Reviews written by registered user
|9 reviews in total|
Yeah- right. Let's face it folks. Generation X may be the largest generation
in existence at the moment, which means that for most of us, our first James
Bond experience was with Mr. Roger Moore. And of course, this would imply
that this second rate actor with the aged pretty boy face will always hold a
special place in our hearts- I know he does with me. BUT- Out of all the
Bonds- and I do mean all of them- Moore comes in behind everyone except
"Jimmy Bond" (played by WOODY ALLEN in "Casino Royale") and the trained
seals with the "007" tag on the collar around their necks, also in "Casino
Now don't get me wrong- "The Spy Who Loved Me", along with "For Your Eyes
Only" and "Octopussy" are among the best of the series- but this is proof
that, like Batman, the actor playing Bond is not as important as the
character himself. A good choice for the character only enhances the role.
TSWLM is, as has been pointed out, sort of a cinematic "Greatest Hits" album with alot of derivative action. The train fight with Jaws is derivative of the fight with Tee-Hee in "Live And Let Die", which was, itself, derivative of the classic, the train fight with Grant in "From Russia With Love". The giant lair for the villan, along with the basic plot of the film and particularly the last 30 minutes, is a total re-hash (almost a re-make) of "You Only Live Twice", right down to "Little Nellie" being replaced with "Wet Nellie"and the inclusion of a monorail in the villain's hideout, etc.
Moore, by this time, had "grown" into the part of Bond, at least his interpretation of it. His quips range from the inane- "All those feathers and he still can't fly!" to the very clever- "What a helpful chap." He even is forced to act in a few scenes- when Anya makes mention of his dead wife and when Anya realizes that he's reponsible for the death of her lover. His performance ranks just behind "FYEO" and "Octopussy", which tie as his pinnacle in the films. Barbara Bach makes a perfect "New Style" Bond girl, appropriately vulnerable, yet self-reliant and tough enough to get the job done, albeit with some misogynistic help from 007. Of course, as MAD Magazine said of another Bond Girl, her acting talent lays somewhere between "Erik Estrada and a Gravy Ladle", but who cares? She's got great cleavage, and she looked positively smashing in that black evening gown in the Mujaba Club Sequence. Lastly, I just want to comment on something that some previous reviewers have mentioned. The argue that they like their Bond with a proper English accent, rather than Connery's Scottish burr or Lazenby's perceived Australian accent (which is, in truth, totally non-existent) but the truth of the matter is- JAMES BOND IS NOT ENGLISH!!!!! According to his creator, Ian Fleming, 007's Father was, in fact, A SCOTSMAN! Therefore, Connery is the only Bond so far that at least sounds like one might think Bond sounds like. So everyone get off your high horse on the English James Bond (aka the poncy, poofy, pretty-boy fop) James Bond was, as he himself stated in one of the novels, a Scottish Peasant!
I first saw this film while taking a class in European Cinema when I was in film school. It's a charming story about a group of young boys in a small French city, their ages ranging from nine to fourteen- just about the time that boys begin to notice girls, particularly the older ones. The film follows the boys for their summer while they, in turn, follow around a pretty young lady whom they all have crushes on. It isn't until the end of the film, when her boyfriend returns home that they see her as something less than a goddess, but still something more than human. The film has a number of memorable scenes, but the most memorable one is when the boys follow her as she rides her bicycle to a nearby lake. She parks the bicycle near some trees, and goes down to the lake for a swim. Instead of the expected action, which would be to hide in the bushes and watch as she swims, the boys do something much more enterprising and considerably more satisfying- they line up, and one by one, bow their faces to the bicycle's seat and take a long, luxuriant SMELL of the seat that the girl (In a skirt) was just sitting on! Classic Turffaut, definitely worth watching if you can find it.
Better Than "Enter The Dragon"? Well, no. But otherwise the best martial arts movie ever made? Well, yes. Sonny Chiba plays the "In it for the cash anti-hero with a strict personal code of conduct" to the hilt, and while his actual acting talent is somewhat lacking, this isn't the kind of movie where it matters. My only complaint with the movie is his deep breathing "Chi" exercises. You can't tell if he's getting focused, choking on a piece of sushi, or hawking up phlem to spew at his attackers. Favorite part- right after Terry and Ratface's car is dropped off the bridge, Terry commences to beating the holy crap out of two guys, and after getting one of them on his knees, he punches him directly in the top of the head- and it smash-cuts to an X-RAY VIEW of the dude's head getting bashed in! Then it cuts back to the actual shot of the guy, who spews a mouthful of that wonderfully fake-looking Japanese stage blood. As Christian Slater said in "True Romance" when asked if Sonny Chiba was the good guy- "Well, he's not so much the good guy as he is just a bad mother-fu**er."
