I watched the endings of some movies, during the brief period of time when amazon prime was working fine on my laptop.

The Tomorrow War (2021, Chris McKay)

The sci-fi thing that opens with Chris Pratt falling out of the sky. Two hours later, someone’s gonna have to blow this ship manually. Gunner JK Simmons is saved from dreadful-looking CG wolfoctopus beasties by a soldier with a chainsaw. Post-splosion, it’s up to Pratt, his dad Simmons and Chainsaw Guy to track and kill the mother alien. Comes down to melee weapons, a hard-won triumph, and Chainsaw Guy missed the whole battle. Lot of self-sacrifice talk, a very lame home reunion scene, Pratt having been fighting aliens from the future to protect his perfect suburban family. Wonder if Pratt’s “dad” is actually Pratt from the future? Chainsaw Guy is Sam Richardson from Werewolves Within, which I rented this SHOCKtober but didn’t get around to watching. The director’s background is Robot Chicken, and the writer did that Ethan Hawke movie in volume 23.

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (2021, Will Sharpe)

Another true story of an eccentric artist, but we’ve run out of artists to biopic, so this is a guy who painted psychedelic cats? 1925, it’s in 4:3 in Dr. Cook’s asylum, where inspector Adeel Akhtar (Four Lions) recognizes a washed-up Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch with Mark Twain hair). “I have failed,” cries Wain, then narrator Olivia Colman leads us to a much nicer asylum where Wain can see cats again, and HG Wells (NICK CAVE) gives him a shout out on the airwaves. Reportedly only the Claire Foy sections were good, and she’s gone by ’25, but we get a brief flashback to her dying. The director also made a Colman miniseries with David Thewlis this year, cowriter Simon Stephenson worked on Luca.

The World Is Not Enough (1999, Michael Apted)

Picking up where I left off in volume 007. These things are complicated, so checking the wikis to see what they’re about before jumping into their last ten… Pierce Brosnan is supposed to protect rich girl Sophie Marceau from nuclear-armed villain Robert Carlyle, ok. Bond and the baddie and Denise Richards are on a sinking submarine! The action and acting look not so hot – did Carlyle and Brosnan have in their contract that they’re not allowed any realistic fight scenes? Exciting music plays as Bond has to hold his breath for a really long time. Bond plugs a hose into a socket which shoots a rod through a cavity, I think it’s a metaphor. Cleese and Dench, a high-tech sex joke and a Y2K reference, nice.

Die Another Day (2002, Lee Tamahori)

Another billionaire is involved, and it’s one of those twisty triple-cross mole movies so I won’t expect to know what’s going on. Something extremely explodey is happening while Rosamund Pike is threatening Halle Berry at swordpoint on a plane and Pierce fights large-mouthed villain Toby Stephens. Halle and Pierce both make good kills with nice 90’s kissoff dialogue, but the action’s a hash and the slow-mo photography and CG flair are laughable. Why’d they cast Michael Madsen as a good guy? The smarmy dialogue seems forced as they fall from the plane in an escape helicopter. High-tech and low-tech sex jokes.

Casino Royale (2006, Martin Campbell)

Prequel time, new Bond Daniel Craig, whose job is to bankrupt yet another rich guy so he can’t finance evil stuff, ok. Movie long as hell, so I’ll give it eleven minutes. A more grounded movie, no crashing vehicles, Bond is a guy with a pistol using ingenuity to save Eva Green from eyepatched baddies. I spoke too soon – the Venice building itself is collapsing/sinking as a stand-in for World’s submarine. Since it’s a 60’s throwback, women can’t fight – all Eva can do is commit suicide-by-elevator. Wait a second, Bond’s using a Vaio laptop and Ericsson phone in the postscript, so it’s a prequel set in the present, and sponsored by Sony? I think all the major actors were already dead, so I missed Isaach de BankolĂ© and Jeffrey Wright and Mads Mikkelsen. This looked much more decent than the last couple, but still not approaching Mission: Impossible quality.

Quantum of Solace (2008, Marc Forster)

In which Bond stumbles upon another rich terrorist whilst avenging the death of Eva Green. The action’s a hash again, but that’s because Bond is fighting an axe-wielding Mathieu Amalric, and you gotta shake the camera a lot to make that look convincing. These things always feature guys outrunning explosions, and a gun dropping down some metal stairs out of reach. Bond and Olga Kurylenko escape a lot of fire and abandon Amalric in the desert, then he chases down a Quantum agent and has closing dialogue with Judi Dench in the snow, Bond not having much film-end luck with the ladies ever since the movies killed his best girl.

