Category Archives: Daniel Craig

2015 – My review

2015 – My Review

Hello Dear Reader

Well 2015 has now passed and often people reflect on their year, a personal review you might say. I am no different than millions of others, so beware spoilers ahead. (Well for time travellers at least).

2015 has, just like many other years, been filled with ups and downs across the board. It is often thought that the downs tend to come to the fore at this point and yes there were a few scary moments. It has not been the best of times but things did pick up towards the close. One of the up’s was the pleasure of seeing Michael Palin live talking about his dairies and what he wrote about. It did make me think and yes write a blog about them. Maybe more people need to remember what a dairy is all about. Another odd good moment was a trip down memory lane to the Tower Ballroom at Blackpool and yes sitting watching a lot of people waltzing around the floor. Of course there were many other good moments most of which ended up in a blog or two. I also added to my list of achievements two presentations, one for the Keele Creative writing society which I was extremely proud. Add to this a very interesting trip to Buckingham Palace, one of the afternoon BBC Proms and an evening meal surrounded by most of the cast and writers of Sherlock. Now that was different.

Normally in the past I have reviewed a few good films, so why spoil a good format!

There have been a number of blockbusters yet again and surprisingly the best was saved for last (I am sure you can guess). Here are my top films (in no order whatsoever );

Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Man From U.N.C.L.E

Ant-Man

Jurassic World

Spectre

Minions

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Of course they are all action based adventure films and the ones I saw at the cinema. There were a few I missed, noticeably Steve Jobs, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, The Martian and a few more.  It seemed as if each movie, for me, kept on building towards one of the best kept secrets of 2015. In this day it was surprising to find that there was little real information about Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The Man from UNCLE started a short series of spy movies this year, along with Bridge of Spies and Spectre. The latest James Bond movie, rounded what was a very well put together story and left at least one person with a dilemma. If you wish to read my review on this film here is the link; Spectre. The Man from UNCLE was good in the sense to tried to explain the origins of the lead characters. Will there be a squeal? Bridge of Spies was one of those films I missed which was a shame, but there is always rental.

In keeping with the past few years, hard to think there was a time before them, we had the latest two Marvel films. Ant-Man introduced us to the smallest of Marvel’s characters, while the Avengers (still no Steed) came back to battle their own demons. Both films gave us more to enjoy in this growing universe, well at least to the non-comic reading part. Again I enjoyed them for differing reasons; Ant-Man was more of a comic feel, the humour fitted well as did the story. It is always difficult to present a 60s or 70s comic version so taking the best from the whole comic range seems Marvels plan. Age of Ultron on the other hand showed that sometimes it is best not to mess about with alien technology. It will lead into a series of films that could tear the audience apart.

Minions, cute, yellow, strangely understandable at times and one of those hits that was not meant to be. Why? Well they were sort of supporting characters (even in animation) that just took off. There first movie and who knows what else will turn up, was funny predictable and ok. Also returning was the Park, Jurassic one, remember that? It was a major hit of the summer and well worth it. It combined the old with new, basically the Park opened as Hammond always wanted and of course someone decided to play God and well guess the rest. Another good escape.

So finally the film of the year. You can’t argue with facts and figures, not these. Even before the film had been shown it was breaking, cinema servers and records. I have not reviewed this film as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. However I did post just one word after I watched it … Emotional. It was all that everyone has said. It did take me back and yet did not reboot as many thought. It moved forward in a logical fanshion. The sets where real, the characters believable, the effects better, the story fine, yes there might be the odd plot hole but sometimes, just sometimes you have suspend everything. It was one of the few movies I could have just sat through a second time without moving. I did in fact see it twice already and plan to see it again given the chance. Many people tend to want to find problems with any film they see, I myself see plot mistakes – take IronMan 3. However, I don’t believe in just denocensing a film just because it does not explain where character A cane from.

So what else has happened that was memorable? A number of things really including having one of my poems published in the first Keele Creative Writing anthology. Completing my first book, which is due to be published in 2016, was a major achievement. That for me, is a goal I have slowly pushed for. It won’t be to everyone’s taste and I doubt it will gain me anything other than self pride. I will be able to say  not only have I written a book but it’s a published one.

Writing has been one of the more enjoyable outlets over the past few years. I have published more blogs in 2015 than before and branched out into posting photographs and a small video. I do plan on producing another short video in 2016.

To close then. 2015 another year to talk about.

Roll on 2016.

Tagline:’Are we there yet?’

 

Spectre – My review

Dear Readers

Bond is Back

When reviewing any film I find sometimes you have to wait a time to let everything sink-in. I recently watched the latest James Bond film, Spectre. I have seen every Bond film many numerous times and can remember both the plots and memorable moments both good and bad.

After Skyfall, I thought it would be very difficult to push Bond further, in fact as Skyfall finished I did think that was a perfect end to both a good story and Daniel Craig’s time in the role, if he wanted. But both he and the franchise came back.

I am not going to give away anything from the plot that has not already been said in the media or the trailers. So down to basics, the film is very good. It takes a step further than Skyfall, which is very hard to do given its success. The opening of Spectre is one of the best I have seen in ages. It is ambitious to say the least, the action starts calmly, almost nonchalantly as we watch. With one single shot, that pace changes dramatically. It is gripping, you get drawn in, you cannot help it. Craig is Bond. Even the theme song as its place when you see it. It makes sense.

For the record here is the promotional summary of the plot. A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.

The story has much more to it pushing boundaries and there are reasons. It digs deep into Fleming’s past regarding Bond. What is most interesting for me, is how Sam Medes has woven so many threads into this film. You do have to watch and listen, the clues are all there. There are so many respectful nods to past Bond stories I suspect only a few will see.

The pace of the movie is such that I had not realised the passage of time. That is the mark of a good movie. The first just flew. There are some parts everyone should be able to figure out, but you still have to watch to see if you are right. I was.

The production was at its best, the most locations visited in one movie and a couple of memories again. There is a car chase, its in the trailers, its Bond. The supporting cast does have more to do yet again. There is more of M, Moneypenny,  Tanner and Q. They do support both the story and Bond. Music to many films is now a key part and once more there is the old and the new.

Many critics will review this movie with a differing eye. For me I see these as what they are, hours of escapism, entertainment forged to please as many as possible. The one element of this Bond movie is the end. Now, I am not going to give anything away here so do not worry. We all know there is a villain in Bond movies and we do meet him. Again it is clever. But the end is what I think will cause the greatest problem not for Bond himself but for Daniel Craig. This is his fourth outing and by the looks of it the most popular. And here is what I think is the problem. The movie ends, but it also can be a start. Will Daniel Craig start the next movie? The way this one has been put together is basically to say, it took four to complete the story. So will the next story take one movie or two or more? If he starts the next would it look odd to change actors in the next? Is that what weighs on his mind?

The prior actors all had single stories in so much as how Fleming had written them. Yes, we had bad guys who popped up in other stories and one group kept on appearing but, the stories were self-contained until now. That has been partly driven by other franchises and their success, which meant Bond had to adapt.

Spectre is good in my view. There are plot holes but tell me a film which does not have at least one fault? Given some films and how they drifted from the books, this has no book to follow, like Skyfall. There are few left to be honest. Daniel Craig is excellent as Bond, along side Lea Seydoux and Christoph Waltz in the main roles. They are support from the newly promoted Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Whishaw as Q, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, Rory Kinnear as Tanner returning to their roles.

I am sure it will do well yet again and ensure Bond will return. I would give this 4.5/5.

Tagline: ‘Is the ghost of the past the Spectre of the future?’

Spectre