Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh, The Weather Outside is Frightful



Indeed yes, winter has kicked the ass of the Pacific Northwest, including yours truly. Snow, ice, freezing
rain, flurries, sleet, wind chills...you name it, we got it and it's whipping me like a domanatrix's boy toy. Now they're saying we're going to have a blizzard...and not the kind you can buy at DQ. It's cold too. Real brass monkey weather. And damn, when ain't so freakin' treacherous, it's pretty awe inspiring. Today, I looked towards the surrounding hills, veiled in fog with the trees dusted with powdered sugary snow, making it all seem like some kind of repressed Guy Maddin memory. Yeah, the winter weather can sometimes takes your breath, in more ways than one. (Hey, isn't that Jack Nicholson I see outside my window running through the neighborhood? Who is this Danny kid he keeps yelling for? Goddamn it, he's annoying...) The bottom line is this: After ten years up here, I'm still a rank amateur in the ways of the winter. Where I came from, down in Stockton, Cal., all we had to worry about was fog. Well, and bullets, but that's not exactly a seasonal weather condition, is it? That's year round fun!

On to other matters...

Isn't that Barack Obama the best president ever. He hasn't even taken office yet and already he has a 99% approval rating. And look how he reaches across the aisle to the other side and gives them the best Christmas present ever: Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Hey Conservatives! Now you don't have to shred all those hilarious jokes you guys have been saving since the Nineties! I can't wait to receive them all in my e-mail inbox...AGAIN.

A friend of mine recently e-mailed me with this:

"I just saw the new Bond movie. The villain reminds me of you. You have his eyes."


She's referring to French actor Mathieu Amalric,who plays Dominic Greene in QUANTUM OF SOLACE.

Coincidentally enough, Amalric starred in last year's THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, playing a man who suffers a severe stroke and is completely paralyzed except his left eye. He uses a code to blink out his memoir to a transcriber, one letter at a time.
I suppose I should be flattered.

She could have said I looked like Gert Frobe.

Speaking of the new Bond film, I have to say that even though it isn't as good as CASINO ROYALE, it made for a more pleasurable personal movie-going experience. Bond movies always seem to be suited for the Xmas season, so that put in the right mood. Wandering through downtown Portland, which I haven't done for awhile and especially not during the holidays, gave a peace of mind I probably wouldn't have if I stayed out in the Burbs. The theater I chose, which still a wretched multi-plex, at least had the decency to provide good enough sound-proofing so that I didn't have to be subjected to the booming, screeching sounds of TRANSPORTER 3 next door. Finally, the auditorium was near empty, giving me the near-solitude I require since, as I've said many a time, that's the way, uh huh uh huh, I like it. Uh huh, uh huh.

The film itself is really slapdash, the producers leaning way too much on the adrenaline throttle of the BOURNE series. One action scene follows another with minimal story development that it began to resemble a porn film. The editing on these sequences too is so over-amped that is gets repetitious and almost tiring to the point that when the film finally slows down to take a breath, it appears to just crawl, but it really isn't.

And I love Judi Densch as much as the next guy...maybe even more....woof! There is nothin' like a Dame...but why in the hell is she back as M when the whole point was to start from scratch, Hence ,no gadgets, Q, bad puns, quips, cartoonish plots and a new Bond. As good Jude is, she belongs to the Pierce Brosnan era. A new M would have really helped clean the slate. 

However, QUANTUM does few things wrong and becomes a worthy addition to not only the new incarnation of Ian Fleming's character, but serves as the first direct sequel to a Bond film and provides closure on the rebooting of the series. I appreciated the callbacks to previous entries, particularly GOLDFINGER, ironically enough, and ending with the gunbarrel signature and the James Bond Theme. Several sequences stand out, action-wise with bullring chase and fight near the opening and the finale in the desert. Then there is that great pivotal moment on the jet flying to South America with Bond, loaded after quite a few martinis, confessing to the only men he feels he can trust, one of them his bartender.

That is MY Christmas present this year...the return of my original hero...Bond, James Bond.

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Good Kwanzaa, Delightful Ramadan, whatever you happen to celebrate. Have one on me whatever that one may be and, as I always say at this time of year...I really mean it this time...

BE GOOD TO EACH OTHER AND PLEASE, BE GOOD TO YOURSELVES. WE ALL DESERVE IT.
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