Spectre – trailer review

Ah, Mister Bond. We’ve been expecting you.

[CUE DRAMATIC MUSIC]

The new teaser trailer for Spectre (or is it SPECTRE?) has been released. Let’s take a look, shall we?

spectre01

We open with a shot of the destroyed MI6. Clearly we’re hot on the heels of Skyfall here. I’ve rambled on about what I think about Skyfall before, and the tone of this trailer feels *very* Skyfall-esque. I’m a happy Bond geek at this point.

spectre01 - Moneypenny

Moneypenny is back! Hurrah. Let’s hope that we see her back in action again. Having rebooted her character in Skyfall, I’d really like to see her away from the desk and in the thick of it with Bond.

spectre02

“Personal effects they recovered from Skyfall. You’ve got a secret…”

(note M’s china bulldog on the table)

spectre02 - bulldog

Bond looks over the paperwork. Guardianship forms and an old photograph.

spectre03

spectre03 - Oberhauser

Interesting – the name on the guardianship form is one Hannes Oberhauser. Now, in Octopussy and The Living Daylights (the book, not the movies) Oberhauser taught Bond to ski when he was in his teens and Bond very much regarded him as a father figure after his own parents were killed. We know that Christoph Waltz is playing Franz Oberhauser. Could he be the son of the late Hannes Oberhauser?

“Something you can’t tell anyone. Because you can’t trust anyone.”

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The photo is interesting too – I’m assuming that this is the young Master Bond with Oberhauser. Who is the figure on the right though, and why is their face obscured?

Cut to Bond, on a boat. He does like standing on boats, doesn’t he?

spectre05

“I always knew that death would wear a familiar face. But not yours.”

That voice does sound rather familiar…
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Cut to a funeral. First sign of Lucia Sciarra (Monica Belluci). At fifty, she’s the oldest woman to play a Bond leading lady.

spectre08

“I was in a meeting recently and your name came up.”

And the obligatory Aston Martin shot. The utterly beautiful (is there any other sort?) Aston Martin DB10, created especially for the movie. I’m not complaining. It’s gorgeous.

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“I’m flattered London are still talking about me.”

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“It wasn’t MI6.”

And now we see the Spectre octopus ring. We’ve seen SPECTRE rings before in From Russia With Love and Thunderball and we’ve already seen there’s a link to Octopussy with Oberhauser. Coincidence? Interesting to see that this octopus only has seven tentacles. And is that some kind of gem (or, knowing Bond, some kind of micro spy camera gizmo?)

spectre11

Ah, Mister White. We meet again. Last seen in Quantum of Solace hotfooting it away from Bond after escaping interrogation. Again, I’ve talked about Quantum of Solace before, and recall wondering if the shadowy Quantum could turn out to be SMERSH or SPECTRE. It looks like we might find out!

Jesper Christensen looks a little more dishevelled this time around though.

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“You are a kite, dancing in a hurricane Mister Bond.”

And the payoff. A truly Bondian shadowy villain. All that’s missing is a cat. White, of course.

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“Welcome James. It’s been a long time.
and finally, here we are.”

Assuming that this is Oberhauser Jr, could he and Bond have spent some time together when they were in their teens? Could be an interesting angle.

What’s that on the table next to him? Looks like it could be some kind of VR headset? Intriguing!

spectre13 - glasses

Gunshot. Fade to…

spectre14

And there we have it. One minute and thirty seven seconds of Bond.

Rumour has it that Spectre and Bond 25 have been plotted with a multi-film arc. Much like Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace – and if we’re seeing how Quantum and Mister White fit in, could they all make up a four movie story? Will SPECTRE be formed from the remnants of Quantum?

Could it be that at the end of this one we find out that Oberhauser is merely the right-hand man of one Ernst Stavro Blofeld…?

I guess we’ll find out later in the year…

all images taken from the official trailer and copyright EON Productions

The Copper Promise – Jen Williams

The Copper Promise (The Copper Promise, #1)The Copper Promise by Jen Williams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh that was enormous fun. We travel with Lord Frith and his entourage, Wydrin (the Copper Cat) and Sebastian, an Ynnsmouth Knight on their adventures.

And what adventures they have! Can we say rollicking?

*looks up rollicking*

Rollicking (adj.): ‘exuberantly lively and amusing’

So many, so very very rollicking adventures.

It’s doesn’t hang about – our trusty gang are thrown from one thing to the next, with peril heaped upon them in vast quantities. Evil (properly, deliciously evil) bad guys, ancient magic, dragons and gods.

