Sunday, September 19, 2021

The Living Daylights movie review

We have a new Bond actor!


Dave's review: The Living Daylights featured a much more serious, intense James Bond, played by Welsh actor Timothy Dalton. This didn't work for a lot of people, as Dalton didn't flash the familiar charm of a Connery or Roger Moore. However, from a movie perspective, Daylights has one of the most satisfyingly complex stories. It also portrays Bond as a one woman man, again worked for some, not for others. The pre-credits sequence, a training exercise gone awry, is thrilling and one of the best Bond action scenes ever. A subsequent fight in a kitchen, sans 007, is hand to hand combat at its finest. The film meanders a bit in its middle and Maryam d'Abo as Kara, is not one of the more memorable Bond women. Overall due to the lack of dynamic characters and personalities, this film is an average entry in the James Bond canon.

Dave's grade: B-

TT's review: Sentimentally, The Living Daylights is my favorite movie. Dalton is my favorite Bond. His Aston Martin V8 is my favorite Bond car. Although I liked Moore's cheesiness, Dalton's dark presence was welcome. I was 13 when this came out, so it definitely left an impression.

However, upon watching it in 2021, it wasn't really that good. Something was lacking. The inflated grade is due more to nostalgia than merit.

Also, I watched this while the US was fleeing Afghanistan. In the movie, there were plenty of dead Soviet soldiers' bodies laying around. It was "acceptable" because they were our enemies and they were killed by local freedom fighters. How would we react if those bodies were American soldiers?

TT's grade: A-

Dave's reaction: Funny thing is, Daylights has a lot of sentimental value to me too as it was the first movie I ever saw in a theater!  But upon repeat viewings it just seems a bit dry and not so fun. 

TT's reaction: I agree with the assessment, but a B- is harsh.


A View to A Kill movie review

Roger Moore's last hurrah!


Dave's review: In A View to a Kill, Roger Moore is ancient, hitting on a Tanya Roberts who is probably 30 years younger. He snowboards to The Beach Boys "California Girls," races thoroughbreds and hangs off a blimp in midair over the Golden Gate Bridge. All of it adds up to good ol' fashioned fun. John Barry outdoes himself with one of the best action scores of the series and Duran Duran rocks it with the title song. And of course there is Academy Award winner Christopher Walker chewing up scenery. If you're looking for a serious film, this isn't it. Most of the characters are cartoonish, but there are some moving moments, such as when May Day sacrifices herself to help Bond. The plot is also intriguing and the climactic fight on top of the Golden Gate Bridge is utterly thrilling. Certainly not a bad way for Mr. Moore to go out.

Dave's grade: B+

TT's review: This movie has a lot going for it. Kickass soundtrack courtesy Duran Duran. Christopher Walken as the villain (probably tied with Javier Bardem as best actor to play Bond). That Renault taxi car chase in Paris. And on and on.

But something was missing. I felt like Roger Moore was just calling it in. It was, after all, his last Bond film.

What intrigued me was May Day. She was tough and mysterious. If this movie were made today, the studios would surely make a spinoff with her character as the lead. What would that be like?

TT's grade: B+

Dave's reaction: Moore fared admirably. Not that there were many truly dramatic moments in the script for him! 

TT's reaction: I think we are in agreement!


Friday, September 17, 2021

Eating the Globe: Angola

This was a simple dish-- papayas, port wine, lime, black pepper. It took me a while to prepare it because I never buy papayas and have not had port wine in years. 

Africa: Algeria, Angola, Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe
Asia: Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen
Europe: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Vatican City
North America: Barbados, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, St Kitts & Nevis, Trinidad & Tobago, USA
South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela
Oceania: Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga

Sunday, September 12, 2021

New York City dollar vans

I had no idea this informal transport system existed.


I am going to read this article!

Shining Path leader finally dead at 86


Guzman died in prison yesterday. In high school and college, I thought the Shining Path was the cruelest and most dangerous organization in the world. One of my college TAs was in Peru doing research on them in the 80s and 90s. This morning, I Googled her, found out she is a professor at the University of Georgia, and emailed her with the news. 

Anyway, while reading up on him, I learned that their deadliest bombing was in the Miraflores neighborhood of Lima in 1992. 


When I was in Lima in 2010 and 2018, I stayed in Miraflores. It's a nice and safe neighborhood with cool shops and great eateries. I wish I had known about its history and paid my respects at the bombing site.

Here is a map of the area. A shows the hotel where I stayed both times. B is Wong supermarket (kind of like Carrefour), where I bought all my provisions for my bus trips. C is Haiti Cafe, where I like to have breakfast. And D is the bombing site.



9/11 + 20 years

I spent the day thinking about how the attack changed America, Iraq, and Afghanistan forever. And I saw a lot of tacky marketing from burrito restaurants to mortgage brokers. I thought I had seen everything, but no.

Here is a photo of a UPS guy still working after the attack.


And this is an incredible story of 500,000 people who were evacuated from Lower Manhattan by boats on 9/11.


Finally, you may remember that my friend Steve escaped the attack. He lives with PTSD every day and he shared his battle with his demons here.

Percentage of population with unfavorable views of China (2019)