James Bond

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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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Sam Mendes Directing Skyfall

There’s been big speculation surrounding Sam Mendes‘ potential return to the James Bond business because his blend of character beats and surprising action acumen is rightly noted as the main reason Skyfall worked so well. Unfortunately, his particular balance won’t be back. According to Empire, Mendes will not be returning for Bond 24: Whatever It Gets Titled. Citing other professional commitments, the director said, “It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael [G. Wilson] and Barbara [Broccoli]’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie. Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theatre and other commitments, including productions of ‘Charlie And The Chocolate Factory’ and ‘King Lear,’ that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond.” So it’s bad news topped with bad news for anyone who doesn’t plan on buying a play ticket anytime soon. Mendes is still attached to produce several movies — most of which have been stalled out for a while — but this statement makes it seem likely that we won’t see him direct again for a while. He’s attached to direct Netherland, based off the Joseph O’Neill novel, and it’s still at Focus Features, but it’s unclear whether or when it will move forward. Thus, it looks like the filmmaker is going to wear some different hats for a while, and the next installment of the 007 franchise will have to find a suitable replacement. Isn’t J.J. Abrams available?

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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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Reject Recap: The Best of Film School Rejects

Today is… GROUNDHOG DAY! That means you’re doomed to repeat the day over and over until you’re caught up with the best movie stories of the week. At least you don’t have to go back and relive the whole week in order to read every single post and article published in the last seven days. You just need the ten best, which I’ve compiled for you below (plus an exclusive film clip and TV coverage). And at least you have me to compile it for you, so it’s all nice and easily laid out. Then again, Groundhog Day is on a Saturday this year, so maybe you’ll want to take it slow. Enjoy the day off over and over again. The Recap will be here the whole time. The week started with the end of Sundance and later included a preview of our next favorite film fest, SXSW. We reviewed the major and some minor new theatrical releases, including the genuinely great zom-rom-com (Warm Bodies), the forgettable movie with the old action star (Bullet to the Head), the forgettable thing about old gangsters (Stand Up Guys), the strangely reflexive Charlie Sheen movie (A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan), the the political thriller written by Al Gore’s former spokesman (Knife Fight), the latest Korean dissection from Im Sang-soo (The Taste of Money) and the powerful slow-burn sequel to Yossi & Jagger (Yossi). And we interviewed one of the directors of The ABCs of Death (Angela Bettis) and the director […]

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Holiday Gifts for Movie Lovers

It’s way too late to even mail order something for your movie-loving loved ones this holiday season. Do you arrive to your holiday gathering empty-handed to the disappointment of all? NEVER! Please consider the gift options below for any of the movie nerds in your life, which neither require shipping nor a long wait. Nor a trip to a shopping mall, which as you can imagine, might be a life-risking endeavor. You are liable to be trampled, after all…

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Danny Boyle

According to an interview with We Got This Covered, Quentin Tarantino is expressing the unlikelihood that he’ll ever direct Kill Bill Vol. 3 and the certainty that he’ll never dive into the world of James Bond. Meanwhile, Danny Boyle is also politely passing on Bond speculation, claiming that he’s “not very good with huge amounts of money.” Frankly, not getting a third Kill Bill is an excellent situation because it leaves Tarantino free to work on other fresh projects that don’t already exist as a complete story. Surely there’s another historical wrong that he can correct through film besides the Holocaust and American slavery. Still, if Casino Royale was the only chance we had to see Tarantino join MI6, it would be nice to visit an alternate universe where he launched Daniel Craig into a tuxedo. And wouldn’t it be awesome to see Boyle take on Bond? Give it some energy? Skyfall was a fantastic slow burn, but it’s time Bond kicked it back into high gear. His forthcoming film Trance – starring James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson — sees theaters in March 2013, but he hasn’t publicly committed to a follow-up. The same goes for Tarantino, who has a lot of projects to choose from (just counting from the ones he’s mentioned over the years that haven’t yet come to fruition). Other than these denials, there’s no word yet on what they’ll be focused on in the coming year. Hopefully we’ll find out soon.

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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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Reject Recap: The Best of Film School Rejects

This week saw the countdown to the end of the Twilight movies, though we didn’t pay it much attention. Kevin gave us a drinking game to play while watching the whole series in marathon form, but that’s it. Maybe we were all too busy still appreciating the greatness of the latest James Bond — a series that fortunately didn’t conclude after only five installments — or skipping through to wonder about the future, as in whether The Mortal Instruments is the new Twi-like sensation. We did, of course, review the final Twilight Saga film, and we remind and invite you to check out that and other reviews of new releases (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2; Lincoln; Anna Karenina; Price Check) as well as an interview with Anna Karenina director Joe Wright. We also watched a lot of trailer, including new spots for The Host (from Twi-lit author Stephenie Meyer), Oz: The Great and Powerful, The ABCs of Death (Red Band) and, yeah, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. We also saw some short films that readers seem to have enjoyed a lot, including The Sleepover and Dragon Baby. Now, check out our biggest and best stories and original content from the past week after the break.

