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James Bond 25 Countdown Marathon
(03-05-2020, 02:18 AM)Gaith Wrote:
(02-18-2020, 06:31 PM)TM2YC Wrote: Casino Royale (2006)
[...]I can't stand Chris Cornell's bland performance of the title vocal but I love Arnold's music for it. I know a lot of people think it's one of the best theme songs but it's always been one of my least favourite.

I love the rock version of the song; I've sung it once or twice while karaoke-ing, and it's a gosh-darn freight train of a banger. That said, something about the sound mix of the movie version muddies Cornell's vocals horribly, and the orchestral backing sounds subtly but jarringly out of step. Here's the version to revisit, IMO:

Also, shameless bit of self-promotion, but I once made a fan edit of the QoS song "Another Way to Die", which I think is musically very cool, but grievously undercut by meaningless crooning and spoken "bang bangs" in the movie version, which also runs a full minute after a chorus that feels like a definitive ending. Check it out, or not! Tongue

(I also agree that Madonna's "Die Another Day" is quite musically interesting and spiffy. But it's her - again, totally random and fourth wall-breaking - interjections of "Sigmund Freud, analyze this" that kills it for me.)

It's still sounding a bit flat and low energy to me. There are some good covers on youtube. The vocalist in this one is very good:

Just compare at 01.08 where this guys voice soars on the "Betray YOU" line in time with the brass and how the original is almost totally monotone in that moment.

I'm not familiar enough with the QoS theme to notice the changes (even though I do own it on 7" vinyl).
I guess I might as well finish up this re-watch, rather than wait 'til the end of the year...

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Skyfall (2012)
On first viewing, I wasn't as enamored with 'Skyfall' as every one else, I think I'd finally really lost patience with the slow drip feed of Bond elements in the Daniel Craig era. So we finally get Moneypenny but she isn't really the character until the film ends (and implausibly and pointlessly doesn't mention her name until then. Cringe) and we finally get Q but he doesn't give Bond any cool gadgets (making that the joke doesn't justify the decision). Still no gun-barrel at the start, it's at the end again for no good reason. The other main annoyance is caused by the misguided choice to make the Craig films a reboot series that all follow on from each other. So Bond was a brand new OO agent on his debut mission across the first two movies and now on his third outing in 'Skyfall' he's suddenly presented as a war weary old agent, a relic of the past. You can't have it both ways. The scene where Bond takes M for a spin in his DB5 was admittedly lovely but it's spoiled for me because you know they are wanting you to feel nostalgia for this iconic car (James' answer to the Batmobile) which Bond had owned for decades but he hasn't anymore. Hey writers, don't you remember you rebooted this series just 6-years ago, showing how Craig's Bond acquired a generic DB5 in a card game and drove it round for 30-seconds. So why are you showing us it's got an ejector seat and machine guns? That was the cool spy car from 'Goldfinger' (and other films) that we all loved, which you choose to erase from the continuity. Again, you can't have it both ways guys.

Director Sam Mendes seems much more interested in getting artful shots, interesting performances from his actors and inserting references to art, music and literature than making a thrilling action-adventure but that's okay because he does all those very well. His decision to replace long-time Bond music maestro David Arnold with his frequent collaborator Thomas Newman was a bad one. It's one of those endless-note, wallpaper, tuneless, pale-imitations of Hans Zimmer and Newman adding little touches of classic John Barry themes at key moments doesn't disguise it for me. The product-placement is particularly irritating in this film from the outset with characters shouting out things like "...they're VW Beetles!" and "...a Black Audi!". Q is finally reintroduced to the franchise but he doesn't give Bond any fun gadgets and the new Q basically calls the audience idiots for wanting such unrealistic things as an "exploding pen". It's the "no fun allowed" policy in the Craig films again. The over-elaborate Dark Knight/Joker inspired badguy plot doesn't make much sense when you put it under any kind of scrutiny. At one point Tanner even comments that what Silva just did should have been impossible. The line is there to make us impressed with the villain's abilities but it's also pointing out how dumb the logic was. For the finale Bond decides to go "off the grid" so Silva can't find him but then immediately asks Q to give Silva directions to where he will be. Bond wants to keep this nonsensical plan a secret between just him and M... and Tanner... and Q (who he has just met)... and Moneypenny (who he has just met)... and Mallory (who he has just met)... and his old gamekeeper (who he hasn't seen in 30 years). So totally top secret then Big Grin .

