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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: No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Both No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood have been on my to-watch-list since the competed at almost every award show in ’07. Daniel Day-Lewis, as much as I hate to say it, will have to wait. Today is Javier Bardem’s day.

Set in the 1980’s hunter and Texan, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) comes across a botched drug deal, snatching up the suitcase of money for himself. Things get complicated when killer, and all around crazy person Anton Chigurh (Bardem) goes on the chase to get the money. Bringing things up in the rear, there is Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) trying to figure out what the heck is going on. Soon Llewlyn’s family is in danger, the chase gets more intense, and we get one of the most unique killing weapons in cinematic history.

Give credit to the Coen Brothers. Every person in this film is casted perfectly. The everyman caught in the middle but who can also stand his own is Josh Brolin perfectly. No one could’ve pulled off the creepy hairstyling of Bardem, and can anyone play a Texas cop like Tommy Lee Jones? To see NCFOM, is to see how to script meant it to be performed. Like most Coen movies, it blends genres like crazy, mixing Western, horror, crime, and comedy all in one. Everything was going fine, until the finale. (Spoiler ahead, so skip if you haven’t seen it) I’ve always been a fan of finales where you don’t exactly know what happened. But I was not too fond of this one. For one, I assume most of the Moss family dies, but with the whole movie focusing on his escape, we don’t even get any hint of what happens to him? Seems like myself, as the viewer, wasted that investment I had in the main character, and not get any real sight into how it ends.

Anyway, the whole movie is really good, with an unfortunate end. Don’t let that prevent you from seeing it if you haven’t already. No Country for Old Men is a lesson in tense atmosphere, white knuckle action, and some serious violence. So…if you’re into that sort of thing….

My Rating: A-