Bond is coming back; Soderbergh promises he’ll retire

In 1962, a bouncing baby franchise was born when superspy assassin James Bond did in the evil “Dr. No.” Now middle aged and needing a bit of exercise to keep its financial heart pumping after nearly five decades of very hard living, the Bond machine survived the end of the Cold War that spawned it, only to be stalled by MGM’s financial morass. Some thought, “It’s a 22 movie run, more if you count a few non-canonical Bond flicks, give it a rest already.” Today, however, Nikki Finke has word that Bond 23 is officially going ahead with star Daniel Craig and the long-rumored Sam Mendes in tow as director. You’ll have your next serving of Bond with your Thanksgiving turkey in November of 2012, assuming nothing untowards happens in post-production.

19

In 1963, a bouncing baby human being was born in Louisiana. 26 years later, director Steven Soderbergh personally gave the modern day independent film movement one of its biggest kickstarts with 1989’s “Sex, Lies, and Videotape.” Now, he’s announcing officially that he’s packing it only two decades into a career that, at least in theory, could go another four or five.

Though Mike Fleming jokingly pre-accuses him of doing a Brett Favre, movie directors are not sports figures, and, to paraphrase Marcellus Wallace of “Pulp Fiction,” their asses really can age like a fine wine. John Huston, who led the kind of life that might have killed a lesser man in his forties, made one of his greatest films, “The Dead,” when he was pushing eighty and about to be dead himself. Old French New Waver Alain Resnais is scheduled to release a movie more or less to coincide with his 90th birthday, and Portugal’s Manoel de Oliveira released “The Strange Case of Angelica” in 2010, the year of his 102 birthday. (He’s supposedly working on another.) Almost no one, except Matt Damon, seems to be taking Soderbergh seriously about this.

12222010_soderbergh1

You know what, I’m on board with both moves. James Bond has become far bigger than any one set of filmmakers and, like Sherlock Holmes, Superman, and Mickey Mouse, there’s no reason he shouldn’t keep on chugging along indefinitely in new incarnations. And, given how surprisingly good “Casino Royale” was, I’m willing to let the current James Bond team overcome the disappointment of “Quantum of Solace.” All I ask is for a little more of “From Russia with Love”-era Bond and a little less shaky-cam Jason Bourne.

As for Soderbergh, I’m a fan who admires the fact that he’s unafraid to take risks and make movies that, admittedly, sometimes kind of suck, but always in interesting ways. Re: his impending retirement, I’ve watched too many creators repeat themselves over the years to have anything but respect for his decision. I think it’s possible that we all have only so many stories to tell in a particular way and that, perhaps, when we feel we’re through telling them in one medium, maybe the thing to do is switch to another that might permit new stories to emerge. Later, if we return to the first medium, maybe we’ll then have a new story to tell, or at least an interesting new way to tell it. So, if Soderbergh just wants to spend his life painting, I say, “bless him.” If he gets the urge to start making movies again from time to time and unretires as many times as Frank Sinatra, that’ll be great too. The thing not to do is stagnate.

  

You can follow us on Twitter @moviebuffs and on Facebook as well.

Related Posts

A roundtable chat with Gemma Arterton of “Tamara Drewe”

There’s no getting around it. Gemma Arterton is extremely attractive and also striking, and even more so in person. That’s especially so if you’ve found yourself seated right next to her at a roundtable with about 11 or 12 other writers and the prior two males you’ve sat next to at that table (no names) seemed as if they might have recently rolled out of bed and thrown on a gallon of expensive aftershave/cologne. The utterly tasteful Ms. Arterton, however, was appropriately dressed and scented, though she did remove her huge and apparently uncomfortable pumps to reveal perfectly painted toenails.

