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The World Is Not Enough (1999)
There's no point in living if you can't feel alive.
'The World is Not Enough' fixes many issues with the previous entry in the franchise 'Tomorrow Never Dies'. The prior film was criticized for having goofy villains and a silly story. 'The World is Not Enough' re-aligns the franchise by bringing back better villains, a more interesting story, and adding much more substance to the characters. The film throws a few curve balls and misdirections at the audience as well, so you'll be kept on your toes. All of the actors put on a great performance, with the exception of Denise Richards. She plays Dr. Christmas Jones and she is not believable in the slightest as a nuclear scientist. But she's such a gorgeous bombshell I can overlook her crappy acting. M is also much more involved in the plot, which is quite welcome because she really dominates her scenes. Overall I enjoyed 'The World Is Not Enough', it's much better than the prior Bond film, but still not quite as good as 'Goldeneye'.
Poison in the Grapes (2013)
A Fake Documentary with Many Unsubstantiated Claims
Matthew Berdyck has an unrelenting addiction to attention. After watching the Hollywood film 'Erin Brockovich' in the early 2010's, Matthew knew that becoming a famous activist would provide the attention needed to satisfy his addiction. However, his "activism work" to date reeks of insincerity because his motivations are inherently disingenuous - Matthew has not truly cared about any of the causes for which he claims; rather, he cares about himself, attention, and becoming famous.
His initial activism efforts produced catastrophic results. He first made a very short YouTube video about the Aurora, Colorado shooting that was heavily criticized for its severe lack of empathy. He followed it up with a very short Facebook video about the high-profile Amanda Todd tragedy that was quickly banned by Facebook for being wildly inappropriate. He then created his magnum opus 'Blame Reagan' which was universally shredded by critics who noted the video's extremely poor writing, editing, and egocentrism. Despite achieving zero success as both an activist or a filmmaker, Matthew was determined to try yet again. Enter 'Poison in the Grapes'.
'Poison in the Grapes' is the next attempt at activism stardom in the saga of Matthew Berdyck. The central focus of this 14-minute long video is the Summit Equipment & Supplies EPA Superfund site located near the Castle Homes neighborhood in Akron, Ohio, where Matthew grew up. The video very poorly argues that the EPA Superfund site caused residents in the nearby community to fall ill with cancer. The video desperately grasps at straws to "expose government and media corruption" but falls flat on its face.
At the beginning of the video, Matthew asserts that residents of the Castle Homes neighborhood have disproportionately fallen ill with cancer, but he provides no data or evidence to substantiate this claim. Well, at first it's just cancer, but later on he includes other medical conditions like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue (again with no evidence). He proceeds to allege the reason people in the community are becoming sick is due to the nearby EPA Superfund site. These are baseless allegations because he fails to provide even a quantum of supporting evidence. At no point in the video is any correlation between the EPA Superfund site and illnesses in the neighborhood ever established in any capacity.
Aside from failing to include any empirical data or persuasive evidence, Matthew only vaguely cites his sources at the beginning of the video. The opening title cards state sources are "The Akron Beacon Journal, The Region 5 US EPA Superfund reports, Federal court documents, and current and former residents of Castle Homes". If you want more precise citations, such as which specific newspaper articles or EPA reports, NOPE, you apparently just have to take Matthew's word for it (which has no credibility since he has a lengthy track record of dishonesty). Also, one of his sources is "current and former residents of Castle Homes" - are you serious? This is by definition hearsay and does not constitute evidence in any capacity. The reality is the claims made in 'Poison in the Grapes' are unsourced and unsubstantiated.
From a filmmaking perspective, 'Poison in the Grapes' is a dumpster fire. The video reprises the same shaky handheld shots that were universally criticized in 'Blame Reagan'. The title cards contain spelling errors and poorly-worded sentences. The video frequently fast cuts the words "Poison in the Grapes" in between transitions, which feels very unfitting. Matthew also speaks to the camera throughout the film while standing in front of the Pacific Ocean off Highway 1 for some reason. I cannot fathom why anybody would use the Pacific Ocean as a background when creating a documentary about Akron, Ohio. It's obvious the video is extremely low-budget, but why even film on the side of a noisy highway across the country? Even homeless people can still reserve a free room in a quiet library.
