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Watching this was Hell, Boy!
I liked comic book characters as a kid, and still liked 'Spiderman' and 'Hulk' in theaters, so I wanted to like this film about one I never heard of before- HELLBOY! The word of mouth was good, so I gave it a chance. Big mistake. Even though Hellboy himself was charming and should be given a sitcom or variety show, he just didn't have good material to work with. Hellboy, although clearly derived from the X-Man Wolverine in attitude, muscles, and facial hair, was fun and a devil bon vivant. The supporting characters were also quite fun, the professor played by John Hurt(Hellboy's adoptive father), the green FBI agent to appeal to chicks with his buster brown haircut, and Hellboy's other mutant buddy, Abe Sapien- a telepathic fish man. The fish dude, although listed as being played by another actor, had to be voiced by David Hyde Pierce of 'Frasier' TV fame- if it's not I'll eat some raw halibut! I expected the fish/hero to start complaining about his skinny wife Maris. Conversely, the bad guys and the monsters Hellboy had to fight weren't very appealing- they were either ridiculous looking or had no charisma whatsoever. It was also unclear as to what could stop them, or if they could be killed. They could survive some things, but be destroyed be similar types of attacks- it didn't even make fantasy film/comic book sense.
Another shortcoming with the film is it's excessive length. Two hours felt like ten, and the storyline seemed pointless. There also never seemed to be real tension, and the fight scenes were hard to follow. Go see 'The Mummy' or 'Hulk' again, and skip 'Hellboy'. Wait till he's hosting a talk show on TV to catch his act.
Dark and Brooding, but Excellent
It is beyond me why 'Hulk' not more highly praised. The film is pure and has moments of utter destruction and power by the Hulk, great beauty, and style. This masterpiece by Ang Lee has it all in my opinion, a haunting musical score, moments of awesome action (especially the dog fight, and the tank and helicopter battle scenes in the desert). The isolation of the desert army base really suits the mood of the film, and is true to the original comic book. The moments where the hulk jumps and soars over the desert terrain are magical! The 'picture in picture' techniques used by Lee are also superb and echo the Hulk's print origins. Not to be overlooked is the acting. All the performances are also INCREDIBLE. Eric Bana is good as Bruce Banner, Nick Nolte is really great as his mad scientist father, Jennifer Connelly is so convincing (and beautiful!!) as Betty Ross, and the best performance is by Sam Elliott, who is tailor made to play the Betty's tough father, General Ross. He is great beyond words in this film! Watch 'Hulk' and prepare to be amazed, it is a masterpiece of the super-hero film genre. Spiderman was a good popcorn movie, 'Hulk' is much more!
Racist rat movie?
The movie 'Willard' is a remake of the original 1970's film of the same name. In this boy meets rat love story, the title character is played by the creepy Crispin Glover, but the original Willard makes a cameo in the film. Bruce Davison is shown in a painting and photographs as Willard's dead father, as a wink to those that have seen the original.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS: I was frankly expecting far more rat carnage and action, and was left a little disappointed that the film didn't capitalize enough on the improved special effects to create thrills and chills. What the film delivers is a character study of a strange and pitiable character who learns he has the ability to train and control rats, with the help of his beloved white rat Socrates. The film's villain, apart from Willard's evil boss played by R. Lee Ermey(who we all want to be dead, as we did in 'Full Metal Jacket), is the big black rat called Ben. What is not clear is why Willard loves Socrates so much, but hates Ben, because Ben doesn't really want to do anything but share a little quality time with Willard too. Ben ends up turning on Willard, but only because Willard ends up acting against Ben. This film comically seems to say that big black rats can't be lovable, but little white ones are. Not to belittle racism in society, is this a racist message? If Ben was white would Willard have loved him as well?
This intriguing aspect aside, 'Willard' is not a bad film, but about as ordinary as a Rat/Boy love story revenge saga can be.
The Core (2003)
Like an apple core, throw it away!
