Category Archives: Movies

Box office Problems…

I’ve mentioned it before -many times!- but it bears repeating. It’s the lovely quote by prestigious screenwriter/writer William Goldman concerning making films, and their chances of becoming box office successes:

Nobody knows anything… Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.

I point this quote out because we’ve had, IMHO, two prime examples which demonstrate the wisdom of this quote.

I refer to the box office performances of Terminator: Dark Fate and the just released Doctor Sleep.

Terminator: Dark Fate (let’s refer to it as TDF from here on) looked to me like it would be a success well before its release.

I mean, come on! You had James Cameron back to the Terminator universe, not as a director but providing the story and producing the film, his first involvement in this universe since Terminator 2. You had hot director Tim Miller (Deadpool) behind the camera. You had the Arnold Schwarzenneger and Linda Hamilton. The film gets released and, over on rottentomatoes.com, winds up with a very strong 71% positive among critics and another very strong 84% positive among audiences.

Things were certainly looking good.

What could possibly go wrong?

Welp…

Rebecca Rubin at variety.com notes the following:

Terminator: Dark Fate stalls overseas with $29 million

According to the article, the movie has made approximately $200 million so far, counting both the U.S. and worldwide residuals. However, to “break even” the film needed to make around $450 million, which means -again according to the above article- Paramount stands to lose around $100 million from this film.

Ouch.

Scroll back up, my friends, and re-read that wonderful quote from William Goldman. Can you at least begin to understand why I feel it is so on the mark?

TDF had so much going for it, yet when it was finally released, audiences essentially didn’t care to go see it.

Why?

I suppose in part it could be because of fatigue with the Terminator brand. Even in my review of the film (you can read it here) I noted the weak box office and stated:

If I could go back in time, maybe I’d convince the makers of those (Terminator) sequels to lay off and, by the time TDF shows up, people might be more willing/eager to give it a shot.

It is also possible that, plain and simply, Arnold Schwarzenneger simply no longer holds the box office appeal he used to have. Maybe seeing an older Linda Hamilton was also a turn off. Let’s face it: The big box office hits often involve the young and pretty. Or maybe the story presented simply wasn’t “good enough” to justify seeing the film again. In other words, maybe the movie had few/no repeat customers, another ingredient necessary for box office success.

Who knows.

Nobody knows anything.

Regardless, the studios gambled on what I personally would have thought was a sure thing and, ultimately, it looks like that gamble won’t pay off. In time I suspect the film will make its money, especially through home video, but for now the film is a loser.

Which brings us to example “B”: Doctor Sleep.

Released just this past Friday, here was another film I would have thought would do quite well.

The movie is based on a Stephen King novel, the sequel to one of his most famous works and movie adaptations, The Shining. The director, Mike Flanagan, was a director on the rise known for his work in horror. He won plenty of accolades for his The Haunting of Hill House mini-series. He earned both Stephen King and the Stanley Kubrick (director of The Shining) estate’s thumbs up for his attempts to merge both movie and books.

The movie’s trailers, I thought, were intriguing. The idea of seeing what happened to the main character of Danny Torrence some forty years after the events of The Shining was to me very appealing. Hell, I don’t read Stephen King novels but I admit I was tempted to get that one!

Then, like TDF, the movie is released and gets wonderful ratings on rottentomatoes.com. As of today, the film has a 74% positive rating from critics and an incredibly strong 90% positive among audiences.

Only, it too underperformed.

Anthony D’Alessandro at deadline.com writes:

Doctor Sleep to lose $20+ million for Warner Brothers

The movie opened much softer than expected, earning some $14.2 million and coming in second to the wartime drama Midway. According to the above article, if Doctor Sleep manages to make some $100 million at the box office in its run, it will still nonetheless lose that $20 million. If it makes even lower than that…

Unlike TDF, I wound up not liking Doctor Sleep (you can read my review here). Having said that, I nonetheless really expected audiences to flock to the film the first week, yet that clearly didn’t happen.

Perhaps it was because the film was inexplicably released just after Halloween. Seriously, what’s up with that? You have a horror film you’re going to release and you don’t take advantage of the one holiday associated with all things that go bump in the night?!

