Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

News and Discussion of all things Dr Who

Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby Veronica » Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:07 am

Kristatos wrote:I thought Walken and Robert Carlyle were a little underwhelming in their respective Bond movies, personally. It's a problem that predates Craig.

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Sure, it's not a problem that appeared only in Craig movies but I'd argue that happens constantly in his films.
I agree Carlyle was underwelming but I always thought he was a mere red herring and "brawn" of the evil duo while Elektra was the brain.
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Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby Kristatos » Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:22 am

True, but "the henchman is Begbie from Trainspotting" sounds better on paper than it actually was in the film.

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Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby Veronica » Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:47 am

Kristatos wrote:True, but "the henchman is Begbie from Trainspotting" sounds better on paper than it actually was in the film.

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Well, I can not disagree with this. Renard was way too moopy to be intimidating.
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Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby acid » Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:45 pm

Veronica wrote:
Kristatos wrote:I thought Walken and Robert Carlyle were a little underwhelming in their respective Bond movies, personally. It's a problem that predates Craig.

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Sure, it's not a problem that appeared only in Craig movies but I'd argue that happens constantly in his films.
I agree Carlyle was underwelming but I always thought he was a mere red herring and "brawn" of the evil duo while Elektra was the brain.


I guess I'm unusual in still thinking Walken was one of the best Bond villains. His odd, unpredictable psychopathy just seems so dangerous and dare I say it feels a bit more realistic than some of the other villains, despite his overacting. He looks like he enjoyed doing it. The backstory is quite good as well.

As for Carlyle, I think that was a real lost opportunity with Renard. If you want to see how well he can play a villain, just watch a couple of episodes of Once Upon A Time. The rest of the acting is mostly awful in my opinion, and the plots are ludicrous and erratic, but the sinister confidence and complexity of his Dark One almost makes it worth watching.
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Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby dirtybenny » Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:30 pm

Wickedly Bad Villains


My last rant concerned some of the schemes devised by villains in the series and the rise of independent megalomaniacs due to EON’s historic reluctance to get political. This time around I’d like to look at some of the villains themselves, specifically the last four to have soiled our screens. I’m not going to say these scoundrels are in themselves the worst in the franchise, but as a whole, taken in succession they don’t comprise a very inspiring set of desperados. Add to this the fact they were retconned into members of a cohesive organization therefore forcing us to judge them as a group.

Casino of Cardboard:

We don’t start off too terribly in Casino, except for the fact the villains have absolutely no personality. Mads Mikkelsen gives a serviceable performance as Le Chiffre banker to terrorists, but gives the impression he’s half asleep throughout the story, this wouldn’t be too bad if he were surrounded by energetic henchmen. However, if everyone standing around him had all been replaced with cardboard cutouts you couldn’t tell the difference.

Sebastien Foucan free runner extraordinaire is the first bomb maker whom Craig chases through the construction site. He can contort his body in all manner of shapes yet can’t manage to force his face to budge of “nonplussed.” However Foucan who was brought in for his acrobatic abilities rather than his acting chops, comes off as a downright thespian compared to Claudio Santamaria the second bomb maker on the “Miami job.” He’s an actor with several roles to his credit so he should be capable of better, yet the fuel truck blows him off the screen! The guy had one line, “Hello” when answering his phone, the rest of his performance consisted of grimaces and sneers, when his not sustaining blows from a roided out Craig which should have destroyed the much more diminutive actor.

Finally Simon Abkarian as Dimitrios the arms dealer gives a performance reminiscent of a poor man’s interpretation of John Tuturro’s role in Rounders. He plays poker, grumbles, neglects his wife and plays poker. In fact everyone inexplicably plays the game as substitute for character development even the posed corpses in the grotesque Body Worlds exposition are at the table acted circles around everyone involved!

I don’t blame the actors, if it were one or two maybe, but everyone in this film seems to have been directed after downing a bottle of NyQuil! Perhaps I’ve been a bit too hard on Craig through the years, perhaps Craig was directed by Campbell to act as a monosyllabic somnambulist and considering Campbell’s history with Bond, Craig figured that was the preferred interpretation of the character which he continues to this day.