On this re-watch I went in with modest expectations and ended up really enjoying the movie despite my many nitpicks. Javier Bardem's performance as Silva is outstanding, he's flirting with 007, as much as he is trying to threaten him. The decisions to rework the Q character as a young modern tech geek and to cast the softly spoken Ben Whishaw in the role were masterstrokes. The action is shot and edited to perfection and actually has some memorable moments, like 007 driving a digger on top of a moving train, or leaping on to the back of a tube carriage as it leaves the station. The title sequence looks really classy and Adele's theme is one of the better ones, beautifully performed, even if there is a touch of the rhyming dictionary about the lyrics. I'd forgotten about all the winning one liners and quips. The late Albert Finney gets one of the best, after blowing away two henchman with his double-barrel shotgun he deadpans the line "Welcome to Scotland". I appreciated the natural way Ralph Fiennes' new M is introduced ready for the next film and the impactful swan song for Judi Dench's 17-year tenure. I think I like 'Skyfall' now.

^ This commentary with actor Duncan Casey is well worth your time because he was in 'Skyfall' as one of the MI6 operatives in the bunker scenes.
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With 'No Time to Die' originally scheduled for release this week but having been delayed for obvious reasons, let's re-watch the last one instead...

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Spectre (2015)

I thought 'Spectre' was okay when I saw it at the cinema but then I haven't felt the urge to re-watch it until now. I still don't think it's half as bad as people often say but I did find this 2nd viewing a bit of a chore. There isn't one big reason why this drags, it's lots of little reasons. Yay this opens with the traditional gun barrel at the start... but then they do a weird fade out on it and do some onscreen text before the film begins. Sigh. Why is it so difficult to start these films in the same way the first 20 were done and it's not like it's even a consistent new style across the Craig films anyway. There is a nasty low-contrast yellow tint to the image right from the start and Hoyte van Hoytema's Cinematography looks a bit dull and televisual generally. The over indulgent opening sequence fails to establish any stakes before buildings start blowing up and helicopters are spinning out of control. Sam Smith's theme song is bland as f**k and Thomas Newman's wallpaper score isn't much better. Christoph Waltz is surprisingly underwhelming as Blofeld and Dave Bautista's mute henchman is certainly no Oddjob.

I really hated that they show the MI6 building being condemned and demolished (after the damage it took in 'Skyfall') because anybody walking beside the Thames can see that it's still there. As ludicrous as Bond films can sometimes be, before 'Spectre' they've always notionally existed in the real world, not a parallel universe. There are some really sloppy and silly script elements. Bond is given "smart blood" so he can be tracked anywhere, which would negate the danger of about 80% of the scrapes Bond has got into over the years, so it's almost instantaneously forgotten about. Blofeld drills into Bond's brain with Dentist equipment in order to screw with his reflexes and memory but he just escapes and suffers zero effects from it. Andrew Scott over acts to an extreme as per usual, robbing his double-agent role of any potential subtlety and mystery. On the plus side, Ben Whishaw continues to be wonderful as Q and his chemistry with Daniel Craig is delightful. I really laughed out loud when he cracks a joke at Bond's expense and has a giggle to himself. It's played like he's been working on the joke all week. Lea Seydoux plays the love interest very well but the romance material is sadly underdeveloped and rushed. It makes a refreshing change to have a tough hands-on M in Ralph Fiennes, who isn't afraid to step into the crossfire. Naomie Harris is also excellent as Moneypenny, finally all the stock characters are in place and it only took 3-4 movies to do it. 007 is even allowed a couple of fun gadgets again, fancy that!

^ Kermode seemed to like it.
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I also haven’t seen this movie since it was in theatres. I’ve been watching some Paul Thomas Anderson and he is fond of saying that each of his movies is a reaction to the last. I think that works for him in a good way. It seems to me that Spectre is Mendes’ reaction to Skyfall, which despite great reviews was sometimes said to not really be a Bond movie. Spectre seemed to be Mendes’ answer to that. His “you want a Bond film, I’ll give you a Bond film!”
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(04-06-2020, 06:31 AM)Moe_Syzlak Wrote: I also haven’t seen this movie since it was in theatres. I’ve been watching some Paul Thomas Anderson and he is fond of saying that each of his movies is a reaction to the last. I think that works for him in a good way. It seems to me that Spectre is Mendes’ reaction to Skyfall, which despite great reviews was sometimes said to not really be a Bond movie. Spectre seemed to be Mendes’ answer to that. His “you want a Bond film, I’ll give you a Bond film!”

