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James Bond 25 Countdown Marathon
(09-27-2019, 03:24 AM)TM2YC Wrote:
(09-27-2019, 12:38 AM)Moe_Syzlak Wrote:
(09-26-2019, 11:57 AM)TM2YC Wrote: I've seen all of them before in random order and most I've seen countless times (IIRC I've only seen 'Die Another Day' and 'Spectre' once).

This implies you’ve watched Moonraker more than once?! Huh

Loads of times when I was young, you do know it's got a battle in space? with lasers!! Big Grin  I don't think I've watched it in a long time though.

I was eight when it came out and I distinctly remember being WTF even then. Never saw it again.
Found this on Youtube....the third Dalton outing Big Grin

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And we're done!

Craig gets plastered at his wrap party

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Live and Let Die (1973)
The Bond franchise takes a risky diversion off into the then brand-new Blaxploitation Genre with much success. Bond also gets a 'Dirty Harry' (1971) Magnum, Steve McQueen's cool black outfit from 'Bullitt' (1968) and is suddenly chomping big cigars but it all works with the character. Instead of the ill advised way in which George Lazenby was introduced with self-referential touches like breaking the 4th wall, 'Live and Let Die' starts in a matter-of-fact way that assumes Roger Moore has always been Bond. Something I hadn't appreciated before about the other Bond actors is that they come off like dangerous thugs who have acquired the veneer of a gentleman but Moore is just an English gent down to his marrow. His charm and wit in the role are very likeable but it does lack that edge.

The speedboat chase across the Louisiana Bayou is one of the franchise's best action sequences and the deadly run across the row of live crocodiles is one of the best stunts. It was accomplished by daring stuntman/Croc-farmer Ross Kananga (for whom the movie's villain 'Dr. Kananga' is named) within five takes, earning him a $60K bonus. Bond's Jamaican boatman ally Quarrel returns in the form of Quarrel Jr. because they stupidly killed off the character in 'Dr. No'. David Hedison has quite a bit to do as Felix Leiter and he's so good they brought the actor back for 'Licence to Kill' about 15-years later. Rosie Carver (Gloria Hendry) is the first black Bond-Girl love-interest in the series, I'm not sure if this was seen as surprising, or controversial in 1973? Paul McCartney's title song is a classic and arguably his most inventive post-Beatles record, it was famously a hit single for Guns N' Roses in 1991:

There are flaws, not too many though. Jane Seymour is stunningly beautiful but a bit drippy as the heroine. The plotting too often feels in service of getting to the next action scene. The set where the finale with Dr. Kananga takes place looks a bit lackluster compared to previous grand efforts. This is down to regular Bond Production designer Ken Adams being off working with Stanley Kubrick and others again (he would return to the franchise for 1977's 'The Spy Who Loved Me'). Yaphet Kotto makes a good villain but he isn't given enough screen time, stuff to do, memorable schemes (he's just a drug lord), or interactions with Bond to have full impact. Clifton James as hick Sheriff J.W. Pepper is hilarious (making cops look foolish is of course a Blaxploitation staple) but it's the start of the outright comedy direction the Moore bond films would go in. After the last two missteps, 'Live and Let Die' puts the franchise firmly on it's feet again.

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The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
A year after 'Enter the Dragon' was a smash hit the Bond franchise has moved on from Blaxploitation to being influenced by Hong Kong Kung Fu movies. If Bruce Lee hadn't died suddenly I could well imagine Producers Broccoli and Saltzman seeking to cast him in the role of Lieutenant Hip, Bond's "our man in" (played somewhat competently by Lee-alike Soon-Tek Oh). What a team up that would have been! The too-few scenes between Roger Moore and baddie Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) are a treat as the two verbally spar. The car chase through the busy streets of Bangkok is incredible, concluding with the famous corkscrew car jump over a broken bridge. The dangerous stunt is spoiled by being in (overly) slow motion and a comedy slide whistle being tacked on top. The plot is all over the place, Scaramanga has a contract on Bond's life, except he doesn't, Bond is on leave, except he isn't, Scaramanga is a top assassin but is also involved in solar energy research for some reason, Bond is on the trail of a Thai businessman but he dies before Bond finds anything out, everybody is half-heartedly after a MacGuffin called the "Solex Agitator" and the comedic Sheriff J.W. Pepper (from 'Live and Let Die') is shoved into the film with the thinnest justification. Britt Ekland's ditzy bond-girl 'Goodnight' is too stupid to live. Lulu's theme isn't one of the best, the lyrics are naff and I don't care for the orchestration but the melody is memorable and is woven into the film's John Barry score very nicely (Alice Cooper submitted a theme tune too but it's no better). 'The Man with the Golden Gun' is entertaining enough, not great, not bad, just a middling Bond film.

