film, James Bond

Movie Review: The World Is Not Enough

As far as Bond films go I know I have seen worse, but I know there is better; if you recall this was the only Pierce Bronsan Bond film not in my top 10 Bond films. While there were elements I did not like, I wouldn’t go so far as to say no if you want to watch The World Is Not Enough, I would say sure. A spoiler alert is ahead. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Bond starts off in a Swiss bank retrieving money for oil tycoon and friend of M (Judi Dench) Sir Robert King (David Calder) after the original MI6 agent who was supposed to do it was killed. Bond just escapes with the money after the bankers try to kill him without getting the name of the assassin. However the money is booby-trapped and before Bond could warn King the money explodes and King is killed. Bond goes after the assassin, but she kills herself out of fear of the perpetrator behind it and Bond is hurt. Bond traces the money back to a terrorist who has been after MI6 and the King family for a long time: Renard (Robert Carlyle) a man with a bullet in his head preventing him from feeling anything, and who once kidnapped, among other things including cutting off part of her ear, King’s daughter Elektra (Sophie Marceau) for ransom and M advised King not to pay it; Elektra managed to escape on her own. M assigns Bond to watch over Elektra as she observes the construction of a pipe line in Azerbaijan, after getting some gear from Q (Desmond Llewellyn in his final role before his fatal car accident) and his assistant Bond dubs R (John Cleese). Bond and Elektra are attacked on ski mountain, which Bond suspects has to do with Renard; he visits his acquaintance Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane) to get more information. He is able to track down Renard, and also meets nuclear physicist Dr. Christmas Jones (Denise Richards), but Renard gets away with a bomb and plutonium. However he places some doubt in Bonds mind as to Elektra’s innocence. Bond warns M, who doesn’t seem to believe it, until the bomb shows up in the pipeline. Bond and Jones let the bomb blow up, and Elektra’s true plans are reveled; she is the one in charge after seducing Renard and kidnaps M. She wanted to make her father pay not only for not paying her ransom but from taking her mother’s oil company. She wants to destroy the Russian oil pipeline forcing them to only use the King’s pipeline at a high price. Bond, Jones, M and eventually Zukovsky are not going to let that happen.

Now the acting by many of the people in this movie are not fantastic, Bronsan is not at his best and well my thoughts on Richards will be later, but not everyone is bad. Marceau is pretty good as the first, and so far only, female Bond villain. It was actually kinda of a twist because Carlyle was so good as Renard you actually thought he was the main bad guy. They are the only memorable acting parts in the movie. The writing could have been better in many places, but the action and gadgets more than make up for it. If you are interested in The World Is Not Enough then by all means watch it, if not I wouldn’t put it too high on the watch list.

film, Marvel Films, must see

Movie Review: Black Panther

I said this on social media and I have no problem saying it today; I think Black Panther just became my new favorite Marvel movie (and just to clarify because I have a friend who made a comment I said MARVEL not SUPERHERO so Wonder Woman is my favorite DC movie). This was a movie I had been looking forward to since Captain America: Civil War, and even before then seeing Panther make guest spots on a couple of Marvel superhero shows. This was a character I didn’t know too much about and while I don’t think we know everything I definitely think we know a lot more. As this is still in theaters I’m going to be as spoiler free as possible, but just in case I am issuing a spoiler alert. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

After the death of King T’Chaka (John Kani) in Civil War and T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has taken up the mantle of Black Panther to protect his village of Wakanda which despite the guise of a third world country is actually a thriving city using the metal known as vibranium for their advance technology among other uses. After having to fight for it from the only tribe not to join Wakanda centuries ago, T’Challa is crowned king in the presence of his people, including his mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and his father’s longtime friend and elder statesman Zuri (Forest Whitaker). Shortly later Okoye (Danai Gurira) the general of the Dora Milaje regiment (basically a woman you want on your side) informs T’Challa and W’Kabi, a friend of T’Challa and the lover of Okoye, that a long time enemy Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis, whom you may remember from Ultron) has resurfaced. With gadgets provided by his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) T’Challa, accompanied by Okoye, Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) his ex girlfriend (whom he is still very much in love with) and later CIA agent Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) seek to find out what Klaue is up to. Soon they discover Klaue is not alone in his plan meeting Erik Stevens (Michael B. Jordan) aka Killmonger because of how many people he has killed who let’s just say has a personal involvment in Wakanda. T’Challa upon discovering why Killmonger wants must soon decide what is best for Wakanda, and possibly the world. About as far as I can go, but keep an eye out as well for Emmy and Golden Globe winner Sterling K. Brown as well as two after credit scenes.