Perhaps it was the fact that, despite many viewing The Shining -movie and book- as a classic, it is an older work and they simply weren’t that interested in revisiting something that old. Perhaps the cast simply wasn’t strong enough to elicit interest.

Who knows.

Nobody knows anything.

And so it goes.

Doctor Sleep (2019) A (Right On Time!) Review

Way, waaaaaaaaay back 1980, my father took thirteen or fourteen year old me to the just released horror film The Shining.

Yeah, I know. Excellent parenting, no?

Back then, I had little awareness of director Stanley Kubrick and his films. For that matter, I knew very little about author Stephen King, though I likely knew by that point the film was based on one of his novels.

We sat through the film and I was really embarrassed to be sitting next to my father when the completely nude woman in the bathtub appeared and what famously followed.

But other than that, I found the film a chore.

I really didn’t like it much at all and, when we left the theater, I suspect my father didn’t either (Now that I think about it, I should ask him…!).

Then, something really curious happened. The Shining showed up on TV here and there and I’d catch some minutes of it, then a few more, then still more.

And I’ll be damn if that film didn’t grow on me. I’m dense, I guess, but after a while I got it. I became a big fan of the movie and, in time, of director Stanley Kubrick, and today consider the movie one of my all time favorite horror features.

Ever.

Those who know even a little about the movie and Stephen King likely know that Mr. King was not too fond of the film. In fact, he famously stated he was unhappy with the changes made to his novel. Some have speculated it was because Mr. King viewed the novel more personally than any other (the main character is a writer struggling with alcoholism while Mr. King famously also struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction).

Fans of Mr. King’s novels have been vocal in defending the novel and many consider it a far better work than the movie. I haven’t read the novel and can’t comment on that.

Mr. King was clearly bothered enough about the movie version that years later and in 1997 he personally produced a TV mini-series which was more faithful to the novel.

The mini-series, IMHO, sucked. I thought it was dull and in the end was completely lost in the shadow of its more famous movie version.

A few years later and in 2013, Mr. King would release a sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep. As with most King novels, it did well and, given the success of recent Stephen King movie adaptations (in particular It), it isn’t terribly surprising a film version was made. It was released last Friday and I got to see it a few hours ago…

…and I must say, I’m befuddled.

The film, directed by Mike Flanagan (The House on Haunted Hill) is well made. The acting is generally quite good.

But the film… it feels bloated and unfocused. Even worse, there are almost no big scares. In fact, I would describe the film as not all that frightening at all. Finally, when all is said and done, the movie’s main villains are… well… without getting too SPOILERY… they wind up being not all that hard to take down in the end.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Doctor Sleep concerns Danny (now Dan) Torrance (Ewan McGregor), first immediately after the events of The Shining (both book and movie. Reportedly Mr. Flanagan tried to bridge the gap between the novel and Kubrick film). After he’s grown, we find that, like his father before him, Dan has become an alcoholic. During these opening scenes we also meet up with a group of oddball cultists known as The True Knot. They are led by Rose The Hat (Rebecca Ferguson, quite good) and roam the highways in their vans and motor homes hunting people who have “The Shining”, ie psychic abilities. Their victims are small children, and the group kills these children and feed off their souls.

I couldn’t help but think this group had more than a little similarity to the vampires presented in the 1987 cult classic vampire film Near Dark

The True Knot are in trouble: They are having a harder and harder time finding new victims, that is, until Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran) has visions of their latest victim which in turn alerts The True Knot of her existence.

They hunger for her. Meanwhile Abra has psychically contacted Dan Torrance and, when it appears she is in danger, the two eventually team up to deal with The True Knot.

I won’t get into too many more spoilers about the film. I will say this: The movie takes a while to get going, presenting perhaps more information than was needed in the first act (Did we need to waste so much time with the backstory of Snakebit Andi?). Eventually, when things are sorted out and the players are revealed, the movie moves a little better but, again IMHO, things never really clicked as well for me and while I wouldn’t say I was hating what I saw, neither did I feel it was as interesting as I hoped it would be and the characters in The True Knot felt like -with the exception of Rose the Hat- they belonged in a cheap comic book. And, lest you think otherwise, I love comic books!

