Peking Opera Blues

One of the great films of the Hong Kong New Wave, Tsui Hark’s Chinese Revolution era adventure is notable for focusing not on the war or heroic men, but on the friendship that grows between three women who find themselves involved in a tangled web of espionage.

A Dandy in Aspic

A double agent operating in London dreams of retiring, but his life is complicated when he is assigned to assassinate a traitor: himself. With one foot in the pop art fantasy of James Bond and another in the grim world of John Le Carre, A Dandy in Aspic never quite succeeds at being either.

Spectre

Unfortunately, the remainder of the film’s obsession with mythology building and referencing previous films results in a tangled mess that, despite being over two hours in length, still feels like an hour of the film is missing.

Cultural Gutter: Now Cthulhu is Blofeld

Over on the Cultural Gutter, I’m taking a look at Brian Lumley’s first three Titus Crow novels, in which he turns Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos on its ear. Now Cthulhu is Blofeld examines Lumley’s preference for men of action, eschewing Lovecraft’s terrified academics in favor of two-fisted psychics flying around in magic clocks, shooting lasers at Cthulhu and his minions, which have been reduced to a bunch of B-grade Ultraman monsters.

Trout Fishing in Sicily

The utterly bizarre tale of how the creator of James Bond and the creator of the American mafia helped plan the Allied invasion of Sicily during World War II. Beyond Risico, James Bond’s forays into Italy are often little more than passthroughs. Bond spends more time in Italy in the movies — most notably Moonraker,…

James Bond vs. the ’80s

We are increasingly left with a sort of bland guy who just happens to be named James Bond — which, in a way, might be bringing the character back around to how Fleming originally imagined him, as an anonymous blunt instrument into whom a reader could pour his or her own identity; a characterless cypher of a man who might not be interesting but to whom interesting things happened. But honestly, by the middle of the 1980s, with decades of suave, awesome James Bond under our belts, did anyone really want an anonymous 007?