Category Archives: Great

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)

TheTaleofThePrincessKaguya_US_poster

Genre: Animation, Drama

Cast: Aki Asakura, Kengo Kora, Takeo Chii

Synopsis: A bamboo cutter discovers a miniature girl inside a bamboo shoot. Believing her to be divine, he takes her home and raises the girl to be a princess.

Most people hate January. I, on the other hand, quite enjoy it because of one reason: Oscar season. This year I managed to see most of the big films that have been nominated. I have my favourites but I am of the opinion that certain mistakes were made by the academy. One big mistake was the failure to nominate The Lego Movie for best animated feature. However, the academy managed to get it right when it decided to nominate Song of the Sea and this Studio Ghibli film.

As you all know, I am a massive Ghibli fan. I love them so much I would marry Totoro if I could. So it comes a no surprise then that I thoroughly enjoyed this offering from Isao Takahata, who is responsible for other classics such as Pom Poko, Only Yesterday, and Grave of the Fireflies. Based on the Japanese folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, the film is about the life of a girl found in a bamboo shoot who is raised to be a princess during the Heian period. Despite being a princess, she goes through all the troubles young girls face such as falling in love, learning to become a lady, and celebrating her first visit from Aunt Rose by throwing a party for all the horny gentlemen in the surrounding area.

Period CakeThe traditional period cake

First of all, let me just say that this is one of the most exquisitely animated films Studio Ghibli has ever produced. I wasn’t sure if a film with a watercolour aesthetic would work but I was pleasantly surprised. The watercolours not only give the film a delicate feel but also a fluidity and level of simplicity that was much appreciated. Every frame in this film could have been a painting, and the animators at the studio have again displayed their talents as well as added to the studio’s reputation as a heavy-hitter in animation world. Two scenes in particular that stand out are the scene where the princess visits the cherry tree and the scene where she runs out of her period party. Both scenes are so beautiful you will have to rewatch them.

Visual beauty is not the only strength to this film. As always, Joe Hisaishi hits the nail on the head with his beautiful score and the script is sharp and injects appropriate humour in all the right places. Moreover, the film is yet another example of why Studio Ghibli is one of the most revolutionary film studios out there for presenting strong female characters and advocating a feminist message. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya essentially functions as a feminist critique of traditional Japanese culture. As such, the movie belongs to be placed on the same shelf with other pro-feminism movies such as Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. The film also examines another important theme: the burdens parents place on children and the transitory beauty of youth.

If I were to be completely objective, I would say that the film’s length is its downfall. Towards the end, the audience will begin to get twitchy and it doesn’t help that the last half gets pretty odd by Western standards. As much as I love ‘Japan WTF’ moments, even I found the kidnapping by Buddha weird.

buddhaFilthy bastard

However, these flaws don’t detract from the fact that this is a beautiful and moving work of art. I would like to see this win the Oscar for best animated feature, but it faces stiff competition.

High-lights:

  • Spectacular animation and a well-formed script.
  • “A girl needs to LOL every now and then.” You go girl! I want you as my future daughter.
  • Beautiful and transfixing music and sound.
  • I wish I were a Heian princess….only without the whole “YAY it’s your period” thing.

Downers:

  • A bit too long.
  • Gets weird in places.

Summary:

Another fine film for Studio Ghibli’s portfolio. While it isn’t the best film the studio’s produced, I am confident that it is one that will be fondly remembered in years to come and it will most definitely be one that I show my future daughter (assuming I have one). Do yourself a favour and watch this as soon as possible.

8/10

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High-lights of 2014

Happy new year everybody! I hope you all managed to celebrate the arrival of 2015 in a special way. As expected, I spent the evening baked out of my gourd and watching movies. All in all, a pretty successful evening for me.

Now, moving on to the important stuff, it’s time for me to deliver my opinion on what the best movies of the year were. Before I start, I should say that last year I failed to include some films I should have because they had not yet been released in England. Had I the ability to see them before New Year, 12 Years a Slave and Her would have definitely made the list. I was considering including them on this year’s list but I thought it would be unfair to prejudice the great films that were released in 2014. As such, this year’s list will only include film’s that were released this year. Fortunately, my sojourn to the US meant I was able to see all the Oscar-favourites before they came out here so my choices this year are fairly balanced.

I have picked these five films for a variety of reasons and, as you will see, it’s quite a diverse group. I picked some for entertainment value. Others I picked because of what they accomplished. All in all, I have to say it was an impressive year in cinema and I hope 2015 turns out to be just as eventful.