Yeah that and it also feels like a bit of a re-tread of the same themes and story beats but with less driving them. I do like that it's more Bond-ified than the other 3 Craig films, so he got that right IMO... everything else wrong though Wink .

As I've now re-watched and reviewed all the currently released EON Bond movies (plus NSNA) I might as well do a ranked list: https://letterboxd.com/tm2yc/list/bond-films-ranked/
Quote:1.The Living Daylights 1987
2.You Only Live Twice 1967
3.Goldfinger 1964

4.The Spy Who Loved Me 1977
5.Tomorrow Never Dies 1997

6.GoldenEye 1995
7.For Your Eyes Only 1981
8.Casino Royale 2006
9.Live and Let Die 1973
10.Thunderball 1965
11.Skyfall 2012
12.From Russia with Love 1963
13.Octopussy 1983
14.A View to a Kill 1985

15.Licence to Kill 1989
16.Moonraker 1979
17.Dr. No 1962
18.On Her Majesty’s Secret Service 1969
19.Quantum of Solace 2008
20.The Man with the Golden Gun 1974

21.Spectre 2015
22.The World Is Not Enough 1999
23.Never Say Never Again 1983
24.Diamonds Are Forever 1971

25.Die Another Day 2002

I'm pretty certain what the top films are and what the bottom films are but the ones in the middle are fairly evenly matched. There aren't many Bond movies that are truly bad and not many I don't enjoy. I'll probably never re-watch the last 3 or so again but the rest I could happily re-view any day of the week. Way up in my estimation: The Spy Who Loved Me / Tomorrow Never Dies / Casino Royale. Way down in my estimation: The World Is Not Enough / The Man with the Golden Gun / Spectre. 'Die Another Day' stays exactly where it will always be.
Time for a re-re-watch of 'GoldenEye':

Pretty cool that he is doing the commentary from the Jurassic Park cafeteria.
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Now that you've completed your run-through with months to spare, will you add a Bond fanedit marathon before the November 25th premiere of No Time To Die? Angel
^^ I enjoyed the bit where Pierce was talking about drinking Apple Martinis with Tarantino while they discussed doing a Bond film together (which sadly never happened).
(04-21-2020, 01:08 PM)lapis molari Wrote: Now that you've completed your run-through with months to spare, will you add a Bond fanedit marathon before the November 25th premiere of No Time To Die? Angel

Not a marathon... maybe a sprint. I might catch up on the Craig era via some fanedits.

A vaguely Bond related review, so I might as well post it here...

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Triple Cross (1966)
In the year between 'Thunderball' and 'You Only Live Twice', 3-time Bond Director Terence Young made this biopic of real-life WWII super-spy and convicted safe-cracker Eddie Chapman and did everything he could to make him feel like 007. Christopher Plummer's suave Chapman also beds a string of European beauties (including 'Bond girl' Claudine Auger), has a penchant for the finer things in life, is never short of a witty one-liner, enjoys being openly insolent and likes a sharp suit or two. Young even cast Mr. Goldfinger himself Gert Fröbe in the movie and got Tony Allen to sing a blatant rip-off Bond-style theme over the end credits. Considering Chapman's real exploits were even more outlandish and exciting than some of Bond's antics, it's a shame this film got a little bogged down in convoluted espionage and moral grey areas instead. If you ever wished there was one more Connery-era 007 movie, 'Triple Cross' stands in nicely.

'Thunderball' singer Tom Jones did a version of the theme song too:

^ Which I'd definitely use for a Bond-ified fanedit.
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A great rewatch thread TM2YC... I found it fascinating to read your thoughts on each film in the series and also your ranking. As a Bond fan myself, i thought I'd entertain you with my ranking ?

1. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
2. From Russia With Love
3. Goldeneye
4. Licence to Kill
5. The Spy Who Loved Me
6. The Man with the Golden Gun
7. Goldfinger
8. The Living Daylights
9. Casino Royale
10. For Your Eyes Only
11. Doctor No
12. Live and Let Die
13. The World is Not Enough
14. A View to a Kill
15. You Only Live Twice
16. Quantum of Solace
17. Thunderball
18. Tomorrow Never Dies
19. Skyfall
20. Octopussy
21. Moonraker
22. Die Another Day
23. Diamonds Are Forever
24. Spectre
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LastSurvivor, with the context of your Bond edits and experience, this makes an interesting addition to this thread guide to 007. Smile

My first thought was surprise at a few of the rankings (e.g. Thunderball being that low on the list). But of course this list is about the official releases, not fanedits (in which case, Thunderball moves up on my list)!
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