Nov 29, 2012

The UN creates a better world once again!

After decades of occupation and strife, Palestine has finally achieved statehood, so now they can live in perfect harmony side by side with Israel, with both having mutual respect for one another's right to exist, and they can continue ongoing trade and cultural exchanges that will mutually benefit each other in reaching a standard that the world will follow, one that'll show the citizens of Earth that even though people who feel they've been given land by divine right, they can resolve their differences with a UN vote and everyone will be as blissfully happy as they were when they heard the news that Charles in Charge would be renewed for a second season, and as it will serve as a model for generations as humans will look back at the dark, hideous time when Arabs and Jews were slaughtering each other for the sake of governing the land God gave them, our great-great-grandchildren will drop their jaws in wonder at how humans could've committed such horrible acts against each other, but they'll be able to see how powerful and great the UN is, or was maybe, for they have given the Palestinians exactly what they wanted, non-member observer statehood, which is all anyone really wishes and prays for, hell it's what I've asked Santa to bring me this year as I've been a good boy and prayed for the health and welfare of all the people in the whole wide world, and I'm sure that was the number one goal of Hamas, Hezbollah, and all the other Palestinians who teach their children about rocket technology by installing a launcher in the middle of a school, because they believe, as do I, hands on education is the best way to learn, and Israeli settlement dwellers was to see the Palestinians get their sort-of membership into the world community which is the highest of honors, and Jews would be very happy to pack up from the homes and wave goodbye as they move across the British Accord border and wish their former Palestinian brothers, who they left a bag of Baked Lays and a 2 liter bottle of Mountain Dew: Code Red as a parting gift, a good life filled with joy and an everlasting supply of pink unicorns, and I'm sure they'll greatly miss watching the flowering democracy Palestine has grown to be, and will continue to be, as they now have no need to send suicide bombers into crowded coffee shops, nor does Israel have to open fire on a crowd of civilians as multiple armed bad guys hide out and take pop shots at troops, for those days are over and a new golden age of....

...sigh, I have no idea what exactly the UN members thought they would accomplish with this. One thing is for certain, there are only three road maps for peace. Either a) the long and drawn out process of both sides continuing negotiation, and educating themselves out of iron age myths, b) the Security Council members jointly invade the region and enact peace through an iron fist, or c) turn the whole place into glass. I'm not really sure how effective the last option is. Yes I'm that cynical about Israel/Palestinian peacehood.

"Progress towards a just and lasting two-state solution cannot be made by pressing a green voting button here in this hall," Rice said in a speech to the assembly. "Nor does passing any resolution create a state, where none indeed exits, or change the reality on the ground. This resolution does not establish that Palestine is a state." - Susan Rice

The United Nations General Assembly has voted to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state

