woman breaks up with her boyfriend and moves into her sister while she tries to work out what to do with her life.  Out of ideas she takes a job at a concession stand at a zoo where she meets Tim, who is of course wonderful.  Ok, so maybe I paid some attention.

I want to call this a rom-com but it wasn’t laugh out loud funny; by no means a bad film but not much happened and when she started working at the zoo I was hoping there’d be animals.  The title is extremely random and if the street artists similar to the ones you get a lot around Covent Garden in London freak you out I’d advise you stay away from this one.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Living Daylights

Sunday 6th July

We start with the proof that you can take paintball way too seriously… and that’s normally the point that someone swaps to using a real gun.  Although I’m not sure how professional using the Rock of Gibraltar for paintball really is, particularly considering how temperamental those monkeys can get!

The cheese is there from the off, Mr Bond, now being portrayed by Mr Timothy Dalton parachutes straight onto a privately owned yacht just as the owner is complaining that she needs a ‘real man’ the entertain her; que Bond.  Team that with the cringeworthy “What happened to him?” “He got the boot” when talking about a man Bond has just literally kicked off an aeroplane and you've got you’re tone.

Koskov has defected from the KGB so 007 is employed to get him out of Russia safely; apart from managing to upset M by refusing to shoot the pretty girl everything goes well. Until we learn the defection was fake and the pretty girl was knowingly firing blanks give the whole charade an air of believably.

A new Bond also means a new approach with the ladies, and this one is different to say the least.  No matter how much you want to impress a girl, a tuxedo is not really appropriate attire, winning her a massive cuddly toy is ridiculously cheesy but extremely effective so at least he got that one right.

Along with a new Bond with have a very shiny new Miss Moneypenny who is just as bad at flirting as the last one; I can’t imagine inviting a man round to listen to Barry Manilow ever working; then I suppose having never tried I can’t judge. I was glad to see Q hadn't changed; he might be my favourite thing about the earlier Bond films. 

Just the one Bond girl in this, Kara, who lives up to tradition and tries to kill him about halfway through and continuing to keep with tradition she switches sides straight after realising she was a fool and can’t stand to be without Bond; turning into yet another overly-clingy annoyance. I can’t understand why none of these girls make repeat appearances! 

We end up randomly in Afghanistan – maybe it’s not that random if you’re aware of geographical politics for the 80s but unfortunately that’s one of my weaker areas of general knowledge.  Gerogi, Kara’s previous employer is buying opium with diamonds that have been smuggled over among the ice used to transport organs – I liked that bit, thought it was imaginative.  Needless to say Bond’s not all that happy and several explosions later he’s saved countless New York teenagers from future drug troubles.

I quite enjoyed it from the point Kara turned on him and things actually started to get interesting. Predictable, of course; with the most anti-climactic bomb de-fusel ever but enjoyable. Until that point I was starting to wonder what all the hype surrounding the Dalton years was since not a lot was happening; the question I've been asked most about watching these films is “Have you got to the Dalton ones yet?” so I did have high expectations.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

The Fault In Our Stars

Obligatory disclaimer – these are my thoughts, opinions and general ramblings on both the book and the film of The Fault In Our Stars; I haven’t given away anything major but I have referred to some minor plot points so if you’re trying to keep either version a surprise; firstly why are you researching it online and secondly, you may want to click away now.

Heart-wrenching novel gets turned into tear-jerking film, I think we’ve all seen this one before but this is aimed at a younger audience with a quite non-typical main theme.  On a serious note each time I’ve read or seen this it’s provoked genuinely emotion.

To give you an idea of the target audience - at 22 I think I was probably the second to oldest person in the cinema so points to the lovely mother who’d taken her daughter and double-bonus boyfriend points to the only male in the room.  I volunteer as a young leader at a guide unit (they’re 10 – 14) and a lot of this story has a lot of them fangirling just as much as the words ‘One Direction’.

It’s not a particularly long book, both times I’ve read this I’ve finished it in a couple of days however the film was over two hours and yet they left out quite a few characters and then switched around the sections they left in.  Characters were reciting conversations word for word but in completely different scenes which made me question how much attention I’d actually paid to the book – not that it changes the plot but if you’re a hard core fan I could see that being irritating.

One quite strange thing, why make them both a year older in the film? Did anyone else notice that? Was it to make the driving and/or the sex scenes more acceptable? Does it really make a difference if they’re 17 and 18 instead of 16 and 17?  At least if they’d of left the characters at their original ages they could of skipped around Amsterdam reciting songs from the Sound of Music.

I did feel that they played to the characters extremes in the film, in the film Augustus was perfection, even I fell a little bit in love with him watching that.  They also made Hazel out to be quite the whiner that did nothing but read before she met Gus. They seem to have left out all the middle ground.  Where was Augustus’ tale of his previous girlfriend, Bluie, Hazel’s shopping trips, the video games, selling the swing set; basically where were all the parts where they had fun and weren’t just talking about having cancer – I understand it’s a pretty big part of the story but for me it was those moments in the book that made the characters believable.

I realise this all sounds slightly anti-film so just to clarify I am by no means against the film but I thought the omitted details left it a bit empty.  To balance that the book is by no means ground breaking but it’s a lovely read – particularly if you’re looking for a sunbed/holiday read!