Admittedly, I do not go to the movies as much as I used to.  It’s attributed to somewhat having no time…somewhat it’s too expensive.  But, mostly it’s that there are not any “Theater Worthy” movies out there.  If I am going to spend $12 on a ticket and then $12 on concessions (I could leave this part out but what would be the fun in that), the movie better be worth it…meaning something which I have to see NOW and not just wait for the DVD…something I MUST see on the  big screen.  Finally, that something has arrived.

I have been waiting ALL YEAR for the 23rd (official) installment of the James Bond series: Skyfall.  So much so that I had midnight tickets (a first) for an IMAX theater (first time in 10+ years).  Boy, was I excited.
And Skyfall did not disappoint.  It is not the BEST Bond movie ever (even Daniel Craig’s first Bond outing as 007 in Casino Royale was slightly better) but it was extraordinarily entertaining and exceeded my high expectations.
Craig stars as the super-spy, the consummate British agent with the License to Kill and orders from Her Majesty’s government to do anything necessary to get the job done.  As in his two previous outings as Bond (should we even count Quantum of Solace?), Craig plays the MI6 agent very close to the chest.  He’s not particularly worried about being suave, as Sean Connery was.  He’s not anywhere near droll, which Roger Moore specialized in and which Pierce Brosnan also excelled in.  He’s not sex-less like Timothy Dalton.  He’s a man’s man.  He’s tough all the time, brutal when he needs to be, heartless at times, romantic at others, and sensitive when the situation calls for it (rarely, but it does happen).  There is no facade here…Craig’s Bond seems to stick to the adage: what you see if what you get.  And, after wise-cracking Moore and Brosnan, frigid Dalton and super-smooth Connery, we need a Bond who is all of those…and much more.
So, will it be two+  more long, cold, Bond-less years until I step into a theater again…desperately waiting for the 24th installment?  I hope not.  But, it will be a tall order to top this theater experience anytime soon!

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A fast-paced, exciting show that keeps the audience on their edge of their seats; this show is about the British organization MI:5…which is the spy agency that handles all activities WITHIN Great Britain (MI:6, where James Bond works, is responsible for the activities OUTSIDE Britain). If this show is even 10% accurate on what a spy goes through and what spies have to deal with, it is frightening. Taking spying into the 21st Century, this show does a great job of utilizing all of the new technological gadgetry and true-life terror threats as background in their episodes. A great cast helps push this show over the top…it’s provocative, insightful, very topical and fascinating.

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Unlike Goldfinger which makes a valid attempt at solid, strong filmmaking, You Only Live Twice is just plain fun. It is not to best in the series, nor is it the best of the Connery Bond’s. It’s just a truly guilty pleasure…gadgets, action, romance and super spies…what could be better! The pretty inconsequential plot revolves around Blofeld (again) and his continued drive for world domination. This time, Blofeld is capturing spaceships…in space! First, a Russian one, then a British one…so who is doing this. The Russians, of course, think it is the British. And the British, of course, this it is the Russians. Enter James Bond to save the day and clear everything up for everyone (not!). Along the way he fakes being Japanese (don’t ask!), fakes getting married, and fakes being dead. Too bad he spends all of that time faking and doesn’t get around to taking care of Blofeld for good. Instead, the one-eyed villain comes back for two of the next films…plus a great intro in For Your Eyes Only. Basically, this is not the finest piece of filmmaking ever but, after all, do you watch a Bond movie for purely aesthetic reasons? Probably not. So, this one will satisfy your spy thriller craving.

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An above-average James Bond film with enough explosions and chases to spill into the next film. This time, 007 goes up again an “un-killable” foe who is slowly dying from a bullet another MI-6 agent shot into his head. The plot involves stealing a nuclear bomb that’s needed to destroy an oil pipeline. The un-believability level is high here, but regardless of that, the script is strong. Bond is very human in this film…he shows all sides of his persona and even a little weakness. The third of Pierce Brosnan’s four Bond films, he really seems to shine here as the British spy. Maybe it’s because he’s used to the role after two other pictures. Or maybe because he’s just getting better. Regardless, this is a film that will satisfy your thirst for action and adventure…while tossing in a good deal of romance in between.

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This is by far my favorite Roger Moore “Bond” outing. And, even one of the best in the entire Bond series. The Spy Who Loved Me begins very similar to another one of my favorite Bond films…You Only Live Twice with Sean Connery. Both films start with the capturing of crafts…in You Only Live Twice it is a space rocket and in The Spy Who Loved Me it is a submarine. Obviously, we know that these “stolen” crafts are not to work of a sane person or entity. But, who is it? Is it Russia? Is it China? Basically once the craft is captured, it is up to 007 to save the day, as usual. Where both films differ is in the villain. You Only Live Twice has the ever-popular Blofeld, who by the time You Only Live Twice came out, was getting a little passé. But, in The Spy Who Loved Me, Curd Jürgens plays Stromberg…one of the best Bond villains. His evilness is intense and not prolonged…if he wants to kill someone, he just does it (unlike the other Bond baddies who talk and talk and talk about killing before they actually get around to it). Moore also has excellent chemistry with his Russian counterpart…played by Barbara Bach. They play well off of each other, even though Bach is a little stiff at times. Moore’s quips usually get to be too much after a while but Bach does a good job of countering his jibes with some of her own.

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A fast-paced and engaging thriller set in Russia involving a British historian and the legacy of Joseph Stalin. Based on a fictional novel by Robert Harris, Archangel is based on SOME actual events…there were things that came out in recent years about members of Stalin’s lineage but this story takes more than a little creative license. Moody and dark, the atmosphere of this film helps the suspense along. And Daniel Craig is convincing as the historian on the hunt for the truth. This is a solid thriller that also will appeal to history buffs for the amount of past events in the former Soviet Union have to do with the suspense.

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Over the course of his career, Hitchcock followed his trademark “thriller” genre fairly closely. He made one totally non-suspenseful work early in his career (Mr. and Mrs. Smith from 1941 is a screwball, romantic comedy) and some of his works had more intense thrills than others did. On the whole, though, Hitchcock’s films made his audience sit on the edge of their seats and Notorious (1946) is no exception. Yet, it is somewhat unique since it is the closest Hitchcock ever came to making an outright dramatic love story. Starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman (both of whom had worked with Hitchcock prior to this film), Notorious is a masterpiece on every front. It works perfectly as a thriller and passionately as a love story and it features both supreme directing and stellar acting performances. Bergman plays the daughter of a former Nazi who is convicted for his wartime crimes. Her father’s connections place Bergman in a perfect position to play spy for the U.S. government, which she does under the watchful eye of governmental agent Grant. A love affair between Bergman and Grant cools off after her assignment involves her becoming more than just an acquaintance with one of her father’s friends. Hitchcock’s sense of style is unmatched in this film. The camera movements add to both the intensity of the romance (following Grant and Bergman from room to room as they continue their embrace) and the drama of the suspense (following a key in Bergman’s hand).

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