Well played, Honest Trailer people. Sam Mendes makes the first James Bond movie that I've ever genuinely cared about, Skyfall, and, with a single four-and-a-half minute trailer you smartly deconstruct the movie in a way that makes me simultaneously laugh out loud and question my sanity. more »
Daniel Craig Appears To Be Missing From 'Perfect Bond' Composite Photo − Which Looks Like Bill O'Reilly
Remember a couple of days ago, when we saw what purported to be the perfect Batman, a composite photo created from all the actors who have played Batman onscreen (we assume he'd sound like Kevin Conroy)? Not to be outdone by the combination of multiple, independently wealthy superheroes, an enterprising person has done the same for Britain's top wetwork operative, James Bond. more »
James Bond veteran and BAFTA-nominated director Danny Kleinman has crafted all but one of 007's title sequences since taking over from Maurice Binder, the creator of Bond's iconic gun barrel shot, with 1995's GoldenEye. For Skyfall Kleinman created a moody, inky death dream of a title sequence powered by Adele's "Skyfall" theme song — a reflection, he explains, of the MI6 agent's dark emotional state as Bond's 23rd EON outing unfolds.
'Skyfall' Producers On 007’s Post-9/11 Progressive Streak & Idris Elba Rumors: Could Bond Be Black, Gay, Or A Woman?
Introspective masculinity, women on top, cross-dressing PSAs, gay undertones — the James Bond franchise has come a long way in 50 years, most notably during the current era built around Daniel Craig’s serious Blond Bond with the icy blue eyes. Behind the scenes, producers Barbara Broccoli and her half-brother Michael G. Wilson set the record straight on recent Idris Elba-as-Bond rumors and pointed to the post-9/11 shift that spurred them to take Bond from the slick reign of Pierce Brosnan to the morally-complex brand of progressive contemporary heroism embodied in this week’s Skyfall.
In his half-century of cinematic existence, James Bond has been cast and recast, refined, reinvented and rebooted. He's been declared a "sexist, misogynist dinosaur" and gotten his heart broken, and he's been dragged into the present, where he's had to find a new perch somewhere between gritty and ridiculous, between being a stoic modern action hero and a deliberately outsized fantasy remnant of, as one unamused minister puts it in Skyfall, a long gone "golden age of espionage."
Skyfall is American Beauty director Sam Mendes' first turn at the wheel of this venerable spy franchise, and he and screenwriters Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan have managed what feels like the best possible thing that could have happened to Bond: They've made him fun again. When Daniel Craig was put in the lead role and the character was brought back to his beginnings in Casino Royale, it brought a vividly contemporary jolt to the character — this Bond wasn't going to be off gathering information on al-Qaeda or anything, but his job was just as likely to involve messy killings as suave seductions, and the possibility of death and pain were much more real. It was a welcome revamp, if one that shifted the films into the orbit of the Bourne trilogy and risked stripping them of an essential element of Bond-ness. Chilly, rough-edged and not yet settled into his place at MI6, Craig's Bond was a little busy with love and revenge to make quips.
In Skyfall, Bond is literally reborn. During a mission-gone-wrong, he takes a hit that leaves everyone thinking he's dead. It's a misconception he's happy to let stand while he takes a potentially permanent sabbatical involving beachside booze, sex and brooding over a vague sense of betrayal. He's lured back by an attack on MI6 and on M (Judi Dench) masterminded by a computer genius named Silva (a terribly entertaining and menacingly flirtatious Javier Bardem). Bond ends his retirement because he knows he's needed. And, oh, he is. Skyfall acknowledges that Bond isn't a paragon of physical or martial arts perfection, or technologically savvy. In contrast to the newly minted agent he played in Casino Royale, he's an old hand in this film, neither the fastest nor the youngest but still the best.
Skyfall acknowledges our need for some humanity in Bond without overloading him with angst. The film fondly brings back familiar franchise elements, including an entertainingly young Q (a sly Ben Whishaw) and another character whose reveal is best left discovered, along with an exotically beautiful paramour named Sévérine (Bérénice Marlohe) who's part victim and part femme fatale. Bond gets fewer silly gadgets these days, but he does have his awesomely fly car and a customized gun. And though he travels to such exotic locations as Shanghai, Macau and Istanbul, he also spends an unprecedented amount of time in his homeland, where he reintegrates himself with MI6, which is under political scrutiny, and returns to his native Scotland where a just-enough sliver of backstory is revealed.
Skyfall makes explicit that Bond is a child of the United Kingdom. His only consistent relationship is with his country, even though that country is willing to sacrifice him for the greater good should it be necessary. It's why, despite Bond's dalliances with Sévérine and fellow field agent Eve (Naomie Harris), the film's true Bond girl is M. The MI6 director's complicated role as stern taskmaster and surrogate maternal figure gets played out as Silva, who shares a past with M, targets her and Bond tries to protect her. Like Bond, M is as much a concept as a character, but, beneath their bickering, Dench and Craig find a credible tenderness that suggests their is immense mutual affection behind the bone-dry sniping.
