Recently in Operation: BOND

Book Review: The James Bond Omnibus Volume 005 by Jim Lawrence & Yaroslav Horak

These are quality Bond stories that every fan should appreciate.
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Continuing their release of the James Bond comic strips in an oversized omnibus format, Titan Books has released James Bond Omnibus 005, which features nine of the 20 original stories by Jim Lawrence with artwork by Yaroslav Horak. The first five stories that appear here ran from July 7, 1975 through to January 22, 1977 in the UK paper Daily Express. Till Death Do Us Apart opens in Austria as Bond kidnaps a British woman named Adra to stop her from revealing secrets about Bakkan resistance groups to her married lover Stefan, an agent of the Bulgarian Secret Police. They

Skyfall Movie Review: Good but Not Particularly Special

It's a solid film that is mostly well-made that just happens to be featuring a major character from film history.
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The James Bond movie series has existed through 23 films and 50 years, but it's only a film series inasmuch as every movie features James Bond, super spy, as the main character. There are a lot of aspects that show up in most of the movies, but over the years many different actors, directors, and writers have been involved. Plus, thematically, the movies are often quite different. The winking, goofy days of Roger Moore and the modern, serious take on the character led by Daniel Craig barely have anything in common. In fact, the latest Bond movie, Skyfall, even breaks

Skyfall Blu-ray Review: Nobody's Done It Better

Director Sam Mendes and his team create one of the best installments of the Bond franchise.
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Director Sam Mendes and his team deliver such a satisfying film in so many areas, Skyfall may well be my favorite in James Bond franchise. It opens with James Bond (Daniel Craig) in Istanbul where an elaborate action sequence takes place on motorcycles, rooftops, and a train as he attempts to recover a stolen hard drive containing information about undercover agents in the field. The loss of that data would have such dire effects M orders another agent, Eve (Naomie Harris), to fire on the thief while Bond is fighting in close proximity. She's not a great shot, resulting

Skyfall is the Pick of the Week

I might not be able to stream it, but I'm definitely watching Skyfall soon.
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The conclusion of the whole internet debacle is that I now have satellite internet. The commercials all hype the high speeds and they are pretty fast, but they keep the (very) limited bandwidth to the small print. I currently have the lowest option (10 gigs of upload/download bits a month) and I'm quickly running through them. My first two days online saw me hit the 1 gig mark and I didn't do any of the normal large file downloading/uploading I normally do. In a word, I'm screwed. Like mobile-phone deals I get free bandwidth hours late at night (midnight to

Quantum of Solace Movie Review: A Rebooted James Bond Takes Two Steps Backward

After the game-changing Casino Royale, Marc Forster fell back on tired old tropes in Quantum of Solace.
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The second Daniel Craig Bond film is a good reminder that despite a new actor, new visual aesthetic, and new conception of a signature character, it's tough in Hollywood to avoid falling back on hidebound old tropes -- something the James Bond franchise has been guilty of once or twice. After the three steps forward of series reboot Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace is two steps backward -- steps so far backward that in some ways, Quantum actually resembles Die Another Day (a convincing catalyst for that reboot) more than it does Casino Royale. Visually, of course, that's not

Casino Royale (2006) Movie Review: James Bond Gets a Reboot in a Remake and It's Remarkable

After a long slump, everybody's favorite super spy comes back in style.
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We were very big Remington Steele fans, my family and I. So much so that we still tell this story to this very day. Our television was on the fritz; its picture was fuzzy and it kept doing that that thing where the screen would rotate around and around like TVs did back then. My father, in his infinite wisdom, decided that he was going to fix it by doing what he called "degmagnitzing it" which meant in actuality that he was going to rub a big speaker magnet all over the screen. This, of course, did not at

Best of Bond...James Bond: 50 Years - 50 Tracks Review: An Outstanding Collection

A wonderful set containing timeless theme songs and intense incidental music as well.
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Bond. James Bond. For some, it's the man itself that makes them jump up and down with delight -- personal choice in actors notwithstanding, of course. For others, it's the endless array of post-kill puns, sexual euphemisms, and gadgetry. Finally, folks, there are those in this world who love 007 movies just for the musical contributions they have brought to the world; whether it be a kick-ass theme song or just some tense incidental music. And that, boys and girls, brings me to the very point of this piece: the music that has been accompanying James Bond on his

Die Another Day Movie Review: The Epitome of 007's Descent into Dumb Action Tropes