Worse, things became rather predictable and it was pretty obvious where the movie was going and where specifically the climax would occur.

In the end, I can’t recommend Doctor Sleep, despite the fact that the film was professionally done, both behind and in front of the camera. The story itself simply wasn’t that interesting and there were few -almost no!- scares, a very surprising fact given the film is supposed to be a horror movie.

Yet I wonder… given how I originally didn’t like The Shining when I originally saw it, is it possible that in time I may wind up liking Doctor Sleep?

Sadly, I don’t think so. Too bad.

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) a (almost right on time!) Review

I’ve spent the last few posts talking about Terminator: Dark Fate (let’s refer to it as TDF from here on out) and now, having seen the film, offer my opinion on it.

To begin: I very much recall going to the theater way, waaaaaaaay back in 1984 to see The Terminator. While viewers who watch the film today may not realize it because of the inevitable passage of time and cribbing of ideas, seeing the original film when it was originally released was a ferocious experience. It was, to my mind, the first time the action and horror genres were merged.

Once the film got going, it felt absolutely relentless, and despite what we now see as an obvious low budget and dodgy effects (again, this is the product of the passage of time), The Terminator essentially made director/writer James Cameron’s career. He would go on from this film to make the equally tense action/horror Aliens and from there Terminator 2 (which many, but not me, consider the very best Terminator film) before eventually becoming a box-office champion with Titanic and Avatar.

The Terminator franchise left James Cameron’s hands following T2, and he had no part in either Terminator 3, Terminator: Salvation, or Terminator: Genysis. Neither did he have a part in Terminator: The Sarah Connors Chronicles TV show, which I found quite good.

Unfortunately, the Terminator films that followed T2 were not that good, IMHO. Almost all of them had good elements, but the overall works simply didn’t carry each film into “great” movie territory.

Recently, the Terminator property reverted to James Cameron and with Terminator: Dark Fate, he’s “back”, though this time with the story and production credits while Tim Miller (Deadpool) directs.

If you’ve read my previous postings, it is worth noting that in making TDF, it was decided to create a story that actively ignores all the Terminator works that came post-T2. So going into the film, audiences should try to wipe their minds clean of all those works and stick with the first two.

The movie begins with a rather shocking development that reminded me in many ways of the opening of Aliens 3. I don’t want to give too much away here (I will talk about it toward the end, so BEWARE SPOILERS!) but if you’ve read online anything about the film, chances are you already know what happens at the very beginning of the film…

We then move to Mexico and, specifically, car factory worker Dani Ramos (Natalie Reyes, quite good), and the arrival -natch- of two visitors from the future, Grace (Mackenzie Davis, quite spectacular as an “augmented” human) and the evil Gabriel, aka REV-9 (Gabriel Luna, quite good), the robot sent to the future to take out Dani.

The story thus far isn’t all that different from all the other Terminators that came before: You have your “ordinary” person being alternately hunted and protected by two people who have come from the future. The early action set pieces are quite spectacular and Gabriel’s evil robot, while essentially still incredibly similar to Robert Patricks’ T-1000 from T2, has the added trick of being able to split into two Terminators at one time.

The opening action sequence terminates (ouch) with the arrival of Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton, looking as grizzly as can be but dangerous and smart assed to boot). The three form an uneasy alliance which eventually takes them to you-know-who (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and together the four of them form an even more uneasy alliance in trying to take on and destroy Gabriel.

Watching TDF, I realized how much better the film was compared to those that followed T2. Again, I don’t feel all those films are horrible, but clearly the people behind the making of TDF spent the extra capital in developing the relationships between the characters so that when we got to the ending, it was something of an emotional gut punch, at least to me.

TDF still falls a little below T2 (my second favorite Terminator film behind the original) yet rises IMHO far above the others and, for someone who was there when the first came out, felt it was almost a love letter to the fans of the series, even if it didn’t necessarily move out of the general Terminator comfort zone, story-wise.

