There was nothing really worth watching in the first week in December in my opinion, and since that was the case, I’m going to recommend that you watch Skyfall (again if you already have), which opened the last week on November here in South Africa. See my previous blog post, Must See Movies 2012 #8: Skyfall Review
Otherwise The Hobbit is a winner!
This past weekend marked the release of the long awaited prequel to the Lord of the Rings. I watched it on Saturday night and all the people I went with were impressed.
The Hobbit is directed again by Peter Jackson and marks the return of several familiar faces. In case you didn’t know (like my fiancée) the Hobbit has been split into three movies: ‘The Unexpected Journey (2012)’, ‘The Desolation of Smaug (2013)’ and lastly ‘There And Back Again (2014)’. I have seen the meme doing the rounds and was expecting it to be very drawn out. While it could have (and should have) been done in one movie, the pace of the movie moves along pretty nicely and you rarely (although not never) get bored. Some critics moaned about it being a overproduced and being about the special effects, but I don’t see how you can make these movies and not.
The Hobbit also debuts the new HFR 3D technology, where the films are shot at 48 frames per second compared to the normal 24 of other films. Reviews have been mixed but the major advantage to the technology is the minimising of motion blur which affects other 3D movies. Unfortunately the cinema we were at didn’t have the infrastructure so I saw it in normal 3D, so I can’t really tell you more. Feel free to comment if you have.
Other IMDB: Top 250 #84 | 5 nominations
Week 3: Life of Pi
Based on the fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel, Life of Pi tells the story of a 16 year old boy, Piscione Molitor Patel, or Pi, when his family is killed in a shipwreck while moving their zoo to Canada. The story is told from an older Pi’s perspective as he relays his story to a novelist who thinks his story would make a great novel.
A blog I follow did a pretty cool review for this movie. Have a look at the The Focused Filmographer review here
Week 4: Jack Reacher
Tom Cruise stars as a homicide investigator who digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper that shot five random victims.
(When I first heard the soundtrack from the trailer, I thought it was a new Mission Impossible (1:02))
- Life of Pi / Movie Review (iamalienman.wordpress.com)
- When books become movies (heidicvlach.wordpress.com)
- Non-Review Review: Jack Reacher (them0vieblog.com)
- Tom Cruise defends role as “Jack Reacher” (thehimalayantimes.com)
- Jack Reacher could be me: Tom Cruise spends hours with fans at Leicester Square premiere of Jack Reacher (standard.co.uk)
- 10 Films Make Oscar Shortlist for Best Visual Effects Including THE AVENGERS, JOHN CARTER, and LIFE OF PI (collider.com)
- The Hobbit breaks box office record (newsfixnow.com)
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey scores biggest US December opening weekend (metro.co.uk)
- ‘The Hobbit’: 6 Biggest Changes From J.R.R. Tolkien’s Novel (hollywood.com)
- Review: Ang Lee’s ‘Life of Pi’ Makes You Believe in the Power of Stories (firstshowing.net)
WARNING: Possible spoilers!
Last month, my one recommendation was the new Bond film, Skyfall. I am happy to say I still stand by this recommendation, it is definitely a must see movie, especially for Bond fans, but then again if you are a Bond fan, I’m sure I didn’t need to tell you this. You’ve already seen the movie and are telling others the same thing… I hope…
Building up to Skyfall, I did a Bond marathon, my third one (which explains my lack of blogging for the last little while), and had managed to get to The World is Not Enough (1999, Pierce Brosnan) the day before I went to watch Skyfall. Up to this point, good old Roger Moore was my favourite Bond with Sean Connery in a very, very, very close second. I liked the Connery era SPECTRE storyline but Moore was just a better Bond for me. George Lazenby wasn’t around long enough to make an impression on me, but I still preferred him to Timothy Dalton & Pierce Brosnan. The Brosnan movies weren’t necessarily bad, although they may have been a bit over the top and worst of all they used BMW for the Bond cars, but I just didn’t like Brosnan. Timothy Dalton was a bit better, but still nowhere near Moore or Connery, and still not as good as Lazenby.
