Tuesday, May 26, 2015

LIVE AND LET DIE (1973)

Cue ball honky cracker pinkie white boy jive turkey James Bond is back and this time he looks like Roger Moore instead of Sean Connery.  I like the change actually.  Roger seems more at ease in the role of Bond.

After nailing some chick, Bond is informed that three fellow agents have been killed in less than 24 hours and all of the clues point towards a Caribbean island dictator named Dr. Kananga (played by Yaphet Kotto).  Bond goes to NYC to investigate.  He's quickly attacked by a dude in a "pimpmobile" and then called a "honky" repeatedly.  After that, he's off to the Caribbean and New Orleans to investigate.  Along the way he bangs some hot chicks and, naturally, is captured by the bad guys repeatedly but never killed and, of course, he's put in death traps and then left alone.  Christ!!!  Can't the writers ever think of something new??  It's almost like every bad guy in the world wants to kill Bond but can't actually do it.  It reminds me of "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" when the vampire Spike had the anti-human violence chip implanted in his brain that prevented him from hurting humans even though he really wanted to.

Anyway, I ended up liking this Bond outing the best so far.  Roger Moore is a great Bond (confident, playful, better dressed, sporty, more British), Yaphet Kotto was a good villain (I wish he had more screen time and just one single badass killer dude instead of a handful of forgettable henchmen), Jane Seymour is unbelievably hot...easily the best looking "Bond girl" so far in the series, nice location shooting, exciting chase scenes, pimpmobiles, elaborate death traps that never work, voodoo dancing complete with air humping.

Two and a half thunderballs out of five.

Part 1 - Dr. No
Part 2 - From Russia With Love
Part 3 - Goldfinger
Part 4 - Thunderball
Part 5 - You Only Live Twice
Part 6 - On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Part 7 - Diamonds Are Forever
Part 9 - The Man with the Golden Gun
Part 10 - The Spy Who Loved Me
Part 11 - Moonraker
Part 12 - For Your Eyes Only
Part 13 - Octopussy
Part 14 - Never Say Never Again
Part 15 - A View to a Kill
Part 16 - The Living Daylights
Part 17 - License to Kill
Part 18 - GoldenEye
Part 19 - Tomorrow Never Dies
Part 20 - The World Is Not Enough
Part 21 - Die Another Day
Part 22 - Casino Royale
Part 23 - Quantum of Solace
Part 24 - Skyfall
Part 25 - Spectre

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

SORRY, WRONG NUMBER (1948)

Adapted for the screen by Lucille Fletcher from her own radio play, SORRY, WRONG NUMBER is the mildly interesting story of an obnoxiously pampered woman (Stanwyck) who is bedridden and home alone in her gigantic NYC mansion.  When the film opens, Stanwyck is desperately tying to get her husband (Lancaster) on the phone.  While talking to the operator she gets a crossed connection and overhears two seedy sounding guys planning a murder for that very night at 11:15, when a passing train would hide any screams.  Startled by this conversation she calls the police but does a terrible job of convincing them of anything.  After that we're shown numerous flashbacks, even flashbacks within a flashbacks of how she met her husband.

Stanwyck is the spoiled putrid daughter of a wealthy businessman.  Burt was a dirt poor drug store employee.  But she didn't care.  She wanted him and she always got what she wanted.  Almost forced into marriage, Burt is now extremely bitter and full of secrets.  Could some of these secrets be connected to the mysterious conversation Barbara heard earlier?  Mayhaps!

I wasn't expecting SORRY, WRONG NUMBER to be a film noir, but I'm pretty sure it is.  Lots of deep shadows, low lighting, sinister-feeling camera angles, corrupt characters, doomed situations, etc.  The story is very dated now, but it's still entertaining.  Also I felt very little sympathy for Barbara's character (she created this entire situation with her selfish cruelty).  Maybe that was the writer's intention?  As it is though, SWN is a good film.  And I'm always happy to see Stanwyck and Lancaster, although I do wish they had more scenes together.

Recommended for classic movie fans.
Joyce Compton in a uncredited appearance.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (1971)

When will the pain end?  Like a fool I agreed to review all of the James Bond films but each one is just as convoluted and silly as the last one.  At least this time around they got rid of that lifeless dork and brought back Sean Connery.

The story, as far as I can tell, is about this mega-villain dude who devises an highly elaborate and highly dangerous plan to horde all the diamonds in the world in order to make a laser satellite.  What??!  That doesn't even make sense!  Oh god, my head hurts.  So now it's up to Bond to travel around beating up women, stealing cassette tapes and driving a moon buggy across the desert in order to stop this guy.  It's beyond ridiculous.  Even worse than the brain dead story is the multiple times that Bond is completely incapacitated and nobody kills him!  On at least two occasions the bad guys knock Bond out cold then transport his body somewhere to be killed, then once there they set the death device in action and walk away!  "Well, I did all I could do.  Yeah, I could stab him or simply stand here for another 45 seconds but I gotta get home to watch Marcus Welby, MD.  See ya!!!"

Vintage Las Vegas scenery, mysterious scuba guys on the poster that don't even show up in the movie, multiple female nipples, cheap looking car chases, weak writing, a Sid Haig sighting(!!), cleavage, Bruce Glover hamming it up, a oil rig shootout complete with helicopters. 

One thunderball out of five.

Part 1 - Dr. No
Part 2 - From Russia With Love
Part 3 - Goldfinger
Part 4 - Thunderball
Part 5 - You Only Live Twice
Part 6 - On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Part 8 - Live and Let Die
Part 9 - The Man with the Golden Gun
Part 10 - The Spy Who Loved Me
Part 11 - Moonraker
Part 12 - For Your Eyes Only
Part 13 - Octopussy
Part 14 - Never Say Never Again
Part 15 - A View to a Kill
Part 16 - The Living Daylights
Part 17 - License to Kill
Part 18 - GoldenEye
Part 19 - Tomorrow Never Dies
Part 20 - The World Is Not Enough
Part 21 - Die Another Day
Part 22 - Casino Royale
Part 23 - Quantum of Solace
Part 24 - Skyfall
Part 25 - Spectre