Tag Archives: james bond

Movie Review – No Time to Die (2021)

The name’s Battler. Bookshelf Q. Battler.

I’ll have a banana daquiri. Fresh, not frozen.

BQB here with a review of the latest Bond flick.

If there’s one universal rule about the Bond franchise, it’s this. Every Bond incarnation usually has one fantastic, blow-out film and then the rest are OK or subpar at best. For Pierce Brosnan, his great was Goldeneye. For Daniel Craig, his knockout was Skyfall. The rest are too old for me to parse through, and perhaps all of Sean Connery’s were great, but ultimately these flicks can be hit or miss and on occasion, you’re left wondering what were they thinking.

Daniel Craig has been at the Bond game a long time now and the world has been through a lot of changes. First, he had the unenviable task of reviving the franchise in the post-9/11 world. After the Twin Towers fell, audiences had less of a tolerance for Bond’s sillier side. Sure, it’s always a good time when he saves the day with the help of one of Q’s wacky gadgets while delivering a clever one-liner, but we viewers collectively grew up and realized that what a nation’s intelligence service does (fails to do or doesn’t prevent) matters. Thus, Bond had to get more serious…yet somehow retain the fun.

Flash forward another decade and a half later and Bond’s womanizing ways have also become tres passe. How much more can society chip away at this beloved character? First, we told him he has to stop being funny. Now we’re telling him he has to stop bagging babes which is hard because he has a track record of getting it on at least three times per film. There’s always one random hottie who is just a fling, then a good hottie he has to work with, and also a hottie dating a villain he has to convince to switch sides…with his studliness.

Truth be told, Bond films are the ultimate male fantasy. We dudes dream of being handsome, suave, sophisticated, driving the cool car, able to get any woman we want…and seriously, y’all have no idea how getting any woman you want is a superpower. Women never have to worry about finding a man. Women can just poke their head out the window and shout, “I want a man” and they will all come running, but a man? Most men have to really work for it and are lucky if they find one in their lifetime and are luckier still if they don’t screw it up. Meanwhile, Bond finds oodles and they all seem like they all feel very lucky and happy to be with him, even to the point where it leads to them being painted with oxygen depriving gold paint or befalling some other terrible fate.

As if that weren’t enough changes for Bond, the women want in on the action. They aren’t just happy to be Bond’s eye candy. They want their chance to murder the bad dudes and save the day too.

Tall order for a movie but somehow it delivers.

Going into it, I heard a lot of bad reviews, people chanting the old “go woke, go broke” mantra. While I think we all have to embrace diversity, I have noticed that some films/franchises go to eye-rolling lengths (see the latest Superman comic with Supes french kissing a pink-haired man he apparently dumps Lois for more.)

I didn’t find that here. I think the film managed to straddle the line between wokeness and Bond’s patented studliness.

How’d the do it? SPOILER ALERT. REPEAT SPOILER ALERT.

They had Bond settle down. Ingenious, no?

The plot? Bond finally meets the true love of his life and gets hitched. On his honeymoon with Madeleine Swann, he gets sidetracked by villains henchmen because he’s Bond, so why wouldn’t he? This leads him down a rabbit hole toward a war between uber baddies Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) and Safin (Rami Malek) over a virus that can be tailor made to target anyone its wielder desires (and thus we understand why the film’s release was delayed from its original unfortunately time date during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, though I suppose it’s not like the producers could have ever foreseen how their plot would come too close too reality when they made the flick.)

