Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review: Skyfall

Did manage to get over the pass, dealing with our first snowfall of the season and see SKYFALL. Daughter #1 and Boyfriend came home from college for the weekend so there were five of us and arriving at the theater the line was out the door.
We had ordered advanced tickets, but still needed to wait in line to get them and so we divided and conquered, I stood in the long line for popcorn, cause you got to have popcorn, some kids held the line to get into the theater and Jon got the tickets.
I was still waiting for concessions when the theater line started to move and by the time we got into the theater, five seats were only to be had in  the second row, which I have learned is not so bad, if you are on one end or the other. My neck does feel a little bit croocked.
To say this movie had a whole lot of hype going into it would be an understatement, I am even guilty of adding to it. SEE HERE, But looking at the reviews this morning, the movie is consistently favored amongst the critics.
So......I tread lightly.
Do I think SKYFALL is the best Bond movie ever?
Personally, no, CASINO ROYALE will always be one of my favorite movies, But knowing the Bond Franchise well, I now know why SKYFALL is getting such rave review.....It is Bond at it's purest form, because other than CASINO ROYLE, all the Bond movie's follow a formula and SKYFALL follows it well...
Exciting chase scene
Opulent opening credits
International Exotic locals
Quippy comments
More interesting way to kill the bad guys
and at least two Bond girls, one good and plain, one bad and exotic, both cave to being ravished by Bond, and one ends up dead with little remorse from the man himself.
Aston Martins and PPKs
Oh, and a few martinis, shaken not stirred.

Many Bond lovers come to the theater with a mental list ready to be checked off, as the above are reveled, and SKYFALL does not disappoint, Bond even using a giant lizard to take out one of the henchmen, before he climbs out of the pit and dusts off his tuxedo and says something quippy

SKYFALL does go the other way too, trying to give us more of 007 inner turmoil with much interaction with M and even a look into where he came from, though it is quickly blown to bits, not much of a "spoiler" for a Bond movie, I think.

The "Bond Bad Guy" this time is played by Javier Bardem...

Who is very good at playing bad guys...

Money, Power and well Ruling the World, have always been a part of a good Bond movie and one criticism I do have with SKYFALL, is there was only Revenge behind the evil powers hurdled at MI6 this time. The "why" for me had to be a little bit more convincing.

There certainly was a little bit of everything in SKYFALL...

a little bit of previous classic Bond
                                                         a little bit of Bourne Identity

                                                   Even a little bit of McGyver...

and  Wuthering Heights, see it and see if you don't think Bond is
channeling  Heathcliff a little bit in the end...
So, yes, SKYFALL definitely delivers a good Bond Movie, oh and the last of the Iconic characters are back, Q and Miss Moneypenny, so why am I not as thrilled as I was hoping to be?
I think the answer lies with my love of CASINO ROYALE, that movie had a lot action, beautiful locals but it also lead with a lot of heart and it was raw, not polished, dare we say it was "character driven?
What should Bond movies "lead" with, pure testosterone and they have ever since 007 rough handled or took advantage of the first Bond girl to get information out of her and didn't even shed a tear when she became "collateral damage".
So yes, Bond is definitely back, a formulaic, guaranteed good ride of action, suspense and all that has been Bond for the last fifty years.
Huh, guess there is a part of me, a girly part, that wants something different. I only know so much about Bond because my older brother controlled the TV channels on Saturdays, since he could sit on me, but like I've said, I'll watch about any thing to watch a movie, so 007 got under my skin.
Reality is Bond IS a Bad Boy, as he explained, in Casino Royale, laying on top of Dimitrios' girlfriend when she lamentates on her opertunity to be with someone good, a day before she became colliteral damage, and reality is- in Film or real life, us girls too often are just that in what is still a man's world.
That is why I think we gravite to that little glimmer of a hero when we see it, since it comes all too infrequently. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Review: Chasing Mavrick

Took daughter #2 and a friend over to Durango to "do lunch" and see a movie, all with gift cards from the past year. Kind of a fun adventure, to try and go see some entertainment and not have to pay for it. The movie passes were from the grandmother of one of my Navajo/Ute students, who must like me as a teacher, so that was an honor!
The girls went to see Hotel Transylvania, but I picked CHASING MAVERICKS, starring Gerald Butler...
Who has had kind of a hit or miss film career, with hits like...


