November 15, 2015

Spectre That: All The Bond Films Ranked...

We saw the new James Bond flick Spectre this weekend, and while I was totally entertained by this big budget action extravaganza, it was good not great, entertaining but not epic... and despite how much I try, just cant love the Sam Smith title song.

I would say Spectre is above average Bond, which is pretty good in a huge series where every film is worth seeing. And I know, as I have seen them all...

Here's my ranking. Let me know your faves -

Moonraker: James Bond in outer space.

Octopussy: Dirty title aside, nothing really memorable here, and model Maud Adams flails in the title role. A weak link that is still pretty entertaining.

A View To A Kill: Bond takes on evil computer genius. Gets points for Grace Jones as the villain, loses those points for Tanya Roberts as a scientist.

Die Another Day

License To Kill

Tomorrow Never Dies

The Man With The Golden Gun

Live and Let Die 

Never Say Never Again 

Diamonds Are Forever

The World Is Not Enough

Golden Eye

Quantum of Solace 

For Your Eyes Only

The Living Daylights


From Russia With Love

You Only Live Twice



The Spy Who Loved Me: Roger Moore's best by far, with an underwater villain, a cool car, Barbara Bach, and maybe the best theme song ever, Carly Simon's "The Spy Who Loved Me".

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: George Lazenby's sole outing as Bond is one of the grittier and most underrated of the series.

Casino Royale: Daniel Craig reinvents the series with Bond as a hothead rookie with family issues, Judi Dench as M, and Eva Green as one of the best Bond girls ever.

Dr No: The first Bond film stands the test of time.

Skyfall: Craig's Bond deals with childhood trauma, Judi Dench's emotional farewell, a super creepy villain played by Javier Bardem, and that amazing Adele theme song.

Looking over my ratings, I seem to think Roger Moore was the weakest Bond, and Daniel Craig and Sean Connery are the best... which seems right.

What are your favourites? Any Moonraker fans out there?

November 8, 2015

5 Great Fall Reads...

Fall reading season is upon us....

It's November, we have our first snowfall here, winter hibernation is coming soon, and the big books for the holiday season are all coming out...

And while I am traveling a ton for work, I am reading in airplanes, airports, and hotels. 

Here are five recent reads I have really liked... what have you been reading?

In alternating chapters, Canadian broadcaster Kevin Newman and his son Alex tell their stories of Alex being gay and coming out, and the impact on their views of manhood and their evolving relationship. An honest smart touching read, and yes I teared up a couple of times. Much more than a coming out story, this talks a lot about the media and family and life choices and self discovery. My favourite book of the year so far.

Felicia Day is apparently a geek queen and big deal in the online gaming world, none of which I knew when I saw her on  talk show pushing this book and thought she was smart and sassy and weird and intriguing. I listened to the audio of her book on several long drives and got wrapped up in her story, the tale of a smart lonely outsider making her own way in the brave new online world and finding her own community. 

A second collection of essay from TV writer and actor Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me? is a light fluffy fast read. While this book is not as great as her first, Kaling is a great writer and storyteller even when the stories are this slight, and she really shines when she has good material, like the chapter on the advice she wished she had given to a young girl who asked about her confidence.  

Uber blogger Mary McCarthy (Pajamas and Coffee) follows up her bestselling The Scarlet Letter Society with part two of what will apparently be a trilogy of great beach reads. The sequel brings the first book's Society ladies back, adding in several more scandalous women and a fun subplot about a swinging suburb. I now look at my neighbours' driveways differently.... thanks for that Mary. Only complaint is a smaller role this time for the charming gay couple... they want more in part three! Or a spin off? Scarlet Letter Scandal is fun and fast and sexy and dirty in a Jackie Collins way... read the first one, then this one. 

This long awaited book 24 in the Alphabet series featuring detective Kinsey Millhone that began with A Is For Alibi is smart and suspenseful and as usual much more than a mystery; it is a thriller with quirky realistic characters and an interesting investigation on a now-dead colleague of Millhone and who he was not who everyone thought he was. While X stands on its own featuring Kinsey in multiple intertwined mysteries, it also refers to Kinsey's past and features a cast of colourful recurring supporting players. I would start at the beginning... and I did.

What are you reading?