Anyway, during the video, Matthew admits as a teenager he illegally trespassed into the clearly marked and fenced-off EPA Superfund site. He then admits he illegally stole items from the EPA Superfund site while he was illegally trespassed. At this point he claims he himself suffers from an unknown medical condition that he got from trespassing onto the EPA Superfund site. To nobody's surprise, he does not provide any evidence of having any sort of medical condition, and he does not establish any proven correlation between his mystery illness and the EPA Superfund site in any capacity whatsoever. And for some reason, Matthew asserts the government and the local newspaper are somehow 100% to blame for him illegally trespassing onto a clearly marked EPA Superfund site.
'Poison in the Grapes' is a very disingenuous video created by a mentally ill homeless guy who has never once in his life taken responsibility for his own actions. The whole video is an attention seeking charade by a self-absorbed egomaniac who tries desperately to manipulate the audience into giving him sympathy. The entire video is a narcissist's cry for attention disguised as "environmental activism". Final rating: 1/10.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Tell me, James: do you still sleep with a gun under your pillow?
'Tomorrow Never Dies' is the 2nd James Bond movie of the Pierce Brosnan era. The movie was greenlit due to the enormous success of 'Goldeneye'. Unfortunately, I found 'Tomorrow Never Dies' to fall drastically short of 'Goldeneye' in terms of storytelling and overall quality.
The premise of 'Tomorrow Never Dies' is that the main villain, Elliot Carver, is a media mogul who wants to manufacture a global conflict so his media outlets can provide coverage of it. Really. That's it. Not only is this plot highly implausible, but the the character Elliot Carver himself is very nonthreatening and lacks any sort of menacing traits. He also has two henchmen - a guy who looks like he lives in mom's basement drinking Mountain Dew and playing MMORPGs all day, and another guy who looks like he belongs in a 1990's German boy band. These three make up a very lackluster crew of villains that I found boring.
Paris Carver is also a very unremarkable Bond girl. We learn she is James Bond's former girlfriend, but the film never actually dives into their history. What a wasted opportunity. Adding some depth to the history of James Bond and Paris Carver would have made the audience significantly more invested in her as a character, and would have made future scenes with her much more impactful. Instead, we don't really care much about her because her character was shallow to begin with.
The special effects were pretty good. The film is very action-packed. 'Tomorrow Never Dies' was given double the budget as the previous film 'Goldeneye', and it especially shows during the action scenes. My only major complaint is the sound effects for the kicks and punches were way overdone. A very gentle punch or kick produces an unrealistically loud "WHACK!" which stands out as too over-the-top.
'Tomorrow Never Dies' checks off all the classic James Bond tropes, but is bogged down by a weak plot and an undistinguished lineup of characters. It's a shame because I really enjoy Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. If the plot had much more substance, this could have been a great movie, but instead it's just mediocre. I rate it a 6/10 overall. 'Goldeneye' is very much the superior film.
Casino Royale (2006)
Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?
I distinctly remember the collective groan from the James Bond fan base back in the mid 2000's when the announcement came that Daniel Craig would replace Pierce Brosnan as the new James Bond. Fans were up in arms because Daniel Craig has blonde hair and baby blue eyes, instead of themore traditional darker traits that were synonymous with the James Bond character. Funny how once 'Casino Royale' was actually released, those skeptics immediately disappeared.
Daniel Craig proves he has the charm, elegance, presence, and confidence that the fans have come to expect from James Bond. He just has a very powerful aura about him from that start that easily establishes him as the next James Bond.
Mads Mikkelsen plays the main antagonist Le Chiffre, who is one of my favorite James Bond villains. The film actually provides insight into his backstory to shed some light on the motivations behind his actions. Le Chiffre is humanized because the audience simply understands his reasons for being "the bad guy", which makes him much more relatable and interesting as a character. This is the antithesis of traditional Bond villains that have a tendency to be very over-the-top and evil just for the sake of being evil.
