For about 20 years, Ray Keating wrote a weekly column - a short time with the New York City Tribune, more than 11 years with Newsday, another seven years with Long Island Business News, plus another year-and-a-half with RealClearMarkets.com. As an economist, Keating also pens an assortment of analyses each week. With the Keating Files, he decided to expand his efforts with regular commentary touching on a broad range of issues, written by himself and an assortment of talented contributors and columnists. So, here goes...

Friday, October 29, 2021

“The Lutheran Planner 2022: The TO DO List Solution” Helps With Getting Organized, While Keeping Proper Perspective

 Daily Reflections from Holy Scripture and Christian Thinkers Provide Encouragement, Inspiration and Consolation from the Christian Faith

We all need to get things done each day, and plan our coming week, month or year. At the same time, each of us needs to keep such matters in proper perspective. The Lutheran Planner 2022: The To Do List Solution is meant to be a tool in this ongoing endeavor. And, no, you don't have to be a Lutheran to use this planner!

 


Get organized and set goals using Ray Keating’s TO DO List Solution, while enjoying and reflecting upon quotes from Holy Scripture, Church fathers, and other Christian thinkers. In addition, feasts, festivals and commemorations throughout the Church year are marked.

 

The Lutheran Planner 2022: The To Do List Solution combines a simple, powerful system for getting things done – using monthly, weekly and daily to-do lists – with encouragement, inspiration and consolation from the Christian faith. 

 

The Lutheran Planner 2022: The To Do List Solution comes with a handy spiral binding for easy use, and is available at https://raykeatingonline.com/products/lutheranplanner2022.

 

Ray Keating, who also is the author of the Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries, explains: “We all seem to be busy these days no matter what happens to be our calling or vocation in life. As a Christian – of the Lutheran variety – I try to stay on track with daily devotional readings and prayer. Unfortunately, I often falter along the way. The various quotes each day in this planner help, giving me pause for further reflection.”

 

Keating adds, “Using ‘The TO DO List Solution’ also provides benefits by requiring reflection on goals; prioritization; being more realistic about time management; and serious thought on how to best get things done.”

 

The Lutheran Planner 2022: The TO DO List Solution is one of two TO DO List Solution 2022 planners from Ray Keating. The other is The Disney Planner 2022: The TO DO List Solution.

 

Review copies, and author interviews and appearances are available upon request. 

 

Contact: Ray Keating

E-mail: raykeating@keatingreports.com

Facebook: @FreeEnterpriseEconomics 

Twitter: @KeatingNovels

RayKeatingOnline.com

Who is Pastor Stephen Grant?

 


PRESS CLUB C Podcast with Ray Keating – Episode #64 (Book Stuff 1): Who is Pastor Stephen Grant? – Ray talks about the main protagonist in his series of Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries, that is, Stephen Grant. What’s the deal with a character about which some have said: Think James Bond as your pastor or priest? Tune in here!


Thursday, October 21, 2021

Politics Distorting and Undermining Markets

 by Ray Keating

The Keating Files – October 21, 2021

 

I know this will shock you, but here goes: Politics can fundamentally distort and undermine markets and the economy. 

 

Of course, given that most politicians choose to ignore economics – after all, economic truths and facts can be so inconvenient – no one should be surprised that politicians often act in ways that go against market logic, and therefore, damage or restrain economic growth. Just look at most tax increases.



But what I’m getting at here is how views of an entire sector of our economy can be so distorted by a political agenda that market signals, entrepreneurship, investment and innovation suffer in major ways. This is about politics changing how market players view what they choose to do in the marketplace.

 

Consider the environmental movement. Green politics has become so vocal and ubiquitous that it’s easy to find prices of green stocks being completely disconnected from the actual business, from the realities of future cash flows and earnings – and not just for a brief time. That’s striking. (Think Tesla.)

 

Under normal circumstances, entrepreneurs, businesses and investors work to gain customers and profits by presenting new and improved goods and services to consumers. That is, they’re working to provide something that consumers want or need, products that they currently or will value. Entrepreneurs and businesses compete to add value, to improve the lives, in some way, of customers.

 

But consider, for example, electric cars and renewable energy. Due to politics, these have become market darlings. But what exactly are they presenting, other than lining up with the preferences of a political agenda? Not much. 