Still, I liked it quite a bit and would easily recommend it to anyone interested. If you worry that these old-folks simply can’t do it in an intense action film, let me say they handle themselves quite well. I fear, however, that people are not giving this film a chance (it has been noted it underperformed despite generally good critical and audience reactions) because of the run of so-so Terminator films, including the not so-very-old Terminator: Genysis.

And that’s really too bad. If I could go back in time, maybe I’d convince the makers of those sequels to lay off and, by the time TDF shows up, people might be more willing/eager to give it a shot.

TDF is an easy recommendation for me. A film that, while not necessarily reinventing the Terminator-wheel, nonetheless respects the original two films and provides us with some genuinely good thrills and action set pieces, along with a story that is also quite good (if familiar) and some very welcome humor.

Go see it with an open mind… or at least without thinking about the last three Terminator films that followed T2.

Now then…

SPOILERS!!!!!

BEWARE!!!!

Still here?

Ok, you’ve been warned.

TDF opens with a post-T2 Sarah Connors and a young John Connor (both actors were digitally de-aged) resting from the end of T2.

Then, the T-800 (a de-aged Arnold) appears and kills John Connor.

It’s a rough scene, especially given we had a full film in T2 whose whole reason for being was to keep John Connor alive. However, in the course of that film, the future was changed and Skynet was destroyed.

What TDF does, somewhat cleverly but still kinda/sorta grimly, is show us that John Connor’s death no longer matters. That the T-800 that kills him turns out to have completed its programmed mission for a future that no longer was going to come into being.

Thus, the T-800 we see later in the film is that same robot, only he spent the next 20 plus years adapting to humanity and realizing what he did was terrible.

It’s an interesting notion and one that I felt made the relationship between Sarah and he that much more intriguing but… man, what a bummer of a concept! As I said, it was not unlike Alien 3, which opened with the deaths of two very likeable characters who survived the massacre of Aliens.

Still, for me not something that ruined the film.

Your mileage, as they say, may vary!

Terminator: Dark Fate Box Office…

It’s the Monday after the release of Terminator: Dark Fate (let’s refer to it as TDF from here on, OK?), and it would appear the film underperformed and might even be, as Jason Guerrasio writes in businessinsider.com, an outright bust…

Terminator: Dark Fate is a bust at the box-office, taking in only $29 million

I’m still curious to see the film but it is something of a surprise -or maybe not?- the film underperformed. Note that the original estimates were that TDF would rake in either in the high $30 to low $40 million for the weekend. The $29 million it managed is actually quite close to the opening take Terminator: Genysis did in 2015 when it scored $27 million.

Which kinda/sorta indicates that this seems to be roughly where current audience interest lies with regard to Terminator films.

It’s a sad fact of life that time marches on and while when I was young the original Terminator and Terminator 2 did incredible business and were very much in the public eye, the years have passed and (sadly) Arnold Schwarzenneger and Linda Hamilton are much older now, which may be a great negative to the younger audiences out there.

An admission: When I first saw the trailers for TDF, my first reaction -and I’m more than willing to accept this is a sign of my own shallowness- was surprise at Linda Hamilton’s aging.

I fully accept the fact that it makes me sound shallow (like I’m somehow immune to the passage of time!), but the reality is that film has a way of “freezing” people in time if they leave the public eye.

Arnold Schwarzenneger has aged too, obviously, but he’s been in the public spotlight with other films and, in my mind, I know what he looks like these days. Linda Hamilton, on the other hand, has kept a relatively low profile since Terminator 2. Looking over her IMdb listing, while she’s continued to work over the years, her “biggest” appearances post T2 were in the TV show Chuck (which I never watched) and a turn soon after the release of T2 in the film Dante’s Peak. Otherwise she’s appeared in relatively smaller works and often as a voice actor in animated features.

Which means that seeing her in the trailers for TDF was the first time since the 1990’s I’ve had a look at her.

So we have two older actors in what is, sadly as well, a “young person’s” genre: The action film. And, further to that, a film in a franchise which, let’s face it, has now reached its sixth theatrical film (and we’re not even counting Terminator: The Sarah Connors Chronicles TV show).