In my first Bond marathon, Brosnan was the current Bond and I was still in school, so I didn’t pay the attention I should have. It was something to watch while I was doing other stuff. I had watched Goldeneye on VHS, didn’t have DVD then, from the local video store where I lived. It was about a year after Goldeneye had come out, and since they had the whole collection, I thought why not. I would like to say I was a fan after that, but that would be a lie, I was just too young I think…
My second Marathon was almost 10 years later, just before the release of Casino Royale. I think this is when I officially became a Bond fan. The second time round I definitely paid more attention, to the characters which were repeated through the movies, the little inside jokes (“This never happened to the other chap” – George Lazenby), the quirks of the different Bonds, the cars, the airplanes and more. It was then that I decided that Moore was my favourite Bond. I watched Casino Royale afterwards when it came to the big screen and also watched Quantum of Solace a few years later and thoroughly enjoyed them.
A few months back when the 50 years of Bond hype was around and talk of Skyfall was on the rise, I decided to do my third marathon from Dr No up to Quantum of Solace and slowly but surely I made it through to The World Is Not Enough. That was just before the weekend of Skyfall’s release in South Africa. I then had the choice to wait until I actually finished my marathon, or to watch Skyfall that weekend. I watched it as you could guess and I was blown away, but I finished the remaining movies in the week afterwards. Which brings me to the one Bond that I haven’t mentioned yet, the current one, Daniel Craig. He is definitely not the sophisticated, suave Bond that was portrayed by all the previous Bonds, although you can see his growth as a 00 through the first three movies.
But there’s a reason for that, in Casino Royale, the Bond movies took a drastic twist that some, non-Bond fans mostly, may not have noticed, it was a complete reset of the Bond Universe. It wasn’t so much of a new story as a new twist on it. Casino Royale was to Bond what Batman Begins was to Batman. Casino Royale was actually also the first book in Ian Fleming’s Bond novels.
Casino Royale Director Martin Campbell confirmed this:
“The producers felt it had gone off the rails a bit after Die Another Day, with invisible cars and all that. I told them, we have to go back to the books. We even discussed doing it as a period piece.We settled on a more fucked-up character with a dark streak in him – drinking too much, dodgy liver – all that’s in the book. In Casino, he also had a real relationship with a woman. He doesn’t just have a dozen for king and country.”
I didn’t know this when I first watched Casino Royale, it took a second watch a month or two later. There were other things related to this that I also didn’t realise, like the reboot of the Felix Leiter character as well.
In Casino Royale, we see James Bond’s promotion to the ranks of the 00’s. He is definitely the darkest Bond of the series as we see him falling in love with the character Vesper and being betrayed by her near the end. In Quantum of Solace we are made more aware of the Quantum organisation (replacing both SMERSH and SPECTRE of the early films and novels in this reboot) and find that our villians in this film and the previous one are all part of Quantum, including Vesper and her killer/lover, Yusef Kabira.
In Skyfall, the foundation for the new Bond universe is set even more. We are introduced to the new Moneypenny straight away even if we don’t realise it and to the new Q a bit later. Many fans and even Daniel Craig expressed wishes for their return, and quite a return they have made (What did you expect, an exploding pen?).
If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know about the whole M situation, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Ralph Fiennes is a pretty damn good actor and while I loved Judie Dench as M, she reminded me too much of the Brosnan era.
With Skyfall, Daniel Craig officially became my new favourite James Bond. I thought he was brilliant in Casino Royale, a little less brilliant in Quantum of Solace, although only a little bit less. In Skyfall he has me hooked to Bond 2.0. He was brilliant and even managed to not let Javier Bardiem outshine him, not easy, with Bardiem as the villian, ex-00 agent Raoul Silva (aka Tiago Rodriguez)
Don’t rely on me to convince you to watch though, go read some reviews if you need to, but the fact that it is the highest grossing movie of all time in the UK, and has almost reached the billion Dollar mark ($922 million at the time of this post) which would put in on top as the highest earning Bond film of all time (relative to inflation) which is currently held by Goldfinger at the magic $1 billion mark.
If you’re still looking at me for some reasons to go watch it, where do I start? The best Bond villian for a long time: Javier Bardiem, the sexy Bond girl Bérénice Marlohe, who plays Severine and the moment you see what Aston he is gonna drive (I heard about 5-10 “whoas” when I watched it in the cinema. Not to say those are it’s only good points, they’re just the most prominent ones.
Wanna have another look at that trailer? Sure!