Boyhood

Boyhood_film

What is it about?

A young boy growing up in Texas.

Why is it one of the best films of the year?

How could it not be? It took 12 years to film and is one of the most audacious films to have ever been made. Boyhood packs and emotional punch but the surprising thing about it is that it’s a film that’s not really about anything. A lot of the drama actually happens off screen: the parents’ split, the domestic violence etc. What we see is the boys’ reaction to these events and how they shape his life with very little input from him. The audience is asked to relate to and forge a connection with the boy simply because we share one thing in common: we were once children ourselves. Boyhood delivers a message which is that childhood is a magical time, but one that ends very quickly. You blink, you miss it. Once it’s gone, you’ll never get it back. The movie made me, a young adult, reflect on my own childhood and appreciate any film that manages to evoke a sense of nostalgia.

Best thing about it?

The realism. The scene in which the boy gets given a gun and a bible on a birthday from his conservative grandparents is a brilliant example. He doesn’t get emotional, he just accepts the gifts politely and then saves his comments for later.

Dear White People

Dear_White_People

What is it about?

Race relations on a university campus in North America.

Why is it one of the best films of the year?

Because it manages to inject appropriate humour into a subject matter that is incredibly sensitive and complex and concerns an issue of the utmost relevance. I must admit, I was surprised by how much I loved this film. I went to see it at the London Film Festival because I had heard good things about it on the festival circuit. Now, as a white guy, race is something I don’t think about a lot largely because I don’t have to. When I lived in the US, it was the first time I experienced the race debate. It was a completely new experience for me but one that fascinated me. So much so in fact, that I took a course on critical race theory. This film dealt with a number of topics we looked at in class: intersectionality, racial identity among minorities, and the myth of a post-racial society. These issues are complex and emotional and to see them discussed thoughtfully and with well-scripted humour was very impressive.

Best thing about it?

Tyler James Williams. They guy has great timing and delivery.

Under the Skin

Under_the_Skin_poster

What is it about?

An alien in Glasgow who picks up men and devours their insides.

Why is it one of the best films of the year?

Because it is both beautiful and fucking weird. I remember leaving the cinema with an eerie sense of dread and discomfort, and I don’t mean that negatively. The film has very little dialogue, and when it does a lot of it is improvised, but it’s a great study of how images and sound effects can influence a person’s mood and emotions. Scarlett Johansson delivers one of her best performances as an alien in a ratty wig and fur coat, seducing men from depressing Glasgow council estates and leading them to their doom. Be warned, this isn’t the sort of film everyone will enjoy and I know people who hate this film. However, in my mind, it deserves to be on the list simply because it was the most unusual, interesting and creative film of the year.

Best thing about it?

Scarlett Johansson asking for directions to the motorway and shopping in Claire’s Accessories.

Nightcrawler

Nightcrawlerfilm

What is it about?

A freelance camera man records the aftermath of crimes and car crashes and then sells the footage to TV networks.

Why is it one of the best films of the year?

Because the film manages to be both entertaining and creepy, with Jake Gyllenhaal giving a wonderful performance as a career-obsessed sociopath in a fucked up profession. If I were to pick a group of people who are simply the worst, it would have to be real estate agents. However, Nightcrawler shines a light on an industry I didn’t even know existed and it is clearly full of douchebags. Nightcrawler is quite a slow film at first but the tension builds throughout. The ending is not a disappointment and the tension is released in an explosive and also really twisted way. This is a savvy and inventive little thriller that deserves recognition at awards ceremonies. Also, some beautiful shots of LA and it was filmed in my old neighbourhood….although I don’t remember it being that dangerous.

Best thing about it?

The film’s ability to build tension.

Gone Girl

Gone_Girl_Poster

What is it about?

A woman disappears and her husband becomes the prime suspect.

Why is it one of the best films of the year?

Because it’s a smart and stylish thriller with a great performance from Rosamund Pike and brilliant direction from David Fincher. I am a voracious reader; I get through at least 40 books a year. However, I tend to stay well away from ‘it books.’ The novel was certainly one of those and, because I hadn’t read it, I came to the cinema blind. I had no idea what would happen and thank god for that because it heightened the overall experience. During this movie I laughed, I was shocked, and I was thrilled. It’s a difficult thing to bring out a broad and contrasting range of emotions in an audience, but Fincher manages to do it with Gone Girl thereby securing his title as one of the best directors working today.

