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This one's strong, if uneven. The Living Daylights has a lot going for it, not least a lean, sharkish Timothy Dalton, tight of smile and cold of eye. Other strengths include a plot that actually goes places (even if they aren’t always the right ones), a great soundtrack, a palpably menacing hitman and the enjoyably retro prominence of the Cold War. All well and good. However, the central villains are a weakness, neither really working alone or as a duo. The girl is admirable but a little trying. The pace sometimes flags and the stakes never rise. Despite a standout fight aboard an aeroplane (as good as Bond gets) the film never quite takes off.
The Villains: A three-in-one deal. Never a great sign: quality is rarely offered in quantity. Georgi Koskov is a cheerful, »
(Sidney Lumet, 1972; Eureka!, 15)
By the mid-1960s Sean Connery had completed his contract with Saltzman and Broccoli and feared being typecast as 007. So to lure him back to appear in a sixth Bond film (Diamonds Are Forever, 1971), United Artists promised him $2m to make two movies of his own choice. The first he picked was This Story of Yours, a grim police procedural based on a play by John Hopkins, one of the writing team on Z-Cars, the realistic BBC TV series that had transformed the image of the British , taking him out of Dock Green and dropping him in a depraved new world. Hopkins’s reputation was running high at the time. His quartet of TV plays, Talking to a Stranger, was widely regarded as the best work written to date for the small screen, and This Story of Yours was put on at the Royal Court under Harold Pinter’s auspices. »
- Philip French
Let’s just face it: Scream Factory’s insane amount of releases aren’t about to slow down anytime soon, and well, I think I speak for most horror fans when I say that that’s something to celebrate. Not only are they continually putting out great Bluray releases of older and almost forgotten titles like their Tentacles/Reptilicus, but the Collector’s Editions like the recently announced People Under The Stairs and I, Madman releases are definitely ones to celebrate.
In case you fright fanatics haven’t been paying attention or just haven’t gotten around to checking out some of the oncoming onslaught of titles, here are a few that are quite exciting for us at Icons of Fright. Read on!
It’s angry. It’s hungry. It’s extremely well-armed and it’s descending on a small seaside town to sample the local cuisine! »
- Jerry Smith
Spectre Set Photos of Christoph Waltz‘s Character “Frank Oberhauser” Surface. Some determined photographer successfully found his way close enough to the set of the upcoming Sam Mendes directed Spectre (2015) – the fourth entry in Daniel Craig‘s ouevre of James Bond films – and sold them to England’s Daily Mail. I guess it’s not that hard provided filming took place in the middle of London.
The photos are of Christoph Waltz’s character, listed as “Franz Oberhauser” on IMDb, but visually, fairly directly presented as the iconic “Blofeld” character we all know and love. Blofeld is the head of Spectre, usually pets a cat, and has a scarred face and bald head. You’ve seen him in a few early Bond films, I’m sure (he’s in four of them: From Russia with Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Diamonds Are Forever »
- Marco Margaritoff
This summer, Scream Factory will take viewers to a ghost town that's a lot more sinister than the one the Brady family was trapped in on The Brady Bunch. Slated for a July 28th release, the western horror film Ghost Town hits Blu-ray on July 28th:
Press Release -- "The good. The bad. The Satanic. Scream Factory proudly presents the Empire Pictures classic Ghost Town on July 28, 2015 in its Blu-ray debut.
A dusty ghost town, seemingly abandoned, holds the lives of its original inhabitants in an animated netherworld for 100 years…
When a modern-day sheriff’s deputy is lured to a desolate, spooky ghost town in search of a missing woman, he comes face-to-face with a malevolent spirit from the town’s past. The spell of death and suffering over the undead townspeople must end to set them free from eternal pain. The horrors of a possessed outlaw, in a time-suspended »
- Derek Anderson
“The Good, The Bad, The Satanic.” When reading those words at the top of Ghost Town‘s VHS box as a kid, that line was all that it took for me to beg my father to let me rent it. Being the upstanding religious person he was, he said yes, and there I went, further down the Empire Pictures rabbit hole. Empire Pictures was such a huge part of my childhood (see Issues #4 and 7 of Delirium Magazine for proof of that), and writing this up right, I can’t help but to think of maybe some horror fans who didn’t get a chance to witness this Satanic cowboy tale as a kid/teenager, finally getting the chance to do so, with Scream Factory’s upcoming July 28th Bluray debut of the 1988 film.
A dusty ghost town, seemingly abandoned, holds the lives of its original inhabitants in an animated netherworld for 100 years… »
- Jerry Smith
Roger Moore bows out as James Bond 007, in A View To A Kill. It's a film with a few problems...
