Posts Tagged ‘Sean Connery’

Highway Tuneage

Our two day Chicagoland adventure began yesterday around 1PM when Mare and I hopped onto the ‘pike and headed west.  It was amazing to me how fast we flew there.  We arrived at our hotel around 3PM (according to my chauffeur’s cell phone time… she did not realize that her device automatically accounted for the change in time zones).

Our journey was seemingly made even more quickly with our listening variety.  I brought along my Carousel Score.  Mary I believe said that she played the part of Cousin Nettie Flower in a production of one of my favorite musicals back in the early part of the decade.  REALLY!  WHERE WAS I when they staged it?!  Then, we popped in some Josh Groban and by that time we were very close.  So…. we let “Vera” guide us the rest of the way.  Little to no traffic. Surprisingly, very little construction on our side of the highway.  A very fun, easy trip.

Coming back, Megan joined us on the return trip.  We made a slight detour to South Bend and took a drive-by tour of the perimeter of Notre Dame.  Since it was rather rainy and a home football game, a more close up tour was out of the question.  We did get a glimpse of the golden dome and Touchdown Jesus.  Very fun!

One of the most interesting music selections in Mare’s catalog was a CD of Beatles hits recorded by some interesting actors.  Imagine Robin Williams and Jim Carey giving voice to “Come Together” and “I am the Walrus”.  There were lots of very interesting Beatles classics including a strangely bluesy rendition of “Hard Day’s Night” by an even more interesting actress choice who none of us could figure out was Goldie Hawn.  But no recording of the classic William Shatner take on “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” A very fun if at times a bit strange tribute.

All in all, a very fun trip on the road.  Stay tuned for my take on the big fun in the city.

The final selection on the Beatles tribute was by the best Bond that seemed a bit odd because he stated his dislike of the Fab Four in Goldfinger.

Christmas With James

Going against the more traditional holiday movie fare (a big chunk of it takes place during the Christmas season so it counts), it has become tradition to celebrate with what has become the most underrated, overlooked Bond flick (which is a shame). On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is by far the most emotionally charged film in the cannon.  It leads the secret agent to abandon his “bachelor’s taste for freedom” for the daughter of the head of an underworld organization.  At first, Bond enters into a bargain with Draco, father of Countessa Teresa di Vicenzo.  In exchange for help in tracking down the evil Blofeld, 007 would “look after” the head-strong, resilient, resourceful woman.  Bond’s first encounter with Traci was almost tragic as the countessa was about to drown herself.

No Bond movie is complete with a love story alone.  James tracks Blofeld to his hidden Alpine chalet where he has been cultivating his crop of female lovelies in another of his plots for world domination.  The spy’s disguise as a genealogist is discovered and he is locked in one of the endless array of death traps from which he undoubtedly escapes.  With the bad guys in pursuit, James again meets up with Traci who saves his life.  However, she is captured and taken to Blofeld’s lair.  In the rescue mission led by Bond and Draco, Traci proves her resilience in hand-to-hand combat with several baddies.

I have always liked Bond in wintery climates.  Breathtaking scenery, action on skis, bobsleds, and a demolition derby on ice are just some of the action sequences.  OHMSS is very slim on gadgetry.  It does feature two of the worst inventions created by Q.  Radioactive lint?  Plus a large, cumbersome safecracking device that takes forever to open a safe. Thank goodness James brought along some reading material while waiting… have your name prominently displayed in the comment box if you can tell me what that material is.

I think the reason for the underappreciation of the movie is the acting choice for Bond, himself.  Poor George Lazenby was an Australian model with no acting experience attempting to fill the shoes of a character who was so well established by Sean Connery.  Telly Savalas played the role of Blofeld with a devine sense of villainy.  And the gorgeous Diana Rigg used her talents from the television series The Avengers (skip the big-screen movie adaptation) very well as the ill-fated Traci.

From No to Solace

In honor of the opening of the 22nd Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, I will be asking my readers (some of whom are fans, some who have never seen a Bond movie, and others who could give a flying fig) a series of questions.  The new film will hold the distinction of being the first direct sequel… following soon after the events in Casino Royale .  I also found what appears to be a cool official 007 site full of facts, chat forums, etc.  But to the nitty gritty.  Please tell me your pick for the Best James Bond film… also your pick for the Worst Of The Series.