Eva Green plays Vesper Lynd, who is assigned to supervise James Bond during his mission. Not only is Eva Green stunningly beautiful, she also perfectly portrays the charm, wit, determination, and overall likeability of Vesper. Not much can be said without getting into spoiler territory, but I will say her story arc is one of the highlights of the movie. The women in the James Bond franchise have historically been shallow sex objects, but Vesper's character contains significantly depth than female characters in prior films.
The action sequences are perfectly placed throughout the film and choreographed beautifully. However, some of the most suspenseful scenes in the film aren't even the scenes with action. The high stakes poker game itself unfolds in a way that creates enormous suspense and excitement. These scenes at the card table are so perfectly crafted, the audience is left with even greater anticipation and excitement than any action scene in the film.
Every part of 'Casino Royale' is extraordinarily well-written. The characters are interesting, relatable, and have depth. The plot is stimulating and compelling. The movie is beautifully shot. There is so much attention to detail. There are so many small moments scattered throughout the film that add massive amounts of depth to the story. There are many elements of cinematography utilized, like lighting/colors/camera angles, that perfectly complement the storytelling aspect of the film.
'Casino Royale' is not just a good James Bond film, it's a good film altogether. It's a must-watch film for anyone, whether or not you're a fan of the James Bond franchise.
For England, James?
I have no shame in admitting the only reason I watched 'Goldeneye' was solely because I loved the video game on the Nintendo 64 and wanted to view the source material. I was not disappointed the slightest because 'Goldeneye' is actually a great Bond film that really gets the audience emotionally invested in the story. In my opinion, Alec Trevelyan is one of the best villains in the 007 franchise. In the beginning of the film, Trevelyan gets shot in the face at point blank and then 3 minutes later the building explodes to pieces, yet he somehow survives both because reasons. He returns years later only to betray Bond. 'Goldeneye' is written in such a way that the audience also feels betrayed, and there is no more satisfying ending than seeing Bond get his vengeance against Trevelyan at the end of the movie. Before Trevelyan is about to die he looks up and asks "For England, James?" to which Bond replies "No. For me." Then James Bond drops Trevelyan only for him to SURVIVE YET AGAIN and it isn't until the antenna crushes him to death where he finally dies. I rate Goldeneye a 9/10, it might be my favorite James Bond film, and I am fully aware that I am biased because of the nostalgia from loving the video game and watching the movie as a kid. Also I'm fairly certain I hit puberty the moment Xenia Onatopp appeared on screen, so thank you 'Goldeneye' for turning this boy into a man.
Not every cellphone video needs an IMDb entry.
Matthew Berdyck was driving down the Nevada highway when he saw a semi crashed on the side of the road. He pulled out his cell phone to record it as he slowly passed by, then uploaded the 20-sceond video to Facebook. That's it. No, really. That's all there is to "Wayward Traveler: Nevada Train/Semi Crash". It's a shaky cellphone video of a truck crash.
It's such a lazy effort at a "film". Matthew listed it himself on this website in order to pad his resume and make himself appear more legitimate. Not every cellphone video needs an IMDb entry. I give "Wayward Traveler: Nevada Train/Semi Crash" my one-star seal of disapproval.
No Time to Die (2021)
A highly entertaining send-off for Daniel Craig!
Right upfront, the Daniel Craig era James Bond films tell a continuous story. If you have not already done so, watch them in order prior to viewing this film ('Casino Royale', 'Quantum of Solace', 'Skyfall', 'Spectre', and then 'No Time to Die'). The story arc carries over from one film to the next, and 'No Time to Die' will be much more impactful when you understand the plot elements and story lines set up by the prior films.
Now onto the review. The performances are once again top-notch. Daniel Craig slays as James Bond, and has really grown on me as perhaps the best actor so far to portray Bond. It's bittersweet that his tenure as Bond has come to an end, but on the other hand there's newfound excitement for the fanbase to see what the future holds for the Bond franchise. Rami Malek plays the main villain, and although his performance was great, I felt he did not have the same dominant presence as other Bond villains, such as Javier Bardem's character in 'Skyfall' or Christoph Waltz in 'Spectre'.
