Movie Review: GOLDFINGER, 1964. 3rd James Bond Movie

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GOLDFINGER,  MOVIE POSTERGOLDFINGER, 1964
Movie Reviews

Directed by Guy Hamilton
Starring Sean Connery, Gert Frobe, Honor Blackman, Shirley Eaton, Harold Sakata and Bernard Lee.
Review by Jesse Ryder Hughes

SYNOPSIS:

A vengeful Bond is sent to see where the megalomaniac Auric Goldfinger gets his gold by M. Bond and Goldfinger have many one on one confrontations where Bond figures out that Goldfinger has a plan that could send the U.S.A into economic turmoil, while Goldfinger profits from the misfortunes.

REVIEW:

If you don’t know James Bond, most people would recognize Auric Goldfinger and his Korean bodyguard Oddjob, spoofed a lot due to his metal hat he throws to murder people. Goldfinger and Oddjob are so iconic to the Bond franchise. Bond and Goldfinger have numerous confrontations both playing at each others game, while a massive looming Korean with his lethal hat hangs out ready to kill on Goldfinger’s orders.

Goldfinger is one of the best Bond’s. It is so entertaining it is impossible not to enjoy it. They started pushing the genre and it is noticeable in this film. In From Russia with Love Bond had his fun briefcase from Q. Now he has a full on Aston Martin with so many gadgets, even an ejector seat. Red grant seemed to be unstoppable, but Bond managed to get the best of him in a fight. Now Oddjob is the force to be reckoned with and Bond has to use is wits more than his muscle to stop him.

What I like about Goldfinger the most is the fact that Bond can’t save everyone. The first bit of the film Jill Masterson, a young pretty girl working for Goldfinger is seduced by bond and Bond makes Goldfinger lose his high stakes card game. As punishment Goldfinger has Jill Masterson killed by painting her completely in gold paint suffocating her skin.

This is the first time we see Bond fail to protect a female. Later in the movie he fails again. We see Connery affected by these moments, but Connery’s Bond doesn’t carry the burdens of the deaths with him as we see in Daniel Craig’s portrayal of Bond. Connery’s Bond seems too fast with his emotions.

Nevertheless we root for Connery as he uses every trick up his sleeve to foil Goldfinger. The classic scene where he is about to get zapped in half by the laser gun and he talks Goldfinger into saving him is so intense with Goldfingers famous line “I expect you to Die,” he says it with such joy as well. I love as well Goldfingers room where he is explaining his plans to all the mafiosi and he has built all these contraptions in his room that move and rotate into maps and models. He must of spent a lot of money, which is why he is so insane. I can’t help to think that it is a lot of evidence if he ever gets caught.

When the Fort Knox scene comes it is so action packed and the pace doesn’t let down until the end when Pussy Galore (one of many bond girl names with sexual connotations) and Bond get together.

Goldfinger is one of the funnest Bond’s. It crazier than the first two films, but it works well for what an audience wants. Gold was a huge resource back then like oil is today and Goldfinger is just a fun bad guy to watch. He is one of my favorite Bond villains and even though Oddjob’s hat throwing is ridiculous, it fits into Bonds universe where you can’t really be surprised by what any of the bad guys do. Goldfinger was one of the first box office successes of its time and the Bond films really took off after Goldfinger, and I have to say I am glad they did.

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Movie Review: FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, 1963. 2nd James Bond Film

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FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE,  MOVIE POSTERFROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, 1962
Movie Reviews

Directed by Terence Young
Starring Sean Connery, Pedro Armendariz, Lotte Lenya, Robert Shaw, Daniela Bianchi and Bernard Lee.
Review by Jesse Ryder Hughes

SYNOPSIS:

It comes to MI6’s attention that a Russian girl has defected and offered to bring a lektor decoding device to MI6 in exchange that James Bond comes and retrieves her and the device. Bond rightfully responds that it is a trap, but who is setting the trap? Is it the Russians?

REVIEW:

Off the bat I have to say that From Russia with Love is my favorite Bond film and Bond novel. The film follows the source material relatively close, except a few minor changes, but that doesn’t matter, because the film is exciting and it flows extremely well. Unlike Dr. No we know the plan of the foes right off the bat. We have to watch Bond from a distance and he thinks he’s got everything figured out. He thinks the Russians are setting him up, but it is in fact SPECTRE. Bond doesn’t know this until over halfway into the film and you can see on Connery’s face that it is a huge blow to the ego. SPECTRE wants Bond dead for killing Dr. No and they want to steal the Lektor to sell it back to the Russians to help fund their organization. So why not kill two birds in one stone. Get MI6, who have been trying to get a lektor for ages, to send Bond to get the Lektor, SPECTRE sends an assassin to kill Bond get the Lektor into SPECTRE’s hands, all the time Russia and England will be blaming each other.

The film took place during the intense cold war and the film does a good job at portraying that, which makes SPECTRE that much more diabolical is that they are taking advantage of world issues for their own gain. The film is a perfect balance. There is not too much and not too little. We aren’t overwhelmed by an overabundance of set pieces and gadgets just yet and this is Connery’s most vulnerable film as Bond, particularly when Red Grant, the Irish psychopath working for SPECTRE proves that bond doesn’t always know what is going on, which leads into an amazing fight scene in a train car. It’s not like a Jason Bourne fight, but for 1963 I can imagine it was a very similar experience at the time.

