Archive for department: "Reviews"

US “Skyfall” review roundup

The US critics got their hands on Skyfall this week, and we’ve rounded up some key praise and critique for the 23rd Bond movie, stemming from this side of the Atlantic.

Mendes and Deakins are so busy trying to be visionary that they don’t notice that characters are wandering too far from their roots, and half the time you can’t see what’s going on. A sequence in Shanghai in which Bond fights a fellow assassin against a gorgeous giant screen of jellyfish images degenerates into two anonymous backlit shadows. Silva is introduced with a shot that’s so ridiculously deep-focus, the camera work becomes a distraction. The scenes at the country house (which feature an amusing cameo by Albert Finney, trying his best to sound Scottish) are a bedlam of shadow and blasts of mustard-colored light. – NY Post

The villain is a blond-haired nut job named Silva (Javier Bardem), a cyberterrorist, and he has a grudge to settle. I’m not sure Bond ever turns on a computer, much less uses one; he leaves that to Q (Ben Whitshaw), a full-on nerd whose age and manner make it hard for Bond to, well, bond with him. – Democrat and Chronicle

Sam Mendes indulges more in mood lighting than in fistfighting. He poses Craig like a Ken doll against various exotic backdrops (Macao, Shanghai) but barely wrinkles the suits. The film’s climax, which reinvents more than one origin story (and explains the film’s title), feels satisfyingly apocalyptic, which may be a good sign. Perhaps the next Bond will do more shaking than stirring. – Newsday

Deakins, who also shot Mendes’“Jarhead” and “Revolutionary Road,” provides a varied array of looks, all of them dazzling. The MI6 headquarters, which must be moved to a hidden underground location following a vicious attack, have a crisp and stylish industrial-loft chic about them. The rugged hills of Scotland, where the final battle occurs at Bond’s ancestral home, are both wondrous and imposing; by this point in the film, “Skyfall” extends beyond the familiar confines of a spy thriller and becomes a flat-out Western. It’s a bold move. – Daily Tribune

Watching the purposefulness of this movie, the way Mendes argues for conversation and atmosphere over conventional, incoherently assembled chases and fights, I realized I was frustrated. “Skyfall” does every single thing these movies have to do (Bond’s last-name/full-name introduction, the shaking of the martini, the sport cars and sport sex; the stunts, deployment of gadgets, and camped-up villainy), and there’s little Mendes can do to enliven the familiarity. – Boston Globe

What people will cling to, however, is Craig’s subtle, performance that drips with depth as he confronts a past that would have emotionally crippled lesser individuals. Craig’s Bond has been one of the most stoic and straightforward versions of the character. The humor he brings to the role is subtle. And he says more with his non-traditionally handsome face and pursed lips than most actors say with words. His well-worn face shows hints of weariness that prove especially noteworthy for his portrayal of 007 in this particular outing. – Examiner

Tags: , ,

“Skyfall” gets overwhelmingly positive reviews from UK critics

It can’t be easy making the longest running film franchise fresh and interesting… it can’t be easy at the best of times, but on this 50th anniversary year, the producers and new director Sam Mendes had their work cut out.

Last week critics got their claws on the film for the first time, and the reviews appear positive. The Rotten Tomatoes website is currently listing at an aggregate score of 96%.

Here’s a few soundbites from some of the reviews – some of which are spoilerific.

Skyfall swipes the best and most established Bond elements from every actor’s tenure and combines them into a film so satisfying as a stand alone story it’s nearly impossible to envisage how it could be improved. – Clothes of Film

On his third outing Daniel Craig’s Bond finally feels like he’s come into his own, a strong balance of old and new but a rugged, clever character all his own. And Skyfall is the suave yet wry, superbly confident and perfectly executed movie to match him. – Cinema Blend

Bardem, who created such a memorable screen villain in No Country for Old Men‘s Anton Chigurh, repeats the trick with Silva. He’s camp, creepy and reptilian, and his first encounter with Bond is enough to make you laugh one moment then squirm the next. – Digital Spy

Ultimately, Mendes delivers an assured, accomplished Bond film that stands somewhere between delivering what the public expects from a Bond film and creating something original and new. His Bond is certainly more nuanced and intricate and instilled with a sense of Britishness that befits 007′s fiftieth year on the screen. – MI6

Ably directed by Sam Mendes, Skyfall – the 23rd official 007 outing – is at its finest during a bruising, tumultuous opening half, fired by an electrifying pre-credits chase scene and a script that nods shrewdly to the Wikileaks furore. Cyber-terrorists have stolen a hard drive containing a complete list of Nato operatives that they proceed to leak online, in weekly instalments, five names at a time. – Guardian

One of the pleasures of Skyfall is the amount of screen time given to characters who in previous films have had only a marginal role. Dench’s M in particular is foregrounded. She’s at once a maternal figure and someone (we learn) who has behaved very ruthlessly towards her spies. Ralph Fiennes registers strongly as a bureaucratic type, breathing down her neck but with hidden reserves of courage. There is enjoyable banter, too, between Bond and Ben Whishaw’s very youthful but very boffin-like Q. An added treat is Albert Finney as a bearded Scottish gamekeeper/vigilante. – Independent

Tags: , , , ,

IMDb forums user claims to have been part of the “Skyfall” test screening

A user of the IMDb forums, lizze-sandy81, posted recently that she had seen Skyfall cut together as part of a test audience. This is not uncommon practice and the poster is clearly a Bond fan, having followed the production quite closely. Some points of note, if genuine, are that Skyfall is currently edited to an impressive length (after the short and ultimately bitter Quantum of Solace). The film is reportedly almost three hours long, with the Scottish scenes starting around 2 hours into the film.

The poster also makes nods to the fact that Ralph Fiennes’ office is dressed much like M’s in the early years and the relationship between Fiennes and his subordinates brings to mind the old M-Bond relationship.

The pre credit sequence is reportedly 20 odd minutes (rivalling The World Is Not Enough for length).

Finally the soundtrack has yet to be completed, so scores from old Bond films were used as filler and the OHMSS theme music played in place of the title track.

For some of the more subjective points, you can read the whole review here.

Tags: , , , ,