Bond does get his side-babes, but only in the form of co-workers/spies Nomi who has taken up the 007 mantle in the wake of Bond’s retirement (Lashana Lynch) and Paloma, a Cuba based spy who claims to only have three weeks of training (Ana de Armas who I intend to propose to one day if my self-publishing enterprise ever makes me rich…unless she’d take me as poor. What the hell? Ana on the off chance you’re reading this…and I’ve embarrassed myself. Moving on…)

At any rate, Bond doesn’t bang these women because he’s a changed man now. He’s found the love of his life and is now a one woman man so no other babe will do. And the babes don’t come onto him because they’re professionals and they don’t mix business with pleasure. Hell, they don’t even seem interested…because they aren’t. Nomi, if anything, taunts him over being the new 007. So they’re just colleagues who work together to save the world and there’s no hanky panky that will lead Bond to a trip to MI6 HR and a vigorous drubbing on Twitter.

Ultimately, I found the ways in which the wokeness was blended in, baked into the cake, as it were, clever. We can’t really complain that Bond isn’t snogging chicks two, three at a time because he has finally found true love and frankly, for the past few films, we’ve seen a Bond who has become saddened by the love and leave ’em or worse, see them deep-sixed by the villain lifestyle. We dudes who like seeing babes on the screen still get to see them but we have to see them as experts in the espionage trade who get the intel through tactics and guile and not just by flashing their boobs (although let’s face it, in real life, one boob flash is all it takes for even the most stalwart villain to give up the launch codes because men are that basic.)

I won’t give up much more other than to say SPOILER ALERT the film does close Craig’s iteration of the franchise, which is unheard of in Bond history, because usually, the films just keep going until the Bond actor either gets too old, or the films get stale, or enough time passes that Hollywood says we haven’t done a Bond film in awhile and hey, there’s a new British actor on the scene who would fit the bill.

Thus, I suppose this means the next Bond version will be an actual reboot. Strange, because somehow the Bond films never get rebooted. It’s just as if Bond has somehow existed for 50 years as one man or another. There’s that old fan theory that perhaps there have just been a series of British spies who go by the name James Bond, 007. Either that or we just understand that Bond just exists and we don’t blink as he moves from one generation to the next.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. It’s by no means terrible as the critics are saying. It is a bit confusing though these films often are. Skyfall still remains Craig’s best. Quantum of Solace is still the worst. Spectre is middling. This one and Casino Royale are decent. To Craig’s credit, he only had one stinker, shaken, not stirred.

I am curious though how the next Bond iteration goes, or if they’ll have one. I mean, he can’t be a one-woman man forever and the character is a dude who is so damn sexy that women throw themselves at him, even if it means their peril as they switch sides and give up their villainous boyfriends. Maybe this ultra macho stud is a casualty of the woke era or maybe he’ll be back in ways we heretofore will never expect.

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BQB’s Classic Movie Reviews – The Living Daylights (1987)

Oh, oh ah oh…The Living Daylights!

BQB here with a review of this old Bond film.

Timothy Dalton did two Bond flicks in the 1980s and in my opinion, after watching one and a half of them, they are criminally underrated. When it comes to Bond movies, at least in the past few incarnations, I’ve found that there is at least one Bond film per actor that is absolutely stellar (i.e. Goldeneye for Pierce Brosnan or Skyfall for Daniel Craig) and then the others are acceptable or subpar (i.e. Tomorrow Never Dies for Brosnan or Quantum of Solace for Craig – really, the villain is stealing water?)

Dalton only did two Bond flicks and while I haven’t finished the second as of this post, both seem pretty solid, so I think he should have gotten at least a third. Oh well. Can’t have it all. (Coming this Summer – James Bond in “You Can’t Have It All.”

“The Living Daylights” captures the Cold War paranoia of the 80s but doesn’t go all out in silly 80s pageantry. Aha does the cool theme song (I think a rare case where a man sings it instead of a woman but I could be wrong) but there aren’t any real “OMG this movie is so 80s” moments ala “You’ve got the touch! You’ve got the power!”

Moving on. Bond has been dispatched to help Soviet general Koskov defect to the West, bringing all his secrets with him. After a silly, unlikely yet sort of ingenious escape plan is hatched, Bond cozies up with cellist Kara (Maryam D’abo) looking for answers as to why a clueless, non-professional was trying to kill the general.

