Archive for March, 2009

Quantum of Solace

Posted in Reviews on March 25, 2009 by Gryphon08

quantum-of-solaceCritical Review of Quantum of Solace

In the 22nd James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, featuring Daniel Craig in his second performance as James Bond, director Marc Forster chose to pick up the plot line only hours after the death of James Bond’s love, Vesper Lynd, in order to exploit his vengeful emotions.

Marc Forster made a wise decision when he chose Dan Bradley as the film’s second unit director, best known for his work on the Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum, and his gritty action style blends seamlessly with the previous action that began in 2005’s Casino Royale. The action sequences involve sleek, fast cars, speedboats, and airplanes. Is there any vehicle that 007 can’t operate?

The action begins with a car chase in Sienna, Italy, where James Bond, driving and Aston Martin DBS V12 with Mr. White tied up in the trunk, evades the henchmen that peruse him in three Alfa Romeo 159s. Bond fans and autophiles alike will be horrified to learn that six Aston Martins were destroyed during filming.

Bond must then chase M’s (played by the fantastic Judi Dench) M16 traitor bodyguard, Mitchell, across the rooftops of Sienna after he almost kills M and leads to the escape of Mr. White. You can really see Bradley’s style carried over from the Bourne movies as the two leap across buildings and balconies, that is until they both fall through the glass roof of a bell tower. The two then battle it out amid scaffolding, and falling panes of glass. Thanks to some quick thinking and fancy rope work Bond is able to dispatch Mitchell while narrowly avoiding death in true Bond fashion.

A bank account trail left by Mitchell leads Bond to Haiti where a case of mistaken identity introduces him to Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko), who leads him straight to Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric); a ruthless businessman who owns Green Planet and is conspiring to take control of one of the world’s most important natural resources: water. A theme reminiscent of Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (1974). Michael G. Wilson put it well when he commented on the plot, “if you control the water you control the whole development of the country. I think it’s true”.

Daniel Craig represents a very different kind of James Bond than viewers have seen before, due in part to Forster’s running theme of emotionally repressed protagonists in several of his films. In perfect contrast, Camille is a breathe of fresh air when it comes to the women portrayed in Bond films. She is not the typical casual love interest. She is strong, independent, and can take care of herself. Forster created her this way because she was the perfect counterpart to Bond, “she openly shows emotions similar to those which Bond experiences but is unable to express,” says Forster.

Perhaps one of Bond’s most impressive battles occurs when he and Camille are flying a Douglas DC-3 when the henchmen arrive flying a Bell UH-1 Iroquois Helicopter and a Aermacchi SF.260, and an aerial battle ensues.

From fighting terrorism in Casino Royal to becoming an environmentalist in Quantum of Solace, James Bond has all of the right moves to impress a diverse audience.

Quantum of Solace Preview

Posted in Previews on March 25, 2009 by Gryphon08

Twilight

Posted in Reviews on March 23, 2009 by Gryphon08

twilight-movie-poster22 November 2008

Critical Review of Twilight

I have been a fan of Stephenie Meyer’s series since her 2005 debut novel, Twilight, and have been looking forward to the possibility of a movie ever since. I (along with hundreds of other fans) breathed a sigh of relief when I heard that Summit Entertainment, not MTV, would be producing Twilight.

I agree with Entertainment Weekly reviewer, Owen Gleiberman, that Summit Entertainment’s choice of director, Catherine Hardwicke, was a sagacious movie indeed. “The youth-quake specialist of Thirteen treats teen confusion without a trace of condescension: She gets their grand passions and prickly defense mechanisms,” Gleiberman stated.

I find great relief in the fact that Twilight was not the train wreck it could have been, but my expectations for the movie were too high and ultimately, I was left disappointed.

Summit stayed true to the basics of the novel due in large part to Hardwicke’s love of the series and her collaboration with author Stephenie Meyer.

