Friday FabOoolousness – Bond. James Bond. And Bardem.

As much as my guy and I enjoy watching movies, we rarely get out and actually go to the theater.  But, every once in a while, there is a movie that we simply can’t wait months to see.  It only happens a few times a year, and one of those times occurred this weekend.

So, what made us get out and enjoy an afternoon at the movies?

Bond.  James Bond.

I grew up watching all of the 007 movies because my father is an avid Bond fan.  I probably can’t even count the times I woke up and walked downstairs only to discover my dad watching a Bond film again—I say again because I’m quite certain he’s seen every single flick at least a dozen times.

Each of the twenty-three installments in the Bond franchise has a few key components: the sexy, fearless, suit-wearing, and martini-drinking covert operative known as 007; a gorgeous, seductive, and oftentimes somewhat evil Bond Girl; state-of-the-art gadgets and a tricked out Aston Martin; lots and lots of action sequences; and one bad *insert expletive here* villain.

In the fifty years of Bond, six actors have played the iconic role—Sean Connery, Roger Moore, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and the most recent, Daniel Craig.

Why, hello Sir Connery. I mean, James…

Me?  I’m a Sean Connery girl; he’s my favorite Bond.  But, I won’t lie… Daniel Craig is slowly but surely creeping up to Sir Connery’s status.  When it was announced almost a decade ago that a blonde-haired, blue-eyed man would play the role of 007, I was one of the naysayers.  Bond isn’t blonde.  How is this going to work?

Well, it works.  Really well.  All three of the films starring Mr. Craig have been some of my favorites in the franchise.  All Bonds are action-packed and entertaining, but there’s just something about Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall that has left this girl continuing to want more from the franchise… and from Mr. Craig.

My guy and I waited to see Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace until the films were available for us to watch at home, but not Skyfall.  Why?  Because we heard from more than one source that this Bond was the BEST BOND EVER.  With a statement like that, how could we not go check it out?  So, we headed out to the theater this weekend and bought two tickets to Bond.  James Bond.

Now, I won’t go as far to say it is the best Bond ever, but it was pretty darn good.  For those that haven’t seen it yet, I don’t want to give away any spoilers in this blog post, so I’ll only mention a few of the key elements.

First, there’s the obvious… 007 himself.  Daniel Craig has it all.  He’s sexy, loyal, and fearless, something he proves in one of the opening scenes of the movie.  Like I said, I don’t want to give anything away, but let me just say that this moment made me cringe and watch out of the corner of my eye… there’s a scorpion involved, but that’s all anyone is going to get out of me.

REALLY like this Bond…

Next, there’s the token Bond Girl. However, this time there are really two…  First, we have the traditional damsel and somewhat evil woman James happens upon while working his case that he falls into bed with.  And next, we have the not-so-traditional female spy working alongside 007, who of course has an intense sexual chemistry with the MI6 agent.  Her name goes without mention until the very end, and let me add that it was an Ah-Ha moment for me.

The traditional Bond Girl… gorgeous, isn’t she?
And, the not-so-traditional Bond Girl…

As with any Bond flick, there is also the fun, yet deadly gadgets… but not so many this time.  My favorite?  James’ “smart” gun that will only fire after it confirms his fingerprint as identification.  And, no Bond film would be complete without James’ Aston Martin—the DB5.  Some may recognize it from an older movie in the franchise, but the reasoning behind why James takes it out of storage will make perfect sense later on in the movie…  and man, it is still one good-looking car.

Pretty man. Pretty car.

Then, there’s the action.  Skyfall literally starts out with a high-speed motorcycle chase on the rooftops in Istanbul.  First, I’m not exaggerating when I say ON the rooftops.  And secondly, I actually nailed the fact they were in Istanbul at the time.  How?  I have no idea. I’m horrible with geography.  So, I’m kind of proud of myself… but back to Bond.

And, finally, there’s the bad *insert expletive here* villain.  Oh, my goodness.  Multiple people raved about Javier Bardem’s portrayal as Silva in the movie, and they weren’t kidding.  Let me say it again: oh, my goodness.  He may not be the most evil James has ever faced, but he is right up there.  What makes Silva’s character one of my favorites is just how likable he is—even as the villain.  A tip of the hat to you, Mr. Bardem.  You play one evil dude.  And, I like it.

Ooo, Silva. What a fabOoolous performance by Mr. Bardem.

Skyfall definitely keeps the franchise alive… and I hope we have more James with Mr. Craig.

Bond. James Bond.

What do you think?  Have you seen Skyfall?  What did you think of Javier Bardem’s portrayal?  I’d love to hear from you!    

Friday FabOoolousness – Escaping with Movies

Very rarely do we actually go to the movie theater to catch a new release, but my guy and I do frequent the fabOoolous movie vending machines known as Redbox.  We also like to “rent” movies via OnDemand, whether it is the pay services or the free premium channels that accompany our cable plan.