Nov 28, 2012

Red Dawn and stereotypes

The brother in-law, a friend, and I journeyed to watch the unwarranted remake of Red Dawn. My friend was concerned about seating arrangements as he assumed it would have a bigger opening than a Twilight sequel, but as we easily took our seats we were quickly reminded of how wrong he was. Granted living in Texas this seems like the perfect film for gun toting folks who love the fantasy of killing communists while defending their homeland, but I guess most decided the original was enough as there were maybe 40 people in the auditorium.
I don't imagine Red Dawn was intended by anyone involved in the making of the film to be a great movie, considering it does little if nothing to expand on what had already been said by the original 1984 cult classic. Yes the previous film is not a good one, but it's a masterpiece compared to this attempt to make gung-ho fanatics wash their shorts when they get home.
The original's premise is that Cuban and Soviet forces combine their strength to engage in a shooting war with the US. They make it to Colorado, where a group of mostly teenagers band together to engage in a guerrilla war with the communist occupiers. While the premise is laughable now, a good number of people at the time of its production seriously believed in a land invasion of the most powerful country in the world. This was the time of the Cold War, where our main enemy was uniformed, and our fate was uncertain with various threats of nuclear annihilation, secret socialists infiltrating our government, and numerous proxy wars were waged across the globe with our weapons, if not our own troops, between us and the Soviets. It was a dark and cynical time in our nation's history, and Red Dawn exploited those who were fearful of a terrible end to our country.
With all it's flaws, you would think the crafters of the remake would expand upon the few strengths of the original. In the Patrick Swayze led film, we had enemies who actually seemed human, who understood the nature of war, and had a personality. In this one, we have an Asian guy who acts as a plot device rather than a character, who's acting range is limited to that of displaying anger. In the previous movie, the only sexual tension in the film was subtle, and the end to it was somewhat moving. In this one it's a sophomoric and silly attempt to make the audience believe these characters need to be together simply because they're the best looking people in the cast, and their blessed genetics dictate affection, personality be damned.
One thing the film does well is give you a heightened sense of action, probably due to the claustrophobic feel of urban warfare, whereas the original was mostly set in a rural setting. There's little CGI, which gives the sense that these moments could actually happen. Yet that's faint praise as none of the characters are interesting. None. Not a one. Sure they have learning moments, and the stakes are high given that North Korea, a nation that can't generate 24x7 electricity for its people, has somehow invaded the pacific northwest for reasons that are unclear, but I couldn't bring myself to give two shits about the cast. And yes, I was disappointed no one peed in the radiator.
The three of us walked out of the movie as it ended, and it was clear I enjoyed it less than the other two, but still it gave me pause to think of the moments in the film, one where my brother in-law commented that you know it's in the Northwest as there was a lot of flannel, but instead of using Seattle as a backdrop it used Spokane. Probably a smart choice as the city of Seattle isn't known for their gun ownership and fighting ability, and audiences would think the idea of Seattle folk waging guerrilla war would be less realistic than a nation without much infrastructure somehow bringing their army past Japan. Spokane is a bit more red state and a beautiful city. Sadly the director decided to film elsewhere for whatever reason.
It was brought up how well a paratrooper invasion would go in Texas, and the comical, albeit likely, idea of citizens running out of their homes attempting to take pot shots at an invading army slowly descending upon the ground seemed an interesting one, until you imagine the invaders spraying hellfire with their AKs. Still in this movie's logic the teenagers shoot with such accuracy all of them could be contestants on Top Shot, while the North Koreas clearly were trained in sharpshooting by Stormtroopers.
As previously mentioned, this film's enemy is the hermit, Stalinist-like state of North Korea, which originally was the Chinese, but after careful consideration it was determined that it wouldn't be good to piss off Bejing so this movie could be played in that lucrative market. I don't know how wise that decision was, as if I were a part of Chinese Parliment and the Americans released this tripe into my country, I'd swiftly move to declare war.
This film plays mostly like a Call of Duty game, which they reference in the film, but the dialogue is worse and the characters are less developed. It's a movie for the ra-ra bring it on you slanty eyed commies crowd, who some secretly and some not so, wish for an invasion so they can prove themselves as efficient as the Minutemen, to prove their masculinity and patriotism. I can't fault those stereotypes that I've probably invented too much, as I too harbor some war time fantasies for reasons that would be best explained in other post. And really, given its PG-13 rating, it's mostly for kids. I'm sure if I were 15 I'd love this film as much as I did the original back in the day. For those who want to wash themselves in a somewhat gritty film about fighting evil forces in the den of your home, there are better films, including the original. This one made me wish for an invasion if only for that moment so I could have a good excuse to walk out of the theatre.
"If the North Koreans invaded and saw this movie, they'd probably just turn back." - Jeffery M Anderson

