Saw a Takashi Miike picture called The Great Yokai War. "Yokai" is a Japanese term for monsters from folklore, as opposed to the more familiar kaiju. It's a kids' picture, about a young boy from Tokyo sent out to live in the countryside with his older sister and his intermittently senile grandfather. When a vengeful spirit appears, the boy gets caught up in a war between warring groups of yokai and must find his courage to become the "Kirin Rider", the hero who will set everything to rights. It's not a bad picture - nothing deep, but an amusing story. Some of the yokai are really trippy, Japanese folklore can get pretty "out there", apparently.

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NO TIME TO DIE: Like Skyfall and Spectre, No Time To Die is (mostly) an original story which draws heavily on Bond lore, specifically You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The whole "garden of death" thing is from YOLT, but it was Blofeld's, not Safin's. There was no "Safin" in the books, but the movie begins with a flashback to a story Madeleine told in the previous movie which introduces him. the movie proper begins shortly after the end of Spectre, then jumps ahead five years. (Things don't work out with Madeleine.) However, Bond was true to his word and did retire from MI6, as he promised he would. After their breakup, however, Bond does some freelance work for the CIA. When he is inevitably pulled back in, he finds his job filled by (and number given to) a woman. 

This is the way to watch the Craig movies: one a night for five days. Bond's story arc through the five Craig movies has a definite beginning, middle and end. No Time to Die specifically is a remake of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, except they flip the ending. Even the same end theme song is used. 

Tracy and I watched all of the James Bond movies together shortly after we were married (as newlyweds are wont to do) but, although we've seen all the new ones since, have never re-watched the earlier ones since. Last night we were discussing OHMSS and some of the others. Tracy barely remembers any of them them, but is open to watching them again, so we'll likely start that process soon. 

Why not? We know who James Bond is, even though he changes appearances more often than a Time Lord.



Jeff of Earth-J said:

"...yet we were supposed to somehow know he was supposed to be Blofeld."

"Jeff of Earth-J said"

(That was Richard Willis who said that.)

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Didn't they show a succession of sculpted heads, from Pleasance to Gray, indicating that Blofeld had undergone a series of plastic surgeries altering his face? (Why they cast Gray in the first place remains a mystery, however.)

I think that Telly Savalas would have been a better choice if he was available just for little more than a cameo.

I just unwrapped my Blu-ray of Diamonds Are Forever and watched the entire opening sequence. I don't think I've seen the entire sequence before. I only remember Bond sliding him into the volcanic matter. I must have arrived late to the theater. Either that or disappointment at the recasting. Hard to say, 51 years later.

I had forgotten that I had bought Blu-rays for all of the movies from Dr No to Live and Let Die* when they were cheaply available at, I think, Walmart. A promotion on the front of a couple is about Skyfall, so I must have bought them in 2012.

When you and Tracy watch these early ones I will make a point of watching them, too.

* IMO the only ones worth owning and rewatching.

I will let you know, but right now I'm in the mood to watch OHMSS. After that, the Pierce Brosnan ones, I think (and maybe read the novelizations as well). Probably the early ones after that. If it were solely up to me, I might be tempted to watch Connery 4, 5, 6 at this point, but since Tracy is interested in re-watching them, too, we'll likely watch 1, 2, 3 first. I'll let you know when they come up. Tonight we watched...

CLERKS III: That was stupid. At least it started out that way. I always hate Kevin smith movies the first time I see them, though, then they grow on me over time. It was stupid up until about halfway through, then it got really sentimental. Lots of Easter eggs, too. I'll watch it again in a couple of years... probably just in time for Clerks IV

I'll make a point of watching OHMSS shortly.

This 2017 documentary is dedicated to telling the George Lazenby story. It's pretty good. Available on Hulu

Becoming Bond (1:35)

ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE: OHMSS provided something of a "back to basics" approach to the franchise. By the end of the Connery era, the films had already been courting broad humor, but OHMSS was pretty much a straight thriller. But the previous movies in the series had provided certain expectations in the minds of the movie-going audience, those expectations were not met, and the movie did not perform as well as hoped. Also, the novels themselves has moved away from pure espionage at this point and into more elaborate threats from esoteric organizations and whatnot. That's not to say there was no humor. Early on, for example, when Diana Rigg's Tracy Draco runs away from George Lazenby's James Bond, he breaks the fourth wall, looks directly at the camera and quips, "This never happened to the other fella." Also, the rejection of "radioactive lint" was a clear message that they were moving away from gadgets, but the movie-going audience of the day wanted gadgets. (By the Daniel Craig era, Q branch will be injecting nanobots into the bloodstream to monitor agents' movements.)

