Bond 23 shaping up to be brilliant

Despite lingering in production hell for god know how long, the 23rd James Bond film is heading towards its November 9th 2012 release date with a fairly incredible cast.

With American Beauty director Sam Mendes captaining the ship, series regulars Daniel Craig and Judi Dench returning and Naomie Harris playing Miss Moneypenny, the film already sounded like a good proposition. Then came the news that Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men) and Ralph Fiennes (the Harry Potter series) had signed on as Bond’s nemesis and a “complex” character, respectively.

Now it’s been revealed that Paul Weller-lookalike Rhys Ifans as landed an unspecified role in the blockbuster. Ifans (Notting Hill) has just recently finished filming The Amazing Spider-Man, playing the villain Lizard, but it’s unlikely he will stay on the bad side for Bond 23. Fan chatter has already thrown up the possibility of Ifans playing Q, which would certainly be a good role for the scene-stealing the Welshman. With such a cast, Bond 23 might just challenge The Dark Knight Rises for the blockbuster to see next year

WATCH /// THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO TRAILER

Nothing says Christmas like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The English adaptation of the first instalment of the Millennium Trilogy, which has become a genuine phenomenon, arrives in December and we’ve got the first trailer for it right here. Directed by David Fincher and starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, the film tells the story of journalist Mikael Blomqvist (Craig), aided by Lisbeth Salander (Mara) as he searches for a woman who’s been missing for forty years. The trailer, which is pretty lengthy as trailers go, does a good job of cranking up the tension on what is supposedly a measured and slow-paced film. It also showcases Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross’ pulsating score which, if their Social Network soundtrack is anything to go by, will be pretty brilliant.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is released on December 26th.

Following Stephen Merchant’s admission that he’d like to play the character, it seems that Ben Whishaw has swooped in to take the role of gadget genius Q for the upcoming twenty-third instalment of the James Bond franchise, recently revealed to be titled Skyfall. Whishaw, who you may have seen in anything from BBC’s The Hour, Nathan Barley, Perfume and Dylan biopic I’m Not There, will be the third actor to play Q, after the late Desmond Llewellyn and John Cleese. He’ll also represent the first time Q has been younger than Bond, with Whishaw (31) being twelve years younger than Daniel Craig’s Bond (43).
The decision to cast Whishaw in the role makes sense, as Daniel Craig plays the younger, rougher Bond who’s not quite as sophisticated as we’re used to seeing, and is yet to be introduced to Q and his gadgetry.

Following Stephen Merchant’s admission that he’d like to play the character, it seems that Ben Whishaw has swooped in to take the role of gadget genius Q for the upcoming twenty-third instalment of the James Bond franchise, recently revealed to be titled Skyfall. Whishaw, who you may have seen in anything from BBC’s The Hour, Nathan Barley, Perfume and Dylan biopic I’m Not There, will be the third actor to play Q, after the late Desmond Llewellyn and John Cleese. He’ll also represent the first time Q has been younger than Bond, with Whishaw (31) being twelve years younger than Daniel Craig’s Bond (43).

The decision to cast Whishaw in the role makes sense, as Daniel Craig plays the younger, rougher Bond who’s not quite as sophisticated as we’re used to seeing, and is yet to be introduced to Q and his gadgetry.

If they’re giving out awards for accurate film taglines, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo would sweep the board. “The feel bad film of the year” is the ideal summary for David Fincher's remake of the Swedish cult classic; it's the antithesis to the sacchrine cinematic offerings flooding Odeons and television schedules over the last month of so. Arthur Christmas this is not.  Considering the original novel has been out for roughly half a decade, and the original Swedish film for two years, if you've avoided spoilers 'til now (as I have) then well done. To be honest, lack of any prior knowledge only helps to enhance the more shocking moments of Dragon Tattoo (of which there are a fair few). There's very little else like this around right now (yes yes, I get the irony of saying there's very little else like a REMAKE). Telling the tale of disgraced journalist Mikael Blomqvist (Daniel Craig) and asocial hacker Lisbeth Salander (The Social Network’s Rooney Mara), Fincher’s film takes us from intriguing drama to pulpy thriller with more than a few horror tropes thrown in for good measure. Blomqvist, reputation ruined from accusing a shady businessman of even shadier dealings, is chosen to investage a decades old murder involving one of the most dysfunctional families in ficiton, with Salander as his assistant. It’s a journey with enough twists and turns to keep Sherlock guessing.
The stark cinematography of the opening scene sets the tone for what ends up being a bleak but massively enjoyable two and a half hours. The brilliant opening credits sequence will stay with you for quite some time, but equally it seems the beginning of a TV show, not a blockbuster. This feeling continues into the first act of the film; it seems sort of small scale for what has become a massively anticipated film. The first twenty minutes or so give the feeling that you’ve flicked the channel over halfway through and have to catchup somehow. One positive of the first act is that for once, Daniel Craig is entirely watchable, instead of just being gruff and squinty.
When paired with Rooney Mara, he gets even better; the two have great chemistry, which shines in the second act and bodes well for the next two films in the trilogy. Expect awards galore for Mara in 2012, thanks to a transformative, career-making and career-defining turn as the iconic Lisbeth. Salander is such a unique character, and backed by a flawless performace, one that lights up the screen with ever appearance.
Dragon Tattoo is a brave, unsettling film. There’s enough high octane nightmare fuel here to last for months (if I say steel dildo, you’ll get what I mean) which makes for more than a few uncomfortable moments. However taking these moments of the film would rob it of its power, and the catharsis of its payoff. It turns the excellently formed characters into caricatures; it takes the film from a fantastic thriller to a bog-standard whodunnit. Although, with a running time of two and a half hours, it’s quite likely that you’ll have figured out the big twist fairly early. There’s a lot of detail crammed into this version of the film, moreso than the original, with only eight minutes extra in length, and you have to work a bit harder in order to keep up (a fact lampshaded a few times in the film).
In short, there needs to be more big films like this; intelligent, challenging, brave, and yes occasionally unsettling. What would you rather see; something that made you think and wowed you? …or another Pirates of The Zzzzzzzzz? Thought so.

