Terence Young’s third and final contribution to the Bond franchises culminates in Thunderball. After a slight departure from the darker, more politically driven first two films, the Bond franchise entertained a bit more of a hokey protagonist in Goldfinger. While the styles of Dr. No and Goldfinger could be considered polar opposites, Thunderball does a fine job of marrying the two tones, producing a noir spy thriller.
Author Dustin Freeley
Between the poorly delivered lines and the completely disjointed characters – and not in a symbolic “no one connects with anyone else in this lonely, selfish world” way but in a “we desperately need someone to stand on this mark and say this line to move the film along” way – and its constant fluctuation from film to Public Service Announcement about the danger in chemicals in the products that we use, A Green Story might be the worst film so far this year – and that’s saying something in a year that has produced nothing memorable in the first five months of 2013.
If From Russia with Love is a lens on the stubbornness of Cold War combatants, then Goldfinger, is the Bond franchise’s departure from satire and its arrival in cartoonishness. This is not necessarily a negative, so long as you haven’t tried to watch the first few Bond films in succession. The tone of the first two (Dr. No / From Russia with Love) is slow and ominous with bits of daring do mixed in, but still subservient to a rather bleak global culture. On the other hand, Goldfinger revels in its overuse of obvious puns, coaxing Bond, who’s found “in good hands” while being massages by a lovely woman, to utter “Shocking,” after he electrocutes a would-be assassin with an electric fan in a tub. The cleverness remains the same despite the increase in deliveries.
Father Greg, with his trimmed, yet bushy, white beard and avuncular smile is more akin to the relative who dresses as Santa during the Christmas season than “a gangster for God” or the founder of Homeboy Industries, the nation’s largest gang-intervention program that brings in people looking to leave their life in a gang behind and offers them jobs, paychecks, responsibilities, and, most importantly, accountability.
With Dr. No as a starting point, it’s a bit hard to believe that the James Bond franchise has lasted for fifty years. This is not meant to completely castigate the film, but its fairly linear narrative, one-note lothario protagonist, and rather inorganic connection to the United States space program and nuclear war wouldn’t seem to bode well for a five-decade spanning franchise.
Like the characters within, Midnight’s Children is both blessed and cursed. The former are afflicted by their circumstantial births at the stroke of midnight on August 14, 1947, a moment that signifies India’s independence from Britain as well as the separation into two countries, India and Pakistan. The strife here is enough, but within the film, the issue itself often feels more like a vehicle to inorganically inject symbolism. While much of the film focuses on the lives of two young boys who are switched at birth, placing an affluent born into a life of penury and one initially destined for poverty into a life of comfort, the fantastical element of the midnight birth becomes less and less important as the film goes on, and the viewer realizes that both boys and the conflicts with their parents and the elder generation would have existed regardless, whether they were born at midnight, six weeks later, or two years prior.
What begins as an allegory on the repercussions of disobeying parents and social regulations becomes more about the perils a technologically-stunted society in something akin to Michael Haneke’s American remake of his own film Funny Games. To be clear, Funny Games is much better than Eden, but Eden has moments that make us realize twenty years ago might just have been a more dangerous place on account of the limited access to communication.
Before watching Room 237, I was both excited and apprehensive. I was excited because I have spent many hours reading about Kubrick, analysis of his films, and the multiple interpretations therein. I was, for similar reasons, hesitant. Recently, I had been working on an essay focusing on specific themes within The Shining. It is slated for publication later this year, and I was a bit nervous that Room 237 would offer the same or similar perspective and thus make it seem as if I had simply summarized the film and added an extra page or two.
As I watched The Mask as a teenager in 1994, I was one of the many audience members caught up in the Jim Carrey phenomenon. Fresh off Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Carrey could do no wrong, so anything in The Mask would have been hilarious to those not yet sick of gregarious, flagellating, rubber-faced comic. To its credit, some of the humor still holds today, particularly those moments that rely on Carrey’s timing. Regardless of whether or not Stanley Ipkiss (Carrey) is a less spastic incarnation of Ace Ventura, the man giving life to the character has an impeccable sense of physical comedy – even if it often bends itself into hyperbole. However, as an adult I’ve uncovered a darker subtext that makes The Mask a microcosm of nineties’ culture.
Somehow, Sally Potter’s new film Ginger & Rosa is both timely and anachronistic. To begin with the latter, the movie begins in 1945, with the births of Ginger and Rosa, who are destined to be friends from the entry into this world, and the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima. This juxtaposition comes with melodramatic creative license – the mothers lay on stretchers in a London hospital, holding hands, sweating and crying in synchrony – but certainly illustrates a world filled with total annihilation as well as perpetual life.