 

In fact, bizarrely, it’s easy to make the case that even as these green stocks experience price appreciation, and companies seem to be falling all over each other in announcing various green investments and endeavors, they actually are working to offer products that will make life more difficult and costly for consumers. The full costs of wind and solar power, and of electric cars run far ahead of, for example, energy produced by oil, natural gas and coal, and gas-fueled autos. And that will be the case for the foreseeable future. Why? Politics overriding sound economics.

 

For good measure, a political agenda driven by climate change assumptions, for example, means that industrializing, or developing, nations will have to be compensated by industrialized nations for adopting green energy policies – if not, then the policies in developed nations will be for naught from the environmentalist’s point of view. But the price tag is never spoken of because the costs register at mind-blowing and economy-destroying levels.

 

Whenever politics supplants market freedom, innovation, competition and consumer sovereignty, the results are always negative. But when a political agenda runs as deep as the green movement’s at this moment, an even more troubling kind of market corruption is at work, and if this political agenda takes full hold, the undermining of true innovation and economic growth promises to be grim. Indeed, there’s emerging talk that anti-fossil-fuels politics has already undercut investments in fossil fuels that we need now and for the immediate future, never mind over the long haul. But common sense will be restored … at some point … I hope.

 

_________

 

Ray Keating is a columnist, novelist, economist, podcaster and entrepreneur.  Keating has three new books out. Vatican Shadows: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel is the 13th thriller/mystery in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Get the paperback or Kindle edition at Amazon, or signed books at www.raykeatingonline.comPast Lives: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story is the 14th book in the series. Get the paperback or Kindle edition at Amazon, or signed book at www.raykeatingonline.comAnd order the 15th book in the series What’s Lost? A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story.

 

The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?

 

You also can order his book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York  from Amazon or signed books  at RayKeatingOnline.com. His other recent nonfiction book is Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know

 

One of the best ways to enjoy Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries is to join the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship! For the BEST VALUE, consider the Book of the Month Club.  Check it all out at https://www.patreon.com/pastorstephengrantfellowship

 

Also, check out Ray’s podcasts – the Daily Dose of DisneyFree Enterprise in Three Minutes, and the PRESS CLUB C Podcast.

 

Check out Ray Keating’s Disney news and entertainment site at www.DisneyBizJournal.com.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Unintended Consequences and Frederic Bastiat

 by Ray Keating

The Keating Files – October 16, 2021

 

The idea of unseen or unintended consequences might appear rather straightforward, but to get people, especially policymakers, to understand or consider what is unseen or unintended often can be a monumental task.



Frederic Bastiat was a leading economic and political thinker in the first half of the 19thcentury. He opened his famous essay “What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen” this way:

 

In the economic sphere an action, a habit, an institution, or a law engenders not just one effect but a series of effects. Of these effects only the first is immediate; it is revealed simultaneously with its cause; it is seen. The other merely occur successively; they are not seen; we are lucky if we foresee them.

The entire difference between a bad and a good economist is apparent here. A bad relies on the visible effect, while the good one takes account both of the effect one can see and of those one must foresee.

 

In day-to-day economics, Bastiat’s point is untidy in terms of nailing down numbers and estimates, but that makes it no less real nor does it mean that it lacks importance. Indeed, quite the contrary. Economists can wind up spending a great deal of time explaining the full effects of various actions, especially those effects not intended or of a first order, and especially on the public policy front. 

 

In fact, as economist David Henderson noted in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics: Among other issues, Bastiat “emphasized the unintended consequences of government policy (he called them the ‘unseen’ consequences). Friedrich Hayek credits Bastiat with this important insight: if we judge economic policy solely by its immediate effects, we will miss all of its unintended and longer-run effects and will undermine economic freedom, which delivers benefits that are not part of anyone’s conscious design. Much of Hayek’s work, and some of Milton Friedman’s, was an exploration and elaboration of this insight.”

 

Bastiat applied the concept of unseen effects or unintended consequences to a variety of topics, such as trade barriers, taxes, and government spending. And economists continue to do so today, or at least, they should. The idea of unintended consequences indeed is central to being a good economist, and is something that economists need to teach others, especially politicians.



