For a little background on my history with the Bond films, my dad is a huge James Bond fan and I grew up with the Pierce Brosnan Bond films. We didn’t go to the theaters often when I was a kid, but we always went to see the new Bond film when it came out. I’m not as familiar with the Bond films before Brosnan (although I did see Goldfinger and I’m going to lose a shit ton of film cred, but I didn’t think it was that great *flees*).
Ultimately, while I thought Skyfall was good, I didn’t think it was as great as past Bond outings such as Casino Royale or Goldeneye. I dug the fact that they got back to the tongue in cheek nature of Bonds past, but it felt like they wanted the realism of Casino Royale combined with the over the top nature of Goldeneye and I don’t think the mix of those two elements completely worked.
That being said, a lot of the references and Bond-isms did put a big stupid grin on my face. It’s great that they are taking Bond back in a more fun direction, even if it doesn’t always mesh tonally with the movie. The classic Bond tropes and one liners help make this more than just a brooding depressing film (which is what Quantum of Solace ended up being).
A lot of people were skeptical of Sam Mendes when he was announced as director, but this film makes him 6 for 6 in my book. I am a HUGE fan of Mendes’s work and Skyfall is another notch in his impressive filmography. I guess I’m just a fan of his sensibilities. He dabbled in action a bit in Road to Perdition (HIGHLY underrated and underseen movie, go watch it if you haven’t seen it!), but as a first time action director I have to say that I’m impressed with Mendes. The action is always comprehensible and there are quite a few innovative set pieces.
The highlight of the film has to be Roger Deakin’s amazing cinematography. After his disappointing work in Andrew Niccol’s 2011 sci-fi film, In Time, Deakins is back in full force. This movie is an absolute visual feast and oftentimes breathtaking. The shots are beautiful, but done in a natural way that doesn’t feel forced. There’s a fight scene in one long continuous take shown in silhouette against a neon backdrop that is jaw droppingly gorgeous. I know it’s a James Bond film, but I really hope Deakins nabs an Oscar nomination, and potentially win, for Best Cinematography for his work here.
Bond is nothing without a great villain, right? Well Javier Bardem was flat out amazing. Probably my favorite Bond villain since Sean Bean in Goldeneye, which is kind of funny because their motivations were somewhat similar? Not exactly, but the overwhelming desire for vengeance was palpable through the screen with both villains. Bardem injects enough life into his performance to make him a memorable character.
A majority of the problems that I had with the movie is from the inconsistent tone as I mentioned earlier. The third act isn’t as strong as the first two thirds, but I didn’t think it was that big of a drop off. There are also a lot of movie logic mistakes where you’ll find yourself saying “Wait… why didn’t they just do that?” In the moment most of the movie works, but thinking about it afterwards some of the movie doesn’t make sense.
A big complaint I have is that as fantastic as the trailers for Skyfall are, they kind of spoil every single plot detail if you can recall the trailer while watching the movie. This might be a complaint specific to me (I’ve seen that trailer like 30+ times haha), but for almost every action scene I thought to myself “Oh yeah, I remember this bit in the trailer, that’s how this scene is going to end.” It was a little annoying after a while.
If you’re looking for a damn good time at the theater, look no further than the 23rd outing of James Bond. Skyfall is beautifully shot and has enough varying thrills to keep you on the edge of your seat. This is one you definitely want to make a trip out to the theater for.
Probably shouldn’t have watched this trailer and saved myself for when the movie comes out but I couldn’t resist! HOLY FUCK am I EXCITED for Skyfall!
First teaser trailer for the new James Bond film Skyfall!
I seem to be one of the few people I know who likes this movie >_>. And I wasn’t coming into this film in the best of spirits. First off, War Horse was very long so I was kind of tired and I was extremely annoyed at the amount of disruptions during that film; so by all accounts if The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was boring or not good, I would have completely lost interest, but I didn’t. I was hooked into everything right from the start and didn’t lose interest once during the 2 hour and 38 minute runtime.
