Posts Tagged ‘Judi Dench’

The Sky Did Indeed Fall in Skyfall

In Movies on November 18, 2012 at 11:54 am

The third Daniel Craig Bond movie is here and it is beautiful. Directed by Sam Mendes, who directed American Beauty and Revolutionary Road, James Bond finds himself up again Silva, a super smart computer hacker, who used to be an MI6 agent and is played by Javier Bardem. Bond enlists the help of Q, played by Ben Whishaw, and Eve Moneypenny, played by Naomi Harris, to battle Silva who has a personal vendetta against M, played by Judi Dench. Bond travels from Shanghai to Macau in order to find, capture, and interrogate Silva who managed to get his hands on a list that MI6 has kept of all the known agents hidden within terrorist organizations. Oh, did I also mention that Bond is recovering from a near death experience hampered by an alcohol addiction? Oh I didn’t?  Did I also mention that there is a soldier turned bureaucrat who appears to want to make Bond’s life very difficult, Gareth Mallory, played by Ralph Fiennes? Oh I didn’t ?Well he is and he is back and better than ever. This movie had some amazing shots within it, a lot of shadow play, and took place in some amazing places. The cinematography was beautiful and benefited from the haunted Daniel Craig that was running around and fighting within it. In this film, the viewer gets a glimpse at the man behind the gun and the woman directing his shots. Both are haunted by the decisions they made and the events that they were involved in, in the past. I haven’t seen a Bond yet that showed us this vulnerable of a Bond and I loved it. He isn’t superman, he is the layman who knows  how to shoot a gun and how to break a neck. I suggest you see this movie even if you haven’t seen other Bond films, because, well, this is an entirely different Bond. It’s a beautiful film, well acted, with just enough action and just enough drama to keep lovers of both satisfied. Go see it! You won’t regret it.

Now onto the nitty-gritty spoiler filled review.

Judi Dench was absolutely great in this movie and a lot of people have given her the title of Bond girl for the amount of screen time she had during the film and her performance. I thought she gave M more character then I had ever seen before, although I wished she gave a bit more. Just a little bit of emotion, a tear or two. I’m not asking for Niagara Falls here, I just felt in some moments she could have been a little less stone faced and a little bit more raw.

Naomi Harris gave some life to Moneypenny who I remembered as being Bond’s secretary and that woman who Bond can never seem to remember but she can never forget him. I liked seeing her in action and even being the one to shoot Bond, GASP, that never happens! It gave some life to her character and I really do hope they bring her back for more.

I liked Javier Bardem, however, I thought his final scene fell flat. He had the opportunity to kill M, and yet stalled, and thus ended up dead. I understand he was torn, there appeared to be some weird mother son relationship between the two of them, but I felt that he only stalled for the script’s sake, not for reality’s sake. This man blew up her office and engineered it so M could witness the entire thing. He wanted her to suffer and yet he stalled pulling the trigger. It was a bit contradictory to me.

I like Ralph Fiennes as the new M. I truly do and I hope they make at least two more Bond movies with this cast of characters because it would be a damn shame if they put all of these great characters and actors into place, only to have Bond replaced by someone else.

One thing I did not enjoy, was the similarity between Javier Bardem’s character and the Joker, from “The Dark Knight”. This raises a good question, can a character represent utter chaos and not be compared to the Joker? I don’t know but especially when Q figured out that his plan was to get caught AND then Javier Bardem is riding in the police car. My brain just couldn’t help but compare the too. Does the film suffer from the comparison? No. It just seemed like it was done already.

Also, Berenice Marlohe’s character isn’t really worth mentioning, hence why she wasn’t mentioned in the summary, but I think it would have been nice to have her character developed a little bit. We see her, Bond sleeps with her, and she’s dead.