_________

 

Ray Keating is a columnist, novelist, economist, podcaster and entrepreneur.  Keating has three new books out. Vatican Shadows: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel is the 13ththriller/mystery in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Get the paperback or Kindle edition at Amazon, or signed books at www.raykeatingonline.comPast Lives: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story is the 14th book in the series. Get the paperback or Kindle edition at Amazon, or signed book at www.raykeatingonline.comAnd order the 15th book in the series What’s Lost? A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story.

 

The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?

 

You also can order his book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York  from Amazon or signed books  at RayKeatingOnline.com. His other recent nonfiction book is Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know

 

One of the best ways to enjoy Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries is to join the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship! For the BEST VALUE, consider the Book of the Month Club.  Check it all out at https://www.patreon.com/pastorstephengrantfellowship

 

Also, check out Ray’s podcasts – the Daily Dose of DisneyFree Enterprise in Three Minutes, and the PRESS CLUB C Podcast.

 

Check out Ray Keating’s Disney news and entertainment site at www.DisneyBizJournal.com.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Space, the Wealthy Frontier? Yeah, For Now

 by Ray Keating

The Keating Files – October 15, 2021

 

Dean Martin reportedly once said in reference to his buddy Frank Sinatra, “It’s Frank’s world, we just get to live in it.” When I periodically see what 90-year-old William Shatner is up to, I sometimes think that it’s Captain Kirk’s world, and we just get to live in it. That sentiment was reinforced, once more, seeing Shatner blast off with Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin on October 13 to become the oldest person to journey into space.


Courtesy of Blue Origin


Cheers to Shatner. Good for him. 

 

(Now, if only Paramount would come to its senses, and follow Bezos’ lead by putting Shatner as Captain Kirk back into space one more time. Don’t get me started on how egregiously bad Kirk’s death was in Star Trek: Generations. Okay, let’s not go down the Star Trek rabbit hole…)

 

Indeed, much of the reaction to Shatner’s trip seems to have been positive (except for petty remarks by Shatner’s Star Trek co-star George Takei – these guys don’t like each other). However, envy and economic ignorance did pop up, building on recent misguided attacks on Bezos, Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson, and Elon Musk’s Space X for passenger flights to space. 

 

Before such anti-space rants become more commonplace, it should be noted that such complaints generally come from envy or zero-sum thinking, or both.

 

One has to wonder why critics either don’t care or even get all goo-goo when government ventures into space, but are downright hostile when space travel is undertaken by wealthy individuals in the private sector? 

 

After all, these space-faring individuals are using their own money – whether as entrepreneurs, investors or passengers – to take the journey, rather than undertaking ventures completely funded by others who have no real say, that is, the taxpayers. Wealthy individuals become wealthy by earning it in the marketplace. How? By providing goods and services that others need or want. But critics usually don’t understand such basic economic realities. Based on envy, they assume that wealth merely exists, so that government can tax it and then ramp up spending on their own political preferences – by the way, also turning a blind eye to government’s unwavering ability for failure and waste. Indeed, ignoring the basic right that people who earn their money can spend it as they see fit, some critics have even asserted that journeys into space make clear the need to tax the wealthy even more. There’s that envy thing again.

 

The critics of billionaires and Star Trek actors heading to space disregard other economic fundamentals. New products introduced to the market tend to be very expensive, and it’s the wealthy who are able to dive in first. Further innovation, efficiency and competition then drive down the costs, while also enhancing the quality, incidentally. For space travel, that will not only mean that it becomes more affordable, but also safer, to the point of being the equivalent of taking an airplane trip.

 

For good measure, by blazing affordable trails to space, other entrepreneurs will create new spaced-based industries, that is, goods and services largely unimagined today. This is how opportunity is expanded and economic growth occur, in turn, creating new wealth, higher incomes, expanded consumer choices, and new jobs. Just like on Earth, space is not a place for zero-sum thinking.

 

Finally, arguing that private space travel means ignoring Earth-bound problems and opportunities pushes aside that basic notion that we can walk and chew gum at the same time. Great ideas and opportunities on Earth will not be grounded because some entrepreneurs and investors also see opportunities in space. It’s not really and either/or. Instead, those complaining loudest tend to favor undertakings informed by their politics, and once more long for more taxes to fund their escapades.

 

So, is space the wealthy frontier? Well, for now, yes. But thanks to the likes of Bezos, Branson, Musk and other space entrepreneurs taking on the initial uncertainties, risks and investments, it will become far more commonplace as innovations and efficiencies make it safer and more affordable for the rest of us to journey to, and create businesses and work in or related to space.