Huge fun. Highly recommended. I can’t wait to find out what happens in The Iron Ghost!

View all my reviews

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation trailer review

Ohhh, Mission: Impossible. How I love you so. Welcome back, Ethan.

It’s true. I’ve been a huge fan of the M:I series since we met Ethan back in the first Mission: Impossible back in… 1996? Crikey, has it really been nearly 20 years? M:I-II was a little shambolic in places but I will argue at great length[1] that M:I-III is one of the finest examples of an action movie, period.

And I’m right. But more of that in another post.

Even M:I – Ghost Protocol was a huge amount of fun, with Ethan & Co larking around on the Burj Khalifa.

And now we have M:I – Rogue Nation. It’s going to be a banner year for spy movies, what with Spy, Spectre (yay!), Kingsman (really must go see that soon) and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (also looks awesome).

As for the trailer, it’s chock-full of delicious IMF cheesy action flick goodness. The gang are all here – Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames (he and Tom are the only two actors to appear in all five movies), Simon Pegg.
Tom onna motorbike![2] Tom runs! See Tom run! Tom has lost his shirt! Poor Tom.

Mysterious shots of Washington. Oh NOES. The IMF has been disbanded. AGAIN.

Tom is stuck in a tiny room! FX: EVIL SMOKE CURLS UPWARDS. Will Tom escape?

Tom is shirtless (again) but has clearly been WORKING OUT. Nice muscles, Tom!

Fighty fight scene! Tom does a FANCY KICK thing and ESCAPES. YAY TOM!

Spot of flirting.

Benji gets his Kingsman specs! Where’s Colin Firth? Tom inna phonebox, explaining the PLOT.

Oooh a rogue nation! Trained to do what they do! EXCITEMENT LEVEL: HIGH

Lots of serious looking dudes with serious guns and protective eyewear. This must be serious.

“This may very well be our last mission.” NOOOOOOOOO.

Random bikini. So, we’ve done Kingsman, now we’re channeling Bond? THIS IS NOT A BAD THING. CARRY ON CHAPS.

“You want to bring down the Syndicate? It’s impossible.”

Tom smirks. He’s already done SIX impossible things before breakfast. Wait, wrong story.

Tom drives! FAST! He does a cool spinny thing and takes out two dudes on motorbikes. Daniel Craig, are you watching this? I expect MORE from Spectre. LOTS MORE.

A flute gun? Very M:I. Tom stops a GIANT KNIFE with a curtain. He’s that impossible.

Jumpy two-foot kicking seems to be very de rigueur in this movie.

Lots of VERY FAST cuts between scenes.

Tom jumps (again) into a GIANT WHIRLPOOL SWIRLY THING. That looks dangerous, Tom! Be careful!

Ah, comedy one-liner from Mister Pegg. Nice.

Tom really *really* wants to catch that plane. Like, really. A lot. Apparently he did that scene for reals. They strapped him onto a perfectly good plane and took off. Cor.

In short, it’s a Mission: Impossible. It looks brilliant. I, for one, can’t wait!

[1] with anyone who’ll listen, especially if we’re in a pub.
[2] sudden M:I-II flashback! *recovers* *flails*

The Great Zoo of China – Matthew Reilly

The Great Zoo of ChinaThe Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Oh dear.

I’ve been a huge fan of Matthew Reilly since I picked up his first book Contest many years ago. I absolutely love his no-holds-barred, super-fast, super-lean writing style. His books have always been fantastic ultra-high concept rollercoasters where characters are thrown into dangerous situations then had more and more piled onto them until they reach breaking point, then have more and more piled on.

Alas, with this book, it feels like he’s crossed over into a parody of himself. The high concept here is ‘imagine Jurassic Park, with dragons!’.

And that’s exactly what you get. There’s nothing new – even some of the characters joke about the fact that it’s Jurassic Park with Dragons.

I just didn’t care about any of the characters. The writing, usually so taut and whip-smart, is, in places, awful and like something a beginner novelist would write.

So disappointed. Here’s hoping for a return to form and a more original novel next time.