I’ve seen the 2009 Swedish adaptation and while the plot points are similar, I think that Fincher adds just enough to make this his own. First off the acting is phenomenal, Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara are fantastic as the leads, and, secondly, Fincher is as meticulous a director as they come and the way the film is pieced together is a work of art.
Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara are just infinitely watchable leads. Craig does a great job as Mikael Blomkvist, but this is clearly the Rooney Mara show because she OWNS every second of screen time that she gets as Lisbeth Salander. There is a reason this trilogy of books has become one of the most popular books in recent years and Lisbeth Salander is it. She is just such a fascinating antihero; An enigma that you want to find out more about and Mara plays it perfectly. She is a world of contradictions: intimidating but soft hearted, cold but affectionate, indifferent but caring; Lisbeth is one of the most interesting characters ever created.
A big reason this film works despite using the exact same story adapted just a few years ago is David Fincher. Fincher is known as a perfectionist, sometimes he’ll do up to 80 takes of a scene in order to get it 100% PERFECT. Some may criticize him for this approach, but Fincher is a director who knows EXACTLY what he wants and that always comes through in his films. When you watch a scene, everything feels like it was done with careful thought and purpose. The way Fincher puts this film together keeps you interested in everything going on and keeps the film moving at a swift pace. He showed this skill in Seven, but Fincher has a knack for making what should be boring - like say… gathering clues by looking through books - extremely exciting.
A lot of the problems of the film are due to the fact that the book itself has similar problems with structure and plot mechanics. This film streamlines some of the side relationships which helps a lot, but it also doesn’t tie the main relationships together strongly enough. As with the Swedish adaptation, I don’t think they ever fully establish just how much Harriet’s disappearance tore at Henrik’s soul. There’s maybe a scene or two, but Henrik vanishes for a good 90-100 minutes in the middle to focus on the investigation. I also found it odd that a few huge discoveries that break open the case in the book and the Swedish version become minor plot points in this one.
I do wish that there was a little more attention to detail on the villains of this film. The book does a great job of building up those characters by showing us how they came to be, whereas in the movie it seems like they’re just crazy demented motherfuckers who are sick in the head. Even in the Swedish movie they had one scene where they discussed the psychology behind these kind of people. Disappointing that they didn’t delve into that in this film.
David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an engrossing film that draws you into the mystery of the disappearance of a young girl. While there are some flaws with the plot mechanics of the film, the superb performances and stellar direction propel the story. I will say that if you have no idea what The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is, this movie is not for the faint of heart and it keeps up the tension throughout the film. If you’re looking for a great thriller over this winter break, give The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a shot.
Just a few details I want to get into to that contains spoilers. So don’t click on “read more” unless you’ve seen the movie and read the book!Read more
I was lucky enough to get to see one of the biggest releases of the year a few weeks in advance. The Steven Spielberg/Peter Jackson collaboration, The Adventures of Tintin. Spielberg hasn’t released a film in 4 years (the last being Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), could he recapture his movie magic mojo with one of the most beloved properties in the world? To put it simply, absolutely!
This is the first time Steven Spielberg is using the new motion-capture 3D system technology (popularized by James Cameron’s Avatar) and one of my biggest questions was, how was he going to use it? Even with the technology being used, this film feels like a Steven Spielberg film. Spielberg likes to operate the camera when he shoots his films and with this being a mostly animated film, he instead controls a virtual camera that basically has no limits. I’ve always admired the way that Spielberg uses the camera to help tell the story and create momentum in the plot. His use of 3D is so inventive and takes full advantage of playing with the depth of field, great stuff.
