The main point is the little-discussed fact that all along the Bond films have exclusively used British directors, or at least Commonwealth, given that New Zealander Lee Tamahori did one. But never an American or Euro until now with Marc Forster, which McCarthy feels might have been a genetic mistake of one kind or another, the Bond thing being in British blood
McCarthy states at the end that Danny Boyle would have been the most enticing candidate to direct Bond. (Boyle told McCarthy last week he was a huge Bond fan as a teenager, reading every Fleming book at least twice.) Chris Nolan, among other Brits, would obviously be good, but he might be too much of an auteur for the notorious “stopper” producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli to deal with.
The word around the campfire, I’m told, is that the film was originally longer than the final-cut length but that none of the quieter scenes were working and Olga Kurylenko‘s scenes with Craig didn’t rise to the occasion, so they just decided to cut them all out. Has anyone heard anything more along these lines?
“Beautifully shot with great sensitivity to color by the cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantel, in both film and digital video, Slumdog Millionaire makes for a better viewing experience than it does for a reflective one,” says N.Y. Times critic Manohla Dargis.
“It’s an undeniably attractive package, a seamless mixture of thrills and tears, armchair tourism and crackerjack professionalism. Both the reliably great Irrfan Khan (A Mighty Heart), as a sadistic detective, and the Bollywood star Anil Kapoor, as the preening game-show host, run circles around the young Mr. Patel, an agreeable enough if vague centerpiece to all this coordinated, insistently happy chaos.
“In the end, what gives me reluctant pause about this bright, cheery, hard-to-resist movie is that its joyfulness feels more like a filmmaker’s calculation than an honest cry from the heart about the human spirit (or, better yet, a moral tale).
“In the past Mr. Boyle has managed to wring giggles out of murder (Shallow Grave) and addiction (Trainspotting), and invest even the apocalypse with a certain joie de vivre (the excellent zombie flick 28 Days Later). He’s a blithely glib entertainer who can dazzle you with technique and, on occasion, blindside you with emotion, as he does in his underrated children’s movie, Millions.
“He plucked my heartstrings in Slumdog Millionaire with well-practiced dexterity, coaxing laughter and sobs out of each sweet, sour and false note.”
Fandango’s Harry Medved is reporting that “hundreds” of Twilight shows “are continuing to sell out one week before the movie opens,” and that these sales have outpaced those of High School Musical 3 at the same point in that film’s sales cycle.
Some Fandango stats based on an 11.13.08 survey of nearly 4,000 Twilight moviegoers: (a) 83% of respondents plan to see the film on opening day; (b) 65% indicated they generally do not see movies on opening weekend; (c) 54% are going with a group of friends; (d) 74% of respondents say they’re online at least several hours each day; (e) 87% say they viewed Twilight trailers and clips online, rather than on TV, in the movie theater or elsewhere.
On top of which the Twilight soundtrack is already the #1 selling album.
Take this with a grain, but an English HE reader named Patrick O’Brien told me today that he’s just caught an early London screening of Revolutionary Road. O’Brien writes well and thoughtfully and seems sincere as far as an e-mail allows, so here’s his generally positive reaction:
“I’ve never been much of a fan of Sam Mendes but I was very pleasantly surprised here. Revolutionary Road (DreamWorks, 12.26) is a tremendously impressive emotional drama, cleverly put together, beautifully composed, and nicely edited by Tariq Anwar.
“Only the ending felt a little unsure; otherwise, I feel Mendes has made serious progress as a director. A daring scene at the breakfast table is pulled off with virtuosity towards the end. I’ll say no more than this.
“Much is demanded of the leads. A lot of what is communicated — the charged, confused feelings dangling just below the surface — is done without words. We’re dealing with a lot of heightened emotion bordering on melodrama. But the actors cope well, although Kate Winslet, I feel, is more convincing than Leonardo DiCaprio.
