Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fwd: Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge

Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge

#1,255. You Only Live Twice (1967)

Posted: 22 Jan 2014 02:33 AM PST

Directed By: Lewis Gilbert

Starring: Sean Connery, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama

Tag line: "Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond"

Trivia: Director Lewis Gilbert originally turned down the directing job on this movie

You Only Live Twice was the first Bond movie I ever videotaped off of television, and as a result, I became quite a fan of it. In fact, there was a time, many years ago, when this was my favorite of the series. But like I said, that was many years ago. Being a bit more familiar with the Bond franchise these days, and having recently viewed Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, and Thunderball, I now see that You Only Live Twice was a step in the wrong direction.

The movie opens in outer space, where a mysterious craft swallows up a U.S. spaceship in mid-flight. The Americans blame the Russians, accusing them of trying to gain the upper hand in the space race, but the British are convinced another power is responsible (mostly because the intruding ship landed not in Russia, but the Sea of Japan). To prove this theory, British Intelligence sends their best agent, James Bond (Sean Connery), to Tokyo. After faking his own death, Bond goes deep undercover, and with the help of Tiger Tanaka (Tetsurô Tanba), head of the Japanese Secret Service, discovers the true culprit behind the attack is SPECTRE, which, under the leadership of Ernst Blofeld (Donald Pleasance), is trying to start a war between the U.S. and Russia. It's up to Agent 007 to expose SPECTRE and, in the process, prevent another World War from breaking out.

You Only Live Twice has a number of problems, starting with Agent 007's "partner" in this particular venture, Tiger Tanaka. While competently played by Tetsurô Tanba, Tiger was a poor replacement for Felix Leiter, who had assisted Bond in three of the previous four films (absent only in From Russia with Love). And the less said about Bond's Japanese make-up, the better (meant as a disguise to protect him from SPECTRE, it instead made 007 look like a fool). Yet what really bothered me about the movie were the various missed opportunities in the action department. Late in the film, Bond is being trained at Tanaka's ninja school. Despite the fact his instruction supposedly lasts a few weeks, we're only shown one brief segment of this training, when Bond faces off against an undercover SPECTRE agent (who he defeats way too easily). Most disappointing of all, though, was the scene with "Little Nellie", a gyrocopter and the one and only gadget Bond receives from "Q" (Desmond LLewelyn). Equipped with rocket launchers, forward machine guns, and a flamethrower in the rear, "Little Nellie" was a force to be reckoned with, and when 007 took her out to do some reconnaissance, I was sure an epic battle was about to take place. Bond does, indeed, enter into a firefight with a squadron of SPECTRE helicopters, but the entire conflict was so poorly executed (the exploding copters looked as if they were standing still) that I wasn't the least bit excited by it.

You Only Live Twice does have its strengths. The pre-title sequence, featuring the initial incident in space and the "death" of James Bond, starts the movie off well, as does Nancy Sinatra's title song, which is one of my favorites of the series (ranking just behind Shirley Bassey's Goldfinger and just ahead of Adele's Skyfall). Also, the two main Bond girls, Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi) and Kissy Suzuki (Mie Hama), are stunningly beautiful, as is the Japanese setting, which the movie utilizes to great effect. Unfortunately, the minuses far outweigh the plusses in this film, making You Only Live Twice the series' first misfire.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Fwd: Recommended Watchlist: Noir & Then

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Crackle - It's On Movies Shows Watchlits       

Jan 19, 2014


Noir & Then

Noir & Then

Ever walk through a dark alley on a rainy night? Have you had a hunch that something criminal is going on? Do you keep company with femme fatales? Are you wearing a trenchcoat and/or a fedora? No? Then live vicariously through our Noir & Then Watchlist, featuring the best of noir and neo-noir films. We've got you made with Fritz Lang's signature drama The Big Heat, unsung mob movie 711 Ocean Drive, and Orson Welles' knockout The Lady From Shanghai, featuring Rita Hayworth at the peak of her va-va-voom. We can't all be gumshoes with a dame, but we can all enjoy the films that defined a style and a century of moviemaking. Right, kid?

711 Ocean DriveWatch Now

A thrilling Film Noir propelled by a taut and original story, a great turn by Edmond O'Brien and an unforgettable climax.
Not Rated

  Against All OddsWatch Now

Jeff Bridges and Rachel Ward have chemistry to burn in a sleek and steamy remake of film noir pillar Out Of The Past.
Rated R

  The Big HeatWatch Now

A masterfully directed film noir that paved the way for the brutal anti-hero cop films that followed two decades later.
Not Rated

  In A Lonely PlaceWatch Now

Humphrey Bogart gives one of his greatest and most nuanced performances in this masterpiece of darkness and deception.
Not Rated

In Cold BloodWatch Now

A chilling adaptation of Truman Capote's true novel of murder and its consequences that will haunt you like a ghost.
Rated R

  ShanghaiWatch Now

Orson Welles' intricately ingenious mystery is as thrillingly disorientating as its legendary hall of mirrors shootout scene.
Not Rated

  Mickey One Watch Now

Warren Beatty is a comedian on the run from the mob in Chicago in this underrated jazzy early New Wave thriller.
Not Rated

  Red Rock WestWatch Now

Tough, taut and quite possibly one of the finest neo-noirs, and that's saying something.
Rated R

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