Nov 15, 2012

Ranking Bond, James Bond

I consider myself a fan of James Bond films, but upon reflection of the twenty three, well twenty five if you count Never Say Never Again and the parody Casino Royale, films I really only like a handful of them. I've seen all of them at least once, maybe 98% of them twice, but most are forgettable, sadly. It's kind of amazing to me that a series with so many bad films can be the longest running in Hollywood history, and most never grow tired of the British Secret Agent. Still even at the series worst audiences get what they pay for, exotic locales, hot women, compelling action, and to marvel at the charms of 007 as he globetrots along killing anyone that inconveniences him.
So here is my ranking of the James Bond films, from worst to best:
25 - Live and Let Die: Roger Moore's first outing as Bond ends up being the worst on this list. The supernatural theme of the plot that involves 007 fighting a drug kingpin hell bent on cornering the heroin market while using voodoo magic to meet his ends was a bit much for me, and seemed really out of place for a spy thriller. Released partly because of the blaxplotation films that were so popular at the time, it hasn't really aged well, and it can best be described as goofy. Best reason(s) to watch this: Jane Seymour is just beautiful and the 7-up guy is novel seeing him be all bad ass. The main villian, Mr Big, is actually pretty threatening as well. The title theme is one of the best in the series.
24 - Never Say Never Again: While not an EON produced film, and it was just a remake of Thunderball, it really suffers from being humorless and uninteresting. While fans were excited to see Connery back in the role after a long absence, his age really showed and his performance made it obvious he just wanted to get the shoot over with. The characters, sans Largo, were much weaker and less developed than the original, and overall it's murky, dark (and not in a good way), and just doesn't have the charm or excitement of previous Bond outings. Given that it doesn't really fit in with the Bond cannon, it's largely superfluous. Best reason(s) to watch this: The motorcycle is pretty cool. While Domino's character fell flat, Kim Bassinger was nice to look at.
23 - The Man with the Golden Gun: Audiences expected a better film considering how awful Live and Let Die is, but sadly they got stuck with one of the stupidest films in the franchise. Bond takes on a hitman with a gun that's, wait for it, gold. In this adventure he fights midgets and other non-threatening henchmen before he has his moment of truth with the main villain, played far better than what the role was worth by Christopher Lee. It's just silly, dull, and is largely forgettable. Best reason(s) to watch this: Midgets and a great performance by the already mentioned Christopher Lee.
22 - Diamonds are Forever: It's strange that the person who directed what is largely considered the best Bond film (Goldfinger) also helmed three of the worst Bond films (Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun, and Diamonds are Forever). This one sees the return of Blofeld, head of SPECTRE, who steals diamonds to build a super laser *yawn*. Connery's last appearance in an EON produced Bond film is hands down his worst of them. Most of the films problems is how dated it is, with locales that look anything but exotic by today's standards, given Las Vegas at the time was nowhere near as impressive as it is today. The henchmen were cartoonish at best, and really don't look like they could kick anyone's ass, and the character of Blofeld was anything but threatening or even interesting. The Bond girls, normally known for their competence and sophistication, offered nothing to the film except to be annoying and fill out their outfits, which granted they did a great job at that. Given the last film ended on such a down note it's no surprise that producers wanted to lighten things up, but this film is just largely silly. Best reason(s) to watch this: Jill St John can really fill out a bikini and Lana Wood is some of the best eye candy in the series, you'll just have to look past their acting ability.
21 - Moonraker: A lot of people consider this one to be the worst Bond film, if not worst Moore era Bond film, and it's hard to argue with them. The plot was clearly a result of the booming popularity of sci-fi films at the time, which a little film called Star Wars played no small part in. The story is about a forgettable villain wanting to build a master race in space, destroy the earth, then once the planet is habitable again to let the perfect humans breed and do what us flawed creatures couldn't. The motivation behind this is unclear, and it doesn't matter as most of the film makes no sense. Action sequences could've been exciting if they weren't hampered down by stupid sight gags. And the unwanted return of Jaws and his storyline made things even more stupid. It's sad because this film had real potential to be different, unique, but instead it tries to be a action comedy with a sci-fi element to it, and it fails on every level and is just a big bag of dumb. Best reason(s) to watch this: It's more fun than killing yourself.
20 - A View to a Kill: This is Roger Moore's last outing as Bond, James Bond, and in my opinion his exit from the series was long overdue. I know he's very popular with a lot of 007 fans, but not only was he not a good actor, he made a piss poor action star as he couldn't even throw a punch convincingly. Some say he played a better lover than Connery, as Moore was a good looking chap, but still in the record setting seven films he made, maybe two of them are actually watchable. He probably could've carried another three had he been more versed in the art of acting, but sadly this was not the case. This story takes us from France to the Bay Area as it basically rips off the plot of Godfinder, except instead of crashing the gold standard market by destroying Fort Knox, this film has a villain who wants to corner the microchip market by doing the same to Silicon Valley. This movie suffered from Moore showing his age, struggling to be believable in each and every scene. Tanya Roberts was given the laborious task of portraying one of the most annoying Bond girls to date, and it's not her fault as the script gives her little to do but just scream. Bond would also never sleep with Grace Jones, even if he consumed eight martinis. It's a movie that has no laughs nor thrills, and it's a sad send off to an actor who dedicated a large amount of his life to the role. Best reason(s) to watch this: It's not the worst Bond film Moore did, but that's like saying your most recent bout with hemorrhoids wasn't as bad as the last. The theme song by Duran Duran is pretty cool. It's kind of fun to think of how many drugs were consumed when the filmmakers thought putting a Beach Boys song in the middle of a ski chase sequence was a good idea.