"The Core" is a modern version of the disaster, end of the world movie genre of pre-CGI days, but is not much better than the B flics of the 50's and 60's. It is corny and extremely far fetched, and many elements of the film make no sense whatsoever.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS: The film has an interesting premise, the earth's liquid core has stopped rotating and the world will be fried to a crisp because the earth's magnetic field will disappear. Got that? To stop this dire fate of mankind, an intrepid team of nerds must descend into the earth's core and jump start the liquid center's rotation with nuclear weapons. Still with me? Even though the world is set to end due to some ridiculous disaster, and the cities of Rome and San Francisco are destroyed (I told you there were spoilers), the amazing feats of daring by the nerds still manage to spill the tea being sipped by an old lady at an outdoor cafe in Paris! Oh the humanity!!! This is typical of 'The Core', the end of the world is not really that big a deal, cities are destroyed, and old ladies are still drinking tea at cafe's as if nothing is going on.
If your standards of popcorn movies aren't too high, rent 'The Core'. If you and your friends like to openly mock films as you watch them, definitely rent it!
Miami Blues (1990)
Something WAY different
"Miami Blues' is a pretty unusual film about a charming psychopath played by Alec Baldwin(in what could be his best role yet), who beats up an outsider detective(Fred Ward),steals his badge and dentures, and shacks up with a sweet simpleton hooker(Jennifer Jason Leigh). If this sounds a little odd to you, it is, but a GOOD odd. This film is something really different, and doesn't seem to be that well known by the movie watching public. All the leads are really great, and Baldwin's character of Frederick Frenger is really interesting. He's not pure evil, even though he does kill someone for no apparent reason. It's unclear what motivates him, because he wants to be admired as a hero cop with his 'borrowed' badge, but he is also a thief that has no problem robbing people after he helps them.
This film is a hidden gem. See this movie for Alec Baldwin and the crazy character he plays, because it's a role you won't soon forget!
In theory, the film 'Solaris' is the type of film science fiction fans should want to see, romance film addicts should enjoy, and psychological thriller viewers should love. However, the film becomes a long boring and muddled journey that doesn't hit on any of its intended audiences. If you're easily distracted, don't watch this movie. Even a shiny object becomes far more fascinating than this confused tale of a future psychologist(Clooney) sent to help the people on board a space station orbiting around the strange planet Solaris. Weird things do happen, but it is in making the viewer care that the movie falls short. George Clooney tries hard to bring life to this story, but he can't make us feel for his character's predicament. Maybe remakes of obscure Russian films aren't the best idea.
Le grand bleu (1988)
The Big Bore
I rented 'The Big Blue' expecting and wanting to like it. I expected a lot of beautiful cinematography by the gifted, stylish director Luc Besson (which it does have), and an in depth(pun) exploration of the mysterious, exciting and dangerous world of breath-hold deep diving. What I didn't expect was that most of the film would be devoted to the boring love story between the enigmatic dolphin-man Jacques Mayhol played by Jean-Marc Barr, and the ditzy Johana Baker played by Roseanna Arquette. I'm not against love stories, but it was excruciating in this film. This couple didn't seem to click, and just caused the film to drag out to a long and meandering at 2.5 hours! POSSIBLE SPOILERS: The friendship and rivalry between Mayhol and Enzo Molinari, played by the Besson regular Jean Reno was good, and should have been enough to give the film a 'human' element. However, even this element of the story becomes a cliche, and any movie viewer should be able to predict the outcome of their dangerous competitions.
The diving scenes are few and far between, and only really seem to gain momentum in the last half of the film. The first hour of the film has about 3 minutes of diving action, which should have been the main source of interest in this film. Even later on, the actual diving scenes are interspersed with the 'love story angst' scenes that make the viewer finally resort to the fast forward button.
The movie should have been more true to its subject matter and the men and mysteries surrounding it, and not the typical Hollywood relationship driven drivel it has in spades. It could have been great, but it drowns in cliches and its boring love story.
Fort Apache the Bronx (1981)
Never rises above movie of the week
'Fort Apache: The Bronx' is a cop movie that has the superstar Paul Newman in the lead role, yet it never really achieves anything greater than a typical TV movie of the week. Paul Newman is always good, and he is here, but even he can't breathe really serious life into a fairly typical film about the tough South Bronx. The story revolves around a police precinct that has had two rookies murdered, and the new captain's hard headed methods of trying to catch the killer. Ed Asner is Lou Grant as a police captain, Pam Grier plays a messed-up hooker,a young Ken Wahl(Wiseguy) is Newman's partner, Rachel Ticotin is Newman's love interest, and Danny Aiello is his typical bad cop self. The film isn't bad, but it doesn't really grab the viewer and become a memorable crime/cop drama. If you're a Paul Newman fan, check it out.