Pierce Brosnan's final outing as Bond makes it clear why the franchise desperately needed a reboot.
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The final outing for Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, Die Another Day doesn't seem totally execrable -- but that might be mostly due to the severely lowered expectations fostered by the previous three Brosnan entries. All right, GoldenEye is OK, but I doubt it would be remembered nearly as fondly (or much at all) if it weren't for its accompanying video game, which was unquestionably a lot more fun. Brosnan certainly looked the part, infusing the character with equal parts aloof coolness and suave charm, but there's something intangible missing from the character in all of his entries. That

Reflections on Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die"

A trio of Sentries offer their thoughts about the theme song.
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James Bond films are known for many things, especially the gadgets, the girls, and the music. John Barry's "James Bond Theme" from Dr. No has gone on to become one of the most iconic pieces of music in the history of cinema. The theme songs from the films have become so popular the announcement of the performer has become big event in entertainment news. Many of the biggest artists of the day are usually involved from Duran Duran to U2, from Madonna to Adele. Paul McCartney was asked to create the theme song for Live and Let Die, the

The World Is Not Enough Movie Review: This Bond is Not Enough

Michael Apted's misstep.
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As the 19th entry in the James Bond film series, The World Is Not Enough is a disappointment. Directed by Michael Apted, this 1999 picture is the first 007 film to be released officially by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as opposed to United Artists. It is the third film to star Pierce Brosnan and sadly the last to feature the late Desmond Llewelyn as the unmatched Q. The Bond series has been at its best when it manages to find the right balance, delivering its cocktail of sexy Bond girls, kooky gadgets, sly one-liners, malevolent villains, exotic locales, and over-the-top-action with just

Tomorrow Never Dies Movie Review: Enter The Dragon

The addition of martial arts star Michelle Yeoh kickstarts the franchise and breaks the mold of the typical Bond girl.
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I've seen all of the Bond movies. I've read all of the original Fleming novels. And yet, this DVD is the only Bond item I've ever owned. Is it the best Bond film of all time? Probably not, but it is a completely worthwhile and accomplished entry in the series that's worth another look. It's also the first Bond film with no relation to Fleming's life or work, and the first Bond film made after the death of Cubby Broccoli, who had been involved with production of the series since its start. As such, the producers had added incentive

Global James Bond Day Celebrates 50 Years of Movies

Friday Night Videos gets James Bond in its sights.
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It was 50 years ago today that 'Bond...James Bond" first introduced himself to moviegoers when Dr. No had its world premiere in London. Based on the sixth Bond novel by Ian Fleming, the film turned Sean Connery into a household name and served as a template as things like its exotic setting, Maurice Binder's opening gun barrel sequence, and Bond ending up with the girl became familiar elements in the franchise. Dr. No was even endorsed by JFK as seen in this clip from Stevan Riley's Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007, which premieres Friday, October 5th,

GoldenEye Movie Review: The Best, Though Most Conservative, Modern James Bond Film

Pierce Brosnan's debut is the last Bond movie to really feel like a Bond movie.
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I am far too young to remember most Bond movies opening, and GoldenEye is no exception. Released in 1995, GoldenEye marked Pierce Brosnan's first Bond film, and the last appearance of the Walther PPK as Bond's trusted sidearm. It was the first 007 movie produced after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and end of the Cold War, which provided a wonderful backdrop for the plot. In true 007 fashion, GoldenEye opens with our hero rappelling down a dam in Soviet Russia (1986) to destroy an illicit chemical weapons factory. Things go bad when Bond's partner - 006 -

Licence to Kill Movie Review: Reconsidering the Revoking

This is a different kind of James Bond, and that's a good thing.
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Licence to Kill is the 16th installment in the James Bond franchise and was the second and ultimately final appearance for Timothy Dalton. The film has a bad reputation, which is likely influenced by its grim tone and poor box-office performance. Though it may appear Dalton's departure was a response to the latter, he was originally contracted for three films, but as a result of legal matters tying up the production for so long, he eventually moved on in 1994. After rewatching Licence to Kill, it was much better than I remembered and I'm not sure why it's held

The Living Daylights Movie Review: It's Not Easy Being the New Guy, Especially When You're the New Guy's Substitute

Just like Frankie, Elvis, and Sid, Timothy Dalton did it his way.
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As anyone who ever found themselves making that awkward transition from one school to another during their years spent in educational institutions can attest to, it's not at all easy to be the new guy. The pressure gets turned up to an unbearable temperature as people around you begin to unjustly judge you right off the bat - just because you don't conform with their expectations of how a total stranger should look. What, then, might occur when you're not even the guy that was meant to be there? Supposing you're the new guy's surrogate - only there because

Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection is the Pick of the Week

The super spy gets a super box.
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I've always had something of an odd relationship with James Bond. My parents were never huge fans of the franchise so I didn't necessarily grow up watching him. I think I discovered the films during my pubescence at say 12 or 13 years of age but at that pont I mostly watched for the girls. I can remember staring longingly at the opening sequences with their naked silhouettes and strategically placed lettering, but then the actual films tended to bore me. Well at least until some Bond girl showed up in a bikini and then I was all eyes again.