and some misses, but lets move on.
I first noticed Butler as the five minute love interest of  Lara Croft sequel CRADLE OF LIFE.
BTW, if you want to see a young Daniel Craig, check out Croft's five minute love interest in the first Croft movie...
There might be "Bond girls" but Craig and Butler are "Croft boys"
Back to CHASING MAVERICK'S. Relatively new comer Jonny Weston portrays  Jay Moriarity, who gained world fame at 16, surfing one of Central California's most dangerous waves. Butler plays "Frosty", a hippie-esque surfer who literally teaches him "the waves" and becomes a father figure to the young boy.
If you are really into surfing, you'll probably like the movie, though there are few  exciting surf scenes, it is more about the building the story of Frosty and Moriarity's relationship.
Come to think of it, building a story is much like waiting for a wave to build, to ride it to the shore. A story should build and build slowly, through Act 1 and Act 2 and then at it's peak, or climax provide an exciting ride to the shoreline.......CHASING MAVERICKS was more like still waters for 2/3 of the movie and then a fast crash to the end.
And I am sorry, but I just don't get it, IT. That thing that makes certain males go and surfing monster waves,  climbing dangerous mountains, or extreme skiing for the hell of it.  
There is a name for that, "counting coup"
explained HERE at the Encyclopedia of the Great Plains site, but basically it is getting close enough to your enemy to touch them, but not kill them and getting away so they don't kill you.
We don't usual "count coup" anymore, but I honestly think that is the motivation in these extreme sports, that eventual all to often do claim the life of the young men who we idolize. Such the case, sadly, with Moriarity in his early twenties, deep sea diving.
I think it is something ingrained in boys DNA, something I discussed in my review of 127 HOURS.
I know there are stories out there of heroes who were not "counting coup" but had to face the enemy and dangerous obstacles in the course of saving themselves or others, one of my favorites...
oh yeah, a great movie starring one of those "Croft Boys".

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

This I am Looking Forward To...

and I love the UK version of the movie poster which I found on COLLIDER.COM , a little bit of London in the background?
Here in the US poster, we will have to wait until November 9th to see the film....

 I always find it interesting how the same film, or book for that matter, gets a different cover for advertising in different countries. Guess the powers that be think the UK market is a little bit more classy and the US, well we just like guns! is saying the film is getting really good reviews, so that makes me extra happy. Wow, a good movie coming out this fall, who thunk it!  
It is also Bond's 50th anniversary, he doesn't look it! Big feature in last month's Vanity Fair...
Love Craig's interview...for the shear fact you can tell how much he hates to give interviews!
There is also a good spread of all those who have uttered the words, "Bond, James Bond."- can you name them all? I can- Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Bronson and that one that made just one movie- On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

This post is more a report from one of those funny Samsung Galaxy phone commercials knocking the people waiting outside the Apple Store for the new iPhone release...

Have you noticed, as of late, be it movies, TV shows, phones that we are actually getting less then we use to but the powers that be are very good in making us believe we are actually getting more?

Movies for one have been regurgitated and regurgitated to the point where they do not have anymore nutritional value in them what so ever. How many remakes and sequels have we had pushed down our throats and half thrown together high end "effects" but low end stories have we paid good money to go see, just like the confused souls I often see in line in front of Apple stores- really?

But what do we do at the movie theaters?

About the same thing, get excited that Spiderman this time will be in 3D!!

Thus why I am salivating to see Skyfall- something new- even if it is from a fifty year old franchise.

I often tease my kids- that texting is really about the same as sending a Western Union telegram- you know...

"That form of communication STOP that you often say in old black and white movies STOP" 140 characters was about what you could get on a telegram.

but now it is cool again- to wait five minutes between sentences.

And I love the whole, lets watch a movie on a 4 inch by 6 inch screen together or alone, instead of a big screen, comfy couch and a bowl of popcorn. 

Are we really this stupid to think that these are advancement in our society- interacting by facebook in 149 characters or less instead of real face time together? Now being able to watch movies by ourselves on tiny screens instead of with someone else or seeing it as it was meant to be on a screen the size of a building. Listening to music feed directly into our brains through our earphones, instead of filling a house with music, as part of a evening around the table with good food and company.

Now I here that they are in talks to make a fourth, or would that be a seventh Star Wars...

 one going forward, with Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker segwaying a new cast of characters, the fact that someone like Harrison Ford is even considering such a thing really speaks to the "Nothing New in Hollywood", concern of the general public.

Or could it be that every story that is interesting has actually been told on the big screen....let's hope not!

BTW, the original Star Wars poster above is listed on the Internet for $12,000 and the poster from the first Bond Movie, Dr. No....
$12,000 again. So when you go to see Skyfall, or already snatched one from Casino Royale, we won't mention the other movie, roll it up and stick it under your bed for your grandchildren!