As far as the animation goes, this is some of the best CGI I’ve seen to date. I won’t say that the film looks photorealistic all the time, but there were moments in this film where I said to myself “wow, if I didn’t know about the technology they used to make this film, I might think this was a 100% real location,” and THAT in and of itself is an accomplishment. What felt a little odd is that some of the characters looked extremely realistic and others looked more obviously cartoony. It’s almost exactly the same with the environments where some looked photorealistic and others you could tell were CGI creations. That being said, it didn’t ruin the experience or suspension of disbelief for me at all. The CGI was top notch and some of the best I’ve seen in a film to date.
What I really love about The Adventures of Tintin is something that is a Spielberg specialty, the action. The action set pieces in this film are INCREDIBLE. I feel like Spielberg was like a kid in a candy store with this new motion capture technology because this is Spielberg unhinged and unrestrained, and it is a glorious sight to behold. There are scenes and stunts in this film that you literally cannot see anywhere else because it would simply be impossible to do in live action. The two stand out action set pieces are the ship sequence and the motorcycle chase, the latter in particular literally made my jaw drop. If you are a film fan and you appreciate good action, that sequence will do nothing short of astound you. The way Spielberg moves the camera, the action, the choreography, the chase, the score, everything just combines so perfectly. This movie feels like an amalgamation of everything that Spielberg has wanted to try/do since he started making movies but just couldn’t because it was impossible to do in live action. The action scenes are well paced and extremely diverse; the action scenes are so varied and no two set pieces feel the same.
The John Williams score was quite good, but not anything extraordinary. I thought that it enhanced the scenes on screen, which is usually my standard for scores. I may be alone on this opinion about the music though, but I don’t think that it’s as good/inventive as his scores for Catch Me If You Can or Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. There’s certainly nothing here to match the classic themes of Superman, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, or Harry Potter.
There are a few things that dragged down my overall experience. I felt like the story and characterizations were a bit weak. That made me a bit sad because the writers of this film are Steven Moffat (Dr. Who), Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block). That is an incredible trio of writers collaborating on this plot, but the script was disappointing overall. I didn’t find the film to be very funny either (again, considering those writers I would’ve thought otherwise), gearing more towards kiddy slapstick humor, which works at times and doesn’t at others.
The story also starts off a bit slowly. The mystery is intriguing at first but it takes a little too long to get into gear, and then when you find out the motivations behind the characters it feels too simplistic. There are also little plot contrivances that are too easy and feel cheap, although I am willing to be a bit more forgiving in this film.
I’m very curious to see how well this film will do with American audiences. I’ve made this comparison in the past on my blog, but Tintin is sort of like soccer: the biggest thing in the entire world, but doesn’t do much for Americans. Will American audiences come out to see this film? It’s being positioned as a winter tentpole film in the vein of Avatar, but I wonder just how successful this film will be at the box office. Of course I hope it does gangbusters because it’s a wonderful film and definitely one the entire family can enjoy, but I’m a little worried about how this film will do in America.
The Adventures of Tintin is a good old-fashioned crowd pleaser. Steven Spielberg proves that he hasn’t lost his touch and takes full advantage of the 3D technology at his disposal. While the story and the characters feel slightly weak, this is still a damn enjoyable movie that children and adults of all ages will enjoy. Don’t forget to front the extra cost for the 3D, it is well worth it!
I will disclose here at the end of my review that there some fucking guy right next to me who was laughing like a fucking hyena at EVERYTHING. Even shit that wasn’t a joke or funny at all. Just like my Like Crazy viewing with the fucking MORON who pulled out a fucking LAPTOP, this might have affected my viewing subliminally. Just putting that out there that I might have enjoyed the movie more if this guy was not in the theater lol.
Cowboys & Aliens could have easily become one of those films I hated before I saw it. I saw the trailers for this movie at least (no fucking joke) about 20 times before I finally saw the movie. Seeing a trailer that amount of times usually means my interest is killed before the movie comes out, regardless of whether or not the movie is any good; examples of this include Hamlet 2 and The Soloist. However, I really dug the trailers for Cowboys & Aliens, so I didn’t mind seeing it so many times. The movie has garnered mixed/negative reviews from most critics.