Twists, turns and double-crosses ensue, all culminating in a showdown at a Soviet era base in Afghanistan (wow various countries have been at war with Afghanistan for a long time now). There’s a very cool scene at the end where Bond and a henchman fight while clinging to a large sack of opium bags dangling out the back of a military plane. (The sack contains a bomb about to explode, upping the ante.) It’s worth watching for that scene alone.

I’ll be back when I’m done watching “License to Kill” but suffice to say, I think Dalton deserves more Bond cred.

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Bond Movies on Netflix

Hey 3.5 readers.  BQB here.

I just noticed there are a ton of James Bond movies on Netflix.  I don’t know if this has been the case for awhile or if they just appeared but I’m down.  I never really got to watch the old ones with Sean Connery and Roger Moore.  I’ve just seen Brosnan and Craig.

Anyway, I’ll have to catch up on them.  You should check them out too.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Why James Bond Should Never Be Female

“It’s time for a female Bond,” according to Chris Hemsworth.

Sure, Thor.  As soon as you step aside from your cash cow and let give your hammer to a lady, we’ll talk.  Go lick a kangaroo butt, dummy.

I’m sorry, 3.5 readers but I feel strongly about this.  There should never be a female James Bond.

Why?

#1 – It’s So Easy for Women to Get the D that a Jane Bond Movie Would Be Over in Five Minutes

Ladies, be honest.  It’s not that hard for you to catch a D.  I mean, we can talk about the quality of the D’s all day but ultimately, even the ugliest, grossest, most snaggletoothed beast of a woman can go out this morning and catch five Ds before sundown, and that’s a conservative estimate.

Don’t believe me?  Start walking up to random men and ask them for the D.  Yes, some of the wiser members of our manly organization will utilize a brain cell or two.  They’ll assume this is too good to be true, that it is some sort of trap, that maybe a random woman asking for D has an unsavory venereal disease…hell, there might even be some good guys who think sex with a stranger is wrong or that they don’t want to cheat on a wife or girlfriend.

Aside from those chumps, many men will be all like, “Sure, I got the D right here.”  And it literally will not matter if you are hot…or if you look like refried poop in the form of Rosie O’Donnell.  There will be men who will be willing to give you the D.

(FYI this is just a rhetorical argument.  You know it’s right.  Please don’t actually go out and ask men for D.  If you do, you assume the risk and we here at the Bookshelf Battle Blog will not be held responsible.  Don’t do it.)

Meanwhile, men, do you know what will happen if you go around asking random women for V?  Tazing.  Lots of tazing.  Your balls will light up like Christmas ornaments.  Oh and also lots of arrests.  You’ll probably ask one woman and then spend the next 48 hours in lockup awaiting your bail hearing.  (So, yeah, don’t actually do it, this is just rhetoric and we won’t be held responsible if you do because…don’t do it, dummy.)

Literally, only a select few of lucky men are able to walk up to any woman they want and snag the V without putting any work into it.  James Bond is one of those men.  In fact, his ability to score any poon in the world is his superpower.  Superman can leap tall buildings in a single bound, Wonder Woman has the lasso of truth and James Bond can convince any woman at all to give up the V.

This works to his advantage.  Every Bond film circles around Bond seducing the villain’s woman into giving up information on how to defeat the villain.  Only a man as suave, sophisticated, handsome and wealthy as Bond can fool a woman to give up the V…as well as the villain.

Do you know who can convince a man to give up information?  Literally any woman.  Your ugly stepsister, the fat lady at the DMV, your Aunt Doris, the cashier at Price Town with the hairy puss on her lip, literally any of these women could convince a Russian agent to give up the nuke codes because men will do anything for free pussy, and the pussy doesn’t even have to be high quality.