In the Line of Fire (1993)
I Can't Look Away
'In the Line of Fire' is one of those Hollywood films that shows up on tv quite a bit, but although I've seen it a few times, I usually end up sitting through the whole thing again. Why? - It's GOOD! Clint Eastwood is great as usual, and the character he plays is interesting and more fleshed out than usual. The character, Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan, is haunted by the fact that he was on the detail that failed to protect President Kennedy in Dallas, and now he's forced to match wits with a professional assassin that is openly declaring that he will kill the president. However, the film doesn't make him a depressed, brooding, and obsessed character. He's charming and personable, and is realistic as a guy that has experienced a lot in life and is comfortable in his own skin. He's even quite convincing when he flirts with the pretty younger agent played by Rene Russo. The killer, played by John Malkovich at his best, is cerebral, deliberate, and enjoys playing high stakes games of life and death. He even goes by the name of another presidential assassin, John Booth.
The film is consistently enjoyable, and it delivers all the goods - suspense, action, romance, and drama - all in their proper amounts. It's a fun film that is really helped by the great actors in it!
The Crossing Guard (1995)
Disappointing outing by all involved
I look forward to every film with Jack Nicholson because let's face it, the man is one of the great actors of our time. However, the material he has to work with is just not enough for him to save the film. The story, one of sadness, grief, loss, and revenge - is a little odd and lacking realism in my opinion, even though it is striving for absolute reality in human emotions. The character of Freddy Gale, played by Nicholson, is out to avenge his daughter's death by a drunk driver, played by the very good actor David Morse. POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD - Morse is released from Jail, and Nicholson's years of waiting for revenge and planning for what he will do culminates in his having an empty pistol? It's true that any strange thing can happen in reality, but movies have to maintain a certain credibility, not just portray what could possibly happen to a mixed up, grieving guy. The film tries to show that people aren't really sure what they want or know what to do, which is true, but it seems to stretch this concept to absurdity. The final chase scene ends up being unintentionally funny, and reminded me a lot of the chase scene between Kramer and the Cable Man on Seinfeld. It had a ridiculous quality to it, going from street to bus to cemetery. Just making Nicholson keep up with the obviously healthier looking Morse character was quite a stretch, and Morse's character's plan of having Freddy Gale follow to the gravesite is pretty half baked.
The heart of the movie is an attempt to show regret and forgiveness, but it just doesn't come across in a credible way. Give this one a pass, and cross the video aisle safely!
Better and Meaner than the original!
'Aliens', the sequel to 'Alien', has all the elements of the original and MORE! The film takes a bit of time to develop the story, with Ellen Ripley going back to the planet from the first film to help save colonists and battle the Aliens, but this time accompanied by some real firepower and a small army of Marines. The development shouldn't be viewed as boring or slow, and besides introducing an interesting scenario, it's the calm before the storm, and what a storm! The action sequences in Aliens are intense and claustrophobic, and they're more the stuff of nightmares than the original.
The character of Ripley is really developed in this film, and she ranges from uncertain, tough, caring, motherly, sexy, and pure hell with a gun - and it all works. Weaver really became a star with Aliens, and it's probably her best film ever.
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Strives for more realism and succeeds!
'For Your Eyes Only' is one of the better Roger Moore Bond films, and that's largely due to the increased realism and effort to reduce campiness. Bond doesn't have too many ridiculous gadgets, and those he has are more plausible. Bond is shown as being more capable on his own, and of being more cold blooded when he has to be. The scene where he chases the car on foot is one of the best, and its resolution is perfect.
There are great action scenes, especially the ski/motorcycle chase, and it was very realistic looking too! The bobsled chase in 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' doesn't compare very well! The realism also extends to the villains, which are usually pretty over the top, but these are if anything a little ordinary. All in all, a good Bond film, and one of Moore's best.
This Alien isn't related to E.T.