Quantum of Euro Trash:

At least in this film the villains have a bit more personality; unfortunately it comes in the form of their shiny floral shirts. Funny how the omnipresent organization introduced in this movie has the distinction of having absolutely no members. Outside of the main antagonist Dominic Greene we have his henchman Elvis played by Anatole Taubman, who looks like Marty Feldman in a Quentin Tarantino costume. He has no lines yet the fact he wears a toupee is meant as character development. Seriously! From the QOS Wikipedia page:
“Taubman wanted to make Elvis "as colourful, as edgy and as interesting as possible", with one of his suggestions being the bowl cut. Amalric and Taubman improvised a backstory for Elvis: he is Dominic's cousin and once lived on the streets before being inducted into Quantum. He called Elvis "a bit of a goofball. He thinks he's all that but he's not really. … He's not a comic guy. He definitely takes himself very serious, but maybe by his taking himself too serious he may become friendly.”

An awful lot of thought for a character who has all of 30 seconds of screen time! When they aren’t busy writing intricate back stories for useless characters, Elvis and Greene seem to be in an eye bugging contest while handing over women to the deposed dictator General Medrano who outside of being a deposed dictator and a rapist has no other defining traits. There is also the commander of the national police who we are told is crooked and not much else.

All of this trouble is over the sole utility rights to provide stolen water to Bolivia! What a great scheme, to expend the time, effort, and energy to horde all the country’s water and install a dictator who could just award the contract anyway!


SkyFey:

In SkyFall EON answered the question nobody was asking: What if Alec Trevelyan was played by Stewart Smalley an effeminate Saturday Night Live character from 20 years ago with the added benefit of every male hairdresser stereotype ever devised? When he’s not fondling Craig, Bardem’s Silva is chewing the scenery with the fervor of a great white feeding frenzy. However like Casino this film suffers from cardboard henchmen only more so, at least in the first film we get the African war lords and Dimitrios, here we get no sub villains, at least none of any substance. Sure there’s the guy at the beginning that steals the quickly forgotten agent list, and speaks nary a line of dialogue, but whom else?

Once again all this for a ridiculous scheme involving a boring revenge plot against M, who left him out to dry 12 years earlier. Silva then concocts the most nonsensical Rube Goldbergian plan to kill her in a closed session of Parliament, because… humiliation? Also with the revelations of SPECTRE it all falls apart if Blofeld put him up to it!


The SPECTRE of Fraternity:

I’ve spoken about the absolutely ludicrous Brofeld plot ad nauseam so I’ll gloss over it here. At least in this film we get a proper henchman in Dave Bautista’s Hinx, unfortunately he’s criminally underwritten. It’s obvious he’s supposed to be some sort of Red Grand, Oddjob, Jaws hybrid, but just falls flat. He doesn’t quietly stalk Craig like Grant, the ubiquitous presence always over his shoulder. He tries to give off the indestructibility of Oddjob and Jaws, but while Bond is required to use his intellect to overcome those two, Craig is able to stand his own in the one fight between the two, and just wins by default when he accidentally kicks the beer kegs off the train that Hinx was tied to. All in all just a wasted effort from a wasted actor.

As to Brofeld, we finally get a cackling sadist, the only problem it’s antithetical to the character. Blofeld has always been portrayed as an amoral, aloof, emotionless tactician. Here he’s crowing and squealing with zeal as he tortures Craig, the same man who coldly electrocutes an embezzling lackey, effortlessly feeds a woman to piranhas and guns down his second in command. That is when he’s not holding the world ransom or starting world war 3. More uncharacteristically he’s created an organization bent on world domination because he had to share his home to an orphan 30 years earlier.
On to his master plan, that is to get plugged in to the world’s security agencies and…what? Peep into locker rooms? Commit identity theft? Intercept sexting messages?


Say what you will about the classic villains, at least they were for the most part well written, well-acted and had entertaining larger than life schemes. I can’t say the same for these jokers. I’d say the bulk of the blame lies with EON’s unfathomable dependence on Pervis and Wade’s hack scribery. These two haven’t written a good villain since The World Is Not Enough and that only succeeds because of the twist in the third act. Maybe someday, probably far, far in the future EON will finally dump these crumbs and we can get back to the fun loving mayhem makers of yore.
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Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby acid » Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:10 am

