007

And you thought we were done with James Bond articles for a while, didn’t you? Not so. With Skyfall continuing to tear up the box office in both North America and overseas, and with it officially becoming the highest-grossing Bond film in the domestic market, it’s not going away. Add to this the fact that MGM is giving the film a push for award consideration (a long shot, sure, but that theme song by Adele certainly has a chance to win something), and you’ve still got Bond on the brain a month after the film opened. It’s time to look back to one of Bond’s beginnings. Not the books, and not the start of the film franchise in the 1960s. Instead, let’s crack open the DVD of Casino Royale, which rebooted the franchise from the rocky path it was on behind frontman Pierce Brosnan. For the Collector’s Edition of the Casino Royale DVD and Blu-ray, which came out in 2008, director Martin Campbell explains in the then-new how the series was given a new start. He is joined by the film’s producer. There will, of course, be spoilers for Casino Royale below, but you might also want to make sure you see Skyfall before reading this in its entirety, considering there are one or two interesting connections between the films. And on to the commentary…

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The James Bond Files

After wading through the MGM bankruptcy hiatus, pre-production, principal photography, marketing and release anticipation, the latest James Bond adventure is finally upon us. (If you live outside of the U.S., there’s actually a good chance that this wait ended a week or two ago, but we’ll let that go.) Skyfall hits theaters early in IMAX on November 8 and then in wide theatrical release on November 9. Now you have a chance to finally see the brand new, completely original Bond. Sort of. One of the great things about Bond movies is they have a certain level of familiarity. If made well, you can expect some common elements that make it feel like a quintessential Bond film. Sure, we all like originality, but you can trust almost any James Bond film to cover familiar territory. Here’s a James Bond history lesson and how it relates to the upcoming film.

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There are now 23 official James Bond movies, so coming up with only six clips from the entire series for this week’s Scenes We Love was difficult. But where do you draw the line? One scene per film is too many, and if I picked all the scenes I truly love the most from the films, it would add up to even more. There would also be an imbalance, with multiple scenes from some films and no scenes from others. There’d be no focus. So, the best and simplest way to do this (in terms of clarity; I reiterate that choosing the clips was not simple) is to pick one scene I love from each of the six actors’ run as 007. In making the selections, I had to remind myself, and I should remind you, that these are not meant to be the best scenes or even necessarily my personal favorites. They’re simply some scenes that I love that I’d like to spotlight for your pleasure in viewing and discussing. Also, Bond fans are all so different, so it’s very likely that some of these scenes that I love might be scenes that you hate. Let me know your own favorite scene — or just a scene you love — from each Bond down below.

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Last night a bunch of critics in the UK were treated to an early screening of Skyfall, and while nobody invited any of our diehard 007 junkies, I figured it’s worth our while to take a look at the first reactions to the new James Bond blockbuster. To do so, I’m using the recent breakdown of elements by one of FSR’s resident Bond experts, Kevin Carr, in order to dissect the reviews and highlight their takes on each individual ingredient. What about overall opinions? It seems they’re generally of a simple consensus, that Skyfall is not only a great return for the series following the disappointing Quantum of Solace but it may be one of the best Bond installments yet. This feat is achieved, apparently, in director Sam Mendes‘s balance of serious and nostalgic tone, brought about with a script (by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and John Logan) pays tribute to the past films and franchise conventions while still also delivering a lot of fresh ideas. And Roger Deakins‘s cinematography sounds like a real highlight of the film — even Oscar-worthy, according to some critics. Check out what the reviews (linked at the bottom of the page) have to say about Bond’s fit with the 10 main ingredients of a 007 film after the break.

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Daniel Craig Skyfall

With the new trailer for Skyfall, director Sam Mendes and the hairstylists have recognized the true method to ensuring Javier Bardem is a terrifying villain: give him the most ridiculous haircut possible. There’s no telling what sort of dastardly work he’s up to here, or what James Bond will have to do to stop him, but none of that matters because it’s all overshadowed by the kind of blond wig Dave Chapelle used when he was doing whiteface. It’s like what Donald Trump would look like if he never went thin on top. How do those back goosebumps feel? Of course the real star of this trailer is Roger Deakins‘ cinematography, followed closely by Daniel Craig in a death-defying turn as 007. Check it out for yourself:

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The most striking thing about the new Skyfall trailer is the beauty. Yes, there’s the beast. The brawn. Daniel Craig still looks hulking and dark as James Bond, but the trailer shows off some truly gorgeous shots without giving them all away. That’s what happens when you hire Sam Mendes to direct and Roger Deakins to director photography. The latest entry in the Bond franchise sees M’s past coming to haunt everyone and 007 attempting to kill the people trying to kill him. This time, you know, it’s personal. Now see if you can spot any shaky-cam. Check out the trailer for yourself (as if you’ve bothered to read any of this anyway):

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Merch Hunter - Large

I invite you to imagine a scene for a minute: a handsome man, with the kind of chiseled chin you could sharpen spoons on in an embarrassingly fine suit whose intricate detail blinded three tailors in the making sits at a Texas Holdem table, sucking daintily on a Vesper and with a cigarette lit for ornamentation. A gun presses into his ribs, another comfortably into his calf, and about his person are secreted millions of pounds worth of the British Intelligence Service’s most impressive, and most secret inventions. His smile cuts knowingly across an impeccably handsome face, eyes taking in infinitely more than his lush demeanor lets on as he imperceptibly stalks his prey. He is Bond, and no matter what you do about it, he is always going to be cooler than you. So, why the hell wouldn’t you want to make your life as close to his as possible? Your paunch might say more Gandalfini than Bond, and your social awkwardness would probably be the first, largest stumbling block in your application to MI5, but through the magpie-like acquisition of many fine pieces of James Bond merchandise, you too could pretend like a boss. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s precisely what this week’s Merch Hunter column is devoted to…

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How many James Bonds can be stuffed into one movie? Casino Royale, the first Bond spoof, seeks to answer that question with David Niven, Ursula Andress, Peter Sellers, Joanna Pettet, Daliah Lavi, and Woody Allen all playing 007. Plus, Orson Welles playing Le Chiffre. Seriously. Orson Welles. There were a ton of writers and directors (and actors) who worked on this movie, but somehow the love of the spy and the spoof shines through. Even in the trailer, you can see where Austin Powers was born (hint: in a spinning bed with Peter Sellers flashing his giant teeth for pictures). Unrelate sidenote: have you ever noticed that Ursula Andress’s name is one letter away from “Undress”? In fact, her spoonerism name would be Arsula Undress. What are the odds of that?

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peter_morgan_bond

Peter Morgan, the writer behind Frost/Nixon and several other political dramas, will be joining the team of Purvis and Wade to craft the next installment of 007.

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FSR

Kevin Carr looks at the slate of films in theaters this week with the FSR Report Card.

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Quantum of Solace

Order your favorite Bond drink – whether it’s a Vesper, a bourbon and water or a martini, shaken not stirred – and have some fun with this film.

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Fat Guys at the Movies

Kevin and Neil take to secret agent mode as they emulate James Bond, and Kevin describes his Venus-like emergence from the sea in a Speedo.

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Bond: Opening Titles

A trademark of the Bond film universe, we take a look at the best and worst opening sequences. From gun barrels to paint dripping of the female form, it’s not Bond without the sleek sexiness of the soundtrack over silhouettes.

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