Best thing about it?

Honestly, I would say Pike. She’s not going to win an Oscar for her performance but a nomination is highly deserved. She manages to portray a very complex and interesting character with ease and she was a very pleasant surprise….as was Ben Affleck’s penis.

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Django Unchained (2012)

Django Unchained

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Cast: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio

Synopsis: A German bounty hunter and a former slave band together to free the slave’s wife from the hands of a ruthless plantation owner.

Hello all. Firstly, I apologise for the gap between posts. The last two weeks have been very hectic with work. I’ve been to Hungary and back and now I’m in Washington, DC for a few weeks. On top of that, I was sick and jet-lagged last week so writing posts simply became too much. Fortunately for you, I recover quickly! To celebrate my return to the USA, I decided my next post will be for a film that looks at the peculiar American institution of slavery. Slavery is always a difficult topic to discuss, and even more difficult to portray in film. A director will want to show the horrors of slavery but balance it with entertaining content…unfortunately, this has led to some questionable moves in the past.

MandingoThis bitch loves the taste of chocolate

To be honest, I was scared to approach Django Unchained after having watched 12 Years a Slave. That film was harrowing. I remember leaving the theatre, which was full, in complete silence. I almost cried on my way home and I’m not ashamed to admit that. No film had portrayed the brutality of slavery in such a real and striking way. When I got home, I just sat in a quiet room and thought about slavery for a while. I did not expect Django Unchained to have a similar effect. In fact, I was worried that, as a Tarantino movie, Django Unchained would make-light of the issue with the director’s trademark dark humour. To my great surprise, Tarantino managed to put together a film that tackles the issue sensitively.

That’s not to say that humour doesn’t play a part in this film. In fact, one of the best scenes in the film is a funny one involving KKK members discussing eye-holes in their pillow-masks. However, it’s the scenes of brutality that stuck with me the most. Just like the scene with Patsy and the soap in 12 Years a Slave, the mandingo fight in this movie is shocking. It made me feel uncomfortable but that’s what a film about slavery should do. You don’t want to be sat there, munching on your popcorn and thinking that slavery was all smiles and sunshine because it fucking wasn’t! You want to be reminded of its brutality and you want a film that’s going to make you think and feel in equal measure. Surprisingly, the humour in this film doesn’t detract from the film’s emotional punch.

As a final point, I will say that the actors garnered a lot of praise for their performances. I can attest to their awesome acting skills. However, two performances stand out. The first goes to long-time Tarantino staple Sam Jackson. I feel that Sam Jackson is an actor whose skills are often underrated, largely because he doesn’t take on challenging roles in the way that Meryl Streep might. However, his abilities are on full display in this movie and he manages to craft a truly despicable and complex villain for the audience to sink their teeth into.

The other performance that stands out was DiCaprio’s. By all means, DiCaprio is an excellent actor so the fact he does well in this movie is not entirely surprising. However, there’s something deliciously brilliant and flamboyant in his portrayal of Calvin Candie, the ruthless plantation owner. I’ve never seen a villain quite like him and DiCario’s performance alone is enough of a reason to watch this movie…plus, his performance gave birth to one of the greatest gifs in recent years.

Candie gif

High-lights:

  • The scenery in this movie is wonderful. It gives the film a very authentic feel, just like in True Grit.
  • Brilliant performances from all the actors, but special mention needs to go to DiCaprio and Jackson.
  • Appropriately injects humour into a film with harrowing subject matter.
  • Cracking sound track.
  • It cements Tarantino’s position as one of the most talented and versatile directors around. He’s been in the game for two decades and he can still surprise me.

Downers:

  • Very long. I fell it could have been shortened quite a bit.
  • Sad to think that neither DiCaprio nor Jackson won key award nominations for their work.

Summary:

Django Unchained is probably not the sort of film you should watch if you’re looking to kill a couple of hours. If you decide to watch this movie, you need to be prepare yourself for an experience that will bot only entertain you but one that will also upset you. Although not as powerful as 12 Years a Slave, Django Unchained will still give you plenty to think about. You should only watch this movie if you can handle the pressure. If you can, then you will not be disappointed.