Lately, our weekends have been filled with late night cinematic greatness after a day of running all around the metroplex shopping for cars and home workout equipment.  After being out in the Texas heat (it came early this year, folks), we only seem to have enough energy to curl up on the couch and pop in a movie.  Mostly we lean toward the comedies, wanting to laugh the day away, but we don’t shy away from the drama and tension filled mysteries either.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a list of movies that come highly recommended here at The Ooo Factor, so it’s time…

*****

If you’re in the mood to laugh…

Jack and Jill

While it’s not Adam Sandler’s best, it was very enjoyable.  As always we see the same cast of characters that Happy Madison Productions likes to offer cameo appearances to (it’s almost like playing a game… “which of Sandler’s friends grabbed a part in this film”), and we see the same type of comedy we’ve grown accustomed to over the years when Sandler’s involved.

Jack and Jill actually shares a very valuable message through the twin brother (Jack, played by Adam Sandler) and twin sister’s (Jill, played by a cross-dressed Adam Sandler) tumultuous relationship, and shows the importance of family and true friends.  Oh, and movie goers get to experience Al Pacino in a role unlike any other he has played.

*****

If you’re looking for a good, yet dark, mystery…

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Many have read the book, many have seen the Swedish film, but that didn’t stop American productions from making its very own version of the Steig Larson hit.  First of all, Rooney Mara deserves any and all acclaim for this film.  She transformed herself into the title character’s role, Lisbeth Salander.  From the hair, to the tattoos, to the piercings, and to the horrendously dark storyline of her character, she nailed the performance.  I think it’s safe to assume we won’t see Rooney resume her role in any future Nightmare on Elm Street renditions as Nancy, although that would be lovely.

And Daniel Craig, no he’s not James Bond in this film; but it is a nice change of pace from his 007 role.  I’ve always likened the actors who have played Bond in the past strictly to the Bond character, but not Craig.  His depth and acting skills are quite amazing, and I almost forget he’s our most recent sexy spy when I watch his other movies.

In the rare case that someone isn’t at all familiar with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo franchise, let me warn you – this is a dark film; I cannot express it enough.  I don’t want to give anything away, but there really is no “Hollywood ending” to this story, but that’s not to say it isn’t fantastic.  And if you like mysteries and attempting to figure out the who, what, why, where, and when, give this one a go.

*****

One that I actually can’t recommend…

The Rum Diary

Usually we love Johnny Depp movies, and he seems to only select the best roles that add to his Hollywood greatness, but The Rum Diary was nothing at all like we expected.  The trailer looks hilarious, even the poster board at Redbox listed the movie as a comedy.  It’s not.  While there are funny moments, the movie’s more of a drama told in dedication to the deceased columnist and author, Hunter S. Thompson.

It’s hard to explain exactly what went wrong or where the film lost us, but we refused to give up and watched until the very end.  Even then, we just shook our heads in dismay; it was a major let down.

Here’s to hoping Depp is back to his fabOoolous roles as Barnabas Collins in the upcoming release, Dark Shadows.  Now this one will get me to the theater, and I really need to wash this Rum taste out of my mouth.

*****

Now, if you’re looking for a surprise treat…

Tucker and Dale Vs Evil

If you’re in the mood for a slasher that you can make fun of and laugh along with, I highly recommend Tucker and Dale Vs Evil starring Alan Tudyk (Suburgatory, Doll House) as Tucker, and Tyler Labine (Reaper) as Dale.  Most of us laugh at slashers anyway, right?  But those laughs are usually not along with the film, they are at the film…

In a nice change of events, we can actually laugh along with this movie.  Tucker and his buddy Dale, two hillbillies enjoying their purchase of their very first vacation home (a rundown shack that screams “Murderer lives here!”), are mistaken as murderers by a group of college students out in the woods on vacation.  One by one the college kids kill themselves, but no one is there to witness these deaths so the others believe Tucker and Dale are responsible.  Meanwhile Tucker and Dale think these kids have lost their minds killing one another, and they too are running around just as scared.

Seriously, this is an underrated film.  Most have probably not even heard of it.  Have you?

*****

Have you seen any of these movies?  If so, what did you think?  What movies have you seen lately that come highly recommended?  Have you been disappointed by any recent films?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Friday FabOoolousness – Donna Galanti’s A Human Element

I first met Donna Galanti on Twitter and we’ve since had the opportunity to get to know each other a little bit better by following each other’s blogs and keeping track of one another on Facebook.  But Donna is more than just a friendly face on social media; she is accomplished (holds a B.A. in English, has a background in marketing, and previously published a memoir, Letters from BootCamp via iUniverse) and is very well traveled.

