I'm going to have to stop watching clips and trailers at this point, I think.
Then again, this latest clip is so much fun that I'm not sure I'm going to be able to stop myself.
I know very little about Silva, the mysterious bad guy that Javier Bardem is playing in the film, but one of the keys to making a Bond film work is pitting him against someone who is a worthy adversary. So far, the early reviews that I've glanced at seem to really like Bardem's work, and this new clip is one of the best glimpses we've had so far of Silva and Bond together.
What I like about this is the way it feels like Silva is engaged in the game here. It feels like he's enjoying the cat-and-mouse with Bond, and the move he pulls to get away is pretty great. It's also pretty clear that this is another film where Javier Bardem is visually disturbing, adding to the menace. Nobody makes wigs more upsetting than Bardem, and his "blonde policeman" thing he's got going on here is really freaky.
I'm going to have to stop watching clips and trailers at this point, I think.
Two of the films that most frustrated me this year were "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Prometheus," and it's important to point out that I don't get frustrated when I see a film that is terrible from start to finish. Those are easy to dismiss.
I get frustrated when I see a film that has real potential but which falls short thanks to certain decision-making. "The Amazing Spider-Man," for example, is a film that has many of the pieces right. Casting is a big part of making these films work, and I think they cast the film incredibly well. It was the script that made me crazy with that one, and I knew that the film had been tinkered with repeatedly during production, with some major parts of the film dropped very late in the process.
"Skyfall" has begun screening for US press on the eve of its UK release, and so far, the word on the film is nothing short of ecstatic. I am very excited by everything I've heard about it so far, and I'm having to work hard not to read some of the more detailed reviews. I want a chance to see this one fairly clean, and so far, I think the trailers have been good about not giving away too much of the movie.
In the meantime, if you are itching for some Bond and you don't want to wait, Activision has a solution for you and it's hitting stores tomorrow. "James Bond: Legends" was created as an homage to the 50-year history of the film franchise, and in the game, you'll be able to play your way through six of the films from the series.
It was fascinating to watch the way the Internet behaved in the months leading up to the release of Ridley Scott's "Prometheus." I feel like I was one of the few people who wasn't convinced from day one that the film would reinvent science-fiction and cure the common cold all in one fell swoop, because the near-rabid reactions to every photo and every tiny tidbit of information was sort of terrifyingly intense.
Now Scott's gearing up for another run of fanboy mania, and I'm curious to see if anyone learned anything from the experience they had with "Prometheus," or if they're going to be just as rabid and just as pre-convinced of greatness when it comes to the "Blade Runner" sequel that he's developing right now.
Here's why I think no one learned a single thing. Scott gave a short interview to Metro in the UK, and it has been picked up everywhere today and people seem to think that it's as good as a release date for the "Blade Runner" sequel. Let's look at what he actually said about the film, which was already announced as being in development:
"It's not a rumor - it's happening. With Harrison Ford? I don't know yet. Is he too old? Well, he was a Nexus-6 so we don't know how long he can live. [laughs] And that's all I'm going to say at this stage."
Wow. First, there's nothing new there. We already knew he was attached. He said it was a sequel during the "Prometheus" theatrical press. And he's still convinced that Harrison Ford was a replicant in the original, which automatically makes me pray that something happens to derail this film before he makes it and ruins another legacy.
It cannot be an easy thing to follow up a win for Best Picture at the Oscars, particularly when that moment can be seen as a redefinition of someone's career. Kathryn Bigelow may have been well-regarded by film nerds for her early work, but "The Hurt Locker" brought her to a much broader audience than ever before and it also established her as a very different type of filmmaker from the person who made "Near Dark" and "Point Break."
It looks like "Zero Dark Thirty" is what we would expect from the new Kathryn Bigelow, and that's exciting. While we may know the eventual outcome of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, there's so much of the story that we don't know that I get the feeling this is going to be about the process, not the ending.
Working with Mark Boal, the writer/producer she paired with on "The Hurt Locker," Bigelow's film takes place over the full decade it took to hunt down Bin Laden, and it looks like this is one of those subgenres of film I love, movies about people under pressure, and with a cast like this, I look forward to seeing how they crack and fracture under that pressure.
By far, the weirdest movie my kids have ever seen is "Magical Mystery Tour," which arrives on Blu-ray this week, getting us one step closer to having the full Beatles filmography in high-definition.
It's been so long since I'd seen "Magical Mystery Tour" that I'd forgotten most of it, and for the most part, it's a shaggy, occasionally incoherent collections of largely-improvised scenarios tied together loosely with a storyline about Ringo and his Aunt Jessie (Jessie Robbins) on a bus tour together. McCartney was the key creative talent behind the camera, and there's a sense in much of the movie that Lennon, Harrison, and even Starr are just indulging McCartney. If nothing else, some of the acting in the film should serve as proof that it is not easy to just "make it up" while you're on set.
Having said that, I think the film is tremendously watchable, and the soundtrack on this Blu-ray is worth the purchase price all by itself. They're doing a great job with these high-def presentations, and it is entirely fitting that the work done to remaster the music is where the most effort appears to have been expended. "Yellow Submarine" is one of those discs that I use to show off how well Blu-ray can reproduce an analog presentation. There are scenes on that discs where it looks like you're looking at the actual cel layout, where you can see the textures of the animated images and the backgrounds, and the sonic landscapes on both discs sound like they were recorded and mastered today.
It looks like The Weinstein Company and Columbia are on track for that Christmas Day opening for "Django Unchained" after all.
