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James Bond Movie Month(s)

#12 on my Day Zero Project is to watch all of the James Bond movies.  I haven’t seen that many of the old ones.  Thankfully, we own all of them.  I insisted that we watch them chronologically with regard to release date.  Originally this was going to take place during the month of January.  As you can see, that just didn’t happen.  And so James Bond Movie January became James Bond Movie Months.  Instead of full reviews of each movie, I’m just going to list, comment, and rate them.  All in all, it was an enjoyable time watching Bond through the years.

  1. Dr. No (1962) — Set in Jamaica.  A great introduction to Bond and Mr. Connery.  Of course there are cheesy lines and improbably circumstances.  But I love all of it.  Extra points for Dr. No’s unbelievably amazing island lair.  And that Ursula Andress, too perfect to look at. 5/5
  2. From Russia with Love (1963) — Set in Istanbul.  This one was more political and full of intrigue than the big action sequences.  There are action sequences, just not as many as Dr. No.  I really liked the slower pace and more twists and turns of this one.  5/5
  3. Goldfinger (1964) — Ohhhh… definitely a fun movie.  Great lines.  A great villan.  Even a great Bond girl.  Definitely one of my favorites. 5/5
  4. Thunderball (1965) — Not my favorite Bond movie.  Two bright spots: Bond villan Fiona and the big underwater fight scene at the end.  It’s a bit ridiculous and not really practical, but crazy enough to fit into a Bond film.  Love it!  4/5
  5. You Only Live Twice (1967) — Set in Japan.  Volcano lair!  Awesome!  And we get Blofeld.  My only complaint is the women.  They try to not be eye candy, but it ends badly.  4/5
  6. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) — So incredibly cheesy.  Definitely not my favorite.  I doubt this is even going in the top 10.  3/5
  7. Diamonds are Forever (1971) — Loving this one…  Something about the plot or maybe the characters that I really enjoyed.  5/5
  8. Live and Let Die (1973) — The first Roger Moore Bond movie.  I love how he plays Bond, much suaver than Connery.  And yes, this really is the best theme song.  5/5
  9. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) — Really loving the Roger Moore Bond.  He has a way of saying the cheesiest, creepiest lines and somehow they come off sexy.  Love it!  This one was great mostly because of Christopher Lee as the villain.  I could have done without Goodnight.  5/5
  10. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) — Definitely not my favorite… there’s just something about it (maybe too cheesy) that didn’t sit right with me.  The only redeeming parts were Jaws and the giant aquarium set.   3/5
  11. Moonraker (1979) — Loved it!!!  So cheesy, but in a very good way.  And that space battle at the end was to die for.  And we get Jaws and the villan is uber evil.  5/5
  12. For Your Eyes Only (1981) — This one just didn’t do anything for me.  No giant villain lair.  No great one liners.  A pretty boring Bond girl.  The only bright spot in this one was Topol.  Even Bond was looking a little old and tired.  It was 81, so we get some horrendous fashions.  The nail in the coffin: the horrible Sheena Easton theme song; definitely one of the worst. 2/5
  13. Octopussy (1983) — Bond’s looking a bit old, but overall I like this movie.  The mystery woman is intriguing for a little while, but then she just feels flat.  And the chase through the Indian marketplace is too amusing.  3/5
  14. A View to a Kill (1985) — A fitting end for Roger Moore as Bond.  I loved the Duran Duran theme song.  Christopher Walken and Grace Jones as the villans were perfect.  And the final showdown on top of the Golden Gate bridge was full of suspense.  Extra bonus points for the “Bond drives an odd vehicle for the chase” scene was in a fire engine.  5/5
  15. The Living Daylights (1987) — Our first Timothy Dalton.  And I must agree with J on this one: I like the dialogue but the stunts are way too cheesy.  Dalton plays Bond a lot harsher than Moore, more like Connery. 4/5
  16. License to Kill (1989) — Uber cheesy Timothy Dalton.  I just couldn’t take this one at all.  Glad we’ve moved on to something better.  2/5
  17. GoldenEye (1995) — Ohhh  Pierce..  Good but not quite as good as some of the others.  Although I really do enjoy this one.  And Sean Bean dies, who would have guessed?  Although I must agree with J that 006 would never have been a double agent.  5/5
  18. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) — Not as awesome as GoldenEye, but a respectable showing for Bond.  I love Christopher Price as a villain.  He has the right mix of crazy and evil genius.  And Teri Hatcher isn’t bad as a Bond girl (probably because she gets killed fairly quickly in the movie).  But the best part of the movie is the soundtrack.  I love it!  5/5
  19. The World is Not Enough (1999) — The opening action sequence is just great fun, but then the movie starts to go downhill.  Once I started to suspect Elektra King, I just lost complete interest in the movie.  And then we get the introduction of Christmas Jones.  Ugh!  3/5
  20. Die Another Day (2002) — Once again, the opening action in North Korea is just beautiful.  The pacing is great.  The character are fun.  And more than anything, it’s believable.  The sword fight with Gustav (Toby Stephens — forever my Mr. Rochester) is a lot of fun.  Unfortunately the rest of the storyline is just blah.  I couldn’t really get into it.  An invisible car!  Just kill me now, please. One upside: the use of The Clash’s “London Calling” was just a great bit of fun. 4/5
  21. Casino Royale (2006) — Goodness I so love this one.  Craig has the best mix of sauve and rugged sides.  I usually don’t like the Bond girls, but Vesper is a different sort of character.  Overall the movie has great pacing and action sequences.  The addition of Felix is a nice reminder of the old movies.  And the opening credits are just amazing. But the best part is the black and white opening sequence.  5/5
  22. Quantum of Solace (2008) — At first I didn’t think I would like the “starting right where the last one left off” timeline, but this made sense with who Craig’s Bond is.  I loved seeing Matthas and Felix yet again.  Fields is just annoying, but she serves her purpose and dies.  I do love the idea of an out of control Bond.  Very nice. 5/5
  23. Skyfall (2012) — Looking forward to this one…
My Bond rankings:
  1. Sean Connery
  2. Daniel Craig
  3. Roger Moore
  4. Pierce Brosnen
  5. Timothy Dalton
  6. George Lazenby

