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Blow Out: a sound effects artist records a car accident, but finds himself in danger as he tries to blow the top on a cover-up. This film is nothing short of a directorial masterclass: the visuals are filthy rich, with dozens of brilliantly filmed & striking scenes. De Palma is truly a master of ‘the shot’ as he effortlessly throws in a barrage of intricate, flashy, techniques: 360 spinning, dolly shots, split-screens, dual-focus, playing with depth of field & perspective… he has technical flare and style to burn here. Travolta matches this with an intense portrayal of an investigative man-on-the-edge. The music and sound effects are great, until the end when a cheesy score dominates the picture. The plot is good, and backstory perfectly stitched through the movie, My favourite aspect is the horror movie tropes being poked fun at through the sub-plot, particularly at the start: the opening film-in-a-film scene, and his previous movies named ‘Bloodbath’, ‘Bloodbath 2’, ‘Bad day at Blood Beach’, ‘Bordello of Blood’… Blow Out is a rare example of directorial technique, story, action, and acting being massaged together perfectly to create something powerful, dramatic and iconic – it’s enviable how good this movie is. I can’t wait to re-visit this already.

Score: 9/10


Submarine: Oliver Tate just got his first girlfriend, right as his parents marriage begins to crumble – so he tries to give them a hand… For being a one-boy show, the central character’s great; despite being a little clichéd he’s good fun to watch, and his monologues / voiceovers are a solid way of pushing the story forward. The scriptwriting scores in two ways: the dialogue is offbeat yet manages to stay below the annoying radar; and the humour is so dry, deadpan and dark that the two elements really complement each other. For being his first time behind a camera, it’s strongly directed, and has some surprisingly cinematic moments – given that it is intentionally an indie-feeling film. The casting’s spot on and despite each character having a hint of the absurd, you can still buy in to them as they’re all very human. What’s best about this coming-of-age tale is that it captures the awkwardness of youth like you rarely see; even though these exact events didn’t happen, it’s all too easy to relate to the story, and Oliver. Despite bring painfully indie Submarine remains very watchable and entertaining for the duration.

Score: 7/10

Diamonds Are Forever: After killing off two Blofelds in the pre-title credits Bond is sent to investigate a diamond stockpiling scheme that turns out to be far greater and more dangerous than anyone initially thought.

Ahhh, now we know why Connery came back to the role...

Returning to the role, Connery looks crazy-old here; wild eye brows, a massive chest wig and a little jowly on the cheeks. This is supposed to be the world’s most effective spy, not someone’s lazy uncle on an early retirement jolly! Despite clearly going through the motions Connery still has a sparkle in his eyes.

This is what a perfect spy looks like!! I'm 1/2 way there!!!

The promiscuously gay henchmen Mr Wint and Mr Kidd are genuinely freaky and despicable characters that give me the willies (!!) – like two halves of one person they work exceptionally well together, bounce dialogue between themselves and have some morbidly dark Bond-style quips. They are also the ultimate in over-elaborate and protracted Bond deaths.

Not everyone rates these guys, but they are menacing and memorable

The main setting here is America (namely Vegas), but it’s a pretty grotesque characature – everything’s in excess, the lights are bright, and the glamour’s slapped on, neon signs, casinos, cabaret, muscle cars… no stereotype is left untouched.

Another run-of-the-mill day in 'Vegas

Being the third actor to play Blofeld Charles Gray tries his best to put yet another spin on the character; adding sophistication, arrogance (and cross-dressing) but there wasn’t much he could do placed in this ridiculous situation. It also adds weight to the notion that Blofeld is a chameleon-style master of disguise, and at the forefront of plastic surgery!

Sledging down a hill on a cello case was less ridiculous than the 'moon buggy'

Overall, Diamonds goes back to Dr No territory, with a greater emphasis on conspiracy and clandestine activity than super-crazy action or zaney schemes. The master weapon isn’t unveiled until the end, along with the only big action set piece on the oil rig; which wouldn’t be complete without a goon shouting instructions and ultimatums over the PA system. As a Bond film, this one’s pretty middle of the road.

He's a... wheelie good driver *sorry*

Score: 5/10

 

 

Once again Bond saves the world and wet's the girl

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Blofeld, again, but with hair!!! Lets Bond play with the master computer though – fail!!! 5
Henchmen: intelligent weirdos couple – experimental and effective. Bambi/Thumper acrobats – rubbish. 7
Bond Girl: Plenty O’Toole – Annoying but amazing / Tiffany Case – Also very hot. 7
Action: Lift Fight / Moonbuggy Chase / Vegas Car Chase / Oil Rig at end. 6

As a Scot, there's olny one answer to the question: "Who's your favourite James Bond". So long Connery!

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