Tag Archives: James Bond

On This Day…5 October

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The Ryder Cup has come back to Europe, and on the morning after the night before, I wish Colin Montgomery’s team of twelve good men and true a happy hangover.

In all fairness the tournament could have gone either way. Tiger Woods showed why he is still the number one golfer in the world; 21-year-old rookie, Ricky Fowler’s last gasp half against Eduardo Molinari put pressure on reigning US Open Champion, Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, needing a win in the last match against Hunter Mahan to regain the trophy Europe lost to the United States in 2008. And win he did. Europe beat the U.S. by 14.5 points to 13.5.

Sorry…this is supposed to be an On This Day post. Pardon my exuberance, my friends. GO TEAM EUROPE!

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s begin with events on this day in…

1143 – The king Alfonso VII of Leon recognises Portugal as a Kingdom. The Portuguese think it’s about bloody time he found his glasses.

1789 – French Revolution: Women of Paris march to Versailles to confront Louis XVI about his refusal to promulgate the decrees on the abolition of feudalism, demand bread, and have the King and his court moved to Paris.

1864 – The Indian city of Calcutta is almost totally destroyed by a cyclone; 60,000 die.

Rather him than me. (Image: wright-brothers.org)

1903 – Sir Samuel Griffith is appointed the first Chief Justice of Australia and Sir Edmund Barton and Richard O’Connor are appointed as foundation justices.

1905 – Wilbur Wright pilots Wright Flyer III in a flight of 24 miles in 39 minutes, a world record that stood until 1908.

1945 – Hollywood Black Friday: A six month strike by Hollywood set decorators turns into a bloody riot at the gates of Warner Brothers’ studios.

1962 – Dr. No, the first in the James Bond film series, was released.

And now for something completely different...

1968 – Police baton civil rights demonstrators in Derry, Northern Ireland – considered to mark the beginning of The Troubles. It is called the Battle of the Bogside.

1969 – The first episode of the famous comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus aired on BBC.

1974 – Guildford pub bombings: bombs planted by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) kill four British soldiers and one civilian.

2000 – Mass demonstrations in Belgrade lead to resignation of Serbian strongman Slobodan Milošević. These demonstrations are often called the Bulldozer Revolution.

Happy birthday to:

Steve Miller, of the Steve Miller Band, is 67.

(Sir) Bob Geldof, former Boomtown Rat and Live Aid organizer, is 59.

The gorgeous Kate Winslet (Image: enjoyfrance.com)

Guy Pearce, former Neighbours actor who also starred in LA Confidential and Memento, is 43.

Kate Winslet, Oscar-winning actress for The Reader and star of Titanic, is 35.

Paris Hilton, the heiress of uselessness, is 27. That’s probably her IQ, as well…but don’t quote me.

Nicola Roberts, English singer with Girls Aloud, is 25. (She’s the ginger one on the far right.)

Tony Curtis, Persuader

Tony Curtis, 1925 - 2010

I was sad to hear that Tony Curtis died today. Aged 85, Curtis put in a good innings, enjoying movie roles and wives with equal aplomb.

Oscar-nominated for The Defiant Ones (in which he starred alongside Sidney Poitier) and a favourite of movie-lovers everywhere for the classic comedy Some Like It Hot, it was through the medium of television that I first got to “know” him.

In the late Sixties, he starred in a TV programme called The Persuaders with the man who would be James Bond, Roger Moore. Curtis loved television. It allowed him freedom that movies could not.

He took on the role of Danny Wilde with relish, ad-libbing much of script and performing most of his own stunts. His role was that of a comic foil to Moore’s Lord Brett Sinclair, your typical British upper-crust playboy. The premise was simple: two men, with backgrounds that shouldn’t mix, are brought together by a judge so they can solve cases the courts cannot.

It was fun while it lasted – just the one season – and it brought to an end a sequence of British adventure shows that included Danger Man, The Avengers and The Champions (all funded by Lord Lew Grade’s company ITC).

Curtis was to make one more foray into the world of TV. Hands up those of you who remember him as Roth  in the Robert Urich detective show Vega$!

The Persuaders, starring Tony Curtis and Roger Moore. Featuring another iconic theme tune from John (James Bond) Barry. They do not make them like this anymore.