Madre’s List of Favorite Movies in No Particular Order

In Movies on August 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm
After beginning this blog, my mother asked if she could create her own list of favorites and have it published on my blog. And of course, I said why not. Below is her top 7 favorite movies. I went through and made some changes, her grammar was just plain awful, but her list and her descriptions are her’s alone. Enjoy!
Young Frankenstein (1974)  directed by Mel Brooks:
This is hands down my favorite comedy.  The writing is spot on hilarious.  Gene Wilder is perfect as Dr. Frankenstein (that’s Franhhcensteen…).  The actors’ comedic timing is just amazing.  That comes from having a super sense of comedy, and from being so well cast. I watched Marty Feldman on his show, “The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine”, a BBC production in 1971. So British, so funny. I like this movie better than Brook’s other classic, Blazing Saddles.  To me, Young Frankenstein relies more on verbal comedy, as opposed to the sight gags of Blazing Saddles. I always watch this movie when it is on, and I practically know the whole script by heart.
CM: This movie also includes a great cameo by Gene Hackmen, that makes it that much funnier.
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dreamhouse (1948) directed by H.C Potter, starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy:
This film is about a family who decides to ditch big city life, buy a house in the country(been there, done that…) and the pitfalls of home remodeling.  The situation is classic, a couple saying that all the house needs is “a little love”  and plenty of demolition.  Myrna Loy is superb as the wife getting to finally decorate her new home. Her dissertation to the contractor on paint colors is a must see. (As an interior designer… I understand her logic…) Cary Grant is at first  enamored with being a country squire, until the budget for the house gets totally out of control. This film was the basis for the Money Pit, starring Tom Hanks,  but this version is sooo much better. The script is clean, and lines are quick and clipped.  Anyone who has remodeled a house, or has relocated to the country where you have to deal with “the locals”, will totally get this movie.
CM: Never seen it but I have heard good things about Cary Grant. Will definitely give it a try
Beauty and The Beast- (1946) directed by Jean Cocteau–in French:
Dadaist poet and artist Jean Cocteau adapted the classic story into a film that is  a fantasy in such a beautiful and subtle way.  His images and camera angles are more like individual pieces of art.  He also pioneered some special effects.  My favorite scene is of Belle walking in a hallway lit by the wall sconces held by human arms. Very creepy, but also so beautiful.  This is for you art film folks; it is a must see.
CM: Saw this once when I was very young. Will probably never watch it again because it scared me so much.
Oh Brother Where Art Thou (2000) directed by Joel & Ethan Cohen:
First, it’s a Cohen Brothers films,. so what’s not to like? But this film take you through Homer’s Odyssey far better than reading any book.  George Clooney as our fearless leader is just perfect.  He can tell a tall tale like no other.  John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson round out the hapless trio on the journey.  I love how this story is worked into the time period of 1937 and the Great Depression in Mississippi. The script is written in colloquial language, which is musical and poetic, consisting of such lines as “pater familias” and “sang in yonder can” and “skeedaddled”.  Another great aspect of this film is the soundtrack. Such a great combo of old timey music done by Allison Krause and other great singer songwriters. The score was written by T Bone Burnett, and he totally captured the time period. I’m still singing those songs in the car when no one is listening.
CM: This movie is well written, well acted, and well shot. John Goodman has a great cameo in this movie as the cyclops that has a pretty pvitoal role in Homer’s Odyssey.
Chocolat (2000) directed by Lasse Hellstrom
I love this story.  While it has mystery and magic in the plot, it also deals with the difficult relationship between mothers and daughters, both living and dead. Juliette Binoche plays Vianne, a mysterious woman who shows up in a very conservative town and opens a chocolate shop.  The candies begin to awaken the passions of the townspeople, much to the chagrin of the mayor, play by Alfred Molina.  He is horrified  that such decadence has arrived in his town. But he has secrets of his own that only the chocolate will heal.  Vianne has a daughter, Anouk, who desperately wants to stop being dragged from town to town and to settle down.  And Johnny Depp is, well, the eye candy in this film as the gypsy love interest Roux. Vianne carries her mother’s ashes with her, and appears to still be taking direction from her mother, even after death. Roux opens her eyes to her issues, and how she is passing those onto her daughter.
Judi Dench and Lena Olin are both superb as tragic figures who come into their own after meeting Vianne. The film was shot on location in Flavigny-sur-Ozerain in France, and the town is breathtaking.
CM: I wasn’t the biggest fan of this movie, but if you have lady parts I’m sure you’ll love it. Because well it’s about chocolate and has Johnny Depp in it.
Pulp Fiction (1994) Quentin Tarantino
Another of my favs. Tarantino can do no wrong.  Where to begin with this film? First, the casting. John Travolta’s career was reborn with this movie as Vincent Vega. And Samuel L. Jackson as Jules. As a hit man team, they interact as pragmatist and philosopher.  The plot winds, twists and turns, and goes so many places, it is a wild ride.  Harvey Keitel has to do some clean up for the two boys, and he is so cool, so slick and so funny. and Uma Thurman dancing with Travolta? Classic.  Is this film violent?  Oh hell yes. But Tarantino in his own quirky way, makes it all so funny.  I mean, who wouldn’t laugh at two guys arguing over who has to clean the splattered brains out of the car when they accidentally shoot the passenger?  I did, and you will too.  The soundtrack is awesome as well, especially “Jungle Boogie”…..
CM: This goes without saying, but it should be said. I love this film. The reason why it wasn’t included in my list is because I wanted to introduce other films that people might not have seen such as “True Romance” or “Heat”.  If you haven’t seen this movie, and you are going to see “Django Unchained” then see this movie before hand just so you know what you’re walking into. Best line in the whole movie, btw. I have posted that quote countless times as my Facebook status.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) Francis Ford Coppola
So I’m a sucker for vampire movies (haha, get it?) But this one is my all time favorite.  Gary Oldman is so captivating as Dracula. Normally, Dracula is portrayed as a soulless monster, but Oldman  plays him as a sad and tragic figure as you see him lose the love of his life.  He goes teeters evil master as he captures Johnathan Harker and lets his siren vampires torture him, to a tender and romantic loving man.  Winona Ryder is passable as Mina Harker, I found both her and Keanu Reeve’s portrayals to be a bit stiff and stilted. I know they are supposed to be repressed Victorians, but they both seemed wooden.  Gary Oldman carries the film, as does Tom Waits, who plays poor crazed Renfield. And Anthony Hopkins nailed the role of Van Helsing.  I love that fact that he played him as  an eccentric, with a somewhat mystical power… or was that just science? It was beautifully filmed and included some great costume design.  They represented the period, perfectly. This Dracula is waay more spectacular and lascivious than those True Blood dudes.
CM: Phenomenal movie and I concur with mi madre’s statement. Reeves and Winona seemed uncomfortable and confused with the role that they were playing. I almost didn’t feel bad when Reeve’s gets tortured because, well, it just didn’t seem like he was in actual pain, as crass as that sounds.