This one's an unworthy last hurrah for Sir Rog. Yet such is life. Received wisdom pegs A View To A Kill as a lacklustre final outing in which an inspired song, villain and Grace Jones are smothered by slack plotting, a not-at-his-best Moore, weak characters and a general sense of weariness. Received wisdom is a terrible thing. But occasionally it has a point.
The Villain: To waste one great villain on a rubbish film may be classed as unfortunate. To waste a second is damned careless. Max Zorin is Exhibit B to counter the hoary old adage that a Bond film is measured by its antagonist. Zorin is fresh, vibrant, energetic – the inverse of the film he terrorises. He’s played by a Hollywood legend in his prime: good for the character, »
So does this count? Never Say Never Again stirs many arguments by shaking up the official order, splitting fans on the issue of its legitimacy. Ruins pub quiz questions such as ‘How many actors have played M?’ due to the inevitable argument whether Edward Fox should be numbered. Put such issues aside and enjoy what remains: a sly, witty semi-pastiche that doesn’t attempt to recapture past glories but can easily hold its own alongside Diamonds Are Forever and Octopussy. And with much less swimming than Thunderball.
The Villain: Ignore Emilo: Maximillian Largo is his own maniac. Short, tubby, lanky blond hair receding, Largo is Draco Malfoy gone to seed. Easily visualised shuffling around Comic Con, accompanied by Mr Kidd and the reformed Jaws. Yet Largo is one of the film’s strengths. »
We've arrived at Roger Moore's penultimate Bond. But isn't it about time somebody fought Octopussy's corner?
After the comedown of For Your Eyes Only, the series is back on a high. A very good-natured, occasionally thrilling escapade that boasts an impressive roster of villains, a finely developed heroine, unusually meaty roles for series stalwarts General Gogol and Q, a nuclear bomb and a gloriously stupid title. Yes, Roger Moore has aged to the point where counting the wrinkles is a legitimate distraction. And many valid criticisms can be levelled about plot and credibility. But the good outweighs, or certainly overwhelms, the bad in Octopussy. Still, he really should have quit after this one.
The Villain: Kamal Khan got his break by winning the talent competition Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Singing Superstar - and that was just the beginning. 2012 hit Ishk Sufiana launched Khan into stardom and he bagged »
In 1969, James Bond appeared on screen in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but he didn’t look anything like Sean Connery. Because he looked like George Lazenby. Fans who had grown to love Connery’s schpecial appeal over the series of five films, in a role he originated for cinema, were asked to accept this new guy parading around in the movie as “Bond.” Many didn’t. Even the critics who liked the film pointed out that it was in spite of Lazenby — an actor who had been promoted from making candy commercials to fill the fantastically large loafers. Lazenby was gone by the next entry — 1972’s Diamonds Are Forever — and Connery’s return definitively labeled the one-timer as something to forget. A mistake. Don’t worry, everyone, the real Bond is back. Then he was gone again. Connery packed up his massive paycheck and made room for the longest-running Bond actor, Roger »
- Scott Beggs
It is no secret that Sean Connery grew to hate James Bond long before he stopped playing the character. In fact, he was so reluctant to return as 007 for Diamonds Are Forever, after George Lazenby walked away from the franchise after just one film, that United Artists offered the Scottish actor an unprecedented fee of Us$1.25 million, and also agreed to produce two subsequent films of Connery's choosing if he'd pick up the Walther Ppk one last time.. The first of these was The Offence, a bleak and brutal British police drama, directed by acclaimed American filmmaker Sidney Lumet. Connery and Lumet had previously collaborated on The Hill (1965) and The Anderson Tapes (1971), and would work together again on Murder on the Orient Express...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Since 1962, the James Bond franchise has come to define the spy genre, for good or ill. More broadly, every thriller and action film that comes out now either uses them as inspiration, or attempts to ignore or re-work the tropes that have come to be associated with the series.
Coming off the release of Kingsman: The Secret Service, and with the release of a new Bond film this year, now seems like the perfect time to take a look at a sample of the films which have been inspired by James Bond — either as homages, parodies or reactions.
The Ipcress File (1965)
Produced by James Bond producer Harry Saltzman as a more grounded alternative to the largesse of Bond, The Ipcress File is more concerned with the intricacies of real spy-work — the endless paperwork, »
★★★★☆ When Sean Connery agreed to return to play James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever (1971), as a sweetener United Artists offered to finance two pictures of Connery's choosing. One of those pictures was Sidney Lumet's The Offence (1972), a gritty police drama about a detective sergeant (Connery) who beats to death a suspected child molester. A million miles from the globe-trotting super spy, The Offence takes place in an unlovely England, rain swept place as seen a year earlier in Mike Hodges' Get Carter (1971). The climate is reflected in the hard-bitten faces of everyone standing around smoking in the office, with women at home and pints coming in bevelled glasses.
