Friday, December 30, 2016

"THE SPY WHO LOVED ME" (1977) Image Gallery

Below are images from "THE SPY WHO LOVED ME", the 1977 James Bond movie. Taking its title from Ian Fleming's 1962 novel, the movie was directed by Lewis Gilbert and starred Roger Moore as the British agent: 

"THE SPY WHO LOVED ME" (1977) Image Gallery

































Monday, December 26, 2016

"HOT FUZZ" (2007) Review

"HOT FUZZ" (2007) Review

I have never never seen "SHAUN OF THE DEAD". Nor have I ever seen "SPACED", the TV series that first made British comics Simon Pegg and Nick Frost well known. And if I must be honest, I never really had any intention of seeing "HOT FUZZ" when it first hit the theaters in 2007. Until I saw the trailers for the movie on television. Thank God I had changed my mind. 

"HOT FUZZ" tells the story of New Scotland Yard police constable, Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg), whose uber-dedication to law and order, spotless arrest record (400% superior to his colleagues), and no-nonsense personality drives his superiors (which include Bill Nighy and Steve Coogan) to promote him to sergeant . . . and reassign him to the supposedly crime-free village of Sanford. Feeling like a fish out of water, Sergeant Angel struggles to adjust to rural crime fighting (like arresting under-aged drinkers and a drunken future partner; and searching for a missing pet swan) and the slightly offbeat citizens of Sanford - especially his new partner, the affable Constable Danny Butterman (Nick Frost). What starts out as a mind-numbing experience for Angel, becomes intriguing when Sanford is rocked (well, as far as the intrepid police sergeant is concerned) by a series of grisly accidents. Angel eventually uncover the truth behind the so-called accidents. With the help of the eager Butterman (who happens to be an action movie fan) and the seemingly inept Sanford Police, Angel brings the . . . uh, guilty party to justice in a blaze of action-style gun play.

Not only is "HOT FUZZ" one of the funniest movies I have seen in years, the screenwriters (director Edgar Wright and star Pegg) had created an array of eccentric and memorable characters that include Oscar winner Jim Broadbent (who plays Danny's equally affable chief of police dad, Frank Butterman), Billie Whitelaw ("THE OMEN" fame) and BAFTA nominee Anne Reid ("THE MOTHER"). Also portraying some of the villagers are a collection of British talent from famous action-adventure sagas - Timothy Dalton (the 4th James Bond), Edward Woodward ("THE EQUALIZER"), Paul Freeman ("RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK"), David Threlfall ("PATRIOT GAMES") and Stuart Wilson ("LETHAL WEAPON 3"). Even Pegg has appeared as an IMF computer tech and agent in the last two "MISSION IMPOSSIBLE" movies. And they are all hilarious . . . especially Dalton's smarmy supermarket owner, who reminds me of a stock villain straight out of "THE PERILS OF PAULINE".

I must admit that I truly enjoyed watching Nick Frost's Danny get under Angel's skin. Not only was he extremely funny - and witty, but he was also so charming that it was easy how he managed to break down Angel's chilly exterior and befriend the London cop. And his penchant for American action films has endeared me to his character more than ever. I suffer from the same penchant.

But the real revelation - at least for me - turned out to be Sergeant Nicholas Angel, portrayed with such humorless zeal by star, Simon Pegg. Straight arrow types usually turn out to be the hero or anti-hero's long-suffering superior or rival in many action films. And it is usually the screw-up or anti-social characters who turn out to be the main character that end up being transferred away from the action. But in "HOT FUZZ", Angel's zealous competence causes him to lose his girlfriend (Cate Blanchett in a cameo), but earn the antipathy of his Scotland Yard colleagues (who are eager to get rid of him). I cannot explain it, but is something about Angel that I found very appealing and funny. I guess I simply found him fascinating. In real life, this guy would have seriously annoyed me. But thanks to great writing and Pegg's tight performance, I found myself rooting for him. The ironic thing about Nick Angel is that he will eventually discover that his nemesis is just as anal as he. Danny Butterman turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to him.