19 - Die Another Day: There must be some kind of curse amongst actors who portray Bond, well sans Lazenby, and their last films being the among the, if not the, worst of them. Pierce Brosnan's last portrayal of the British Super Spy was by far his silliest, which is sad mostly because it had so much potential. The film starts seeing Bond being captured and tortured by North Koreans, and finally gets released in a prisoner exchange. Working his way back to double o status, he finds himself fighting a North Korean, who has plastic surgery to look like a Brit, and who exchanges conflict diamonds to build a super satellite that will destroy all the land mines in the demilitarized zone, which is all controlled by a robotic Robocop-like suit, and then it gets dumb. Yeah, it's as big as it is stupid, and it was a piss poor way to see Brosnan end his tenure. Best reason(s) to watch this: Halle Berry in a bikini, a cool sword fight, and hoping Madonna dies on screen.
18 - Casino Royale (1967): One of the two Bond films not EON produced, this parody of Bond, and spy films in general, is just not funny. Has a great cast, but it is a large waste of talent. Out of all the films on this list, this one is only memorable because it's such a mystery as to why it was made. Best reason(s) to watch this: You can get drunk and give it the MST3K treatment.
17 - The World is not Enough: Pierce Brosnan's third time portraying the famous secret agent is a somewhat dull affair, but largely watchable by the somewhat engaging plot. Bond is protecting an oil heiress from a murderous villain that cannot feel pain for largely implausible reasons. It's interesting how after over a dozen movies they finally gave M something to do besides sit behind a desk and gripe about MI6's favorite agent being late. Still where this movie suffers is some of the cheesiest lines in franchise history, and what ranks as some of the worst acting of any Bond girl thanks to Denise Richards. Best reason(s) to watch this: While casting Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist is laughable, looking at her in her prime is a pleasant task, but she gets shadowed by the elegant Sophie Marceau. The action is fun and somewhat engaging. The exit of Desmond Llewelyn is kind of touching I'll admit.
16 - Octopussy: Roger Moore once again plays the agent with a license to kill, and this time it he has a more dense plot than the others. 009 is killed carrying a Fabrege egg, and Bond tracks the owner of an identical one to uncover an elaborate plot by a Soviet General to lead Europe into a state of vulnerability so the Bolshevics can finally rule the continent. Not exactly a terrible movie, as it has some engaging action and a somewhat interesting plot, but some of the moments in Octopussy is just too damn stupid and really takes you out of the story. It's horribly uneven, with Bond dressed as a clown, him yelling like Tarzan, and a deadly yo-yo just keeps one from really being involved with the characters. It's a disappointing venture at best. Best reason(s) to watch this: Oh I don't know, it's not really terrible so it beats playing strip pinochle with fat Pentecostals.
15 - Tomorrow Never Dies: Bond, James Bond is fighting a media mogul who is trying to start World War III so he can see his information empire grow. Yeah, it's a silly plot, but the action, when you're not rolling your eyes, is fun and the acting isn't that bad. Pierce Brosnan made for a competent, as well as safe, Bond, so it's a shame that out of the five he did, only one was decent, and the best praise I can give this one is it didn't make me want to cut myself. Best reason(s) to watch this: Teri Hatcher's performance and character is so jaw droppingly bad it has to be seen to believed and a cool opening action sequence. Bond actually meets an agent who's actually more competent than him, which is an interesting twist.
14 - Quantum of Solace: 007 is on a mission to fight evil environmentalists and seek revenge on those responsible for the death of the woman he actually brought himself to love. A true sequel to the impressive Casino Royale (2006), Daniel Craig returns to the role after he exceeded expectations in his previous outing. Sadly this movie did more than disappoint, as it tried to go back to the ridiculous plots of previous Bond films. Still it has its moments, as it solidified that this reboot of the series is on a quest to make it more character driven than the previous films, and Daniel Craig got more comfortable as the character originally written as little more than an assassin. That being said the plot just drags at times as it tries to be a revenge film, a spy thriller, an action film, and a internal political struggle all at once, and fails at all of them. Best reason(s) to watch this: Daniel Craig is really good in the role, and it fun to watch.