Given that Terminator: Genysis just came out a few years back and only did so-so business, it might in retrospect be that people are a little tired of the whole Terminator franchise and what you can make on these films is roughly in/around that amount.

Having said all that, I remain interested in seeing TDF and plan to do so soon, perhaps as early as tomorrow.

Linda Hamilton may no longer be the striking, young kick-ass warrior we saw so memorably in T2, but I’m intrigued with the notion of seeing her play an older, hopefully wiser warrior, whose scars -internal and external- give her that additional edge.

In reading the reviews of the film, it seems that while a slight majority of critics and audiences reacted favorably to the film, there nonetheless are many who feel TDF is a miss. That despite the return of Linda Hamilton, the film is yet another lackluster Terminator sequel.

Potential audiences out there are wiser to critical views of films and these negative reactions may have swayed many to not bother showing up.

Regardless, I will see the film.

Let’s see how I feel about it…

Terminator: Dark Fate and Continuity…

Over at io9.com, Germain Lussier interviewed Arnold Schwarzenegger regarding his just released film Terminator: Dark Fate.

Terminator: Dark Fate, Interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger

Terminator: Dark Fate is the sixth film in the Terminator franchise. It follows the original Terminator, Terminator 2, Terminator 3, Terminator: Salvation, and Terminator: Genysis.

What’s interesting about this film is that it effectively obliterates the “continuity” established in all Terminator films following the second. In other words, the story presented here ignores -and effectively contradicts/negates- all the stories presented in the other Terminator films that followed T2. In this case, it means even Terminator 3 and Terminator: Genysis, which featured Arnold Schwarzenegger himself, are no longer considered part of the Terminator story line present in Dark Fate.

And Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t care that this film ignores those others.

I find that attitude… refreshing.

Even though he was involved in the films and was effectively their star, he’s not so attached to those previous movies to feel that they should somehow be considered cannon. He’s more than willing to work in this latest film without feeling like he should be defending the others.

I suppose it isn’t a terribly big leap to make. Mr. Schwarzenegger is no doubt making a great salary and working on something he likes. He seems long past caring about all these details and more focused on the here and now compared to the past.

But for those who do like the Terminator films which came post T2, I don’t see much of a problem there either. If you like those films, guess what? They’re still there. They haven’t been burned up or erased from your digital libraries (provided you have them there). They can still be enjoyed, should you want to enjoy them.

And with a franchise that involves time travel and alternate realities, what better series than the Terminator to so easily put those films into these alternate realities?

Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) an (almost right on time!) review

It’s taken a few days for me to get to writing this and, if you’ve read the post I wrote just before this one, you already know why.

One Sunday night my wife, youngest daughter, and I went to the theater to catch Zombieland: Double Tap, the sequel to (natch) 2009’s Zombieland, a film that delightfully skewered plenty of Zombie-movie convention.

Zombieland: Double Tap (let’s refer to it as Z2 from here on out, OK?) comes ten years from the release of the original and we quickly find out what’s going on with our four protagonists of the post-Zombie apocalypse: Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin).

And the answer is: Not a whole lot.

They haven’t grown much since we last saw them, though they do seem to have a little more of a family thing going on and they have relocated to the White House. Problem is that familiarity, as the cliche goes, is breeding contempt, and Little Rock, the youngest of the four, in particular is developing a strong itch to spread her wings and go out -and away- from this group.

Meanwhile Columbus and Wichita, who are together, are also having issues. Wichita seems to still like Columbus but she too feels trapped with him and the routine they’ve developed. Which makes it most unfortunate that at that point Columbus decides to propose marriage…

Wichita and Little Rock fly the coop, leaving behind the two male leads, and Columbus in particular doesn’t know how to react to this. Soon, they find another survivor and things get a little more complicated, especially when Wichita returns and states that her young sister has abandoned her as well for a (*gasp*) hippy they found along the way.

Look, anyone coming in to Z2 expecting profound/deep plot lines and/or high art should have their head examined.

Z2 is a cute, at times quite funny journey through this particular Zombie apocalypse that features some interesting cameos (but none quite as good as the one presented in the first film, even though he makes his return in this one) and adventure.