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I love Man With the Golden Gun, it's the only Roger Moore Bond film I've seen, and it makes me want to watch more. I watched it a while ago because it was mentioned in the movie Cube, and because I like Christopher Lee. It was great fun and thuroughly enjoyed it.
Mega Man is best game.
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[Image: 48827530283_4e8b301006_o.gif]

Big Grin

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
There was a 3-year gap between 'The Man with the Golden Gun' and 'The Spy Who Loved Me' in part due to Bond co-producer Harry Saltzman getting into financial difficulties, selling his share and leaving Cubby Broccoli to Produce the franchise alone. Kevin McClory had also started legal proceedings over his ownership of the Blofeld/Spectre rights, so the villain had to be rewritten and renamed to 'Karl Stromberg' (It'd be 38-years before Spectre would appear in an official Bond film again). After the rushed turn-around of the last movie, I think the pause to regroup worked well.

It's a long time since I last saw 'The Spy Who Loved Me', so I'd forgotten how great it is. For the 10th film in the series and his first in sole control, Broccoli wanted to pull out all the stops. He doubled the budget and reaped almost double the box-office. I wouldn't have ranked it in my top Bond films before today's viewing but it's gone way up in my estimation. They've (mostly) got Roger Moore's wardrobe right for once, he looks dashing in a black and gold Naval uniform. Bond is written just right, not too silly, not to serious. The one liners are heaped on but he's ruthless when he needs to be. The cold blooded way Bond drops a henchman of a roof and the merciless way he plugs round after round into Stromberg is much harder than Moore's usual tone.

The endearing General Gogol (M's Russian counterpart) makes his first appearance, played to perfection by Walter Gotell (A role he would reprise 5 more times). Having the British and Soviets team up, 007 and Barbara Bach's "Agent Triple X" is so much fun as they try to outshine each other. The new Lotus rivals the old Aston Martin from 'Goldfinger' in the gadgets department, including it's incredible transformation into a submarine. Production designer Ken Adam returns, constructing many characteristically huge and impressive sets, even bringing an uncredited Stanley Kubrick with him to consult on lighting. Marvin Hamlisch's score features several great new themes and introduces some Disco Synthesizer into the mix.

There are minor flaws. Barbara Bach looks jaw-dropping and has winning chemistry with Moore (their relationship has some real fire and ice) but she wasn't exactly going to win any Oscars. Her Major Amasova character starts strong and formidable but gets relegated to a damsel-in-distress function by the end. The brief cheesy male chorus-line rendition of 'Nobody Does It Better' which plays as the credits role is awful, I'd remove that in a second. The closing titlecard reading "James Bond will return in 'For Your Eyes Only'" is interesting because the unexpected mega-success of 'Star Wars' (released 6-weeks before) caused EON to switch to the space-based 'Moonraker' for the next Bond film instead.

(10-19-2019, 09:08 AM)jrWHAG42 Wrote: I love Man With the Golden Gun, it's the only Roger Moore Bond film I've seen, and it makes me want to watch more.

There are much better Moore films, so you should have some good times ahead.
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Moonraker (1979)
'Moonraker' has the reputation for being one of the silliest Bonds and not very good, the former is certainly true but I had a blast re-watching it for the first time in many years. For all the moments I was laughing at it, there were many more spots when I was laughing with it. I hadn't noticed before that it's basically a re-skinned version of the last movie 'The Spy Who Loved Me'. Instead of Bond teaming up with a female KGB agent/Major, it's a female CIA agent/astronaut (played with plenty of vim by Lois Chiles). The baddie Drax is hellbent on rebooting the human race in space, instead of underwater and Jaws returns as the heavy. Does it really matter if the underlying structure has similarities, when all the surface is new, shiny and different?