13 - You Only Live Twice: The MI6 super agent who has infiltrated the world's largest criminal organization and kept humanity safe from it is now burdened with the task of faking his own death and going undercover as a Japanese man to unravel the plot of rogue astronauts (or is it cosmonauts?) going into space and kidnapping American space pioneers. Yeah, it has Sean Connery try to pass himself off as Japanese, which involves shaving his chest and getting a bad haircut. So yeah. Best reason(s) to watch this: The sets are really cool, especially the volcano lair and the giant battle at the end is a lot of fun. While this movie doesn't take itself that seriously, it does have a good balance of comedy and action. Plus, seeing Blofeld's face for the first time is kind of a treat.
12 - License to Kill - A darker outing in the Bond catalogue, as Felix gets tortured and maimed by a drug lord, leading 007 to leave MI6 to seek revenge on his friend's attacker. I've yet to meet a person who finds Timothy Dalton to be their favorite person to portray the super spy, but I don't think he deserves the scorn many have given him and the two films he starred in. He's a fine actor and he really brings an edginess to the role not seen since Connery. Granted he's not the masculine figure Connery is, nor was he the ladies man Moore was, but he did do some fine work in these movies, and it should not go ignored. License to Kill is interesting as it's the first time the series gave the character Felix something to do besides trade information with his British counterpart for all of five minutes of screen time. It's a decent revenge film with some good acting and more violence than you'd expect. Best reason(s) to watch this: Benecio DelToro is genuinely good in this movie, and Carey Lowell plays a great Bond girl, who's actually a fleshed out character rather than a bumbling beauty.
11 - The Living Daylights: James Bond helps a KGB agent defect by thwarting an assassination attempt, and not surprisingly a few twists happen in the plot. Timothy Dalton's first time playing Bond, James Bond is a good film, although most won't agree with me, which is understandable. He's not the wise cracking secret agent audiences and fans were used to. He brought a more brooding Bond to the mix, one I find welcome. Still this film does have its light moments and brings some colorful characters to offset the now thoughtful secret agent. By today's standards it seems dated with the Cold War being over for over two decades now, but it's still enjoyable. Best reasons to watch this: It's good old fashioned fun fighting evil Russians, and this film delivers. The car is kind of cool and the stunts, while implausible, are pretty cool.
10 - The Spy Who Loved Me: Bond, James Bond and a KGB agent team up to go underwater to fight an evil anarchist who wants to see the world nuked by the then two superpowers so he can rebuild human civilization anew. One of the two Moore films I actually enjoy, The Spy Who Loved Me has a lot of what you'd expect out of the franchise, beautiful women who do more than just look good, crazy gadgets, exciting action, and a compelling villain. One of the few Moore films that balances light hearted humor with action reasonably well. This Bond, James Bond film does not disappoint its fans. Best reason(s) to see this: The underwater lair is awesome. Jaws' first and best appearance is him being bad ass and not a silly clown. Barbara Bach is just so damn pretty, as is Caroline Munro.
9 - For Your Eyes Only: The British and the Russians are racing to find a targeting computer, which has the players give all sorts of twists and turns, and who better to solve all the riddles than 007? Bond, James Bond finally takes his revenge on Blofeld, which sets the pace for a more gritty, realistic adventure after the corny, over the top Moonraker. The high water mark of Roger Moore as Bond, For Your Eyes Only really has everything, ski chases, underwater action, and scenes in Greece, Spain, and Italy. Best reason(s) to see this: It's one of the few movies where I actually like Moore as Bond, and it has some of the best action in the series.
8 - Goldeneye: With the Cold War over Bond, James Bond seems to live in a world that doesn't need him, but of course his skills are required to take down a once thought dead double o agent who plans on crashing the worlds' markets for whatever reason. I like Goldeneye, but it's highly overrated. Given that the Dalton films were on a serious tone, Brosnan's first 007 film is a little more light with some really fun action, and fans rank this as one of the better Bond films. It's clearly the best of the Brosnan era sure, but that's not saying a whole lot. Bond returns with his wise cracks and his smooth, uber coolness in the face of danger. It's a welcome change, but some of it's a bit much for me. Still as an action film it works really well, even if some of the stunts are laughable and there are some questionable plot holes. It's also nice to see 007 take on an equal, instead of a bumbling cartoonish villain who mostly sits behind a desk. Most of the humor falls as flat as a seven day old soda. Oh the dialogue is banal as all hell, even by the low standards of this series. It tries to appeal to all fans of the series, and it mostly succeeds. Best reason(s) to see this: Famke Jannsen is really really hot, and it's cool seeing the movie again after playing the immensely popular video game of the same name. Sean Bean plays a great villain.
7 - Thunderball: Bond, James Bond goes on a mission to locate missing nuclear warheads, which were stolen by a man named Largo, who works for SPECTRE, and is holding the world hostage with them. Thunderball is an exciting adventure and probably the last of the Connery era that I actually enjoy. Set back in the Bahamas for most of the film, Connery plays the secret agent as we've come to expect, smooth, cool, and charisma little seen throughout the series. Sadly, it's the first Bond film that gets really silly and bogged down with stupid, and even somewhat impractical gadgets, which leaves little room to suspend disbelief. Thankfully, the story and the femme fatal hold the movie together. Best reason(s) to see this: It's Connery as Bond in his prime. Lucianna Paluzzi plays a great seductress villain, and the humor is actually funny.