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Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Day Zero Project, Movies

 

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A to Z Movies: Star Trek

Title: Star Trek

Year Released/Rating: 2009 PG-13

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Leonard Nimoy

Directed By: J.J. Abrams

Written By: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Gene Roddenberry

Star Rating:  /5 stars

Trivia: The film’s teaser trailer (welders working on the half-built Enterprise starship, amidst narration from U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Leonard Nimoy’s Mr Spock) was personally directed by J.J. Abrams. Real welders were brought in to film the trailer. The words of Spock and Kennedy were taken from the 1960s (the decade where Star Trek began) and thus linked past and present, enhancing the film (as well as hinting at the time-travel). According to Roberto Orci, Kennedy’s words were also chosen as he was the one who started the “space race,” and so would be appropriate for a space film: “If we’re going to have a Federation, it makes sense for Kennedy and his words to be in there.”

Extra Trivia: To prepare for his role as Captain James Kirk, Chris Pine watched classic episodes and read encyclopedias about the Star Trek universe. However, his research was rudimentary, as he wanted his performance to be original and not an imitation of William Shatner. He based his performance on Tom Cruise’s Maverick and Harrison Ford’s Han Solo and Indiana Jones, heroes who Pine felt possessed the archetypal hero qualities Kirk has (humour, arrogance, decisiveness).

Once again we skipped Q for the next letter.  And this time we went for action.  I love J.J. Abram’s re-imagination of the Star Trek universe.  It’s fresh without compromising the original tv show and movies.  I especially love Chris Pine’s Kirk.  He plays it as that arrogant bastard that somehow you still like.  It’s a perfect fit.  I also love the little nods here and there to the original.  It has a nice nostalgic nod.  As much as I like this one, I am concerned about the sequel being planned.  J.J. Abrams doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to continuations  He has great ideas, but then makes the show more complicated and confusing.  Hopefully he has good people to help guide the sequel.

P.S. This also appears on IMDB’s Top 250 movies list.  So it’s counting for my Day Zero Project also.

Best Bits:

Christopher Pike: I’m Captain Christopher Pike. To whom am I speaking?
Nero: Hi, Christopher. I’m Nero.
~~

James T. Kirk: So what type of combat training do you have?

Hikaru Sulu: Fencing.

