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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bond meets Cephalopod Mollusk: Object? Octogasm!

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From: "2,500 Movies Challenge" <noreply@blogger.com>
Date: Sep 28, 2014 4:10 PM
Subject: Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge
To: <trrytrvrs@gmail.com>

Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge


#1,503. Octopussy (1983)

Posted: 27 Sep 2014 08:30 PM PDT


Directed By: John Glen

Starring: Roger Moore, Maud Adams, Louis Jourdan




Tag line: "Nobody does it better...thirteen times"

Trivia: James Brolin was almost given the role of James Bond when at the last minute, Roger Moore agreed to play Bond again








Comedy was a major component of Roger Moore's 7-film tenure as James Bond, yet no movie during this period featured as much humor as 1983's Octopussy, which relies so heavily on one-liners and witty asides that, at times, it's a real distraction.

Working undercover at a New Delhi circus, secret agent 009 (Andy Bradford), disguised as a clown, manages to steal an exact replica of an invaluable Fabergè egg, which he delivers to the British Embassy just before dying (he was stabbed in the back). With the real egg going up for auction at Sotheby's, MI6 sends its best man, James Bond (Moore), to root out whoever was responsible for the forgery (more than likely, with their copy now gone, this person or persons will want to re-acquire the original). After a brief bidding war, the egg is won by Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan), who, along with his accomplice Madga (Kristin Wayborn), flies home to India with it. What they don't know is that, during the auction, Bond replaced the real egg with the phony one. With the actual Fabergè in tow, 007 heads to India, where he hopes to discover why Khan is so interested in such a priceless item. What he finds is that Khan, who's somehow linked to an all-female organization led by the mysterious Octopussy (Maud Adams), has been working for General Orlov (Steven Berkoff), a Soviet officer who's raising money to launch an attack against the west, one he's convinced will prove to the world the military might of the Soviet army. With the General's plan already in motion, 007 must move quickly to prevent a catastrophe that, if carried out, will kill thousands of innocent people.

Despite the seriousness of its story (which involves nuclear weapons, a hot topic back in the 1980s), Octopussy is chock full of humor, with Moore's Bond rattling off one-liners at a breakneck pace, and doing so throughout much of the film. While in India, Bond pays a visit to "Q" (Desmond Llewellyn), who's testing his latest invention: a remote controlled Indian rope trick, which, unfortunately, snaps in half before reaching the top. Without missing a beat, Bond quips "Having a hard time keeping it up, Q?" Even the action scenes have their share of jokes (during a street fight with Khan's henchmen, Bond pulls a sword out of a sword swallowers mouth, then tosses one poor guy onto a bed of nails), and some of the humor is downright ridiculous, like when Bond is in the jungle, trying to escape from Khan and his men. Climbing a tree, he grabs hold of a vine and jumps, and as he swings through the air, the Tarzan yell fills the soundtrack!

That's not to say Octopussy is devoid of those elements that make a good Bond picture. For one, the women are gorgeous, especially Wayborn's Madga, who isn't shy about using her body to get what she wants. Louis Jourdan, always a sold actor, does a fine job as this film's villain, as does Berkoff, whose General Orlov is particularly deplorable. Partially shot in Rajasthan, the Indian locale is used to great effect, and series regulars Llewellyn and Lois Maxwell (as Moneypenny) also turn up briefly (Llewellyn's "Q", who gets more screen time than usual, even joins in on the final battle). And while most of the movie features mediocre action, the entire finale, which begins with Bond trying to catch a train and ends with the traditional shoot-out, is absolutely exhilarating.

Unlike some, I don't rank Octopussy among the worst Bond films; its thrilling climax manages to salvage much of the silliness that went before it. But with such a heavy emphasis on humor, it's hard to deny that, at times, Octopussy comes across as one of the series' minor efforts.







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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bringing up Baby (1939)

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From: "2,500 Movies Challenge" <noreply@blogger.com>
Date: Sep 27, 2014 4:29 PM
Subject: Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge
To: <trrytrvrs@gmail.com>

Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge


#1,502. Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Posted: 26 Sep 2014 07:30 PM PDT


Directed By: Howard Hawks

Starring: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Charles Ruggles


Tag line: "And so begins the hilarious adventure of Professor David Huxley and Miss Susan Vance, a flutter-brained vixen with love in her heart!"

Trivia: Christopher Reeve based his performance as Clark Kent in Superman (1978) on Cary Grant's performance as David Huxley in this film






Of all the screwball comedies to emerge from the '30s and '40s, Bringing Up Baby, a 1938 film directed by Howard Hawks and starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, is easily the screwiest (which, in turn, makes it one of the sub-genres funniest entries).

Things are looking up for Dr. David Huxley (Grant), a paleontologist working for a prestigious museum in New York City. For one, he's about to marry his longtime assistant, Alice (Virginia Walker), and on top of that he's just received word from an overseas expedition that they've uncovered a rare intercostal clavicle, the last bone needed to complete the brontosaurus skeleton he's been reconstructing for the past 4 years. What's more, socialite Elizabeth Random (Mary Robson) is looking to donate a million dollars to a worthy organization, and the museum is at the top of her list! To seal the deal, Huxley heads to the local country club to play a round of golf with Ms. Random's lawyer, Alexander Peabody (George Irving). It's here that he has an unfortunate run-in with heiress Susan Vance (Hepburn), and all at once his life is turned upside-down.

