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Linda-Marie Singer is the Movie Maven

The Show Biz Maven

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Linda-Marie Singer - Click to Enlarge TOMORROW NEVER DIES
Pity Tomorrow Isn’t Here Yet
Click to Enlarge Reviewed by The Show Biz Maven

Before the Maven was forced to share breathing space in the local movie theater with teens showing off their menacing fuscia hairdos, she reminisced about her only meeting with James Bond in Las Vegas. Sean Connery was there filming “Diamonds Are Forever,” and what the Maven remembers most is his bewitching smile and wonderful walk that exuded confidence if not good upbringing.

Watching “Tomorrow Never Dies” made the SnobzMaven wish tomorrow were here already, or that the spy’s creator, Ian Fleming, was still churning out his popular tales of the world’s most famous secret agent. Still, Bruce Feirstein’s script has good moments as opposed to the old-fashioned gleeful ones. Take the new enemy, a media magnate named Elliot Carver who will stop at nothing to take over the world.. Well, we’ve all heard that before. Jonathan Pryce puts some zing into playing the megalomaniacal villain with a touch of Hearst, Maxwell and Murdoch. By the film’s end, Carver has killed so many people that the Maven had to reach for her abacus.

Can anyone stop this man? After 18 motion pictures that all ask the same question, we know the answer. “Bond. James Bond.” Naturally, whenever the call for help comes from his boss “M,” he’s usually having his martinis shaken, not stirred, by some sexy pea brain. Still, duty is duty, and if “M” can just wait a half hour, he’ll be right there.

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond sports a vacant look and what’s more, he has thin wrists. Pity. This makes him appear more like a male model who has strutted down the runway one too many times. Brosnan’s Bond lacks the whimsy, the secret wink, and mannerisms that once made secret spying look like fun and not forced. Now, to keep the audience occupied, the writers have inserted more grown-up toys. There’s a nifty lighter that turns into a grenade, plus a car that drives itself and gives off electric shocks to would-be thieves. With a vehicle like this, you surely won’t need The Club.

As with all James Bond movies, “Tomorrow Never Dies” crams every minute with action. The only twist is a female secret agent who becomes 007’s partner. Surprise, surprise. She isn’t a shimmering blonde on orgasmic sex drive, but someone who would rather karate chop than hop into bed with the irresistible Bond. Michelle Yeoh, Asia’s most sought after action heroine, teams up with Brosnan in scaling up and down tall buildings, and yet the most memorable scene finds them riding a motorcycle which they both fight to steer through crowded open air markets. With machine guns blasting from helicopters, Yeoh jockeys positions from backwards to frontwards on the bike, while Bond retains his composure. Does anyone think they will actually be wounded by a bullet or even by an irate shopkeeper? Raise your hands. Equally perplexing, and this from the Maven’s dear friend, Jose Eber, is how 007 can perform these tricks without mussing up a strand of hair.

Rounding out the cast is “Q” the master of gadgetry played once again by Desmond Llewelyn. While Bond never ages, “Q” could be approaching his 200th birthday, but this is not the moment to be catty. Vincent Schiavelli pops in as the weird Dr. Kaufmann, clearly a man who has had too many HMO problems, for all he wants to do is torture his “patients.” The rest of the torture is perpetrated against a willing audience who faithfully goes to every new Bond film hoping that it’s better than the last. The Show Biz Maven keeps hoping, too, with love and knishes.

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