What Movie Have You Seen Today?


#181

I’ve read shape of water described as The Creature From The Black Lagoon meets Splash. That’s a difficult line to walk, fantasy-horror and rom-com.

But Genre tightrope walks are del toros gift; at his best combining horror, fantasy and action.

Some horror movies contain fantasy elements with some action (Phantasm and Evil dead) and pull it off with aplomb. Del toro goes a step further with Hellboy and Blade 2 (my favourite toro movie), out and out action flicks that are also full on horror-fantasy. I find that a very pleasing combo that almost no one else has really conquered since the 80s; The man is up there with John Carpenter and in my little world that’s the highest praise.

Then there’s Pans laberynth, a horror fantasy art movie with subtexts that elevate it into Oscar territory. Del toros recognition is as much an astonishing achievement as Bond winning oscars for best script/movie. He’d be a unique filmmaker if not for the existence of Peter Jackson, who has a very similar skill set.

A shame if he didn’t quite pull it off with shape of water, but looking forward to dipping my toes in.


#182

Interesting that you compare him with John Carpenter whom I consider one of the greatest undervalued directors. I must say, however, that I am no fan of del Toro at all; the art direction in his movies is always wonderful, yes, but the story - for my taste - always feels reheated to me, not original at all.

Carpenter also pays homage to lots of tropes and clichés - but he always manages to put his own peculiar spin on it. AND he always does it unfussily, with no self-indulgence at all, resulting in films that are always engaging because they never overstay their welcome. Where Carpenter films are tightly edited and come straight to the point in their short running time, del Toro lingers (CRIMSON PEAK) or overpacks and therefore shortchanges (THE SHAPE OF WATER). For some reason del Toro is a critics´ pet, while Carpenter has been beat up by reviewers again and again.

But for me, Carpenter is the real artist. Del Toro is the show-off.


#183

I’m in total agreement. And you’re right, comparing del toro to carpenter was doing a diservice to carpenter.

Some of toros films are indeed over indulgent and miss the mark for me. I fell asleep during the borefest Crimson Peak and I never do that - I stayed awake throughout Titanic for heavens sake and that really is torturous.

However, it’s the more carpenter-esque toro films that I love. The ones that aren’t embarrassed to wear their Genre proudly and have a swagger in their pulp characters and the telling of the pulp narrative. They take this sensational fun seriously, never patranising, or talking down to the audience. In these instances Genre is an art form, rather than a product.

Hellboy 1 & 2 are fine examples, but Blade 2 is imho a perfect movie. The first thing I said to the folk I saw it with at the cinema when the credits rolled was “That’s the best John Carpenter movie I’ve seen since In the Mouth of Madness”.

Blade 2 shows an absolute grip on how to make a cool moment in which the hero is briefly a Demigod. Toro knows how to employ all of the tools of narrative, pacing, image and score to present one of those ‘I wanna be that guy’ moments.

This is something Bond must always nail at least once in every movie - even in the grittiest of Craig movies we need those ‘demigod moments’, such as in SF when bond defies bullets to rip the roof off of a train, jump in and adjust his cuffs before proceeding; like Brossa stealing a jet carrying nukes while HQ watch on, helpless; like Moore plunging toward his death for what seems like an eternity before opening a Union Jack parachute.
And the appalling tsunami surfing in DAD just goes to show that creating such moments isn’t simply a recipe that producers can have a hack follow. It exists solely within the gift of the auteur filmmaker - an alchemy that only they can stir up.

I get the feeling that both Toro and Carpenter would know exactly when and how to create those memorable Bond moments. Such as in Carpenter’s Assult on Priecinct 13 when Nepoleon yanks his prison chain to knock the mean fat warden onto his ass and then responds to the guards shock with the line “He don’t stand up as good as he used to”. To get the full wit of that retort you need to have seen the exchange that precedes this, but it’s a perfect demigod moment that leaves us rooting 100% for Napoleon throughout the movie just by virtue of his sheer damn coolness in this moment - he gets a free pass whatever he says or does.

Carpenter is the absolute master at this, as well as almost every other aspect of filmmaking. I can watch his movies over and over and always feel like I’ve learnt something new thereafter.

He’s without doubt, along with Leone and Kubrick, my favourite filmmaker. I couldn’t separate those 3 which probably seems daft to the film conisuer who may see Leone and certainly Kubrick as in a different league to Carpenter. But for me all 3 are equally gifted masters at telling a cinematic tail in their own way.