So, if it is high quality, say a hot actress playing Jane Bond, yeah, that movie is over in 5 minutes.  The hour long scene where James convinces the villain babe to give up the goods on the bad guy is replaced with a henchmen blasting his pants and handing over the codes to Jane before he cries himself to sleep over what a loser he is.

#2 – James Bond is the Ultimate Male Fantasy

He really is.  It isn’t easy being a man.  You have to work hard, pay the bills, help with the kids, take care of the house, do all the heavy lifting…if you’re lucky, your wife might tickle your pickle for five minutes a month if you beg her in a pathetic manner.

We live vicariously through Bond.  When Bond bangs any chick he wants with little effort, just because he’s awesome, and you know, the super hot woman usually feels really enriched from the banging and bangs him even though it means her betrayal means the villain will cause her to meet her certain doom…it’s like we get to live through Bond’s penis.

Seriously.  We can’t get our women to make us a sandwich without being read the collected works of Gloria Steinem.  Bond can convince women to die for his penis.  Please, please, please don’t take our Bond away.  Once every four years we get to experience via cinema what it is like to be a real man.  Don’t take that away from us.  It’s cruel.

#3 – You’re Basically Saying Women Aren’t Good Until They Become Men

The Bond concept is unique but can be copied to an extent.  There’s no reason another film couldn’t be made in which a female British intelligence agent seduces men with her vagina of doom.

However, by turning Bond into a woman, you’re saying women are no good unless they become men.  Bond must die and a woman must take his place.  I don’t agree.  There’s a good story about a female British spy out there.  It doesn’t require ruining Bond.

#4 – Would the Bond formula work with a black Bond?

As long as he’s a handsome black man, yes.  Idris Elba is rich and British.  Idris Elba is handsome.  I would trade places with Idris Elba in a second.  He probably gets more poon in a day then my 3.5 readers and I could get in a thousand lifetimes.  The fantasy works.  I can yearn to be Daniel Craig, pulling in all that sweet, mysterious international tale just as easily as I can yearn to be Idris Elba banging all that dangerous, alluring booty.

However, it doesn’t work with a woman.

You think it does?  I mean, even James Bond has to work at it a little.  You know what Jane Bond has to do?

JANE BOND:  Hello.  I will give you vagina if you give me the codes.

MAN:  OK here are the codes.

That’s it.  I mean, even Bond usually has to like, pretend to be a mysterious businessman and win a round of poker and maybe kill a guy or something before he gets the right introduction to meet the woman he will seduce.

Jane Bond just needs to flash the titties.

#5 – But Women Like Bond and Want to Be Included!

Yes, you poor, poor cuckold of a man.  Your wife told you she likes Bond movies and you took that to mean if the next Bond is a lady that would make her feel special.

Idiot.  While you are fantasizing about being Bond, she is fantasizing about being drilled by Bond.  Your wife will make you do ten hours of chores before you even think about grabbing her by the pussy ala our esteemed POTUS.  Meanwhile, your wife would totally give up the launch codes (and her goodies) to Bond.

Thus, stupid, stupid man, if you pull a Hemsworth and try to be some kind of menstruating male feminist, she’ll hate you for ruining her getting nailed by Bond fantasies.

Conclusion

Stop.  Just stop.  The average man is lucky if he can get a woman to begrudgingly touch his sad little phallus once a month without a big long speech about how much his wife gave up to marry him.

Do not take away the one fantasy we get every four years where we can pretend to be a man who can save the world by getting hot ass spy bitches to go to town on his top secret spy junk.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Should There Be a Female James Bond?

I’d like to start out by being close-minded and say…NO!!!

This happens every once in awhile.  Whenever they are in the market for a new James Bond, every British person who wants the role starts doing interviews to float the idea that they wouldn’t mind being James Bond.

A whole bunch of male Brits have put themselves out there…but Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones did an interview saying she wouldn’t mind being “Jane Bond.”  Gillian Anderson (Is she even British? I’ll have to look it up) said the same.

