Thursday, October 6th, 2022
You find some good shit when you search YouTube for reviews by other people who really detest No Time to Die. This is the redoubtable young Batcho.
Thursday, May 12th, 2022
So right now all the James Bond movies are available on Amazon Prime, and with the sudden plethora I was stumped which I’m due next to rewatch. When in doubt, it’s back to Goldfinger, just the first few minutes this time. Once again I’m blown away by just how good it is; it’s definitely arguable that both preceding and all subsequent movies lead to and emanate from it. The post-credit opening scene with the swoop down to the diving board and the cut to Felix watching the dive from the glass window — what delicious glamorous filmmaking. “Into Miami / Pigeon Game” is the 1-minute musical accompaniment.
Sunday, February 20th, 2022
Pierce Brosnan watches Goldeneye for the first time since he made it. We got lucky that as a child his first great cinematic experience was Goldfinger. Like any red-blooded boy he had the toy Corgi car. Has anyone suggested as a successor… Russell Brand?
Tuesday, February 8th, 2022
Goodness, The Ultimate James Bond Medley is every song from the 25 movies. They probably should have done it as an album, like David Arnold’s, because for example the “You Only Live Twice” chorus needs its proper twiceness, and I could have taken the whole thing of Ted Mills singing “We Have All the Time in the World”, and although it’s very nice, they do splice up songs mercilessly.
Tuesday, February 1st, 2022
The design of Lotus’s upcoming electric vehicle looks like a sleeker Esprit, reports Hearst’s Road & Track; when it’s released we can say we saw the blueprints for this car two years ago.
Thursday, January 27th, 2022
Shoutout to the magnificent Bubbles Wot Tickle My Tchaikofsky twitter feed on things James Bond (the title borrows from AVTAK’s jacuzzi scene). I read it and well nigh weep with Mads Mikkelsen.
Wednesday, January 12th, 2022
In light of the boundless inanity and affection demonstrated for James Bond at the relentless Twitter feed “The Bubbles Tickle My Tchaikovsky”, I think I know how Eon can, should, must and will deal with the curdling disaster Mr Craig presumably brought upon them with the end of To Die Please Today at What Time or whatever it was called.
And that is to studiously, sumptuously, flagrantly forget what we just saw, with no more acknowledgement of it than a throwaway line like “This weather happened to the other guy” say when some villain gets fried by lightning.
James Bond movies are novel, happily standing alone — unlike the other big movie franchises today they are not interwoven arcs. Any nod of fan service to a predecessor must be judicious and throwaway. The producers seem to have not understood this; perhaps they were seduced into thinking it okay when they brought back the Aston in the opening scene of Goldeneye and it was fine. But that was enough. And as we all know, they went thoroughly the other way, trying to shoehorn everything into Blofeld’s revenge arc, spoiling the dignity of each of the individual movies.
What dotty old aunts.
Wednesday, January 5th, 2022
Writing in The Guardian, Martin Pengelly is a real oozing 007 fan, managing in this paean to Roger Moore to link to a smorgasbord of great Bond-related cultural relics of recent years, from Alan Partridge’s clang-a-lang-a-singsong to Christopher Hitchen’s “Bottoms Up” and back again to Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s “They looked old. Because they are old.”
Bond is about sex as well as violence and to a seven-year-old boy in 1985 that was almost enough, appropriately given the fate of Kananga in Live and Let Die, to make my head explode.
Thursday, December 23rd, 2021
Wednesday, December 8th, 2021
The Man with the Golden Gun
Surely I’ve read The Man with the Golden Gun before, given that this mangy old paperback has been on my bookshelves since 2006? Perhaps, but I remember nothing.
Some scenes that seem somewhat vivid for now:
- The middle: James Bond meets kind-hearted Tiffy, the manageress of a Jamaican cathouse, before finding Scaramanga, who promptly does something totally awful
- The end: As Scaramanga’s temporary assistant, James Bond machinates and maneuvers around the underfunded hotel that the assassin is building
- The beginning: M ruminates over his decision to send Bond after Scaramanga
Right now the best part seems to me M’s internal monologue after a brainwashed James Bond, back in London after imprisonment in Russia, fails to assassinate him at his desk (a glass screen plummeting down from the ceiling to block the poison Bond has fired, foreshadowing the spirit of gadgetry to come in the movies).
In wake of this domestic excitement, as M calls it, he decides to send Bond after Scaramanga, who has killed some British agents, figuring the Double-O will either succeed in killing the fellow and thereby redeem himself, or conveniently die trying.
Chief of Staff Bill Tanner thinks this cold-hearted, as Scaramanga is so dangerous. M takes a solitary lunch at his club Blades, troubled presumably over both the event and his subsequent decision, but we are only privy to his thoughts once on the ride back to the office, when he reassures himself that his decision really was wise — indeed he almost can’t believe that his instant instinctual choice stands up so well to scrutiny. This is our glimpse at leadership. The rest of the novel — and the entire series — is our exploration of manliness.