8.5/10

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Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

Bridget Jones Diary

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Cast: Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth

Synopsis: A year in the life of tragic singleton Bridget Jones

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have no doubt noticed something odd with Renée Zellweger. In short, she has a brand new face…one that is very different to her old face. My friend has a theory that someone killed Zellweger and assumed her identity and has everyone fooled. Most other rational people think she’s gone under the knife. Then again, maybe not…as this gif points out, it can all be a matter of perspective.

Face-angles

Anyway, the point of this post is not to debate whether Zellweger had the Wacko-Jacko treatment. This post is instead going to celebrate Zellweger’s best work. Bridget Jones is a role she truly made her own and one which brought her into the hearts of many a British spinster/singleton.

In all my years as a movie-watcher, I have never seen any American manage to portray a British person quite so convincingly. Sure, Zellweger doesn’t get the accent right 100 per cent of the time but being British has nothing to do with the accent. It’s all about the mannerisms, the mind-set, the awkwardness, and the charm; all things Zellweger manages to nail. Who can deny the Britishness of chugging a bottle of wine alone, finishing off the last bit of cheese in the house while watching Fatal Attraction and singing 80s power ballads? Seriously, I have done that. Most British people have done that. That’s why everyone loves us so much. As a group of people, we’re weird and eccentric and people don’t always get our sense of humour, but there’s just something so devilishly intriguing and amusing about us isn’t there?

BorisPictured: the epitome of Britishness

Not only does this film show Zellweger’s talents, but it also displays one of Great Britain’s greatest assets: fit posh-boys. Is there a man as vagina-moisteningly gorgeous as Colin Firth? Short answer is ‘no.’ Long answer is ‘possibly’ but that one won’t come with as sexy an accent. I want Colin Firth to impregnate me. Mark Darcy? Phwoooar. Even Hugh Grant in this film is kind of hot in an ‘evil hairless bastard’ kind of way. To put it succinctly, there is so much eye-toffee in this you will be mopping up your seat with a sheet of Bounty once you’re done watching this film.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I’m not really a fan of romantic comedies but Bridget Jones’s Diary is an exception. I can kind of see a lot of myself in the main character, as I am sure a lot of Brits can. Maybe that’s partly why I like this film so much: it gives me hope that one day my own Colin Firth will come into my life while wearing a hideous Christmas jumper…one can dream…

High-lights:

  • A great window into the awesomeness of the British, one that bypasses all our negative qualities like passive-aggressive tutting, constantly apologising and colonialism.
  • Fuck me now Colin Firth.
  • The fight scene is probably the best (and most depressingly accurate) fight scene I have ever seen in a movie. They even apologise while fighting.
  • Run Bridget!!! Run into the snow naked to get your man!
  • “….mainly poofs.”

Downers:

  • Typical of Richard Curtis films, every hot young singleton in London knows every other hot young singleton and they all live in lovely flats in Zone 1. It’s all make believe!
  • Geri Halliwell…I will never forgive you for what you did to the Spice Girls.
  • She’s been a journalist for all of 15 sodding minutes and she’s already more successful than me.

Summary:

If you’re coming over to the UK for a holiday, this is the film that you should watch before you leave. It will properly introduce you to the ways of the British and help you assimilate. Of course, you should watch this film even when you’re not coming to the UK because it’s still a bloody good laugh.

8/10

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Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)

Drop Dead Gorgeous

Genre: Comedy

Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Denise Richards, Brittany Murphy, Amy Adams, Kirstie Alley

Synopsis: A documentary crew follow the contestants participating in a beauty pageant in small-town Minnesota, but things get deadly when someone starts killing the competition.

If I were to sum up my sense of humour it would be with the phrase “gallows humour.” I can find even the most traumatic experiences funny. Some may say it’s because I’m a twisted individual. I, however, prefer to think that it’s because I always like to turn negative situations into positive ones. True character is shown if you can look in the face of death and laugh. There are not many films that manage to cater to gallows humour very well, and it’s easy to see why. It’s difficult to strike the appropriate balance between being morbid and funny but, in my honest opinion, this film hits the nail on the head.

Drop Dead Gorgeous wasn’t received very well when it was first released. That, too, is easy to see why. The film is set in a small town in Minnesota, a town in which the biggest event of the year is a teen beauty pageant. The citizens of this town are God fearing folk with funny accents. When I lived in the US I lived in California so I didn’t really come into contact with these kind of people but, rest assured, they exist. The purpose of this film is to take the piss out of these people and this version of America.