'Alien' is both formulaic and unique in many ways. The art direction and set designs are excellent, but similar in some ways to Star Wars. The virtually unstoppable and seldom seen alien is similar to the shark in Jaws. The story, members of a space crew being picked off one by one in a creepy ship, is like the classic 'Ten Little Indians'. What makes the film unique is in the sum of its various parts, and in its innovations.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD: The concept of having the Alien gestate inside a human body and burst out is incredible, and provides one of the most memorable scenes in horror/sci-fi film history. Also, the scene with Dallas in the air shafts, the alien closing in but seen only as a blip on a tracker, is really exciting and quite unique. That scene was even parodied on 'The Simpsons', when Groundskeeper Willie was hunting for Bart's dog in the school's air vents. The film is made up of groundbreaking elements, and that's what made 'Alien' more than just a formula monster movie. It's sequel, 'Aliens', added more of an action element , but the later sequels were a mistake.
The Birds (1963)
A little bird brained, but not too bad
Hitchcock's 'The Birds', is not quite the masterpiece that ranks with 'Vertigo' and 'Rear Window', but it's still interesting. The film was probably quite influential in the movie trend of having animals of all types attack, and that may not be a good thing. Bees, ants, cats, dogs, spiders, bats, fish, bears and rats are some of the animals used in such films, and I'm sure that guinea pigs, harbor seals, and penguins are in the works by pioneering animal attack auteurs.
The viewer has to suspend their disbelief that sparrows and sea gulls are deadly minions of human destruction, but the special effects and credibility gap make that kind of a stretch. People may think that with today's CGI effects that this film is perfect for a remake, and maybe so, but can't the movie viewing public encourage fresh ideas with our movie dollar votes? Hitchcock tried to cultivate a sense of uneasiness throughout the film, a creepiness and mystery that makes the viewer feel that weird things are possible, but I mostly felt that through Jessica Tandy's strange performance as the mother.
All in all, not a terrible film, and fun as a Hitchcock time capsule sort of film, but not one of Hitchcock's best by a long shot.
Breaking Away (1979)
It breaks away from the pack of formula buddy movies
The film 'Breaking Away' is at its core, a film about trying to break beyond the barriers that people have in front of them, and those that they place on themselves. It's about working class buddies just out of high school, and the lack of hope they seem to feel about their futures. They have a rivalry with the 'rich kids' going to the nearby University of Indiana, and end up in a direct competition with them, in the form of a bicycle race. The culmination is a bit corny, but we want these guys to succeed, because they are the classic underdogs.
The movie has a lot of heart, the friendship between the guys is portrayed with realism, and the relationship of the main character of Dave Stoller, an amateur bicycle racer and dreamer, with his parents, is something special. Also,the classical music peppered throughout the film, particularly during the bike racing, is perfect. This is a feel good film, and a nostalgic look back at the the late 1970's.
The film is not bad, and the same goes for Lazenby
'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' is much maligned by many, along with the replacement of Sean Connery with George Lazenby, but I don't think they deserve the bad rap. Lazenby was in a tough position replacing Connery, try replacing Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones or in comedy, Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau(which will sadly be attempted by Steve Martin, after Alan Arkin failed years ago). It's tough to replace an actor that has become so identified with a role, but Lazenby did pretty well. Bond is not King Lear, and Lazenby had the looks and presence to pull it off. For me, what really killed the Bond films was the aging and eventual departure of all the supporting Bond extras in the later Bond films, such as Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny and Bernard Lee as M. This film still had the ingredients that made the early Bond films successful, and the story was plausible as well.
As one that loved the classic Bonds, anything after the early Roger Moore films just didn't have that Bond film 'look', and the video game era Bond of Brosnan makes Bond have the depth of an empty Martini shaker. My main criticism of this film however, is in many of the fight scenes and their editing. They really were choppy and mixed up, and attempted to show action by dazzling viewers with quick, confusing cuts from all angles. Lazenby could have grown into his role as 007, but has now been relegated to the list of failed Bonds.
Rear Window (1954)
Another Hitchcock Masterpiece
'Rear Window' tells the story of a widely travelled photojournalist, played by Jimmy Stewart, who ends up wheelchair bound with a cast from hip to toe. This character, 'Jeff' Jefferies, used to excitement and covering wars and events around the world, suddenly finds himself in his small apartment with nothing much to do except watch his neighbors. This man seems to be afflicted with a need to watch and observe the world, and isn't happy watching TV or reading books to pass the time, because he never does throughout the film. He does however, find a human drama by observing his neighbors across the courtyard, and he can interpret who they are and what they do by watching their activities throughout the day, and night! However, with one neighbor, played by Raymond Burr, he suspects a sinister and much darker reality, he thinks the man has murdered his wife.
