Skyfall

Daniel Craig

Javier Bardem

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007 had been at it for nearly 50 years when this film came about. It’s classic and innovative at the same time. It’s quite different from the previous Daniel Craig James Bond films thus far which seemed intent on shaving away everything down to the absolute bare essentials shedding the excesses of gadgetry and high spy living. While we won’t be seeing invisible cars or exploding pens anytime soon, it was nice to see the franchise being taken seriously. I, for one, missed the presence of Q (for Quartermaster we now learn) in the first two Craig films and it’s nice to see him (played with restraint and subtlety by the great Ben Whishaw) back in action here. Another vital part of the Bond franchise is reborn here but is such a refreshing surprise at the end that I’ll leave you to enjoy it/him/her.

The film opens with a chase through Istanbul foregoing the initial “Bond in the Crosshairs” intro customary to classic 007 flicks. It’s a daring chase on foot, car, motorscooter, and even atop a moving train. Bond is pursuing Patrice (Ola Rapace) an enemy agent in possession of the MI6 version of NOC list from the first Mission Impossible Film ie a list of embedded agents and their real names and faces. Bond is aided in his pursuit by Eve (the sassy and beautiful Naomie Harris) whose driving skills are top notch although her abilities as sniper could use a bit of work.  The film’s opening theme begins with the sultry sounds of Adele’s Skyfall which is the best Bond theme in years at least since the 90’s anyway. The opening sequence, too is beautifully dark and gothic.

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Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens

John Boyega

Daisy Ridley

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We, the faithful, have waited. We waited through the Apocrypha of Episodes I&II, the better than worse Episode III. We had misgivings about Lucas’ selling of all Star Wars rights to Disney until the MCU demonstrated it knew how to handle a film franchise. Even then, hearing news of an Episode VII gave birth to more misgivings until we realized who was in charge of it all. JJ Abrams. Here was the guy who rebooted the Star Trek franchise into a hip, happening film series with excellent casting and a lovely mix of old and new. He is a wizard in geek circles. Only Nixon could go to China, only Kirk could negotiate peace between Klingons and the Federation, and only Abrams could bring balance to the Force and allow it to awaken.

I’m very happy to say that the effort is mostly successful. Continue reading

The Bodyguard

Kevin Costner

Whitney Houston

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I think the main reason behind my not watching The Bodyguard until it recently aired on Japanese TV was, perhaps, the song. Theme songs for movies have a way of defining the film experience especially when it is saturating the airways like Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On”and, more recently,Disney’s “Let It Go.” It was the same for The Bodyguard. You couldn’t flip the radio station 3 times without coming upon it. Listeners would sing it (or attempt to, anyhow, as precious few can even dare to imitate Houston’s talent for more than 20 seconds without letting their unskilled cats out of the bag). So when I sat down to enjoy what I expected to be Whitney Houston’s Purple Rain, I was delightfully surprised to find it to be a well written, carefully sculpted thriller with strong performances by its two leads.

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