A View to a Kill Movie Review: I Want My MTV

A review to Moore's last outing.
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Okay. Confession time. I specifically chose to review A View to a Kill (1985), the fourteenth entry in the James Bond film franchise and seventh (and final) film starring Roger Moore as 007, because Duran Duran performed the title song. There. I said it out loud. If there is something I have a weakness for as much as movies, it's the 1980s - the decade of my youth. I am the MTV Generation. I watched the network launch on Day One. I tuned in daily to see VJs like Nina and JJ and Alan (not train wrecks like Snooki
The year 1983 was strange, but interesting for James Bond fans. It saw the release of Octopussy, starring the then current EON Productions' James Bond, Roger Moore, but it also saw the release of Never Say Never Again, starring original Bond Sean Connery. The film is a loose remake of 1965's Thunderball, which producer Kevin McClory and screenwriter Jack Whittingham had successfully sued Ian Fleming over after he did not credit them for their contributions to the Thunderball novel. The title of the film came from Connery's wife, Micheline, after Connery vowed he'd never play the role again. While

Octopussy Movie Review: Can't Live Up To Its Name

Don't tell my mom but Octopussy doesn't live up to my pubescent imagination.
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When I was a kid, my family and I would spend a couple of weeks with my dad's clan in eastern Tennessee. One particular summer TBS was showing a bunch of James Bond films (actually I think this was their habit several summers in a row, but anyways.) On this particular week while we were in Tennesseee they were showing Octopussy on the coming weekend. They ran pretty constant promos for the film which as a pubescent teenage boy this was both titilating and completely awkward. With every promo my brother and I would get excited and pledge to

For Your Eyes Only Movie Review: At Least the Title Track is Good

It hasn't held up well over 30 years.
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For Your Eyes Only (1981) marks the twelfth installment in the James Bond franchise, and the fifth to star Roger Moore as 007. After the space-romp that was Moonraker, the series came back to earth...or maybe "fell back to earth" is more like it. The film is certainly grittier and more realistic (relatively speaking) than past Moore-as-Bond films, but in its quest to abandon the gadgetry that helped make Bond famous, it instead relies on gimmickry that rings untrue. The film opens with Bond at the grave of his late wife (see On Her Majesty's Secret Service), setting a

Moonraker Movie Review: Even an Established Film Franchise Can Bow to a New Trend

007 goes toe-to-toe with Star Wars, and the result is nothing short of amusing.
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After 33 years, what is honestly left to be said about Moonraker that hasn't already been touched upon? I certainly can't go and say "Well, it's bad!" for fear of repeating what many people have already most definitely established without the aid of a run-of-the-mill film critic such as myself. I cannot even go with what my immediate gut feeling tells me to say -- "Well, it's enjoyably bad!" -- because I know there are many individuals out there that have also figured that one out for themselves. However, in lieu of anything wholly original to say, I'll just

The Spy Who Loved Me Movie Review: One of the Franchise's Best

Nobody does James Bond better than the cast and crew of The Spy Who Loved Me.
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In the prologue to The Spy Who Loved Me, author Ian Fleming claimed it was a manuscript by a Canadian woman named Vivienne Michel, a memoir of her life, which finds her crossing paths with James Bond in the latter third of the book. Because of the book's poor reception with critics and the public, Fleming was not happy with the novel. As a result, he sold the film rights to just the title. Two nuclear subs have disappeared so the British and Russians put their best people on it, James Bond (Roger Moore) and Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach).

The Man with the Golden Gun Movie Review: All That's Gold Does Not Glitter

The filmmakers missed a golden opportunity.
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Roger Moore made his second appearance as James Bond in The Man with the Golden Gun, which saw the secret agent return to the Far East and go up against assassin Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee), renown as a marksman. The movie is based on the final Bond novel by Lee's cousin Ian Fleming, who died before he had completed it to his satisfaction. It's got the action, gadgets, and girls that people expect in a Bond movie and makes for a very good time capsule of the early '70s, but all that's gold does not glitter. MI6 receives a

Live and Let Die Movie Review: Do You Ever Really Forget Your First (Bond)?