View all my reviews

The Last Days of Disco blog tour

This is my first ever participation in a blog tour, and I was delighted to be asked by Liz (@Lizzy11268) over at LizLovesBooks to review The Last Days of Disco by David F. Ross.

last days of disco_jacket

Early in the decade that taste forgot, Fat Franny Duncan is on top of the world. He is the undoubted King of the Ayrshire Mobile Disco scene, controlling and ruling the competition with an iron fist. From birthdays to barn dances, Franny is the man to call. He has even played ‘My Boy Lollipop’ at a funeral and got away with it. But the future is uncertain. A new partnership is coming and is threatening to destroy the big man’s Empire … Bobby Cassidy and Joey Miller have been best mates since primary school. Joey is an idealist; Bobby just wants to get laid and avoid following his brother Gary to the Falklands. A partnership in their
new mobile disco venture seems like the best way for Bobby to do both at the same time. With
compensation from an accident at work, Bobby’s dad Harry invests in the fledgling business. His marriage to Ethel is coming apart at the seams and the disco has given him something to focus on. Tragic news from the other side of the world brings all three strands together in a way that no one could have predicted. The Last Days of Disco is a eulogy to the beauty and power of the 45rpm vinyl record and the small but significant part it played in a small town Ayrshire community in 1982. Witty, energetic and entirely authentic, it’s also heartbreakingly honest, weaving tragedy together with comedy with uncanny and unsettling elegance. A simply stunning debut.

Ah, the eighties. Brings back happy memories of my youth and David Ross captures the mood and spirit of the time impeccably, with a wonderful cast of characters and a fabulous soundtrack.

It’s a funny book. And a sad one. Against the fun and hijinks of Bobby and Joey setting up their ‘Heatwave’ mobile disco (and they have a *lot* of each!), there’s Bobby’s brother Gary and his adventures in joining the army – and given the timeframe there’s really only one way that could be headed. The threat of the Falklands conflict looms large over the story, with quotes dropped in from Thatcher as the story progresses – it’s a deft touch and builds a real sense of tension.

We also meet the fabulous Fat Franny Duncan, a local small-time gangster boss and as king of the mobile disco scene, the main opposition to the boys’ mobile disco success. Definitely one of my favourite characters in the book!

Ross has a remarkable talent for evoking a real sense of place in his writing. You feel that you know these people, this town as you get further into the book.

I did feel there are definite echoes of the late, great, much missed Iain Banks here – there are plenty of comparisons to be drawn, with a sprawling Scottish small-town cast, delicately intertwined plotlines, social commentary and a deft turn of often quite black humour.

It’s a remarkable debut from an author who I’ve added to my list of writers to watch in the future. He’s set the bar pretty high though, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!

The Last Days of Disco is available on 15th March in paperback, or now as an ebook

Follow the tour! Next up grabthisbook.net

And if you missed yesterday’s stop, head over to The Book Trail  It’s well worth a visit as we get to see some of the locations in the book itself courtesy of the author.

Disclosure: Thanks to Orenda Books for sending me a copy of the book to review and to Liz for organising it. The opinions in the review are entirely mine. 

The ULTIMATE secret to a successful blog

I had a revelation the other night. I realised that I’d figured out THE ULTIMATE SECRET to having a successful blog.

No, I really have.

It’s got nothing to do with building massive follower lists, optimising your content for SEO and keyword stuffing your opening paragraphs.

No, it’s much, much easier than that.

It’s not about taking photos of sunsets. Though I must confess I’m rather chuffed with how well this one turned out.

Sunset over Sandal Castle

or cute meerkats. LOOKIT THE CUTE MEERKATS!

meerkat

Are you ready?

It all boils down to this: No-one cares about  your blog.

That’s it. That’s the secret.

No-one cares about your carefully-crafted, keyword-stuffed headline. No-one cares about the amazing photos or the words which you’ve agonised over and which took so long to pull together.

People see the new post appear in their RSS readers, or on an email and they skim it. You’re one of a million different things trying to get attention.

The real secret to a successful blog is not to care. I don’t care that people don’t read the posts. I don’t care that they don’t look at the photos and click on ‘like’, or retweet my lovingly-composed and carefully-researched essay on this or that.

I do this for me.

I write the words to get them out of my head and to save them for later. I take the photos so I can remember that amazing sunset or that cute meerkat.

And in the months and years to come, I can look back and see what I was interested in on that day, at that time. What little sliver of life caught my eye. What thoughts were running through my head then, and there.

Now, if you happen to read it, enjoy it, learn something new or get something out of it, I’m utterly thrilled and delighted. If you choose to spend some of your precious time and mental bandwidth hanging out here to see what I’ve been up to, I’m honoured and privileged to have you here.

If you like photos of sunsets, you’re totally in the right place.

I’m writing this for me.

But I’m glad you’re here.