I've always had a problem with the bit where one of the bond-girls Corinne is fed to a pair of dobermans because she helps Bond. It's a trope of these films but there is something really cruel and nasty about this instance. Perhaps it's us being left to imagine how horribly she has died, or perhaps it's the way Bond drives off happily just before she is killed, never knowing or caring what happened to the girl (because of him) which makes it feel callous. You need the scene afterwards where Bond angrily says "I'm going to get you for that Drax", or the scene where he finds her body and looks sad for a bit. The product placement for brands like 7-Up is shameless and in your face, one action scene exists simply to drive past billboards. The fake slowmo never convinces as real zero-G. Roger Moore is already looking too old for the part and he's still got three more movies to shoot. The romance subplot between a repentant Jaws and a pig-tailed mute blonde girl soundtracked by deliberately treacly love music is probably the silliest thing in all the Bond movies (if you don't count the tricked out Gondola/Hovercraft he uses in the Venice section Big Grin ).

The cold open is a total classic thanks once again to the daring stunt team. Bond is pushed out of a plane without a parachute but quickly swoops in to steal one off a henchman as the 007 theme plays. The numerous models and miniature sets look incredibly realistic, it's easily up there with Star Wars and other late 70s/early 80s sci-Fi films (perhaps a little better). The assault on Drax's orbiting station by jetpack-wearing, laser-gun toting US space marines is so much fun. John Barry is back with another great score, which has a magical spacey feel. 'Moonraker' is the high water mark for over-the-top Bond nonsense before the producers brought the franchise back down to earth (literally) with subsequent films but it's still kinda glorious.

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A few days ago I found an unopened copy of the 60s Casino Royale on dvd, the version that includes the older TV Casino Royale as well at the thrift store. Discussion here led me to purchase it. I look forward to watching both.
Mega Man is best game.
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(11-12-2019, 04:13 PM)jrWHAG42 Wrote: A few days ago I found an unopened copy of the 60s Casino Royale on dvd, the version that includes the older TV Casino Royale as well at the thrift store. Discussion here led me to purchase it. I look forward to watching both.


For Your Eyes Only (1981)
'For Your Eyes Only' has always been one of my favourite Bond films, it gets the balance just right, a grounded, believable and serious plot but still plenty of thrills and fun. Carole Bouquet's 'Melina Havelock' is one of the best Bond girls, far from a "damsel in distress", she's offing henchman with her crossbow before Bond can stop her. It's her story that really holds the film together, the same baddie that James is after has killed her parents and she's out for vengeance. Bouquet's smouldering eyes make you believe it. Julian Glover and Topol play two rival former Greek resistance operatives and smugglers but which one can be trusted?

After the outlandish 'Moonraker', the producers wisely choose to tone down the increasingly silly gadgets and super-vehicles. Therefore they are forced to rely on the stunt team to deliver all the excitement. The car chase that begins with the Lotus getting blown up and our heroes resorting to a yellow 2CV underlines this. It's not about the sexy gadget car, it's all about the amazing driving and the expert camera work. The opening helicopter sequence with a stunt guy hanging off the side as it flies low, right past the camera is terrific. As is the use of foreground miniatures, so convincing I can't even see how it's done with the benefit of the pause button. Bond's climb up the St. Cyril's rock-face is nail-biting and again features an astonishing stunt where a clearly real guy (not a dummy) plummets hundreds of feet.

On the negative side, Moore is looking increasingly too old for the role but at least he is dressed in age-appropriate clothes this time. His flirting with 54 year old Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny) is beginning to sound sarcastic. The pace sags in the middle when Melina disappears from the film and the slightly irritating teenage ice-skater Bibi turns up, who looks old enough to be Moore's granddaughter but still pretends to find him sexually irresistible for some reason. I personally love Bill Conti super-80s synthesizer score but many don't. Luckily nostromo777's John Barry re-scored fanedit is available for when you want a more traditional soundtrack. The comedy call from Prime Minister Thatcher at the end ruins the serious tone but it is funny.

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