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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST HAVE FOR BOND FANS!, 30 Sept. 2012
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S. Rogall (Frechen-Königsdorf, NRW Deutschland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan (Paperback)
There are many books about James Bond. Especially this fall there will be lots of titles devoted to this legendary character and its 50 years of entertaining a mass audience.

But this one you should definitely get. Because it gets the fascination of James Bond like no other book has yet managed to.

Author Mark O'Connell understands that the allure of James Bond 007 consists not only of its massive entertainment value but also of the personal connection the audience can make with these films. Since every Bond film basically is a variation of a distinct story formula, the interesting part is how every new film manages to use this formula and re-new its appeal. This, of course, always depends on the particular time during which a Bond film is made. Every Bond film becomes a time capsule, holding not only fashions and ideas of its particular era but also shaping them. The effect on the audience is magnificent: Everyone can re-watch every Bond film and re-experience their own feelings at the time they saw these films for the first time. Bond films not only made movie history, they are telling us about history. And also our own history.

This is what O'Connell masterfully illuminates by writing about every Bond film not in the chronological order of their release dates but the order in which he has seen them, from youth onwards. CATCHING BULLETS, referring to the way one had to be always looking for a way to catch these films when they were shown on TV or a re-run in the local cinema, back in the 80's when internet streaming or available Blu Ray-boxes were not an option. This structure allows O'Connell to convey the personal connection between his personal life and James Bond films. With the expert tongue-in-cheek of the accomplished screenwriter he has become, he turns this book into the touching story of his own life overcoming obstacles and staying true to himself. The result is a fast-paced book with an original take on the Bond films which O'Connell analyzes just as thoroughly as amusingly, making one eager to re-watch the films and pay attention to those details one might have missed all those years.

It is only fitting that O'Connell not only is a 007 fan since early youth but grandson to the (late) chauffeur of the Broccoli family which shepherded Bond and turned it into the screen legend the whole world is celebrating again and again. This connection, however, does not result in any PR-type euphemisms. Instead, and thankfully so, O'Connell gives his opinion on every film unguarded and uncensored, yet always respecting the work and mastery that made these films possible.

CATCHING BULLETS delivers on every level it intends to. It is a book written by a fan who fully understands what it means to be a fan - but also to have a life. And how wonderful that can be.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for all lifelong Bond fans!!!, 18 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan (Paperback)
Mark O'Connell makes much of his unusual status as a gay Bond fan, so appropriately enough his funny, extemely personal book is very much a love letter to all things 007. He also bolts the more autobiographical elements on to some sharp insights and observations of the individual films (presented in a refreshingly personal, rather than chronological, order) that will increase your appreciation of even the least-loved entries in the series (he's made me willing to give Moonraker another go after many years).

All in all, a great read that will make people like me feel that we are not alone in our lifelong Bond geekery, and for that I am very grateful!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Bond related read in ages!, 22 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan (Paperback)
Being the obsessive Bond fan that I am I've read many, many books regarding various people and their connections to the world of 007, usually they tend to be rather dry and dull crew and cast recollections, this book though is all about being a fan and growing up with Bond and it's an absolute joy to read. Being roughly the same age as the author I can fully identify with his journey and his 1980's recollections of videoing Bond off the telly at Christmas and the frustrations of 'pan and scan' (despite not having such a great family connection to the world of EON!), while not a fact and figures reference guide this book contains enough trivia and insightful observations to appeal to any fan of 007, but it's much more than that it's also the tricky journey through adolescence as a gay 007 fan and the joys and anguish that can entail, and the constant good humour is both warm and very funny (my personal favourite gem being that line about "Roger's Bond deflowering more than just Kananga's poppy fields"). I can't recommend this wonderful book highly enough and it's well worth the money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Children (and Bond fans) of the '80s Will Love This, 17 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan (Paperback)
Catching Bullets is a book that almost refers to my life as much as it does to the author's. Author Mark O'Connell is roughly the same age as me - he has a one year advantage - and the reference points that he makes are things that I can remember from the 1980s - the choice of either playing Superman or Star Wars in the school playground, miserable cub camps, James Bond TV Times covers, the scheduling of Bond films on television (I am very glad that Mark printed the dates that the films were shown as I can remember watching those very same broadcasts) and he even references a holiday in Crete during the mid-'80s (I was there on holiday in 1987). On that level, Catching Bullets is like looking into a joint diary that we both wrote and is wonderfully nostalgic.