The Aeronauts (2019, Tom Harper)

Out of Bond movies I can watch for free, this is the Eddie Redmayne ballooning movie. Their hot air balloon is falling from above the clouds, so they toss lots of heavy objects from a great height, probly not killing anyone below since populations were sparse in 1862, then Eddie cuts loose the basket so the balloon will act as a parachute, which drags poor Felicity Jones through a field. They are two cheesy handsome youths, and both survive for narrator Felicity to run around giggling while Eddie presents his scientific findings to an all-bearded-men conference. From the director of Wild Rose.

Vivarium (2019, Lorcan Finnegan)

Watched the opening scene on a wiki tip that it featured baby birds, then plunge into the sci-fi dystopia. Poots attacks her neighbor with a pickaxe, but he’s a skittering insectoid from a subterranean hellhouse, and she keeps quicksanding through the floor into color-coded Charlie Kaufman realms. The alien baby-man buries Poots, I guess Eisenberg is the other bodybag in the hole. Cool looking set, anyway.

Oh look, netflix streaming has a whole bunch of James Bond movies. I never watched them consistently, saw a couple all the way through and a bunch more in fragments on cable. So this is an attempt to figure out which Bond is which, and which movies were halfway decent.

Thunderball (1965)
Sean Connery is not-so-excitingly rescued by a helicopter, yells some exposition that I didn’t quite catch. Underwater harpoon battle! Black team vs. orange team, heavy casualties. Everyone except Bond is wearing pants. The movie harpoons a shark, booo. I hope the movie ate that shark. Bond catches up with grey-haired eyepatched Largo (Adolfo Celi of Diabolik and The Phantom of Liberty) aboard the Disco Volante – aha – slaps him around while the boat accelerates to Benny Hill speed. He escapes with a girl named Domino (Claudine Auger of A Bay of Blood), who also has no pants. They ditch the Peter Lorre-like fellow who helped rescue her, and escape into a bluescreen sky. Director Terence Young’s third Bond movie – he’d later make Wait Until Dark.

You Only Live Twice (1967)
Connery fails to escape Donald “Dr. Evil” Pleasence by shooting a guy with his cigarette. Lots of men (ninjas, according to IMDB) fight in different-colored outfits. Bond knocks an unpunchable tough guy into a pirahna pool and pushes the button that makes a spacecraft on TV blow up. Pleasence blows the whole base, but every single person escapes anyway, and the same planes drop the same lifeboats as in the last movie. Bond ends up in one with a girl named Kissy (Mie Hama of What’s Up Tiger Lily).

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Jill St. John (of Tashlin & Lewis flick Who’s Minding The Store?) is making a mockery of clothing in her purple/red flag swimsuit. Connery does acrobatics in a suit, while helicopters explode into optical stills. Baddy Blofeld (Charles Gray of the Rocky Horror movies) enters a toy submarine held by a Bond-controlled crane. Connery gleefully wrecking-balls the toy into the control tower until the whole derrick explodes. Nice finale featuring one waiter on fire and another exploding mid-air.

Live and Let Die (1973)
Heroin dealer Yaphet Kotto (of Bone, Alien and the show Homicide) has stolen Roger Moore’s inflation gun, shows off all his silly bad-guy toys (a monorail, waterproof heroin canisters) then threatens Bond and Jane “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” Seymour with death by shark. Every movie so far has featured watery deaths. In the most WTF moment of any movie so far, Bond shoves a compressed-air pellet into Yaphet’s head, turning him into a balloon. The last-minute assassination-attempt is back, and Moore tosses a metal-claw-handed Julius Harris (of Black Caesar) out his train window.

The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
The great Christopher Lee (year after The Wicker Man) is TMWTGG, but Moore shoots him dead before he’s got any lines – shame. Nice scene, all rotating mirrors and neon triangles. Criminals used to put such style into their lairs. Britt Ekland (also of Wicker Man) tosses a guy into subzero liquid (another watery death), then triggers self-destruct with her ass, the least competent of any bond girl so far. He and the girl sail away in an ancient Chinese ship, pausing to dispose of an angry HervĂ© Villechaize (soon after Greaser’s Palace). These last three were directed by Guy Hamilton, who’d go on to make Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins.

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
A boat is blowing up – more water, and oh look, more sharks. Moore is aboard the evil aquatic base, shoots boring Curd Jurgens (star of both a Blue Angel remake and a Threepenny Opera remake), sics Jaws on a shark (a funny joke in the mid-1970’s) and escapes with lovely enemy spy Barbara Bach – codename Triple X, another joke. It all seems rather inert, the least-exciting Bond finale I’ve seen despite Jaws and explosions.

