Take the Bloody Shot – M

This movie is Bond-ian escapism taken to it’s absolute zenith. The villians are sinister and otherworldly, the ladies fatal, the challenges impossible and the sights ever more exotic. 

There is nothing to be revealed about the story because this movie deserves nothing more than absolute secrecy, but MI6 is under attack. Many questions come into play here, who is Bond? Who is M? Why should the 00 Section exist? And perhaps even on a more existential level, Why James Bond and not any other agent.

The movie takes place over several beautiful locations, but the location most stunning and least expected of all is London. A dynamic and beautiful London and collaterally, Scotland, that overwhelms with its grandeur, it’s past, present and future. It’s impossible to forget that whilst Bond is always about the leading man, it is the settings, story and supporting characters that make it THE film event worth catching every few years.

Daniel Craig’s last outing as Bond was lackluster to say the least, *though definitely NOT the worst Bond ever* and he has certainly come some way since Casino Royale. This feels like a more natural successor to Casino Royale, And his Bond a more developed and fleshed out character. M plays a major role in this film as hinted at in the trailers and more so than ever before, Ms. Judi Dench deserves many awards for her turn in this film. Many awards. Finally Javier Bardem, a Bond Villain for our time with the sinister majesty of Odd Job, Jaws, The Joker from Batman, tossed with some Latin Charm. He is so good for this role, it staggers the mind. 

There is no greater praise that I can give Skyfall than the fact that it feels exquisitely like a Bond movie and yet it doesn’t. It feels like a movie about a man who is lost, and why he found his way in this world doing what he does, and the people who drive him to do what he does. The story is older than time, and yet placed in the framework of Bond, it achieves such pure unadulterated perfection. Much fan service is provided by way of the little touches, The famous DB5, the Walther PPK, Bond’s wit, and a perfectly made Martini, all these superficial necessities are there. Whilst the over the top ” Was that a Komodo Dragon” moments, the exploding lair (turned on its head of course), and  all that remain, at it’s core, Skyfall is a deep movie. 

It is a movie that achieves depth never ever before seen in a Bond film, a gift to the fans totally unexpected for a franchise over 50 years old. We start to care for the characters, and understand their motivations, their desires, and ultimately why they do what they do. Something that cannot be said for many a Bond film, and almost every spy/action film. There is a subtlety to this movie that is clear even on a first viewing, and yet, all the set pieces, all the glitz and glamour turn up not to steal the show, but to demonstrate why, just why it needs to exists. For this reason, Skyfall is a must watch. Even if you never liked Bond, even if you hate the idea of a man who kills for a living and sleeps with women like they’re dirt, this movie shows you the side of Bond the movies have never managed to even hint at, that there is ultimately more to the man behind the perfect suit and perfect charm.

6/5 stars. There is no higher praise I can give Skyfall. Watch it.

Skyfall – Adele

This song is the new James Bond Theme for the upcoming movie Skyfall. This reminds me of the old iconic James Bond songs, like GoldenEye by Tina Turner and written by Bono of U2, or License to Kill by Gladys Knight, A View to A Kill by Duran Duran, and one of my personal favourites, Tomorrow Never Dies by Sheryl Crow. Adele lends her big full voice to a piece to a piece replete with Leitmotives from the classic James Bond Theme and although the lyrics are not the best work, with some quarters calling it almost slavish in imitating the 60’s style Bond songs. It is a relief from the past few Bond movies, which have almost discarded the template completely, with Die Another Day, a particular question mark hanging over the compendium of James Bond songs. Whilst Chris Martin’s You Know My Name is a stand out piece amongst the Daniel Craig Bond songs, not many people agree that the past few Bond songs are the beautiful swirling beauties we remember. I fear that Skyfall whilst a fantastic piece of music, may fall into the latter category, and even though Adele’s vocals are, as always, phenomenal, (the first time I heard the song in it’s entirety, the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end), the actual wording and music I fear may have been a bit too uninspired to make it into the books as the BEST James Bond song.

— EDIT after a few more re-hearings

My opinion has evolved a little. This song is seriously beginning to grow on me and although the lyrics haven’t changed obviously, the music paired with Adele’s vocals and the orchestration has ensured that this song will stick with me for a LONG LONG LONG while. So, whilst I’m a little concerned that the words aren’t perfect, who cares really, it’s a great piece of music, and obviously means something in the context of the film that will make me go: OH MY G. This is the most bleeding perfect piece of music for this movie! *Runs around screaming*… So yeah. Good GOSH I long-winded.

The Long and Short of it = Love it. Adele at her very best. Buy it nao.

To Rome with Love

Frequent readers of my blog will think that this is yet another paean to the joys of Rome, but really this is about the movie, out recently by Woody Allen. This is a fantastic movie, written with a clear and unadulterated love for the Eternal City. However, of course, this is not Mr. Allen's best work. The stories in this movie are a tad predictable, and nothing seen here is particularly new. However, there is much joy to be found nevertheless in this story about the lives of different people in Rome. The tourists who arrive on a bumpy Alitalia flight (sneaky product placement notwithstanding), The worldly American who is in Rome for a visit??reminiscing??about a long lost love (Alec Baldwin at his finest most self-deprecating best), the Movie almost-Starlet (Ellen Page who is absolutely having a post Inception boom), the prostitute (Ms. Penelope Cruz, who will be forever to me the sexiest woman to have lived and breathed and walked on this Earth), and the couple who venture to Rome for the first time, only to be chewed up and spit out by that most enchanting of cities.??

I loved the cinematography and the soundtrack was mesmerising. With a beautiful opening number that made me fall in love with the movie immediately, this movie knows exactly which of my heartstrings to pull. One could say that this movie was almost written precisely for me, with stunning shots of Rome in all of it's beauty,beautiful people, gorgeous sounds to accompany it, and most importantly, characters that you wanted to care for. Of course, some bits of this movie are a bit naff, with Woody Allen's own story line a particular oddity in my book, but all in all, I found it very easy to love this movie. This movie that reminded me so much of my own love affair with the city that made me fall in love too easily, that city that gave me so many small moments of joy and so many big glorious memories too beautiful to share. If only the storyline was sharpened up a tad, and the characters given a bit more development, this would be the perfect movie. I recommend this movie for a date, or just to have a light enjoyable couple of hours watching a city that one would find it impossible to hate.