After accidentally playing his ball while on the golf course, Ms. Vance then steals (albeit by mistake) Dr. Huxley's car, causing him to take off after her and leave poor Mr. Peabody alone on the links. To try and explain what happened, Huxley makes arrangements to meet Peabody at the club restaurant later that evening, only to once again run into Ms. Vance, resulting in yet another disaster (both Huxley and Ms. Vance end up tearing their clothes and are forced to make a hasty exit). From then on, Dr. Huxley finds he's unable to shake the flighty Ms Vance, who's taken a liking to him, and before he knows it he's in her car, heading to Connecticut to drop off a pet leopard named Baby, which Ms. Huxley's brother sent from Brazil as a gift for their aunt. As crazy as all this seems, it's nothing compared to what happens when the mismatched couple reaches Connecticut!

The cast of Bringing Up Baby is superb. Cary Grant is pitch-perfect as Dr. David Huxley, the once-stable scientist who becomes an unwitting accomplice to Ms. Huxley's flights of fancy, and as a result slowly begins to unravel. Along with Grant's controlled hysterics, Bringing up Baby gives us Katherine Hepburn as you've never seen her before, playing Ms Vance as a ditzy, love struck girl who can't stay out of trouble (While driving to Connecticut with Dr. Huxley and Baby the Leopard, she crashes into a truck hauling chickens and ducks. As the birds flutter around on the road, a hungry Baby licks its lips and jumps out the back of the car. When the smoke clears, several chickens and ducks are missing, leaving Dr. Huxley to pay for the damages). But what really makes Bringing Up Baby an unforgettable experience are the insane situations these two characters get themselves into, some of which amount to petty crimes (after accidentally stealing a purse at the club restaurant, Ms. Huixley purposefully swipes a car on the road to Connecticut). With its fast, overlapping dialogue and frenzied pace, Bringing up Baby is a wild motion picture (what other '30s movie has a fight between a docile leopard and an angry Scottish terrier?)

Featuring stellar performances and enough anarchy to make the Marx Brothers proud, Bringing up Baby is cinematic insanity at its absolute best, a cauldron of craziness that gets loonier with each passing minute. It is also one of the greatest screen comedies ever made.







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Friday, September 26, 2014

New Reviews at RogerEbert.com for the week of September 26, 2014

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Date: Sep 26, 2014 11:08 AM
Subject: New Reviews at RogerEbert.com for the week of September 26, 2014
To: <trrytrvrs@gmail.com>

This is your weekly update of new reviews on RogerEbert.com, the world's preeminent destination for movie criticism, commentary and community.

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New Reviews at RogerEbert.com for the week of September 26, 2014

Here are reviews of this week's newest movies from RogerEbert.com. For these and more, including blog posts on everything from sci-fi and low-brow comedy to forgotten masterpieces of cinema, please visit our site and join the conversation.

The Boxtrolls Poster

The Boxtrolls

Review by Sheila O'Malley

"The Boxtrolls" is a beautiful example of the potential in LAIKA's stop-motion approach, and the images onscreen are tactile and layered. But, as always, it's the story that really matters, and the story told here is funny, ugly, poignant and…

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The Equalizer Poster

The Equalizer

Review by Susan Wloszczyna

If "The Equalizer" lacks gravitas, it is fairly sturdy as far as pure entertainment goes—and the actor takes his stealth vigilante as seriously as he does his Oscar-nominated performances in "Flight" or "Malcolm X," pulling out that patented charm as…

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Pride Poster

Pride

Review by Odie Henderson

Takes a formulaic approach but is ultimately very effective in its retelling of the fundraising activities of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. Would make a good musical.

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Lilting Poster

Lilting

Review by Dan Callahan

Ben Whishaw is one of the few working actors that you really should see in everything, and though "Lilting" doesn't give him enough to play with, it does offer the pleasure of watching him in the full flower of his…

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The Two Faces of January Poster

The Two Faces of January

Review by Odie Henderson

Viggo Mortensen is excellent in this twisty throwback to '60s thrillers. Based on a Patricia Highsmith book, so you know the characters are up to no damn good.

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Good People Poster

Good People

Review by Glenn Kenny

"Good People" ends up in the kind of no-man's-land that no movie, least of all a genre picture, wants to be in: it's engaging enough while one is watching it, but not distinctive enough to make it special, or, in…

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Jimi: All Is by My Side Poster

Jimi: All Is by My Side

Review by Christy Lemire

What's fascinating about "Jimi: All Is By My Side" is not only its decision to show us this particular chapter in Hendrix's life, but also the way it teases out the shadings in a famous figure we only think we…

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The Song Poster

The Song

Review by Susan Wloszczyna

Treat "The Song" as a kind of guilty pleasure, a not particularly good movie that nonetheless entertains in spite of itself.

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Two Night Stand Poster

Two Night Stand

Review by Glenn Kenny

Tipton and Teller, neither of whom is conventionally glamorous, mesh well together, and Nichols keeps their exchanges brisk and makes the most of the limited cinematic space the scenario demands he work with.

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