Tag Archives: Daniel Craig

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Logan Lucky, discussed.

LOGAN LUCKY

I dropped by NPR HQ to talk about Steven Soderbergh’s return to features, Logan Lucky, with screenwriter and author Danielle Henderson and regular Pop Culture Happy Hour panelists Linda Holmes and Glen Weldon.  When we recorded this discussion, I’d taken the opportunity to see the movie a second time after filing my review, and my opinion on it had evolved a little. Anyway, you can find the episode here.

I wish I could put my finger on why it read to me as condescending in a Coenesque the first time but not the second. I love the films of Joel and Ethan Coen. But the ones Logan Lucky most recalled for me, Raising Arizona and Fargo, are not among my favorites.

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James-Bonding with Kempenaar & Larsen on Filmspotting No. 563

Underheralded 007 flick "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," from 1969, starring adequately-heralded 007 George Lazenby.

It’s been a few years since I sat in on an episode of Filmspotting, the great Chicago-based radio show and podcast devoted to dissection of movies new and old, famous and obscure, foreign and domestic. But now I can reveal that earlier this week, founding host Adam Kempenaar sent me a highly classified diplomatic cable inviting me to join him an regular co-host Josh Larsen for the Top Five segment of this week’s SPECTRE-themed show, devoted to Favorite Bond Things. I regret only that I did not refer to Diana Rigg’s character from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by her full name, Contessa Teresa Di Vincenzo.

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What’s in an Acro-Name? The Weirdly Punctuated History of S.P.E.C.T.R.E.

I went D.E.E.P. on the H.I.S.T.O.R.Y. of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. for this Atlantic essay chronicling the tortured-acronym-loving cabal’s bizarre contributions to the James Bond literary and film franchises. Anyone with enough interest in the Bond flicks to stick with this thing for nine paragraphs won’t be surprised by the SPECTRE spoiler found therein, but consider yourself duly warned.

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The Ties That Bond: SPECTRE, reviewed.

My NPR review of SPECTRE, definitive Bond Daniel Craig’s 004th appearance as 007, is up at NPR now. The fourth time around has been a trouble spot for every prior Bond — witness 1965’s Thunderball, 1979’s Moonraker, and 2002’s Die Another Day — and Craig is the fourth actor to reach film No. 4 in the role. Before I saw SPECTRE I was convinced I wanted one more Bond flick from him; not I’m not so sure.

Skyfall-In: The Education of Sam Mendes

THUNDERBALL (1965)

I wrote about Skyfall, the new James Bond movie, over at NPR Monkey See. The piece is basically my apology to director Sam Mendes for having expected him to screw this thing up.

Gently Mendes-dissing line I wish I’d written: In his Skyfall review at Grantland, Zach Baron described Mendes as “taking a break from plastic-bagging the American Dream in Revolutionary Road and American Beauty to shred the enduring illusions of his native country instead.” Continue reading

Wherein I return to Pop Culture Happy Hour, and everyone attempts a Schwarzenegger impression except me.

James Bond, in DR. NO (1962) and SKYFALL (2012).

I was delighted to appear on Pop Culture Happy Hour again last week. (Listen here, you.) The show’s A-topic was movie action heroes, inspired by the publication of Arnold Schwarzengger‘s memoir Total Recall (which I’d only half-read prior to taping, on account of its 624-page girth and the fact I’m reading it in tandem with Salman Rushdie‘s equally substantial memoir Joseph Anton) and, I thought, Taken 2 (which I haven’t seen, and won’t, unless it turns up on Encore Action at 11:30 p.m. on a Tuesday eight months from now).

If they’d asked anyone but me to come discuss this topic, I’d have been crushed like Sarah Connor crushed the T-800’s microprocessor-controlled hyperalloy endoskeleton in a hydraulic press.

It turns out that the first half of Arnold’s book is a lot less annoying than the second half.

Happily, Taken 2 did not come up at all.

624 pages!

I’d come prepared to talk about the evolution of the cinema action hero: How the men (usually) of violence, reluctant or not, whose adventures fill seats around the world grew out of a conflation of the gangster pictures that dominated the 1930s and the westerns of the 40s and 50s. In 1962, James Bond arrives onscreen; by 1969, Bond one-timer George Lazenby is watching Telly Savalas (in his sole appearance as one of the series’ recurring characters, cat-loving Bond nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld) break his neck on a low tree limb during the film’s climactic fight atop a bobbing bobsled (!) and observing, “He’s branched off!” Continue reading