There’s also Lynch whom I love equally but couldn’t possibly compare to any other filmmaker. And I’ll meantion my love for Michael Mann’s films, because Toro’s apparently currently in Post on a Michael Mann documentary which he’s directed! Really looking forward to that.


#184

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Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins
dir. Roar Uthaug

In 2013, Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix rebooted the once-legendary Tomb Raider videogame franchise to astounding success. They took the franchise in a mostly realistic direction, casting actress Camilla Luddington to lend her likeness and voice to the rebooted Lara Croft. The result was a terrific game which was followed-up with a very solid sequel. Of course, with Hollywood being Hollywood, a film reboot was put into production.

Videogame movies have had their share of problems over the years, with flop after flop emerging from Hollywood’s conveyor belt that it almost seems pointless to hold out any hope for a decent videogame-inspired film to be released. Tomb Raider is ALMOST that movie to come along and end that streak. At times it is great, but it’s bogged down by some curious creative decisions that keep it from being the resounding success that it should have, and could have, been.

First and foremost, the film’s main asset is its star, Alicia Vikander. While many, including myself, were initially disappointed that the studio didn’t cast Camilla Luddington to reprise her role from the game series, that disappointment fades very quickly once the film starts. For my money, Vikander is the definitive Lara Croft. Period. She grabs the role by the throat from the opening and owns it throughout the film.

Tomb Raider is, of course, an origin story, so we have go through the 2 hours to find out how Lara Croft became Lara Croft, but unlike a lot of origin films, the origin stuff here is a strength for the film. One of the more fun set pieces in the film is a “fox chase” through the streets of London, where Croft, in an effort to win some much needed money, is chased by scores of bicyclists through the streets. It’s a clever spin on the tried-and-true car chase that these types of films would normally go for. Needless to say, it’s a fun scene, which is something the latter half of the film was in desperate need of.

Tomb Raider drops a lot of names from the games Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider, even borrowing some major plot points from the first film, yet there manages to be something different about each and every thing that the film is adapting. The second half of the film finds Lara marooned on a cursed island called Yamatai, just like in the games, but aside from a quick set piece involving Lara hanging precariously from a rusted-out airplane and then parachuting through the trees, we’re not treading much of the same ground from the game.

Normally, this would be a good thing, but ultimately the story told in the videogame is a more interesting and entertaining one, so it becomes a problem here. In the game, Lara is truly alone for most of the story, forcing her to break out of her fairly reserved shell to become the “Tomb Raider” we all know and love. In the film, she rarely has to face challenges on the island alone, and when they do reach the tomb towards the end of the film, it’s a decent-sized group that goes down into the tomb with her. This takes the focus away from Vikander to an almost insulting degree. She should be front and center of every scene she’s in, not playing support to a feud between Dominic West and Walton Goggin’s characters down the home stretch.

Tomb Raider was profitable at the box office, but not enough to make a sequel a slam-dunk prospect. Rumors have circled that Vikander might not return if the studio does greenlight a sequel. I, for one, hope that she does. She needs a better creative team around here, that is for certain, but on her talents alone, Tomb Raider could become the next great action/adventure franchise. She just needs some help around her.


#185

Luddigton, alas, was pregnant at the time of filming so wouldn’t have been option anyway, but it’s good to hear Vikander is good in the role.


#186

She might get her chance at some point. Doesn’t sound like Vikander is returning for a sequel, if it gets greenlit at all. They could potentially scale back the budget on a second film and have Luddington step in. She’s surely less expensive than Vikander.

It’s a shame, though. Vikander was excellent. Maybe she can land her own original action/adventure franchise.


#187

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Right up my alley, I must say. A perfect film about the destructive power of anger which leaves no one unharmed and starts a cycle of violence which one can almost not escape.

Frances McDormand deservedly got the Oscar. Sam Rockwell as well. The script should have been the winner, too. And as for Best Picture - it is exactly what THE SHAPE OF WATER is not: full of substance, speaking to our times, developing its story with no filler material, just raising the tension in every scene, and still allowing for black humor.

A great movie.


#188

I echo that!

Particularly that it should’ve won the best screenplay oscar. I really enjoyed Get Out and relished a genre flick getting the nod. That was until i saw Three Billboards. My sympathies are with McDonagh as imo too he edged it his this script.

I’m looking forward to finally seeing Shape of Water sometime, but anticipate it not measuring up to Three Billboards.

Not that i really want to discuss it because it’s spoiler territory, but i’ll just say that my partner and i completely disagreed about where the ending leaves the characters (mine was the darker take on it).