None of it is taken terribly seriously and that, unfortunately, is the movie’s main problem and one I also found with the recently released Hobbs and Shaw.

To wit: How can you make a film that is (I’m assuming here) supposed to have its moments of suspense/thrills when it is clear from the get go that the filmmakers are taking none of this very seriously?

The fact is that Z2 does build to what should be an exciting, even suspenseful ending but the filmmakers never once give us a sense of any sort of seriousness/danger, at times winking at the camera and offering jokes that are clearly breaking the proverbial fourth wall.

So we’re left with a film that is for the most part quite amusing but never really moving to that higher gear to deliver some genuine thrills.

However, unlike Hobbs and Shaw Z2 is intended to be a comedy and therefore it doesn’t bother quite as much that the thrills are missing as they were in H&S.

Still while I recommend Z2, I have to also be honest and say: “I really wish there was more to it than what we got.”

Just because you want to make a smart ass comedy (nothing wrong with that!) doesn’t mean you can’t also deliver some suspense, amiright?!

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)… any good?

Incredibly, there are suddenly a handful of films I’m genuinely curious to see in theaters. Will I get a chance to? Well, that’s a whole other story.

Still, I’m reading reviews of some of those films that are either released or set to be released and, over at rottentomatoes.com, one of the films I’m curious about, Terminator: Dark Fate, now has 35 -count ’em 35– professional critics’ reviews. Check it out here (the count will surely go up, so if you’re reading this in the future, don’t be surprised to find a higher number of critical and, eventually, audience reactions):

Rottentomatoes.com: Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

So, as of this moment, the 35 critics offer an average rating of 60% positive for the film.

Not superb, but not too bad.

The most worrying reviews note the film seems to be almost a remake of Terminator 2, which I have to admit makes me very nervous. I thought the original Terminator was a superb film and rightly put director James Cameron and actor Arnold Schwarzenneger on the map. However, I felt the film, which many people absolutely love, was ultimately a very sleek piece of work but not, again IMHO, as good as the original Terminator. In fact, I consider the original Terminator one of the very best horror/action hybrid films ever made.

Still, Terminator 2 wasn’t a bad film and I was hoping we’d get some decent/good Terminators afterwards. I thought Terminator 3 was a decent enough film but ultimately couldn’t quite match up with the previous two. Terminator: Salvation likewise I thought was only OK and, when all was said and done, wasn’t much more than a mild and forgettable time-killer. I thought the Terminator: The Sarah Connors Chronicles, the TV show based on the movies and starring a pre-Game of Thrones Lena Headey was far better than it had any right to be and its season 2 cliffhanger was incredible… alas, the show was cancelled and the cliffhanger’s resolution would never be dealt with. Terminator: Genysis, the most recent Terminator film, started promisingly IMHO but its last act was a mess.

In sum, there’s some good (T1 and T2, Sarah Connors Chronicles), and a lot of not so very good when it comes to the Terminator franchise.

Still, I have a fondness for the concept and in looking over the reviews so far posted, the general consensus among the various critics who do like the film is that it is far better than the many theatrical sequels to the Terminator films post Terminator 2.

So, yeah, I’ll certainly curious to see it, given the fact that James Cameron is once again -for the first time since Terminator 2!- back on board as producer and one of the writers.

I’ll catch it.

If I can!

Opinions are like…

….well… you know.

The older I get, the more I realize there is a very golden truth in that saying. What to you is solid gold might be, to me, nothing more than a smelly turd.

And vice-versa.

Having said that, I love reading opinion “lists”. In this case, and appearing on fashionbeans, Tom Fordy offers the following…

James Bond Films Ranked Worst to Best

Given the preamble I offered at the start of this blog, I think you can see what’s coming: There are points where I strongly disagree with Mr. Fordy’s list.

But first an admission: It’s been years since I’ve seen many of the Bond films in their entirety. It’s a fact of life: I have only so much free time and if I want to be fair to the films, I probably should revisit them before offering my opinions about which are “best” and which are “worst”.

