James Bond Month – Licence to Kill (1989)

Director: John Glen

Writer: Michael G Wilson, Richard Maibaum (Screenplay)

Starring: Timothy Dalton, Carey Lowell, Robert Davi, Talisa Soto, Anthony Zerbe, Frank McRae

 

Plot: James Bond goes rogue and sets off to unleash vengeance on a drug lord who tortured his best friend, a C.I.A. Agent, and left him for dead and murdered his bride after he helped capture him.


Tagline – Out for revenge. Glimpse behind the cool facade of 007. And see how sweet revenge can really be.

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Most Serious Bond?

 

Story: Licence to Kill starts when known drug lord Franz Sanchez (Davi) is captured on Felix’s (Hedison) wedding day, being transferred to prison, he escapes and gets his revenge torturing him, leaving him for dead. James Bond (Dalton) one of the best men finds him and goes in search for Sanchez.

James having his licence to kill revoked, goes rogue in hi vengeance as he looks to eliminate anybody who was involved in the attack on Felix working with his partner Pam (Lowell).

 

Thoughts on Licence to Kill

 

Characters – James Bond is seeing his good friend Felix get married, only for the day to be shattered by a drug lord, James wants revenge and hands in his licence to kill in an attempt the man responsible, going rogue from his majesty’s secret service. This is a raw version of James that will go to all lengths to get revenge instead of justice. Pam is one of the people that works with Felix, she teams up with James to get the job done, being his only friend in the mission. Franz Sanchez is the ruthless drug lord that kills anybody that crosses him, trying to control his women Lupe, this is his weakness and has gotten him caught in the past. Lupe is the girl on Franz’s arm, its not where she wants to be, it’s the only place she is allowed to be, whenever she tries to leave he will beat her.

PerformancesTimothy Dalton might be an underrated Bond really, I have never considered him one of the best, but here he gets the most serious performance required in the franchise.  Carey Lowell gets to become one of the strong Bond girls, while Robert Davi makes for one of the scariest villains in the franchise, one not after world domination. Talisa Soto completes the main cast with her role that must play both sides.

StoryThe story here takes James rogue in a revenge mission against the drug lord that tortured his best friend. This story feels more serious, which is wonderful to see, we break certain rules set up in the previous film, like the way Bond girls are treated, we see Bond go completely against the rules of his licence in a personal vendetta over a mission. This rawer feeling Bond movie brings us into a new light which is enjoyable to watch because it doesn’t just follow the same predictable formula and feels like James has a life away from the secret agent field.

Action/AdventureThe action is more restrained, with them being more of a fight to remain undercover almost stealth like, until the final act where we get the big sequence. The adventure takes James across the border of the law to get the job done this time.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show where drug lords would operate with their newest idea to get away with their crimes.


Scene of the Movie –
Pop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It can be too serious in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is the most serious Bond film to date, it takes things in a different direction and makes us believe Bond to be a real person who would be after revenge.

 

Overall: The most improved Bond.

Rating

 

 

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Little Monsters (2019) Movie Review

Director: Abe Forsythe

Writer: Abe Forsythe (Screenplay)

Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Alexander England, Josh Gad, Kat Stewart, Diesel La Torraca, Nadia Townsend

Plot: A washed-up musician teams up with a teacher and a kids show personality to protect young children from a sudden outbreak of zombies.


Tagline – Playtime is over.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Delightful

Story: Little Monsters starts when a washed up musician Dave (England) breaks up with his girlfriend Sara (Townsend) moving in with his sister Tess (Stewart) and her son Felix (Le Torraca), after getting his heart broken, Dave gets left on his last warning with Tess and after he meets Felix’s teacher Miss Caroline (Nyong’o) he ends up agreeing to go on a school trip.

When the trip seems to be going well, the school kids, Miss Caroline and Dave must find safety as zombies have broken free and heading to the petting zoo, joined by celebrity children’s host Teddy McGiggle (Gad) they must stay safe or face death.

Thoughts on Little Monsters

Characters – Miss Caroline is the kindergarten teacher that has the respect from all her students, treating them like nothing is going wrong no matter what is happening, she will always remain calm, with a smile on her face she takes complete control of the zombie outbreak. She has seen the father hit on her in the past which makes it easy for her to ignore them. Dave was once in a metal band, he had a girlfriend he always fought with him leading to him moving in with his sister and nephew. He is a terrible role model for Felix with his swearing, not listening and accepting it ok for a 5-year-old to play zombie games. He wants to get to know Miss Caroline and over this school trip he learns that there is more to life. Teddy McGiggle is a children’s entertainer who is world famous with every kid loving his work, when the zombies arrive, he shows the worst in mankind. The kids are all brilliant without being annoying like most would become in zombie films.