Kick-Ass…WTF?

Kick-Ass Movie Poster

Kick-Ass is the 2010 movie based on the comic book of the same name created by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.

It is not a kids’ movie. No sireee! Any movie that has an eleven-year-old actress using the “c” word is definitely not one to bring the sprogs to see. But seeing that I had a night to myself I decided to rent out a couple of movies, including this one.

The film tells the story of an ordinary teenager, Dave, who sets out to become a real-life superhero calling himself Kick-Ass. Dave gets caught up in a bigger fight when he meets Big Daddy, a former cop who, in his quest to bring down the evil drug lord Frank D’Amico, has trained his 10-year-old daughter to be the ruthless vigilante Hit-Girl.

Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit-Girl (Mindy Macready)

It stars Aaron Johnson as Dave/Kick-Ass, Nicolas Cage as Damon Macready/Big Daddy, Chloe Grace Moretz as Mindy Macready/Hit-Girl, Mark Strong as Frank D’amico, and  Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D’Amico/Red Mist, Frank D’Amico’s son.

Like I said at the start, this is a movie for grown-ups. It’s violent (and not always in a cartoonish way, either) and frequently foul-mouthed. Now I’m no prude. I love these kind of movies. I was brought up on James Bond and the original Die Hard will never leave my personal Top 10 of all-time favourite flicks.

Hit-Girl tells it as it is.

While I really enjoyed this film for what it was – escapist but violent entertainment – I am well aware of the controversy surrounding it. Moretz was 11 at the time of filming and it seems wrong somehow to hear her speak in such a profane way. I live in Dublin; I’m well used to hearing that kind of language on the streets. It’s second nature to a lot of the kids here. But that doesn’t make it right, though.

Sure it’s funny and I suppose Millar is making the point of a child acting as an adult in order to survive. I can see that; but it doesn’t make for comfortable viewing.

What's wrong with this picture?

Neither would the violence meted out to Hit-Girl sit well with most movie-goers. Sure, she most definitely gives as good as she gets. Her kill-count is higher than the bad guys. Hell, her kill-count is higher than most Bond movies. But the young lady takes a severe battering at the end of the film. I read a review in the Irish Mail on Sunday where the reviewer gave Kick-Ass one star out of five mainly because of this. He wrote that violence against children is not fodder for entertainment. I can see his point, but I have to stress that while it was his personal opinion, mine is slightly different.

Yes, I agree that violence against children is not entertainment; but when you see a film like Sleepers (starring Kevin Bacon and Robert de Niro), the same argument could be made here. In both cases, though,  the children wreak revenge on their abusers. There is a happy ending of sorts, and be honest, who doesn’t like to see kids come out on top?

On This Day…5 September

Today is an important day the Irish sporting calender. It’s the first Sunday in September, which means it’s All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final day in Croke Park. The mighty black and amber of Kilkenny are aiming to win an unprecedented five titles in a row. Their opponents today are the same as last year: Tipperary, the Rebel County. So, good luck Tipp! Ye have your work cut out for you.

On this day in…

Sam Houston

1666 – Great Fire of London ends: 10,000 buildings including St. Paul’s Cathedral are destroyed, but only 16 people are known to have died.

1836 – Sam Houston is elected as the first president of the Republic of Texas. Good man, Sam!

1945 – Cold War: Igor Gouzenko, a Soviet Union embassy clerk, defects to Canada, exposing Soviet espionage in North America, signalling the beginning of the Cold War. Thriller writers everywhere rubbed their hands in glee. (It’s always handy to have a tub of glee around the house.)

2007 – Three terrorists suspected to be a part of Al-Qaeda are arrested in Germany after allegedly planning attacks on both the Frankfurt International airport and US military installations.

Notable birthdays today are:

He wasn't THAT bad, was he?

Australian actor and former James Bond George Lazenby is 71. Give him another chance, I say. I loved On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Raquel Welch is 70, God bless her.

Batman and Beetlejuice star Michael Keaton is 59. Say his name three times, please.

But on this day in 1945, Scottish singer/songwriter Al Stewart was born. I shall leave you today with the song that most of you would know him by.