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Showing posts from June, 2014

We're the laughing stock of the intelligence community!

The Living Daylights (1987) There is a fairly vocal body of opinion that regards Timothy Dalton as the zenith of 007s. He was the Bond who got back to the basics – or, even, found those basics – of what Ian Fleming’s character was all about, discarding the silliness that infected later Sean Connerys and most of the Roger Moores. This was a Bond who took being James Bond seriously, and would never, ever, be seen with a duck on his head or donning clown make-up. I have some sympathy with the desire to see an iconic character resemble his original devising; I'm as prone to reacting that way with certain books or properties. But I’m not an aficionado of Fleming’s novels, so my allegiances extend only as far as whatever makes an entertaining Bond movie. And on that score, unfortunately, I find Dalton a bit of a washout. The Living Daylights isn’t a bad Bond movie – it’s one of the better ‘80s entries – but its lead actor never seems very comfortable. Ironically, he would pro

We have nothing left to sell. And we can't afford to buy anything.

Promised Land (2012) (SPOILERS) Matt Damon’s would-be directorial debut finished up helmed by old pal Gus Van Sant. Scheduling conflicts got the better of the man who was Bourne. It’s easy to see why Damon wanted in; he co-wrote the script with co-star John Krasinski, and this is the kind of socially conscious fare Matt and buddy George Clooney have a yen for. Politically alert entertainments that raise issues and provoke the audience, however gently. Both have in mind the cinema of the ‘70s, but ultimately Promised Land is just to damn nice and well meaning to get under the skin. Like it’s lead actor, then. It takes a subject the public are fairly unequivocally adversarial towards, the fracking industry – certainly to the extent that few have any illusions over its environmental side effects – and manages to divest itself of a position; of any semblance of anger or righteousness. The movie comes from such an “understand all sides’ place (including that of big business) that

I'm stuck in a motel room!

Oldboy (2013) (SPOILERS) I’m not averse to remakes so long someone has a good reason for going there. Generally, I wouldn’t regard “It was in a foreign language” as a valid motive. Just occasionally however, even a straight retelling can provide the lazy distraction of a different-but-the-same iteration, although one invariably ends up reaching the same conclusion; why did they bother? Most of non-English language films picked by Hollywood for a remake fail at the box office, and yet the lesson is never learned. If there’s a whiff of a name property, even from a somewhat insular bean counter standpoint, something with any chance of audience recognition, that’s enough. I seem to be in the minority with regard to the original Oldboy , as it didn’t do very much for me. Some bravura sequences and a compelling premise aside, I was became increasingly disenchanted as it became progressively more ridiculous and hysterical (and not as in funny) during the final act. It doesn’t surpris