6 - Dr. No: Bond, James Bond's first adventure takes him to Jamaica to fight an evil SPECTRE agent who plans on thwarting a space launch. The movie that started it all sets a great pace for the series. Sean Connery is almost perfect in the role as the secret agent who doesn't mind putting a bullet into anyone who tries to disrupt his mission. It's one of the first films to portray a hero killing someone in cold blood, a scene my father reminded me of how shocking it was to audiences at the time. It's simple, it's fun, and it really feels like an Ian Flemming novel. Best reason(s) to watch this: Ursula Andress, enough said.
5 - Goldfinger: The British secret agent is taken capture by a man determined to destroy Fort Knox to make his own stash of gold nearly priceless. Some say this is the best Bond film ever, but I disagree. While it can be fun, it's mostly dull considering most of the film you see the seemingly invincible 007 just hang around with the villain, trying to extract as much information as he can. Still it has some memorable sequences, such as the Aston Martin, the fight with Odd Job, and Bond's seduction of a lesbian. The performances and the action sequences make up for the weak story, and it's of little wonder why most fans look back on this film fondly. Best reason(s) to watch this: The "I must be dreaming" line, the performance of Gert Frobe, and the Dink scene, which has the dubious honor of being the most misogynist sequence in all the series.
4 - On Her Majesty's Secret Service: The famous spy travels to the mountains to encounter Blofeld, head of SPECTRE, who's using hypnosis on beautiful vixens so they can carry out his nefarious plans. George Lazenby is by far my least favorite Bond, as the only trait he has my sold on is his voice. Otherwise, he wasn't very good in the role, but thankfully the material rises above his lack of talent. Granted the plot isn't great, but Terry Savalis makes for a great Blofeld, the best in the series. Watching Bond fall in love is actually more compelling than what one would expect, and the ending is one of the most powerful in all the films. They got rid of the silly gadgets and made this film very character driven, which audiences didn't seem to want since they abandoned that idea until the Dalton films. Given all its flaws I love this movie and wish the series reflected the tone this film has. Best reason(s) to watch this: The action is great, as well as both the title and love themes. As mentioned before, Savalis really sells it and Diana Riggs is great as the first, and so far only, Bond wife.
3 - Skyfall: After his lust for revenge satisfied, Bond, James Bond is now after a former MI6 agent hell bent on killing M for turning her back on him years before. After the highly disappointing second film in the Bond reboot, Skyfall delivers what audiences expect from the crowd pleasing series. Daniel Craig returns as the somewhat brooding, tough as nails, no nonsense 007, and plays him more as I believe Flemming envisioned, a hitman more than a spy. This film delivers all kinds of fan pleasers, with a truly sadistic and threatening villain, a beautiful and tragic Bond girl, and various throwbacks to earlier films, which some are subtle while others not so much. The action sequences are exciting and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Best reason(s) to watch this: Daniel Craig really comes into his own in the role of Bond, and really looks comfortable playing him. Javier Bardem may be one of the best actors to portray a 007 villain, and he doesn't disappoint here. The pacing is some of the best you'll find in the series, and really the film as a whole works not only as a spy thriller, but as one of the best action films in years. It was also nice to see M actually be a co-star.
2 - Casino Royale: After the last few dismal Bond films the producers decide to start again from scratch, with Bond first obtaining his license to kill, he plays a high stakes game of poker to thwart the nefarious plans of an arms dealer. The famous Bond, James Bond reboot is one that exceeded everyones' expectations, well maybe not everyone, but anyone with good taste at least. From the film's satisfying opening to the impressive end in Venice, it's still the globetrotting assassin/spy you know and love, but with an edge not yet seen. This Bond bleeds, is vulnerable, but tough, gritty, and isn't the Superman most portrayed him as. He's more believable, relatable, and compelling. He doesn't have the good looks as Moore or Brosnan had, but he's just as masculine, if not more, than Connery, and finally after many years we have a Bond that actually looks like he can fight. It's a great action movie and a good love story as well. Finally the series learned something from the lessons of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and made an even better film. Best reason(s) to watch this: It's one of the best in the series, and it warrants repeated viewings. This film, while a great spy thriller, has a lot of heart, and is exciting as it is tragic. Eva Green is my favorite Bond girl of all time, and she had great chemistry with Craig. Just overall a great movie.
1 - From Russia with Love: In Bond, James Bond's second mission, MI6 and the KGB are both after a decoding device, and unbeknownst to both SPECTRE is hoping to beat them both to the punch. As you're probably already aware, I'm more of a fan of the realistic Bond films, rather than the silly, gadget driven Moore and Brosnan films. This film really feels like what all spy thrillers should have, great villians, exciting and realistic fight sequences, and a simple, yet effective plot. From Russia with Love is Connery's favorite Bond film out of all of them he did, and it's my favorite of all time. Granted some of it's dated for today's audience, as there's no KGB and SPECTRE seems more Legion of Doom-ish than a sophisticated organized crime syndicate it tried to come off as, but that never bothered me. The locations are exotic, as is the KGB agent Tatiana, and the fight with 007 and Grant is one of the best in not just the series, but ever on celluloid. Best reason(s) to watch this: It's just good.

