Quantum of Solace

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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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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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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Boiling Point

In a world with nothing much of interest happening (apparently), the internet got all aflutter when it was announced that James Bond would drink a Heineken in Skyfall. People everywhere were freaking the hell out while “news” outlets capitalized on the fact that they have no integrity by plastering misleading headlines everywhere. Just like this one: James Bond Will Swig a Heineken Instead of a Martini. That’s from Time Magazine’s online presence. People used to respect Time Magazine. I say used to assuming that there’s only so much bullshit one can suffer before you stop respecting something. Granted, this is “only” the on-line face of Time Magazine, but hey, it’s a slippery slope, right? Here’s what we know: Heineken has secured a product placement deal with Skyfall. In one scene, James Bond will drink a Heineken. I’m not sure how that translates into “Bond will no longer drink martinis and will instead only drink Heineken beer forever and ever.” I mean, unless you don’t give a shit about accurately reporting stories. Then you might as well headline “Skyfall to feature Heineken Advertising Everywhere and Bond Hates Vodka and Drinks Beer and Also He Might Be Gay Now.” Because why not? Granted – exaggeration. But so is saying Bond is drinking beer instead of martinis.

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No one can ever criticize Marc Forster for covering the same ground. Thematically, all his work ties together, but rarely does he play with a certain genre more than once. Over the past ten years he’s made a James Bond picture, a meta drama, an adaption, a 90 minute nightmare, and a raw family drama, and is now working on an epic zombie film. Forster is not only an eclectic filmmaker, but a candid one. In our interview for his latest drama, Machine Gun Preacher, the acclaimed director could not have spoken more objectively about his work, and what people think of it. Prime examples: Quantum of Solace and Stay. Upon the the release of both films, they were heavily criticized, and unlike how most directors may have responded to such criticism, Forster didn’t go with a simple “they didn’t get it.” In our chat, he openly discussed issues with some of his work, along with capturing his imagination, making blockbuster films personal, and the ethics of Machine Gun Preacher.

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cultwarrior_decadeinreview

This week’s Culture Warrior gives an exhaustive review of the decade that you won’t find anywhere else on the Interwebs.

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cyber-monday-header

Today is Cyber Monday, the unofficial holiday that is the web’s response to Black Friday. Which means that its time to spend a bunch of money on Blu-ray movies, right?… Right?

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ArtertonTamaraDrewe

It looks like Stephen Frears may be drawn again into the politely dry British style story that he’s been into lately with the adaptation of a comic book that’s a modern retelling of “Far From the Madding Crowd.” Or will Gemma Arterton spice things up?

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arterton-titans-header

In Greek mythology, the character Io (played by Gemma Arterton in the upcoming Clash of the Titans film) is a lover of Zues who is later turned into a cow. From here, we see no indication of cowness from Ms. Arterton.

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cultwarrior-startrek1

This week Culture Warrior asks, just how ‘new’ is the new Star Trek, anyway?

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bdreport-slumdog

Once again we’re playing catchup with The Blu-ray Report, but unlike previous week’s I am happy to go back and take a look at 8 new Blu-ray releases — some from this week and some from last week — that are currently all rocking my world to some extent.

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DVDs I Bought This Week!

Brian Gibson loves to buy DVDs. Come with him on his weekly journey into the depths of credit card debt as he tells you what to buy, rent and avoid.

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2008review-editorspicks

As is customary this time of year, it is my duty (and honor) to present you my list of the Ten Best Films of 2008. And in the past year we’ve seen an interesting range of films, have we not?

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2008review-boxoffice

It is time once again for a special edition of the Reject Report, the 2008 Year in Review! This is our final look at 2008’s box office winners — and our final chance to roast some of the losers.

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bp-carchases

Robert Fure gets a serious case of road rage when it comes to car chases where minivans, school buses, and Corvettes all have the same top speed.

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bp-supercomputer

Robert Fure rages on a laptop while everyone from super spies to lab assistants effortlessly navigate super computers with invisible touch sensitive screens.

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oscarbeat-08banner

The Academy has announced its 15 finalists for the Best Visual Effects Oscar, and we know one film that can be eliminated right off the bat… Here’s a hint: it stars Keanu Reeves.

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Yet another easy weekend for those predicting the first place finisher at the box office. Everyone is saying The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008 remake) is going to win. The only question is by how much.

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You may have been able to gather by now the fact that we love trailer mash-ups around here. And this mash-up, a mix of Quantum of Solace and Wallace and Gromit, has caught our attention.

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“No fucking way,” that is what Daniel Craig had to say when asked whether or not Quantum of Solace would be the second film in a three picture story arc.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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