Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig James Bond

Things have been pretty dour for James Bond lately. He faced a tragic origin story, seethed with revenge, faced an internal struggle that led back to his roots and then faced that serial lady killer in Sweden (unless you believe Girl With the Dragon Tattoo wasn’t a James Bond movie (even the title feels right, people)). With all that glowering and angst from a character that used to smarm his way through hotel rooms and laser shark battles, this is a natural reaction from Daniel Craig regarding Bond 24: “Hopefully we’ll reclaim some of the old irony and make sure it doesn’t become pastiche. I can’t do shtick, I’m not very good at it. Unless it kind of suddenly makes sense. Does that make sense? I sometimes wish I hammed it up more, but I just can’t do it very well, so I don’t do it.” [The Guardian] So maybe 007 won’t be saying, “Remember when I said I’d kill you last?…” but a little bit of levity will definitely be welcome. Shooting bad guys with facial scars and sipping weak martinis doesn’t have to be so heavy. We’ll see how much grinning Bond does in November 2015.

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news fincher future

No, I will not be apologizing for that title. David Fincher is having a pretty newsworthy week thanks to the recent confirmation that his follow-up to 2011’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo will be another literary thriller adaptation. He’s heading into pre-production on Gone Girl based on Gillian Flynn’s bestseller with star Ben Affleck and an as-yet unnamed female lead, but while that’s exciting news it leaves a couple questions hanging limply in the air. Will we still see the Dragon Tattoo sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire hit screens in the near future? And for the love of god can we finally sink the idea of Fincher wasting his time on a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea remake once and for all? Happily, the answer to both questions appears to be yes.

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Sam Mendes directing Bond

Despite Sam Mendes’ protestations in March that he had made “the very difficult decision” not to return to the Bond franchise, the director and the studios themselves announced today that he is on board to helm Bond 24. Daniel Craig is also set to don his tuxedo once more and play the legendary secret agent.

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penelope_cruz_4

While most of the movie-loving world has been busy watching the continuous back-and-forth rumor ping pong that could easily go by the title, “wait, just who the hell is directing the next James Bond film?”, other rumors are apparently getting swirled up across the pond. Yahoo! Movies UK reports that the lovely Penelope Cruz (and wife of Skyfall‘s utterly amazing villain, Javier Bardem) will next step into a saucy Bond girl role (please let her be the nice girl). The outlet reports that the actress will start work on the film next summer, but as is usual when it comes to UK outlets, this one could just be a big ol’ rumor, no matter how great it sounds. And, as The Playlist sagely reminds us, “when it comes to Bond girls, the Daniel Craig-era has tended to favor smaller/lesser known names (Eva Green, Gemma Arterton, Olga Kurylenko, Berenice Marlohe) over, well, Oscar winners.” But no matter, as a source reportedly told Yahoo! that “the producers have tried to get Penelope before, but she has never been available because of other commitments. The discussions have been going on for some time and they are working out the contract details now.” Hey, better late than never.

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Daniel Craig

Ever since Sam Mendes announced that he wasn’t going to be able to direct whatever the 24th movie about secret agent James Bond is going to be, there has been a tidal wave of speculation concerning who’s going to take his place. Everyone from Nicolas Winding Refn, to Kathryn Bigelow, to Martin Campbell, to Morten Tyldum have become the subject of Bond 24 rumors, with no one’s involvement ever developing into anything more solid than whispers. But Showbiz 411 feels that they’ve now got something solid, a piece of news that they’ve said has been “as confirmed as it can be,” and they’re reporting that the director of Bond 24 is going to be none other than—Sam Mendes.

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Drinking Games

Skyfall is the most successful James Bond movie ever, raking in more than a billion dollars in worldwide box office. This week, it is available on DVD and Blu-ray for convenient home viewing. Though Bond is known for his signature drinks of vodka martinis (shaken not stirred) and more recently Vespers, the character has rarely been known to turn down alcohol in any form. Since all women want James Bond and all men want to be him, a great way to connect with the character is to enjoy a drink or two, or three, or 007 while watching his latest film.