Fun fact: Barry Nelson was actually the first person to portray Bond, James Bond on screen in a televised version of Casino Royale. That may win you a few bar bets.

"I care about Bond and what happens to him. You cannot be connected with a character for this long and not have an interest. All the Bond films had their good points." - Sean Connery

Nov 13, 2012

I'll help you pack

As some of you are fully aware, there are citizens of the United States who are really unhappy the Obama was reelected. So unhappy are they that they've threatened to move to another nation, which is fine by me. This country needs less sore losers and those disloyal to the government that helped give them the life of luxury they've grown accustomed to. If you want to move, I'll help you pack. If you enjoy the idea of limited government so much, try and take residence in the libertarian paradise that is Somalia, where you don't have to be burdened with taxes, fire departments, or even police. True personal responsibility can be achieved, so long as you're armed to the teeth.
Some citizens are taking their disdain for the election a step further and are starting petitions to secede from the Union. One is happening here in the Republic of Texas, where some moron thought this state can do without the federal government. Well never mind that Andrew Johnson made such an idea null and void, there are plenty of other practical reasons that secession would be a terrible idea:
  1. Texas gets a lot of money from the federal government - We have like 20 military bases that helps bring in tons of cash not only directly from the feds, but from the soldiers and their families spending in their local community. Plus, we get lots of disaster relief from the numerous wildfires we experience every year, and if a major hurricane were to hit the gulf coast, or god forbid another massive oil spill, we'd have little cash for that mess.
  2. Our state has a horribly mismanaged budget - Yes the current idiot in charge actually broke down and took federal stimulus money to help pay for a lot of necessary services, because our legislature can't seem to handle their own tax revenue. We'd lose a huge safety net if we were to break away from the Union.
  3. Thousands died to preserve the United States of America - Thanks to the traitors that were the Confederacy, our country was locked in a long, brutal battle that tore the very fabric of this great nation. To secede would be a slap in the face for the brave men and women who fought for this country and its constitution, and considering it's Veteran's Day week makes it even more deplorable.
  4. Border security - We can't even manage a decent police force much less try to guard the entire southern border, which would be expensive and unrealistic. The southern border would be owned my Mexican cartels running their products into the US. I also shudder to think of what would happen if we engaged in open war with another nation.
  5. You show your open disdain for our forefathers by seceding - The processes for our great Republic were written by men who are normally given reverence for doing just that. Granted not everyone will be happy with the results from elections and what not, but the great thing about the US is that we have the power to change whatever it is we don't like. If the rest of the public doesn't agree with you, tough titty. We survived eight years of Bush and we will survive another term with Obama. Next time, nominate a better candidate and do more to get them elected. These whiners that want to leave the Union can't handle what makes this country great, and instead of pulling others down with them they should just leave. I'm willing to bet most of them did nothing except post on FB.
  6. You give conservatives a bad name - The horrible PR conservatives have after the Koch funded Tea Party made being a Republican hard, and you're just making things worse. You're not supposed to be the party of whiners and sore losers. Get bootstrappy and get to work if you want your party to start winning, instead of crying about taking your ball and going home. You're acting like sad little defeated bitches.
So yeah, knock it off with your petitions and fight for change in this country. You can't call yourself good Americans and lovers of the Constitution if you engage in this activity.
"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

Nov 7, 2012

There's no butthurt like conservative butthurt

Well the election is over. The winners celebrate while the losers whine. Of course, when it's the conservatives that lose, the butthurt is so epic. Not content with accepting the fact that they chose a poor candidate that ran a bad campaign, the neocon media is blaring all kinds of ridiculous reasons they think Obama won the election. Everything from how the so called liberal media swoons for the President, never mind that the most watched news network is the tea party darling Fox News, and Rush Limbaugh is still taken seriously by the majority of news radio listeners. Yes neocons, we get it, he's black, and you're scared of him for reasons you can't understand. You want him to the be the enemy, because your persecution complex demands it. You'll spread any rumor, or even outright lie, to make your fear of him seem legitimate, and you look stupid in the process.