T and T gif…Murica

I personally believe that a lot of Americans are ashamed by this kind of America and Drop Dead Gorgeous can hit close to home. However, I think that in itself is pretty funny. After all, I’ve never met a British person who didn’t like this movie. However, Americans shouldn’t be so sensitive because this movie also displays a lot of the positive things about living in America too; namely that with hard work and a little bit of talent you can achieve your wildest dreams.

SlothThis sloth gets it

It helps that the film gives us a character we can all rally behind. Kirsten Dunst plays Amber Atkins, a beautiful and intelligent trailer-trash girl with big dreams. She’s the sort of girl who can name all 50 states in alphabetical order while working two part-time jobs. She’s nice to everyone she meets and she can dance. She’s the everyman who is fighting against power and corruption. What’s not to love?

It’s not all about Dunst though. Every performer in this film gives it their all. The mockumentary style really works because it allows all the performers to get lost in their characters. These are characters that you love to love and love to hate. Brittany Murphy’s character in particular is so hysterically adorable and it makes me sad to think that she’s no longer around. If anything, this film displays the talents of a lot of actresses and their ability to deliver well-scripted comedy as though it were them speaking naturally. Even Denise Richards pulls it off and we all know she’s not the greatest actress around.

High-lights:

  • Brilliant performances and wonderfully weird characters.
  • “You know what dad? Peter’s gay….GGGAAAAAYYYY!!!” This film is so quotable.
  • “They’re the richest family in a small town. It’s front page news when one of them takes a shit.” See what I mean.
  • Great soundtrack.
  • I always used to think the Soylent Green scene was funny but I actually realise now that it has a purpose.

Downers:

  • Realising that you will be going to hell for laughing at an anorexic girl lip synching to ‘Don’t Cry Out loud’ by Melissa Manchester.

Summary:

In my eyes, Drop Dead Gorgeous is comedy gold. It’s got great performances and moments that have me wiping away tears that came from laughing too hard. Moreover, it provides you with quotes for life. If you’re the sort of person who can find the humour in life’s darkest moments then this is just the film for you.

9/10

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The Matrix (1999)

The_Matrix_Poster

Genre: Sci-Fi, Action/Adventure

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne

Synopsis: A hacker escapes from a simulated reality called “the matrix” and must now fight in a war against the evil machines that enslaved humanity and trapped them in the matrix.

I remember the first time I watched this movie. I could not have been any older than twelve. At the time, I would say about 80 per cent of this film went over my head. As a result, I had always seen this movie as very complex but I remember enjoying it immensely. In the years since I first saw The Matrix, I have re-watched it several times as well as seen its sequels (both of which were rather appalling). My understanding of the film grew and I finally decided to do a review of it for the blog because I think it’s exactly the sort of film that stoners can enjoy.

One of the things that stands out in The Matrix is its high-octane action scenes. The fight-choreography in this movie is not only impeccable but also innovative. The film successfully marries hand-to-hand combat with wire-work and special effects. The fight scene between Neo and Morpheus still impresses me. I know it has been parodied so many times over the years, but think back to when the movie first came out and when you saw the bullet dodge scene. I bet your mouth dropped and that you said some nice things.

Doge MatrixMuch like this

While the action scenes certainly impress, I also enjoy the film because it is a live-action tribute to Japanese animation, notably Ghost in the Shell. The Wachowskis readily recognise the way Ghost in the Shell influenced the style and themes of The Matrix and I appreciate any director who is willing to give a nod to his or her sources. Give credit where it’s due! Not only that, the Wachowskis took a lot of the themes in Ghost in the Shell and adapted them seamlessly into a film that would appeal to a Western market. It’s one thing to simply copy a film, but to take a film’s core and build an entirely new film around it (a film which is very good in its own way) is admirable. If anything, The Matrix displays the Wachowskis’ passion for great cinema and their talent for translating great premises into films that will make a lot of money.

If I were to level some criticism at The Matrix it would only be two points. Firstly, the characters can be pretty hollow at times. Half of the Nebuchadnezzar’s are not developed and when they are killed off you don’t find yourself caring that much. Plus, why is that woman wearing white!!?? Did she miss the group meeting where they all decided to wear black?

Matrix fashionSeriously, sort it out. You look like a twat.

