James Bond

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A fond farewell to Roger Moore, probably best known as James Bond (but so much Moore).

He is the Bond most of the people my age grew up with. He was the 70s Bond and his movies reflected the era.

All actors who have played James BondIn fact, all of the James Bond movies reflect the time period in which they were made. The films had to keep contemporary, at least so they thought. It didn’t always work well, though.

Let’s pretend you have never heard of James Bond and don’t know a thing about him. Well, I would be glad to fill you in.

Bond was a naval veteran of WWII, rank of Commander. He joined the British intelligence

Read more on Roger Moore — A Bond Is Gone…

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I carried a daily newspaper delivery route from about 2nd grade through 6th and had to quit when I started going out for after-school sports in 7th grade.  I walked — didn’t ride a bike or have a car (of course).

The trip from the newspaper office where I picked up my papers to the first house for delivery took me through the business district, and almost every day I stopped and bought a comic book to read while I walked the route.  It was 10cents for the comics until those $#%& raised it to 12cents!

Vintage Marvel Comics Dr. Strange comic book cover

Vintage Marvel Comics Dr. Strange

My main fodder was DC comics (Superman and Batman, League of Superheroes and various spin-offs). I really wasn’t into Marvel, except I like Spiderman.  But the art was not as good as DC.  I thought Steve Ditko art was “blocky.”

I eventually lost contact with those comics — although I never outgrew my love for comic art (I never really had the talent to draw, although loved to doodle and cartoon).

I left Superman behind while Clark Kent was still a newspaper reporter, before he married Lois and back when Batman still had Robin … and all the other crazy alternate Earth stories with various lives and deaths and resurrections.  I don’t know what the heck is going on in the DC universe and Marvel universe today.

However, comic books are a minor form of entertainment now.  It’s all about the movies.  Especially when they make a billion dollars apiece!

They go through all the super heroes trying to find the ones the public will embrace so they can make a franchise with ever-more popular and lucrative sequels and spin-offs.

Or they just make the same darn movie over and over again.  (How many times can Peter Parker get bitten? How many times must young Bruce Wayne see his parents murdered?)

Now they are reaching down into the well to draw up a fresh bucket of superhero to quench the fires of rabid fan demand.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that the newest is Marvel’s Doctor Strange.

Benedict Cumberbatch (with an American accent) in the title role leading a British cast, as a neurosurgeon whose hands are destroyed in an accident, so he trains with a Far Eastern mystic guru (Tilda Swinton) to learn secrets of bending time and space and whatever else he wants to bend.

Marvel's Newest Superhero Movie Features Dr. Strange

Marvel’s Newest Superhero Movie Features Dr. Strange

As movies go, audiences generally want an action movie, rather than a thinking movie.  They generally want flying and bullets-bouncing off the chest and X-ray vision and a colorful costume. Instead, Marvel is offering Eastern mysticism and an opera tuxedo.

Will it work?

The HR review complimented the casting, but the intended audience might not know Cumberbatch or Swinton — much less Chiwetel Ejiofor.

The review also compliments the witty script — but these types of movies are more noted for lines like — “Over there!  Look!” and “Hulk Smash!”

But as the review says, “they unquestionably class up the joint.”

Of note — the villain is Mads Mikkelsen who was also a James Bond villain and TV’s Hannibal Lecter.  Typecast?  I imagine Mikkelsen is cackling all the way to the bank.

Supporting cast members Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg and Benjamin Bratt are all well-known (at least their faces are) and sturdy actors that should put in a reliable performance.

I’m looking forward to the movies.  I’m not a snob about intellectual content, but I enjoy a good mental treat as well as some good ole “Hulk Smash!”

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It’s time for the big seasonal movies to hit the theaters, and as usual, the major brands are making a showing.

In the past few years, the trend has been to “reboot the franchise” or re-think the origins of some favorite franchises.

The exercise can often result in some radical changes in what some people consider sacred stories.

Three cases in point —

SHERLOCK HOLMES: Arthur Conan Doyle wrote four novels and 56 stories about his hero — the world’s first consulting detective.  He was a man of pure reason, using deduction to unravel seemingly impossible crimes.

This is one of the most durable franchises in history.  Many movies have strayed from the original stories — the World War II era series of films starring Basil Rathbone might find Holmes chasing Nazi spies.  So it’s not unusual to see the stories branch off in new directions.

What purists decry is the way the character is perverted.  Two recent reincarnations of Holmes include a British TV series and American Robert Downey, Jr on the big screen.

Robert Downey, Jr shirtless as Sherlock Holmes in a fist fight

Bare-chested, two-fisted Robert Downey, Jr. makes a macho Sherlock Holmes

Guy Ritchie is the auteur who decided that instead of thinking his way through problems, Holmes should strip off his shirt so we can see his rippling abs and pecs and beat evil-doers to submission with his fists, by swinging a stick or fencing.

In other words, this character was not really Sherlock Holmes — this was Generic action hero with a formula action adventure movie.

However, the first movie in 2009 (cleverly titled “Sherlock Holmes”) made so much money that “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” is due out just in time for Christmas.

Read more on Movie Re-Boots For A New Generation…

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