The film is not a typical film of voyeurism, because of Hitchcock's choice of Stewart to play the photographer Jefferies. Stewart is the decent and normal 'everyman', not a twisted and perverse 'peeper'. If the photographer was played by Robert Mitchum or William Holden, men who have played darker, more morally ambiguous characters in their career, maybe the film would have a different meaning. With Jimmy Stewart however, we can be assured that Jefferies is studying his environment and not becoming gratified with what he's viewing. That said, his viewing becomes close to an obsession when he believes a murder has occurred, but not quite to the unhealthy degree as the obsession he portrayed in another Hitchcock classic, 'Vertigo'.
The film is classic, and it is both a time capsule and relevant to today. The lack of air conditioning during the film's heat wave forces people to leave their windows and blinds open, where as today they would most likely be out of view. The relevance is in the relationship between the 24/7 cable news, 'Americas Most Wanted', video and photo obsessed society of today, that voyeurism and the public's desire to provide breaking news is applicable. In this era, we are all like 'Jeff' Jefferies, and that is what makes 'Rear Window' more than a quaint period piece.
Hitchcock's dizzying masterpiece.
'Vertigo' refers to the powerful fear of heights, and the disorientation and dizziness that is brought on by it, in the main character played by Jimmy Stewart. That character, 'Scotty' Ferguson, leaves the police force due to a tragedy brought on by his condition, and becomes a private detective for an old friend. What seems like a simple task of following the man's beautiful wife, ends up nearly costing Scotty his sanity.
The film is one of blind obsession, and what people will do to fulfill those obsessions. Stewart, a Hitchcock favorite, is effective in the role of a regular man overcome by obsession and feelings of guilt, almost to the point of madness, and Kim Novak is memorable in her complex dual roles. 'Vertigo' is a classic, and is among the best of Hitchcock's works - when he was at the 'height' of his powers!
Hable con ella (2002)
Love can come in many forms
Habla con Ella (Talk to Her) is a film about love, but is not your typical love story by any means. Like many other Almodovar films, it sounds very unusual when described in a paragraph, but it is less unusual and more genuinely moving when one immerses oneself in its world. The film deals primarily with the friendship between two men, Benigno and Marco. Benigno is a lonely nurse/caregiver for a beautiful comatose girl. Marco, is a strong but sensitive writer whose girlfriend, a female bullfighter, gets gored and also becomes comatose. A friendship develops between the two men, and the title refers to Benigno's advice to Marco, 'Talk to her'. Benigno's love for Alicia is full and real, and he treats her as if she is not in a coma, but Marco is a realist that can't seem to feel that Lydia is anything but dead.
The film explores the idea of what love is, and that it not only consists of romantic love, but the love of people for each other - the caring and friendship between people even when things are at their worst. Marco cares for Benigno as his friend, even when things are at their worst, and it is his love for Benigno - a wounded, sensitive, and needy human being, that gives this film its soul.
Love Liza (2002)
A character study of a pathetic, boring character.
Love Liza is a film about a man coping with his wife's suicide, and his deliberate avoidance to read the suicide note she left for him. It's true that people can act in any number of bizarre ways to such a shocking event, and this character tries to deal with his grief by sniffing gasoline. His gas sniffing, besides being a novelty, and not the typical alcoholism or narcotic abuse - is used to provide a twist or ironic ending. They could have had the same 'high concept' ending if the character was a sloppy drinker in the sub-culture of high zoot moonshine!
My main criticism with this film is not why the character does what he does, but why the film makers think we should care? The film is very focused, too much to be interesting to anything more than an extremely limited cult audience. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is a good actor, but he can't seem to carry a film on his own, unless you are a rabid fan of his work. The movie doesn't make a statement, except to say that this guy's life is ruined - ENJOY! A depressing character study of a depressing, boring character.
The English Patient (1996)
An epic tale of doomed love
'The English Patient' can rightly be compared to the films of David Lean, whose sweeping epics such as 'Lawrence of Arabia' and 'Bridge on the River Kwai' must have inspired the director Anthony Minghella. The film is beautifully photographed, and like 'Lawrence', is set in Northern Africa, but during the second world war. The story is complex, but it boils down to a forbidden love between an opinionated and often difficult archeologist played by Ralph Fiennes and a married woman played by Kristin Scott Thomas.