#189

Oh, yes - the ending.

That’s one of the many wonderful things this film manages to achieve: one thinks it goes into one direction and then it opens up a completely different possibility.

I would want to interpret the ending as hopeful - but I could imagine the characters giving in to their need for revenge.


#190

Exactly what she said - I’m outvoted, darn it :slightly_smiling_face:


#191

MARVEL’S Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Seasons 4 & 5 (again!)

I had posted about seasons 2, 3 and 5 earlier, and was gonna post again as soon as I finished Season 4. But dammit, it was so good that I launched into a re-watch of Season 5 and it was totally fulfilling now that I had all the references and seen the full character arcs. The Netflix shows get most of the praise and the Cinematic Universe all of the money, but I daresay that AoS improves some of the weaker aspects of the MCU and even one-ups its big brother at Marvel Studios a few times, especially with regard to its villains, romance, representation and music. The show is also a bit more violent than the movies and definitely explores its subject matter more deeply.

Season 4 is broken into three pods–Ghost Rider, L.M.D., and Agents of Hydra. Gabriel Luna stars as the Robbie Reyes iteration of the Spirit of Vengeance, and there’s a nice hand off from presumably Johnny Blaze for those obsessing with continuity from the forgettable Nicolas Cage movies. The first pod has thematic tie-ins to Marvel’s Mystic Universe mirrored in that year’s release of Doctor Strange. The special effects of the Rider and his tricked out '69 Dodge Charger are movie quality. Reyes motivation is vengeance for his disabled brother, but the show continues the theme Coulson learned in Season 3 when the little brother says to Robbie, “That’s you. Don’t put that on me.” This gives the Season 4 an anti-hero more than a hero or villain. The MacGuffin introduced is the Darkhold, a book of soul corrupting magic that enables some mind bending and blowing technology. Set in East L.A., it’s a shame Ghost Rider did not become another Marvel TV Series as Gabriel Luna does a great job with the character (he’s now cast in Terminator 6), and it would have made a marvelous backdrop for a universe that often visits SF and NY.

L.M.D. stands for Life Model Decoy. The show runners held off on addressing this aspect of Marvel comics until after Age of Ultron, and they’ve crafted a far better villain in AIDA perfectly played by Mallory Jansen. Her arc goes from android, to ally, to crazy unhinged ex-girfriend Inhuman human that makes her one of the best baddies in the entire MCU. The shows takes on A.I. skin job robots differs from the usual tropes of the movies agent Mack often quotes (“Has no one seen Terminator? Robots always go bad!”) But it’s not that simple as these are designed by Dr. Holden Radcliffe, affably played by John Hannah, to protect humans by being an actual decoy for them like a bodyguard. The technology is made possible via the Darkhold book, but not all of them are bad, or programmed to be that way. Indeed, it’s the Melinda May L.M.D. who saves the day at the end of the second pod by truly modeling Agent May’s actual feelings, even more so than the human Melinda does.

The third pod, Agents of Hydra, sees most of the gang go into an alternate reality, but as before has a new twist to this Matrix style setting. Whereas LMD’s are artificial life forms in a real world, the Framework lets human beings live “forever” in an artificial world. This vision of eternal heaven from Dr. Radcliffe is again made possible by the Darkhold book at the hands of AIDA. Each entrant gets to erase a regret from their life, and it’s Melinda May’s Bahrain incident where she regrets having to kill an Inhuman girl that flips the Framework’s world upside down, once again installing Hydra as the reigning society. The shows social commentary in these episodes is relevant and on-point. The characters retain the memories of their actions and explores what-ifs, one of which shows the different arcs of Agent Fitz and Agent Ward to be heavily influenced by their father figures. So yes, Grant Ward is brought back again but is given a redemptive arc even better than Loki’s. And Fitz’ alter-ego of The Doctor becomes the big bad. Other characters develop traits that pay off in the next season, particularly Mac and Yo-Yo. Each pod has threads that tie them together, and Ghost Rider’s return brings the whole thing back full circle. Just when the last problem is solved, the season ends on a cliff hanger propelling us into the fifth season.

Season 5 is set in space. Mac’s movie quotes are now “Aliens? Haven’t any of you seen the
Alien movies. Aliens are always bad!” The first ten episodes take their time to set up, compared to the speed of Season 4, but the story is sharp. Alien villains Kasius and femme fatale Sinara would be worthy MCU movie villains, but they’re not quite as multi-dimensional as Ghost Rider, Ward, Aida, and Fitz’ The Doctor, as Leo Fitz appears to have developed a Jekyll and Hyde problem. Whereas earlier seasons centered on themes of fate and revenge, this one explores choice and utilitarian philosophical debates of ends justifying means. The needs of the many may outweigh the needs of the few, but can the few be sacrificed for the good of the many?

