Jun 10, 2007

Random Intelligence Dispatches For June 10

New Spy Books
The Pinewood Story, Gareth Owen's engrossing history of the studio where most of the Bond movies were filmed (as well as other spy pictures), was recently reissued as a glossy trade paperback, revised and updated and with an eyecatching new Bond-centric cover. I can't comment on the content, but that cover sure makes it a lot more attractive than the last edition! I might just have to re-buy it... (Grumble, grumble.)

There are also a couple of new spy-related books on the horizon to be aware of. A new Avengers book called The Avengers On Location by Chris Bentley will be released in September... supposedly. Publisher Reynolds and Hearn generally put out excellent books, but in my experience they rarely hit their intended street dates! This book is unfortunately arriving under a bit of a cloud, as it's stirring up some controversy in the online Avengers community. While I haven't managed to find an official description on Amazon or on the publisher's website, the title would seem to hint at this book being about the locations around England in which the show filmed... a subject already covered in great depth by the fantastic Avengerland website. For now, I remain hopeful that this is just a coincidence, and no one has been ripped off. The website, it should be noted, covers a great deal more than just The Avengers. It's an excellent resource to find British locations used in The Saint, The Persuaders, The Champions, The Baron and tons of other classic British series.

The other book to look forward to is a reissue of John Pearson's James Bond: The Authorised Biography of 007 (although the new edition seems to omit the "of 007"). This reissue has been in the pipeline for a long time now, and a few release dates have come and gone, but the ever-vigilant Young Bond Dossier recently spotted some cover artwork on Amazon.co.uk, so it looks like it's finally creeping toward actual publication. This should come as welcome news to Bond fans who have had trouble tracking down this elusive Bond entry, the only continuation novel published between Kingsley Amis's Colonel Sun and John Gardner's debut, Licence Renewed.

Spy Hunter Movie Still Alive
Spy Hunter, based on the popular 80s videogame about the gadget-laden car, the Interceptor, is still in active development at Universal. For a while, John Woo was attached to direct The Rock in the lead role. Now, according to Variety, Alien Vs. Predator director Paul W.S. Anderson has come aboard, replacing Woo. He's also having the script rewritten. Anderson is widely hated by a lot of online film sites and fans. I can't really comment on that, not having seen any of his films, but he does seem like a step down from John Woo. Then again, the last time Woo directed a spy movie, he churned out the execrable M:I-2. So I'll give Anderson the benefit of the doubt, for now... There's on word on whether or not The Rock is still committed to the project.

Even The Losers Get Lucky Sometimes
Tim Story is another director with a pretty bad reputation in the fan community whose work I haven't really seen. Well, I've seen Taxi, and that was pretty awful and visually uninspired, but everyone's entitled to a weak freshman (action) outing, right? Still, the Fantastic Four movies don't look very good, and some of my friends are pretty hard on them. Anyway, Story is now aboard another comic book project... a spy comic. According to Variety and Comic Book Resources, Story will direct The Losers, based on Andy Diggle's espionage series. I haven't read the comic (I would have if I knew it was a spy story; I just assumed it was a war comic like the original incarnation of The Losers!), but Diggle described it to CBR as such: "The Losers were a covert U.S. Special Forces unit seconded to the CIA. When they stumbled across one of the Agency's dirty little secrets and refused to play ball, the Agency had them assassinated. Except the Losers survived. Now they've gone rogue, and have declared war on the Agency which stabbed them in the back.” Sounds gritty, right? Apparently the comic is. But Story tells Variety: "I was looking for a vehicle that would have that edge, but I didn't want to lose my personality, which is a bit tongue-and-cheek, where the characters have a little fun with each other." So, yeah. He's probably not the right guy for the job. Sigh.

Breach On DVD Tomorrow
Last winter's solid spy movie Breach (review here), showcasing the brilliant Chris Cooper as American traitor and Russian spy Robert Hanssen, comes out on DVD tomorrow courtesy of Universal Home Video. They're putting on a pretty neat "Are You Spy Material?" contest to promote that release, too, in which you can win other Universal spy titles like The Bourne Identity or Spy Game. Follow any of these links to play. Increase your chances of winning by playing each one, and get a taste of the DVD's bonus features at the same time! Watch footage from the disc (including deleted scenes), then test your attention to detail and find out if you're spy material.

Also out on DVD tomorrow is the second Hellboy animated movie, Blood & Iron. This has nothing to do with spies whatsoever, but director/producer Tad Stones has done such a good job with these animated adaptations of Mike Mignola's comic that I feel compelled to mention it! If you're a fan of quirky horror with a sense of humor, check this one out.

1 comment:

David said...

It is interesting to see that Pearson's book is being re-released, especially since the Young Bond books have been so successful.

Pearson's book, being a biography, naturally focuses on Bond's younger life - and it's there that it conflicts with Higson's novels.

Still a great read, though!