The story, based on a novel by Michael Ondaatje, is told in flashbacks by Fiennes' Count Laszlo de Almasy - the titular character. The fact that his name does not sound like he's English plays a key role in what unfolds. He has been badly burned in a plane crash, occurring just as the film opens, and is being cared for back in Europe by Hana, an army nurse played by Juliette Binoche. What makes this story epic is the vast sweep across place and time, and the development of characters beyond that of the two ill-fated lovers. The film makes clear that true love and passion, even with dreaded consequences, can make life worth living, or worth dying for. If you're a romantic at heart, and can appreciate a film without the standard happy endings and simple moral codes, you may find that 'The English Patient' speaks directly to you.
If you're a square peg in a round world
Rushmore is such a fun movie to watch, that if you are the type of individual that can relate to this film, you'll want to own it for your collection. The story is about a unique kid named Max Fisher, who seems gifted in many ways. His talents range from directing and writing live theater, to founding and/or organizing every school club- no matter how obscure. This 40 year old in a 15 year old body is just a little out of place in school, even in his beloved private school of Rushmore. This is made clear not only by his dismal grades, but by his pursuit of a pretty and sophisticated woman, a teacher at Rushmore.
The characters of Max Fisher and the wealthy business tycoon Herman Blume, played to perfection by Bill Murray, who ends up competing with Max for the love of the teacher, are what drive this film. They are friends despite their age difference, then rivals - and it is this unusual mix that makes this film unique. The film seems to say that people can be different and unique in life, and that they should be able to pursue love,happiness, and meaning, without giving in to society's expectations. If you feel that you're a unique person and have taken flack in your life for it, watch Rushmore, and learn to love yourself for being you.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
A modern day adventure classic!
Raiders of the Lost Ark is an adventure movie of such rousing fun, action,thrills,chills, and style - it's a modern classic! The film was conceived as a modern throwback to the 'serial' short films of the 40's and 50's, and delivers the impossible cliffhanger moments with panache. Again, Steven Spielberg's brilliant direction keeps things moving along, and the film never fails to deliver.
Harrison Ford is perfect as Indiana Jones, and it's hard to believe that the role was originally offered to Tom Selleck. This film really made Ford a leading man that can carry a film all by himself. He's so identifiable as Indiana Jones, without being typecast as the adventurer, as his fine and varied film career can attest. 'Raiders' is the best Indiana Jones film(yet), and the height of pure movie entertainment!
Amores perros (2000)
Harshly realistic and intense.
Amores Perros (Love is a Bitch), is a powerful film. It is made up of three main stories, whose characters affect each others lives without even knowing it. The film goes back and forth in time, to intrigue the viewer and to show how what starts as small decisions or actions can have drastic consequences. The film shows characters that run the gammut of Mexican society, from the life and mysterious past of an older street person, to members of a poor/lower middle class Mexican family, to a wealthy succesful family man and beautiful young model. The main theory or life lesson being espoused is however, is said by the movie's title.
The movie shows shocking scenes of dogfighting, which is a core element of one of the stories, and which starts the avalanche of events in all the character's lives. These scenes are real (not computer generated effects), and animal lovers may be appalled by them, but the film also seems to say that the only true unconditional love people can get is from dogs.
In closing, the film does not spell out any deep answers to life, but says that you take your chances! Life and love isn't easy or pretty, and that you can be dealt a bad hand no matter what your economic or social standing is. Life isn't a book or movie with their typical, cliched happy endings, and that is what elevates this film above the rank of pure film entertainment. This is powerful, unconventional filmmaking as an artistic and social statement, and should be seen!
Dr. No (1962)
Say Yes to one of the best Bond films!
Dr. No, the first of the Bond films, is undeniably one of the best in the series, but not perfect. The choice of Sean Connery as Bond was critical, because his presence and charisma MADE Bond. It's a little disappointing that he was not the gutsy he-man I thought he was, because even children let tarantulas crawl on them. Maybe he's arachnophobic. Aside from that, he is tough, suave, and convincing as James Bond. Never mind that he was coached to be Bond by Terence Young the director - whom almost everyone says was really the most like Bond in real life, he learned well.
The bad guys are great, the sets designed by the amazing Ken Adam give this and the other early Bond films their unique 'look', and the story is somewhat believable. Could be the best Bond film behind 'From Russia with Love'.