SNEAK PEEK OF JAMIE BELL AS 007

HOLLYWOOD – Following the revelation that English actor Jamie Bell will replace Daniel Craig as James Bond 007, an image was released onto the internet which is supposedly the first poster for the new James Bond movie: Jimmy Bond.

Jamie Bell has been confirmed to play an earlier incarnation of Her Majesty’s most secret agent, James Bond 007.

The film begins long before Casino Royale when James Bond was simply Jimmy Bond, just another boy in the prep school, with dreams of espionage and ballet. But mainly espionage.

Jimmy Bond first apeared as a character int he Peter Sellers parody Casino Royale and was played by Woody Allen, but the new version of the Bond character is to be taken seriously according to writer Paul Haggis:

We’ve been playing for years with the idea of putting a younger Bond on screen. Charlie Higson wrote some really interesting Young Adult novels with the young Bond, but we’re going to do something different. This is going to be the first James Bond song and dance film and I think it’s about time. Bond won’t be dealing with Spectre and SMERSH but instead, a batey headmaster and a couple of bully wags in the cloister pantry.

Jimmy Bond will be released in 2018.

 Image courtesy of @ThePixelFactor.

QUANTUM OF SOLACE IS THE BEST BOND MOVIE EVER

HOLLYWOOD – Daniel Craig’s second outing as secret agent 007 Quantum of Solace has been widely reviled but is actually the best Bond movie ever.

I’m putting it on the line here. Everyone had high expectations for the follow up to Daniel Craig’s brilliant debut as James Bond Casino Royale. But when Quantum of Solace hit the screens in 2008 there was a sense of dismay as Bond went too Bourne, Marc Foster’s hyper kinetic direction and  a sense of general confusion marred what should have been a triumphant second chapter. Many blamed the script strike which had Daniel Craig and Mathieu Amalric  trying to put scenes together themselves in the absence of a finished draft, or over enthusiasm on the part of the producers to cash in on the success of the first film.

However, re-watching Quantum of Solace I have to say it is the best Bond movie ever.  My reasons? Okay, if you insist.

The idea of starting the film directly from the end of Casino Royale sets the stage for the whole Craig cycle of Bond films. Of all the Bonds, Craig is unique in creating a through line and giving his character some genuine depth and development. In fact, even in Quantum of Solace, we see Craig change and learn. The only problem with this is that almost every Craig Bond is an origin story. Except perhaps Spectre, but even… well SPOILERS.

The film starts at 90 MPH and continues in pretty much the same vein all the way through. I admit that the first time I saw the film I found it difficult to keep track but every repeated viewing is a revelation. The action sequences have no fat on them at all. The lean economy means that Foster’s version is the shortest Bond at only an hour and a half and there’s something truly admirable by the way it disposes of car, boat and airplane chases without lingering for a second or giving you multiple angles when one will do.The fights are suitably brutal and even Bond skipping out of a hotel is done with such careless elan as to deserve a round of applause.

The script. Okay, there was this whole thing about the writer’s strike, but I like the confusion, the murk is curiously fitting. And this is the Bond with the least quips, frankly a part of the whole franchise that reached its apotheosis with Goldfinger’s ‘shocking’ and has been on a law of diminishing returns ever since. With not much talking, the long winded exposition goes out of the window and instead we have a series of pithy summaries. M (Judi Dench) and Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) actually get some really interesting political scenes to play with and this is one of the more subtle Bond films when it comes to assessing the geopolitical role of the secret service in the pre-Snowden but post 9/11 world.

Olga Kurylenko is a great character and doesn’t sleep with Bond and the characters around Bond begin to form a consistently believable universe, including Matthias (Giancarlo Giannini) and Mr. White (Jesper Christensen). And although Skyfall was rightly praised for Roger Deakins’ cinematography, but Roberto Schaefer’s camera work is stunning. The scene at the Austrian Opera House is beautifully done, impressionistic almost with the soundtrack dropping out. All the locations are given a sumptuous treatment, with Haiti and Sienna captured marvelously, and never has the desert seemed so parched.

Okay I will admit that the exploding hotel is a problem and is where the film rather depressingly reverts to type. Something has to blow up towards the end, but a hotel seems a tad random and here we really feel the lack of ideas. However, that said almost all Bond films have disappointing finales where everything goes boom and the baddie gets his. Pyrotechnics taking over from any real sense of satisfactory conclusion. In fact it is the quiet coda in a snowy Russia which is the real conclusion of the film and a deeply satisfying one at that.

I recognize I’m swimming against the tide of Bond opinion here and will be happy to read any comments you might have below and respond to them, if I can.

For the review of SPECTRE CLICK HERE.

SPECTRE – REVIEW

SPECTRE – REVIEW: Daniel Craig returns for what might be his final outing as 007 in an entertaining James Bond adventure.

James Bond is in Mexico and doing stuff and M says ‘What’s going on?’ and then a slimy political type from the last Mission Impossible film goes ‘I’m going to take over. You’re all complete bobbins’ and then Bond is suspended and then he goes off and does stuff on his own and it all connects to all the other films and Monica Bellucci is in black and goes ‘oh meester Bond’ and he goes ‘yeah’ and they do it and then there are car chases and there is Rome and then Austria and then Tangiers and Bond never flies Ryan Air and now he’s with that girl from Blue is the Warmest Color and she goes ‘touch me and I’ll kill you’ and he goes ‘okay’ but later he touches her and she doesn’t seem to mind, which is called character arc, and then there’s Christoph Waltz and he’s okay and he goes ‘back story back story unexpected (totally expected) revelation and boom goes Bond, several times.

Is Spectre the best Bond? No, but it is the most ordinary one and I liked that. It didn’t have the freshness of Casino Royale, or the weird production drama and scriptlessness of Quantum of Solace. Nor did it have the grandeur of Skyfall. It felt like an episode, but a good one and although it’s a long film with a bit of middle aged sag in the middle, I liked spending time with the character and his little alphabet soup of friends.

Six Stars out of five.

For more Reviews, Click Here.

CHRISTOPH WALTZ TO BE ‘FIRST GERMAN JAMES BOND’

HOLLYWOOD – In a casting move which shocked the world, Oscar-winning actor Christoph Waltz has been cast to take over from Daniel Craig in the role of James Bond, 007.

The news came from esteemed English newspaper the Daily Mail, which claimed that Daniel Craig had been ditched at the last minute, due to his insistence on inserting his own self-penned ballads into the script (for more on the Daniel Craig’s musical Bond CLICK HERE).

Series producer Barbara Broccoli told the Studio Exec EXCLUSIVELY:

Daniel has been a great Bond. In Casino Royale and Skyfall especially. The Quantum of Solace was hampered by the writer’s strike but that’s history now. However, as we approached the shooting of Bond 24, he began to express some concerns about the script. He’d seen Les Miserables and really liked it and wanted to put some songs in the film which he would sing. Unfortunately he had to go and luckily Christoph was available.

Why Christoph Waltz?

It’s a radical choice. We were thinking of Idris Elba and having the first black Bond, or even Carey Mulligan and the first female Bond, but in the end we decided to go one further and in casting Christoph Waltz we’ll be making history in having our first German Bond!

How is that going to work? Isn’t James Bond quintessentially English?

No, not really. He wants to be English but he’s actually part Scottish, part French. Why not also part German? And to think of all those inner demons he has to struggle with. It will add to his character. And the villain,  Sir Charles Falkland Islands, played by Hugh Grant, will use that to undermine him.

Bond 24 will start shooting in December and is due for release in 2015.