PerformancesLupita Nyong’o is wonderful to watch being a ray of sunshine through the film, bring a character that is completely different to anything we have seen before. Alexander England is excellent too, being someone, you could never see around children, getting so many laughs in the film. Josh Gad is great too, though it does seem like his character is slightly too much over the top at times. The young actors look like they are having a ball which is important for a film like this.

StoryThe story here follows a teacher, a washed up musician and a group of school kids that get trapped during a zombie outbreak in a petting zoo. The best way to describe this story would be that we be, that we are focused on the human factors over the zombies, who are just background problem. We get to see how one man must learn about his life and start taking it more serious after years of wasting his time. We see zombies tackled a different way without needing to give us any sort of flashy zombie kill, which most all try to do, this is a character piece that shows positivity can give you hope no matter what is in your way. If you don’t end up smiling by the end of this film, it will be a surprise.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy is the highlight of this film, we get plenty of laughs, being part of the idea of Dave saying things or doing things around children along with how relaxing the survival attempts end up looking.

SettingsThe film is mostly set on a petting zoo, which is meant to be a happy place for the children, despite it turning into a nightmare situation for the adults once the zombies come out.

Special EffectsThe zombies are done with great practical effects, while any of the violence is withheld away from the camera.


Scene of the Movie – The tractor rescue.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It seems like we didn’t need Teddy’s character if we are being completely honest.

Final Thoughts This is a truly delightful watch, with loveable characters, adorable kids and a fresh take on the zombie genre, showing it is about the characters, not the zombies.

Overall: Enjoyable from start to finish.

James Bond Month – The Living Daylights (1987)

Director: John Glen

Writer: Richard Maibaum, Michael G Wilson (Screenplay)

Starring: Timothy Dalton, Maryam d’Abo, Jeroen Krabbe, Joe Don Baker, John Rhys Davies, Art Malik

 

Plot: James Bond is living on the edge to stop an evil arms dealer from starting another world war. Bond crosses all seven continents in order to stop the evil Whitaker and General Koskov.


Tagline – Licensed to thrill

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: New Direction, Improvements Made

 

Story: Living Daylights starts when James Bond (Dalton) must help General Georgi Koskov (Krabbe) defect from the KGB which leads him to get him back to England, until a daring rescue attempt from the Russians embarrasses the English.

Koskov wants the English including Bond to eliminate Genera Leonid Pushkin (Rhys-Davies) who he claims in turning into a psychotic leader. Only for Bond to learn the truth and need to take on Koskov and his partner Brad Whitaker (Baker) an arms dealer.

 

Thoughts on Living Daylights

 

Characters – James Bond is back with a new look, this time he must use his connections to see how to trust, using his instinct against his orders, he travels through Russia before going on his latest mission against a general looking for his arms deal that could create a new world war. Kara Molovy is a celloist that is planted to be involved in the assassination of Koskov, she knows her part, which sees Bond track her around in search for her, she must learn just which side she wants to be on. General Georgi Koskov pretends to defect from the KGB, only for his plan to be to get Bond to start a new war against the Russians. Brad Whitaker is an American arms dealer that is trying to make a deal with Koskov to make them both even richer.

PerformancesTimothy Dalton brings us his version of Bond, a new version, one that isn’t as cheesy as Moore, not as sexy as Connery, but one that feels like it is more what the idea would have been, he doesn’t do anything wrong and had a lot to live up to, which is what he does well. Maryam d’Abo is your typical Bond girl, she doesn’t bring anything new other than to play the damsel in distress. The villainous characters do feel more interesting, though they performers don’t seem to make a character that should be iconic, iconic.

StoryThe story here takes Bond into his latest mission, this time involving the KGB as he must use his instincts to figure out who to trust instead of following the by the book orders he has been given. This does feel like one of the better stories in the Bond universe, only it isn’t the best told one, it does have different sides trying to get ahead of each other which does keep us guessing throughout the film. the story does have the serious tone which is better than the tongue and cheek ones we have recently be experiencing, which does make this feel like one the biggest missed opportunities in the Bond franchise.

Action/AdventureThe action does create big moments, we have seen other franchise use these ideas too including a plane sequence which we have seen in massive franchises in the future. The adventure side of the film takes James around the world on his latest mission.

SettingsThe film takes us through Russia, Afghanistan and Austria for the locations which shows how global the ideas the villains are trying to create.


Scene of the Movie –
Plane sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not making the most of the story given to us.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that didn’t get to use all the potential it should have, because it felt like the strongest story we have seen in years for the franchise.

 

Overall: Great Potential, not Execution.

Rating

 

Legend (1985) Movie Review

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: William Hjortsberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert

Plot: A young man must stop the Lord of Darkness from both destroying daylight and marrying the woman he loves.