This is the first film to introduce Q and his gadgets, which become a James Bond staple. Bond gets a suitcase full of fun toys that always conveniently help him on the way.

Although the gadgetry was never in the books, it is fun, especially for young males to imagine all the cool things Bond can play with. Later films they keep topping the previous films and the gadgets get more ridiculous, but for now they are simple and fun.

The villains in From Russia with Love are very memorable. Rosa Klebb is the nasty woman who spearheads the operation under No. 1 who’s face we do not see, but through her fear we know he is not to be toyed with. She hires Red Grant, a man who makes James Bond enjoyable prey to hunt. He is very strong and begins a long line of Bond foes that seem indestructible, raising the danger levels higher.

With all the new add ons that upped the ante for the series From Russia with love remains my favorite, because it is more believable than a lot of other Bond films, which is what makes the film more exciting. There’s a connection with from Russia with Love that the other films don’t have for me, and that is what constitutes as good story telling for this type of genre. There has to be a sense of being grounded in reality even if it is a crazy spy story and From Russia With Love achieves that the best of the early Bonds films

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Movie Review: DR NO, 1962. First James Bond Film

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dr_noDR NO, 1962
Movie Reviews

Directed by Terence Young
Starring Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman, Jack Lord and Bernard Lee.
Review by Jesse Ryder Hughes

SYNOPSIS:

James Bond is sent to investigate the murders of an operative and his secretary, stationed in Jamaica. While there he discovers there is more going on than anyone could imagine. The locals are scared out of their minds to talk, there is a huge lack of trust between anyone, a mysterious island and everyone seems to want James Bond dead.

REVIEW:

I am a huge James Bond fan, for many reasons, like many others I love James Bond himself. A cool, ultra suave and sophisticated spy, unafraid to practically do anything dangerous. He sounds like the ultimate hero and dammit he is. The Bond films have grown with the times to suit what the audience wants (Moonraker: the Star Wars James Bond) and to even give a jolt of reality and portray Bond with real emotional feelings (On her Majesty’s Secret Service, Casino Royale). The Bond girls have grown with the times as becoming more and more strong willed dependent women that don’t need to fully rely on Bond and Bond to rely on them more. I just wanted to discuss where I am going to go as I do my reviews of these films I love. The first of the films Dr. No is one of my favorites and it is the film that introduced all the Bond standards you would expect from a James Bond movie.

The film starts with the signature shot looking through the gun barrel and a man turns and shoots, blood comes down the screen. It’s not Connery, but we get the picture that it is James Bond and he WILL KILL YOU if you have a gun pointed at him. Pretty cool and also a little scary when you think about it. He is a dangerous man. After an arousing title sequence we start with three blind men, seemingly walking a fair distance, pretending to be blind until they meet up with Strangways, the British operative stationed in Jamaica, they use their disability cunningly and WHAT!! Yeah, they kill Strangways. They kill his secretary as well and steal a file entitled Dr. No from the office. From there we meet Bond for the first time and right off the bat we know were safe with the man where he wins the first of many hands gambling ( I actually think he can see through the backs of cards). Bond gets his first girl, which becomes a controversial subject in the Bond films, the portrayal of Women by Bond.

Bond meets M who sends him to Jamaica to investigate Strangways murder. Bond goes, and the story then unfolds almost like a Raymond Chandler novel. Dr. No more than any other Bond film is more of a mystery. That is why I like Dr. No so much. You are putting the puzzle together with Bond. A small murder case turns into a plot by Dr. No to Disrupt radio transmissions in the American space program, which would cause chaos at the cape Canaveral rocket launch sites. Like Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, Bond uncovers more and more of the truth from locals, enemies and evidence pointing toward an island called crab key, that none of the locals will go near. Bond meets Honey Rider (Ursula Andress) in crab key in the most famous bond girl scene in the series. I don’t blame it for being famous it is sexy and at the time probably too sexy.

So far in the film Dr. No (who belongs to a terrorist organization called SPECTRE) himself has been the ultimate mystery. For 3 quarters of the film we had only heard his voice, which was almost godlike, like a lot of future Bond villains, they appear to have complexes of all destroying the world on a global scale. Dr. No’s lair is brilliantly decorated by Ken Adam who starts a trait for Bond’s foes as having rich living conditions.

Overall Dr. No sets the standard for Bond films and opens us up to the world of Bond, his witty one liners and his smooth talking demeanor. Not only that it is a solid movie and definitely in my top 5 of the series. Sure it is a little outlandish and almost silly by todays standards, but it works so well and is a lot of fun. It also works to stay within the times by using the antagonist’s idea to disrupt the space race which was a huge and exciting ordeal at the time. Bond is the hero we need to protect us as the world moves forward around us. He is the hero that keeps the world running smoothly.

