Tag Archives: James Bond

The name’s McClane…John McClane.

It’s good to know where you stand sometimes – witness this clip, via IGN.com, from February’s “A Good Die To Die Hard”.

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With each moment of glorious vehicular abuse, John McClane‘s caterpillar to butterfly like evolution from resourceful beat cop to blue-collar James Bond seems complete, doesn’t it?  The beaten-down, right-guy-in-the-wrong-place vibe of the original movie has long since become unravelled by the need to pitch McClane into new and more exaggerated jeopardy with each sequel.

Remember this bit from “Live Free or Die Hard”/”Die Hard 4.0”?  Yes, quite.

"Free Pussy Riot? Challenge accepted..."

“Free Pussy Riot? Challenge accepted…”

If I were a harsher critic of this series, I’d say that this was more or less the point at which the franchise jumped the shark (and then killed it with a concealed rocket launcher), but I just can’t bring myself to get ticked off at the “Die Hard” flicks or their increasingly irascible hero.  As Willis gets craggier and ever more likely to request that you damn kids get off his lawn with each movie, he somehow becomes more endearing – witness the bit in the first clip linked above where he punches out a Russian motorist to commandeer his vehicle.

The films now inhabit some kind of pleasant virtual realm where vacationing  Jerseyite McClane can slug a random citizen with impunity and suffer barely a politsya scolding by way of consequence – five minutes browsing on YouTube will doubtless find you numerous videos indicating that such behaviour in Moscow will earn you a one way ticket to Slabville:  Our Russian compatriots do not eff around.

“A Good Day To Die Hard” opens in cinemas in February.  And a delightfully morally unambiguous slice of retro-mayhem it promises to be.

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“Skyfall” movie review – Back to basics, Mr Bond…

Daniel Craig’s obsession with “Trials HD” had taken a disturbing real-life twist…

So, “Skyfall” it is, then?  The 50th anniversary James Bond adventure, the follow-up to the mostly unloved “Quantum of Solace” and a pivotal picture for the financially challenged studio MGM  – it’s fair to speculate that there’s a reasonable amount of pressure being brought to bear to ensure that this 23rd Bond movie delivers.

And, boy, does it ever.

The lingering ‘meh’ after taste of “Quantum” is erased pretty much entirely by the jaw-loosening action-packed pre-credits sequence which runs amok in Istanbul this time around and amply illustrates the deep jeopardy in which Bond finds himself throughout “Skyfall” (and that the British Government must settle a butt-load of liability claims whenever James Bond has to give chase to somebody – it’s carnage in this sequence, people – carnage, I tells ye!).

Sam Mendes, in his first and hopefully not last Bond film, manages somehow to strike an almost flawless balance between the massive stunt-packed sequences which the audience expects of Bond and the more internalized, adult drama which Mendes’ film career has become synonymous with – for the first time since Craig took on the role, we’ve got a Bond with grit and wit, realism and outlandish adventure, a character-driven drama with convincing thrills and spills.  I don’t really know how the team behind the film did it, but they’ve made perhaps the best Bond movie ever.

New Bond poster or Prada Fall 2012 poster? Magic Eight Ball says ‘Huh?’

The acting is impeccable – new additions Naomie Harris and Ralph Fiennes make intriguing introductions which promise further mileage in the franchise and villain Javier Bardem is a memorable, layered, gloriously eccentric maniac with a plausible revenge motive and an almost down-to-earth way of achieving his goal (he doesn’t have an underground base inside a volcano but he does have a metric eff-ton of server farms and Bot Nets at his disposal – how times have changed).  New Bond girl Berenice Marlohe is arguably least well served by the script – she’s a Femme Fatale straight from central casting, with smoky, exotic good looks and the requisite tragic back story but doesn’t really get to do much other than smoulder, shower and…I’ll let you find out the rest.

I was particularly fond of the way that the film finds way to set the action back in the UK – we jet off to Shanghai, Macau and the like, but always find ourselves being drawn inexorably back to Bond’s home in a way that the series hasn’t done in recent years.  It probably doesn’t mean that much to viewers outside this nominally United Kingdom, but the sense of our home being laid siege to by enemies from without whose ideology outweighs a flag or national identity is palpable and unusually affecting – this is a blockbuster action film which occasionally manages to get under your skin in a way that these films never really aim for.

By the time that the climax rolls around and sins of the mother are revisited on the surrogate son, all bets really are off and I was genuinely taken aback by one development in the story which I didn’t see coming – possibly because I’ve been fairly spoiler-averse on this film and perhaps because I didn’t want what happened to happen.  But happen it did, and it sets in motion a new direction for the series which certainly changes the dynamics which began to shift with “Goldeneye” – how’s that for being cryptic whilst actually alluding to what’s changed in the series?

If I gave ratings, this would get a very enthusiastic 9 out of 10 – it’s a great action adventure, a brilliant “Bond” movie and confirmation that the good people at Albert R. Brocolli’s EON knew what they were doing when they hired Daniel Craig – “Skyfall” is his best Bond yet.

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New “Skyfall” trailer kills Bond, takes names.

Well, it’s one way to wrong-foot the audience…

OMG – SPOILERZ!

There’s a new “Skyfall” trailer, everyone – go lookit!