If they’re giving out awards for accurate film taglines, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo would sweep the board. “The feel bad film of the year” is the ideal summary for David Fincher's remake of the Swedish cult classic; it's the antithesis to the sacchrine cinematic offerings flooding Odeons and television schedules over the last month of so. Arthur Christmas this is not. Considering the original novel has been out for roughly half a decade, and the original Swedish film for two years, if you've avoided spoilers 'til now (as I have) then well done. To be honest, lack of any prior knowledge only helps to enhance the more shocking moments of Dragon Tattoo (of which there are a fair few). There's very little else like this around right now (yes yes, I get the irony of saying there's very little else like a REMAKE). Telling the tale of disgraced journalist Mikael Blomqvist (Daniel Craig) and asocial hacker Lisbeth Salander (The Social Network’s Rooney Mara), Fincher’s film takes us from intriguing drama to pulpy thriller with more than a few horror tropes thrown in for good measure. Blomqvist, reputation ruined from accusing a shady businessman of even shadier dealings, is chosen to investage a decades old murder involving one of the most dysfunctional families in ficiton, with Salander as his assistant. It’s a journey with enough twists and turns to keep Sherlock guessing.

The stark cinematography of the opening scene sets the tone for what ends up being a bleak but massively enjoyable two and a half hours. The brilliant opening credits sequence will stay with you for quite some time, but equally it seems the beginning of a TV show, not a blockbuster. This feeling continues into the first act of the film; it seems sort of small scale for what has become a massively anticipated film. The first twenty minutes or so give the feeling that you’ve flicked the channel over halfway through and have to catchup somehow. One positive of the first act is that for once, Daniel Craig is entirely watchable, instead of just being gruff and squinty.

When paired with Rooney Mara, he gets even better; the two have great chemistry, which shines in the second act and bodes well for the next two films in the trilogy. Expect awards galore for Mara in 2012, thanks to a transformative, career-making and career-defining turn as the iconic Lisbeth. Salander is such a unique character, and backed by a flawless performace, one that lights up the screen with ever appearance.

Dragon Tattoo is a brave, unsettling film. There’s enough high octane nightmare fuel here to last for months (if I say steel dildo, you’ll get what I mean) which makes for more than a few uncomfortable moments. However taking these moments of the film would rob it of its power, and the catharsis of its payoff. It turns the excellently formed characters into caricatures; it takes the film from a fantastic thriller to a bog-standard whodunnit. Although, with a running time of two and a half hours, it’s quite likely that you’ll have figured out the big twist fairly early. There’s a lot of detail crammed into this version of the film, moreso than the original, with only eight minutes extra in length, and you have to work a bit harder in order to keep up (a fact lampshaded a few times in the film).

In short, there needs to be more big films like this; intelligent, challenging, brave, and yes occasionally unsettling. What would you rather see; something that made you think and wowed you? …or another Pirates of The Zzzzzzzzz? Thought so.


He’s somewhere between 80 and 112, but James Bond seems ready to go with his 23rd film instalment Skyfall. Due for release on October 26th, the film sees Daniel Craig returning as 007, with Sam Mendes picking up the directing reigns, and that up there is the very first promo poster for Skyfall. To be quiet honest, it’s a little dull and doesn’t give much in the way of the plot, but with a supporting cast including Judi Dench (back as M, of course), Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Berenice Marlohe, Albert Finney and Ben Whishaw as Q, Skyfall looks like it could be a huge improvement on Craig’s last two outings as Bond.