Fun episodes here are “Rewind” where Agent Hunter makes a welcome return, and the 100th episode “The Real Deal”, loaded with Easter eggs from past seasons for die hard fans. The finale ties in with Infinity War but also evolves a known character into the villain Graviton, perhaps one who could have defeated Thanos were it not for the gravitonium driving him insane. The resolution also dovetails with one of the main themes. Whereas the Avengers failed to defeat Thanos this time (and presumably need time travel to do it the next), the Agents of SHIELD succeed in their time loop conundrum. The last episode delivers a far happier ending, though not without its costs. It’s so dense and layered, I watched the last 20 minutes three times each time I view this episode, and it delivers an emotional wallop every single time.

Season 6 starts filming next week, but won’t air until after Avengers 4. Story wise this makes sense as it’d be difficult to pack 13 episodes into the hours elapsed between the third and fourth Avengers movies. While it’s exciting to see if Agents of SHIELD can once again up the ante, they’d be hard pressed to pull off another finale as good as season 5’s. It was planned as a series ending, but there’s just enough loose ends to pursue in another season, especially if some agents get “dusted” in the season premiere.


#192

Mission Impossible: Fallout

Well, Mr. Bond, Ethan Hunt has one-upped you in just about every sense of the way. MI: Fallout is the movie we were all hoping SPECTRE would be. Bond fans will recognize set pieces that recall 007 films since the 80s, but amped up to the max. That’s how you do a helicopter chase, that’s how you film a HALO jump, that’s how you structure a vehicle chase through Paris, that’s how you choreograph a bathroom fight scene. Cruise’s performance as Hunt this time is fallible, which is brilliantly juxtaposed with the casting of Superman actor Henry Cavil. But youth and strength are no substitute for experience. Even so, there’s a running gag with Hunt saying “I’ll figure it out.” Perhaps that was the mantra of the writers as they began filming MI6 without a finished script. But figure it out, they did.

There’s just enough breathing room between set pieces for McQuarrie to add emotional gravitas that threads together the plot and also ties in most of the Mission Impossible franchise. The whole thing is still rather old school from the opening reel to reel taped orders to the nuclear bomb plot to modern technology stymieing solutions as often as solving problems. Yet it also is very much politically modern with factions within U.S. agencies and competing agendas among allied nation states threatening to turn the world into chaos. Alec Baldwin gets to spar with Angela Bassett as heads of IMF and the CIA, but also play parts in the field work. The team is perfectly rounded out with Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, and Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust from Rogue Nation (you won’t miss Jeremy Renner.) This is very much a sequel to the last entry, but totally stands on its own. The music score is absolutely fabulous invoking old school John Barry touches from the 60s while modernly interpreting the iconic Lalo Schiffrin theme. MI6 is the best Bond movie I’ve seen since Casino Royale.


#193

The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018)

Ten years after Bryan Bertino’s surprise horror hit The Strangers, Johannes Roberts brings the three masked killers back to the big screen with the long-awaited The Strangers: Prey at Night. This film, which spent the better part of a decade stuck in development hell, finds the three masked killers from Bertino’s original stalking around a deserted trailer park.

The rather flimsy story that puts the film into motion involves a family of four traveling to take one of the children to a boarding school. On the way, they plan on stopping at a trailer park where one of their relatives lives rather than staying in a hotel. When they arrive, they find a note from their relative stating that they are not there but to enjoy a vacated trailer that they leave them the keys for. They are unnerved to find that the entire park seems deserted, but they go to the trailer anyway. From there, they make every possible bad decision they can make in order to fall victim to our villains from the first film.

The Strangers in this film are largely the same as they were in the last film, although I must say that I didn’t find The Man in the Mask to be nearly as frightening this time around as he was the last time. Part of that comes down to his mask, which is different enough from the one in the first film to lost the impact that it had in that film. Still, the three masked killers operate in very much the same way as they did in the first, and it’s largely as effective as it was then. Even with that, though, the story and the characters that the Strangers are hunting aren’t nearly as compelling as Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman were a decade ago.