The second point is all the unnecessary violence. I understand that this film requires a lot of violence because of the sort of film it is but why do Neo and Trinity have to kill so many innocent people? Take the scene where they infiltrate the building to rescue Morpheus and they have to get through security. Basically, they shoot the place up and kill maybe 20 security guards in the process. Those guards probably have families. They probably woke up and were like: “oh shit, another work day but I’m sure it’ll be ok.” Then, all of a sudden, two freaks show up with automatic weapons. It’s funny that Neo is the “the chosen one” but displays a total disregard for human life. It’s films like this that show America’s fascination with weaponry and just who scary and distasteful it is….but then again, it was an epic action scene so I guess I can get over it.

High-lights:

  • Mind-bending, jaw-dropping, face-slappingly awesome action scenes.
  • Complex plot and great story-line. I never get bored watching this film.
  • Great tribute to Japanese animation.
  • Some really memorable performances from Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving.

Downers:

  • Just keep repeating to yourself: “the sequels never happened…the sequels never happened…”
  • Flat supporting characters.
  • Maybe too violent in places.

Summary:

It’s easy to see why this film is a defining moment in the sci-fi genre. Up until its release, audiences had seen nothing like it and, 15-years on, there are few sci-fi films that can hold a candle to it. Jesus Christ! 15 years!? This is making me feel old!

9/10

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Skyfall (2012)

Skyfall_62

Genre: Action/Adventure, Drama

Cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem

Synopsis: Following a terrorist attack on MI6, Bond must track down the perpetrator who seems to know an awful lot about M’s past.

So far, I have reviewed two other Bond movies for this blog: A View to a Kill and Tomorrow Never Dies. Both are good Bond films in their own way. A View to a Kill is perhaps the campiest Bond movie to date and Tomorrow Never Dies has Michelle Yeoh firing a gun while screaming “Hiiiyyyahh!!!” I readily admit, however, that both are not, objectively speaking, the best Bond films. In fact, they don’t even rank near the top. For the sake of variety, I decided to review a Bond film that most would agree is objectively decent, one that balances style with substance. One that does not feature Madonna.

MadonnaShudder

I remember when Skyfall came out and it was all anyone could talk about. It’s easy to see why. This film has all the hallmarks of classic Bond: style, exotic locales, fast cars, sexy women, and people being killed by dangerous animals. At the same time, Skyfall felt like a step forward. Although it had all the things that made Bond films great in the past, it introduced a whole new range of things to get excited about, namely breath-taking cinematography and a window into the past of two central characters.

On the cinematography front, this is another notch to add to Roger Deakins’ belt. The man can simply do no wrong when it comes to cinematography. There are so many examples of cinematographic brilliance in this movie it’s really difficult to narrow down my favourite shots. If I had to choose, however, I would say that the two moments that stood out for me were the fight scene in the Shanghai skyscraper and the scene in the Scottish highlands. The cinematography gives Skyfall such a sleek and polished look. It’s rare to see an action film that marries style and substance but when an action film does do that it results in a remarkable end product that manages to tantalise both the adrenaline whore and aesthete within me. It’s like receiving double the pleasure…like being on the receiving end of a rusty trombone.

Rusty TromboneI didn’t think it would be wise to include a picture of an actual rusty trombone…

The depth added to Bond and M was also greatly appreciated in this film. I won’t mention any detailed spoilers. It’s simply enough to say that we learn more about the characters’ pasts. This is the sort of information that is glossed over in other Bond films. Although the lack of character history never really bothered me, it was a nice touch to give the characters a background that shows them to be more human and sympathetic. It makes the ending of Skyfall a lot more emotional and strangely cathartic, two things you don’t expect in a film about a man who kills people for money and bangs a lot of poon-tang along the way.

High-lights:

  • The feeling that this is a more modern and complex Bond film.
  • Stylish cinematography.
  • Perfect level of eroticism. The scene with the straight razor comes to mind. I want to go to a traditional barber and get a proper shave like that. I think it would be quite an erotic experience if done correctly…and if it’s done by someone hot.
  • Komodo dragons!? That’s new for a bond film.
  • Sexy-adorable Ben Wishaw.

Downers:

  • Too much product placement and sometimes it’s introduced in a really clumsy way.
  • Not enough Daniel Craig nudity.
  • He has sex with a woman who just admitted that she was a victim of the sex trade…completely inappropriate.

Summary:

Skyfall offers a lot to potential viewers. Fans of classic Bond will not be disappointed as all the hallmarks of the brand still feature in this movie. However, a greater depth and style is added so Bond-sceptics/phobes will still be able to find something to appreciate and enjoy. I don’t know how the next Bond film will be able to top this one but I have high hopes.

9/10

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