Tag Archives: Skyfall

Nobody Does it Better: Daniel Craig kills it in Spectre.

Spectre

I don’t know what the formula is that keeps me coming back to 007.  The Sean Connery years are definitely period pieces by today’s standards.  Roger Moore as James Bond was cool and campy.  Almost like watching Adam West as Batman.  Timothy Dalton was too hard-edged and unforgiving playing the role and for me personally Pierce Brosnan was perhaps channeling a bit too much Remington Steele for my liking.

The series could have continued down that make-believe path of vaudevillian villains with the mega-lair that Dr Evil would be drooling over.  Then came along Daniel Craig, who essentially rebooted bond, and brought a healthy dose of reality and consequence to the character.  Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace changed the game for Bond and upped the stakes to unto before seen levels.

Then Sam Mendes turned the amps up to 11.  I loved everything about Skyfall, the cinematography was beyond anything that had ever graced the world of 007.  The story line actually meant something, the movies dovetailed together.

Spectre brings everything together, including the sins of the past.  The gritty reality of Craig’s bond hits home in ways that have never been explored and only hinted at in Skyfall.  James Bond was once a boy and that boy has a dark past.

Pictures and documents from James’s childhood are recovered from his boyhood home of Skyfall, things he would rather have left behind.  One burned photo from the movie trailer shows two boys and a man standing together in the snow.  Does James Bond have a brother?  And if so how does he fit into the larger picture of the cabal of lies and the shadowy organization that is behind all of it?

Spectre brings the Daniel Craig story arc into sharp focus and ties the clues together.  Who was ultimately behind the deaths of Dame Judy Dench’s “M”, and his love interest Vesper Lynd for whom he was willing to give up his service to crown and country?

Once again Sam Mendes ups the action to almost hyperactive levels in the opening scenes but with the artistic flair very few directors can match at this level.  This is not a CGI slug fest but a film in which a reported 36 million dollars worth of high performance supercars were destroyed in filming.

The Daniel Craig story arc for James Bond has delivered a character examination of a lifestyle that has consequences.  People die, new relationships form and villains have real world ambitions.  The situations depicted in Spectre are going on in the world today.  Intelligence agencies collect data on the population at large in increasing levels.  Phone calls, video surveillance and data transfers are being monitored in real-time but who ultimately controls that information and to what end?

If you love the world of Ian Flemming’s most potent creation do yourself a favor and go see this movie.

My rating for Spectre is 4.5 out of 5.

Authors Note: If you want to learn the real life inspiration for James Bond 007 please use the links below.

William Stephenson the quiet man that would inspire 007

James Bond, Winston Churchill and Adolph Hitler: The Canadian Connection

William Stephenson, Roald Dahl and Ian Flemming: The Birth of James Bond 007

Oh shit, here comes the snow.

Well I guess Winnipeg was due. After all of the grief of Sandy and the blizzards out west.  It’s finally our turn, I hope that the bulk of you who read me in the Winnipeg area have gotten your chance to see the latest James Bond 007 flick Skyfall.  Because according to the forecasts you will not be getting out to see it this weekend.
I apologize to the Winnipeg Public Library, I won’t in all likelihood be able to return my books this weekend. If we get the record setting, 40 cm of snow and blowing conditions that we are expecting you can bill me for the late charges.

Stay safe and sane people.  We are Winnipeg, it’s just a bit of snow after all.
Chill out

Bob

 

Movie Review: Skyfall is simply the best Bond film ever.

Ok, I am admittedly a huge Bond fan going back to as far as I can remember.  I loved the camp of the Roger Moore years before I knew any better and then I learned to appreciate the fierce ruggedness of Connery as I grew to learn the earlier films.  Hell I even appreciated Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

I loved the back to basics Bond that Dalton created on screen, even if the stories were a tad weak given the political climate at the time.  I did struggle with the Brosnan editions finding them a bit too close to Moore as I matured.  Yet I was in the theater every opening weekend.

I know I made a bold, almost outrageous statement saying that Skyfall is the single best James Bond movie of all time; but it’s one I am going to stand behind for several reasons.

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Skyfall premiere here we come!!

As many of you probably know from my exhaustive and often lengthy pieces on the true history of James Bond one William Stephenson of turn of the 20th century Winnipeg that I am both a Winnipeg booster and a James Bond 007 fanatic.  I have been to pretty much every opening night of the Bond saga that I could crawl to since I was a teenager growing up in Fort Frances, Ontario.

Well I am happy to say that the latest James Bond production Skyfall will be no different and even a bit better as Darlene and I will be attending the Winnipeg premiere courtesy of the Winnipeg Free Press.

Free Press movie reviewer Randall King recently published a Bond trivia challenge in the pages of the weekend edition of the Winnipeg Free Press and I am the happy winner of that competition.

