Monthly Archives: September 2014

The World is Not Enough

The World Is Not Enough (UK cinema poster).jpg
The World Is Not Enough (UK cinema poster)” Via Wikipedia.

The most underwhelming movie I’ve watched in a long time. Three martinis, no doubt. However, I’ve decided a 3-martini rating is actually the worst score I can give a movie. Hear me out — you’ll recall I’ve never actually given a 1-martini, since that’s reserved for movies so bad I literally cannot finish them (I believe this is actually a stronger stance than I outlined previously). I don’t quit (despite what the long gaps between reviews might suggest), so the movies that are bad but still semi-sufferable get 2 martinis. At least these movies are memorable for being utterly stupid.

But a 3-martini rating means a movie is so mediocre as to be entirely forgettable. When I was considering giving this a 3-martini rating, I asked, “Hmm, am I being too harsh?” So I looked at my other 3-martini rated movies. Even re-reading the reviews hardly helped jog my memory, and I anticipate I’ll have a similar memory of this movie in about 72 hours.

There’s way too much going on in TWINE. I’m going to be a bit reductionist here and say that if you try to build a really complicated plot into a James Bond movie, yer doin’ it wrong. There’s a reason this Wikipedia page exists. I had difficulty getting several things straight in this movie, and sort of stopped giving a shit about it after the first third. And after Michelle Yeoh’s A-M-A-Z-I-N-G turn as a Bond girl in the last movie, Denise Richards’ role was… well, to be diplomatic, WTF?

Plot in twenty words or less: There’s an excellent boat chase scene. Then someone tries to mess with a potential oil pipeline.

How it’s aged: Oil pipelines through former Soviet territories — seems pretty contemporary to me considering Putin’s shenanigans.

Something that was just weird and/or WTF y’all: Desmond Llewellyn had the weirdest, somber “Goodbye” of all time :( I’m going to miss him, and I thought he deserved to go out with more of a flourish (and then there’s this sad ending)

Obligatory feminist commentary: Lots to choose from here. Bond’s X-ray glasses = literally the male gaze & TSA! Renard comments about raping Elektra while she was being held captive and “breaking her in.” The scene with M and Elektra still fails the Bechdel test because they’re talking about 007. And then there is that weird sadomasochism thing Elekra does to 007 on the garrote he’s shackled to — reminiscent of Xenia from GoldenEye.

Completely hypothetical cultural reference points: Dr Christmas Jones’ outfit was straight-up inspired by mid-90s Lara Croft, right y’all?

Superficial Thing that did not Amuse Me: When Bond was cuffed to the garrote, wasn’t he cuffed by both hands? The guy only shot off one cuff, Bond managed to undo the neck lock, and then he was…free? What about the other cuff?

Superficial Thing that highly Amused Me: John Cleese: “Premature form of the Millennium bug!” I look forward to how we’re going to have to explain the Y2K paranoia into the future…

Also, loved seeing the “MI6 Research Archive” at the top of the computer screen when Bond was looking up information. Digital archives, onward! I want to know if means the OAIS specification

Interesting and possibly dubious thing I learned from Wikipedia: Peter Jackson was almost the director.

Martini rating: Three martinis martini-glass-1-32px_blogjamesblogmartini-glass-1-32px_blogjamesblogmartini-glass-1-32px_blogjamesblog

Administrative information concerning this viewing:
Drinks consumed: N/A
Food eaten: N/A
Viewed on: September 21, 2014
Viewing Partner: Fiance and Cat

Posted in review. Tagged with .

Tomorrow Never Dies

Tomorrow Never Dies (UK cinema poster).jpg
Tomorrow Never Dies (UK cinema poster)” Via Wikipedia.

I really have no idea why so many people dog on Tomorrow Never Dies. In my opinion, it’s one of the best Bond movies, and has easily moved up into my top 5. The idea that it’s in anyone’s bottom 5 just tells me it’s been a long time since they’ve seen Diamonds are Forever, which will forever reset your yardstick for bad Bond movies. TND has a kick-ass Bond girl in Michelle Yeoh, hilarious chase scenes (the parking lot scene with the cell-phone controlled BMW is fantastic), wit without being noxious, and a solid villain for the 21st century.

Plot in twenty words or less: Welcome to the new public enemy No. 1 — THE MEDIA.

How it’s aged: This question is starting to feel a little silly now that we’ve generally left the Soviet Communist bloc behind. That said, I think this film’s evil villain, Elliott Carver — a clear homage to Rupert Murdoch, who was deep in British media long before this film — will feel relevant for a long, long time.

Something that was just weird and/or WTF y’all: Why are there posters of Carver’s face everywhere? At the satellite party, at the newspaper printing factory… We get the dude is an egomaniac, but this seems excessive. Though it did remind me slightly of a particular book cover, and it looks like I’m not alone in thinking this.