DB, do you think perhaps too tight a rein is being kept on the actors in these new Bond flicks? I have to wonder if anyone tried to really have some fun with their role or ad-lib whether they'd be rather swiftly corrected. I mean, if things ever went off script, it might irritate one of the sponsors providing product placement (or waste valuable screen time for them) or spoil the purity of the artistic vision or be half a percent less appealing to one of the target demographics. I don't know, but it might explain the cardboard cutout effect you mention and why otherwise talented actors seem to be behaving a little, erm, out of character.
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Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby dirtybenny » Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:03 am

acid wrote:DB, do you think perhaps too tight a rein is being kept on the actors in these new Bond flicks? I have to wonder if anyone tried to really have some fun with their role or ad-lib whether they'd be rather swiftly corrected. I mean, if things ever went off script, it might irritate one of the sponsors providing product placement (or waste valuable screen time for them) or spoil the purity of the artistic vision or be half a percent less appealing to one of the target demographics. I don't know, but it might explain the cardboard cutout effect you mention and why otherwise talented actors seem to be behaving a little, erm, out of character.



You know Acid that's a great question! I think a lot of it has to do with the fact most of the actors brought on feel Bond is beneath them and are just sleep walking through it (see Bardem and Waltz' pre-production comments). I imagine the lesser actors who would be game to spice things up are too terrified of incurring the ire of the auteur directors who are just trying to slap this thing together and cash a check. Not to mention the time constraints incurred in EON's film making style in which the script is written mere minutes before shooting. I don't know if product placement has much to do with it, after all Brosnan's films had plenty of products but were not any less fun. As for target demographic perhaps, they are trying to tap new and emerging markets so bland foe would be less likely to offend these new audiences who may not understand the subtleties of a western made film. Or maybe the producers are all just a bunch of slap dash hacks who keep hiring terrible writers, self righteous actors and auteur directors who have no business any where near an action adventure film!
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Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby Omega » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:35 am

Great rant DB.
IMO Craig is so out of place the only thing any of these directors can do is make sure he isn’t out shined on the same screen by forcing the actors to be moor wooden than Craig.
Mads is a actor capable of acting circles around Craig, so is Bautista, but for some reason they both have the worst performance of their careers when dating the screen with him as the star.



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Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby Kristatos » Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:21 pm

The thing is, Craig is much better in most of his non-Bond roles. But because he doesn't really want to be there, he phones it in like Connery in DAF, and drags everyone else down with him. At least in DAF, Charles Gray was allowed to liven things up a bit, even if his Blofeld bore little resemblance to the character previously played by Donald Pleasance and Telly Savalas

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Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby Veronica » Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:28 pm

Mads looked half asleep throughout the whole CR. His Le Chiffre was terribly dull, Mads usually shows more personality on a photograph. I'd agree Craig isn't a bad actor per se, at least not in the way Megan Fox is a bad actress.
My main problem with him is the fact that he leaves no impression on me whatsoever. I'll take The Girl with a Dragon Tatoo remake as an example.
Craig's acting isn't really bad in any of the scenes. It's serviceable but that's really all it is. He's not bad in it but he's very far from being great or memorable. And that's why he is a terrible choice for Bond(amongst other things) You can not have an actor who fails to be memorable in any of the movies as Bond. That's a fatal mistake right there.
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Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby Kristatos » Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:14 pm

Yeah, I won't argue that he's a great actor, just that he's better in films where he seems to be enjoying himself. I suppose that's true of most actors, although some seem to rise above it. It's no secret that Alec Guinness only did Star Wars because he needed the money, but I don't think it shows in his performance the way it does with Craig.

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Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby Omega » Tue Feb 19, 2019 3:34 am

Craig has weird attitude about bond, interviews before bond he glib about almost wrecking a automatic Audi on set because he can’t drive. When he starts bragging too much he pokes himself in the he’d saying something like don’t be a ass or something to be more reasonable and humble I guess.
After CR he a smug jackass bragging about how many movie series he’s going to be in, asked how he’ll schedule it he says I pay other people a lot of money to figure it out. Part of it has got to be CNB/DCINB, he can’t admit to any of the things he could joke about like not being able to drive, but it’s like his asshole attitude is how he imagines Bond to be, a sullen tough guy posing and pouting. Babs is just as bad allowing the whole thing to revolve around Craig and his wants, probably her wants too, but she allowed the stories to be come the pseudo macho man learning what it is to, i dunno, fall in love lose something important whatever emotional bs she wants to sell her Hollywood pals on.