Not really – the bait-and-switch gambit of apparently sending James Bond to sleep with the fish community in the new trailer for “Skyfall” is quickly undone when it becomes clear that Bond’s mission this time around is to sleep with French starlets and destroy foreign locales recover an in-the-wild secret hard drive containing the details of every MI6 agent before it goes to the highest bidder.

New Bond girl, Berenice Marlohe, not long for this world if the on-screen fate of previous Bond girls is any indicator…

Where the previous teaser trailers, IMAX pimping and Olympic-piggybacking tv spots have played up the psychological drama aspect of the new, Sam Mendes directed Bond as if to indicate that this won’t be a glum shoot-em-up like the previous, unloved (but actually not that bad) “Quantum of Solace“, this trailer gets down to business by including some pretty major action and one classic prop with a biometric twist.

A tech guy who’s wearing a nerdy parka? The invention of these film makers! Where do they get their crazy ideas?!

New Q, Ben Whishaw shows up and we get our best look yet at the horror which is big bad Javier Bardem‘s blonde hairstyle.  I’m assuming that the sketchiness therein indicates that it forms some kind of secret weapon, perhaps for employment during the grand finale (perhaps it assumes some kind of sentient life and goes in for the kill when his owner is dispatched?).

The reassuring sight of James Bond effing up a vehicle and still finding time to sort his cuffs out. And all’s well with England anew…

“Skyfall” opens in the UK in October and the US in November.

 

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“Star Trek 2” loses Del Toro

Looking forward to seeing Benicio Del Toro play Khan in “Star Trek 2”?  

Nope, not Khan. Not even a little bit.

Yeah…that’s not going to be happening, it turns out.  Bummer.

Were he not otherwise engaged with playing the heavy in the new Bond movie “Skyfall”, I would suggest that Javier Bardem might make a fun substitute, but  it seems that director J.J. Abrams will have to look elsewhere for a new “Star Trek” antagonist.

Rumour insists that Khan is the big bad in this instalment of the sci-fi series – a belief partially supported by the consistent denial of said character’s place in the story by anybody connected with the film.  If you deny anything enough, of course, the internet hive mind tends to believe that such vociferous refusals are tantamount to confirmation.

I’m not sure that we need to reintroduce such staples of classic “Trek” into this rebooted incarnation of Gene Roddenberry’s universe – isn’t part of the point of this version that it isn’t beholden to the past.  You can’t ignore it entirely but wouldn’t it be better to use it as a jumping-off point and to invent new mythology?

Just saying.

 

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More “Skyfall” casting…

Well, the rumour about Naomie Harris playing Moneypenny seems to have been disproven, so it’s time for the makers of the next Bond film, “Skyfall”, to give another nod to the past.

Pic via Yet Another Ben Whishaw Tumblr

Yep, that’s disgracefully young and lanky Brit actor Ben Whishaw,  who’ll be playing Q in the film.

Talk about your huge shoes to fill.  If you’ve seen him in “Perfume – The Story of A Murderer”, you’ll know that he can do off-kilter and dangerous in his sleep, so it will be interesting to see the direction that Sam Mendes’ Bond is going to take. He’s obviously young, but it might be a bit twee to play up the nerdy whiz-kid angle too much – young fogey, a-la Matt Smith’s take on the Doctor?

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“Skyfall” – new cast additions, revelatory Twitpic revealed…

The new James Bond movie, “Skyfall”, began filming on Monday in the UK and the official Twitter account, @007 wasted no time in breaking some more casting news.

He's in the new Bond movie! Playing....somebody!

That’s Swedish actor Ola Rapace, who’s just been cast along with Draco Malfoy’s mum, the actress usually known as Helen McCrory, in the film, even now being shepherded into life by Sam Mendes.

C'mon, I had to use a "Doctor Who" screen grab, didn't I?

No news yet on who this duo are playing – details on their roles are not currently out in the wild, as was the case last week with the casting of Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney and Ben Whishaw (at least some of whom are playing characters whose names would be instantly known to the more hardcore members of the Bond fan community).

Empire Online also linked today to the official Bond Twitter account, which had a neat and appropriate shot of filming getting under way.

Roger Deakins is now shooting a Bond movie, it appears.  This can be only be good news.

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Bond 23 – “Skyfall” is official, due in November 2012

From left, French actress Bérénice Marlohe, some bloke and Naomie Harris

Oh, the excitement. A couple of weeks after Sony started to register domain names and tip the wink about “Skyfall” being the title of the next Bond movie, Eon productions formally announced the title and had a meet and greet with the press in London village.

Sam Mendes is the interesting choice behind the camera, regular Bond writers Neal Purvis, Robert Wade & John Logan are the writers and the cast is impressive to say the least. Daniel Craig returns, as does Judi Dench. Javier Bardem is the bad guy – an excellent choice, I hope you’ll agree – whilst Naomie Harris is playing a field agent – not the rumoured introduction of Moneypenny to the rebooted franchise. Albert Finney and Ralph Fiennes are also popping up, as though to emphasise that this is an 007 movie with serious acting cred. Bond’s presumed love interest is being played by Bérénice Marlohe, whose IMDB listing is here.

November 9th 2012 is when you can expect to see this in cinemas. Can’t wait.

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