Discussion - Dec. 08

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The Future of James Bond (12/29)

NOTE: Quantum of Solace spoilers ahead....

With Quantum of Solace now just over a month old, the Bond franchise finds itself at a fork in the road. Given the bad press about Quantum, two decisions lie ahead: continue with Bond's current angle by having him follow through with the Quantum leads (meaning another direct sequel) or start making more traditional, stand-alone Bond features.

The ending of Quantum is ambiguous enough to leave open the first option. Indeed, Mr. White is still lurking about and the entire Quantum organization is still operating. It would be odd for Bond and MI-6 to move on to the next threat while leaving this one alone. My guess was (and is) that Quantum is being set up as some sort of new-age SPECTRE. You remember SPECTRE, the terrorist organization Sean Connery was having trouble with in nearly all his adventures. I can't say I'm entirely for or against the idea. As much as I have enjoyed these Daniel Craig films (I still stand by my judgment that Casino Royale is second only to the immortal Goldfinger ), I would like to see Craig have a go at a more traditional Bond film. You know, one where the gunbarrel opens the picture, the villain has some (relatively) insane motive, Bond is tempted by girls left and right, and the climax is (relatively) ridiculous. As long as things don't go too Roger Moore-esque on us, I think it would be an entertaining option.

Casino Royale proved that Craig can do the action, the humor, the suave, and the brooding. I don't have any qualms about him dropping the last one and turning up the others. The producers, however, at this point seem bent upon keeping the franchise going in its current direction. That's fine by me, really, but I would still like to see two things: Q and Moneypenny. I miss them, and I know that Samantha Bond won't be returning. It'd be interesting to see who fills her spot, but even more interesting is the Q situation. When we last saw Q, he had been promoted from R, was showing Pierce Brosnan his invisible car in Die Another Day, and was played by the legendary John Cleese. I'm not sure Cleese meshes well with the new Bond, though. Q still needs to be funny (or, at the very least, bring out the funny side of 007), but I feel like a Cleese/Craig combo wouldn't work. Something slightly darker is necessary, maybe someone like Ian McKellan.

At this point, Bond could go in one of several directions, but we'll have to wait two or three years to see which path he chooses to take. I'm optimistic - I think the franchise has found its groove and, a few minor kinks in Quantum of Solace aside, the future looks bright for our increasingly darker 007.

Looking back... (12/22)

2008's got just over a week left in it, and since it's awards season, I've been watching a ton of movies to catch up. As such, don't expect any kind of top 10 list or 2008 retrospective until well into January. And besides, it's not like the #1 spot will be a big surprise anyways. Some of the films of interest I have yet to see:

  • Australia (maybe)
  • Changeling
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Defiance
  • Doubt
  • Gran Torino
  • Happy-Go-Lucky (maybe)
  • Let the Right One In
  • Rachel Getting Married
  • The Reader
  • Revolutionary Road
  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona (maybe)
  • W. (maybe)
  • The Wrestler
There's a good chance I won't compile a list until I see these movies, so, yeah.... I have my "work" cut out for me.

Shorter Reviews (12/17)

This isn't exactly "news" (it's been going on for about a week or so), but the reviews are gonna start being shorter, no more than three short paragraphs or so. No more pictures and no more YouTube trailers. The reason for this is I just don't have the energy to analyze in-depth every single movie I see. I'll probably subconciously write more about films I really like or really didn't , but now that December is upon us and I'll be seeing more and more movies, content will increase but review size won't. Sorry if this disappoints. My final full-length review was Quantum of Solace .

The Best Picture Race (12/10)

With 2008 coming to a close soon, the race for Best Picture (at the Oscars and elsewhere) is becoming more and more clear. I've already announced my picks for the Oscars, and I stand by them, but yesterday the Los Angeles Film Critics Association named WALL-E as the year's best picture, with The Dark Knight as a runner-up. The other winners were more traditional (Sean Penn, Danny Boyle, etc.), but the fact that an animated film has won a Best Picture award has raised some eyebrows. The question is: does WALL-E stand a legitimate chance at a Best Picture nomination at the 2008 Oscars? Let's take a history lesson, shall we....

The only animated film to receive a Best Picture nomination was Beauty and the Beast in 1991, a rather weak year for films (much like this one). It lost to The Silence of the Lambs, admittedly a better film, but Beauty was definitely a step-up from WALL-E. However, there wasn't a Best Animated Film category back then, and now there is. Despite this, critics are giving WALL-E a push into the more presitigous category. Nevermind the fact that I find WALL-E to be the second best film so far this year (not that I've seen everything), but it will not be nominated.

To refresh, my picks were: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Milk, The Reader, Revolutionary Road, and Slumdog Millionaire. But now that pretty much all the potential contenders have been revealed and seen by many critics,The Dark Knight is gaining momentum, and it doesn't seem to be slowing down. This won't get nominated, anyways. It will definitely win Best Supporting Actor, but that's about it. Just for fun:

Nominations: Best Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Editing, Makeup, Art Direction, Costume Design, Score (it's been made eligible)