James Bond: Thunderball (1965)

Bloody hell! Old Thunder Balls has only gone and got himself a flipping JET PACK! 
To help him recover from his Jetpack Joyride, M sends him off to a clinic where he (I think this is the only way I can describe this) rapes his physiotherapist. I mean, she eventually wants to, repeatedly, but she definitely says no beforehand. Jesus wept, James, this is the kind of shit I’d except from Felix Leiter, not you. 
Anyway, glossing over that unfortunate incident, he goes off looking for some nuclear warheads in the top half of a wetsuit, has some (consensual) underwater sex, and does his usual James Bond thing.
Most people don’t seem to like this film so much, but I found it the best of the four I’ve now watched. There was enough going on to keep me interested, and it moved along quickly. 
The only negative would be that I didn’t really like the Tom Jones theme song – this Johnny Cash offering is way better in my eyes.

Anna Karenina (2012)

Having read Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to feel about a film adaptation. If for no other reason, then just because the book is so bloody long. How can you condense something of that size into a two hour film?

The answer, it seems, is by setting the majority of it in a theatre (cleverly mirroring Tolstoy’s own feelings about the superficial nature of Russian society), and by chopping out the boring bits where Levin bangs on about farming reforms for 300 pages. Instead we are left with a rather pleasant montage of him discussing slavery while working with the peasants.

I went to see it with a friend and my boyfriend (actually the other two members of the Bond watching club). Neither of them had read the book, so it was interesting to get their feedback. My friend ‘couldn’t get her head round the fact that it was set in a theatre. Was the book any better?’. She has little time for the avant garde. My boyfriend was a lot more enthusiastic, saying that although he found the story dull, he thought the actual film was beautiful. He’s quite interested in the film making process, so I was pleased that he enjoyed that aspect of it.

And it was beautiful. I loved the theatre setting, I loved the stylised feeling, the sweeping set changes, the rhythms created by the extras which were incorporated into the soundtrack, it was all wonderful. However, I had other problems.

Firstly, I’m not a fan of Keira Knightley. She’s stunning, and that worked very well in this film, but she spends a lot of time playing the same character in each film. I’ve seen every expression on her face so many times now, I can’t help but wonder if she pulls the same faces in her every day life.

Secondly, Anna Karenina is not the most exciting story in the world. I think a good job was made of condensing it, but it remained less than scintillating.

Finally, I didn’t like the translation which they used. The copy of the book I read was spellbindingly quotable, and it’s a shame that they didn’t use more of the dialogue from that. Some of my favourite lines from the book were in the film, but with an awful clunky phrasing.

I normally just avoid watching films which are adaptations of books I’ve read. They don’t work for me and I come away feeling let down. This was a rare example of a film being better. I’d watch it again, which is unusual for me anyway, but especially unusual when I found the story a little dull. Sometimes, just sometimes, good looks can be the most important thing.

James Bond: Goldfinger (1964)

Everything he touches turns to excitement, eh? Want to place bets on what he’s touching in that first picture?

James gets some cool gadgets, boots it off somewhere exotic, steals Goldfinger’s girlfriend, has sex with someone (the famous Pussy Galore, no less) until they agree to help him, then tries to stop Goldfinger from stealing all the gold in Fort Knox. 
This film is probably worth watching for the amazingly poor quality green screen work in the Florida* section of this film. Although I also love the section with the most stupid gangsters in the whole of America getting all freaked out and confused every time anything happens.
‘Hey, what’s happenin’ here?’
‘Whatcha doin’ now?’
*As an aside, did you know that the rapper Flo Rida is pronounced as Florida on French-Belgian radio stations. 

James Bond: From Russia with Love (1963)

A Russian hotty wants to defect, and bring with her a decoding machine. However, she’ll only defect straight into the arms of everyone’s favourite super spy, Mr. James Bond. It all sounds too good to be true, and of course, it is. 

I was disappointed that this wasn’t actually set in Russia, since I’m completely obsessed with the place. Instead it was set in Istanbul, which meant that my friend who’d been there was piping up with ‘I’ve been there… I’ve been there… I haven’t been there’ every few minutes.

While it had a good gypsy girl fight, and James Bond starred in his own sex tape (à la Tulisa, Paris Hilton and that Screech off Saved by the Bell – not together), I also had to suffer through an interminable train journey, where everyone just got confused about who was double crossing who, and I lost interest.

It seems that this is considered to be one of the best Bond movies, but I’d have to disagree. While I say да to James Bond, I say нет to this particular instalment.

Christian Bale is at your Party

The Dark Knight Rises

Warning – this will almost definitely contain spoilers. 

Ah, Bruce Wayne/Christian Bale (you are interchangeable in my mind), I am a bit in love with you. I completely understand the pain and anguish which you feel, as I can only presume it comes from the overly complicated plot lines in your films.

Let me get the positives out of the way first. There were quite a few, but it’s a while since I saw the film, so I’ll have forgotten most of them:

1. This is the first time I remember seeing Anne Hathaway in a film and not hating her. Way to go, Anne. You’re smoking hot in this, and I very much liked the way your goggles flipped up to make little cat ears. I must get me some of those.

2. Tom Hardy continues to always be awesome in everything I see. He’s a total chameleon – I actually walked out the cinema not realising he was in the film. Admittedly, he had his little Bane mask on, but still.

3. Being able to put on a Bane voice and say ‘Im Gotham’s reckoning, Batman’ at any given moment, to amuse my boyfriend. The gift that keeps on giving.

4. This video, which just kills me every time.

Now for the bad, or rather, for the questions which I felt were unanswered (this is where the spoilers kick in):

1. If you were trying to assume a fake identity, but had a foreign accent, would you call yourself Miranda Tate? Wouldn’t this just lead to more questions?

2. After the kid escaped the well-prison, she brought her dad, Liam Neeson back to get her friend Bane out. If Liam could get Bane out, then why didn’t other people break people out? I guess it’s just Liam’s impressive skill set…

Now, I HATE not understanding things, but despite the confusion with the plot, I still thought this film was excellent, so I guess that’s a win.

Christian Bale is at your Party by Rob Cantor