_________

 

Ray Keating is a columnist, novelist, economist, podcaster and entrepreneur.  Keating has three new books out. Vatican Shadows: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel is the 13ththriller/mystery in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Get the paperback or Kindle edition at Amazon, or signed books at www.raykeatingonline.comPast Lives: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story is the 14th book in the series. Get the paperback or Kindle edition at Amazon, or signed book at www.raykeatingonline.comAnd order the 15th book in the series What’s Lost? A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story.

 

The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?

 

You also can order his book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York  from Amazon or signed books  at RayKeatingOnline.com. His other recent nonfiction book is Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know

 

One of the best ways to enjoy Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries is to join the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship! For the BEST VALUE, consider the Book of the Month Club.  Check it all out at https://www.patreon.com/pastorstephengrantfellowship

 

Also, check out Ray’s podcasts – the Daily Dose of DisneyFree Enterprise in Three Minutes, and the PRESS CLUB C Podcast.

 

Check out Ray Keating’s Disney news and entertainment site at www.DisneyBizJournal.com.

THE TRAITOR - A Thriller Torn from Today's Headlines

 


Get caught up this fall on all of the Pastor Stephen Grant adventures? Paperbacks and Kindle editions at Amazon via https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08P1S5R26 and signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Friday, October 8, 2021

James Bond “No Time To Die” Disappoints

 by Ray Keating

The Keating Files – October 8, 2021

 

No Time To Die (2021) – 3 stars out of 5

 

Did you ever look forward to seeing a new movie with expectations that it would be a good or even great film? That was me getting ready to see the new film, No Time To Die, with Daniel Craig starring for a final time as Bond, James Bond. (See my take in the first four Craig Bond movies as preparation.)

 

If you answered “yes” to this question, did you then experience significant disappointment because the film came up far short of those expectations? Unfortunately, that was the case when seeing No Time To Die.

 


The stars seemed to be aligned for a wonderful send off for Craig as Bond. While the movie is visually alluring and had its moments story wise, alas, No Time To Die turned out to be heavy and dull, misguided in its handling of Bond and other characters, and in the end, little fun. James Bond is supposed to be fun, and this movie had only one truly fun moment.

 

Daniel Craig once again gave an excellent performance, but quite frankly, he was given material that wasn’t very Bond-ian. Craig took Bond to new heights in his previous performances, including serving up a grittier and more complex Bond. But it was still very much Bond. No Time To Die missed critical aspects of what makes Bond Bond and what makes a Bond film a Bond film. And final decisions made regarding this Bond were part well-worn tropes, part misguided, and ultimately, again, disappointing.

 

As for other major supporting Bond characters, Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) was under-utilized. Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) returned back, thankfully, and played an important part in the story, but we needed more of him. And the Bond villains, mainly, Safin (Rami Malek) and Blofeld (Christopf Waltz), failed to stand out in this picture.

 

Tragic was the central role played by M (Ralph Fiennes) this time around, as the character made decisions in this movie that go directly against what he learned and was about in Skyfall and Spectre

 

Unfortunately, Lea Seydoux came back as Madeleine in No Time To Die. Once more, the character was central to Bond’s story, but also was completely uninteresting. I cannot decide if it’s what Seydoux had to work with, her own shortcomings as an actress, or a combination of both.

 

But let’s get to that fun moment. Ana de Armas as Paloma was the bright spot in No Time To Die. The character was only on screen for a few minutes, but she stole those moments and gave off energy that provided a much-needed spark to Bond himself. Yes, Armas’ Paloma was fun – serving up humor, action and intrigue. You know, like a James Bond movie is supposed to do, but No Time To Die, for the most part, does not.

 

_________

 

Ray Keating is a columnist, novelist, economist, podcaster and entrepreneur.  Keating has three new books out. Vatican Shadows: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel is the 13ththriller/mystery in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Get the paperback or Kindle edition at Amazon, or signed books at www.raykeatingonline.comPast Lives: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story is the 14th book in the series. Get the paperback or Kindle edition at Amazon, or signed book at www.raykeatingonline.comAnd order the 15th book in the series What’s Lost? A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story.

 

The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?