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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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Culture Warrior: James Bond

Warning: this post contains mild spoilers for Skyfall. At some point during the middle of the first decade of this century, it felt like the practice of rebooting franchises would not see an end anytime soon. A gritty, realist new Batman origin story was followed quickly by a new blonde James Bond who, supposedly modeled after the new spy paradigm of the Bourne series, seemed as messy as he was vulnerable.

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Bond 50 Blu-ray

We continue our look at one of 2012’s biggest and most anticipated Blu-ray sets… Bond 50. The set celebrates fifty years of Bond with special feature-filled Blu-rays for each film, and while most have already seen HD releases the collection also includes Blu debuts of You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds are Forever, The Spy Who Loved Me, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, The Living Daylights, Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies. The box-set breaks the 22 films into two halves, twelve from 1962-1981 and ten from 1983-2012, each in their own sturdy book. Due to the sheer volume of material this Disc Spotlight will be broken into two halves as well. Keep reading for a look at 1983’s Octopussy through 2008’s Quantum of Solace, and go here for part one covering 1962’s Dr. No through 1981’s For Your Eyes Only.

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Skyfall is the conclusion of James Bond’s coming-of-age story. At the end of Casino Royale, he may have declared himself Bond, but the young .00 wasn’t there just yet. As shown by the divisive Quantum of Solace, Bond was still a rebel – a guy who took advantage of having a license to kill. He was dangerous. The Bond we see in Sam Mendes‘s Skyfall is still a “blunt instrument,” as producer Barbara Broccoli calls him, but he’s wiser and older now. By the end, all three films tie together nicely, even if you’re not a fan of Quantum of Solace. Broccoli and her fellow producer, Michael G. Wilson, say that was the intention. Here’s what Wilson and Broccoli had to say about now bringing in auteur directors, how James Bond has grown since Casino Royale, and why Steven Spielberg hasn’t made a Bond film yet:

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Skyfall

Skyfall feels, in many ways, like the last film in Daniel Craig‘s tenure as James Bond. It’s only his third go round as the British secret agent, but he’s already haggard, unshaven and tired of the back-stabbing, gun-toting rat race. When a list of MI6’s undercover agents is stolen (that’s right, it’s the old NOC list chestnut!) Bond and Agent Eve (Naomie Harris) are tasked with recovering it, but the mission goes awry and Bond is left for dead. He’s not, obviously, but he’s enjoying the peaceful anonymity and seaside screws too much to give a damn about anything else. But when MI6 is attacked back in London Bond rises from the dead and returns to duty. He tries to anyway, but injuries, indifference and a battered spirit threaten to keep him on the bench. It’s only when the stakes get personal for him and M (Judi Dench) that he musters the will needed to fight back. But will it be too late? Skyfall is big, beautiful entertainment that delivers the expected action set-pieces but adds truly artistic visuals and multiple odes to Bond films of the past fifty years. It’s never dull, occasionally surprising and unafraid to delve into Bond’s life more than any film since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Unfortunately (and unnecessarily), all of that comes at the price of gaping plot holes and staggering lapses in logic.

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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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Roger Deakins, Skyfall

Skyfall returns to the Connery days of the James Bond franchise, where nearly every frame would drip with coolness. Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale was a step in the right direction, but it wasn’t until director Sam Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins showed up that the series began to feel at its most alive, cinematic, and stylish. This world of Bond is lavish and bold, and to a degree we have never seen from this series before. Deakins achieved all that slickness with his new favorite storytelling tool, the ARRI ALEXA. Deakins used the camera on his previous film, In Time. After two outings with the ALEXA, Deakins fails to see any shortcoming with the camera. As the man said a few years ago, don’t expect him to return film, unless the Coen Brothers come calling. If you call that sacrilegious, as Deakins tells us, he doesn’t really get what your problem is. Here is what Skyfall cinematographer Roger Deakins had to say about working with Sam Mendes, the film’s stunning Shanghai fight sequence, and how anything rarely comes easy for him:

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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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Director George Clooney

What is Casting Couch? Proof that not everyone’s tracking Hurricane Sandy’s path on Twitter. Some are still out there casting movies. The big casting news over the weekend was all of the big names that were announced for George Clooney’s next project as a director, The Monuments Men. Deadline had the scoop that this period drama about a group of art historians and museum curators trying to recover important and historical works from the clutches of the Nazis is going to star names like Bill Murray, Daniel Craig, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban. As far as I know none of these people can even speak German, but you’ve still got to look at that list and be impressed. You could cast this crew as an office full of telemarketers and everyone would still watch the movie, making them heroes during the dying days of the Nazi regime is just icing on the cake.

