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Review: Skyfall (2012)

Well, it’s all come down to this. I’ve gone through 6 James Bond films in the past 2 days, to prep for Skyfall. Surprisingly, it isn’t Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace that fit best with Skyfall, but rather the classics during the Connery and Moore days. Fair warning: spoilers abound below.

Skyfall starts out with the usual chase scene; what you’re used to in the Craig era. This chase soon leads to the alleged death of Bond, at the hands of a fellow agent. Begin typical Bond intro. Enter Bond with woman, enjoying his “death”. Of course, he does return, only to find M (Judi Dench) on the verge of being forced into retirement and a crazed mad man (Javier Bardem) hacking their system, blowing up MI6 HQ, and leaking the identities of undercover agents. All in a days work for 007, right?

I was extremely nervous going into the theater. After all, I hadn’t heard anything but rave reviews about Skyfall in the entire week leading up to seeing it. It began, and the opening chase scene was on par with Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. The title sequence was just as good. Craig was typically good, Dench top notch, per norm. It was all in all a good Craig/007 movie. Then comes Javier Bardem’s Silva. Much like Heath Ledger’s Joker brought The Dark Knight up a whole notch, Silva did the same for Skyfall. He’s ten times more intimidating than the previous Craig-era villains, is only after one thing (revenge), and has the usual Bond villain deformity. The man is scary. What’s scary is that he isn’t after dropping a nuclear bomb, or taking over the world, he only want to see M die.

Another reason Skyfall was particularly mind-blowing for me was all of the throwbacks. We get 3(!) new regulars, some of which haven’t been seen in a decade or more. Q (Ben Whishaw) was my personal favorite. If you remember the old Desmond Llewelyn days, you remember that he and Bond always had an interesting relationship. He was always older than Bond, but never afraid to let him know what he thought of him. Now, with a younger Q, the dynamic changes, but the same relationship is there. Also, what about bringing back the DB5? Ejector seat and all?

Overall, as you can tell by the length of this post, this is now my new favorite Bond film. While it does lag, and the last sequence of events seems a bit out of place, I respect Sam Mendes trying to take the series in a new direction while still honoring the past. An absolute treat to watch.

My Rating: A+

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Review: The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

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Oh Jason Bourne. Never can get enough, can you? I’ve been through the first two films this week, and now it’s time to cap it off with the finale and what some people consider the best piece of the franchise.

Ultimatum takes off where Supremacy leaves. This time, Bourne is again taken out of hiding when a newspaper reporter begins to publish articles on Bourne, Treadstone, and its upgrade, Blackbriar. Pam Landy (Joan Allen) and Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) are back as well as some familiar faces via flashback. Bourne’s mission this time is to find out how he got started, where it all began. So this time, Bourne’s coming home to America. NYC chase scene in 5, 4, 3, 2…

Is it the best of the trilogy? I’m still not sure, but it does fit in perfectly. I seriously, have no qualms with anything in the movie. Many things could have been worse, but the filmmakers resisted. For example, they could’ve made the tension between Jason and Nicky into a full blown romance, but decided against it. The villains are always buried in the good organizations and Ultimatum is not exception. Great closure at the end, yet still keeps it going. Fantastic series, a must watch if you haven’t already.

My Rating: B+

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Review: Big Fish (2003)

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Big Fish is one of my favorite movies. And it shows what Tim Burton can do if he tones down his “Burton-ess” a tad. But the combination of Burton and a story that gives your dad’s “one that got away” story to shame is a perfect mix. And proves he can have a movie without Johnny Depp.

The tale is that of a dying man’s life; told just like he described it, embellishments and all. But how much do these stories effect the lives of those close to them? The cutting between his past and present is completely dominated by the flashback as only Burton can do. From birth to death, every moment of Ed Bloom’s (Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney) life is fantastic and exists in a dreamlike world.

Don’t get me wrong Tim Burton’s fingerprints are all over Big Fish, but Helena Bonham Carter is no where to be seen and the goth atmosphere is nonexistent. In fact, I view this film as his best work since Edward Scissorhands. The reason why? It gets back to the modern fairy tale story that is so unique today. The characters exist in a realistic world, but are much more fantastic than we will ever meet. It’s a truly enjoyable movie to watch. In fact, despite all the great actors, the story is the true star of Big Fish, as much as the story was the star in Ed Bloom’s life.

My Rating: A