“Skyfall”


“Skyfall” with Daniel Craig, Dame Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, and Rory Kinnear

Directed by Sam Mendes

Skyfall 01The latest installment of the Bond franchise marks the twenty-third in the series as well as the fiftieth anniversary of the very first Bond film, “Dr. No.”  Not only are the stakes and expectations high, but Daniel Craig is still relatively new to the character and has only just surpassed Timothy Dalton’s two-time efforts with the newly released “Skyfall.”  Craig has some big shoes to fill.  Does he hit the mark…does he hop and surpass it?

Yes, with resounding success, and the resultant is “Skyfall” being the best James Bond film to date.

It opens very traditionally with the titular hero chasing down a wanted criminal with the aid of another MI6 field operative.  Bond pursues the escapee in a superb chase scene that spans terra-cotta roof tiles and narrow ledges; the two adversaries ride motorcycles through crowded markets and buildings in a lengthy scene that dwarfs the introductory ‘race’ scenes in “Quantum of Solace.”

However, besides the aforementioned Bond introduction the rest of the film completely breaks convention, but that is what makes “Skyfall” the best James Bond film.

Bond does not use the traditional lines or the quick quips that we have all come to expect.  Instead the writers aimed to pay homage to the franchise by referencing to its predecessors.  With a bit of dialogue, Bond commands his fellow operative, Eve, to remove her hand from her ear in a direct reference to Craig’s debut, “Casino Royale.”  In a similar fashion, the new Q makes a jab to the absurdness of an exploding pen, which was of course used in Pierce Brosnan’s “Goldeneye.”  These are just but a couple references amidst a myriad.  There are several films that are referred to directly by name, but being used in dialogue throughout the film.  Even his trademark, “I like my Martini shaken not stirred,” is switched out for a brief scene depicting Bond telling the bartender that she made his drink “perfectly.”  The drink is still the same Martini, and the bartender obviously shook the drink rather than stirring it, but it is all handled within the scene rather than passing it off to Bond in dialogue.

But, besides this shattering of shackles and subsequent retelling of a classic character “Skyfall” aims higher.  It ponders questions of loyalty and global warfare, but through the lenses of cold war throwbacks.  Are individuals like M (Dame Judi Dench) and Bond meant to exist in a constantly shifting realm?  Are there any shadows left to skulk in?  It turns out there is.

For the first time “Skyfall” divulges some of M and Bond’s backstory.  Rather, than keeping with this shallow persona of what a secret agent should or should not be “Skyfall” rounds them out by adding substance and history to them.  It essentially serves as the conclusion to an ad hoc trilogy of films.  In “Casino Royale” we see James Bond become a 007 and flounder a bit as a new agent.  He is talented, but new to the trade–arrogant and hotheaded.  In “Quantum of Solace” the plot solely revolves around his want for revenge.  He possesses the skills and has been dealt the sorrow of experience, but in “Skyfall” we get to see what James Bond might look like if he lost his ‘oomph’ for the game.  It is the perfect end cap to the overarching plot.

Javier BardemAnd, not only does the plot dig deeper than ever, the acting is top-notch.  Silva (Javier Bardem) is the best Bond villain since Stravos Blofeld.  He is crazy and demented on a whole level on his own.  He is not about toppling the Crown or reaping the rewards from some nefarious plots; he is only bent on revenge.  It is personal for him, and not in the way that 006 (Sean Bean) grappled with 007 in “Goldeneye,” but in the way that an asylum patient stews over forgotten events by blaming the voices.

Although, Desmond Llewelyn is a legend and played Q with a certain sort of finesse that will never be matched, Ben Whishaw plays the part for modern audiences. He represents the modern era–forethought, rather than odd ingenuity.

Exploding pens?  No.  Radios.  Yes.

Ralph Fiennes plays his part wonderfully.  He fits into the Bond-a-verse with ease, and I am excited to see how his part expands into the future.

Overall, the film is exquisitely crafted.  It pays homage to its roots, but firmly moves forward.  It dismisses convention, and dives into the causation of Bond not Bond’s causalities.  I cannot recommend this film enough–even non-Bond fans will be surprised…who knows maybe you’ll become a fan?

