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5.0 out of 5 stars SEAN CONNERY IS JAMES BOND in GOLDFINGER, December 18, 2014
GOLDFINGER contains a well-balanced level of depth and action leaving one emotionally charged, thrilled and entertained. This is Sean Connery's finest James Bond film and perhaps the definitive James Bond film of the entire series giving the outstanding and underrated ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE serious competition in that department after much contemplation.

The golden girl, Oddjob's bowler hat, Goldfinger's lethal laser, the Astin Martin DB5 with modifications introduced by Q, and Shirley Bassey's legendary rendition of the theme song belted out over the titles immediately became an integral part of the James Bond lore and remained in the psyche of the public.

Director Guy Hamilton, screen writers Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn and editor Peter Hunt were able to produce a solid, well balanced, entertaining film that does not rely totally on the spectacle and whimsy that would weaken the subsequent entries in the series.

Production designer Ken Adam and art director Peter Murton gave the production a stunning and lavish distinction. The Fort Knox set and Goldfinger's playroom at his stud ranch was a testament to imagination and achievement. John Barry finally honed his distinctive style to perfection with this memorable score and set a benchmark of distinct and stylistic scoring for the James Bond series.

Sean Connery's performance as James Bond is a well-honed mix of determination, humor and dedication to that end of getting the job done at all costs. He brings a wry humor to the role in this film, demonstrates compassion for the opposite sex (despite what he detractors may say) and eliminates all those who present evil and malevolence to our way of life with cold detachment. He is that blunt instrument of his government but Connery does it with such aplomb.

Perhaps Sean Connery gave his definitive performance as James Bond in GOLDFINGER . In GOLDFINGER Sean Connery added more cynicism and humor to the role giving the character, this film, and the entire series a new dimension. That humor somehow takes a bit of the realistic edge off of the character.

Hunt for Red October, the - Laserdisc
Hunt for Red October, the - Laserdisc
8 used & new from $1.94

5.0 out of 5 stars This Is Sean Connery's Film All the Way, December 18, 2014
THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER is a highly entertaining film with an incredibly minimalist screenplay that succeeds beyond all expectations. This film's strengths are its characters and the actors that portray them. Sean Connery plays Captain Marko Ramius with great bravado and charisma relying greatly on his mesmerizing screen presence to maneuver the entire direction of this film. Tim Curry is amusing as the dutiful Dr. Petrov in a role well suited for him. The rest of the cast balances out the histrionics of Sean Connery and Tim Curry with realistic and convincing performances to bring authenticity and realism to the drama of this film. Alec Baldwin as Jack Ryan, James Earl Jones as Admiral James Greer, Sam Neill as Captain Vasily Borodin, Scott Glenn as Commander Bart Mancuso, Richard Jordan as Dr. Jeffrey Pelt and an impressive Peter Firth as Political Officer Ivan Putin bring a needed sense of pragmatism to their collective roles to bolster the dramatics and emotion of the story. In retrospect Alec Baldwin's performance as Jack Ryan is rather simpering and impotent. This was probably one of Alec Baldwin's best performances and he truly conducts himself in the manner that the character of Jack Ryan should have been portrayed. Baldwin perfectly conveyed the analytical mind that the character of Jack Ryan embodied. Sam Neill is also brilliant as the dedicated officer who also possesses a very human side that perhaps puts him in conflict with carrying out his duties to the full extent of his country's political dictates and ambitions. Sam Neill has a wonderful role in this regard and he plays it flawlessly. I liked Scott Glenn's character immensely as the US Commander who truly has to rely on his instincts and his logical interpretation of facts and events to face what is put before him. The list of performances goes on but the point is that portrayal of these characters and how they think and conduct themselves is at the heart of this film.

1492 - Conquest of Paradise [VHS]
1492 - Conquest of Paradise [VHS]
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece of Understatement, December 18, 2014
One of Ridley Scott's greatest films. 1492 - CONQUEST OF PARADISE is a masterpiece of understatement. Many of the reviewers at the time of this films release found it to be incomprehensible. I disagree. This film is about Columbus, the man and the dreamer. Casting Gérard Depardieu as Columbus is a bit of genius. He is a man of vision and often in life a vision is something quite elusive and some always remains just out of reach. Director Ridley Scott really captured that enigma.

