Is Apple 00Crazy!?

I just read in The Hollywood Reporter that Apple is reportedly vying for the rights to distribute James Bond (along with Amazon, Sony and Warner Bros) movies, which I am trying to get my head around.

Now keep in mind such a move would likely give Apple exclusive access to Bond’s entire back catalog (as well as future releases) though doesn’t Apple–via iTunes–already have this (on an unexclusive basis)?

It’s worthy repeating that Apple isn’t buying the right to produce Bond movies (that would be a serious coup) but the right to distribute them, though seeing that movie theaters will continue to be with us (though perhaps the window from theaters to digital would shorten) there would have to be a considerable effort to expand to other media; a risky effort because not only would you have to be not only concerned about the failure of a particular venture, but of diluting or damaging the franchise as well).

After all, do you remember a cartoon called James Bond Jr (Nor does anyone else; that’s not a bad thing if you’re able to digest the uber-cheesy theme song)?

I suspect part of what makes James Bond such an institution is it’s exclusivity, which seemingly would directly conflict with Apple’s (and Amazon’s long-term plans).

Besides, if Apple Apple really wanted content, they could relatively easily buy a film studio.

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‘S’ Is For Seer

As self-driving cars become more ubiquitous, the rate of them being involved in accidents will likely increase.

Though driverless cars, while closer to becoming reality than ever before–were foretold pretty accurately about sixty years earlier in the British adventure series Department S (I assume that the ‘S’ stands for the first letter of the last name of Sir Curtis Seretse, played by Dennis Alaba Peters), who headed a fictional organization that handled situations that stumped more traditional law enforcement.

The episode, Who Plays The Dummy, at heart revolved around the villains attempting to use a guidance system to sabotage an American space launch, though self-driving cars featured prominently in the episode.

I don’t claim that this is the first use of driverless cars as a plot device–I recall there being one in the Sean Connery James Bond movies-but few echo so closely to what is going on with driverless cars today (and it should go without saying that as soon as the technology is perfected someone will try to use it from some sort of criminal enterprise).


Spectre TV Spot 1

I was pretty impressed by Skyfall, which somehow managed to be referential to James Bond movies past, while at the same time breaking new ground.

Though Spectre holds the promise of being the James Bond feature that reintroduces to fans a character that many have been waiting for for a long time, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. A villain that’s been parodied everywhere from Inspector Gadget (Dr. Claw) to the Austin Powers (Dr. Evil) movies, it will be good to see him again.

Though for awhile it seemed that MGM couldn’t use the character, though since it appears likely he’ll turn up in Spectre, it gives me a bit of hope that Marvel’s lost sheep will eventually make their way home as well.

Iron Man vs. Ultron

“I’m glad you asked that because I wanted to take this time to explain my evil plan.”

Brilliant writing.  It plays on the cliche of movie villains always monologuing, when they should be instead either killing/kicking the ass of whomever they happen to be fighting.

James Bond villains are notorious for this (particularly pre-Daniel Craig).  If the majority of them would actually just kill Bond instead of talking about how they are going to kill him then the formidable MI6 agent wouldn’t have made it past Dr. No.

And it goes without saying that Ultron doesn’t do it, which is also awesome.

And you know what would be even more awesome?  If Marvel would stop showing trailers that give away really cool moments and character beats.

Though I hope that this means there are many more on offer.

My Thoughts On Idris Elba As James Bond

Edris ElbaThis is the type of crap I absolutely hate, and Roger Moore should know better.  What I am referring to is an interview he did with Paris Match when he said that Idris Elba wasn’t “English-English” enough to play James Bond.

And he could be saying a lot of things–though we all know what he means, don’t we?

So let’s call a spade, a spade (so to speak):  The only “problem” that he could possibly find with Elba is that he’s black, and since James Bond has traditionally been played by white actors, it stands to reason (by his logic) that only white actors could play the character.

Which is utter nonsense because there’s nothing about Bond that speaks to his skin color (that being said, while I haven’t read any of Ian Fleming’s books, I am reasonably comfortable in assuming that the Bond he envisioned was white) it needs to be kept in mind that the first Bond novel, Casino Royale, was written in 1952 and was so successful that three print runs were needed to cope with the demand.