My personal favorite is From Russia With Love.  It was only the second film in the franchise but it set the tone for those that followed.  It had the best Bond (Sean Connery), one of the best Bond girls (Tatiana Romanova), the best MacGuffin, and one of the most ingenious devices created by Q Branch (the attache case).  The evil henchwoman (Rosa Klebb) was also one of the best.  (“She had her kicks.”)

Unfortunately, there have been some stinkers in the series as well.  A View to a Kill may have given the US its first number one Bond theme single (by Duran Duran) but the rest was just not good.  Roger Moore had outlived his welcome in the role (he should have had his license to kill revoked after Octopussy).  Christopher Walken was just too over the top (in a long list of over the top villains).    Tanya Roberts was totally wrong as the girl.  And gargantuan 80s icon Grace Jones did not a memorable henchwoman make.

So, there are my picks for best and worst Bond movies.  Sometime, I will plan to see the latest film in theatres and see if Daniel Craig will be able to endear himself more in the role.  He still hasn’t totally won me over, but it is only his second outing as 007.

Say You, Say Me

Perhaps in an attempt to put closure on a character he introduced to millions of fans everywhere over 4 decades ago, Sean Connery has pondered the possibility of returning to the Bond franchise.  Not as the British superspy, but as a villain.  That would seem to me to be a first.  An actor who originated a role in a popular series of movies returning to that franchise as the antagonist.  The possibility is intriguing, but as the 77 year old actor stated, they probably would not be able to pay him enough to come out of retirement.  They could not do it for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but Never Say Never Again Sir Sean.  Actually, Connery’s final outing as 007 in the rather waterlogged remake of Thunderball was not one of his finest  two hours.  NSNA has never been acknowledged as an official Bond movie and was released by Warner Brothers and not MGM/UA.

Read the full article here

Snakes… Why Did There Have To Be Snakes

Since this is to be a blog concerning movie reviews, I suppose I should start reviewing more. On May 22, one of my favorite movie franchises will be resurrected with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Let me take a moment to deal with the previous 3 movies in turn. All four movies contain two essential elements: Harrison Ford and director Steven Spielberg

Raiders of the Lost Ark was one of the top grossing films of 1981, if not THE top money maker. It is here we meet the great archaeologist and follow him around the globe on his quest to find the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Along with his female companion Marion Ravenwood (played by Karen Allen), Indy battles Nazis, a trecherous rival treasure hunter, and the bane of his existence…. deadly snakes. However exhausted he may seem, Dr. Jones rises to each challenge with courage and at times a bit of a swagger. In one scene, Indy shoots a menacing swordsman with one bullet fired from his gun. However, his favorite weapon of choice: his trusty bull whip.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was released in 1984. The second installment was considerably darker than its predecessor. In fact, Spielberg had to lobby for a new movie rating in order to avoid getting an R-rating. Thus, the PG-13 rating was created. Temple of Doom concerns our intrepid adventurer searching for the lost sankara stones which were stolen from a small village in India. These rocks may have meant “fortune and glory” to Indy but to the village they meant their very livelihood. Some of the highlights in this epic are a speeding mine car chase, a rickety rope bridge, and a sumptuous feast consisting of snake surprise, beetles, eyeball soup, and for dessert…Chilled Monkey Brains (a tasty treat anyone would enjoy).

The third part of the saga, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), had a lot to do with the background of the character: why archaeology, where his whip came from, and why the name Indiana. In a very brilliant piece of casting, Sean Connery was chosen to play Indy’s father. Who else but the world’s greatest superspy could play the world’s greatest adventurer’s father? After rescuing his father from Nazis,they set out to find the Holy Grail: the cup which held the blood of Christ at the Last Supper and gives everlasting life to anyone who drinks from it. In a flashback at the beginning of the movie, the late River Phoenix plays a young Indy on one of his teenage escapades.

Now, comes the next chapter. Very little is known about the new movie aside from the title and who knows what the purpose of the crystal skull is. Karen Allen is returning as Marion and Shia LaBeouf is cast as a young man who speculation suggests has a familial tie to the hero. Watch the trailer here