~~
Spock volunteers for what could be a suicide mission] I’m coming with you.
Spock: I would cite regulation, but I know you will simply ignore it.
James T. Kirk: See? We are getting to know each other.
James T. Kirk: [slaps his shoulder]
~~
Christopher Pike: Russian whizkid, what’s your name? Chanko? Cherpov?
Pavel Chekov: Ensign Chekov, Pavel Andreievich, sir.
~~
Christopher Pike: Be careful with the ship Spock, it’s brand new…
~~
Spock: Under penalty of court martial, I order you to explain to me how you were able to beam aboard this ship while moving at warp.
Scotty: Well…
James T. Kirk: Don’t answer him.
Spock: You will answer me.
Scotty: [pause] I’d rather not take sides.
~~
Spock: Get him off this ship.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2011 in Day Zero Project, Movies

 

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A to Z Movies: Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Title: Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Year Released/Rating: 2005 PG-13

Starring: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Vince Vaughn, Adam Brody

Directed By: Doug Liman

Written By: Simon Kinberg

Star Rating:  4/5 stars

Trivia: When Jane is going to her first shown kill, she correctly answers a question from the quiz show Jeopardy!. This was unscripted and spur of the moment on the part of Jolie.

Extra Trivia: When the Smiths are holding hostage “The Tank”,Adam Brody’s character, he is wearing a t-shirt from the 1999 “Fight Club” movie,in which Brad Pitt played one of his most well known roles,Tyler Durden.

J’s pick tonight.  I voted for lighter action.  Something not too serious, but with some good dialogue and action sequences.  And we picked Mr. and Mrs. Smith.  I especially love the dialogue and looks in this movie.  Jolie and Pitt have an awesome way of communicating without speaking.  I love it!  And we get Vince Vaughn popping in here and there h some great lines.  Overall, a good fun lighter action film.

Best Bits: 

Eddie: Tell me you got smart and that you killed that lying bitch.
Jane Smith: This lying bitch?
Eddie: Guess that was just wishful thinking.
~~
John Smith: [angry that Benjamin had blown their cover] You burn the picture after you get the assignment! It’s the first thing you learn!
Benjamin: Oh, I must have missed that day. Just like you missed the one about not marrying the enemy.
~~
John Smith: Web of lies!
~~
John Smith: [just before running over an assassin with the minivan] These fuckers get younger every year.
~~
Jane Smith: Any last words?
John Smith: The new curtains are hideous.
~~
Martin Coleman: Shame about the red oak.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in Movies

 

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A to Z Movies: Jurassic Park

Title: Jurassic Park

Year Released/Rating: 1993 PG-13

Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

Directed By: Steven Spielberg

Written By: Michael Crichton and David Koepp

Star Rating:   4.5 /5 stars

Trivia: When the T-Rex comes through the glass roof of the Explorer in the first attack, the glass was not meant to break, producing the noticeably genuine screams from the children.

Extra Trivia: The full-sized animatron of the tyrannosaurus rex weighed about 13,000 to 15,000 pounds. During the shooting of the initial T-rex attack scene that took place in a downpour and was shot on a soundstage, the latex that covered the T-rex puppet absorbed great amounts of water, making it much heavier and harder to control. Technicians worked throughout the night with blow driers trying to dry the latex out. Eventually, they suspended a platform above the T-rex, out of camera range, to keep the water off it during filming.

I remember seeing this in the theater and being scared out of my mind.  I didn’t even read the book until later.  And once I did read it, I realized that the book is even scarier.  It’s still one of my favorite films from my preteen years.

The opening scene is just fantastic.  There’s no explanation.  No exposition.  Just action.  We see an encounter with one of the dinos, we don’t really know which one, and the tragic results.  Obviously if we pay attention later in the movie we know that the accident happened at the Raptor cage.  Just a great establishment of tone for the rest of the movie.  Once our scientists get to the island, everything seems nice and happy.  But we should all be remembering the opening scene.  It’s just great.  And the score!  Oh the score!  It’s just amazing.  My favorite scene has to be with the initial encounter with the T-rex.  The rain, the mud, the Jeeps, the kids.  All so very scary.  Overall, I love it!

Best Bits: Almost all of them come from Malcolm… no surprise here.