Having said that, Mr. Fordy offers these films as the “bottom 10”, ranked from worst to best of the worst:

Die Another Day, Diamonds Are Forever, Tomorrow Never Dies, Thunderball, Octopussy, Quantum of Solace, A View to a Kill, The World is Not Enough, Moonraker, and You Only Live Twice.

Die Another Day, the last of the Pierce Brosnan Bond films, does get a lot of grief for going waaaaay overboard on many of its elements, including an invisible car. The CGI for the film was also quite crude, though that is more of a function of the fact that the film is by now rather old and those effects are simply a sign of that time.

Having said all that, the worst of the Bond films?!

For me, the very worst Bond film is easily the last one released, Spectre. Mr. Fordy feels good enough about that film to not even place it on the bottom 10 and ultimately ranks that film #14, which makes it his opinion #11from the bottom in the rankings. The fact of the matter is that I hate Spectre so much that I haven’t even bothered to buy a digital copy of it, even though I have all the other Bond films in my collection. And I’m a completist! It irks me to have so many films and not “complete the collection” but I hate that film so much I won’t spend another dime on it.

But as I said above, opinions are like… well.

My second least favorite Bond film is probably Moonraker, which Mr. Fordy puts at #16 on his list (or, to put it another way, 9th from the bottom). For many, many years I felt Moonraker was the absolute worst of the Bond films, supplanted only recently by Spectre. My opinion, however, has mellowed. In part it was because I so hated the Craig film that I realized my hatred of Moonraker might be exaggerated… after all, of the Moore Bond films, isn’t A View to a Kill even worse?

I have to admit, today my opinion would go that way.

Similarly, Diamonds Are Forever is listed by Mr. Fordy as the second worst Bond film ever made. I disagree. I happen to like the film and enjoy its pleasantly tongue in cheek attitude. In fact, of the Connery Bond films I would put You Only Live Twice as his worst, though I would agree that Thunderball was the first Bond film to start showing the formula could go bad. Still, I generally liked the film even if it was bloated.

Moving to Roger Moore, as I stated I very much disliked A View To A Kill. I also felt The Man With The Golden Gun (#12 on this list) was awful as well. My favorite Moore Bonds are Live and Let Die (#8 on the list) The Spy Who Loved Me (#11), and For Your Eyes Only (#13). I also like Octopussy (#20, or 5th from the very bottom). So right there you have strong differences in opinion. Further, to me For Your Eyes Only is Moore’s best Bond. I would then put The Spy Who Loved Me, Live and Let Die, and Octopussy in descending order from best to lesser -but still good- stuff.

Intriguingly, my biggest disagreement with Mr. Fordy may be his ranking of the two Timothy Dalton Bonds. I thought The Living Daylights (#9) was a damn good Bond film but his follow up and last Bond feature, License To Kill (#3…!!!!!) was a terrible Bond film and deserved to be on the bottom 10 rather than so high up. History would seem to bear me out as Mr. Dalton left the franchise at that point and the film didn’t do all that well at the box office.

Moving to the Pierce Brosnan Bonds, I have to say… they blur into each other for me. I thought the very first one, Goldeneye (#10) was probably the best of the lot, but it had its problems IMHO and should have been a lot better than it was, given that Brosnan was great in the role and the cast was quite strong. The Brosnan era was, IMHO, a great missed opportunity. You had a strong actor in the lead role but the films were mostly, again IMHO, tepid.

Moving to Daniel Craig, we again have IMHO a major missed opportunity. Mr. Craig started incredibly strong with Casino Royale (#5) but each subsequent film has been worse and worse. Quantum of Solace (#19, or 6th from the bottom) was slick but nonsensical. Skyfall (#7) I loved while watching it the first time… but then I thought about the story and realized it made not a lick of sense at all. My opinion of the film has subsequently gone down very steeply. And Spectre, well, I’ve already given my opinion of that film.

To Mr. Fordy, the best Bond film ever made and coming in at #1 is… On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the sole outing of George Lazenby as Bond.

Again, I don’t agree.

While I think OHMSS is a pretty good Bond film, it isn’t anywhere near my favorite. I thought Lazenby didn’t work well as Bond, even if the film they built around him wasn’t bad at all.

