Posts Tagged ‘James Bond’

The Guns of Navarone – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, März 11th, 2010


In World War II, 2,o00 British soldiers are stuck on a Greek island, waiting for the German invasion. The ships that can get them out need to pass Navarone – but the guns there need to be taken out first to allow them safe passage. To this end, a team of six soldiers is assembled and tasked with this near impossible mission. What results is a good action adventure that stands the test of time surprisingly well, even if the effects look dated beyond belief. Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn and David Niven in the lead roles are superb and the film manages to be exciting almost from start to finish of the two and a half hour runtime. The anti-war message it claims to contain may not be delivered adequately with a little too much focus on the heroics of the heroes, but it’s a good film nonetheless.

Random Observations:

The Guns of Navarone at the IMDb

Germans never should watch WWII films, it’s always so painfully obvious that the German soldiers are played by foreigners.

David Niven really surprised me in this film, since I had mostly seen him in comedic fare so far.

The film is a milestone in film history and a reference for later day action films such as the Bond franchise on how to make and pace their films.

Adventskalender 4

Freitag, Dezember 4th, 2009

Click the link to open the fourth door. Klick auf den Link, um das vierte Türchen zu öffnen.

(weiterlesen …)

Love and Death – Minute Movie Review

Dienstag, September 29th, 2009


Woody Allen takes on Czarist Russia in this film about a young man caught in the Napoleonic Wars, who would much rather stay home, write poetry and marry his cousin, but instead becomes a war hero by accident. It’s the usual early Allen mixture of slapstick, physical comedy, utter nonsense, silliness, smart comedy and insightful commentary that makes for very entertaining 90 minutes and out of all those films, this is easily the best. It is often absurd and hilariously funny, especially when Allen in the title role starts talking philosophy.

Random Observations:

Love and Death at the IMDb

Made shortly before the heyday of Woody Allen / Diane Keaton collaborations.

I really enjoyed the stereotypical black Drill Sergeant in the Russian army.

Boris Grishenko, the Russian hacker, in the James Bond film Goldeneye is certainly named for Boris Grushenko, the main character here.

Topaz – Minute Movie Review

Montag, September 7th, 2009


In 1962, the cold war was about as hot as it would ever get. A French intelligence agent gets caught up in it when he becomes to close to the Americans and starts doing jobs for them, in order to uncover what is going on in Cuba. One of Alfred Hitchcock’s lesser works, this is actually a fine cold war thriller, evenly paced between dramatic sequences that border on action scenes and many long and deliberate conversations. The plot sometimes becomes a bit confused, the acting is not all that great and the experimental aspects of the film are not really noticeable, but overall it is a suspenseful enough film.

Random Observations:

Topaz at the IMDb

Whose brilliant idea was it to cast a German (Karin Dor, also a former Bond girl in You Only Live Twice) as a Cuban woman? Wasn’t there at least somebody from Spain or Latin America available?

Just what was going on in Cuba? Well, the preparations for the Cuban Missile Crisis, of course!

Duplicity – Minute Movie Review

Samstag, Juni 27th, 2009


Julia Roberts and Clive Owen as two former secret agents team up in this spy thriller comedy by writer-director Tony Gilroy (of Michael Clayton fame) to take two large corporations for a lot of money. The movie balances between a complicated and twisted plot and a comedic edge with great performances, especially by supporting player Paul Giamatti, resulting in an entertaining film with a lot of subtext (and regular text) about trust and paranoia.

Random Observations:

Duplicity at the IMDb

The greatness of Paul Giamatti’s performance can not be stressed enough.

I missed the first five or so minutes of the film, but luckily the events of those are retold several times throughout the film. At least I think so.

Wouldn’t Clive Owen have made a great Bond?

Minute Movie Review – Never Say Never Again

Donnerstag, Mai 7th, 2009


Sean Connery came out of Bond retirement – both on and off screen – for this remake of “Thunderball”. Not part of the official series, it tells the slightly modified story of the evil SPECTRE organization stealing two nuclear warheads and demanding ransom from NATO powers for them. But while the film has some nice set pieces, it is far inferior to the original. The changes to the plot are extremely stupid, the acting is sub-par even by Bond standards and the film mostly feels like a parody – but one that is never funny.

Random Observations:

Never Say Never Again at

One person has to be excluded from the comment about the acting – Max von Sydow. Sure, his performance as archvillain Blofeld is campy, but at least he is aware of the fact. Nevertheless, I’d recommend you watch him in Det sjunde inseglet instead.

The film is very different from the “official” Bond films, from the supporting actors (and the quality thereof) to the opening titles. But the most obvious difference is the score – John Barry never, ever composed anything as dreadful as the music for this film.