Moonraker (1979)
Oh god, laser gun battles. Moore ejects Michael Lonsdale (!) into space then watches some Star Wars models out the window. Jaws is in love with a girl with pigtails and it’s sweet. He even gets dialogue, helps Bond and Lois Chiles (of Broadcast News) into a shuttle where they play high-stakes space invaders then celebrate with zero-G sex. These last two and You Only Live Twice were directed by Lewis Gilbert, who helmed some thrillers in the 50’s and more recently an Aidan Quinn ghost story.

For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Moore is in a decidedly low-tech mountain hideout, with a full team for once. Punch-out in a church, people thrown through stained glass windows, and another one of those tough guys who just smiles when Bond punches him in the gut. It’s all for some Texas Instruments-looking device which Bond hurls off a cliff so the Russians won’t get it. Not nearly as exciting as the others, with an unsexy PG version of the gag ending from the last few, then a dubbed macaw to close it out. John Glen, editor of the last couple Bond films, is promoted to director and takes the series through License to Kill.

Octopussy (1983)
Hooray for gypsies, acrobats, dancers and sad clowns. This makes up for the drab brownness of the last movie. The title character (Maud Adams, returning from Golden Gun) has a gun and Bond is nowhere to be found. Oh here he is, in a hot air balloon of course. Some Goldeneye-(the video game)-style first-person machine-gunning. Bond on horseback chases down the Afghani/Indian villains’ plane and just rides around on top of it. Louis Jordan (star of Letter from an Unknown Woman) flies his plane into a cliff after Bond and the girl jump to safety. They’ve toned down the sexy ending even further – this is getting out of hand.

Never Say Never Again (1983)
Weird, a non-canonical Bond film from a rival studio, a remake of Thunderball from the director of The Empire Strikes Back featuring the return of Sean Connery. Never having cared about the 007 series, this is not something I ever suspected existed. Connery has a jetpack! He and partner Bernie Casey (of Cleopatra Jones and The Man Who Fell To Earth) scuba into a paper-mache fortress where Max von Sydow reigns, a less-iconic Largo. Bond, as in the original, can be easily recognized as the one without pants. An underwater battle ensues, with worse lighting, much less harpooning, and slightly more Kim Basinger than before. In the would-be sexy postscript scene, Bond dumps Rowan Atkinson into a swimming pool – so, less Benny Hill, more Mr. Bean.

A View to a Kill (1985)
Opens with a disclaimer about baddie Chris Walken’s character name “Zorin” – I wonder what prompted that. Anyway, very excited to see Grace Jones with new wave hair helping out Roger Moore. She explodes while a slick blonde Walken watches from above, as does the proper blonde love interest (Tanya Roberts of The Beastmaster and Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. Bond dangles from a zeppelin line as Walken tries to shake him loose in the city, accompanied by corny dialogue. Punch-out atop the Golden Gate bridge features lots of bluescreen backdrops, Chris Walken with an axe, and an angry old man with a cartoon stick of dynamite. Postscript involves a camera-equipped robot, chuckling Russians and somehow an even less sexy finale than the Rowan Atkinson one. Come on now, 1980’s.

The Living Daylights (1987)
Roger has been retired to a closet at MGM, and was never heard from again. Tim Dalton is flying a plane around with Maryam d’Abo (of Shootfighter), blowing up a bridge while Arabs wage war below. Hmm, they drive out of a crashing plane in a jeep. Warfare afficionado MITCHELL is blasting away at Bond – thought I remembered him as a good guy in the later ones. Mitchell is dead, so never mind. Ash liked all the whistling in this one.

When bad American drug guys feed 007’s friend to big fish, there will be many fish-related revenge killings! But when Bond is fired by the British government for going vigilante, he goes… well, even more vigilante to continue the revenge stuff. Movie soon turns less aquatic, with more dirty, dusty drugs-and-oil-type crime going down. This is the movie where Bond drives a tanker truck up on half its wheels to avoid a missile blast, which is only slightly less laughable than the rocket vs. handcart scene in Darkman III: Die Darkman Die, but looks cooler.

From John Glen (the director of a Christopher Columbus movie with Tom Selleck) and the writer of The Great Gatsby (according to IMDB, anyway). Timothy Dalton of Hot Fuzz is Bond. Movie seemed long; was long.

Must’ve been sponsored by velcro – the stuff pops up everywhere.

Most importantly, Benicio Del Toro:

Benicio Del Toro!

Benicio Del Toro: