Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem Scale Great Heights In Skyfall

by Ethan Alter November 6, 2012 7:00 am
Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem Scale Great Heights In <i>Skyfall</i>

After the strong start that was 2006's Casino Royale, the re-booted, Daniel Craig-led James Bond series hit a major rough patch with Quantum of Solace. After a four-year break, though, Bond is back and better than ever in Skyfall, which is already burning up the box office charts overseas. (It opens in the U.S. on Friday.) The cast and crew of Skyfall -- including Craig, Javier Bardem (who plays his nemesis, Silva), Naomie Harris and Bérénice Marlohe (the requisite Bond Girls) and director Sam Mendes -- passed through New York recently and spoke with the press about celebrating Bond's 50th anniversary with one of the best 007 outings to date.

Skyfall: Your Burning Questions Answered

by Ethan Alter November 9, 2012 12:01 am
<i>Skyfall</i>: Your Burning Questions Answered

Let's start off by answering the biggest question first: yes, Skyfall really is as great as you've been hearing. The 23rd entry in the venerable James Bond franchise isn't just the best studio blockbuster of the year -- featuring a better story than The Avengers, fewer logic gaps than The Dark Knight Rises and rip-roaring action sequences that easily outclass pretenders like The Hunger Games and Battleship -- it also ranks in the top five (hell, maybe even the top three) Bond adventures that have come along in 007's now 50-year big-screen history. In a fall that's packed with awards-friendly prestige pictures, Skyfall is reminder that a smart, beautifully-crafted and, in general, kick-ass action movie can be as worthy of serious acclaim and respect as any historical biopic or weighty drama. With that out of the way, time to get to some of your other burning queries:

The Counselor: The Jury’s Out

by Ethan Alter October 25, 2013 6:00 am
<i>The Counselor</i>: The Jury’s Out

As discerning fans of underrated crime films will immediately recognize, The Counselor is the Killing Them Softly of 2013: a stylish, mean-spirited picture about amoral people doing amoral things in an amoral criminal underworld that’s being quietly dumped into theaters by its studio because they don’t know what the hell else to do with such a flagrantly anti-commercial picture. (The fact that Brad Pitt appears in both as a very un-Pitt-like crook further unites the two movies.) Unfortunately, in terms of overall quality, The Counselor isn’t quite the dark-hearted delight that Killing Me Softly proved to be. That movie was a subversive home run whose reputation will hopefully grow over the years; this one is more of a ground rule double -- it puts its talented team in scoring position, but doesn’t ultimately bring them all home.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Ménage à Blah

by Lauren Gitlin August 12, 2008 12:18 pm
<i>Vicky Cristina Barcelona</I>: Ménage à Blah

As I walked out of a screening for Woody Allen's new film Vicky Cristina Barcelona, a friend cracked that Allen only gives us a decent film every 10 years, and implied that VCB had successfully staked its claim as the decade's quota. Me, I'm not so sure. Certainly Allen's prior two films, Match Point and Scoop, weren't anything to write home about. But it's tough to say if VCB is the triumph we've all been waiting for.

The Dark Knight: Believe The Hype

by DeAnn Welker July 16, 2008 11:14 am
<i>The Dark Knight</i>: Believe The Hype Let's get the hype out of the way: Yes, The Dark Knight was hyped, hyped, hyped. Yes, it's opening on about seven gazillion screens (more than 4,300, to be precise). Yes, the hype got even more deafening after Heath Ledger's tragic death. The hype factory for this movie was working at such volume, in fact, that the rest of the movie sort of got lost in all the white noise. (For example, Aaron Eckhart? Fantastic in his own right, but there's nary a mention of his performance in the media coverage up to this point.)

Okay then, hype acknowledged -- about the movie, and about Ledger's performance in it. And to think I foolishly worried the movie couldn't live up to it all.

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