spen has written 9 reviews for films rated ★½ .

  • Quantum of Solace

    Quantum of Solace

    ★½

    Bond scores 'going rogue' hat-trick in confusing, boring, writers' strike sequel.

    Baroque, choppy action choreography baffles. This violent film has nothing to say. It feels both short and padded with feast-or-famine dialogue, and distracting establishing shots. The script channels post-Iraq anti-American, anti-warming sentiment without conviction. The predecessor's plot overhangs, though what Quantum wants, why Mathis cares about Bond's redemption, and the whereabouts of Mr White escape me. We observe an upskirt shot of an assault survivor.

    Some scenes function well enough. The locations and stars look great. Craig's acting, and the Bond character concept, still better all the old films.

  • Die Another Day

    Die Another Day

    ★½

    Come see a superhero medical intrigue with shit, puntastic dialogue and post-production decadence, starring Halle Berry's incredible boobs.

    Eon collapses into poor lasers, gadgets, slow-mo and miniatures, a museum of itself. Aggressive colour grading renders North Korea (canonically exonerated) ur-grey. Bond marks the War on Terror with torture dance montage and braindead shag with supposedly 007-mirroring but ultimately silly NSA agent Jinx (Berry). Bond fakes arrhythmia to follow inexplicable vendettas. Graves (Stephens, armed with Logitech trackball, playing yellowface straight) and Frost (Pike) valiantly enact dreary panto. The MacGuffin remains at large.

    This movie contains many shiny things and some appealling human flesh.

  • Sonic the Hedgehog

    Sonic the Hedgehog

    ★½

    E.T. sequel starring Crash Bandicoot makes a completely acceptable Zoomer babysitting movie.

    The first five minutes, ending and credits sequence (i.e., all things not set on Earth) play well. Sonic (Schwartz) charms huggably. Wacky contractor Robotnik (Carrey) shines, but aside from a few hits and surprises, his lines need work. Reference-based humour features. Look elsewhere for belly laughs.

    What to say? The 'lonely but loves humanity' concept, wicked nonsense plot and obtrusive product placement failed to entertain me. Sonic farts volubly. A forgettable cop (Marsden) 'stars' as his sidekick.

    Needs more SEGA.

  • The Black Cauldron

    The Black Cauldron

    ★½

    Magic sow reveals almighty weapon to covetous dark lord. Disney debases itself palely imitating Sleeping Beauty.

    High-concept art direction adheres. A surround sound theremin score accompanies fluid, parallaxing animation and cutting-edge CGI, lighting, water and fire effects, all on 70 mm.

    Unfortunately, the movie bores. A dull script produces crappily named wretches carving unearned arcs. Cut-induced brevity solves nothing. Silly in horny sequences, it darkens morbidly in the third act. Gollum stand-in Gurgi's warbling constitutes an assault on my basic liberties.

    Bluth and Spielberg released An American Tale in 1986. Without wishing Katzenberg on anyone, rebirth required a shake-up.

  • Speed Racer

    Speed Racer

    ★½

    Spy Kids with cars, plus The Matrix's sensibility: as naff as it sounds.

    Speed Racer drags, plot-bloated. I couldn't follow beyond 'rich man bad' and 'brother sad'. Why work for such complexity under a dumb fun premise? Do kids want this?

    Except for the combat, peril lacks physicality. Absent character stakes, action feels meaningless. Campy reveals, oceans of colour and whooshing inset cuts, though lovely enough, fail to justify 135 minutes of indulgence.

    Neither warm, funny Pops (Goodman) and Mom (Sarandon), nor peppy love interest (Ricci) can distract from drab writing and over-reliance on a chimp for gags.

  • The Man with the Golden Gun

    The Man with the Golden Gun

    ★½

    Whither 007 after 1973's OAPEC oil embargo crisis? A naff solar-powered laser, sans beam; sans evil plot.

    Asias conflate for a contemporary martial arts craze. Two karateka schoolgirls wipe out an army. Bond stumbles through a wondrous, sloped set aboard the wrecked RMS Queen Elizabeth.

    But Bondian camp requires magnetism. This Bond sucks. He beats his lover, attempts to drown a child, then horndogs Goodnight (Ekland), who disgusts him, presumably out of boredom. Finally he forces her to listen while he fucks somebody else. Hoplophile polytheliac villain Scaramanga (Lee) and sadistic midget Nick Nack (Villechaize) exercise infinitely more charisma.

  • Goldfinger

    Goldfinger

    ★½

    A 'classic' which genuinely bores me, except for when a laser threatens Bond's balls. Bond's hairpiece sucks. The villain threatens to make some bullion dirty. (Did audiences care about this during the gold standard?) The 'romance' boils down to Pussy (Blackman) playing hard to get until Bond assaults her. Three blonde lovers come and go. Two die before they may utter more than a line.

    Goldfinger (Fröbe) pointlessly reveals his plan to mobsters, then kills them. Oddjob (Sakata) spectates the use of a car crusher. Bond's baby blue flannel onesie and Goldfinger's comical suction death stand out.

  • From Russia with Love

    From Russia with Love

    ★½

    For this movie's ploy, Bond faces posthumous release of his sex tape.

    Bond claims to have a wide penis, gets moronically caught off guard, then slaps and humiliates the beautiful Tatiana (Bianchi). Twenty minutes of 'gypsy' tropes include 007 fucking two women who love another man. Adorably slick Kerim (Armendáriz) and Bond develop homosocial romance over violence and objectification of women. Grant (Shaw) and lesbophobic trope Klebb (Lenya) lift an otherwise grotesque film with threat and much-needed soft-core Nazisploitation camp.

    Connery performs best in potentially the most offensive and Cold Wariest 007, but it drags, especially in the final chase.

  • Dr. No

    Dr. No

    ★½

    Dr. No mulches undercooked pulp. Jamaica, independent weeks before the première, functions as Britain's heart of darkness. Bond gambles, jet-sets, assaults women, socialises and karate chops. Spying barely features.

    Sole black character, Quarrel (Kitzmiller) cannot exercise Reason and dies. White men overween, initiating the series' Yellow Peril discussing a 'Chinese gentleman' (Wiseman). Honey (Andress) reveals bizarrely too much trauma to a man she just met. Women are debased and infantilised.

    Highlights include Bond's slightly good hair, ridiculous cyanide and sweat-drenched spider acting, the terrible, screaming score, a cack budget 'dragon' and the inexplicable shower sequence. Bond generates massive nuclear fallout.