But there are other things going on in Mark's tale of growing up preferring the Roger Moore era of Bond to his (and mine, and probably yours too) parents choice of Sean Connery. A constant conversation topic with my father to this very day usually revolves around the Bond films and more often than not ends up with me having to defend Moonraker - of which Mark puts over an accurate and credible defence - and then counteract his argument with how ludicrous You Only Live Twice is for the Connery era (I don't agree with Mark's argument that it is Connery's best performance but he makes his case well and anyway, it's all about Moore for us children of that era). Mark also interlaces his story of preferring the campier aspects of the Moore era with his own story of growing up knowing he was gay, and not just gay but a gay Bond fan. Whilst I cannot relate to that side of Mark's story it adds another layer to this humorous and affectionate snapshot of life in the 1980s, and now we're at an age when we can properly be nostalgic about those times this charming book will no doubt be one I shall return to as the years pass by.

I wholeheartedly recommend this to anybody who regularly joins in with discussions about the Bond films as Mark's insights will likely reveal things that you probably never knew before, especially as his grandfather worked for Eon Productions and was privvy to lots of essential information before it was made public, and who knows? It may even change your perspective about some of those sillier Bond adventures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A View Of A Bond Fan, 24 Nov. 2013
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Mark Kilmurry (australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan (Paperback)
This brilliantly funny, laugh out loud (capturing the best of Bill Bryson) tribute and affectionate look at the James Bond series by a fan growing up in the 80's is a must read. Not just for Bond fans (of which I am one) but for anyone who has had a childhood compulsion to collect everything to do with their hero. The insight into the Bond films are beautifully written and almost convince you A View To A Kill is worth a second look. This book written by the very funny Mark O Connell by the way and Mark Gatiss only supplied the forward. A perfect read and a hilarious visit to the past, present and to come...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just for Bond fans, 23 Jun. 2013
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Max Baxter "Max" (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
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Mark O' Connell's history of catching the James Bond films benefits from his ever-so-personal approach. In some cases, attempts to add a "back-story" to what is largely a summary of Bond "bullets" can seem forced, but here it works. In doing so, O' Connell makes the subtle point that - for all of us - the love of films like these is intimately tied to our personal life stories. Added to that, O' Connell's observations are sharp, but warm. He has the most incredible capacity for loving Bond in all incarnations, even if his personal favourite - like mine - remains the great Sir Roger. Very much recommended
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read., 16 Nov. 2012
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Having been sucked in by the hype of the new Bond movie I bought this for my Kindle. I've always loved the Bond movies but would not class myself as a 'huge fan' - more of a 'casual fan'. Anyway I thoroughly enjoyed the book - it's a great read.

To choose three words to sum it up; Intelligent, Engaging, Witty.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Any Bond fan no matter which decade you were born will love this!, 11 Nov. 2012
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Well done Mark,a great read for someone like me who has been a Bond fan ever since I saw my first movie with a friend and his Dad way back then.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very witty!, 4 Oct. 2012
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I loved reading this book - very clever, very very witty with a few laugh out loud moments.
A must for any bond fan and a great read for anyone who has ever enjoyed any bond film!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best university book I have ever read, 17 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Catching Bullets (Kindle Edition)
There haven't been to many books (yet) that tell the story of a person who grew up on 007 well after it started, but with that generation now moving into middle age slowly yet still youthful, as well as the fact the current Bond was born almost into Lazenby's reign with the Licence to Kill, I think more will be released soon and that this very book will be the bullwark by which they are measured in terms of quality.
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Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan
Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan by Mark O'Connell (Paperback - 3 Sept. 2012)
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