James Bond is James Bond Again

That's not entirely a good thing.


I had been asked for my reaction to the latest Bond movie on Periscope  ('Spectre' for those reading five + years from this being written) and the first thought I had was how Periscope isn't really that helpful. My second thought was how much I was being reminded that I'm watching a Bond movie in this Bond movie, silly I know; this isn't a good thing and I want to nitpick this to hell, but I have set myself 500 words to write this review.

Where to begin?

They certainly do have the formula worked out now, but I felt the formula was adhered too closely to the usual Bond outings. This film seems to me to have undone the work of the previous Daniel Craig movies.

Yes I understand it's a return to what made Bond a cultural icon before it started going off the rails, but the spy genre itself has moved on. I found myself anticipating how things would unfold in the plot rather than just enjoying the ride like I did with say Casino Royale. The acts in Spectre were predictable (though oddly the trailers were so wonderfully done). We were denied so many aspects of the Bond character in Casino Royale, that's what made it refreshing.

It's not so refreshing with this fourth instalment of 'new Bond', Blofeld wasn't that interesting either, no sense of real danger.

In Spectre there was some self awareness of trying to add a little twist to thing and call out to it, like the beautiful DB7 having no ammo in a pivotal chase scene, Bond never getting his signature drink or the logical understanding of how the henchmen could actually find Bond as he went around the world, but they're just tiny additions to the revived Bond franchise.

I knew Bond was in no real danger, I knew he was going to save the day and get the woman, (with the very last woman probably not dying) and of course the last Bond lady sets up the ridiculous, climatic scenario.

Without ruining it too much, what would Blofeld have done if the love interest made the opposite choice? It's an obvious flaw and emphases the predictable structure of a Bond movie. Please don't suggest it's some kind of fan service. I'm certainly not nostalgic for it. Push the boundaries a bit more please.

Casino Royale and QoS were interesting because of the differences with the plot and in the direction and would have liked some more of what they offered.

The predictability towards the middle and later half a of the film inherently diminishes the effort of the fine practical efforts like location settings and stunt work, both of which are beautiful and brutal respectively. Of course Daniel Craig is impeccable, I just wished the story tried as much as he did and I hope it's not his last.

Only Lovers Left Alive - Review and track listing


Being a fan of Jim Jarmusch's previous films, I knew what to expect with his easy going, uncomplicated, predictable, shooting style. It's most welcome (he's doing his thing, but with Vampires and more layers than 'Broken Flowers')! He's a film maker with an intimate, minimalist and considered approach which isn't exposition heavy. I believe he's letting audiences sit back and giving them time to think while watching his art. The characters and scenes speak for themselves on that subjective interpretation. Jarmusch, shows rather than tells and I always find myself talking about his characters after watching his movies. That's his take and his brand I enjoy.*

Jarmusch creates two rich and fleshed (pun unintended) out vampire characters that are ironically human, the focus isn't on supernatural powers. It's a given that they have them since they are vampires and the genre has been well explored by numerous film makers over the years.  It's safe to assume they're equipped with them, they just aren't worth focusing on, and aren't necessary for 99% of the movie. The focus is on their individual natures, personalities and the lives they live, Adam and Eve are a couple who need their time together as much as their time apart.

What makes them interesting is what they have given and taken in their long relationship with human beings. Adam is the music obsessive and recluse, secretly passing on his works through others over the ages, thereby (maybe without realising) providing entertainment for those he hates. Eve, the nature lover and one interested in 'feeling' history is somebody who feels human and is caring of others, oddly for somebody without a heartbeat she has a big heart. Without realising, they have become the things they eat.

Those insensitive to subtly in their movies will say in conversation that "nothing happens" in 'Only Lovers Left Behind', think how "nothing happens" in 'Lost in Translation' or 'Broken Flowers', except here even though we are just watching a few people living and interacting without some great drama or hero's climax, there is something for us to digest and be entertained by. If you can accept that, the themes and the mirrors that Jarmusch sets up, soon bleed out (pun intended). If not, you'll think it sucks and leave halfway through, as many people did at my screening.

*I'm tired of movies trying to explain everything with too much exposition or have a pace which is constantly directing our attention. Though don't go too far in the opposite direction either like with Jonathan Glazer's 'Under the Skin', with its hugely ambiguous narrative I couldn't survive cinema if more films took after Glazer's approach.

The music in OLLA is unique, special to me in that it's all new and refreshing and I want to hear more of it. So that's what I did and googled for the tracks. If you want to find the music, here is the song list (copied from the indiewire blog [but they don't provide links like to the songs like I do]):

All the Songs In "Only Lovers Left Alive", are mostly iTunes links. The individual songs below either don't exist on the official album or are not in their original form.

"Funnel Of Love" - Wanda Jackson

"Harissa" - Kasbah Rockers

"Caprice No. 5 in A Minor" - Charles Yang (itunes doesn't have Charles Yang as the composer for the purists out there).

"Gamil" - Y.A.S.

"Can't Hardly Stand It" - Charlie Feathers

"Trapped By A Thing Called Love" - Denise LaSalle

"Soul Dracula" - Hot Blood

"Under Skin Or By Name" - White Hills

"Red Eyes And Tears" - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

"Little Village" - Bill Laswell (free download).

The soundtrack album which are mostly SQÜRL songs, can be found here.

PLEASE NOTE - This is a repost (with grammar and spelling corrections [hello Charmaine]) from my old wordpress website.