Problem with CR besides Craig is all the false symbolism and other psycho babble they load the series with. Little crap meant to build Craig’s image up not be true to bond or tell a better story.
Stuff like him and little orphan vesper on the train, the human body exhibit, how Craig wins the DB5, the agent in Africa Craig tells to remove his finger from his ear to not give himself away, all kinds of little things that do not belong in bond, that babs would have pushed into the movies one way or another. In the last two it way over the top and even more painful to watch,


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Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby Veronica » Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:11 am

Kristatos wrote:Yeah, I won't argue that he's a great actor, just that he's better in films where he seems to be enjoying himself. I suppose that's true of most actors, although some seem to rise above it. It's no secret that Alec Guinness only did Star Wars because he needed the money, but I don't think it shows in his performance the way it does with Craig.

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Connery's perfomance in DAF was also uninspired and I'd argue he started to show a lack of interest in YOLT already. But he's Connery, he has the sort of star power Craig can only dream about. A bored Connery is still Connery. While a bored Craig is just... a lesser version of an already terrible Bond.
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Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby dirtybenny » Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:28 am

Posted punched up version of my last rant complete with pictures on DCiNB.com

http://danielcraigisnotbond.com/index/b ... -villains/
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Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby Veronica » Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:55 am

I am hoping the next movie will at least have a good femme fatale. I love characters like that and we didn't see one in ages.
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Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby dirtybenny » Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:53 pm

Veronica wrote:I am hoping the next movie will at least have a good femme fatale. I love characters like that and we didn't see one in ages.



Not to worry V, I'm sure they'll be dusting off the abandoned Urma Bunt character from the original SP treatment!
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Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby Veronica » Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:10 pm

dirtybenny wrote:
Veronica wrote:I am hoping the next movie will at least have a good femme fatale. I love characters like that and we didn't see one in ages.



Not to worry V, I'm sure they'll be dusting off the abandoned Urma Bunt character from the original SP treatment!


More Fiona Volpe and less Irma Bunt would be better. :jack:
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Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby dirtybenny » Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:43 am

Daniel Craig: Worst Spy Ever


Since I spoke on the Craig villains last rant I thought I’d flip to the other side of the coin and talk about the man himself. In the old days Bond always won in the end… that is until Craig came along. Now some may see that as “gritty realism” or “vulnerability” in Craig’s character, but in reality it just goes to prove the creative nihilism in the series as of late. You see if the hero doesn’t win, then what is the point of the story? Exhibits A through D:


Casino Lose All:

Craig’s mission is to bankrupt Le Chiffre thus causing him to defect and spill the beans on his organization. Craig does in fact bankrupt Le Chiffre however he is killed before any information can be gathered thus Craig’s first failure. In the end of the film the money is recovered by the evil organization, recall Mr. White walking off with the briefcase. So what was the point? Remember all that harping on by Vesper “Have you given any thought to the notion if you lose our government will have directly financed terrorism?” Well he may have won the card game but terrorism was financed none the less. Before you start screaming “Fleming” as this was based on his novel, keep in mind Bond’s mission did not involve turning Le Chiffre, just breaking him and his organization, the money was turned over to the government. The only loss Fleming’s Bond experiences is Vesper’s suicide.


Quantum of Failures:

The film starts with Craig bringing the enigmatic Mr. White from the previous movie in for questioning. During interrogation M’s bodyguard shows his true colors and frees White in a hail of bullets. Craig runs off after the crooked agent leaving White to escape, failure #1. Once he catches the corrupt operative he kills him losing any chance to acquire information failure #2. So, because of his c**k ups Craig is assigned a mission to find out all he can about the mysterious “Quantum” organization. Instead he goes off on a rampage, killing any and all half-witted thugs he can get his hands on rather than interrogate them failure #3. The fact he learns anything at all is sheer happenstance when the desk clerk at the hotel where he commits one of his murders bizarrely confuses the Craggy one for his decidedly non-craggy victim, thus prompting her to give him a briefcase.

Once he has the case he is suddenly and inexplicably picked up by a gorgeous woman who must have mistaken him for a polar bear and fearing for his safety in the warm South American weather, sought to get him to cooler climes. In the car Craig figures out the man he killed was meant to kill this woman and rather than clearly impart upon her he is on her side, he somehow manages to lead her to believe he is the assassin, failure #4.