- CineVue UK
There's a good case to be made for this being the silliest Bond of them all, but Moonraker's still a lot of fun...
Well, we’ve come a long, long way since From Russia With Love. Moonraker: a film that redefined the possibilities of the Bond franchise if only by sheer scale of stupidity. The space bits are relatively by-the-numbers (other than being in space). However, the script was probably written in crayon. Chases happen without explanation, people randomly bump into each other, the utterly implausible is presented as mundane. Purists think of Istanbul and weep. But treat the whole thing as a comedy – perhaps a gentle spoof – and you’ll actually enjoy yourself. A plot-hole drinking game will get everyone plastered.
The Villain: Weirdly good. The master of the dry putdown – “James Bond. You defy my attempts to devise an amusing death for you” – Hugo Drax almost steals the film. »
The underwater car, the terrifying henchman and perhaps the most iconic opening scene of all time. The Spy Who Loved Me is a cracker...
And so we arrive at the best Epic Bond of the lot. A great big chocolate fudge sundae of a film with extra waffles and butterscotch ice cream. It begins by making a parachute iconic and cracks on from there. Boasts a henchman, car and girl to rival Goldfinger, and a villainous scheme even more deranged than You Only Live Twice. Nuclear Armageddon meets Finding Nemo – what’s not to like? Hops around the globe without losing its direction. Never once stops trying to please the audience. Never fails to.
The Villain: Overshadowed by his henchman. Stromberg isn’t a terrible antagonist but he hardly sets the pulse racing. Comes across a bit Blofeld-lite: (I Can’t Believe it’s not Blofeld!) Spectre were supposed to »
“Never say never again” might be the informal Scottish national motto. It was the winking title of the 1983 James Bond movie that brought Sean Connery back for one more spin as the title character 12 years after Diamonds are Forever. And now in an interview with Matt Lauer on Today, J.K. Rowling teases, “I have always said never say never” about an eighth Harry Potter book. She adds, "I've always said I'm not going to say 'I definitely won't' because — because I don't see why I should say that. You know, it's my world and I might
- Andy Lewis
Sorry it’s been so long since the last column, dear readers. I’ve been very busy these last couple weeks, doing things such as finishing up a book I’m writing, celebrating my birthday, and getting to see Heart and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts in concert. But I have returned to Trailer Trashin’, with our first look at the next James Bond movie, Spectre.
Premise: In the aftermath of the bombing of MI6, a cryptic message sets in motion events that will see James Bond (Daniel Craig) come face-to-face with a sinister organization known as Spectre. As Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), the newly-appointed M, continues fighting political pressures that threaten the future of MI6, Bond is drawn into a confrontation with an enemy who knows him better than he knows himself and holds a dangerous secret that will force Bond to question the value of everything he has fought to protect. »
- Timothy Monforton
The Film: Lousy, quite frankly. Throws away a brilliant premise and the best villain of the series. A decent if uninspiring first act slides into an utterly shambolic second. Clarity is left by the wayside, dignity jettisoned swiftly after. The Solex Agitator must be the dullest MacGuffin in cinema, the villain’s lair is a solar power plant operated by a single henchman (who looks highly unqualified in thermal energy). Potentially strong scenes are sabotaged by nonsensical additions: Goodnight in the wardrobe, the ‘whoop’ noise as the car corkscrews over the river.
The Villain: Destroys the received wisdom that a Bond film is measured by its antagonist. Were that the case, Golden Gun would be a stone cold classic. Francisco Scaramanga is the baddie benchmark. He is far more compelling »
Roger Moore takes over as James Bond 007 for Live And Let Die. And it might just be his best Bond outing...
This is the one where Bond does Blaxploitation. It's Roger’s debut. The One with All the Voodoo. Live And Let Die is memorable for numerous reasons. Great villains, the super-hot Solitaire, crocodiles and a distinct otherworldly flavour grant the film memorability: no small achievement when you’re the eighth child of 23. It’s nearly a classic, and certainly one of Moore’s best, but the final half hour falls a bit flat. Switch off after Bond’s Crocodile Dundee moment, just before the looooooooong boat chase. Avoid if easily offended by dubious racial politics. And sexual politics for that matter – but with Bond that’s kind of a given.
The Villain: Both ‘two-bit Island diplomat’ and Harlem gangster, Dr Kananga is a fine enemy for Moore to cut his teeth on. »
Spectre, the 24th film in the James Bond saga, is scheduled to hit theaters November 6th, and although the latest 007 flick is still in the midst of shooting, filmmakers unveiled a minute-long first look at what Daniel Craig's secret agent faces in the aftermath of Skyfall.
As the official 007 YouTube page explains, "A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind Spectre. »
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