Author Donna Galanti

Many of us hope and dream of one day visiting as many locations around the globe as Donna has lived (from England to Hawaii).  She has dreamed of being a writer since the age of seven when she fell in love with the worlds of Narnia and Roald Dahl. Here’s the best part: Donna lived in England at the time, attending school in a magical castle where her imagination ran wild in an itchy uniform (bowling hat and tie included).

Donna now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle again.  Aren’t we all?

This month, Donna debuts her paranormal suspense novel, A Human Element.   How about a taste?

A Human Element:

One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.

A Human Element releases March 15th.

*****

When you were a little girl, did you dream of one day writing a bestseller, or did you have something else in mind?

I don’t think I thought of it in ‘best seller’ terms but since I was about seven I knew I wanted to be a writer. That and an actress! I fantasized about my books being made into movies and I was the star.

Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

I think I’m best answering where do I find inspiration. All my stories come to me as visions when I am alone and without distraction. These days, it’s on a long walk.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

Dean Koontz. Bill Bryson. Stephen King. John Grisham. LaVyrle Spencer (need something light at times!).

The cover art for your book is amazing.  Did you design it yourself?

Thanks so much! My publisher did it, Echelon Press. I told her the concept I wanted and she got it right on. Dean Koontz like.

Many writers imagine a celebrity or familiar face when developing their characters.  Did you have anyone particular in mind when writing Laura and why?

I didn’t have a celebrity in mind but I created her as part of me and part of what I wished to be. She had the same childhood as me, growing up an only child on a mountain where she would roam the woods and climb trees to sing from.

Speaking of celebrities, who are you thinking of at this very moment?

Sigh….Daniel Craig. Just watched him the other night in Casino Royale for the 100th time. When it first came out I was a little crazed with him and that movie…rented it five times in a row On Demand. My husband damn near killed me.

Besides writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

Biking, kayaking (ahhh, down the Brandywine River, PA in the Fall) and hiking. My hubby and I did many long distance charity rides including the MS 150. Our son is doing his first one this summer.

You have lived all over the globe. Which of your hometown destinations is your favorite and why?

Cobham Surrey, England! It’s so historic and old and beautiful. We lived in the old caretaker’s house of this old grand estate called White Tops. It even came with a gardener. It was a place of days gone by where I’d walk down the country lane to school and feed horses along the way. Each day the fish man would bring kippers for breakfast and the milk man would drop glass bottles at our door…and clotted cream some days!

I wouldn’t be myself without asking about television – what are your four favorite television programs airing today? 

I hardly have four shows I watch. I’m stuck in time and watch my old fave ones on Netflix. Just finished up the entire show of West Wing.

But here goes: Law & Order SVU and CSI. There are others I’d like to catch but haven’t found time to watch.  The other two? Don’t laugh, but I love to watch Big Time Rush and the Wizards of Waverly Place with my son.

What is your favorite movie all-time?

OMG, it’s sooooo G-L-A-D-I-A-T-O-R. The story, brutal scenes, Russell Crowe, the tormented Maximus (I wanted to name my son Maximus but that got nixed), the music, the cinematography…did I mention Russell Crowe? Sigh…

Maximus. Enough said.

What snacks do you order when at a movie theater? 

I don’t! Really!

Lastly, you claim to make up songs to be silly.  Would you like to share one with us now?  

Oh, boy, you got me good! This is a song about my son when he was a toddler (he would die if he knew I gave you this! I have icky 9-year old boy ones now, but won’t share those – LOL).

Sung to ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’:

Here comes Mommy, Here comes Mommy
Right down Mommy Lane.
She snuggles and hugs
and kisses away the pain!
Give your mommy all your love
and all your boo-boo’s too
cause your mommy will keep you safe
and give you ice cream too!

*****

Seriously, that may be the cutest song ever!  You fully exceeded my expectations, Donna!  Thank you!

Isn’t Donna great?  Don’t worry – everyone can have a little more Donna…

LIKEherAuthor Facebook page for news and updates! Her blog/book tour runs March 19th through April 11th with book giveaways, more guest posts, interview fun, and a chance to win the big prize giveaway! So pop over to her blogto see thefull tour schedule.  Remember to follow her on Twitter too.

Do you have a question for Donna?  Have you been lucky enough to live anywhere special like Donna’s English home at White Tops?  Do you have any “original” songs that you’d like to share with Donna, since she so generously shared “Here Comes Mommy” with us?  I’d love to hear from you! 

And one last thing: mark your calendars for the A Human Element e-book and paperback release, Thursday, March 15th.

Reviewers are saying…
“A HUMAN ELEMENT is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart. Highly recommended.” –Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of ASSASSIN’S CODE and DEAD OF NIGHT

“A HUMAN ELEMENT is a haunting look at what it means to be human. It’s a suspenseful ride through life and love…and death, with a killer so evil you can’t help but be afraid. An excellent read.” –Janice Gable Bashman, author of WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE, nominated for a Bram Stoker Award.

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