I think that whether or not you have a good time with this movie depends on your expectations before coming into the movie. Are you expecting a masterpiece of blockbuster filmmaking? Or are you expecting a fun popcorn flick? If you are expecting the former and not the latter, you will be sorely disappointed.
It is hard to NOT think the former though because this is a film starring the likes of Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Adam Beach, and Paul Dano, and directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man 1 & 2, Elf, Zathura). Not only that, but it’s written by Orci & Kurtzman, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, and produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. Look at it from THAT standpoint, how could this NOT be the next great summer blockbuster?
Cowboys & Aliens does a lot things well and some not so well. I’ve read reviews that say that Jon Favreau is to blame for the film being bad, but I highly disagree. I’m not the biggest fan of the Iron Man films, but I always felt like Favreau’s direction was standout in those movies. He has a great knack for old school filmmaking blended with today’s modern technologies. I love his use of practical effects combined with CGI to create a more tangible feel to his films.
Where this movie falters is with the script which contains numerous plotholes, a plethora of unnecessary side characters with lame arcs, and relatively little answers to the mystery elements of the film. Orci & Kurtzman have had their fair share of hits, but their writing has always been hit or miss. Damon Lindeloff (Lost) also helped with the story and I’ve never watched Lost, but as Devindra Hardawar on the /Filmcast review of Cowboys & Aliens said, “Damon Lindeloff giving us a mystery he can’t answer? Gasp!”
A small nitpick from a movie nerd like me is that the sound mixing/editing was pretty atrocious in this film. When you watch a movie, oftentimes you don’t think about what you’re hearing even though that’s a big part of the movie. It’s usually because hearing something happen on screen is just second nature, but it plays a huge part in encapsulating us in the world of the movie. Cowboys & Aliens had some really poor sound effects, especially with the weapons where the six shooters sound like BB guns and everything just sounded so damn muffled. A great example of sound mixing would be Avatar where even though we’re in a completely 3D world, everything that moves, shoots, or makes a noise is implemented perfectly with the dialogue and action going on screen. You don’t think about how a gun shooting or a person running on gravel makes a sound, because you just automatically assume it’s going to be there. Movies add in those effects after the fact because they can’t record the sounds perfectly on the day they shoot. Once again, minor nitpick but it definitely affected my enjoyment somewhat.
What I dug the most about this movie, and the reason I was able to overlook most of it’s flaws, was just how fun it seemed. Sure, Daniel Craig gives off this brooding intensity throughout the film, but for the most part Cowboys & Aliens felt like some good old fashioned B movie fun. Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford are infinitely watchable movie stars, period. The film is far from great but there’s enough here on a popcorn level that I really enjoyed.
Cowboys & Aliens doesn’t completely live up to the premise or the talented personnel involved, but it is certainly enough fun as a B movie popcorn flick. There’s enough action and thrills to satisfy your average movie goer for sure. Just don’t go in expecting greatness and I’m sure you’ll have a blast at the movies with this one.
OFFICIAL GREEN BAND TRAILER FOR DAVID FINCHER’S THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO!!!
No nude Rooney Mara (only from the back) or bloody Daniel Craig, but for the most part a similarly cut trailer as the red band one. I’ve heard everyone talk about this series of books but now I KNOW I need to read them before this film comes out at the end of the year. David Fincher and Daniel Craig, doesn’t that combination just sound like it’s made of win?
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo red band trailer! Watch it now before they take it down!
David Fincher you brilliant son of a bitch, you’ve done it AGAIN! Trent Reznor killing it AGAIN on the soundtrack, this movie looks fucking AMAZING! Fincher wants his fucking Oscar hahaha.
Sam Mendes officially directing Bond 23 with Daniel Craig set to release 11/09/12. Can I be the first to say “FUCK YEAH!”