Christmas 2011 – Zombie Marionettes and Lego Browncoats!

Ah, Christmas. What a wonderful time for children and non-cynics. Every year my Amazon wishlist is loaded up with highly desirable items (most of them DVDs) while I too begin to purchase presents for members of the Osborne tribe. I was so excited with what I got this year that I just had to blog about it. After all, 2012 is our last year according to the Mayans (a “possibility”, dictated by a highly respectable and intelligent CeX employee) and perhaps this could act as a time capsule for the future, in which Fox Mulder’s ramblings are proved true and aliens come down. Or maybe I’m being ambitious. Just keep checking your neck.

Here we go…

Motorhead - "Ace of Spades"

This was a spontaneous addition after somehow coming across the title track which always featured, I remember, at the end of classic Saturday morning show Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow. What an intellectual piece of art that was. I haven’t listened to the CD yet, but I imagine from the large amount of profanity in the inside cover it will be reasonably awesome.

Marvin Gaye - "What's Going On"

A world away from Lemmy and his gang is Marvin Gaye with his utterly compelling and beautiful concept album What’s Going On, written from the point of view of a Vietnam war veteran who is devastated to return to a country filled with injustice and hatred. I’m new to soul but this is brilliant. In fact, I’m listening to it now.

Lego Harry Potter - years 5-7

I loved the original game! It was so vast and fun to play. I hope this will be as fun – I’m just relishing the opportunity of being able to control a Lego Voldemort.

Thunderbirds Complete series

Don’t shrug your shoulders and pass this off. It’s actually a very intelligent, suspenseful, exciting show. The art direction is just superb and the vehicles brim with ingenuity. The marionettes don’t move very smoothly but they still act better than Keanu Reeves.

The Walking Dead

As soon as I heard that this show was created by The Shawshank Redemption‘s Frank Darabont, I was in. Yes, it has zombies and plenty of gore but also strong performances, especially in British actor Andrew Lincoln. Only six episodes in the first season but undoubtedly one of the best shows of recent years.

Firefly Complete Blu-ray Series

Now here’s something to get excited about. I already spoke about Firefly in a previous post and I don’t need to repeat how damn good it is but I will add that it’s a show that’s beautiful enough to look good on blu-ray. Roll on the marathons.

So that’s it, then. 2011 has been a year of great things. There was an inquiry into press standards, the Arab Spring, flooding in Thailand, a Japanese earthquake and many other natural disasters among the equally apocalyptic release of New Year’s Eve. Bin Laden got shot after the Playstation Network went down (a coincidence… or not?) and the United States officially announced the end of the Iraq war. Also, Kim Jong-Il died. What a loss – his role in Team America: World Police was truly masterful.

Anyway, I’ll stop boring you with useless bits of information and wish you a very happy new year, if anyone’s actually reading this. Here’s to another year of blogging!

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Bond on blu-ray

The twenty-two James Bond films, from Dr. No to Quantum of Solace, from Connery to Craig, comprise my entire childhood. I can still remember that fateful day when as a young child I purchased a VHS tape of The Spy Who Loved Me from a market whilst on holiday in Durham, and that equally fateful day when I decided to watch it. Instantly I was filled with exciting images of car chases, dastardly villains, gunshots, brilliant theme tunes, more explosions than you could shake a stick at and the coolest spy ever committed to celluloid; in fact, six incarnations of him! I became an avid fan and set to work on viewing each of Bond’s numerous outings.

Nobody does it better.

Eventually there came a long hiatus when my VHS tapes suddenly became redundant and DVD rolled in. I didn’t watch a Bond film for three, perhaps four years, until Casino Royale exploded into cinemas. I thoroughly enjoyed the modern take on Ian Fleming’s first novel featuring the iconic spy, but hated its follow-up, Quantum of Solace, and thus another hiatus took place. It wasn’t until this year that I ultimately sat down in front of my television with a recorded Dr. No on my DVD-TV hard drive and indulged myself in classic Bond.

Dr. No

It was just brilliant. I loved every second of it; I may have preferred Roger Moore when I was eight years old, but I can now safely say that Sean Connery is Bond. There’s simply no argument about it. The film was exciting enough with its double-crossing characters and classic action set-pieces, but re-watching the film came a realisation. As a child, I had asked my mother: “Why is there a woman in every Bond film? Surely there’s got to be one that doesn’t have a woman.” I still haven’t found one, but Ursula Andress’ quite famous entrance from the Caribbean sea delighted me as I saw a side of Bond that I hadn’t quite noticed before. The oft-cited expression “The men want to be him… the woman just want him” suddenly made sense; I enjoyed the film even more than I did when I first watched it.

Ursula Andress' immortal entrance into film history

It is with this very personal introduction, therefore, that I address Metro Goldwyn-Mayer. I’ve wanted to rediscover the Bond films for a long time but the recent selected release of Blu-rays has prompted me to be patient. This is what was recently released in shops:

Features Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Thunderball, For Your Eyes Only, Live and Let Die and Die Another Day

Fair enough; certain Bond films such as Goldfinger have been released individually. But what a weird choice for a boxset. For Your Eyes Only? Die Another Day? Surely not classic Bond outings. What aggravates me the most is that while not all the films have yet been released, reviews suggest that the ones already out look absolutely astonishing on blu-ray. This is what stops me from getting a DVD boxset, yet I’ve been waiting for too long. This message is to you, MGM studios, put in large font for more of an effect:

My guess is they’ll release them in a big boxset next year for the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. No (and the release of the new film, Skyfall, which has the new Q!), but that’s still too long. I want to rediscover the thrill of Goldfinger, the mystery of Live and Let Die and the brilliant set-pieces of The Spy Who Loved Me in their full glory. Some of the greatest films ever made are Bond films. I honestly cannot wait another day.