 

You also can order his book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York  from Amazon or signed books  at RayKeatingOnline.com. His other recent nonfiction book is Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know

 

One of the best ways to enjoy Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries is to join the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship! For the BEST VALUE, consider the Book of the Month Club.  Check it all out at https://www.patreon.com/pastorstephengrantfellowship

 

Also, check out Ray’s podcasts – the Daily Dose of DisneyFree Enterprise in Three Minutes, and the PRESS CLUB C Podcast.

 

Check out Ray Keating’s Disney news and entertainment site at www.DisneyBizJournal.com.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Daniel Craig’s First Four Bond Movies – “Casino Royale” to “Spectre”

 by Ray Keating

The Keating Files – October 7, 2021

 

Are you ready to watch No Time To Die, the fifth James Bond film starring Daniel Craig? Well, catching the first four Craig Bond movies would seem to be proper preparation.

 

I did so, and it was a joy to return to these films. Here’s my quick take on each.

 

Casino Royale (2006) – 5 stars out of 5

 

Casino Royale just might be the best James Bond film ever, including all of the movies by Craig’s predecessors Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan (oh yeah, and David Niven). Okay, yes, it’s the best.

 

Movie watchers have to strap in from the start, being treated to a brutal bathroom brawl, one of the best foot chases in movie history, an engrossing poker game amidst a whirlwind of intrigue and action, and a torture scene that makes every man squirm in his seat (by the way, that savage incident actually is in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale book published in 1953!)

 

Plus, those on screen with Craig excel, including Eva Green as Vesper Lynd, Judi Dench as M, Giancarlo Giannini as Rene Mathis, Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter (the best Leiter in Bond movie history), and Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre.

 

For good measure, Craig brings a depth and complexity to Bond that was previously lacking on screen (and don’t get me wrong, I love Sean Connery’s Bond). Craig’s Bond is more ruthless and colder perhaps than any previous movie manifestation of the character, but also more vulnerable, humorous, and human. That’s a masterful achievement by director Martin Campbell, Daniel Craig, and everyone else involved in creating Casino Royale.



Quantum of Solace (2008) – 3 stars out of 5

 

Alright, it’s time to give Quantum of Solace some love. 

 

Two charges often are hurled at this movie. First, it’s referred to as the worst of the Daniel Craig Bond films. Second, it has been called the worst Bond film ever. It is guilty on the first charge, but definitely not on the second. Watch the Roger Moore movies, and there’s no way you can call Quantum of Solace the worst Bond movie ever.

 

However, calling Quantum of Solace the worst Craig Bond movie doesn’t make it a bad movie. Instead, it’s uneven, but interestingly, it works well where most people say it doesn’t and falters in an area that largely goes unmentioned.

 

Quantum of Solace often gets a bad rap for its story. But that’s simply not the case. The story told in Quantum actually is quite interesting, and unusual for a Bond movie. It’s a film mainly about two broken people – Craig’s Bond and Camille played by Olga Kurylenko – bent on vengeance, hoping that their own brand of justice will provide some kind of peace.

 

Once more, like in Casino Royale, Craig serves up a complex Bond – in this case, conflicted. His relationship with M (Judi Dench) is deepened, and Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter and Giancarlo Giannini as Rene Mathis serve as beacons in clouds and murkiness. The main villain – Dominic Greene played by Mathieu Amalric – and his plot work fine, but turn out to be less interesting than the more personal aspects of the tale.

 

So, where does Quantum of Solace falter then? It’s in the action scenes. What arguably should have been the easiest part of this movie was completely botched by director Marc Foster with his use of, what I call, the “shaky cam” combined with ridiculous scene cuts. Potentially wonderful action sequences were turned into visual messes, with moviegoers often struggling to figure out the details of what was happening. 

 

So, don’t fault the writers of Quantum of Solace for coming up short. It’s about Foster’s ability to ruin what so many moviegoers love about the Bond films – the action. But overall, it’s still a respectable effort.

 

And by the way, the Jack White and Alicia Keys “Another Way to Die” rocks – it’s one of the best Bond songs.



Skyfall (2012) – 5 stars out of 5

 

The movie that gives Casino Royale a serious run for the top Bond film would be Skyfall. It hits the right Bond notes, while supplying much more.

 

At the very start, we get to enjoy a spectacular motorcycle chase scene, which then morphs into Bond doing combat on a train – meaning literally on top of a train. 

 

The stakes are high – a stolen list of all NATO agents embedded inside terrorist organizations – but also lend some real-world sense of true danger.