Here is a trailer for “Skyfall” by Sony Pictures:

“Skyfall” poster from AllPosters.com


I am a huge James Bond, and recently I had the pleasure of seeing “Skyfall” in theaters with my longtime girlfriend, Celeste Sievers.  I haven’t been to the theaters to see a Bond film with her, so for me it was a sort of silly bonding moment–nevertheless I was ecstatic!  As far as the reviews are concerned–they are correct.  “Skyfall” is the best James Bond film to date, and I hope to have a corroborating review within the fortnight.

In honor of a tradition started by my lovely parents, I have continued onward with my collection of James Bond posters.  Beginning with Daniel Craig‘s run at “Casino Royale” I have framed the past two movie posters, which are up in my apartment along a wall.  To keep with this, I recently ordered my “Skyfall” poster (featured left), and I hope to have a picture up showing the three framed side-by-side as soon as possible.

If you haven’t checked out Allposters.com I would highly recommend you do so.  They sell a spectacular range of prints for very reasonable prices–along with framing services.  Also, every time I have ordered a poster from them there has always been a discount offered at checkout, whether it be free (or discounted) shipping or discounted posters there was always a promotional code available.  And, in this instance, it fit my James Bond tradition incredibly perfectly.

Cheers, to all the James Bond-o-philes and readers, and have a happy Thanksgiving if I don’t post before then!

“Boys and Girls,” “Dream House,” and “Colombiana”


Boys and Girls” with Freddie Prinze Jr., Claire Forlani, and Jason Biggs (2000)

(2.8.2011)

After watching “Dream House” (listed below) Celeste and I decided to throw on a romantic comedy by the name of “Boys and Girls.”  I have always enjoyed a good romantic comedy; growing up my Mom and I watched them vivaciously.  “Boys and Girls” was one of our favorites and one that I had not seen for a very long time.  Luckily, Netflix was there for the win and has “Boys and Girls” in their Instant Queue, so Celeste and I divided into a Romcom that follows the relationship Ryan Walker and Jennifer Burrows from their childhood and to their college years as they become friends and eventually…more?  Overall, “Boys and Girls” is a light film that provides solid laughs and can be easily classified as ‘cute.’  A great romantic comedy that still holds its own.  Don’t miss out the Car Wash nightclub scene—it still makes me laugh after all these years.

 

“Dream House” with Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, and Naomi Watts (2011)

(2.8.2011)

Does anyone else ever walk through a movie store and see a film that they’ve never heard of, but has some serious heavy hitters on the masthead?  This exact phenomenon happened to me last week at Hastings, while passing by the rental section.  I had the night off, so I decided to rent the movie in question (Dream House) and see if the marketing team behind it seriously bungled.  Answer: they did.  I absolutely loved it.  I can’t go into the plot too much, because the story is what drives this film and it is best to watch the crazy twists and turns that this film takes with your own eyes, rather than reading about it in a hastened review.

Basically, “Dream House” stars Daniel Craig as a family man who is quitting his job in order to focus on his family and their new ‘dream house,’ in the suburbs.

“Dream House” is one part psychological thriller, one part ghost story, and one part murder mystery all wrapped up in one and even though the genres are biggies the plot does them all justice by combining them all excellently into a wonderfully written and acted movie.  Definitely check this one out.

 

Colombiana” with Zoe Saldana (2011)

(2.2.2012)

“Colombiana” is a revenge action film that begins with Cataleya (Zoe Saldana) as young girl in Bogota, Colombia witnessing the murder of her family at the hands of a corrupt drug lord, Don Luis Sandoval.  After witnessing the death of her family Cataleya flees to the United States and spends the rest of her childhood becoming an assassin in order to avenge her family.  As an adult she partakes in contract jobs funneled to her by her uncle Emilio in order to retain a cash flow, while killing known associates of the Don in an effort to find his whereabouts, which are hidden by the C.I.A.

After reading the synopsis and watching several trailers I was pretty excited to watch “Colombiana”; however, the plot had numerous inconsistencies that prevented me from thoroughly enjoying the movie.  Most action movies are known to fall into this dilemma (quite easily in all honestly), but for whatever reason “Colombiana’s” plot holes particularly thwarted my experience.

It is a decent flick and if action movies are your forte and films like Jason Statham’s “The Mechanic” strike your fancy then this would be a good one to watch.

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