I wanted to watch OHMSS while No Time to Die (a remake, basically) was still fresh in my mind. Also, I wanted to watch it without Sean Connery being fresh in my mind. George Lazenby is nowhere near as charismatic as Sean Connery, but neither is Roger Moore. OHMSS had stunts (car chases and ski chases, for example), but nothing like the choreographed stunts for which the franchise would hereafter become known. For a long time I blamed the stupidity of the '70s era movies on Moore, but I have now come to realize they would have been just as stupid if Connery had stayed; he got out at the right time. 

One other thing, now that I'm thinking of it: Lea Seydoux (Madeline Swann from No Time to Die) looks not unlike Diana Rigg (whom I saw in OHMSS long before I ever saw her in The Avengers). 

I thought the movie was mostly boring and quite vile. I realize some of it was the social time period but it made a lot of the movie unwatchable. Bond slaps Tracy. Her father constantly tells her to be servile. There's bull fighting. Bond has no qualms in having sex with other women, basically cheating on Tracy whenever the opportunity arises. At the wedding, Bond tosses his hat to a crying Moneypenny, who squeezes it tightly. M takes the hat, straightens it, and says Bond has no respect for government property. I honestly had to think about what he meant, the hat or Moneypenny. Given this awful, sexist movie, he could have meant both. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE: OHMSS provided something of a "back to basics" approach to the franchise. By the end of the Connery era, the films had already been courting broad humor, but OHMSS was pretty much a straight thriller. But the previous movies in the series had provided certain expectations in the minds of the movie-going audience, those expectations were not met, and the movie did not perform as well as hoped. Also, the novels themselves has moved away from pure espionage at this point and into more elaborate threats from esoteric organizations and whatnot. That's not to say there was no humor. Early on, for example, when Diana Rigg's Tracy Draco runs away from George Lazenby's James Bond, he breaks the fourth wall, looks directly at the camera and quips, "This never happened to the other fella." Also, the rejection of "radioactive lint" was a clear message that they were moving away from gadgets, but the movie-going audience of the day wanted gadgets. (By the Daniel Craig era, Q branch will be injecting nanobots into the bloodstream to monitor agents' movements.)

I wanted to watch OHMSS while No Time to Die (a remake, basically) was still fresh in my mind. Also, I wanted to watch it without Sean Connery being fresh in my mind. George Lazenby is nowhere near as charismatic as Sean Connery, but neither is Roger Moore. OHMSS had stunts (car chases and ski chases, for example), but nothing like the choreographed stunts for which the franchise would hereafter become known. For a long time I blamed the stupidity of the '70s era movies on Moore, but I have now come to realize they would have been just as stupid if Connery had stayed; he got out at the right time. 

One other thing, now that I'm thinking of it: Lea Seydoux (Madeline Swann from No Time to Die) looks not unlike Diana Rigg (whom I saw in OHMSS long before I ever saw her in The Avengers). 

I watched Descendant on Netflix, and it's turned out to be one of my favorite movies of the year so far. It's a documentary that starts with the search for the Clotilda, a slave ship that came to America in 1860, decades after the federal government made the international slave trade illegal (while slavery itself was still legal in the soon-to-be Confederate states). Africatown, a community in Mobile, Alabama, is largely made up of descendants of the people brought over on that ship, and they passed the story down through oral history... which stayed largely underground until recently. But when the Clotilda is found -- as evidence of the crime, the ship was sunk in the Mississippi as soon as it delivered its passengers -- the history can't be ignored any longer. So the question becomes, who gets to control how it's told? 

I haven't watched many documentaries this year, but I'm hoping to get at least another one in before the year is out. Contenders are The Janes, about a group of women who built an underground network for women seeking abortions in 1970s Chicago, prior to the Roe v Wade decision (HBO Max), and Louis Armstrong's Black & Blues, a retrospective that looks at the jazz legend in regards to race and civil rights (Apple+). 

I guess I saw this in 1970. I don’t remember it having so many chase sequences. The final scene in the movie is identical to the end of the book, except it omits the distress of the police officer. For me this made the movie.

I had forgotten how many action sequences directly involved Blofeld. This is reportedly why they didn’t use Donald Pleasence. Also reportedly, the British tabloids were just as vicious then as today, and lied incessantly about Lazenby, the production and the public reception. The movie was very successful and made a big profit. If the lies hadn’t hurt the box office the profit would have been even larger.

Regarding Tracy’s comments, unlike earlier movies, the two women Bond has sex with actually pursued him. This was the beginning of the “sexual revolution” following the earlier introduction of birth control pills. As for cheating on Tracy, they were not committed to each other until later in the story. As Bond in Goldfinger, Connery rapes Pussy Galore and “converts” her into a heterosexual, which is vile in many ways.

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