Which is my all time favorite Bond film? That’s a really hard one to say. I love the first three Connery Bonds, Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Goldfinger. Having said that, the films are showing their age with regard to Bond’s sexism. Especially the later two films, which show Bond engaging in what can only be described as rape.

Heady, heady stuff, yet perhaps of its time.

I also love the Moore Bonds I mentioned, even if Live and Let Die is another film that shows some questionable societal ideation, in this case transplanting the “yellow peril” of the 1930’s to African American culture.

Again, we’re talking opinions here and no one is right and no one is wrong.

Well, except when you’re trying to tell me Spectre is a good movie.

That I cannot agree with! 😉

Odd news…

For those who are roughly my age, you may know actor Ron Ely. Though his heyday was a little before my time, I caught his work here and there and enjoyed it.

He Is perhaps best known for playing Tarzan in a TV series of the same name which aired from 1966-68…

A little later, in 1975, he would play famous Pulp hero Doc Savage in the film of the same name…

In truth, while those two features are what Ron Ely is best known for he acted in many other movies and TV shows from 1958 to 2014.

Now 81 years old, this bit of news appeared on CNN and its a wild story…

Police fatally shot a homicide suspect at “Tarzan” actor Ron Ely’s home in California

The basic story is this (and pardon me for giving the information away): Someone stabbed an elderly woman to death at Ron Ely’s home. The woman’s husband, who has a speech impediment due to a medical condition, nonetheless was able to indicate the killer was a family member. The indicated family member was subsequently found on the property, confronted, and posed enough of a threat to the police that they took him down.

Yes, the alleged killer him/herself was killed.

That’s the extent of the report to this point and anything else is speculation…

Having said that, I can’t help but wonder if the woman’s husband may well be Mr. Ely (who is, obviously by this point, elderly himself). The speech impediment due to a medical condition, sadly, makes me wonder if the person suffered a stroke.

Was the killer the son/daughter of the elderly woman?

Again, its all speculation at this point yet a very sad set of circumstances, regardless of whether they more directly involved Mr. Ely or not.

UPDATE:

Well, it now seems that the situation was as I speculated above. Ron Ely’s wife Valerie was stabbed to death by the couple’s son Cameron Ely. The police arrived on the scene and killed Cameron Ely.

This is all according to TMZ and the article can be found here.

A very, very sad set of circumstances.

Obviously I have no knowledge of the Ely family situation and clearly things went way overboard here for the son to murder his mother.

The weird thing is that apparently Cameron was the one that originally called the police and, again according to the TMZ article above, said it was his father -Ron Ely- that tried to attack his mother. Was Cameron trying to pin the blame of his mother’s murder on Ron Ely?

Regardless, the police arrived and somehow figured out Cameron was the one that killed his mother and then they killed him.

Wow. And damn.

Some days you just can’t believe the news you read.

Joker (2019) did well…

Not really much of a surprise posting here, for those who pay attention to such things, but the just released Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix did exceptionally well over the weekend.

How well?

According to Pamela McClintock at The Hollywood Reporter…

Joker Has Last Laugh With Record $93.5 Million U.S. Bow, $234 Million Globally

Truly impressive numbers for an October film release. Usually, films released during this month aren’t expected to be big blockbusters but Joker can now be considered just such an animal.

Looking over at the film’s rottentomatoes.com score, Joker is similarly pulling in good numbers, with an aggregate of 409 critics giving the film a quite good 70% positive while audiences give it an even higher 90% positive.

I still will most likely miss the film in its initial release… I simply don’t have the time to go to a film willy-nilly like I used to, and when I do, I like to go with the wife and see a film we will both (hopefully) enjoy. She isn’t digging the idea of the Joker film and I can’t blame her.

But to be very honest, I’m not as intrigued about seeing the film either. Mind you, I love the Batman character and his universe, but seeing a film focused on his arch-enemy’s “origin”, a film that doesn’t feature Batman himself… seems odd.

Then again, what do I know? Audiences clearly like the film enough to catapult it to the top and if this helps DC to get more intriguing properties to the screen, properties I might be more inclined to see, then I’m all for it!