Sean Connery is so tanned he makes Roger Moore in “A View to a Kill” look pale.

Why is it that in all unofficial Bond movies, Bond comes out of retirement?

If I had to rank this film, I would place it between “Die Another Day” and “Moonraker”.

Minute Movie Review – Casino Royale (1967)

Donnerstag, Mai 7th, 2009


At the height of James Bond’s popularity, a large creative team set out to adapt a James Bond novel not owned by Eon Productions, the company behind the official series. They decided to turn it into a parody of James Bond and the spy film genre in general. And it somewhat worked. Quite a few of the scenes in the film are truly inspired, many are quite funny, but sadly, most are just stupid. Add to that the fact that the film severely lacks direction and a clear plot thread and you have an experiment, that didn’t quite work.

Random Observations:

Casino Royale at

The film has five (credited) directors and at least ten writers worked on the script, though most of them are uncredited.

I wanted to rank this in the list of the other Bond films, but there is simply no way to compare the “serious” films to this.

Minute Movie Review – Viva Zapata!

Sonntag, Mai 3rd, 2009


In 1909, when the farmers of Mexico are unhappy about having their land taken away, Emiliano Zapata rises up to help him. Over the course of a few years, he becomes a revolutionary, a general, President and finally, disgusted with how power corrupts even him, a rebel leader once more. Well made, the film tells an interesting story of the struggle of the poor against the powerful and how everyone, including Zapata’s brother, sells out at some point.

Random Observations:

Viva Zapata! at

While the film is historically inaccurate in some of the details – Zapata was not illiterate – it stays mostly true to his character and ideology.

The screenplay was written by Nobel Prize Laureate John Steinbeck, whose most famous novels include “Of Mice and Men” and “The Grapes of Wrath”.

One of the people traipsing on the line between hero and villain is Fernando Aguirre, played by Joseph Wiseman. While watching the film, I wondered where I had seen him before – turns out, he played Dr. No in the first ever James Bond film.

My 22 Favourite Bond Films

Mittwoch, April 15th, 2009

[Editor's note: This intro is unnecessarily long and embarrassingly personal. You might just want to skip to the list, after the cut.]
When I was a young boy – maybe six to ten years old – the films about superspy James Bond were a regular feature on television. My father always watched them and whenever I could, I would watch with him, staying up well past my bedtime. I might not have understood everything that was going on – the sexual innuendo and political implications definitely were lost on me – but I understood one fundamental thing that attracted me to the franchise: That James Bond guy was really cool. Today, in an attempt to show off my expanded vocabulary, I might call him suave, charming or even sophisticated, but those words don’t quite describe how fascinated I – and millions if not billions of other people – were by his adventures.

When Goldeneye was released in 1995, after a six year hiatus, it was impossible to believe that Bond was actually on the big screen. He had become such a central television figure for me, that it took me seven more years to decide to see a Bond movie in a movie theatre. (Yes, I am aware that I am mixing British and American English. It annoys me to no end, but I have come to accept it as a slight quirk of my writing.) Nevertheless, I have always claimed that I had seen all Bond movies, but in discussions with fellow aficionados, I have lately realized that I actually remembered embarrassingly little of them.

So, in order to remedy that grave slight on my reputation as a film connoisseur, I decided to rewatch all 22 Bond films made by Eon Productions, i.e. the official Bond films. There are two more: the 1967 parody Casino Royale starring David Niven and 1983′s Never Say Never Again, a remake of Thunderball by Warner that brought back the long retired Sean Connery as Bond. These are not included in the list for the simple reason that they don’t particularly fit and I also had no desire to watch them (again) after seeing so much of Bond over the last four weeks. The following list of the movies ranks them on personal like and dislike, no matter how objective the reviews are worded. If you disagree with my assessment, you are nevertheless wrong. But I would love to tell you why if you told me which movie is much better or worse than I believe in the comments!

And now, without even further ado, the most epic post ever written for this blog! (Isn’t the list of tags impressively long?)

(weiterlesen …)

My Favourite Contemporary Actors

Freitag, März 27th, 2009

As I said before, everybody loves Top Ten Lists. Especially me. So I thought I’d start a new, sort of regular, feature here, where I make Top Ten Lists of things I like. Now, the usual way to go about that would be to make lists like “The Ten Best Actors Working Today”, but even I don’t consider my opinion so important as to call it objective. So I will make lists like “My Favourite Ten Actors Working Today”, even if that title is a little longer. And so, without further ado, here are the ten actors whose body of work I enjoy so much, that just their participation in a film means that I want to see it, in reverse order. If you know all ten of them, congratulate yourself on having good taste. (weiterlesen …)