“Revolutionary Road isn’t saying anything particularly revolutionary. I’ve seen people trapped in the suburbs, their dreams wilting, in cinema before — but it is portrayed this time with great eloquence and intelligence.”
I knew 20 minutes or so into last night’s Quantum of Solace screening that I’d never see it a second time. (Like I have with The Bourne Ultimatum.) I didn’t want to leave — it certainly holds you and never lets the engine idle — but I wasn’t feeling all that adrenalized. The fierce moves are in place but the high wouldn’t kick in. It’s the kind of film that keeps you alert and munching your popcorn, but it gives the term “brutal efficiency” a bad name.
Quantum of Solace is Bourne-y, all right. The makers — director Marc Forster, in particular — had no choice but to acknowledge the supremacy of that franchise and particularly the game-changer moves engineered by the great Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon. But the damn thing works you over like a machine and I just never fell in like with it. I’m fine with the old-school hallmarks having been jettisoned, but it’s overly brutal and just too much of a metal-hammer-to-the-forehead experience. And I say this having adored the last Bourne film.
If someone I trust had come up to me after the screening and offered me a quaalude, I would have popped it immediately. How many action movies have you seen lately that have put you in the mood for medication?
It’s not Daniel Craig‘s fault. He’s done what he’s been told to do, and quite well at that. But the film doesn’t let him do or be anything other than brusque and occasionally savage. And the action stuff he performs seems a little cyborgy at times.
Quantum of Solace is the tightest, most cynical and most coldly assaultive 007 film ever, but I’m not sure where that leaves us. I felt a slight distance from it early on. Not turned off or repelled or even alienated, per se, but if the projector had broken down and the screening cancelled I would have been no more than mildly disappointed. Action junkies will be fine with it, I guess, but what does that say? Action junkies are notoriously easy lays.
The last seven or eight minutes, however, are quite fine — solemn, thoughtful, restrained — and endings, as we all know, are half the game. So I’m recommending it for the finale, at least.
Drew Kerr has assembled a list of 20 Bond song favorites, worst to best. No Bond theme has ever been all that great, but Paul McCartney‘s “Live and Let Die” has always seemed the catchiest and most strikingly orchestrated, and I still think of Carly Simon‘s “Nobody Does It Better” as being the wittiest and most intimate.
I need to hear Jack White‘s Quantum of Solace number a couple of more times before deciding, but what are the odds I’ll give it another serious listen, knowing as I do that I’ll never see Quantum again, even on Blu-ray?.
By any yardstick he was a truly magnificent mad-man drummer. People always mention his rousing interplay with Hendrix on “Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire” and “Third Stone From The Sun,” but the restraint and simplicity he brought to “Red House” has always struck me as somehow more profound. I’ve always adored the crack-like sound from his snare drum on that track, like the sound of a baseball bat slamming against the side of a wooden doghouse.
Here‘s an mp3 of “Red House.”
Mitchell was my landlord when I moved into the top half of a two-story house on Franklin Avenue in the hills in early ’87. He and his girlfriend lived downstairs. And then one day he was off to England (or so I recall) and I never saw him again. My immediate suspicion when I read about his passing this morning is that the age-old rock musician syndrome had played a part, but let’s not go there right now.
If the world is coming to a spectacular end, you can bet Roland Emmerich, the Irwin Allen of our time, is behind the curtain and working the gears. 2012 will be out next year, five years after The Day After Tomorrow. The intrigue for me is “how much better will the CG be?” Roland deserves credit, at the very least, for cranking out handsome, well-lit disaster films with tight scripts and reasonably professional performances, which is more than Allen ever managed.
The straight-paycheck cast includes John Cusack, Thandie Newton, Amanda Peet, Woody Harrelson, Danny Glover (as “President Wilson”), “Chewy” Ejiofor, Oliver Platt and Thomas McCarthy. We all need to pay the bills. There’s nothing wrong with going out there and bringing home the bacon.