Skyfall

Ender

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s news, discussion, opinions, things! It’s everything that a fan of filmed and televised entertainment could want right before bed. Tonight it’s all about Hobbitses and Guardians, with yet another “Mini-Review” for the masses and plenty of fun to be had. Staring Down Butterfield – We begin this evening with the first look at Ender’s Game, the film based on the book by Orson Scott Card. It’s kind of like Space Camp, but with a way cooler story, budget, cast. The only thing missing is the nostalgia. Oh look, it’s Harrison Ford playing a badass. There’s the nostalgia.

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Culture Warrior

Twelve years ago, the western and the musical, two genres that were incredibly successful during Hollywood’s heyday, had been considered long dead with no hopes of a revival on the horizon. After all, why would either of these genres make a comeback? The western is a remnant of a sense of American cultural imperialism and pre-Howard Zinn history-writing long past, and the film musical requires such an astounding degree of suspension of disbelief that audiences who seek special effects that blur distinctions between the fabricated and the real simply aren’t willing to engage it. But lo and behold, on December 25th, 2012 (always a day for big movies), a western (Django Unchained) and a musical (Les Miserables) will be launched into wide release on the heels of outstanding buzz (sure, Tarantino’s film is a revisionist western, but since revisionist westerns have been around for nearly fifty years, let’s just refer to them as the current standard western, shall we?). It’s difficult to say how this particular revival of these Hollywood genres has taken place. Of course, the unexpected success of previous films of these genres that took a risk with audiences (3:10 to Yuma and True Grit, Moulin Rouge and Chicago) certainly helps create the terrain for more such films, but this doesn’t necessarily explain why updated versions of classical Hollywood genres come back into style. Arguably, there are a multitude of genres we could use today, but unfortunately have no contemporary examples of. For instance, the ’30s and ’40s-style […]

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In an off week at the box office, it was the battle of three holdover releases, with all of the new films dropping well down the charts. From Killing Them Softly‘s lukewarm 7th place finish to horror film The Collection, it was not a great weekend to be new to theaters. The films with previously built success — from the wildly passionate fanbase film (Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2) to the one with a half-century of history (Skyfall) to the one with Oscar written all over it (Lincoln) — were the ones that brought home the bank in an otherwise warm weekend.

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With an estimated opening weekend of $141.3m, it’s not hard to foresee a future in which The Twilight Saga makes some sort of cinematic comeback. Breaking Dawn – Part 2 may be the “final” entry in this series, but a money train like this is hard to stop. We’re reminded of this as we see a new Star Wars (the last of which opened higher than any other Star Wars movie at $108m on opening weekend) back in development. To say the very least, the Summit Entertainment accounting department is not impressed with your dancing on the vampire romance saga’s grave. It’s already working on a script for three more films starring a CGI sparkly child.

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skyfall

As they’ve done a great many times, the folks at The Soundworks Collection have yet another awesome look at the sound of one of the year’s biggest releases. This time their digging into the atmospheric score and meticulously vintage sound effects of Sam Mendes’ Skyfall, the latest film in the James Bond series. 50 years old and the old man still sounds pretty good thanks to the work of  Scott Milan (Sound Re-recording Mixer), Greg Russell (Sound Re-recording Mixer), Karen Baker Landers (Supervising Sound Editor), and Per Hallberg (Supervising Sound Editor).

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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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James Bond in Skyfall

Put simply, Skyfall performed just as expected — it went big. Led by strong performances from Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Javier Bardem as a delicious entry into the James Bond rogues gallery, Sam Mendes’ 23rd Bond film found itself atop them all with an outstanding $87.8 million domestic opening, besting the previous entry, Quantum of Solace‘s $67.5 million. It also became the fourth biggest opening of 2012, behind The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and The Hunger Games. Not bad for a 50-year old man with a gun.

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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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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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Wreck-It Ralph

On the leaderboard at the box office arcade this weekend, the initials read WIR, for Wreck-It Ralph. They could also read WDP for Walt Disney Pictures, as it was Disney’s incredible marketing push that led Ralph to a $49.1 million opening weekend, dwarfing the competition in the same weekend it swallowed Star Wars. Although it wasn’t just marketing, it was quality. Ralph rode an A Cinemascore grade and an 84% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes to become the highest opening for a Disney Animation movie ever, narrowly beating Tangled‘s $48.8 million take.

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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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Movie News: The Hobbit Posters

What is Movie News After Dark? It happens thrice times per week. It’s awesome. You can read it. Right now. We begin this evening’s marketing-heavy edition of Movie News After Dark with the absurdity of the day. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first in a new trilogy from Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, now has seventeen character posters that can be ogled. It’s a little much, even for what may turn out to be the biggest film of the year. Above you’ll see Dwalin, a badass dwarf. Just after the jump, Gandalf and his fall collection.

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Life of Pi AFI FEST

October offered up plenty of films to give this awards season a proper start. Ben Affleck once again showed he’s got one of the best eyes for tension working today; John Hawkes gave another year’s best performance in Fox Searchlight’s The Sessions; Martin McDonagh made another wicked, original dark comedy with real bite; and, who could forget, The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer made a huge box office smash which received unabashed praise up the wazoo, especially for the seamless makeup work. While I wish Cloud Atlas did fit that description, at least for a few more years the trio’s daring and moving film will go down as a box office bomb which may or may have not been ahead of its time. No matter how Cloud Atlas stands up in a few years, it was the type of ambition which served as another reminder of how important going to the movie theater is and to truly have experiences while you are there, be they good or bad. With November 2012, there are plenty of movies to have a similar experience with, from Ang Lee‘s Life of Pi to a triumphant new Bond movie. Keep reading to find out what other eight movies you must see this month.

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James Bond in Skyfall

Bond is back and New York is an Empire state of emergency. That’s the story playing out in this weekend’s box office numbers. From a massive showing for 007 overseas to a lackluster run for Wachowski Starship and their Cloud Atlas, it was an interesting weekend at the movies.

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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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Reject Recap: The Best of Film School Rejects

We are more than halfway through the month of October, which means we’re in the home stretch to Halloween and in the thick of great content pertaining to scary movies and horror films. So, welcome to another filling recap of a week’s worth of original writings and coverage. First, though, let’s remind you of the regular goodies here at FSR, such as our reviews of new releases (Paranormal Activity 4, Alex Cross, Bestiaire, The Sessions) and interviews with Alex Cross director Rob Cohen and star Matthew Fox and The Black List creator Franklin Leonard. We also caught some new trailers for Carrie and Jack Reacher and, in addition to our regular TV column, we have begun a weekly recap for the TV series The Walking Dead. Also this week, we saw the New York Film Festival end (stay tuned for a look at our critics’ highlights and favorites) and the Austin Film Festival begin. So rummage through our coverage of the former (including a review of Flight) and bookmark the tag for the latter — also check out some AFF recommendations below. Check out our ten best features from the past week, plus some other recommended reading, after the break.

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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: 12.22.2014
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