Tuesday, November 25, 2008

If you don't know his name by now, you've clearly been living in a cellar.

Look at those faces. No one's having any fun. The 22nd Bond flick is the Bond-without-funny-business Bond. How little funny business? The villain's name is Dominic Greene. The Bond-Girl's name is Camille. See a pattern? Any time now, Bond's going to announce his resignation from MI6 and decision to become a real estate agent rather than a secret agent.

Seriously, though. Quantum of Solace (and I repeat my previously stated opinion on the title and the lack of revision it should experienced) is continuing the pattern of stripped-down Bond that Casino Royale started. The stupid dialogue is gone. This Bond is a bit less interested in sex and more capable of killing someone with his bare hands or a box of paperclips.

Roger Ebert lamented the lack of colorful villain, colorful Bond-Girl name, and the traditional "Bond, James Bond" line. How many times does a line have to be repeated? If you don't know his name after 22 films, then perhaps it's necessary to have your hand held as you walk across a parking lot. We know his name, but we'd like to move onto the action.

What does this movie have? Quite a lot of action, a female lead who doesn't sleep with dear James (shocker!), a fantastic sequence involving many martinis and a bartender saving us all from cliche, a CIA agent who wants so badly to be Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson's War but can't come near Phillip's brilliance, and an interesting closing sequence that brings up questions about Canadian Intelligence (??).

It's a bit lacking in story, but for the second time, a Bond film has distanced itself from the tired cliches that have dragged it down for the last several years. Some people, such as Ebert, mourn that loss, but I celebrate it. I think if the Bond franchise is going to survived the next decade, it needs to shed some of the expected turns and surprise us with its originality.

Sadly, evil villains with henchmen in matching jumpsuits isn't particularly original anymore. Breaks my heart, but I suppose I'll live with an environmentalist gone bad.

Let's hope the 23rd Bond film gives Bond a reason to smile on the poster.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

M'embrasse, s'il vous plait

Writing kissing scenes is hard. Really hard. I'll amend that. Writing non-clichéd kissing scenes is hard.

Because it's all been done. If you consider how much of the publishing industry is dominated by the romance genre, then remember that there's at least one kiss in every book...that a lot of written kisses.

Every heroine has looked deeply into the hero's eyes. Been there, done that. The fluttering of the stomach, something between romance and gas, also been done.

And Christian publishing prefers a certain amount of *ahem* discretion, so it's not like you can write a play-by-play. You're left with the heroine's tingling toe sensations, and you're back in cliché-ville.

I am whining because I'm trying to write just such a scene. Trouble is, my female protagonist really ought not to be kissing my male protagonist at the moment, so setting up this scene is kinda tricky. Ultimately worth it, because the ensuing drama will give me material for the next chapter, but writing it believably is a lot harder than you'd think.

Maybe it's the culture we live in. We don't kiss spontaneously much anymore. My grandmother has a story where she was working at the newspaper, and found herself in the photo darkroom with a coworker (I think it was a darkroom. Something like that. Some sort of small, dark, confined space). He leaned over and kissed her. Just like that. Can you imagine?

And because the culture is so anti-spontaneous lip action, it's making my job that much harder.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting and other things pleasantly completed

I've deliberately not written about anything political on this blog, mainly because I'm tired of blogs I usually enjoy turning to politics for source material and doing a shoddy job in the process. If you're interesting in reading a good blog on the subject, read Bonnie Leon's post. Otherwise, I will share with you what I learned this voting year.

So. Should you cast your vote on your mail-in ballot and forget to slide it first into the "secrecy envelope," then begin to undo the seal of the outer envelope in order to get your ballot out, all is not lost.

Seriously. You can tape up the outer envelope to your heart's content. All you have to do is sign really big over the seal so you prove that you're the one who did it.

Now that it's November, it's time to start thinking about what we're thankful.

I am thankful that, come Nov. 5th, there will be no more political ads!