The P.C. Casting Call

From Shakespeare to James Bond to Nancy Drew, non-traditional casting choices in the film and stage worlds are in the news lately. Producers seem eager to play with the traditional gender and ethnicity of white and/or male characters – unfortunately not so much to further an artistic vision as to push for politically correct gender … Continued

Culture



‘Birdman’ and James Bond: The Modern Male Crisis

Spoiler alert: this post is about the film Birdman. It will give away plot points and speculate about the meaning of the film, including the ending. So stop reading if you plan on seeing the movie, which you should. There has been some confusion about what Birdman is about. The basic plot is that a … Continued

Entertainment, Movies

New ‘Bond’ Girl is a ‘Bond’ Woman

Late last week the producers of the James Bond blockbusters officially announced the title (Spectre) and cast of the 24th installment of the franchise, including the return of Daniel Craig as 007. But all the buzz about the announcement has been centered not on Bond himself, but on the newest—or rather, the oldest—Bond girl. Fifty-year-old … Continued

Entertainment, Movies

Why Britain Has Bond and America Has Bourne

In the wake of disturbing revelations from Wikileaks and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden about widespread government spying, the British public appeared to be unruffled by a controversy that sparked heated debate in the United States. Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland says “Americans are outraged to discover they are being spied on and watched. Britons give a … Continued

Culture, Entertainment, Movies

Skyfall, Rosebud, and the Decline of the West

As far as the latest installment of the James Bond franchise is concerned, it seems what they say is true: twenty-third time’s a charm! The Orson Wellian-named Skyfall is a rollicking, raucous, romp of a roller-coaster ride. And other stuff lame movie reviewers get paid to say about every film ever made. The important difference … Continued

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Manfall: James Bond Battles the New Wimpiness

Young people are feckless, inconclusive, and incapable of perseverance and self-reliance. Young males are especially bad–and they are excessively effeminate to boot. That’s a major takeaway from Skyfall, the new James Bond film. The film is arguably the most conservative film since 300. It doesn’t argue that there are marginal differences between the generations; it … Continued

Culture, Movies

Twitterature

Prescient philosopher of the media Marshall McLuhan once famously remarked that “the future of the book is the blurb.” Had he lived long enough to witness the ubiquity of the personal computer and social media, he might have said that “the future of the book is the tweet.” As both a longtime James Bond fan … Continued

Culture, Tech

Bond, Music and Gender

My earliest movie theater memory–in fact, one of my earliest memories at all–is of sitting with dropped jaw, thrilled by the brassy, guitar-driven theme song that opened Dr. No, the first in what would become the longest-running film franchise in history. The Bond theme is still my favorite movie music. Dr. No was released fifty … Continued

Entertainment, Movies, Music