Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Quantum of Solace

Movie name: Quantum of Solace
Year of release: 2008
Director: Marc Forster
Stars: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Almaric, Giancarlo Giannini, Gemma Atherton, Jeffrey Wright, Jesper Christensen, David Harbour
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5

Synopsis & Review:
Marc Forster once again surprises with his latest film. His eclectic career doesn't seem to stop touching different genres and styles. Since "Monster's Ball", he has done elegant dramas, such as "Finding Neverland", smart comedies such as "Stranger than Fiction" and interesting thrillers such as "Stay". His take on James Bond has more of a contemporary look and feel, one that seems very much in the line of what Paul Greengrass has done with "The Bourne" series. The action is non stop, very gritty and unlike the previous James Bond films, there are no special gadgets or little tricks. It's a leaner and meaner Bond. The film opens directly following where "Casino Royale" dropped off. We're pulled directly into the action sequence with a great chase scene through the streets of Italy. The action continues from then on, with James Bond stopping at nothing to achieve his goals - the vengeance of his loved one, Vesper Lynd. As usual there is an organization/villain, aiming to take control of the world, this time using an ecological trap as a device (sign of the times of course). The screenplay follows the usual structure of the Bond films, this time adding very little consistency to the meager roles played out by the Bond girls or the main villainous character for that matter. The film is about a spy on a mission, one that won't stop at nothing to reach his goal. It's an intelligent action film, that shows the craftsmanship of the director and showcases again the talent of the great Judi Dench. Sadly most of the supporting character lack any dimension, or even motivation, but overall it's a film that manages to keep the iconography surrounding this character moving forward. The production team is solid as always, including the cinematography from Roberto Schaefer and the score of the always fantastic David Arnold. While not as compelling as Martin Campbell's "Casino Royale", it's nonetheless worth watching. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Movie name: Changeling
Year of release: 2008
Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich, Jeffrey Donovan, Michael Kelly, Amy Ryan, Colm Feore, Denis O'Hare, Jason Butler Harner
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

Synopsis:After the twosome World War movies that premiered in 2006, "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima", Clint Eastwood presents another period piece with "The Changeling" based on a true story that changed the life of Los Angeles. Taking place in 1928, the film follows Christine Collins, a young single mother that works for the phone company. When she has to work an extra shift, her son disappears much to her despair. When she presents the case to the police, they initially dismiss her and after filing a report, they bring back a child that turns out not to be her own. Christine continues to insist, with the help of Revered Gustav Briegleb, who has been exposing the corruption of the police department through his radio show. When Christine continues insisting, she is placed in a mental institution while simultaneously the story behing the disappearance of young boys comes out.
Clint Eastwood takes his time in telling this story - his attention to details and the period reconstruction are flawless. He lets the actors flash out this story, relying mostly on Angelina Jolie's terrific portrayal of Christine Collins. She plays the character as a lonely, fragile woman who sees her world being taken away when her son disappears. Christine is also a resilient woman, one that doesn't give up when the police tries to get away with something less than the truth. The film is a gem of detail, of production design and overall a great film to watch.