He’s somewhere between 80 and 112, but James Bond seems ready to go with his 23rd film instalment Skyfall. Due for release on October 26th, the film sees Daniel Craig returning as 007, with Sam Mendes picking up the directing reigns, and that up there is the very first promo poster for Skyfall. To be quiet honest, it’s a little dull and doesn’t give much in the way of the plot, but with a supporting cast including Judi Dench (back as M, of course), Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Berenice Marlohe, Albert Finney and Ben Whishaw as Q, Skyfall looks like it could be a huge improvement on Craig’s last two outings as Bond.

WATCH/// FIRST TEASER TRAILER FOR SKYFALL

Yesterday saw the debut of the first promo poster for 007’s latest outing, and now we’ve got the teaser for the upcoming Skyfall. It’s very intriguing, without giving too much away. We’ll let you see for yourself, but consider us a lot more excited for Bond #23.

Assassination lolz of the day: Man, Lincoln just cannot catch a break.

Assassination lolz of the day: Man, Lincoln just cannot catch a break.

How do you refine the key elements of a classic, but decidedly formulaic, franchise? How do you hold onto tradition in a period of such social transition? How do you take a decades-old character and breathe youth into him? Skyfall seems to know most of these answers.
The 23rd big screen mission for 007 doesn’t waste much time in getting to the point, with the exposition of the plot brought forth in the opening scenes - a shootout in a dimly lit hotel which becomes a breathless pursuit across Istanbul - feeling more or less like every Bond we’ve ever seen (which is always a welcome sight) until Bond falls from the train in a desperate attempt to protect British Intelligence. The opening titles roll then and there and with the most Bond sounding theme in years, we’re watching Skyfall.
Skyfall is a reboot in a very loose sense of the word. Bond is rebooted every time a new 007 is cast, none more so than Daniel Craig’s “James Blond”, but yet the quality of Casino Royale and the confusing explosion of Quantum Of Solace never really felt like Craig was anything special as Bond. Skyfall takes that idea and throws it over a moor in Scotland. Craig’s Bond is cold - the line “A waste of good scotch” is a particular highlight of mine - and still we can see him at his weakest; Judi Dench’s M is maternal and stern, and, well, Bardem’s Silva is captivating. In a time when movie villains are either all consuming space aliens or humanised psychopaths who we can’t help but like, Silva is the perfect antagonist. His power is supreme, as established from the beginning and perpetuated throughout and his boiling anger is so rare that it’s gleefully exciting.
The Bond action is the best yet - with Sam Mendes’ direction and Roger Deakins’ cinematography the fight scenes are helped along by some beautiful cinema - and the Bond ladies are as double edged as they come. Until the final act, Skyfall is a Bond strictly adhering to the rubric of every other bond. In the final act however, not only is a new norm established, as well as a new basic character roster, but the film really shines as a brilliant, brilliant action movie.

How do you refine the key elements of a classic, but decidedly formulaic, franchise? How do you hold onto tradition in a period of such social transition? How do you take a decades-old character and breathe youth into him? Skyfall seems to know most of these answers.

The 23rd big screen mission for 007 doesn’t waste much time in getting to the point, with the exposition of the plot brought forth in the opening scenes - a shootout in a dimly lit hotel which becomes a breathless pursuit across Istanbul - feeling more or less like every Bond we’ve ever seen (which is always a welcome sight) until Bond falls from the train in a desperate attempt to protect British Intelligence. The opening titles roll then and there and with the most Bond sounding theme in years, we’re watching Skyfall.

Skyfall is a reboot in a very loose sense of the word. Bond is rebooted every time a new 007 is cast, none more so than Daniel Craig’s “James Blond”, but yet the quality of Casino Royale and the confusing explosion of Quantum Of Solace never really felt like Craig was anything special as Bond. Skyfall takes that idea and throws it over a moor in Scotland. Craig’s Bond is cold - the line “A waste of good scotch” is a particular highlight of mine - and still we can see him at his weakest; Judi Dench’s M is maternal and stern, and, well, Bardem’s Silva is captivating. In a time when movie villains are either all consuming space aliens or humanised psychopaths who we can’t help but like, Silva is the perfect antagonist. His power is supreme, as established from the beginning and perpetuated throughout and his boiling anger is so rare that it’s gleefully exciting.

The Bond action is the best yet - with Sam Mendes’ direction and Roger Deakins’ cinematography the fight scenes are helped along by some beautiful cinema - and the Bond ladies are as double edged as they come. Until the final act, Skyfall is a Bond strictly adhering to the rubric of every other bond. In the final act however, not only is a new norm established, as well as a new basic character roster, but the film really shines as a brilliant, brilliant action movie.