Everything about this movie was what I thought it was going to be and so much more; from the acting, writing, costumes, special effects and so much more. I’ve seen many of these actors is other films, but this may have just been their best work (not everyone but you get my point). Boseman is perfect as T’Challa, Nyong’o is spectacular as Nakia, Gurira is seriously a woman I want to be on my side if I go to war, Jordan once again proves he is a future Oscar winner in my book, Bassett and Whitaker are so good, Freeman is great, Serkis is crazy good and finally Wright is funny when she has to be but can fight just as good as the rest. The reaming cast is spectacular. I absolutely loved the story, I honestly think writing wise it is Marvels’ best. The special effects were crazy, I won’t be surprised if it is nominated next year at the Oscars, costumes are possible as well. I saw the film in 3-d and while there were moments I felt sick it was very cool! If you do not get the chance to see Black Panther in theaters rent is before Infinity Wars Part 1! It is an absolute masterpiece, a must see, just go an watch it you will not be disappointed.

film, James Bond

Movie Review: Tomorrow Never Dies

Another Bond film and I am pretty sure the first one I watched in full before I was really interested in Bond. Released in 1997 it was the only Pierce Brosnan Bond film that did not open top of the box office (Titanic). Still this is a pretty good Bond film with one of the best girls and villains of all time in the franchise. In case you haven’t seen it spoiler alert. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Bond starts off on the Russian border spying on a terrorists arms bazaar and just barely escapes after a missile is sent into blow up the base with two nuclear torpedoes still on the base. However an encoder is stolen by cyber-terrorist Henry Gupta (Ricky Jay) who is in the employ of Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce) a media baron who uses the encoder to send a British ship of course and into Chinese waters, uses a stealth ship in the command of Mr. Stamper (Gotz Otto) to sink the ship, destroy a Chinese jet and kill the ship survivors. M (Judi Dench) is only given 48 hours before the British retaliate and she sends Bond to investigate Carver as he seemed to know before MI6 did, using Carver current wife, and Bonds ex, Paris (Terri Hatcher) to get some help. However after getting the encoder, Bond learns Paris was killed by Carver’s orders by the memorable Dr. Kaufman (Vincent Schiavelli); Bond kills him which puts a bigger target on his back because he mentored Stamper. He along with Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) a Chinese agent team up to stop Carver from starting World War 3, and his plan to get exclusive broadcast rights in China because of it.

If you recall this started my top 10 of Bond films and with good reasons. Brosnan is great as 007 as usual but something about this performance stuck out to me, maybe because this turned personal after Paris’s death. The film also had great action, cars and gadgets; the writing could have been better in a few places, but not a bad film. My thoughts on Wai Lin will be another time so I’d like to focus on other characters. Judi Dench was once again amazing as M, between the other guys in charge let’s face it she was the one with a cooler head (I love the part where the Admiral goes “what is he [Bond] doing and M responds “his job’). Samantha Bond was also good as Moneypenny and Desmond Llewellyn as Q giving Bond the instructions on his car is pure gold for the actor. Jonathan Pryce has always been an actor I knew was top notch and he shined as the crazy Carver; he seriously wanted to start a war just so he could get broadcast rights in China! How insane must you be!? Schiavelli is only on screen for a few moments but it is memorable. Stamper is another big blond henchman, and if I’m being honest not the best. The rest of the cast is good and the movie is enjoyable to watch. If interested please go ahead and watch.

film, James Bond, must see

Movie Review: GoldenEye

Now we are getting into the Bond films I am pretty sure everyone knows about; they may have watched the movie or played the video game either way. Constantly listed as one of the best Bond films, usually within the top two at most, GoldenEye was the first Bond film in over six years, and it was well worth the wait,; i would even call it a must see even if you are not a Bond fan. As always spoilers ahead. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) along with a fellow MI6 agent Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) infiltrate and destroy a Soviet chemicals facility holding weapons. Bond escapes but Alec is taken and seemingly killed by Colonel Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov (Gottfried John). Nine years later Bond is assigned to find out more about the Janus crime syndicate, which he does by following one of the members (if you have not seen the film I swear this is the name) Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen), Moneypenny (Samantha Bond) does make a joke about it. Unfortunately Bond is one step behind Onatopp after she kills a Canadian Navy admiral for his credentials and steals a Eurocopter Tiger helicopter. She along with Ourumov go to Siberia; stealing the control disks for the Goldeneye satellites, satellite weapons used during the Cold War and massacre the entire staff except for programmer Boris Grishenko (Alan Cumming) who is on their side and Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco) who hid out until she could escape. Bond is assigned by M (Dame Judi Dench) to investigate the attack. With the help of CIA operative Jack Wade (Joe Don Baker, told you we’d see him again) and reluctant ally Valentin Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane) Bond meets with the person responsible for everything; Janus aka the not so dead Alec Trevelyan. Having vowed to destroy MI6, not for leaving him for dead, but for the deaths of his Cossack parents during World War II, Trevelyan along with Onatopp, Boris and Ourumov plan to use the GoldenEye satellites to destroy the British economy by robbing the Bank of England and erase its financial records. Bond along with Natalya and Wade are determined to make sure that does not happen.