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John Logan

We’ve been anxiously counting down to the release of Skyfall, and luckily for Brian and Kevin, they’ll only need to come up with 104 more entries as we keep the feature going as a countdown to Bond 24. According to MI6, the next Bond will fall back into the two-year release cycle (that was thwarted by legal hijinks after Die Another Day). Filming on the new outing is set for next year with a release sometime in late 2014. That’s pretty good, but the earliest Bonds came out only a year apart. Just sayin’. The site is also reporting that writer John Logan (Gladiator, Rango, Noah) will be returning after crafting the script for Skyfall with Robert Wade and Neal Purvis to take a stab at Bond 24 while flying solo. He’s apparently already completed an outline, and star Daniel Craig is ready to roll as soon as the story is in place, so the momentum is in their favor. Great news. Logan is a talented writer, and Skyfall is being praised from here to eternity. Granted, this also seems to signal that the happy-go-lucky cheese of Bonds past may be dead completely. The updated secret agent has seen some tonal changes that exceed simply sipping a broad market beer, and they’re apparently here to stay. I also wonder how the Brits feel about Americans taking over their longest-standing iconic movie character. Hopefully he’ll be driving on the correct side of the road and calling it “soccer” soon enough.

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Introducing Q in Skyfall

Keep your superheroes and demigods, I’ll take a sharp-dressed Brit with a gun and a penchant for philandering any day. James Bond has returned after a time of uncertainty and he’ll be gracing the big screen again in Skyfall, due November 9. Early reviews have been positive. Those who hated Quantum of Solace (which I quite liked) seem to be back on the Bond bandwagon, while those who enjoyed Quantum also seem to be in good spirits for the 23rd installment. All around, it seems as if we’re in for quite a ride. But more on that later. First, we get a new clip introducing Ben Whishaw as the new Q, or Quartermaster. He’s the man (or in this case, slightly overgrown boy) who provides Bond with all of those fancy gadgets. Wishaw follows a long line of stellar actors who’ve played Q in the past, including Peter Burton, Desmond Llewelyn and John Cleese. Wishaw will be the youngest actor to take on the roll in the 50-year history of the Bond franchise. Check out his introduction in this brand new clip.

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Daniel Craig Skyfall

God help whatever poor soul is given the task to follow up Sam Mendes‘s work on Skyfall. Mendes has brought the James Bond franchise to a level beyond what we would hope and expect from a fifty-year-old series. Most characters couldn’t endure that lengthy amount of time, but Mendes and the brass behind the franchise have made a bold reason to believe that Bond is far from dead. Even looking past Roger Deakins‘ rich cinematography, Thomas Newman‘s intense but subtle score (which I’m listening to/fawning over as I write these words), and the magnificent locations milked for all their beauty, there’s still plenty more to love about Skyfall. Mendes has brought his voice to the franchise while also preserving Bond’s greatest traits, making the film one hell of a character-driven action movie. But just how did he do it?

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For a long time, Steven Spielberg has expressed interest in making a James Bond picture. From the start of his career and even until after he hit it big time, Spielberg has wanted to bring his Spielbergyness to Bond. Unfortunately for both Spielberg and Bond fans, that dream hasn’t come to fruition. The idea of the mega director and Bond coming together sounds like a perfect match, both artistically and financially. With an idea this good, it’s a little baffling Spielberg hasn’t gotten a crack at Bond yet. Now, we sort of have an answer why. Speaking with producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli at the press day for Skyfall – which completely lives up to the hype – we had the chance to ask them if there’s ever been serious discussions of bringing Spielberg in. In response, Broccoli did share a story regarding conversations between Spielberg and her father, Albert R. Broccoli, over the matter:

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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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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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