In the movie we lose this brief inner turmoil from M, but we gain a more impressive (though not sufficiently so) Scaramanga in Christopher Lee, who is as suave as Fleming’s assassin is lunky; and we get fabulous Thailand instead of, yet again, Fleming’s Jamaica. To make a long story very short, we’re rather missing Nick Nack.
Saturday, October 30th, 2021
By Brooklyn-based freelancer Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian’s spoiler review of No Time to Die is nicely done, with some good entries in the comments section, such as SanFranFerg’s stolen artwork angle:
Prominent art thefts in the real world regularly appear in Bond movies, but none to such stunning effect as the recently nicked Duke of Wellington by Goya that showed up in Dr No’s evil lair in the first movie. The theft from the National Gallery had been huge news only a year before the film’s release. Connery hams up his surprise magnificently. It’s worth Googling.
The final, and largest, stolen piece in the movie hasn’t yet been stolen in the real world. This movie’s evil lair is being redecorated with Monet’s Waterlilies, clearly in their Paris Orangerie incarnation. They’d better check their alarm systems.
Monday, October 11th, 2021
National treasure David Mitchell knocks it out the park with his (SPOILER WARNING) review of No Time to Die.
The main spoiler is: they’ve spoiled it. The producers of No Time to Die have spoiled Bond – either a bit or totally, only time will tell.
Another darn piece that expresses perfectly what I was thinking and that I didn’t write myself. This is one where I feel: no matter what, I couldn’t have done it quite this well, this straightforwardly.
Monday, August 2nd, 2021
Sign up for SPECTRE: The Board Game.
Face James Bond as You Plot, Scheme, and Battle to Become SPECTRE’s Number One.
Sunday, July 18th, 2021
This top-draw (The New Republic) essay on James Bond and Ian Fleming is ostensibly disparaging about its subject, but author Scott Bradfield’s sheer depth of knowledge marks him a fan. Another clue: although it’s a book review of The World Is Not Enough: A Biography of Ian Fleming by Oliver Buckton, in the entire piece Buckton’s name is mentioned just once! This guy Bradfield’s clearly been chomping at the bit to write something Bondy.
Thursday, November 7th, 2019
A view to the best bit of Bond fan art I’ve seen maybe ever: David Reed’s 007 film title anagrams.
Monday, October 7th, 2019
Tuesday, May 14th, 2019
Thursday, March 21st, 2019
James Bond: 50 Years of Main Title Design at Art of the Title. It’s by Ben Radatz, a partner at MK12 and co-director of Quantum of Solace’s.
Thursday, June 15th, 2017
David Arnold speaks to collaborating with Chris Cornell on “You Know My Name”, the theme song for the James Bond movie Casino Royale: “We needed someone who could sing the way Daniel acted…” This has become my #3 favorite, after Carly Simon’s Marvin Hamlish number and Nancy Sinatra’s John Barry one.
Monday, July 18th, 2016
Tuesday, December 29th, 2015
Nice piece by E. E. Knight on James Bond as mythic hero.
Thursday, April 30th, 2015
Mr Daring Fireball writes the brief but definitive James Bond-themed
Apple Watch article, complete with the appropriate still from TSWLM. “The idea of a digital watch that can receive secure text messages was remarkably prescient. The idea that the messages would print out on ticker tape was remarkably silly.”
Sunday, March 15th, 2015
Thank you for this. I will now proceed to dip into this list of the best books about James Bond.
Monday, October 20th, 2014
Saturday, December 1st, 2012
The best piece of James Bond movie criticism I’ve read: “My favourite Bond film: You Only Live Twice” by Phelim O’Neill, at The Guardian film blog. Muscular, yet pitch-perfect, and deft with what to throw in from the film(s) to illustrate his compelling argument.
Monday, November 5th, 2012
James Bond and the Jews in The Forward. While the article itself is unfortunately flimsy — I could have done better myself — there’s some knowledgeable discussion in the comments.
Monday, October 29th, 2012
Finally, a clear-headed review of Skyfall over at FT: “New director Sam Mendes wants to combine a Bourne-like lack of quips and frippery with Christopher Nolan-ish solemnity and gigantism.” Why eschew what you view as your own franchise’s banalities only to take others’?
Sunday, August 5th, 2012
The Business of Bond. More interesting if you adjust for inflation; Thunderball was the most profitable, then Goldfinger, then Live and Let Die. Great little logos per film as well.
Sunday, April 3rd, 2011
The Bond movies tend to go downhill once you see henchmen in jumpsuits.
Thursday, February 17th, 2011
Sunday, February 22nd, 2009
Diamonds are Forever
Perhaps the weakest Fleming novel I’ve read. A lot of adjectives, some repetition, vivid set pieces (mud room, train) but flimsy.
Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008
Quantum of Solace
Saturday, October 18th, 2008
Melvynn Bragg lauds James Bond, and isn’t it fascinating how weak a writer this public semi-intellectual is compared with modern bloggers.
Thursday, May 15th, 2003
In the age of the global village James Bond is the chivalrous knight about town.