This is without question one of the best Bond films to ever be made and it was sort of a breath of fresh air for the franchise. Many made their debut as characters we know and love; Brosnan as 007, Dench as M and Bond as Moneypenny with only Desmond Llewellyn returning as Q. The Brosnan era Bonds were the ones I think my generation are more familiar with and why these are some of my favorite Bond films, but of course GoldenEye is at the top. I think Brosnan is my second favorite Bond (Connery of course at the top spot) as he is the right amount of charming but dangerous. He is quick to pick up his gun or how to get the bad guy in a deadly position before ultimately executing depending on the situation. I, like I know so many others, absolutely love Judi Dench as M. Many will argue is the best version of that character, and you won’t get an argument from me. While I think Dench is great as M in this era of Bond we all know she shines in the Craig versions but that is for another day. Before I move on I also love Samantha Bond as Moneypenny; while she does not come close to Lois Maxwell she does very well.

My thoughts on Natalya will be later so I’d like to focus on the characters that let’s face it we all love to hate in this movie; the villains. Sean Bean is one of the finest actors today and this is one of his best works. Trevelyan is basically an evil version of Bond and one of the best villains not just in the franchise but in movies (OK not that high on the list but right where he should be). Ourumov is also fantastic as it seemed for a long time he was the bad guy, but nope. He’s more working for his own goals rather than Trevelyan, but still he is great. I’ve always loved Alan Cumming in movies and he is both a joy and a nuisance to watch here, “I am INVINCIBLE”, really dude. While all three of them stick out in their own way however no villain or femme fatale is more memorable in this film than Onatopp. Let me give you some of the reasons of the top of my head: that name, she is gorgeous as well as deadly, she takes (ahem) pleasure out killing and for the love of God uses her THIGHS to kill a guy while taking pleasure! Tell me that is not crazy. I honestly think this is one of the very few women on the bad guy side that Bond actually does not sleep with, if HE doesn’t sleep with HER you know he knows how nuts he is.

The story of GoldenEye is very well written as is the action. I could not think of a Bond movie up until that point that had more guns and explosions, which is probably why people love this movie so much in addition to the performances. If you have not seen GoldenEye I would say watch this as soon as you can, even if you are not a huge fan of the Bond franchise.

DC Films, film

Movie Review: Batman (1989)

While this was not the first Batman movie this was without question one of the better superhero movies of all time. Batman has been in my life since I was a kid, and it grew even more when my brother became a huge fan. If I were to guess what was his favorite movie of all time this would be my top pick. Spoilers ahead as always. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Gotham City is getting ready to celebrate it’s 200th birthday, and Mayor Borg (Lee Wallace) has ordered the police commissioner James Gordon (Pat Hingle) and district attorney Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams) to make the city safer, starting with taking down crime lord Carl Grissom (Jack Palance). Meanwhile journalists Alexander Knox (Robert Wuhl) and his new partner Vickie Vale (Kim Basinger) investigate the sightings of a man dressed as a bat taking down the criminals of Gotham, but they are the only ones to believe it. At a fundraiser at Wayne Manor Vicki meets and quickly falls for Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) and vice versa, however Bruce’s butler Alfred (Michael Gough) informs him of Gordon’s sudden departure. Grissom has his second in command Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson) in charge of a raid at Axis Chemicals, but calls corrupt police lieutenant  Max Eckhardt (William Hootkins) to arrange a hit on Napier (he was sleeping with Grissom’s mistress Alicia (Jerry Hall)). Batman soon arrives, much to the shock of Gordon and Napier, but the night ends with Napier falling into a vat of chemicals, despite Batman’s best to save him. However Napier is alive, but driven insane. He soon takes over the crime world as The Joker. Bruce has to figure out Joker’s insanity, his own relationship with Vicki and reliving his past (if you know Batman you know exactly what I’m talking about).

I watched this film a lot when I was a kid because of my brother, and it still stands for me as not only one of the best Batman films, but one of the best superhero films of all time. The writing is spectacular, cast was spot on and the action was everything you want it to be and more; I love the final battle between Batman and Joker at the church. Michael Keaton is one of the better actor to portray Batman in film, I also enjoyed his performance as Bruce Wayne. Without question for me though Jack Nicholson has been the best actor to portray The Joker, yes a couple of people have given him a very close run for his money but I think Nicholson has yet to be topped as the maniacal clown. While I did love Kim Basinger as Vickie Vale she screamed WAY too much. I do admire Vickie’s commitment not only as a journalist but to her relationship with Bruce, but she was way too damsel in distress. Granted I am not too sure what she was like in the comics, but I’m pretty sure she was a lot tougher than that. Gough and Hingle were the only ones to stay with the Batman franchise on the 80’s and 90’s and for me at least this was their better performances of the four films. The rest of the cast is very good as well. Tim Burton is a fantastic director and while I would not go so far and say this is one of his better films, it was definitely a good one. If you like superheor movies and have yet to watch the 1989 Batman, put it on your list right now.