Some critics had complained that "HOT FUZZ" seemed to long for a comedy with a running time of 121 minutes. Considering that the movie was a send-up of action movies, which usually ran at two hours, I saw nothing wrong with the movie's length. To be honest, I was too busy laughing to notice. I have to say that without a doubt, "HOT FUZZ" is one of the funniest movies I have seen since . . . one of Danny Butterman's favorite movies, "BAD BOYS 2" and "STARSKY AND HUTCH" (both released in 2003). It has become increasingly difficult to find a comedy that is smart and filled with rich characterization. "HOT FUZZ" can also boast some memorable scenes that I will never forget:

-Sergeant Angel's New Scotland Yard superiors giving him the news about his reassignment
-Angel's first night in Sanford (which includes arresting his future partner)
-David Threlfall and Lucy Punch's hilarious take on "ROMEO AND JULIET"
-Police Constable Doris Thatcher's witty repartee after dealing with one of Simon Skinner's employees
-Danny Butterman's send up on a scene from "POINT BREAK"
-Angel and Skinner's crazy hand-to-hand fight in the middle of a small-scale model of Sanford.

"HOT FUZZ" became one of my favorite movies from 2007. It is a hilariously rich and sharp tale about murder, conspiracy and a great friendship. Thank you Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright for a wonderful film.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Ten Favorite Movies Set During the CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS

Below is a list of my favorite movies set during the Christmas holidays: 


1. "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969) - George Lazenby starred in this adaptation of Ian Fleming's 1963 James Bond novel in which the British agent's search for the infamous terrorist Ernst Stravos Blofeld leads him to a clinic in the Swiss Alps. Directed by Peter Hunt, the movie co-starred Diana Rigg and Telly Savalas.

2. "Die Hard" (1988) - Bruce Willis starred in this adaptation of Roderick Thorp's 1979 novel "Nothing Lasts Forever", in which a New York City police detective is trapped inside a Los Angeles office building, when his estranged wife and her co-workers are held hostage on Christmas Eve. Directed by John McTiernan, the movie co-starred Bonnie Bedalia and Alan Rickman.

3. "The Thin Man" (1934) - William Powell and Myrna Loy starred in this adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's 1933 serialized novel about a retired private detective and his socialite wife who are drawn into a murder case that involves a missing businessman. W.S. Van Dyke directed.

4. "Trading Places" (1994) - Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy starred in this comedy about an upper-class commodities broker and a homeless street hustler whose lives cross paths when they are unknowingly made part of an elaborate bet by the broker's bosses - a pair of wealthy brothers. John Landis directed.

5. "Lethal Weapon" (1987) - Richard Donner directed this buddy cop tale about two mismatched LAPD detectives whose investigation into the death of a young prostitute leads to a well organized drug ring led by a former military intelligence officer. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover starred.

6. "Iron Man 3" (2013) - Tony Stark aka Iron Man deals with a ghost from the past, who has found a new and dangerous method to create super soldiers. Directed by Shane Black, the movie starred Robert Downey Jr. as the armored super hero.

7. "The Santa Clause" (1994) - Tim Allen starred in this holiday classic about an ordinary man who is slated to become the next Santa Clause after he accidentally causes his predecessor to fall from a roof on Christmas Eve. John Pasquin directed.

8. "Die Hard 2: Die Harder" (1990) - Bruce Willis starred in this second "DIE HARD" film, an adaptation of Walter Wager's 1958 novel, "58 Minutes", in which terrorists take control of the Dulles Airport control tower. Renny Harlin directed.

9. "Home Alone" (1990) - Macaulay Calkin starred in this holiday hit about a Chicago boy, who is mistakenly left behind when his family flies to Paris for their Christmas vacation, is forced to contend with a pair of would-be burglars. Directed by John Hughes, the movie co-starred Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern.

10. "The Ice Harvest" (2005) - Harold Ramis directed this adaptation of Scott Phillips' 2000 novel about a shady Midwestern attorney and his partner, who plot to swindle the local mob on Christmas Eve. John Cusak, Billy Bob Thornton and Connie Nielsen starred.