While it’s not nearly as good as the original, there are some strong scenes in the film, most notably a fight scene in a neon-lit pool involving the Man in the Mask, the male protagonist, an axe, and Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. Yes, it’s as awesome as that list of ingredients would lead you to believe it would be. In fact, the 80s nostalgia kick that is at the heart of this film is its best quality, providing the film with some decent visual and music-driven moments that make for cool cinematic moments in what is otherwise a largely forgettable film.


#194

Dr No.

I know this is a thread to talk about non-Bond movies, but last night I got to see DN on the big screen for the first time at a local, vintage “movie palace” that’s showing classic Bonds every Wednesday of this month (yay!). It was a great experience seeing this one with a live audience; you could easily tell the hardcore fans who were anticipating certain moments from the first-timers whose surprised reactions were equally interesting. All the “womanizer” moments were greeted with “that’s our James” nods and chuckles, all the awkward racial moments were met with stoney silence (at least there were no “boos” when Bond tells Quarrel to “fetch my shoes”) and the bit with the Duke of Wellington portrait got nothing, of course. My 15- and 13-year-old sons paid polite attention, but I fear 56 years is too great a gap for this one to click with the younger crowd.

Two things struck me: first, this was the gorgeous restored print and I was struck once again by the way classic movies were so wonderfully framed and visually composed. Every single scene seemed planned out for maximum balance and eye-appeal, unlike modern films with their hand-held, frantically moving camera crap. And the colors were beautiful, with none of the de-saturated, heavily tinted eyesores we have to put up with now. And the other thing that jumped out at me for the first time after 40+ years of watching this film over and over? Dr No wears loafers. Because of course he would! LOL

Next week: OHMSS. The only one my wife has expressed interest in seeing with me. She said she has no interest in LALD. I told her she’s dead to me. :slight_smile:


#195

Annihilation (2018)
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A second masterpiece now from Alex Garland, proving that 2015’s Ex_Machina was no fluke, Annihilation is a terrific sci-fi film that also blends some elements of horror into the proceedings as well.

Natalie Portman plays Lena, a biology professor and former member of the US army whose husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) returns home after being gone over a year, and presumed dead, on a top-secret mission for the military. It becomes known that Kane had ventured into the Shimmer, a growing area of land influenced by some kind of alien contact (the scientists claim to have many theories about its origin, be it extra-terrestrial, religious, scientific, or something else in nature), from which nobody or thing has returned before. Lena joins the next expedition into the Shimmer, led by Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), with the goal of reaching the lighthouse where the phenomenon began.

From here, the film is as good as I’ve seen this year, right up there with mother! as one of 2018’s best so far. The film’s visuals, which feature mutated plants, animals (an alligator with shark teeth!), and other wildly trippy sights, are some of the best I’ve seen in a while. They’re at the same time beautiful, psychedelic, colorful, thought-provoking, and terrifying. While The Bear gets the headlines, there are some other wonderfully creepy visuals in this that will linger with you long after the film ends. While some of the suspense is taken out of the ending due to the fractured nature of the film’s storytelling (the bulk of the film is told in flashbacks during Lena’s interrogation following her trip into The Shimmer), it packs a punch nonetheless, and, more importantly, leaves you thinking about it and asking questions long after the credits have finished rolling.

Portman and the rest of the cast are in fine form here and Garland continues to show that he’s going to be a filmmaker to be reckoned with over the first half of this century. Annihilation builds upon the promise of Ex_Machina, delivering the best science-fiction experience I’ve seen on screen in some time.


#196

I loved Annihilation. Though, it does owe a lot to Tarkovsky.

But as Picasso said, “Good Artist Copy, Great Artist Steal.” So you may as well steal from the best.


#197

Ready Player One (2018)
Ready_Player_One_(film)

I’d wanted to see this one back in theaters a few months ago but ended up not being able to. Wish that I had. Spielberg’s latest is a visual feast of a film and, while this is perhaps damning the movie with faint praise, the best video game movie ever made (or movie about a video game, as is actually the case).

That’s not to say that the film isn’t without its flaws. Personally, I could have used more time spent with Wade in the Stacks, seeing just how bad things had gotten in the world in this take on the somewhat-near future. Also more time spent between Wade and Samantha in their human form rather than their digital avatars, although I think that this is something that came to Spielberg at some point during the film because he spends more time with Olivia Cooke outside the Oasis than I was expecting, cashing in on her immense talent and screen presence to help drive the final third of the film home.

Spielberg creates some truly great set pieces here, from the race near the opening of the film, to a trip through a particular Stephen King film, to the fantastic climax featuring just about every pop culture reference one could think of and then some, including a terrific and completely out of left field cameo by a particular murderous toy doll.