Movie Review: Jaws 2

When it comes to the Jaws sequels do yourself a favor; only watch the second one. From what I have heard prior to watching this film this was the better sequel of the franchise; at least a good follow up to the classic film compared to Jaws 3-D and Jaws: The Revenge (let me put it this way, Jaws 3 had tremendous negative reviews while Revenge was named one of the worst films of all time). If you are interested in Jaws 2 spoilers ahead. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

A brand new hotel is getting ready to open on Amity Island, but it is not long before there is trouble. Two divers taking pictures of the wrecked Orca are killed. A girl is also killed while water skiing and another girl causes her own death using the gas and flare on her boat severely burning the shark. These disappearances along with a whale body being washed up on the beach have Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) believing another shark has made its presence. One day at the beach Brody sees a dark shape, orders everyone out of the water and starts shooting, but it was only a school of fish. Despite finding proof there is a shark in the area Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) and the Amity council fire Brody. Brody’s sons Mike and Sean go sailing with some of Mike’s friends, and soon realize their father is telling the truth, forcing Brody to go out and save the teens and I will say not everyone comes back home.

I’m going to say this right of the bat, this film is not as fantastic as the original, the first Jaws is a classic and will never be topped. That out of the way Jaws 2 is not a bad movie, in fact it is pretty good. Scheider does a great job in the film as does Lorraine Gary as his wife Ellen and Hamilton as Vaughn. The action and thrills are decent enough for the second film, not as much as the first but good. If you like the first Jaws and are curious about the sequels, then watch this one not the others.

film, James Bond

Movie Review: Licence To Kill

Without question the darkest Bond film in the franchise. It also served as the final film for Timothy Dalton as Bond, Caroline Bliss as Moneypenny and Robert Brown as M. If this is what happens when Bond takes things personally, I do NOT want to be on his bad side. Spoilers ahead as usual. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Bond and Felix Leiter (David Hedison returning from Live and Let Die) are on their way to Felix’s wedding when they get a call that drug lord Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi) is in the area. A quick stop there and Sanchez is captured. However shortly after Felix and his wife Della (Priscilla Barnes) marry, Sanchez bribes DEA agent Ed Killifer (Everett McGill) for his freedom. Sanchez and his henchman Dario (Benicio Del Toro) take Felix to an aquarium owned by Milton Krest (Anthony Zerbe), an associate of Sanchez. Bond hears Sanchez escaped and arrives to find Felix maimed, courtesy of a tiger shark, and Della dead and possibly raped. Bond and a friend Sharkey (Frank McRae) investigate leading to the aquarium and discover Sanchez’s submarine used for smuggling cocaine. Bond kills Killifer by forcing him to drop into the shark tank. An angry M demands Bond report to his mission and Bond resigns to go after Sanchez. M instead suspends him and revokes his licence to kill. Bond, along with a friend of Felix at the CIA Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell), an unauthorized Q (Desmond Llewelyn) and Sanchez’s mistress Lupe (Talisa Soto), aim to stop Sanchez once and for all.

As I said this is the darkest Bond in the entire franchise, and with good reason. While I admit the writing could have been better in a few places and a couple of things don’t make sense the characters make up for it. Bond is a man without anything to lose and it shows; I personally think between Dalton’s two performances as 007 this is his better one. My thoughts on Pam will be later so I’d like to focus on the others. Lupe is a pretty good Bond girl, admittedly very damsel and “oh James”, but nonetheless she gave Pam a run for her money as who would Bond end up with. Sanchez is one of my favorite villains in the Bond franchise; he is so evil, creepy and overall just a good bad guy. I don’t see him on many top Bond villains list; which I understand there are better villains, but I still love to hate this guy. While this was not his first film Del Toro stood out as the maniacal Dario; on a side note Dario and Sanchez’s death are two of the most gruesome/spectacular in the franchise along with Krest. Brown’s final appearance as M really packed a punch and I was  disappointed for two reasons. When Bond flees M prevents someone from shooting him not because he cared but because “there are too many people”, come on really. Also there seems to be no reconciliation at the end of the movie even though Felix says m has a job for Bond. Bliss is only on screen for probably two minutes, and not the best Moneypenny, but if it wasn’t for her Q wouldn’t have been there to help. This is my favorite Q performance out of Llewellyn because he basically defies orders to help Bond out, showing as much as he gets annoyed at him Q has a soft spot for 007, I also liked his scenes with Pam. While I would not say Licence to Kill should be placed high on a recommendation list, I would still say if you like the Bond franchise then watch this movie.