Die Another Day (Special Edition)
Die Another Day (Special Edition)
DVD ~ Lee Tamahori
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Last of the Classic Bonds, December 16, 2014
DIE ANOTHER DAY in retrospect is classic Bond. It is the last Bond film to follow the Bond formula when you actually think about it. DIE ANOTHER DAY is truly old school in many respects. It seems to play better these days now that it is over 10 years old. There is something nostalgic about it. It looks to the past for its inspiration. I never thought I would be saying that about this film. There are so many good scenes and elements to this film that I just overlook some of its imperfect moments. But then again, what is perfect? I enjoy it. It was my dad's last Bond film before he left us and he enjoyed it to my amazement. Pierce really had the Bond character down by this point and I was sad that it was his last. And I like David Arnold's score too. This was a 40th Anniversary film and it really paid homage to the series.

Angriest Man in Brooklyn
Angriest Man in Brooklyn
DVD ~ Robin Williams
Price: $11.66
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5.0 out of 5 stars Something About It Speaks to Us, December 15, 2014
This review is from: Angriest Man in Brooklyn (DVD)
THE ANGRIEST MAN IN BROOKLYN is perhaps not one of Robin Williams greatest films. Nor will it probably be remembered in time when all the dust has settled. In light of Robin Williams' tragic end, there is something poignant and telling about it. If Robin Williams had still been with us when I first saw this film, I think I would have smiled and thought that you know, Robin Williams does have quite a range as an actor. And he did. Watching THE ANGRIEST MAN IN BROOKLYN, I just can't help wondering what was going on in Robin Williams' personal life when he made this film. A doctor tells him that he has 90 minutes to live. What will he do with those 90 minutes? What will go through his life during those 90 minutes? Essentially, that is the film in a nutshell, but Robin William being Robin Williams it at times gets frenetic. But the frenzy seems to be controlled and unsure and that makes me think of Robin Williams, the man, not the actor. This film deserves several viewings and I will come back to it from time to time. There is something about it that speaks to the audience and anyone who has liked or has come to like Robin Williams through the years.

Prometheus (Blu-ray/ DVD + Digital Copy)
Prometheus (Blu-ray/ DVD + Digital Copy)
DVD ~ Noomi Rapace
Offered by Media Favorites
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3.0 out of 5 stars So unlike Ridley Scott in many ways, December 13, 2014
PROMETHEUS seems so unlike Ridley Scott in many ways. I have read about the per-production of this film. It is not quite a prequel to his ALIEN, but it sort of is. I suppose that is what actually makes this film interesting. There are many parallels to ALIEN, but it is the actual storyline or better yet, the dialogue that just seems so annoying. It gets in the way of the story. The crew of the Prometheus space craft seem like an inversion when compared to the crew in ALIEN. I only make the comparison to point how how different Ridley Scott attempted to make them seem current and real. The Prometheus crew and engineers seem like a bunch of obnoxious idiots. There is no sympathy for these people and hence why should the viewer care for their plight? One thing really hurt this film on a more basic level and that was Marc Streitenfeld's score. Streitenfeld's score is everywhere and it just so intrusive. It is in almost every scene and hinders the story telling.

The film has a good premise, but so much gets in the way of the story. This should have been a much better film. Michael Fassbender performance as David is one of the high points as is the computerized mechanical C-section scene, that was innovative to say the least. But the film last wonder and mystery and a clear direction. Repeated viewing do help.


5.0 out of 5 stars Daniel Craig IS James Bond, December 13, 2014
The James Bond re-boot is in full swing and I think CASINO ROYALE is an excellent James Bond film. If there was any doubt that Daniel Craig could portray or even be James Bond on screen, and there was plenty of skepticism, view CASINO ROYALE. Daniel Craig surpasses the competition with unique aplomb, wry humor, his physique and absolute sincerity. He is the perfect masculine specimen and the thinking man's Bond at the same time. Daniel Craig does have that certain screen magnetism that Sean Connery had in the role but you have to see him in motion to appreciate him. Yet, Craig has incredible attributes that none of his predecessors possessed. David Arnold composed one of the best and simultaneously a very controversial score referring to the James Bond Theme in the most ethereal sense until the final scene of the film. His score is inspired by the essence of James Bond, his motivations, his skills, his strengths and weaknesses as a living breathing man. Arnold's score is a reflection of the world that James Bond and his adversaries move and survive in. This score is one of the highlights and strengths behind the success of CASINO ROYALE. There are many other elements too numerous to mention when combined with actually basing the film on Ian Fleming's novel make CASINO ROYALE one of the best James Bond films ever made.

Zulu Michael Kane
Zulu Michael Kane

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Memories, Sheer Guts and the Test of Time, December 12, 2014
This review is from: Zulu Michael Kane (DVD)
I remember James Booth as Private Henry Hook in this film. I think he left the greatest impression on me. There was a character for you and a most unlikely hero to boot! James Booth died in 2005 and his last film was KEEPING MUM. Where have all those years gone since ZULU was released?

This film is based on a true story about an undermanned British army outpost in nineteenth century South Africa facing an advancing force of Zulu warriors forty times greater in number. Stanley Baker as Lt. John Chard, an engineer sent to the post to construct a bridge, takes command. Much out of his element, he commands the infantrymen relying on his dormant leadership qualities and self-doubting fortitude. How he manages that task and if he succeeds or fails is the essence of the story.

The battle scenes of the outnumbered British against the Zulu warriors are spectacularly and excitingly filmed as they try to overrun the compound. From a filmmaking standpoint, it is interesting how the Zulu warriors are portrayed in an almost more noble fashion than their counterpart British soldiers who are portrayed somewhat in a cynical manner called upon to fight for their own survival. Yet, the common British soldier comes around and demonstrates what it takes to not lose one's nerve in the face insurmountable odds and stand his ground.

John Barry's excellent score brings the intensity of the battle sequences and heroics to an almost euphoric frenzy. Cy Endfield's perceptive direction demonstrates to the viewer the uncommon qualities of bravery that can only be brought to fruition through war. This is an excellent film. It is a classic film.

Casualties of War & Black Hawk Down
Casualties of War & Black Hawk Down
DVD ~ Josh Hartnett
Offered by Solo Enterprises
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5.0 out of 5 stars Getting the Job Done, December 12, 2014
Brian De Palma's CASUALTIES OF WAR is an Interesting film set in Vietnam that brings up the whole issue of morality in war. Can morality exist in war? Is there such an animal? In such a graphic film depicting death, carnage and rape where does one draw the line? Penn is excellent as usual, but Fox probably cast for his mere presence, as a character of virtue may be the real casualty here that diminishes the impact of the director's intentions. Sean Penn has such a powerful screen presence that Fox just does not seem up to the task of delivering this film's message. But, perhaps that is just the point. If Fox goes to task or if anyone goes to the task of speaking out against unimaginable human degradation, just how far will they actually get? The finale is something to think about. This film contains one of Ennio Morricone's best latter scores. I thought Dale Dye as Capt. Hill also gave a pivotal performance and a lot of credibility to CASUALTIES OF WAR.

BLACK HAWK DOWN is one of the most powerful films I have ever seen. This may be director Ridley Scott's masterpiece. The entire production and the culmination of what the team of filmmakers do is just incredible The cast is powerful giving performances that are both moving, yet very realistic and convincing. Josh Hartnett, Eric Bana, Sam Shepard, Tom Sizemore, Ewan McGregor, William Fichtner, Jason Isaacs, Orlando Bloom, George Harris, Ewen Bremner are just some of the impressive cast members. The film focuses on the 1993 raid into Mogadishu by the U.S. military to capture Mohamed Farrah Aidid and the complications of this military operation and the incredible intense battle that followed.

It often seems that moments of courage are a result of military expedience predilected by military ineffectiveness due to underestimated enemy strength and numbers and unexpected occurrences that put combatants face to face with overwhelming odds. How a general could ever let his men enter a maze-like city surrounded by thousands of hostile inhabitants is not entirely beyond comprehension. What you don't know or entirely understand or underestimate can hurt you. Sam Shepard as that general had to exceed the scope of the original mission and his command putting his men in harm's way in broad daylight. Simply, the initial mission as planned did not end up being cut and dry.

Ridley Scott seems uniquely capable of ferreting out the military decisions that led to this debacle but places no blame. However, all the blame is up there on the screen if you choose to take note similar to the way Sam Shepard watches it on his TV monitor. Scott instead places the viewer into a 180-degree maelstrom of bullets, bombs, shrapnel, blood, sweat and tears. In 160 years of technology it is amazing how some of the images are reminiscent of the last stand at the Alamo. What has been learned in all those years? Every good war film needs a hero and Tom Sizemore gives the best performance as one hardened and dedicated officer. The most interesting shot in this film is where a tired and weary group of Americans finally emerge from the city covered in dirt, gunpowder, blood and grease and they are greeted by foreign United Nations troops wearing turbans. These UN fellows offer the Americans glasses of water served from silver trays with white linen napkins draped over their arms. So much for modern technology it would seem.

This film is full of heroics of necessity and raw determination. It does not glorify war, but it does give dignity and recognition to those who go in harm's way to preserve our freedoms and ideals. A lot of the camera movement and Hans Zimmer's score emphasize this recognition to everyone involved at those right in the line of fire. BLACK HAWK DOWN is just a very good film, powerful all around.

Skyfall / Quantum of Solace (Two-Pack) [Blu-ray]
Skyfall / Quantum of Solace (Two-Pack) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Daniel Craig
Offered by NoiseGateMovies
Price: $29.95
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hard Nosed James Bond, December 12, 2014
QUANTUM OF SOLACE is a superior hard-edged James Bond film. Daniel Craig commands the screen with his strong visual presence and captivating aplomb as Ian Fleming's dedicated civil servant. Craig's interpretation of Ian Fleming's James Bond is that of man of few words, but whose mind never sleeps, ultimately to get the job done. He is a physically fit, brutally effective thinking man's Bond. He has a certain unfathomable charm and sardonic humor that makes him appealing to the opposite sex on screen and to the audience as well. The plot of QUANTUM OF SOLACE is character driven.

Looking at QUANTUM OF SOLACE closer, this film is really more of a study of James Bond and his world. This is very evident in Bond's scenes with René Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini) and then again with his scene with Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright). The tone of QUANTUM OF SOLACE is very dark and realistic. It is not a glamorous film as has been a hallmark of the series. It is a personal film. David Arnold's score once again continues to break new ground into Bond's hard-edged world. Arnold's "What's Keeping You Awake" is a very reflective piece and "Field Trip" is a real throwback to the classic Bond sound created by John Barry. I was glad to see that an actual Ian Fleming title was used for this film. I think this was rather fitting.

QUANTUM OF SOLACE has swept aside and maligned since the release of SKYFALL. QUANTUM OF SOLACE was the second film of the James Bond re-boot started with CASINO ROYALE. Somehow SKYFALL seemed to not follow the continuity after QUANTUM OF SOLACE where Bond was on the top of his game. Of the 3 Daniel this far, QUANTUM OF SOLACE is my favorite.

I suppose SKYFALL is a good action film. But, is it a good Bond film? It is starting to look as thought it is as the James Bond re-boot is in full swing again. With time, I see that this really is not a good Bond film in the traditional sense or is it? That is an interesting question. Time has a way of putting things in perspective. The publicity people spread the word that this would be classic Bond befitting his 50th screen anniversary of the series. I honestly did not feel this was a classic Bond film when I first saw it. It seemed like one big long action-chase film that just got so tiresome. This film is not uplifting, yet it is very introspective and thought provoking. It is rather dreary and a feeling of melancholy permeates the entire film, but that may have been the intent all along. I did not get that feeling of electricity at the end of SKYFALL as I and the audience did at the end of CASINO ROYALE. There are some good concepts presented in this film and a few welcome surprises. And there is one scene that is in fact pure Bond, classic Bond. I was thankful for that. I am thankful for all the good friendships and acquaintances I have made through my association with Bond over these 50 years. It is good to see how Bond has evolved on the screen in that time. Hope you enjoy SKYFALL. In retrospect, I think it is a good Bond film. Reflect on it I suppose. I still am. It may be one of the Classic Bonds. It just may be. SKYFALL was an event. Events are a rare thing.

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