I first saw this film back when I was twelve. I was enjoying a sleep-over party at my house, and the best part about them wasn't just having friends over, but being able to stay up watching TV til all hours. I dozed off around midnight, awoke at about 1:30AM, and switched channels- and who do I see but Clint Eastwood and Mary Ure leaning out of the back of a bullet-riddled bus firing Schmeisser machine pistols at the SS! With that, and the remaining ten minutes of screen time, this actually became one of my favorite movies ever. It was three more years before I caught it again (remember, this was the early 80's, and even WITH cable, there were only 25 or 30 channels)and viewing it in it's entirety only solidified my love for this film. Along with "Enter The Dragon", this film determined the course of action films for the next 25+ years. Great Stuff!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ok- first, as mentioned in another review, the geographic/historical errors in this film are GLARING. You've got men carrying revolvers that look like old style cap-and-ball pistols, but they're loading them with metallic cartridges- historically about five years early. Eastwood carries a rifle that hasn't been invented yet, Tuco assembles a "superpistol" out of a Colt, a Remington, and a Smith and Wesson- impossible. And there was nothing of merit taking place between the North and South during the Civil War in the Southwest. Now, that aside, I must say that this is the Greatest western ever. I first saw this film when I was about ten. I'd never sat through an entire Western befor, even though my Dad watched them constantly. Since then, I've been through film school, watched hundreds of Westerns, learned to appreciate them- but NOTHING matches up to this. The Searchers, Stagecoach, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, The Gunfighter, High Noon, Shane- all great films, but saddled with the standard American Western morality- the good guy never takes liberties with the eastern schoolmarm, the bad guy wears a black hat, etc. Coming from Italy, TG,TB &TU isn't bound by these conventions. Blondie's the "good guy"- but he's also a bounty hunter. He makes a living in a highly immoral way, but is obviously the "good"- not because we're told, but from small acts- giving the dying soldier a cigar, making sure the Captain knows to hold on till he hears the bridge blow, the genuine regret he feel for having to let Shorty die. And while Angel Eyes may be the Bad, we at least know he has prinicpals- when he's hired for a job, he always sees the job through. And Tuco may be more immoral than the other two, but he's so savvy and his role so humorous that one can't bring oneself to look upon him disfavorably. In other words, historical inaccuracies aside, TG, TB, & TU maybe one of the most accurate portrayals of the West ever put on film- there are no clear-cut lines of conduct, no black and white, or even grey, but just a swirled palette of various facets of the human condition.
This is the kind of film that, once you finish it, you're afraid that, because it's subtitled, not many people will see it due to the seemingly inherent laziness of the general viewing public. It's disturbing, because I left this film wanting to tell everyone I knew to go see it immediately. Fortunately, credit was given where it was due in this case, and the film got the sort of exposure that no other foreign film has gotten in my memory (I'm 28.) This is not the best film I've ever seen- that honor is still held by The Godfather. It's not the best foreign film I've ever seen- that would be Kurosawa's "Ran". It's not even the best Italian film I've ever seen- I still hold up Fellini's "La Dolce Vita". But it is, without a doubt, a great film. Begnini has a gift for comedic pathos that was previously the sole possession of the late, great Charlie Chaplin. People who profess a problem with the "realism" of the concentration camp need only take two things into account- 1.- Have they ever even seen pictures of newsreels of any camps in Italy? I know I haven't- they were always the Polish ones. 2.- The realistic, accurate depiction of concentration camp life is not the point of this film- if that's what you're after, try "Holocaust", "Sophie's Choice", or "Escape From Sobibor" to name only a few. In this case, the story's the thing- a man who so loved his son, and wanted him to feel safe, is able to convince him that the whole situation in the camp is a game. Take the realistic depiction of the camps and the realistic depiction of the settings with a grain of salt and you'll enjoy the film a whole lot more.
Robot Monster, EEEGAH!, Plan 9 From Outer Space, The Terror of Tiny Town, 2000 Maniacs, Feast of Blood, and(with the exception of the classic "Them!"), every giant bug movie ever made- high cinema- the pinnacle of film achievement- as long as you're comparing it to Torgo and the Gang from "Manos- The Hands of Fate". Kudos to the brilliant minds at Best Brains for unearthing this turd and smearing it all over MST3K. Now if we could only get them to re-bury it where they found it.
When this movie was first released, I was living in Memphis, Tennessee, not exactly the most cine-literate city in the world, and it was only showing at one theatre in town- luckily, it was right next door to where I worked. I decided to see the late show one night after work, and was so totally blown away that I saw it every night for the next four days, in one case even getting off work early to catch it. As the first directorial outing for Kenneth Branagh, it must surely rank among the most impressive directorial debuts in history. I don't feel that I'd be overstating my point to say that not since Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" was a directorial debut so impressive. From Derek Jacobi's brilliant opening soliloquy as The Chorus to the climactic battle sequence and the following sequence of King Henry's surveying of the carnage on the battlefield, this is a film that never lags, owing to Branagh's willingness to excise certain sequences that don't translate well to film- a move that Olivier was unwilling to make for his production of Henry V back in the 40's. This film totally altered the way I thought of Shakespeare- I went from looking at a Shakespearean work as being full of literary merit, but of dubious entertainment value. However, after this film, and followed soon after by "Hamlet" with Mel Gibson and "Prospero's Books" with Sir John Gielgud, I came to realize the full entertainment value of Shakespearean story, long before the recent Shakespeare explosion brought on by the Romeo and Juliet music video with Leonardo DeCaprio.
Okay. Batman rocked. Batman Returns- The darkest of the series, the truest to the original character, and the pinnacle of the series. Batman Forever- Great villains, even though they were over the top (The Riddler) or under-used (Two Face). Interesting change for the character, using Val Kilmer, but even more unbelievable than Michael Keaton. All in all, an average film, a good way to spend an afternoon. Batman & Robin- Well, they used all the really cool (No pun intended) villains from the comics already, and killed off half of them. So they used Poison Ivy, a largely unknown member of the Batman Villain Canon, Mister Freeze and newcomer Bane. They all sucked. At least we can all breathe a sigh of relief that they can't possibly make anymore in this series without bringing back good characters (The Riddler, Catwoman). I mean, really- who else is left? King Tut? Louie The Lilac? Egghead? My advice- put Tim Burton on an exclusive five picture contract for whatever amount of money he wants and start turning the Frank Miller Graphic novels (Batman- Year one; Batman- Night of the Demon, Batman- The dark Knight returns, etc.) into films.