Mendes isn't an exceptional director of action, and many of the set pieces are lavish and forgettable. The car chases through crowded streets and pursuits across rooftops look a lot like other blockbuster sequences that recently graced screens. He's better with character interactions and small touches: Bond straightening his cuffs after an improbable landing in a train; Bond watching a foe face a Komodo dragon and book-ending his adventure with unwilling dips in bodies of water.
Working with the great cinematographer Roger Deakins, Mendes also presents some stunning sequences of beauty in a film where you might not expect such a thing. A fight high atop a Shanghai skyscraper takes place in the dark against the neon advertising backdrop of a shifting jellyfish projected on the building's glass skin and ends with Bond meeting the gaze of someone in the building across the way, hundreds of feet up. Silva's high-tech lair is set on an island that's home to an abandoned city, while MI6 retreats with all its sleek gear to a historical location deep in London. The old and the new, the past and the ever-accelerating present — despite the body count, it's not death that Bond has to worry about, it's remaining recognizable and relevant. Skyfall manages to balance both in an uncommonly entertaining fashion.
Related: Check out Movieline's extensive coverage of Skyfall and the 50th anniversary of James Bond here.
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With film bloggers and critics going on about how Skyfall is a James Bond movie that depicts 007 as a human being instead of a cartoon character, I want to draw attention to a smart infographic posted by TinyMaster on Visual.ly that compiles some interesting data about where — and how many times — James Bond has hooked up over the 50 years he's been on the big screen. more »
You're a procrastinator. You waited until the last moment to figure out your Halloween costume, and now you need ideas, fast — preferably ones that will impress your fellow movie nerds. Fear not! Here are 9 easy-ish cinephile-ready costumes inspired by some of this year's most memorable films...
What do six interconnected characters in six time periods spanning from the 19th century Pacific to the future where Tom Hanks speaks the true-true have in common, despite wildly divergent costumes and fake noses and whatnot? THAT BIRTHMARK. Draw on your own Cloud Atlas comet mark of the Chosen One anywhere - your shoulder, the back of your head, your left butt cheek — and you're set. The best part: You can literally look like anyone and it still works. Just whatever you do, do not attempt futuristic Asianface.
Here's a group costume for you and 5-6 of your multi-culti friends: Dress campus casual and walk around in a pack all night singing pop songs a cappella and challenging random strangers to riff-offs while shouting Pitch Perfect-isms like "Aca-awesome!"
To channel Colin Farrell or any of his eccentric cast mates in Martin McDonagh's madcap crime comedy, all you really need is one key accessory: A Shih Tzu. Carry the pooch around all night and you're set. Bonus if you do it in a Christopher Walken accent. If you happen to resemble Tom Waits, a white bunny is a lot less costly to procure.
Joaquin Phoenix's hunched, feral Freddie Quell can be achieved with just the right attire, posture, and off-kilter touch of insanity. Start with a button-down shirt tucked into pants pulled up to an Ed Grimley-level and slouch your shoulders forward. Carry a few makeshift beakers and jars with you and wherever you go, mix a batch of your special potions from assorted household liquids while pacing and licking windows. And voila!
If you're a dapper dan who happens to have a Tom Ford fitted suit pressed and hanging in the closet, Halloween's a cinch: Dress to the nines, grab a Heineken, and spend the evening fixing your cufflink like a boss.
Don't have a futuristic space suit lying around the house? No worries, ladies. Strip down to a white bandeau bra and panties, spatter yourself with black creature goop and run around screaming as if there's a giant space monster right behind you. Lug around a decapitated mannequin head for extra emphasis. You might be cold, but you'll be the baddest lady in the universe.
Fellas can get in on the scantily-clad action too, although the women of the world may prefer it if you have Channing Tatum's abs and sense of rhythm. Maybe a speedo-vest-cowboy hat combination, a la Matthew McConaughey? Or a g-string, for those who dare? Bring along a boombox and have Ginuwine's "Pony" queued up. You might even make some cash in the process.
Don your trust-fund hipster polo and boat shoes and walk around making a joke of everything a la Tim Heidecker (of Tim and Eric fame) in the new pic The Comedy; singing the infectious mantra "No no tip" will really tie the outfit together, although anyone who hasn't yet seen the movie will just think you're a giant douche.
Fish a dirty long-sleeved thermal out of the laundry, smear a few smudges of fake blood on your face, and tape broken minibar bottles to your fists and you're prepped for action, Liam Neeson-style. Plus: You get to drink the contents of those minibar bottles first, and you'll be ready for any wolves that may cross your path.
With Skyfall's Daniel Craig seemingly winding down his reign as James Bond, it looks like screenwriter John Logan will be writing off into the sunset alongside him. Deadline reports that the Oscar-nominated Logan (Gladiator, The Aviator, Hugo) is writing two connected scripts that will likely see Craig through the last two 007 outings he's currently signed on for.
