DADDY ALWAYS LIKED YOU BEST: Spectre


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Warning: SPOILERS
spectre 4In the most recent 007 thriller Skyfall, James Bond was beset by mommy issues as a metaphoric brother played by Javier Bardem tried to destroy M, his metaphoric mother, because she always loved Bond best.
Now in Spectre, the new 007 thriller, Bond is beset by daddy issues. You see, Bond’s father died in a skiing accident. His “adoptive father” and “brother” died two years later in an avalanche (lesson here? don’t go to a winter resort with 007). And his present day metaphoric father, the new M, has to disown him at one point.
However, Blofied, Bond’s new enemy, who is actually his old enemy (but you’ll need to see the movie for that), is actually that “brother” who isn’t actually dead, and who killed his own father and is now trying to take over the world because, well, daddy always liked Bond best.
Somehow it’s funnier when the Smothers Brothers perform this routine.
Spectre is not the worst of the Daniel Craig Bond films. For those keeping score, it’s better than Quantum of Solace, but not nearly as good as Skyfall. Continue reading

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: Selma and Big Eyes


First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r

 

Warning: SPOILERS

 

The title of these reviews is called Last But Not Least because Big Eyes and Selma are the final two movies I’m going to include under my 2014 reviews. After this, all films will fall under my 2015 reviews, no matter whether they were released in 2014 or not.

 

So off we go.
big eyesThe strongest aspect of Big Eyes, the new bio-com written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski and directed by Tim Burton, is the art direction and production design.
Beginning in the 1950’s, the sets, the costumes, the look, the colors all have a poodle skirt playfulness about them that gives the movie some much needed energy.
This should probably be of no surprise since Burton has always had one of the more striking visual eyes in movies today, from Edward Scissorhands to Ed Wood to Alice in Wonderland. If nothing else, his films can be fun to watch.
But outside of that, there is almost nothing that works in this movie. Nothing, and almost amazingly so. Continue reading