Tagline – “No Good without Evil. No Love without Hate. No Innocence without Lust. I am Darkness.” 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical 80s Fantasy Film

Story: Legend starts when a young beautiful princess Lili (Sara) spends her time into woods with the handsome Jack (Cruise) she gets too close to the unicorns, touching them, breaking the rules of the land. Lili is taken by the lord of darkness to become his bride, while Jack must go on an adventure in a land that has changed because of the events to save his love Lili.

Thoughts on Legend

Characters – Jack is the handsome young man that thrives in the woods, he knows every creature and how to communicate to them, he has been teaching Lili, only he won’t give up every secret. When we see what happens he will do everything he can to try and save her from the darkness that is looking to consume her. Lili is a princess who doesn’t want to be part of the royal life, she enjoys the woodland area only her curiosity only gets her in trouble when she touches a unicorn bringing darkness to the land, being taken by the dark lord to be his wife, she is torn between being seduced by this new world and escape to the world she enjoys being part of. Darkness has been waiting for somebody to make the mistake, now he has a chance to rule by marrying Lili bringing the darkness to the world forever.

PerformancesTom Cruise does show the world that he was going to be as an actor with this role that showed his skills to the world. Mia Sara does show us that she was one of the best actresses of the 80s. Tim Curry does add the class to the role as the villain.

StoryThe story here follows a young man that must travel across a mystical land in hopes of saving his love from the darkness which has taken her. This is typical fantasy styled story that does show us how the different levels of status within the people and creatures and how the legends of the area, must be obeyed or it could affect everyone. We see how one will put a group together to risk everything to get what they want from life, with most being escape from a different situation before a showdown with the big evil.

Adventure/Fantasy/RomanceThe adventure side of the film takes Jack and other creatures on the journey to save Lili, overcoming the difficulties coming their way, in this full-blown fantasy world, showing what will be done for love.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the different challenges that face Jack along the way, each one will become an obstacle for him to overcome.


Scene of the Movie – Final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does feel to 80s.

Final Thoughts This is an 80s filled adventure that does everything it can to fit the era of release, showing just how much somebody will do for love.

Overall: Pure 80s adventure.

James Bond Month – Live and Let Die (1973)

Director: Guy Hamilton

Writer: Tom Makiewicz (Screenplay)

Starring: Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto, Jane Seymour, Clifton James, Julius Harris, Geoffrey Holder, David Hedison

 

Plot: 007 is sent to stop a diabolically brilliant heroin magnate armed with a complex organization and a reliable psychic tarot card reader.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Bond Movie

 

Story: Live and Let Die starts when three secret agencies are killed, James Bond (Moore) is set to investigation the three locations, Harlem, a Caribbean island and New Orleans. His investigations lead him to tarot card psychic Solitaire (Seymour) who is being controlled by heroin magnate Kananga (Kotto).

We watch how Bond must take on a fresh villain with his own plans to bring chaos to the world, this time lives are at risk and he must do everything he can to stop the plan from taking over America and the world.

 

Thoughts on Live and Let Die

 

Characters – James Bond is back with a slightly different look and swagger, he goes undercover in a location you wouldn’t expect to see Bond, dealing with a heroin dealing company, he still gets his girls along the way and manages to escape each person trying to kill him. Kananga is the heroin magnet with a masterplan which has involved killing undercover agents that have gotten to close to his operation, he however is obsessed with tarot cards that will help him make the right decisions. Solitaire is the tarot card reader that can see the future unless she make love, so until she meets Bond, she sees him as a way out of the control of Kananga.

PerformancesRoger Moore steps into the shoes of Bond and while he does bring a different dimension to the character, he doesn’t hit the full quality levels Connery did. Yaphet Kotto in the villainous role is good in the role without ever feeling like a complete threat. Jane Seymour is good in her role even if the character never seems to fit the complete story going on.

StoryThe story here takes James into battle against a drug lord trying to reshape the drug world, James must go through the black neighbourhoods while dealing with his voodoo beliefs and a tarot card worshiping mad man. For a Bond movie this is one of the weaker stories, not because of the performances, but because the case just seems very basic with no peril, it’s a drug lord over any mastermind world dominance plan. It does feel like a bi of a reboot with the new actor, showing him complete an easier case rather than continuing the battles against the bigger enemies, we do try to get a henchman which should bring peril, though he is more comic relief and the whole boat chase feels like something out of a comedy.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is good for the basic moments, the airplane moment is great fun, though the boat race is comical for the most part.

SettingsThe film does use more recognizable location which is nice, the Harlem and New Orleans settings stand out for this discussion because they make us feel like James is just a police detective.


Scene of the Movie –
The airport sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villain, while interesting, he never feels like a threat.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun Bond movie, not good one, but one you can easily watch without feeling completely out of the previous world created.

 

Overall: Simple to watch Bond.

Rating