Daniel Craig shared a laugh with royal guest Prince Charles today at the Royal World Premiere of Skyfall in London, where the Prince of Wales and his +1, Camilla, greeted the Blond Bond and his co-stars Naomie Harris, Dame Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, and sultry new Bond girl Berenice Marlohe ahead of Skyfall's debut. (Charles seemed particularly taken with Marlohe — join the club, buddy.)
That cufflink-speeding train move? Just the tip of the bespoke iceberg when it comes to deconstructing Daniel Craig's Bond through his fashionista sensibilities. But what do Skyfall's style choices tell us about 007's frame of mind?
From the sharp-eyed folks at Clothes on Film, dapper deconstruction of Skyfall:
"For the man himself a modern cut of single breasted, two and three button Britishness. In context these costumes feel real. Silva’s (Javier Bardem) long leather coat might be a villain’s indulgence, but Bond looks immaculate and attainable; far from Savile Row though instilled with the swagger of 1960s cool. Even if Craig – here at his broadest – is in danger of bursting from the fabric on occasions, the vents always hang straight and providing he remembers to breathe in, the top button closes comfortably."
And: The stubble (and island casual outfit) say it all...
"Costume tells Bond’s tale just as much as the stubble that appears then disappears from his chin. Pre-credits he wears a grey sharkskin suit (actually ill-advised for Craig’s pale complexion), then hits the bottle in baggy leather flight jacket and untucked island shirt. For Bond this is as bad as Superman losing his cape – he is almost unrecognisable. Back in London, an unseen trip to Selfridges then stop off at Crockett & Jones and everything is okay again."
Read the full review here.
He's always packin' the niftiest of gadgetry and he's reinvented himself throughout the generations, remaining forever in his prime, but one en vogue technology James Bond is not considering is 3-D. Producers of the 50 year-old franchise say they have no interest in making a Bond film a three-dimensional format despite the rise of the medium - and its box office prowess - since the last Bond film, Quantum of Solace debuted back in 2008.
Bond isn't bi. At least that's what I took away from Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem's separate but equally vague responses to the erotically charged scene they share in Skyfall. On Monday, the actors took part in separate press conferences to promote the latest installment of the Bond franchise and, in both cases, questions about sexuality arose. more »
Director Sam Mendes and screenwriters Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan have done a very wily thing for James Bond's 50th anniversary: They've given 007 a midlife crisis. The trauma takes root during the white-knuckle opening of Skyfall, the best film so far of Daniel Craig's run as Ian Fleming's suave super spy and one of the best of the Bond franchise. more »
Alluring. International. Deadly. The so-called Bond Girls are, let's face it, the fetish objects the producers hope will keep us coming back to the 007 pictures. (After the watches — the sweet, sweet watches.)
While the internet is loaded with glamour shots of Bond ladies from Ursula Andress to Michelle Yeoh, these women are more than mere pin-ups. Indeed, here are some oddball facts about the women in James Bond's life that ought to do you well at a dinner party — provided, of course, that you don't order red wine with fish.
Ursula Andress, the ur-Bond Girl (and not just because it is a pun), became an instant screen icon when she emerged from the Caribbean in her white bikini holding... something, I dunno, I never focused on her hands. But did this Swiss ingenue show any gratitude to the official EON James Bond productions? No! Just a few years after her debut as Honey Ryder in Dr. No she turned around and appeared in a legal loophole “unofficial” James Bond production, 1967's Casino Royale.
Andress wasn't the only one to make a mockery of her Bond Girl status. The woman who played Tatiana Romanova in From Russia With Love, Daniela Bianchi (who came from the Russian section of Italy, apparently), took part in the mockery known as OK Connery, also known as Operation Kid Brother. In it, Neil (brother of Sean) Connery plays a spy called-up as a replacement when his big brother isn't available. The movie has never been released on DVD.
Mie Hama, who played Kissy Suzuki in You Only Live Twice, is notable for what she did before being a Bond Girl. Prior to Hama, most of the women were European models or aspiring actresses who managed to marry well. Hama was a bus conductor. I'm not even 100% sure what a bus conductor is, but I can totally picture her in her native Japan being constructive and forward in modern society. And probably wearing a sharp outfit.
Barbara Broccoli was born into the world of James Bond; along with co-producer Harry Saltzman, her father, Cubby Broccoli, brought 007 to the big screen with Dr. No when Barbara was only two years old. It would be inaccurate to say Broccoli inherited the Bond legacy — she’s made it her own, serving as producer from Goldeneye onwards, and in many ways, ushering cinema's favorite secret agent into the modern era. The Skyfall producer rang Movieline to talk about the early days, Bond's role in the cultural conversation over the years, and what the future holds for the character who, fifty years later, is still synonymous with effortless cool.