 

 

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Watch Audience Feedback: Action Short Film KNOCKED DOWN

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  MOVIE POSTERKNOCKED DOWN, Animation/Action, 3min, Spain
Directed by Pepe Gomez

A young boxer ponders about the world of boxing while fighting for the championship belt.

Director’s Statement:

There are three main goals I wanted to achieve to this film. First of all, I aimed to capture in a film some of my own experiences in the world of boxing. Secondly, I wanted to play with the black and white, the light and the darkness. My last goal was to explore the movement of the human body, especially in slow motion, and to experiment and discover new techniques to recreate slow motion in animation.

The whole idea behind this film is to offer the viewer a first person, immersive experience of a boxing fight, and everything we see is designed to achieve that: the close ups, the use of the light, the sound, the narration…. Everything tries to take us as close to the combat as possible, and even, at times, inside the mind of one of the boxers.

The story is actually quite simple, a young boxer fights for the title of champion, but during the fight he keeps thinking about how, despite like boxing, he is disgusted by the constant screaming of the fans, the useless advise of each coach, and all the charade that comes with every boxing fight. Then at some point he gets knocked down, and during the brief moment of his fall, which we experience in super slow motion, he ponders about if it is really worth it to fight so hard to get a belt.

The way the story is told defines the very structure of the film, which is divided in two parts. First, a succession of fast boxing scenes, with short, energetic thoughts. And a second part, after being knocked down, that happens all in slow motion, and the monologue goes much more quiet, relaxed and reflexive.

The design aspect is very straight forward, it was very important to being able to differentiate the boxers from each other, and I achieve that by making them very different in their faces, their bodies, and even the way they move, and their boxing styles. The rest of the characters are design to look realistic, but very static, to contrast to the fast, continuous movements of the boxers. The whole film is pure black and white, with influences of the noir and, of course, the Sin City graphic novels. This is a style I think fits pretty well with the general atmosphere of the movie, and it makes it easy to emphasize the crowd, or to isolate the two boxers when needed.

The sound is also very important to set the mood of the film, all the sounds made by the boxers were recorded in the Foley room: the breathing, the punches, the groans of pain… And they were combined with royalty free sounds used for the crowd, the cameras, etc. The sound, as the images, is design to bring us closer to what the main character is feeling, we hear his breathing when he is tired, we hear the constant screaming of the fans when he is annoyed by them… And then we also have a narration in voice over, which help us to understand not only what he is feeling, but also what is he thinking.

There is also two songs in the movie, one at the beginning, as part of the introduction of one of the boxers, and a second one, that will take the place of every other sound effect once the main character is knocked down, and will help to set this disorienting feeling as he falls in slow motion. The technical part was a very interesting process, particularly for the slow motion parts. I couldn’t find much of slow motion 2d animation to use as a reference. After much experimenting, the effect was achieve with a mixture of digital hand drawn in TV paint; and puppet tools and 3d cameras in after effects. All this gives the film a very unique style, and it helps to tell a story about boxing in a way it hasn’t been done before.

FIGHT Stories from the Festival

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Watch the best of FIGHT stories and films showcased at the FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival.

ACTORSHORT SCRIPT – CAGEY
June 2014 Reading
Written by JJ Hillard

ACTORTHE DEVIL’S LARCENY – Feature Script
May 2014 Reading
Written by Howard Fridkin

ACTORFEATURE SCRIPT – SHAPESHIFTERS
June 2014 Reading
Written by Andrew Fisk

ACTORFEATURE SCRIPT READING – THE FIX FACTORY
October 2014 Reading
Written by Kyle Jenkins

ACTOR1ST SCENE SCRIPT – CAHOOTS
September 2014 Reading
Written by Elan Carlson

ACTOR1ST SCENE SCRIPT – WHEN NIGHT TURNS TO DAY
March 2014 Reading
Written by Amy Guggenhein

ACTOR1ST SCENE SCRIPT – DRAGGING THE MARK
July 2013 Reading
Written by Suzy Stein


festival posterTHE GOOD BOY
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK Video


15min, Drama/Sports, USA


festival posterCHUB
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK


27min, USA, Youth/Drama

ACTORFEATURE SCRIPT Reading of LEGACY
September 2015 Reading
Written by Marc W. Johnson


festival posterZARAUTZEN EROSI ZUEN
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK


16min, Spain, Drama


festival posterMEDIATION
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK Video


14min, USA, Thriller/Film Noir

ACTORFEATURE SCRIPT – Pontiff No Return
October 2015 Reading
Written by Eric Boyd

ACTORFEATURE SCRIPT – Yellow Touch Red, You’re Dead
November 2015 Reading
Written by Lauren Hoekstra

ACTORSHORT SCRIPT – Batman: Patient Zero
December 2015 Reading
Written by Andrew Akler

ACTORSHORT SCRIPT – HOW IT STARTS
July 2015 Reading
Written by Ed Vassie


festival posterA PEACEFUL MAN
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK

2015
4min, Australia, Action/Thriller


festival posterVALOR CAT
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK

2015
Animation/Comic Book, 7min, USA


festival posterKNOCKED DOWN
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK

2015
Animation/Action, 3min, Spain

Watch the Best of Action/Adventure Performance Readings: