Tuesday, May 26, 2015

LIVE AND LET DIE (1973)

Cue ball honky cracker pinkie white boy jive turkey milkhead James Bond is back and this time he looks like Roger Moore instead of Sean Connery.  I like the change actually.  Roger seems more at ease in the role of Bond.

After nailing some chick, Bond is informed that three fellow agents have been killed in less than 24 hours and all of the clues point towards a Caribbean island dictator named Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto).  Bond goes to NYC to investigate.  He's quickly attacked by a dude in a "pimpmobile" and then called a "honky" repeatedly.  After that, he's off to the Caribbean and New Orleans to investigate.  Along the way he bangs some hot chicks and, naturally, is captured by the bad guys repeatedly but never killed and, of course, he's put in death traps and then left alone.  Christ!!!  Can't the writers ever think of something new??  It's almost like every bad guy in the world wants to kill Bond, but can't actually do it.  It reminds me of "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" when the vampire Spike had the anti-human violence chip implanted in his brain that prevented him from hurting humans even though he really wanted to.

Anyway, I ended up liking this Bond outing the best so far.  Roger Moore is a great Bond (confident, playful, better dressed, sporty, more British), Yaphet Kotto was a good villain (I wish he had more screen time and just one single badass killer dude instead of a handful of forgettable henchmen), Jane Seymour is unbelievably hot...easily the best looking "Bond girl" so far in the series, nice location shooting, exciting chase scenes, pimpmobiles, elaborate death traps that never work, voodoo dancing complete with air humping.

Two and a half thunderballs out of five.

Part 1 - Dr. No (1962)
Part 2 - From Russia With Love (1963)
Part 3 - Goldfinger (1964)
Part 4 - Thunderball (1965)
Part 5 - You Only Live Twice (1967)
Part 6 - On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
Part 7 - Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Part 9 - The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Part 10 - The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Part 11 - Moonraker (1979)
Part 12 - For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Part 13 - Octopussy (1983)
Part 14 - A View to a Kill (1985)
Part 15 - The Living Daylights (1987)
Part 16 - License to Kill (1989)
Part 17 - GoldenEye (1995)
Part 18 - Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Part 19 - The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Part 20 - Die Another Day (2002)
Part 21 - Casino Royale (2006)
Part 22 - Quantum of Solace (2008)
Part 23 - Skyfall (2012)
Part 24 - Spectre (2015)
Part 25 - No Time to Die (2021)

Non-Eon James Bond films:
Casino Royale (1967)
Never Say Never (1983)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

SORRY, WRONG NUMBER (1948)

Adapted for the screen by Lucille Fletcher from her own radio play, SORRY, WRONG NUMBER is the mildly interesting story of an obnoxiously pampered woman (Barbara Stanwyck) who is bedridden and home alone in her gigantic NYC mansion.  When the film opens, Stanwyck is desperately tying to get her husband (Burt Lancaster) on the phone.  While talking to the operator, she gets a crossed connection and overhears two seedy-sounding guys planning a murder for that very night at 11:15 pm, when a passing train would hide any screams.  Startled by this conversation, she calls the police, but does a terrible job of convincing them of anything.  After that we're shown numerous flashbacks, even flashbacks within a flashbacks of how she met her husband.

Stanwyck is the spoiled daughter of a wealthy businessman.  Burt was a dirt poor drug store employee.  But she didn't care.  She wanted him and she always got what she wanted.  Almost forced into marriage, Burt is now extremely bitter and full of secrets.  Could some of these secrets be connected to the mysterious conversation Barbara heard earlier?  Mayhaps!

I wasn't expecting SORRY, WRONG NUMBER to be a film noir, but I'm pretty sure it is.  Lots of deep shadows, low lighting, sinister-feeling camera angles, corrupt characters, doomed situations, etc.  The story is very dated now, but it's still entertaining.  Also, I felt very little sympathy for Barbara's character (she created this entire situation with her selfish cruelty).  Maybe that was the writer's intention?  As it is though, SWN is a good film.  And I'm always happy to see Stanwyck and Lancaster, although I do wish they had more scenes together.

Recommended for classic movie fans.
Joyce Compton in a uncredited appearance.