Craig follows the woman and through a series of unfortunate events the woman is handed off to a despotic rapist. Craig takes action to rescue her and after a drawn out boat chase during which she is knocked unconscious Craig just drops her in the arms of a hotel concierge without even considering this woman may have valuable information, if the woman was worth following why isn’t she worth questioning? Constituting failure #5.

Craig jets off to Austria in pursuit of his quarry, but not before calling M and telling her nothing of consequence. In fact, all his brief immaterial phone calls do is anger the head of MI6 and rightfully so, failure #6. This causes her to cut off his financial account (like punishing a petulant child) and requires him to run to Mathis in order to bankroll his impotent raging. Several mistakes later and he’s discarding his friend into a dumpster.

Finally after failures #1-6, M makes her way to South America to see just what the bloody hell is going on. This leads her face to face with her failure, that was sending a 98 pound 20 something female fashion model to turn back a rogue fugitive 00 agent to London. The outcome being she gets drowned in oil or is it chocolate syrup and posed on a bed like Jill Masterson from Goldfinger, that was the film maker’s mistake.

After nearly getting himself incinerated by trapping himself in a burning hotel room, he apparently does question the leader of the organization off camera, before sending him to die in the desert, but wouldn’t it have been more advisable to bring him in and hold him, should any other questions need addressing? Failure #7. Furthermore his vengeance sub-story falls flat because when he finally does find the man who ultimately betrayed Vesper, his one true love, he walks away letting him live, failure #8! I thought the whole point of his blood soaked rampage across half the globe was to get revenge against the man who destroyed Vesper? If Craig spared him for information, why not do so with the half dozen better connected men he killed, which included Greene who was one of their ring leaders?!


SkyFail:

First Craig is tasked with protecting then ultimately retrieving a hard drive full of western agents stolen as the movie opens, not only does he fail in this endeavor, but decides to celebrate this failure with an unauthorized holiday sulking at some third world beach resort gambling on scorpion based drinking games.

After returning he fails all of his physical/psychological exams, he’s then sent to China to find the man responsible for an attack on MI6. Here he stands by and watches while a man is murdered, then drops the murder, his only connection to the villains, off a skyscraper. After a woman agrees to assist him, Craig blunders up on deck of the enemy yacht he was stowed away on. Craig is shocked to find his presence is none too appreciated when the crew binds and brings him before Silva. After some light homoerotic fondling and stilted dialogue, Craig does in fact achieve his objective, capturing Silva, but only after allowing him to kill the woman who helped Craig get there. A woman Craig could have saved had he acted only 30 seconds sooner!

Most importantly however Craig buggers up his biggest assignment, protecting M! After saving her from an all-out onslaught in the secure confines of parliament he figures the best course of action is to run to his abandoned ancestral home. There he intends to set a trap for the amazingly well connected terrorist with the added benefit of not bringing along any back up what so ever! They’re leading Silva straight to themselves but also making sure the authorities have no idea where they are! Why is it impossible to send in the Royal Marines behind them?! Amazingly playing Home Alone isn’t as effective against a force of two dozen heavily armed men as one might imagine, resulting in M’s death! All that rigmarole over two hours to ultimately end up for naught!


The Spectre of Failure:

I guess in all fairness the only instruction Craig received in this film was to “Kill Sciarra and attend the funeral” which he did only after blowing up a city block and nearly letting him escape. I guess the real failure in this film is the plot. Craig goes rogue all over Europe destroying all manner of public, private and government property along the way. Craig eventually sashays straight up to the front door of Brofeld’s lair, not learning his lesson from SkyFail he once again proceeds without a shred of back up, unless of course you count his psychologist girl toy and her ability to talk people to death. This Causes him to get caught and tortured for the third time in four movies! If not for some ridiculously bad film making, featuring the most inept guards in the franchise, coupled with the most fragile exploding pipes ever captured on celluloid, Craig would have never escaped!

In the end Craig does manage to blow up Brofeld’s lair, end his scheme to intercept everyone’s private sext messages and lands Bro into custody (at least temporarily, until Bond#25). So perhaps he finally did complete an objective?!
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Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby Omega » Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:50 am

Great! DB just great! Got me to thinking how many times has Craig Bond quit?


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Re: Dirty Benny's Weekly Rant

Postby Veronica » Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:32 am

Well, he basically quits once every movie, right?
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