Mockingjay: Part 1

Turns a political struggle into something thrillingly personal.

The Beat Beneath My Feet

A toe-tapping indie that is, quite simply lovely.


An extraordinary true tale made disappointingly ordinary.

The Battle of the Five Armies

"Why does it hurt so much?" Because the rest of it felt so real.


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Tag:sean connery

BlogalongaBond. One Bond film a month until Bond 23 in November 2012.

Ah, the 1970s. The decade when Bond lost its way. Bringing back Goldfinger director Guy Hamilton and the familiar (i.e. old) face of Sean Connery, EON did a complete U-turn away from the daring notes of On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Instead of character and gritty violence, they ramped up the jokes - but these aren't good jokes we're talking about. These are the kind that your drunk aunt tells at a wedding, which you can just about tolerate until she starts joy-riding a moon buggy across Vegas.

Yes, Diamonds are Forever is the film that sees 007 become boring, the one-liners become unbearable, and Blofeld become a woman. Then, halfway through, it turns out the film isn't about diamonds anyway; it's about a giant laser in space. (They could have at least given it a title that made sense, like Lasers Are Forever.) The glitzy garbage is almost enjoyable on a trashy level, but it's best summed up 15 minutes in, when Bond hides from an enemy by pretending to make love to himself in a dark alley. This is what Britain's top spy has come to. It almost makes you look forward to the arrival of Roger Moore. If, you know, it wasn't Roger Moore.

Naturally, this shiny pile of neon-covered bilge comes with two of the most laughable villains of the entire Bond series: Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd. Bizarrely, these two hitmen are never seen taking instructions from anyone - the closest they get to an employee seems to be providing regular business for Morton Slumber's funeral parlour, which is a front for Blofeld's diamond smuggling ring.

With this ludicrous subplot in mind, I wasn't surprised to discover this pamphlet in the box of my special edition Diamonds Are Forever DVD...

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BlogalongaBond. One Bond film a month until Bond 23 comes along in November 2012.

After Thunderball's underwater bilge, Bond faced a challenge: how do you top nuclear weapons and sharks? The answer: go to Japan.

It's a bold move, which distracts from the same old formula with exotic scenery, fat men throwing 007 through paper-thin walls, and Bond's impressive Japanese linguistic skills.

"You forget, Moneypenny, I got a first in Oriental Languages at Oxford," says Sean Connery, before going on to spend the entire film speaking in English. With a thick Scottish accent.

But while Bond's How to Speak Japanese guide would be an easy read (Step 1: Look like Leonard Nimoy), You Only Live Twice did something far more important for the Bond franchise. Not only did it show Blofeld's face for the first time (spoiler: he looks like Donald Pleasance), it also gave Bond's nemesis a new home: a hollowed-out volcano. And that volcano became one of the most iconic images associated with 007. 

Which would explain why I found this authentic Japanese haiku sitting inside the box of my special edition You Only Live Twice DVD:

Blofeld, you are cool.

Your volcano rules. Tell me

how to build one too.


And, inevitably, underneath that haiku was an instructional pamphlet that went a little something like this...

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BlogalongaBond. One Bond film a month until Bond 23 turns up in November next year.

We all know Thunderball is a bit of underwater guff. Yes, the ocean fight sequences were groundbreaking and bad girl Fiona Vulpe (Luciana Paluzzi) is a steaming hot sex crumpet, but let's be honest: Terence Young’s third Bond movie is a load of watery cackwaffle.

So it’s no surprise that a remake came along in 1983. While Roger Moore was dipping his fingers into Octopussy, Kevin McClory was following through on his lawsuit against Ian Fleming/United Artists over the origins of the Thunderball screenplay. The result? Never Say Never Again.

The new take on the Thunderball story (SPECTRE steal nuclear weapons and hold the world to ransom) turned out to be a box office success, taking $160 million - better than Thunderball’s $141m. So just in case someone else comes along wanting to make a few bob by tampering with the official Bond canon, here’s what Never Say Never Again teaches us about how to remake a Bond film.

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BlogalongaBond. One Bond film a month until Bond 23 turns up in November next year.

It's time to turn our attention to Goldfinger, the third and most definitive of the Bond series. By this point, people knew what to expect from a Bond film and with Guy Hamilton establishing the franchise's formula, everyone was getting curious. Especially about Honor Blackman's feisty little minx, Pussy Galore.

Which would explain why this note was found inside my DVD box...

Dear Ms Galore,

I'm an actress looking to get a break in showbiz and thought I might try my pretty pink fingernails at a Bond movie. As one of the most iconic vaginas into which 007 has attempted re-entry, what are your tips for being a great Bond girl?

Yours sexually,

Tits McGee

And by some crazy random happenstance, this educational pamphlet was right beside it...

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As Richard Ayoade’s delicate coming-of-age tale enters cinemas it takes its place alongside cinema’s other great submarines.

Based on Joe Dunthorne’s novel, Submarine looks like a heartfelt and hilarious ocean voyage, but I haven't seen it. So instead here's a list of other submarines that I HAVE seen.

Take that, "the best British comedy in years". 

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BlogalongaBond. One Bond film a month until Bond 23 turns up in November next year.

Last month, we looked at Dr. No's Guide to Being a Bond Villain, which taught all Blofeld wannabes how to take over the world without any hands. Now we look at Getting to Know James Bond.

After the success of Dr. No, director Terence Young had to follow up with the second entry in what would become a stellar franchise. The key to doing that? Developing 007's character.

At its heart, From Russia with Love is a straight-forward spy thriller, but away from the gadgets and volcano lairs, the 1963 sequel is in many ways a metaphor for the secret agent himself (if by "metaphor" you mean "flimsy excuse for a blog post").

Let's take a look at the defining characteristics of Ian Fleming's secret agent, as represented by From Russia with Love...

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BlogalongaBond. One Bond film a month until Bond 23 turns up in November next year.

Mr. The Incredible Suit's evil scheme sounds like a great idea as long as you don't think about Roger Moore (ha, now you're thinking about Roger Moore).

But where to start? Well, how about with this exciting letter that I found lying in the skip behind Argos last night: 


Dear Dr. No,

I've always wanted to be a Bond villain, ever since I was voted most likely to be a megalomaniacal nutjob in primary school. But how do I start? I could always get round to hollowing out that volcano in the back yard, but my cat is very needy and takes up a lot of time. As a leading evil genius, any advice you can give to an ambitious criminal like me would be really nice. Perhaps you would like to be the first member of my new club, SPECTRE? We meet every Tuesday in my treehouse. Like The Famous Five. But evil.


Brian Oliver Blofeld.

PS. Do you think I should change my name? 


By an amazing coincidence, this highly educational pamphlet was also in the rubbish:

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Once more, the two great vocal talents of our time will reunite: Dame Shirley Bassey and Sean Connery will speak alongside each other in the animated tale of Sir Billi. Set in the Scottish Highlands, the feature finds Bassey's booming vocals belting out the title track, Guardian of the Highlands.

The guardian himself will, of course, be voiced by Bassey's erstwhile Bond buddy. Sir Billi is an eccentric veteran with a penchant for skateboards, who holds together his remote Scottish community - as you would expect from anyone played by Sean Connery. But trouble arrives from the outside, and soon Sir Billi must use all his double-O skillz to rescue an endangered beaver. Yes, a beaver.

The film, from Sascha and Tessa Hartmann, also sees the soundtrack adorned by folks such as Alan Cumming, Ruby Wax and Richard Briers. Expect it around 2010.

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