Then there’s the fact that Fleming was born in 1908, which makes me relatively confident that there weren’t too many movies (or books or anything mainstream) with black people as main characters.

Moore eventually backpedaled, though he originally said that a black Bond was “unrealistic.”

And maybe in 1973 (when Roger Moore was introduced as Bond in Diamonds Are Forever) that was the case, but I’d like to think that we’re grown a bit since then.

Unless you’re the governor of Indiana, then all bets are off.

Kingsman: The Secret Service -Review

Kingsman: The Secret Service poster

“”Kingsman: the Secret Service” Is More Fun Than It Has Any Right To Be.”

Honestly I didn’t go into Kingsman: The Secret Service expecting all that much.  It’s directed by Matthew Vaughn, who did X-Men: First Class, Stardust, Kick-Ass, and Layer Cake.

Luckily my reticence wasn’t necessary because it’s a pretty good time.  The movie takes the spy thriller–something anyone that’s seen James Bond, Jason Bourne or even Austin Powers is familiar with–and tweaks them in some pretty interesting ways.

This secret organization, Kingsman (sort of like Torchwood, but without the name of their organization on their cars) is loosely structured based on King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table, which means that there are individuals with code names like Arthur, Merlin and Lancelot.  They operate outside of government and work behind the scenes to stabilize trouble spots all over the world.

There are about three violent set pieces in the movie, and they’re all gloriously over-the-top, making Kingsman probably one of the most violent mainstream movies that I have seen in awhile (in fact, it’s almost Monty Python-violent at times).

There’s also a very populist current undergirding much of the action, which was an interesting–and unexpected–turn.

Though mainly the movie was just surprisingly fun, and a lot of the credit goes to Samuel Jackson, who plays Valentine, a megalomaniacal billionaire who’s plan for saving the world just happens to involve the killing of millions of “surplus” people (and unlike most spy movies, his scheme actually makes sense in a Machiavellian kind of way).

And Valentine is a particularly quirky individual, though there’s one peculiarity that’s not only ballsy for any actor to attempt, but that Jackson pulls off with aplomb.

In fact, Kingsman is full of all sorts of ballsy moves that would have failed in a lesser movie, but happen to work in this particular case so if you’re on the fence about seeing Kingsman: The Secret Service, get off and go see it.

 

‘Deathwish’ through ‘Deathwish 4’: The Mother Of All Crackdowns

Paul Kersey, as played by the late Charles Bronson, has to be the most cursed person on the planet.  The Deathwish films aren’t supernatural, but the way violence seems drawn to Kersey makes it as logical an explanation as any (other than it being a movie, that is).  If you had to deal with Samara from “The Ring” you have seven days to either pawn the tape off on someone else or solve Samara’s mystery, while in the case of Paul Kersey, all he seems to get is a bus ride to his next murder spree.

I get the feeling that if he were headed to Amish country he would be attacked by roving gangs of Amish thugs trying to go Rumspringa on his ass (which is an interesting idea for a movie).

Deathwish

In the original “Death Wish” Paul Kersey’s family is attacked by hoodlums, who kill his wife and rape his daughter.  As a result he becomes a one-man hit squad, tracking down the killers and dishing out justice when the police can’t (which is pretty often).  The original film, based upon a novel by Brian Garfield, was a harrowing experience because everything unfolded in a realistic fashion.  It also doesn’t hurt that it took place in New York City, which is a character in and of itself.

Despite being extremely effective, Kersey is a reluctant vigilante.  You’re shown his progression, as he thwarts a potential mugger with a sock full of quarters till the city becomes his shooting gallery.

Deathwish is probably one of Bronson’s most memorable roles, and it’s easy to see why.  It’s important to mention that Kersey is really hit hard by some horrific events, and it shows.  Unfortunately, in the case of the sequels, this element is lost.

In other words, in the sequels he’s essentially the Terminator, minus the brawn and accent.  He kills almost as if the producers have no other ideas, as opposed to it being a pressing need on the part of Paul Kersey.

A clever writer could have done something interesting with the idea, maybe introducing the idea of Kersey being shell-shocked (essentially what we call PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, today).

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