James Bond Month – GoldenEye (1995)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: Jeffrey Caine, Bruce Feirstein (Screenplay) Michael France (Story)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Izabella Scorupco, Famke Janssen, Joe Don Baker, Judi Dench, Robbie Coltrane

 

Plot: James Bond teams up with the lone survivor of a destroyed Russian research center to stop the hijacking of a nuclear space weapon by a fellow Agent formerly believed to be dead.


Tagline – When the world is the target and the threat is real, you can still depend on one man. 

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Most Action Packed Bond

 

Story: GoldenEye starts with James Bond (Brosnan) joined by 006 Alec Trevelyan (Bean) on the latest mission, one that goes wrong, seeing Alec executed and James escaping. James starts his latest mission 9-years-later investigating a Georgian woman Xenia Onatopp (Janssen) who has connections to a criminal group operating in Russia.

When the group launch their first attack, James must search for the lone survive Natalya Simonova (Scorupco), first to find out what was being worked on in the apparent abandon satellite facility and soon stop an old friend that has changed sides.

 

Thoughts on GoldenEye

 

Characters – James Bond still sees himself, charming the ladies, completing the missions, enjoying a drink. This latest mission will see him come face to face with an old friend, which will see him face his toughest enemy, a man he once trusted. Alec Trevelyan is the fellow 00 agent who James believed died in action. He didn’t and now he has been working with the Russians to become richer than God (his words), he does hold a grudge against James, with this being a chance to kill two birds with one stone, he will become the most difficult enemy to face because of his knowledge of how James operates. Natalya works in the satellite facility, she becomes a target after not being killed, which makes her one of the few people in the world that could disarm the bomb that is being planned to be released. Xenia Onatopp is the henchwoman in this case, military trained, willing to kill anybody, she even enjoys killing her victims.

PerformancesPierce Brosnan in his first outing as Bond is great to watch, he mixes the charm of the most popular, with the action presence needing to make the character his own. Sean Bean brings us one of the best villains to the franchise, he makes his character feel like a try terrorist over super villain. Famke Janssen as the henchwoman is strong, she does make the character her own, but it is the lack of character behind Izabella Scorupco that struggles the most in this film.

StoryThe story here sees James take on one of his closest enemies, in Alec a former agent turned terrorist that is planning on sending England back to the stone age. This story does seem to bring everything into a more personal level for James, it feels fresh from the last few outings, it does have the longest gap between the film to date. We do seem to have the most realistic battle between hero and villain because Alec could easily be James himself if he was to turn, they know each other’s tricks. For me this is easily the most entertaining story we have seen, as we do start to lose some of he sexist behaviour James was known for.

Action/AdventureThe action in this film is easily the best the franchise has offered to date, we have the tank chase through St Petersburg before the train collision with a tank, even the fight sequences feel more intense in this film. The adventure takes James around the world once more, this time we go through Russia and Cuba to save the world.

SettingsThe settings takes us to the known locations we are used to seeing, this does however have one of the most memorable endings in any Bond film with the hidden satellite dish.


Scene of the Movie –
The old friend returns.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Alan Cumming’s generic Russian accent.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best Bond movie in the franchise to date, it has the most intense villain for James to face and a personal story for James to take on.

 

Overall: Pure action entertainment.

Rating

 

 

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James Bond Month – The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

Director: Guy Hamilton

Writer: Richard Maibaum, Tom Mankiewicz (Screenplay)

Starring: Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Maud Adams, Herve Villechaize, Clifton James

 

Plot: James Bond is led to believe that he is targeted by the world’s most expensive assassin while he attempts to recover sensitive solar cell technology that is being sold to the highest bidder.


Tagline – He never misses his target, and now his target is 007.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mostly Forgettable

 

Story: The Man with the Golden Gun starts when James Bond (Moore) is assigned to locate known assassin Francisco Scaramanga (Lee) who has personally set James a bullet with his name on. His investigation takes him to a bullet making who makes the golden bullets he is known for using.

James works with Mary Goodnight (Ekland) for the connection which takes him to his hideout on a mysterious island with Andrea Anders (Adams) leading him to the answers and a showdown with the deadly assassin.

 

Thoughts on The Man with the Golden Gun

 

Characters – James Bond is the secret service agent we know from the previous film, he continues to be the womaniser and prefers to work solo as he is trying to locate an assassin that has been paid to kill him, away from this we don’t learn much more about James. Francisco Scaramanga is the assassin that is assigned to kill Bond, he will only normally kill the people he has been hired to kill playing along with the honour of the kills, he is a man of myth who sees Bond as a great challenge. Mary Goodnight is the Bond girl that has been working on assignment in Thailand, she becomes the connection that helps with the case. Andrea Anders is the mistress that gets caught up in the middle of the twos battle.

PerformancesRoger Moore leads what is a very average set of performances who don’t get enough to do to make them standout, Moore tries to play this more serious and it doesn’t work. Christopher Lee is the highlight of the performances that makes us want to see more of his stories.