Dr. Alan Grant: Oh my God. Do you know what this is? This is a dinosaur egg. The dinosaurs are breeding.
~~
John Hammond: All major theme parks have had delays. When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked!
Dr. Ian Malcolm: But, John. If the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists.
~~
Dr. Ian Malcolm: Anybody hear that? It’s a, um… It’s an impact tremor, that’s what it is… I’m fairly alarmed here.
~~
Dr. Ian Malcolm: Remind me to thank John for a lovely weekend.
~~
Dr. Ian Malcolm: God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs…
Dr. Ellie Sattler: Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth…
~~
Dr. Ian Malcolm: But again, how do you know they’re all female? Does someone gone into the park and, uh… pull up the dinosaurs’ skirts?
Henry Wu: No, we control their chromosomes. It’s really not that difficult. All vertebrate embryoes are inherently female anyway. They just require an extra hormone given at the right developmental stage to make them male. We simply deny them that.
~~
Dr. Alan Grant: [holding a newly-hatched Dinosaur in his hands] What species is this?
Henry Wu: It’s uh, a velociraptor.
Dr. Alan Grant: [in disbelief] You bred raptors?
~~
Tim: [after the tour car falls upside down on them at the bottom of the tree] Well… we’re back… in the car again.
Dr. Alan Grant: Well, at least you’re out of the tree.
~~
Dr. Ian Malcolm: If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it’s that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, expands to new territories, and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, ah, well, there it is.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Movies

 

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A to Z Movies: Iron Man

Title: Iron Man

Year Released/Rating: 2008 PG-13

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Terrance Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow

Directed By: Jon Favreau

Written By: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby

Star Rating:   5/5 stars

Trivia: The script was not completely prepared when filming began, since the filmmakers were more focused on the story and the action, so the dialogue was mostly ad-libbed throughout filming; Jon Favreau acknowledged this made the film feel more natural. Some scenes were shot with two cameras to capture lines improvised on the spot;Robert Downey Jr. would ask for many takes of one scene since he wanted to try something new. Gwyneth Paltrow, on the other hand, had a difficult time trying to match Downey with a suitable line, as she never knew what he would say.

Extra Trivia: Agent Phil Coulson repeatedly states he is a member of the ‘Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division’ (finally shortening it to SHIELD). In the comics, the SHIELD agency originally stood for the ‘Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage/Law-Enforcement Division’, then in 1991 was revised to the ‘Strategic Hazard Intervention/Espionage Logistics Directorate’.

Tonight I wanted some action and not a quirky comedy.  We chose between Indiana Jones (my pick: The Last Crusade) and Iron Man.  Obviously we went with Iron Man.  I think the main reason I love this movie is Robert Downey Jr.  He is Tony Stark.  He’s not an actor playing Tony Stark.  He really is Tony Stark.  In interviews Robert Downey Jr.further described his portrayal of Stark as “a challenge of making a wealthy, establishmentarian, weapons-manufacturing, hard-drinking, womanizing prick into a character who is likable and a hero.”  That’s it, right there.  He’s an asshole, you want to hate him, and yet you still really root for him.  And speaking of, Jeff Bridges is the ultimate villain.  He’s that slimy businessman that runs a bit of double dealing on the side.  He’s making you money, but also has higher aspirations.  Watch out for him!  So nicely done.  I really appreciated it.  Especially since Mickey Rourke’s villan in Iron Man 2 is so week.  At least Justin Hammer is fun to watch.  Definitely my favorite of the Avengers movies so far.

Best Bits: 

Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts: [walking in on Stark’s robots trying to get him out of the Iron Man suit] What is going on here?
Tony Stark: Let’s face it, this is not the worst thing you’ve caught me doing.
Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts: Are those bullet holes?
~~
Tony Stark: [reading the newspaper] “Iron Man”. That’s kind of catchy. It’s got a nice ring to it.
~~
Tony Stark: Give me a scotch. I’m starving.
~~
Tony Stark: Hmmm. Your eyes are red. Tears for your long lost boss?
Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts: Tears of joy. I hate job hunting.
Tony Stark: Yeah, well, vacation’s over.
~~
Agent Phil Coulson: I’m Agent Phil Coulson with the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.
Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts: That’s quite a mouthful.
Agent Phil Coulson: I know. We’re working on it.
~~
Agent Phil Coulson: This isn’t my first rodeo, Mr. Stark.
~~
Obadiah Stane: [discussing the company’s future with Tony] We’re iron mongers, we make weapons.
~~
Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts: Agent Coulson, I just wanted to say thank you very much for all of your help.
Agent Phil Coulson: That’s what we do. You’ll be hearing from us.
Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts: From the Strategic Homeland…
Agent Phil Coulson: [interrupting] Just call us SHIELD.

 

 

 


 
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Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Movies

 

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A to Z Movies: The Fifth Element

Title: The Fifth Element

Year Released/Rating: 1997 PG-13

Starring: Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman, Ian Holm, Chris Tucker

Directed By: Luc Besson

Written By: Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen

Star Rating:   4 /5 stars

Trivia: The language spoken by Leeloo was invented by director Luc Besson and further refined by Milla Jovovich. By the end of filming they were able to have full conversations in this language.