The necessary step to move the franchise forward.
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In the last 50 years, most people have seen at least one James Bond film. Mine happened in 1973 at the tender age of six. It wasn't just my introduction to the world of James Bond, it was my welcome to the world of movies made for adults. While I would only dabble in this world the next few years - Jaws, Star Wars, and Smokey and the Bandit among them - these few films had a profound affect on my adult movie preferences. It's why I like Shark Week, Comic Con, and movies the star guys with moustaches.

Diamonds Are Forever Movie Review: All Flash and Little Substance

Sean Connery's return to the role of James Bond is less than thrilling.
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"So James Bond just walked up to a woman, whipped off her bikini top, wrapped it around her neck, and choked her with it while interrogating her." No less than two minutes into watching Diamonds Are Forever (1971) for the first time, I had to pause the movie to send this text to a friend of mine. And in a way, the disbelief that prompted this message sums up my reaction to the entire film. Admittedly, my experience with the James Bond canon is limited to a handful of Sean Connery starrers, a single Roger Moore title, the Pierce

On Her Majesty's Secret Service Movie Review: The Name's Lazenby, George Lazenby

It's Bond like you've never seen him before: that awkward transitional boyfriend.
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On Her Majesty's Secret Service is the sixth Bond film in the franchise and the first to star someone other than Sean Connery - namely, George Lazenby, who makes his feature film debut here. I'm hard-pressed to think of another situation where a freshman thespian was asked to assume the lead in a franchise as important as this one, even after only five films. It's said that producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman had originally sought Cary Grant for the role of Bond in the first film, Dr. No. They didn't get him (of course), but they certainly tried

You Only Live Twice Movie Review: All of the Charm, Action, and Womanizing You Expect

Though flawed on a number of fronts, the film still entertains.
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You Only Live Twice is the fifth film in the James Bond series. Released in 1967, it was intended to be Sean Connery's last time playing the character; George Lazenby was the next actor selected but after On Her Majesty's Secret Service he backed out of the contract. This provided the opportunity for Connery to return to the role in 1971 for Diamonds Are Forever. He also appeared in the Thunderball remake Never Say Never Again, which is not considered an unofficial James Bond film since it was made without the involvement of Eon Productions. Sean Connery set a

Thunderball DVD Review: James Bond in High-Stakes Action at Sea

The fourth film in the franchise finds Bond trekking to the Bahamas to save the world from nuclear destruction.
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Beautiful women, exotic locations, and criminal masterminds threatening nuclear holocaust? These are business as usual for M16 agent 007, James Bond . The fourth entry in the franchise, Thunderball is based on the book of the same name, the ninth in Ian Fleming's successful series, which itself was based on an original screenplay Fleming collaborated on with screenwriters Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham. It was one of the most successful Bond films and, adjusted for inflation, is the highest-grossing Bond film of all time. Thunderball begins with Bond (Sean Connery) attending the funeral of SPECTRE operative Colonel Jacques Bouvar,

Goldfinger Movie Review: The Series Swings into Full Throttle

The film is one entertaining, but slightly bumpy, ride.
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The third James Bond movie, Goldfinger, swung the franchise into full gear after Dr. No and From Russia with Love. Sean Connery's suave performance and Guy Hamilton's direction steer the Bond films into the foolproof template that they've followed for every succeeding film. The convergence of elements that carried over to the rest of the Bond films - the explosive pre-title sequence, the smart feisty Bond girls, dry humor even in the face of unspeakable danger, outrageous gadgets, and exotic locales. By the time Goldfinger became a hit, James Bond, his girls, and his gadgets spawned trading cards, comic

From Russia with Love Movie Review: Checkmate on the Orient Express

In terms of its importance to the franchise, it's significant in several ways.
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From Russia with Love, (1963) directed by Terence Young (Dr. No, Thunderball, Wait Until Dark, and Inchon), has two beginnings, both of which, in classic Hollywood style, foreshadow future action. The second in the series of Bond films, it was the first to use the pre-title action sequence which became a hallmark of the franchise. Before the titles roll, we meet the assassin, Captain Nash (Robert Shaw). Even though I was a fan of Shaw for his work in the TV adventure, The Buccaneers (1956-7), I didn't recognize him in From Russia with Love (the first time I saw

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