StoryThe story brings Bond on his latest mission where he must investigate an assassin that has been assigned to kill him. Now this does make the story feel more forgettable because it is just a villain who is searching for a challenge, rather than any criminal mastermind that wants to change the world. there is a weak subplot which focuses on the use of renewable energy which could have been a lot more important. Even though Scaramanga is an interesting villain the story just lacks pace to make us truly believe the world is in danger which is what we have gotten the chance to see in the previous film.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film does have a couple of good chase sequences which include car and boat ones, only the fights fall slightly flat. The adventure side of things does take Bond to a new country though it never feels like any of the previous life and death moments he has faced.

SettingsThe settings for the film bought to light one of the most beautiful location in the world, a prefect location for a hideout at the time.


Scene of the Movie –
Nik Nack’s bloody lust.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The American tourist that is racist towards the Thai will on holiday. Or that sound effect for the bridge jump.

Final ThoughtsWhile not bad or good, this is by far the first forgettable Bond movie to date.

 

Overall: Drags along too slowly.

Rating

 

 

James Bond Month – Goldfinger (1964)

Director: Guy Hamilton

Writer: Richard Maibaum, Paul Dehn (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, Gert Frobe, Shirley Eaton, Tania Mallet, Harold Sakata, Bernard Lee

 

Plot: Investigating a gold magnate’s smuggling, James Bond uncovers a plot to contaminate the Fort Knox gold reserve.

 

Tagline – Miss Honey and Miss Galore Have James Bond Back For More!

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable

 

Story: Goldfinger starts when James Bond (Connery) gets his latest assignment, to follow a mysterious man Goldfinger (Frobe) who has built up a reputation of dealing in gold, one that may well be illegal, James’ must get close and plays into his competitive nature before learning about his operation.

Being caught in the middle of solid dealings and annoying Goldfinger, Bond continues his investigation which shows us just how deadly Goldfinger’s henchman Oddjob (Sakata) is and how Goldfinger’s connection go worldwide.

 

Thoughts on Goldfinger

 

Characters – James Bond is the guy we know, he breaks into hotel rooms to sleep with women, uses his charm to seduce others. This time he starts his own investigation into a mysterious smuggler, getting up close and personal to him hoping to let the rest of team to follow the trails he leaves. Goldfinger is a competitive gold smuggler who has grabbed the attention of the governments across the globe, we learn early on that he will kill the people that cross him including leaving his trademark gold paint behind, his latest job will see him take on the world’s biggest gold reserve. Pussy Galore is a pilot that is instrumentally to Goldfinger’s plans which will includes her skill set. Oddjob is the henchman for Goldfinger, he uses his hat to kill people, making him one of the first and most memorable of all of the henchmen.

Performances –Sean Connery in the leading role once again is good for the most part, he has the charm needed for the whole film. Gert Frobe brings us a different type of villain to the franchise, he makes the character seem likable on the outside while having his motive kept below a smile. Honor Blackman does a solid job even if for some reason we get a total of three bond girls in this film. Harold Sakata brings us the first truly memorable henchman which soon became the key to the success of the Bond franchise.

StoryThe story here puts James Bond on his latest mission, this time there isn’t a connection to the previous two like the last two and this is refreshing because this being a solo story we get to see how James operates. The negatives in the story come from seeing him so close to the villain for most of the film with most of the film being him trying to get a message out about where he is. It is strange though because I did enjoy this one more than the last two because this is one that can be picked up without needing to see anything in the franchise before. Simply put this is one that can be enjoyed as a casual viewer because of how simple the story unfolds.

Action/AdventureThe action in this film does feel toned down from the previous films, simple enough action related material, while the adventure does take Bond around the world next to the Goldfinger.

SettingsWe get plenty of settings which all relate to the idea of where you would find gold, this is perfect for the idea the film is needed.


Scene of the Movie –
Oddjob.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The final twist

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the fun James Bond movies, it isn’t connected to the rest of the franchise which does help make it enjoyable.

 

Overall: Fun Bond movie.

Rating

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – G – The Ghost of Charnel House (2016)

Director: Craig Moss

Writer: Chad Israel, Emanuel Isler (Screenplay)

Starring: Callum Blue, Nadine Velazquez, Makenzie Moss, Erik LaRay Harvey, Alden Tab, Danielle Lauder

 

Plot: A long abandoned slaughterhouse is transformed into modern lofts in a re-gentrified urban neighborhood. Soon after tenants move in they are tormented by a dark secret that has been trapped in the building for over 30 years.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Horror

 

Story: The Ghost of Charnel House starts with Alex (Blue) and his wife Charlotte (Velazquez) turning the once abandoned former slaughterhouse into a modern day luxury apartment building, with the soft opening underway and the first few tenants moving in including Devin (Harvey), Emily (Lauder) and Jackson (Davies) everything seems to be going well.

It doesn’t take long before the past ghosts of the build start visiting Mia (Moss) the daughter of Alex and Charlotte, before long the whole house starts to receive visits from a spirit with unfinished business.