Ladies, look.  More power to you but these films are an outlet for me and many dudes to fantasize that a world exists where men are allowed to be men, that in our minds we are James Bond and that we could drive around in fast, expensive cars, live rich, extravagant lifestyles, and be so studly that we seduce women into giving up international secrets.

We know women can seduce men into giving up any info.  There’s no challenge there. That Bond gets all these women to do his bidding is like the ultimate fantasy. Never happens in real life so let us dream.

And besides…Bond’s women have names like “Pussy Galore.” What would Jane Bond’s boyfriend be? “Gotta Bigdonger?”

Women…stop.  Just stop. We have to draw the line somewhere. I forbid this.

What say you 3.5 readers?

 

 

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Movie Review: Spectre (2015)

The name’s Battler.  Bookshelf Q. Battler.

And I’d like this review to be shaken, not stirred.

Aww who cares, only 3.5 people are going to read it anyway.

BQB here with a review of the latest James Bond movie, Spectre.

At the outset, let me just say this:

  1.  It wasn’t as good as Skyfall, but that’s only because Skyfall set the bar so high.
  2. But that being said, it was still pretty damn good.  A lot better than that Quantum of Solace nonsense.

I love James Bond.  Bond is the man every man wants to be.  I’d love to be able to charm the pants off of any woman I meet, beat the crap out of all my enemies and still make it to cocktail hour on time in a nice suit.

Sadly, that only happens in the movies.  Bond is so suave he can even charm top secret info out of hot enemy babes.  Meanwhile, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that one day I’ll get a woman to make a sandwich for me.  Damn it Bond, you probably get all the sandwiches you want, don’t you, you bastard?

Anyhoo – OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING.

It hasn’t been easy for Bond in the post-9/11 world.  Since that fateful day, as well as after various tragedies since, people have been a lot more aware of the fact that illicit intercontinental activities can bring about grave repercussions.

Suddenly, the white cat stroking caricature Bond used to face just doesn’t cut it anymore, not when we’re fully aware there are real monsters in the world.

Casino Royale got the message.  It was lost in Quantum of Solace, which involved a plot to steal water.  Sorry Bond, but we’re done with outlandish, cartoonish plots.

Skyfall gave the series a reboot, giving Bond a team of compatriots to work with – a new Q, a new Moneypenny, a new M, new colleagues all around.  And this is the first film where we get to see them all shine.

The plot?  Bond must infiltrate the evil underground organization known as Spectre and take it down.  Its operated by a sinister ne’er-do-well aptly played by Christoph Waltz.  Waltz provides a great performance – never too emotional, speaking matter of faculty about significantly evil doings.

Wrestler David Bautista STEALS the show.  It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a good Bond henchman.  I’m not talking about the main villain but a lackey, a number two, a guy who does the villain’s dirty work.  Oddjob is the last one I remember.

Bautista hunts Bond and even though your inner voice reminds you that it is Bond’s movie so of course he can’t die, this guy leaves you thinking Bond might just end up drinking that shaken martini in the sky.

He doesn’t.  Don’t worry.  I don’t think that’s a spoiler.  You all know Bond lives at the end of these things, right?  That’s why they’ve made so many of these movies.

Ralph Fiennes, having replaced Judi Dench as Bond’s boss, M, is at the helm in this movie.  You end up feeling for the guy.  He’s plagued by red tape and bureaucracy.  He has to chew Bond out for ignoring protocol and generating bad press, even though its obvious he understands that Bond’s unorthodox methods have saved the world from ruin time and time again.

It sucks to be management.

One criticism is that there is a whole scene where the villain spills the beans to Bond as to how his whole sinister operation works.  I kind of thought these movies were pushing to get past those tropes but oh well, you have to have some, right?

Oh and I should point out, the villain does have a white cat, but he doesn’t stroke it.  Progress.

STATUS:  Shelf worthy.  Worth seeing in the theater due to great stunts, fights, car chases, special effects.

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