The only question I have after watching this, and other pieces of work as well, is why Olivia Cooke isn’t a bigger star. She’s fantastic here both as her avatar Art3mis as well as her real life counterpart Samantha. The visuals and pop culture reference are why you come to Ready Player One, but Cooke is the reason to stay. Terrific performance.


#198

Last night was Week 2 of my local vintage theater’s Bond Month celebration and we saw OHMSS.

Once again, half the fun for me was experiencing this with an audience of strangers. It’s mostly folks in my age range, so I guess I just assumed we were all Bond fans who’d seen the film a thousand times, but as with last week’s showing of Dr No, this was apparently the first time a number of folks in the room had ever laid eyes on the film.

The “lots of guts” line drew guffaws from this crowd, but so did the preceding shot where the snowblower spews pink blood with chunks. Bloodthirsty lot around here. Another scene where I never expected laughter came when Bond swings his ski to hit one of Blofeld’s men, who takes that long, long fall off the cliff. The laughter grew as the fall went on, and when the figure hit the ground, there was applause (!). I can’t decide if this was because of the ballsy choice to linger so very long on the entire fall, or because folks could tell it was a dummy, or what. Odd moment.

Another line that drew big laughs here in 2018 but probably didn’t in 1969 was Draco’s prescription for Tracy: “She needs a man to dominate her.” I think the laughter was of the “Oh, no, he didn’t…!” variety. There was a similar reaction when dear old Papa punches Tracy in the face at Piz Gloria to get her on the chopper. I don’t know if anyone heard the “spare the rod” line because they were laughing so loud at the punch. Anyway, some scenes really drive home just how far away we are, culturally, from 1969.

The little janitor whistling “Goldfinger” got a knowing chuckle from the few fans who got the joke.

Aside from the “guts” line, very few of Laz’s bon mots got a reaction, possibly because of his delivery or (just as likely IMHO) because they’re some of the least funny quips in the series. The “occulist” quip is a good one, but folks were already laughing at Draco’s line, “She likes you, I can tell,” so they missed it. However I got the sense people were pulling for Laz, and liked him. They did go ape for the “slight stiffness” joke. Wait til they get to Roger!

The ski chases were well received and bobsled stunt had folks leaning forward in their seats. When Blofeld is caught in the tree, I heard audible gasps. Cool to see it all still works so well today.

Where it really struck home that there were OHMSS virgins in the room was, of course, at the end of the film. When Bond is removing the flowers from the Aston Martin and Blofeld speeds into frame in his neck brace, folks behind me were laughing. I’m certain this is exactly the opposite of what was intended, and I’m not totally sure I understand the reaction, but I knew it meant these folks were in for a rude surprise. Then when Bond turns to Tracy and we see her fatal injury, a lady down front screamed, “Oh my God!!!” This sparked laughter from some of the veterans in the room, which made for a very bizarre moment: Tracy with a hole in her head, slumping into Bond’s lap while people laughed. Not at the scene, at that lady down front, but still…

With Bond sobbing, we go to a shot of the hole in the windshield and the credits roll, leaving folks stunned and disoriented, which is how it should be, and I guess how it was in '69 for those who hadn’t read the book. How could a Bond movie end like this? What did we just see? Is that really the end?!?

I’m having a hoot experience the films this way, and I can’t wait to see what an unsuspecting modern audience thinks of LALD next week.


#199

What a strange and bizarre adventure this is, watching these films 50 years onwards in the company of apparently a surprising number of novices.


#200

It has indeed been odd. Sometimes I wonder what motivates these people to make a special trip to the theater to see a 50 year old film that’s getting only a single showing, when they have only a vague notion of what it’s all about. There’s not much marketing for this series outside of the theater’s Facebook page and the title on the marquee (which, again, is only up for the day), so are they saying, “You know, I always hear people talking about ‘James Bond movies,’ maybe I should go see what it’s all about.” ? It’s weird.

What’s cool, though, is seeing how much of it still works; the stunts, the humor and the spectacle are still crowd-pleasers for modern viewers. The social politics and such have NOT aged as well, but at least they seem to be drawing more laughter than scorn. I confess to a little trepidation over next week’s LALD, given the history of racial tension in this town (Richmond, VA, former capitol of the Confederacy), but we shall see.

If nothing else, this is a big help to my “bucket list” goal of seeing every Bond on the big screen. When it’s over I’ll only be shy by about 5 films. Not bad in this neck of the woods, where there aren’t a lot of options for seeing classic films.