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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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The Ingredients is a column devoted to breaking down the components of a new film release with some focus on influential movies that came before. As always, these posts look at the entire plots of films and so include SPOILERS.  The James Bond series is something of a hub in the course of film and pop culture history. As iconic as it is on its own, it tends to be informed by other material as often as it does the informing. In the beginning, for example, the movies were highly influenced by the works of Alfred Hitchcock. Author Ian Fleming even wished for Hitch to direct the first movie adapted from his 007 novels. And Cary Grant was famously sought for the part of Bond, which would have been interesting had he continued with the second film, From Russia With Love, given how much it calls to mind North by Northwest. Instead, little-known Sean Connery embodied the character, and after the first two installments made the actor famous, Hitch cast him in Marnie. As usual, the director capitalized on a movie star’s pre-existing notoriety, his screen value, which makes it quite difficult for us to see Connery’s Marnie character, Mark Rutland, as anything but James Bond as a wife-raping publisher. Hitch went another step with his next film, Torn Curtain, which was an admitted direct response to the 007 films. He wrote to Francois Truffaut in 1965: “In realizing that James Bond and the imitators of James Bond were more or less making […]

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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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Junkfood Cinema - Large

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; home of Her Majesty’s Secret Sauce. This is the movie column with the license to grill…terrible movies. We fry everything else. Every week we moon-rake a bad movie over the coals, shaking it, stirring it, and a third Bond pun as well. We mock the living daylights out it, but just when it seems we have a view to a kill, we offer the movie a quantum of solace in the fact that we actually do harbor an affection for it. At the end, as we’ve never been a proponent of the idea of live and let diet, we serve up a disgustingly delicious snack food themed to the movie and sure to add a few double chins to those double-0 agents. One of the problems with being a diehard fan of the James Bond franchise, is that it’s impossible to then be a JamesBond fan of the Die Hard franchise. Wait, no, that’s not what I was going to say. The real problem is that your fandom often prevents you from avoiding some of the series’ worst entries even though you really ought to. Sure, Skyfall was tremendous, but does that mean I can finally resign myself to never again watch Die Another Day? No, it’ll still be there, impossible to resist; like a burn at the roof of your mouth that you can’t stop tonguing while watching Die Another Day. It’s so bad, that I’ve actually had to come up with new methods […]

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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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The James Bond Files

James Bond is no longer merely a name, nor even just a character. James Bond is an international cultural icon. His legend extends from one corner of the planet to the other, and 007′s world-wide popularity has seldom waned in half a century. Over the years, hundreds of companies have vied to get a piece of the lucrative James Bond pie by releasing merchandise and memorabilia designed to capitalize on the spies’ craze. In some cases this yielded tremendous collectibles on whose value a monetary price cannot really be placed; despite what those greedy jerks at eBay say. I NEED that Oddjob nosehair trimmer dammit! Anywho, that brings us to the other side of the coin, in which some rather shoddy and sometimes incomprehensible wares are pushed on fanatics. Let’s take a look at some of the things you’d better buy us for Christmas or else.

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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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Sam Mendes Directing Skyfall

After hearing a few filmmakers go back and forth about whose work is less important, it feels really good to see a noteworthy director give such praise and credit to a peer. In an excellent piece at IndieWire, Sam Mendes explains why Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight helped influence his take on James Bond in Skyfall. “It would be a tragedy if all the serious movies were very small and all the popcorn movies were very big and have nothing to say,” said Mendes. “And what Nolan proved was that you can make a huge movie that is thrilling and entertaining and has a lot to say about the world we live in, even if, in the case with The Dark Knight, it’s not even set in our world. It felt like a movie that was about our world post-9/11 and played on our fears, and discussed our fears and why they existed, and I thought that was incredibly brave and interesting. That did help give me the confidence to take this movie in directions that, without The Dark Knight, might not have been possible.” That topical relevance is something that’s been building in the franchise ever since Daniel Craig took over, although it’s certainly the case that older 007 outings spoke specifically to the era they were made in, for better (From Russia With Love) or for pop culture worse (Moonraker). Mendes’ further comments seem to confirm that studios have caught on to the reality of making darker films during a time when […]

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published: 04.17.2014
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