So F…  Hmm… We definitely have an odd collection of movies for F.  We sat there for about 5 minutes, I narrowed it down to three, J picked The Fifth Element out of that.  I think it partly has to do with the fact that over dinner we were talking about how many bad movies were made in the 1990s.  There are quite a load of them.  And we happened to pick a good 90s movie for our pick tonight.

You have to take this movie with a bit of camp.  Don’t take it too seriously or it comes off as seriously cheesy.  That’s why I like it so much.  A fun campy action film.  Complete with cheesy Bruce Willis lines and Chris Tucker being, well, Chris Tucker.  My favorite part has to be all the parallel shots.  We get the fight scene between Leelo and the nasties going on at the same time as Zorg is infiltrating the ship and Korben is watching the opera.  There are others, but that sequence is my favorite.  I just love the cuts in that scene.

Best Bits: 

Priest Vito Cornelius: You’re a monster, Zorg.
Zorg: I know.
~~
[Father Cornelius and Ruby Rhod see the bomb stuck to the door]
Priest Vito Cornelius: It’s a – it’s a – it’s a – it’s a – it’s a – it’s a…
DJ Ruby Rhod: No no no no no no. ‘Cuz if it was a bomb, the alarms would go off ‘cuz all these hotels have bomb detectors, right?
[the alarms sound]
~~
Korben Dallas: Whoa, lady, I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
[Leeloo continues to talk in divine language]
Korben Dallas: Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for conversation, but maybe you could just shut up for a moment?
~~
Korben Dallas: What’s your name?
Leeloo: Leeloo Minai Lekarariba-Laminai-Tchai Ekbat De Sebat.
Korben Dallas: Good. That… that whole thing’s your name, huh? Do you have, uh… a shorter name?
Leeloo: Leeloo.

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Movies

 

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A to Z Movies: Die Hard 4

Title:  Die Hard 4: Live Free or Die Hard

Year Released/Rating: 2007 PG-13

Starring: Bruce Willis, Justine Long, Timothy Olyphant, Maggie Q, Kevin Smith

Directed By: Len Wiseman

Written By: Mark Bomback, David Marconi, John Carlin, Roderick Thorp

Star Rating:   4 /5 stars

Trivia: When introduced to an agent Johnson, McClane says: “Johnson, again?”, a nod to the two agents Johnson in Die Hard, despite the fact that McClane and the two agents Johnson never spoke or met face to face.

J’s choice tonight.  I was learning towards Dogma or Dark City.  He suggested Dave or Die Hard.  So we went with Die Hard.  It’s been awhile since I’ve seen this installment.  Probably since it came out…  I’m almost always up for some good action film and this hit the spot.  I especially love Timothy Olyphant. He always play the creepy bad guy, but also the suave, could possibly be charming, bad guy.  Amazing!  And the stunts are fantastic.  The entire sequence in the refrigeration thing (towards the end) is just impossible.  And that guy, Rand, does almost all his stunts without wires.  That’s just crazy!

Best Bits: 

Matt Farrell: You just killed a helicopter with a car!
John McClane: I was out of bullets.
Matt Farrell:[to Lucy] Wow, I know that tone. It’s just weird hearing it come from someone… with hair.
John McLane [covering the webcam] You think you can, uh, find a track where he is?
Thomas Gabriel: Detective, covering the camera with your hand does not turn off the microphone.
[after the presidential montage]
Casper:That was creepy.
Trey: I tried to find more Nixon.
Thomas Gabriel: McClane? I thought I killed you already.
John McClane:  I get that sometimes.
John McClane: I know I’m not as smart as you guys with all this computer shit. But, hey… I’m still alive, ain’t I? I mean, you’ve *got* to be running out of bad guys by now, right? Huh? Gabriel? Honestly, you can tell me. I mean, how does that work? Got some kind of service or something? Some kind of 800 number? 1-800-HENCHMEN? Oh, you know what? I bet you’re still on hold with, “Can I get another dead Asian hooker bitch over here right away?”
[from the unrated version]
Matt Farrell: You just killed a helicopter with a car!
John McClane: Hundreds of thousands of people get killed by cars every year. That’s just like four more.
[after Lucy struggles and shoots Emerson in the foot]
Thomas Gabriel:  Jesus Christ. You got her?
[Emerson nods]
Thomas Gabriel: You’re sure? It’s a nice effort, though.

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2011 in Movies

 

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