Now none of you want to know why Romney really lost, but I'll tell you anyways:

  1. Rape - No Republican should ever talk about forced sexual congress between a man and a woman. In fact, if you're ever asked about abortion, just go with the status quo Reagan had. It would make your lives that much easier.
  2. Details - It still baffles me that someone that good at business would make the horrific mistake of not presenting details of their plan. Seriously, Romney would never accept that kind of foolishness when he was at Bane, or even as Governor. All he needed to do was give a good presentation as to exactly how he would lower the deficit, something he would expect as well. But he failed, and so did his candidacy.
  3. The Tea Party - We're all aware that the Tea Party is not the grassroots movement it claims to be and that it's the design of the Koch brothers to herd in mentally deficient conservatives to help block legislation that might help the American people. Yes anyone with half a brain knows the Tea Party exists to help make the rich that much richer, and keep the poor poorer, as is their correct lot. We know this, and we won't accept them anymore. We can't have such insanity in our politics, and if you keep playing strange bedfellows with a bunch of white people that can't spell, you'll soon die out.
  4. Trying to suppress the vote - Nice try folks, but if you tell someone they can't do something, they'll be sure to do. So yeah, trying to keep minorities and poor people from voting with your nonsensical "oh my god we must stop voter fraud that may or may not exist" by using unconstitutional means didn't work. Better luck next time.
  5. Conspiracy theories - Yeah, you Republicans are now the party known for idiotic conspiracy theories that have no basis in reality. You trot around the whole Obama wants to import Muslims and other scary brown people, stop oil production, take away our guns, is a Kenyan, personally ordered the killings at Benghazi. No thinking person wants to be associated with that.
  6. You whine - When you pride yourselves about being the party of personal responsibility, it never looks good to blame everyone but yourself for your failures. In fact, it makes you look stupid.
  7. You're dumb - It's a fact that states that cast their electoral vote for a Republican aren't as smart as those who are blue, OK, that may not be a proven fact, but you and I know it's true. Dumb is so 2000-2008. The new style is using your noodle, so start doing that. This election cycle showed a lot of your moron roots, and they need to change if you want to remain relevant.
  8. All the money and ads don't mean a thing if you can't get people to do the dirty work - John Kerry could've told you this, but no you can't learn a little something from very recent history and sit on your asses thinking all you need to do is show an annoying commercial over and over again will rally people to hit the polls. No you should've done more, hit the phones, the door knocking, the rallies in places you weren't expecting to win. It's why you lost Penn.
  9. Next time, try winning your home state. I mean hell Romney nor Ryan won the states from which they're from. That's terrifying.
  10. If someone gets overlooked for a Vice Presidential nod in favor of Sarah Palin, he's probably not the best man for the nomination, ever.
  11. Try not to show your disdain for half of the country - It doesn't bode well with half of America. Shocking I know.
See Republicans, you may think I'm trying to rub it in, but I'm actually trying to help you. I want you to be the party you were once known for, namely the party that gave us Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. Plus, I have a soft spot in my heart for the mentally challenged, and want to see you succeed. It's the romantic in me.

“The white establishment is now the minority, And the voters — many of them — feel that this economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff. You’re going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama, overwhelming black vote for President Obama and women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things. And which candidate between the two is going to give them things?” - Bill O'Reilly

Nov 6, 2012

It's time

Election day is upon us, and history will be made again. The direction of this country will be in the hands of the populace, or actually the electoral college, but still we shall choose our leaders as best as the system allots. It's an exciting time for me, to foreshadow how our nation will look in four to six years, and wonder what opportunities and strife may befall us. I may be up late, given that the Presidential election may be a close affair, and it may not even be decided tonight and we'll see a repeat of the 2000 debacle. Nerves are rattled for many who are completely in the camp of their chose party, but I'm more optimistic. Our country has seen worse times. No matter who gets elected, we'll be fine. We've been through a civil war, a few wars fought within our borders, and economic hardships that make our current one look like child's play.
Yet as I look back on this election cycle a lot has surprised me. I was taken aback by all the stupid rape comments Republicans kept making. The process for nominating the Republican candidate took far longer than it should, and was really uninteresting. Romney, a guy who's really unlikeable, had small victories that actually made this race a tight one. I underestimated how weak the President really is, and how widely unpopular he is.
But yet, through all the drama, and all the highly uninformed nonsense on Facebook and the like, the moment when there are victories celebrated, and concessions will be made, this great country moves on by the will of its people...well hopefully.
"A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user." - Theodore Roosevelt