Tuesday, May 23, 2017

R.I.P. Sir Roger Moore, Dead At 89

For the first time ever in the history of the official James Bond film series, all actors to have portrayed James Bond are not alive.  Although he was the third actor to portray the British super-spy, he was the oldest of all the actors.  He had three years on the original star of the series, Sean Connery.  So the odds were best that Moore would be the first to go, but you really can never be sure of these things and the timing, obviously, was a mystery to all of when this day would come.

Moore, who was my second least favorite incarnation of the character and that is only because George Lazenby quit the role after one movie so it is hard to get a really good gauge of what kind of Bond he could have become had he been given a few more films to flesh out the character, starred in his first Bond movie in 1973 with Live and Let Die.  He would end up being Bond for the most official films, with a grand total of seven.  He vacated the role after 1985’s A View to a Kill.

Moore’s take on the role was a much lighter tone than Connery, with many of his films becoming slapstick takes on the role, which would be lambasted by Connery fans and younger viewers who grew up on Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig as being campy.  I would probably be considered a part of that group and find many of Moore’s 007 movies hard to get through at times.

Since a Bond actor has never passed before I’m not sure what sort of tribute I will do, but it will likely be watching one of his Bond movies tonight after the family goes to bed.  The obvious choice is The Spy Who Loved Me, which is his best film in the series, but I might try to mix it up with Live and Let Die or Octopussy.

Anyway, this is a rambling way to say that it is a sad day to be a Bond fan.  I’m not on the verge of tears or needing to abandon all responsibilities for the day like some people are claiming on message boards across the world, but I will try to find some time to pay tribute to a man who was truly a tremendous ambassador to the Bond franchise and helped carry the torch for a fictional character I love.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Another Season, Another Marvel Movie To Rank

With the release of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 a couple of weeks ago, I have considered its inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe pantheon and with a small change to the  middle of my rankings since the premiere of Doctor Strange late last year I have come up with a new ranking of the Marvel movies.  Compared with lists across the Internet, the only real shocker for my list is my disregard for the team-up Avenger films.  I am not as high on the Joss Whedon-directed movies as most.

It will be clear that my love of the Guardians sequel likely stems from the unbridled joy I get from multiple viewings of its predecessor.  I could even tell on a second screening of the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel that its faults were a little more blatant and unforgiving than first realized.  However, even with all its burdens, and the heavy-handed messages about "family" that gives the viewer a feeling they are in the midst of one of the too-many Fast and Furious movies, it is still a thrilling, laugh-out-loud entry in the MCU worthy of a generous place on the overall rankings.

Without further ado, here is my updated list of the MCU films:

15. Iron Man 2
14. Thor: The Dark World
13. Captain America: The First Avenger
12. The Avengers
11. The Incredible Hulk
10. Iron Man 3
9. Avengers: Age of Ultron
8. Thor
7. Ant-man
6. Doctor Strange
5. Captain America: Civil War
4. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
3. Iron Man
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
1. Guardians of the Galaxy

Thursday, May 11, 2017

(Not) Live (Not) Tweeting 'Legion' Episode 8

I don't really have a ton of things to say about this episode.  I've finally come to a point that I am comfortable with everything they are throwing at me.  Overall, the series was very solid, horrifying at times, and constantly made you question what you were viewing.

The episode ends on a cliffhanger, like 95% of television series these days.  Lucky for us a second season has already been approved.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

(Not) Live (Not) Tweeting 'Legion' Episode 7

"Is she, I want to say, Chinese?"

Even though it makes zero sense in the context of reality and/or television conventions, the silent movie treatment works for this show.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Revisionist History Of 'Return Of The Jedi'

While recently listening to a podcast debating the merits that episode one of the Star Wars saga, The Phantom Menace, is better than Return of the Jedi, the sixth episode, a repeated argument between those debating the topic was that similar to many of the childish jokes and immature characters like Jar Jar Binks found in The Phantom Menace, the Ewoks of Return of the Jedi were created for children.  The only problem with this "argument" is that it isn't true.  Although the introduction of the Ewoks might have certainly been beneficial from a financial standpoint as it would sell a lot of toys to child viewers, that certainly wasn't the reason for their inclusion.  Instead it is a different financial reason.

In reality, the moon of Endor, where the Ewoks were found to be inhabiting, was supposed to be the home of Wookies, which is the same species of alien as Chewbacca.  The only problem was there weren't enough actors to have a clan of Wookies join the third act battle and the costumes would cost too much to create.  Instead, George Lucas changed the Wookies to Ewoks, resulting in numerous dwarves being used and little costumes being much less expensive to make.

So in reality, George Lucas' wasn't yet the hack director who turned a beloved space opera franchise into a child's Saturday morning cartoon political soap opera.  He was still just a writer making things up as he went along, who was limited by technology and budgets because he didn't yet have a computer smart enough to build all the characters for him.

Don't blame the Ewoks on children.  It isn't their fault.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

(Not) Live (Not) Tweeting 'Legion' Episode 6

Nina Simone + Aubrey Plaza = Winning

Kudos to the production team and behind-the-scenes crew/interns for the detailed work.  Having to destroy, clean, again destroy, again clean, and then repeat another six or seven times a scene in David's apartment kitchen from the past for a two-second clip in a single episode is the work of the unsung heroes.

Are we ever going to address the man living in the willow tree at the psychiatric hospital?

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

(Not) Live (Not) Tweeting 'Legion' Episode 5

It took more than half the season, but I finally feel comfortable in this world.  Things that a single episode before would have resulted in needing to either watch again or it would have resulted in me sitting with my mouth open as unexplainable things passed over my dumb head, now I finally feel like I am starting to get a firm grasp.

There's a moment in this episode that feel like Wes Anderson directed.