My biggest complaint with the previous Bond installment 'Spectre' is the film lacked depth and didn't take risks. 'No Time to Die' is the opposite. The story is filled with twists and turns at every corner. You'll find yourself completely immersed in the plot, waiting in anticipation to find out what direction the writers chose next. Without getting into spoilers, the film does a great job of really getting the audience emotionally invested in the characters and cheering them on (or rooting against them) all throughout the film.
In additional to an interesting story, the film has the typical action sequences you can expect from a James Bond movie. High speed chases using cars, boats, airplanes, motorcycles, and any other vehicle. Shootouts, hand to hand combat, etc. It's all pretty standard by this point. The action sequences in 'No Time to Die' were handled spectacularly and made excellent use of very creative camera work. One scene in particular that stood out for me was toward the end where one continuous shot was used during the a climactic action sequence.
The film also has many themes and motifs. Most obviously "Time" - the word is in the title, it's in several very important moments, Bond uses a watch as a weapon, etc. But also, there are many Easter Eggs sprinkled throughout the film that long-time fans of the franchise will be happy to notice.
I really enjoyed 'No Time to Die'. I rate it a 9/10. A very enjoyable movie, but still not as good as 'Casino Royale', but to be fair, I don't see any James Bond movies passing that film soon.
I also really enjoyed the theme song by Billie Eilish. She gets a lot of hate I think solely because she's an angsty generation Z artist, but she does have a great voice which complements the overall ambiance of the film.
Blame Reagan (2013)
A very insincere and disingenuous "activism documentary".
Matthew Berdyck, creator of "Blame Reagan", has a dilemma. You see, Matthew loves attention. Like, really, really loves attention. One might even call it an addiction. In fact, Matthew loves attention so much, that he has an insatiable and unrelinquishing desire to become famous. After all, being famous would provide an ample supply of attention to fulfill his needs.
But here's the problem. Matthew does not have any noteworthy qualities that typically lead to fame. He does not have very good looks. His intelligence is quite unremarkable, having just barely obtained his GED. His sense of humor has not matured beyond middle school, so being a comedian or entertainer is out of the picture. He does not have very many talents - he can't play sports, act, draw, paint, sing, or write songs. He can sort of play guitar, but nothing particularly impressive beyond the basic scales.
On top of all that, Matthew is homeless. Due to a lifelong history of poor decisions including drug abuse, bad relationships, run-ins with the law, and mental health issues, Matthew found himself alone on the streets. So now you realize Matthew's dilemma: how in the world can a man with no talent, no money, and no home become famous?
Matthew discovered his solution when he watched the Hollywood film "Erin Brockovich" in the early 2010's - activism. Activism would be his road to fame. He does not need to be attractive, funny, smart, or talented to be an activist. He can just find an activism cause, attach his name to it, then piggyback his way to stardom. Brilliant!
So Matthew very slowly dipped his toes into the waters of activism. In 2012, he created a very short amateur YouTube video about the Aurora, Colorado shooting, but the video was absolutely shredded by critics who noted the video's insincerity and lack of empathy. A few months later, he created another short video about the high-profile Amanda Todd tragedy, but his video was banned from Facebook for being severely inappropriate. Hmmmm. Piggybacking off an activism cause was much harder than Matthew had originally thought.
This is when Matthew had a major light bulb moment. He was already living on the streets, so homelessness could be his activism cause. He could just walk around doing his normal day-to-day homeless person activities, record it, call it a full-length documentary, and be catapulted into fame. Enter "Blame Reagan".
It's important to understand Matthew's backstory in order to really comprehend "Blame Reagan". People who aren't aware of the backstory will find the video very unorganized and directionless. But once you understand the context, the video makes complete sense because the entire premise of the movie is insincere and disingenuous.
"Blame Reagan" does very little to actually raise awareness or fight homelessness. The video does not offer any solutions or propose any type of reform. It doesn't even tell any sort of coherent story. The video is just Matthew walking around being homeless with his cheap handycam pointed at the sidewalk for almost the entire duration.