Even though I am a geek of some long-standing, I must freely admit that I found the questions very challenging.  I first probed my mind for the easy questions, the song whistled by the janitor in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (the theme from Goldfinger);  to the most obscure asking about James’ witty comeback lines and motivations for the femme fatale bond girls. YIKES!

In any event I must have scored well or been given extra points for showing my work, as I included not only the movie but also character names and actors names for all that I could uncover.  In all it probably took me longer than the movie to come up with the quiz answers but being able to count myself among the first in North America to see Skyfall is priceless.

PLUS as readers of my blog you all will get a great review on Thursday so you all can judge for yourselves if you want to plunk down some coin and see Daniel Craig as James Bond shoot up the silver screen in his 23rd film.

So stay tuned same Bond time, same Bond Channel people.

Here’s a taste to make sure you come back for more.

 

 

William Stephenson, Roald Dahl, and Ian Flemming: The Birth of James Bond 007

With the upcoming release of the twenty-third movie in the James Bond 007 series I thought it was time to finish the true life story of Winnipeg’s own William Stephenson the inspiration for the character of James Bond.

For the back story on Stephenson before World War 2 please read the my earlier posts – William Stephenson the quiet man that would inspire 007 and James Bond, Winston Churchill and Adolph Hitler – The Canadian Connection.

The morning of May 18, 1940 as recorded by Randolph Churchill: “I went up to my father’s bedroom. He was standing in front of his basin and was shaving with his old fashioned Valet razor. He had a tough beard, and was as usual hacking away.

‘Sit down, dear boy, and read the papers while I finish shaving .’ I did as told.  After two or three minutes of hacking away, he half-turned and said: ‘I think I see my way through.’ He resumed shaving.

I was astounded , and said: ‘Do you mean we can avoid defeat (which seemed credible), or beat the bastards (which seemed incredible)?’

He flung his razor into the basin, swung around, and said: ‘Of course I mean we can beat them.’

Me: ‘Well I’m all for that, but I don’t see how you can do it.’

By this time he had dried and sponged his face and turning around to me, said with great intensity: ‘I shall drag the United States in.’

The TRUE Intrepid. By Bill Macdonald. Page 69

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James Bond, Winston Churchill and Adolph Hitler – The Canadian Connection

What are the first things that spring to mind when someone mentions the word “Spy”?  Well, in my mind images start to appear, men in trench coats, stolen and falsified documents, secret codes and spy gadgets.  Not to be forgotten is the legendary drink of fictional super spy James Bond a perfectly poured vodka martini.

Now imagine just for a second that all of these things have a basis in fact and that the man at the center of it all was a real person who inspired the greatest fictional spy of them all Ian Fleming’s Commander James Bond of the Royal Navy.  You would think that I’d been staring at my computer screen just a tad long, wouldn’t you?

Well friends gather round and I’ll continue the story of William Stephenson.  In my last installment I told you all the story of William’s birth in turn of the century Winnipeg, Manitoba, his exploits as a child and his daring as a World War One fighter ace.

The rest of the story picks up back in Winnipeg with a can opener that William had stolen from the Commandant’s quarters while he was imprisoned in a German POW camp.  The design was revolutionary for the time leaving a clean edge on the can lid where other models of the day simply hacked off the top leaving a sharp jagged edge. Since North American patent law did not recognize German patents, William registered the device in North America and went into business forming the Franco-British Supply Company with friend Charles Wilfrid Russell in 1919. Soon after the young business men incorporated the company as Stevenson-Russell Ltd. raising money through selling shares in the community.

The post war period was hard for business and Stephenson-Russell was failing by 1922. William lost face in the Icelandic community he was raised in by not paying back the debts he had incurred while trying to grow the company.  He fled to England while members of his extended family set up a hardware store with the remains of the failed venture.

William Stephenson sends the first image via radio. July 6, 1924.

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William Stephenson the quiet man that would inspire 007.

James Bond is a highly romanticized version of a true spy.  The real thing is… William Stephenson. – Ian Flemming

The Times of London October 21, 1962

It is accepted that Canadians are quiet people, we are not full of random boast or ecstatic praise without good meaning.  This post is an example of a quiet man  who made it to the very top of the silent services before there was a silent service to speak of.

Nothing deceives Like a document. – William Stephenson

William Stephenson was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba to immigrant Icelandic parents just before the turn of the 20th century.  Orphaned by his father at around the age of three, his widowed mother had little choice but to surrender one of her children to an extended family of other Icelandic immigrants.  Historians on the subject often over look this fact and in many sources have quoted an incorrect birthday and indeed an incorrect surname.  Sources have him attending a high school that never existed.  It seems that either the researchers did not attend to proper diligence or the trail has been intentionally made confusing.

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