The actors were well chosen. Robert Pattinson, who is best known for his role as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), is the embodiment of Meyer’s teenage vampire heartthrob, Edward Cullen. Kristen Stewart, who is best known for her role as Jodie Foster’s daughter in Panic Room (2002), does a nice job of portraying Meyer’s Bella, the delicate, clumsy, pale skinned girl from Arizona. Among the many talents of Twilight, Billy Burke shines as Bella’s father, Police Chief Swan; Gil Birmingham “keeps it real” as Billy Black; Cam Gigandet terrifies as James; Peter Facinelli dazzles as Dr. Carlisle Cullen; and Nikki Reed smolders as Rosalie Hale.

Although Twilight brims with talent, its story line falls flat, albeit the difficulty of turning a 600 page novel into a two hour film. The film does not give the viewer any real sense of time; it seems as though the events taking place cover only the span of a week rather than months. Edward is supposed to be struggling against killing Bella and attempting to stay away from her, but the viewer does not get a real sense of this in the movie. Nor do they get the suspense and build up of the “forbidden” romance between Edward and Bella. A major problem lies in the fact that too much of the movie is consumed by James, his coven, and the battle between him and Edward.

Several fans were disappointed to see many of their favorite sequences in the book cut from the movie. The one that seems to be the most disappointing is the fact that Hardwicke failed to include the blood typing scene in Bella’s biology class.

The documentary style of the film and its excessive use of close-up and revolving camera angles and shots were an odd choice for Twilight. The only time any wide angle or panorama shots are used is during the baseball scene and during the scenery shots of the Pacific Northwest.

Another sore spot and cause of much disappointment is the CGI used to make Edward sparkle. It was absolutely horrible. It looked as though they just pixilated the image of Robert Pattinson. The CGI was only made worse by the faint “sparkly” sound effect used during the scene. However, Summit did a fair job at making the vampires, particularly the nomads, looks as though they were walking rapidly, thanks to the “magic carpet” technique they used. Hopefully the CGI will improve in New Moon Blood and Chocolate (2007). because no one wants to revisit the horrible werewolf phases of

All things considered Summit Entertainment did a good job at capturing the essence of Stephenie Meyer’s novel. The movie faltered in too many ways to mention and was anything but amazing, but many fans will simply enjoy seeing the characters they know and love brought to life on the big screen. Hopefully, Summit can redeem themselves with the next installment in the Twilight franchise, New Moon, which was given the green light November 22, after Twilight raked in $70 million dollars at the box office opening weekend in the United States alone.

*Edit: After viewing Twilight for a second time the lackluster connections between the characters stands out as a prominent sore spot. Hopefully new director Chris Weitz can breathe new life into the second installment of the Twilight Saga, New Moon that is set to release on November 20, 2009.

Twilight Preview

Posted in Previews on March 23, 2009 by Gryphon08

A Second Look

Posted in News on March 22, 2009 by Gryphon08

With the upcoming DVD releases of Twilight and Quantum of Solace I thought it might be nice to revisit the initial critical reviews written after their big screen reveals in November 2008. Head over to the Reviews category to check them out and read the additional comments.

New X-Men Origins Wolverine Page

Posted in News on March 9, 2009 by Gryphon08

I’ve decided to create a new page to capture the multitudes of information and news surrounding the upcoming X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie, so go and check it out.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Posted in News, Previews on March 9, 2009 by Gryphon08
wolverine

Photo courtesy of Marvel

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is the prequel   set seventeen years before the first X-Men movie chronicles the life of future X-Men Wolverine. The film will expound how Wolverine acquired his deadly claws and unique hairdo. Violence, romance, complex relationships, and the ominous Weapon X program will draw in diehard fans and make the movie an early summer smash hit. Fans can expect to see some new, familiar, and surprising mutants in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Since we still have to wait until May 1, 2009 for X-Men Origins: Wolverine to hit theaters check out the latest full length trailer.