The video does not contain any of the very basic elements that filmmakers learn on day one in film school. Plot? Nope. Themes? Nah. Structure? Camera angles? Lighting? Color? Editing? Forget about it. From a filmmaking perspective, this video is pure garbage because it lacks every single foundational attribute of a film.
That's because "Blame Reagan" is not intended to be a film. The video is the monologue of a narcissist crying for attention. Throughout the video, Matthew tries so hard to pull at the audience's heart strings in order to garner sympathy for himself, but the audience will quickly catch on to these manipulation tactics. About 15 minutes into the video is when the audience realizes HE is the cause and homelessness itself is an afterthought.
I also can't even wrap my head around why a so-called "activism documentary" would contain hate. In the video, Matthew uses hateful anti-LGBT slurs, while mocking and misgendering a trans woman. He makes offensive and misogynistic comments toward women, particularly when he passes the "Liquor Easy Mart". He even assaults two hitchhikers, but you'll notice most of this section was conveniently edited out in order to falsely portray the hitchhikers as the aggressors.
Matthew can't even keep his stories straight. In the trailer on YouTube he says he ended up homeless after a relationship. In another video, he claims that he became homeless after he was robbed. On social media, he says he voluntarily gave up his oceanside home to "make himself" homeless. The whole thing is suspect.
Bottom line: "Blame Reagan" is a fake documentary created by a self-absorbed narcissist who does not care about anything other than himself. The video serves no purpose other than an outlet for the ramblings of a mentally ill homeless man who is desperately trying to become a famous activist, but misses the mark entirely.
A formulaic Bond film that doesn't take many risks.
I enjoyed Spectre, it was a fun movie. It was a good James Bond movie, but it felt lacking in certain aspects.
I'll start with what I liked. The cinematography is absolutely beautiful. Director Sam Mendes makes excellent use of lighting, camera angles, and all the tricks in order to capture some excellent shots. There is also several settings throughout the film with lush scenery that really adds variety and atmosphere to the film.
The performances are all top-notch, but that's pretty much standard with these movies at this point. Daniel Craig has already established himself as a high-caliber actor fully capable of playing James Bond. I enjoyed Christoph Waltz's performance as the main villain, I really liked him in "Inglourious Basterds" and was thrilled he delivered a stellar performance once again. Dave Bautista also did a great job playing an intimidating bad guy, and him and Bond had some brilliantly choreographed action scenes together.
My biggest criticism with Spectre is it just doesn't take very many risks. The film is a formulaic James Bond movie and doesn't add anything new. There aren't any major plot twists. The film misses so many opportunities to add additional depth and lore to the James Bond franchise. For example, we learn the main antagonist and James Bond have major history together, but this is only brought up once and never mentioned again. What a wasted opportunity to further delve into their back stories and facilitate character development and really get the audience better invested in these characters.
In my opinion, the theme song is also the weakest of all five Daniel Craig James Bond films. I found it to be very forgettable.
Spectre is by no means a bad movie. It's action-packed with excellent actors. The major flaw is the film's lack of depth, but sometimes, there is a comfort in familiarity. Final score: 7/10.
A disgusting and shameless exploitation of a national tragedy for views.
"Denver, Colorado: James Holmes Massacre" is a very short 90-second video uploaded to YouTube by creator Matthew Berdyck. The short video contains very amateur footage of a sidewalk memorial in Aurora, Colorado, shortly after the tragic 2012 movie theater shooting.
Viewers will immediately find themselves asking: "What is the purpose of this video?" The video does not celebrate the lives of the victims, nor does it demonize the actions of the assailant. The creator Matthew obviously does not empathize with the victims or the community, otherwise he would not have glorified by killer naming his video after him. Matthew also has no business in Colorado whatsoever, but traveled across state lines specifically to be on site. So what is the ulterior motive behind this video?
I believe the true motives are narcissism and self-absorption. It is my opinion Matthew is a clout chaser who traveled to Aurora, Colorado, to egotistically insert himself into the storyline of the shooting. He has a lengthy history of leaching off high-profile tragedies for attention. One such example is his equally disturbing Facebook video about the high-profile Amanda Todd story, which has since been banned by Facebook.