 

Thoughts on The Ghost of Charnel House

 

Characters – Alex Reaves is the man behind the refurbishment of the building, he sees this as a fresh start for his family which will give them financial support for life, he starts having visions which will bring the connection back to the previous owner. Charlotte is the artist and designer (I think she did this too) who has help turn the building into the apartments and soon becomes the one that needs to fight to keep her family together. Mia is the daughter of the couple who starts seeing the little boy haunting the building, treated like the imaginary friend for the most part, she has behavioural problems and follows in her mother’s artistic nature. Devin Pyles is the man that has a connection to the previous use of the building, he is here to investigate just what happened here and knows about the darker side of the building.

PerformancesCallum Blue in the leading role is fine without ever standing out in the leading role, which is going to be a theme when looking at the performances, nobody does anything to make themselves feel stand out in the film.

StoryThe story here follows the re-opening of an old slaughterhouse as luxury apartments, but the ghosts of the old building are still there haunting the people that move in. this does give us the limited characters as the building isn’t officially opened, but will let people move into the property they have purchased early, this helps the story because an over crowded building would have only dragged the film down. The story is trying to be clever with certain connections only to fall mostly short with this side of the story telling. Once you do work out where the story wants to go you will work out the ending pretty easily which again disappoints and as for the supporting characters they seem to have no connection to the actual hauntings and are here just to give us a body count.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from the ghost visits and the technology not following the rules it should be, again simple scares which don’t give us anything to be frightened off.

SettingsThe film is set in one house, we have an apartment building with history which gives us the haunting side of the film. it works well for the most part too.

Special EffectsThe effects are not over used, they are simple when needed but nothing that becomes clear to what is happening in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Butch the Yorkie.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pointless disposable supporting residents.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very simple horror, it does the basics right without ever being put in the position of being anything special or standout, nothing is terrible, it is just average throughout.

 

Overall: Average horror.

Rating

 

 

The Girl in the Spider’s Web (2018)

Director: Fede Alvarez

Writer: Jay Basu, Fede Alvarez, Steven Knight (Screenplay) David Lagercrantz (Novel)

Starring: Claire Foy, Beau Gadsdon, Sverrir Gudnason, LaKeith Standfield, Sylvia Hoeks, Carlotta von Falkenhayn, Stephen Merchant

Plot: Young computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist find themselves caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials.


Tagline – The Past Never Forgets

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Lifeless Thriller

Story: The Girl in the Spider’s Web starts as Lisbeth Salander (Foy) is still fighting the victims of abuse, showing she isn’t afraid to go after even the biggest targets. Lisbeth’s latest assignment from Frans Balder (Merchant) is to retrieve his firewall from Ed Needham (Stanfield).

When Lisbeth is targeted by the people she has stolen from, she must turn to Mikael Blomkvist (Gudnason) the only person she can trust to put the item back in the right hands, while getting involved with a deadly group known as ‘The Spiders’ which contains her long thought to be dead sister Camilla (Hoeks).

Thoughts on The Girl in the Spider’s Web

Characters – Lisbeth Salander is the famous hacker that will stand up against any man that is causing a woman abuse, she will leave her brand on them. She is called for difficult hacking jobs, which sees her take something from the Americans, this makes her a wanted suspect in Sweden and her on the run looking for answers to clear her name. Mikael Blomkvist is still the only person that Lisbeth will trust, he tries to operate from a distant and investigates the trust behind what is happening. Ed Needham is the American that has his system hacked, a government man, he heads to Sweden to get it back and finds nothing but barriers from the Swedish government. Camilla Salander is the long lost sister of Lisbeth, she thought to be dead, but now she is involved in a criminal gang known as The Spiders, targeting Lisbeth for what she wants.

PerformancesClaire Foy does feel mis-cast in this role, she doesn’t seem to have a tough enough look to make this character effect as the two previous stars. Sverrir Gudnason had large shoes to fill and he doesn’t do a strong enough job in the Mikael role, while Sylvia Hoeks does what she can with her role without being anything overly special, while LaKeith Stanfield doesn’t seem to feel like the character he is meant to be playing.

StoryThe story here is the fourth story in the Dragon Tattoo world, the second in English and is the first not written by the original author. We follow Lisbeth who once again finds herself needing to take on secret organisation that what something that could put the world in danger and this time it becomes more personal, with her sister being the enemy. This story does feel like it has borrowed from many other films and while it still puts Lisbeth is an anti-hero role, we only seem to find ourselves in one direction where Lisbeth is always one step ahead of everything happening, despite the fact we get to see just how twisted the Spiders are, it paints one image of them only to leave us facing a different softer enemy.

Action/CrimeThe action was pretty much all given away in the trailer, we have the motorbike chase across the ice, the car chases and shoot outs, each feels very similar and doesn’t have the suspense required in a thriller.

SettingsThe film does try to bring everything back to Lisbeth’s backstory with the settings showing the off the grid life she current lives compared to the one she could have lived, the snowy roads add a little to the chases, but not that much overall.


Scene of the Movie – Ice lake escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The Spider’s not hinting at wanting to do to what they did to the guy without a nose, to the new Lisbeth group.

Final Thoughts This does feel like a cash grab on a franchise that has never taken off on the American side of things, we get everything scaled back leaving us feeling disappointed by the end of the film.

Overall: No thrills to be seen here.