 

Judi Dench as M plays an even more central role than usual, and when her fate plays out, it carries an emotional wallop.

 

As for Bond, we delve more deeply into his past than ever before, including the climactic fight with the antagonist, Mr. Silver (played with verve by Javier Bardem), happening at his family’s long-dilapidated home, Skyfall. But as the walls literally are burning down around him, we still get the Bond we have come to know, as he declares, “I always hated this place.” Little room seems to exist in James Bond’s world for sentiment or emotion – well, that is, until the death of M.

 

As for the rest of us, though, we get to enjoy being a little sentimental, or get to reminisce, as Skyfall offers some tips of the hat to early Bond films, including a glorious Aston Martin DB5, even with an ejector seat, as well as a new, old-style M office. Director Sam Mendes excelled at making an unmistakable Daniel Craig Bond film, but with wonderful references to the character’s long cinematic past.

 

For good measure, Naomie Harris ranks as a delight as Moneypenny, who also plays a more important role in Skyfall than did any of the character’s previous renditions.

 

Finally, I must mention that Bond’s hand-to-hand combat scene in a Shanghai skyscraper amidst glass and light rates as a visual feast. Yes, indeed, Skyfall hits all the right Bond notes and more.



Spectre (2015) – 4 stars out of 5

 

Skyfall was a tough act to follow, as they say, and while Spectre is a good movie, it inevitably feels like it comes up short.

 

Perhaps most striking from a movie decision-making perspective, while Skyfall referenced previous Bond movies, Spectre goes deeper on this, to the point that it has the feel of a Sean Connery Bond vehicle, but with Daniel Craig as James Bond. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is different. Also, along the way, occasional glossing over of some details occurs.

 

At the same time, there is much here to relish. Judi Dench’s M reaching out with one last mission for Bond from beyond the grave sets the story well. The Day of the Dead opening is gripping, especially the brutal fight in a helicopter over a crowded square. In fact, the ferocity of the fight scenes in this movie warrant recognition, including the fight between Bond and Dave Bautista’s Mr. Hinx, inside a train. I couldn’t help but compare it to the classic train-car fisticuffs in Sean Connery’s From Russia with Love.

 

And watching this movie once more, Christoff Waltz’s Blofeld has grown on me. He is entertainingly crazy and evil.

 

Once again, Harris is top notch as Miss Moneypenny. But I also must mention two additions who came on in Skyfall, and appear in Spectre as well – Ben Whishaw as Q and Ralph Fiennes as the new M. These are iconic Bond roles, and each actor excels. I particularly find Q’s interactions with Bond splendid – as was the case with past Qs and Bonds.

 

Alas, though, I admit to finding Lea Seydoux as Madeleine uninspiring. For all of the women who have entered and exited the Bond universe, that it would be this rather dull character who would become James Bond’s key love interest is unconvincing at best and ultimately disappointing. Contrast this character with Vesper from Casino Royale, and you’ll see my point.



However, after mentioning these other players, we must return to Daniel Craig as Bond. As evidenced once more in Spectre, he brings a depth and range to the role of James Bond that none of the previous Bonds had achieved. And as a result, after enjoying the first four Bond films starring Daniel Craig, I am looking forward to Craig’s final Bond outing in No Time To Die with great anticipation.

 

_________

 

Ray Keating is a columnist, novelist, economist, podcaster and entrepreneur.  Keating has three new books out. Vatican Shadows: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel is the 13th thriller/mystery in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Get the paperback or Kindle edition at Amazon, or signed books at www.raykeatingonline.comPast Lives: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story is the 14th book in the series. Get the paperback or Kindle edition at Amazon, or signed book at www.raykeatingonline.comAnd order the 15th book in the series What’s Lost? A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story.

 

The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?

 

You also can order his book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York  from Amazon or signed books  at RayKeatingOnline.com. His other recent nonfiction book is Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know

 

One of the best ways to enjoy Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries is to join the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship! For the BEST VALUE, consider the Book of the Month Club.  Check it all out at https://www.patreon.com/pastorstephengrantfellowship

 

Also, check out Ray’s podcasts – the Daily Dose of DisneyFree Enterprise in Three Minutes, and the PRESS CLUB C Podcast.

 

Check out Ray Keating’s Disney news and entertainment site at www.DisneyBizJournal.com.