Once you realize this, it becomes obvious that this video is nothing more than a souvenir - "proof" that Matthew was at the scene of the tragedy. To this day, almost 10 years later, Matthew still publicly states: "I was at the Aurora, Colorado shooting". The lack of context is to intentionally mislead people into believing Matthew was sitting in the movie theater enjoying Batman when the shooting unfolded right before his eyes. The reality is that Matthew didn't show up until days later once the sidewalks were already knee-deep in flowers and balloons.
Bottom line: "Denver, Colorado: James Holmes Massacre" is an tasteless and disingenuous "remembrance" video created by a clout chaser who is standing on the graves of the tragedy's victims for attention. 1/10 final rating.
A much needed return to form following Quantum of Solace
Quantum of Solace gets regarded as being one of the weaker James Bond films for good reason. Skyfall does a fantastic job of realigning the franchise and matching the very high expectations set by its predecessors.
The acting is on point. Daniel Craig gives a stellar performance as James Bond, as per usual. Javier Bardem's portrayal of the main antagonist will send shivers down your spine. I was excited to see him in Skyfall since I loved his performance in "No Country for Old Men" and he does not disappoint in the slightest.
The writing is extraordinarily compelling. Without getting into spoilers, the movie contains several perfectly timed plot twists that keep the audience on the edge of their seat. One major criticism I had with Quantum of Solace is the plot was too convoluted and needed more breathing room. Skyfall, on the other hand, is perfectly paced and gives the audience ample time to follow along.
I rate Skyfall a 9/10. Any criticisms I have would be nit-picking, and I don't want this review to come across as pretentious and overly critical.
I rank Skyfall as the 2nd best Daniel Craig era James Bond film, with Casino Royale still being the best. Casino Royale is an almost-perfect film that's nearly impossible to surpass, but there is no shame in being second best.
Backstory: Amanda Todd was a 15-year-old high school student from Canada who committed suicide in 2012. Prior to her death, Amanda uploaded an emotional video to YouTube using flash cards to detail the motives behind her suicide. These motives include struggling with mental health, being blackmailed into exposing her breasts on webcam, being bullied, and being physically assaulted. The YouTube video went viral shortly after her death, resulting in Amanda's story gaining widespread media attention.
"Amanda Todd: The Cycle of Abuse Continues" is a very short video posted by creator Matthew Berdyck to Facebook in 2012 during the pinnacle of Amanda's media coverage. This poorly-edited short video does nothing to actually discuss or raise awareness to issues like mental health, bullying, sextortion, or suicide. Instead, the short video comes across as a very obvious ploy by the creator to piggyback off a high profile tragedy in a shameful attempt to further his own filmmaking career.
What's truly disgusting about "Amanda Todd: The Cycle of Abuse Continues" is creator Matthew Berdyck included the uncensored images of Amanda Todd's exposed breasts in his short video. This is a downright repugnant decision by someone who has zero empathy for a suicide victim or her family. Not to mention the glaring fact that these are illicit images of a teenage girl.
The short video was (rightfully) removed by Facebook after being reported by many users. To this day, creator Matthew Berdyck sadly still uses this short video to pad his filmmaking resume; however, make no mistake, "Amanda Todd: The Cycle of Abuse Continues" is just another black mark on Matthew's legacy. A legacy that is already rife with controversy and infamy.
1/10 rating, I would rate 0 if I could.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
A very "meh" Bond film
Quantum of Solace is the worst Bond film of the Daniel Craig era. Quantum of Solace itself isn't a "bad" movie, it's just a very "meh". The plot is too convoluted and the film needed to be a bit longer to help it breathe. The story is boring: if the bad guy wins, some people in Bolivia are going to have a higher water bill. Yeah, really, that's it. Total snooze fest. I read somewhere that this film was created during a Hollywood writer's strike, which explains the weak plot. The action scenes aren't anything spectacular, and the film used the quick cuts that were trendy at the time, but feel dated by today's standards. Overall it's just a very average experience as a whole, and definitely the weakest Daniel Craig era Bond film. Stick with Casino Royale or Skyfall instead.