Obligatory feminist commentary: Right after one of the British military dudes yells at M for not having the balls for the job, the man escalates it to WE GOTTA ATTACK and M is like MODERATION, YOU GUYS. It’s such a transparent attempt to bully her, but she isn’t taking those shenanigans! And I love Lin (Michelle Yeoh) as the Bond girl — she’s very much 007’s equal.

Completely hypothetical cultural reference points: Let’s be real y’all: Henry Gupta totally looks like noted philosopher and infamous jerk-dude Slavoj Žižek.

Superficial Thing that did not Amuse Me: How was it they couldn’t use a sledgehammer against the BMW but a spray of bullets was able to get through the glass when the chase scene started?

Superficial Thing that highly Amused Me: They keep saying G-P-S very deliberately. Obviously this was before everyone knew what this was. Still funny.

Interesting and possibly dubious thing I learned from Wikipedia: One of the potential titles was originally Tomorrow Never Lies, but due to a fax error  it appeared as Tomorrow Never Dies, becoming the top choice of the studio people.

Martini rating: SEVEN MARTINIS! martini-glass-1-32px_blogjamesblogmartini-glass-1-32px_blogjamesblogmartini-glass-1-32px_blogjamesblogmartini-glass-1-32px_blogjamesblogmartini-glass-1-32px_blogjamesblogmartini-glass-1-32px_blogjamesblogmartini-glass-1-32px_blogjamesblog

Administrative information concerning this viewing:

Drinks consumed: Great Lakes Oktoberfest

Food eaten: Kohlrabi-zucchini fritters, roasted red pepper and garlic puree on toast

Viewed on: September 7, 2014

Viewing Partner: Fiance and Cat

 

Posted in review. Tagged with .

GoldenEye

GoldenEye - UK cinema poster.jpg
GoldenEye – UK cinema poster“. Via Wikipedia.

…And we’re off into the Pierce Brosnan Bond-era! But some things still stay the same, because we can still rely on those evil Russian Commies to fill our bad-guy dance card. Pierce Brosnan-Bond is also squarely within the late 80s/early 90s TOTAL ACTION MOVIE!!! genre. I mean, his falling speed is enough so that he can tumble into a plane going down and rescue it? I don’t even think this is something that Timothy Dalton would have thought a good idea. The continuity theory of Bond comes up again, when after the credits we see the movie is set “9 years later.”

Plot in twenty words or less: Alan Cumming plays a deranged, pervy Russian hacker. What else do you need to know?

How it’s aged: One of the most memorable lines is “Maybe you can finish debriefing each other at Guantanamo” — clearly spoken before everyone knew the post 9/11-Gitmo.

Something that was just weird and/or WTF y’all: They’re obviously trying to bring back a lot of the quippy early Bond humor. I don’t know how well Brosnan can pull that off…

Obligatory feminist commentary: Between forgettable-Natalya, terrifying-Xenia, and badass-M, there’s a lot of feminist analysis to throw down on. There’s a not-at-all subtle commentary about how Bond has entered a real ball-breaking era — figuratively when M says she has the cojones to send him to his death if need be, but also quite literally with Xenia’s absurd thigh-maneuvers. It probably won’t surprise any readers of this blog that I’m a diehard Judi Dench-as-M fan, so I’m pretty darn excited about her arrival. Fun fact: Judi Dench’s M is based on Stella Rimington who totally started her career as an archivist — my own occupation. I always thought that if it weren’t for my lefty politics, I’d make a damn good secret agent. Archivists are pretty good at reading between the lines…

Completely hypothetical cultural reference points: There are lots of 1990s-esque touchstones in this movie. The most obvious ones were Xenia’s Monica-esque hairstyle, and her smoking a cigar was reminiscent of the 1990s revival of cigar use (remember the First Wives Club poster?)

Superficial Thing that did not Amuse Me: The annoying American CIA agent who wouldn’t stop calling 007 Jimmy/Jimbo. Ugh, go away.

Superficial Thing that highly Amused Me: There’s a great scene set in what appears to be a government archives when Bond and Natalya break out and then commence the tank chase scene. I’m ready for James Bond to go whole-hog and dig around in the archives to turn up some juicy leads. Archives in movies, always a winning combination.

Interesting and possibly dubious thing I learned from Wikipedia: The opening scene’s bungee jump “set a record for the highest bungee jump off a fixed structure”

Martini rating: Five martinis martini-glass-1-32px_blogjamesblogmartini-glass-1-32px_blogjamesblogmartini-glass-1-32px_blogjamesblogmartini-glass-1-32px_blogjamesblogmartini-glass-1-32px_blogjamesblog

Administrative information concerning this viewing: 
Drinks consumed: Sierra Nevada Summer ale
Food eaten: Steamed green beans and this awesome beet and bean veggie burger.
Viewed on: July 19, 2014
Viewing Partner: Fiance and the Cat
*Not her real name. All my viewing buddies are getting Bond-girl aliases.

Posted in review. Tagged with .