I would not have been shocked to learn that they were moving it until 2013. After all, production ran much longer than expected, and Tarantino was constantly tweaking and adjusting the script during production. I'm sure that's a good thing, and everything I've heard from people on the film is that it's coming together really well. But sometimes it takes longer to get a film right than is originally planned, and this looked like one of those cases.
In addition, this is the first time Tarantino has made a film without his editor, Sally Menke, and she was a pretty important part of his process. Fred Raskin, who is cutting the film, served under Menke on a few films, and he's been an assistant editor on a number of films like "Boogie Nights" and "Insomnia" and "Punch-Drunk Love." He's also been sole editor on the last three "Fast and Furious" movies as well as Justin Lin's "Annapolis," and my guess is Tarantino wanted some sense of continuity, and Raskin was around during the "Kill Bill" films, so there's already a certain level of comfort.
Shailene Woodley's work in "The Descendants" was a revelation, and a major announcement for her as a talent to watch. Since then, she has not been in overkill media hype mode, which is nice. She went back to the TV show she stars in and she has, no doubt, been reading and meeting people and looking for the next thing she'd do.
Playing Mary Jane Watson in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" sounds like a pretty good gig.
Variety is reporting that Woodley is in early talks to play the part, and she would be joining returning stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, no doubt complicating the easy chemistry they displayed in the first film. Woodley seems much younger than Garfield, but I'm sure they've put them together at this point if they're getting close to hiring her, and returning director Marc Webb must be happy with what he's seen.
I feel like a guy who has been hunting Bigfoot for a decade who finally, absolutely, completely has proven the existence of Bigfoot, and beyond that, was shocked to realize that Bigfoot is pretty much just a smart, funny couple of science-fiction nerds from Chicago.
After all, at the start of 2012, Andy and Lana Wachowski were a complete mystery to me. They are currently more high-profile and front and center than ever before as they prepare to try to open their most invigorating gamble so far, "Cloud Atlas," which they co-directed, co-wrote, and co-edited with "Run Lola Run" director Tom Tykwer. They raised the money independently and are releasing the film through Warner Bros. on October 26th in the US following a premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in early September and a secret screening at Fantastic Fest at the end of the month.
So right now, that mystery is not nearly as much of a mystery as it used to be, and in the course of that happening, I've gotten a chance to talk about the new film, their previous work, and even what we can expect from "Jupiter Ascending," their next science-fiction film. I have, in essence, come face to face with Bigfoot and gotten every answer I might have wanted and then some.
People should listen when these guys are excited about something they've made. I think "The Matrix" remains one of the great pure pop movies ever, a huge punch landed dead center, and I respect the way they built out the world they created in games, sequels, and animation. I've written about those movies and about "Speed Racer" and "V For Vendetta," and during all of that, they managed to stay fairly low-profile. The work speaks for itself, and the Wachowskis were just names on the screen to the vast majority of their audience.
Like anyone who is familiar with their work, I knew certain things about them. Obviously, there are the films which I've seen, and I've read many of their unproduced screenplays like "Carnivore" and "Plastic Man" and "Assassins," which was radically different on the page than it was onscreen, and even before they had one of their scripts produced, I just plain liked their writing. I read a lot of screenplays, and they've always been entertaining as a read, no matter what the subject. It's a case of voice being more important than the story being told.
On the personal side, I knew that they were intensely private and notoriously press-shy, and I had to guess that at least part of that was because of Lana Wachowski's gender transition over the last decade. Looking at how some of the press has handled any and every mention of the two of them during this process, I understood why they would make the decision to simply avoid doing press of any kind, and at the same time, furious that the actions of the worst of the press kept other people from just being able to have a conversation with the filmmakers about the work itself.
When I was at the Cannes festival this past May, I caught wind of some buyers-only screenings of "Cloud Atlas," and I did everything I could short of fist-fighting a security guard to get in to see the movie early. While I had to leave France disappointed, my efforts were not unnoticed, and in June, I was asked to come see "Cloud Atlas," which was pretty much locked as a cut, although not mixed at that point.
At that point, after seeing what they'd done, I redoubled my efforts and I sent a long, impassioned e-mail to the studio making my case. This is a big film, full of big ideas and big performances, and I felt like there was a real conversation to be had here if they were at all open to it. I didn't hear anything for months, and I was starting to suspect it would be business as usual this time around.
Then at the start of the festival, just after I touched down in Toronto, I got the official word. A general time and a specific place.
Finally. Bigfoot would pose for a photo, and all I had to do was show up with my camera.
There are times where I sound a bit like a broken record regarding a new film that's coming out, and that's because I want certain movies to do well. I am far more interested in the art of movies than in the business, but one of the ugly truths about being a film fan is that if you want to see more films like the things you enjoy, those things do well enough that more things like them are produced. It's that basic. And so if I need to, I will occasionally beat the drum repeatedly because I love something.
For example, I sincerely hope Martin McDonagh has a monster hit with "Seven Psychopaths," his new comedy starring Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, and Tom freakin' Waits. I love the film, and so today I've got two different things for you.
First, we've got my final interview from the batch of "Seven Psychopaths" conversations I had during the Toronto Film Festival, and this last one is McDonagh himself, joined by Colin Farrell. Obviously, the two of them worked together previously on "In Bruges," which has built a healthy cult following over the years since it was released, and there is a natural easy chemistry between them that is obvious from the second you sit down to talk to them.