3

Tamara Drewe,” a romantic farce with tragic overtones that opened this week for its initial run in four theaters in L.A. and New York, stars Arterton as an autobiographical newspaper columnist whose recent plastic surgery has transformed her from large-nosed semi-ugly duckling to tiny-nosed brunette bombshell. It’s a comedy with tragic overtones drawn from the the graphic novel of the same name by cartoonist Posy Simmonds, which is itself a sort of homage to Thomas Hardy’s “Far from the Madding Crowd.” The film was directed by Stephen Frears, a director noted for tremendous versatility who confuses us critics by changing his style with just about every film. His output has ranged from from such recently enjoyable, grandma-friendly arthouse fare as “The Queen” and “Mrs. Henderson Presents,” to low down tales of crime and skullduggery like my personal favorite, 1984’s “The Hit.”

I was not blown away by much about this particular movie, however, including parts of Arterton’s performance, but that’s me. It has fared reasonably well over at Rotten Tomatoes and may well please other fans of this sort of English countryside comedy, which I usually enjoy myself. Ms. Arterton has also generated good reviews in “The Disappearance of Alice Creed,” as well as co-starring in “Clash of the Titans,” “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” and as Strawberry Fields in “Quantum of Solace” alongside Daniel Craig’s 007, forever tagging herself with the sobriquet “Bond girl.” Still, at 24, she has a maturity and self-possession about her that, at the very least, makes her more of a Bond woman. Or maybe it’s just that she’s tall.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Related Posts

Midweek movie news

Regular readers might have noticed that I’ve taken a couple of days off, and with the TCM Film Festival kicking off tomorrow night, and some other things possibly brewing, I might not be following my exact usual schedule for the next several days, though I’m sure I’ll be posting stuff, but we’ll have to see.  In the meantime, there’s plenty going on and I’m sure I’ve missed something.

Chloe Moretz smashes face* We eventually did get a clear, but narrow, victor in the weekend box-office battle, but nobody’s too excited about the performance of “Kick-Ass.” The film will make money, $19.8 million is not bad for a $30-40 million dollar movie, and it should help everyone’s career, but I wouldn’t bet on a sequel unless it holds really extremely well and also cleans up in home video. Also, it should be noted that the superhero comedy had a slightly unfair advantage because of its late Thursday night opening getting included in the take — at least I think it was. Steven Zeitchik, who thought the film would break out in a major way, offers a post-not-quite-mortem.

* James Cameron‘s new interview with the L.A. Times will annoy conservative anti-environmentalists and climate deniers as well as fans of contemporary written science fiction. (It’s too complicated and self-referential to make a movie out of, Cameron states, apparently unafraid of the sweeping generalization.) However, “Avatar” fans will be delighted to know that two more movies appear to be in the offing along with that extended August 3-D/Imax re-release. Cameron’s cast and crew will be, I imagine, much less happy to learn that “Avatar 2” will involve water, and lots of it. What is it with this guy and moisture? (H/t the Playlist.)

Titanic 1996

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Related Posts

When a Double-0 Does It, It is Not Illegal + “G.I. Joe,” F**k No!

A couple of items hot off the action film presses…

* As per Cinematical, writer Peter Morgan has been hired to work on the as-yet-untitled 23rd (!) James Bond film. If the name rings a bell, he’s the playwright and screenwriter best known for the slam-bang action fests “Frost/Nixon” and “The Queen.” (Yeah, I know, but they cut out the lengthy sequence where Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II dons a cat suit and tears a bunch of foreign agents limb from limb as she foils a plot to blow up Buckingham Palace before tea and crumpets with the French premier.)

It’s actually not a big change in strategy. Both “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace” were written by the team of Robert Wade and Neal Purvis with a “polish” from Oscar-winning veteran scribe Paul Haggis (“Crash“, “Million Dollar Baby“). After what many perceived as a bit of a let down on “Quantum” both in terms of story and direction, apparently the idea was to get a fresh Oscar-nominated, if not actually Oscar-winning, writer on board. So, no need to worry that “Bond 23” will be an earnest examination of the legal and ethical issues created by giving random blokes a license to kill people — though I’d pay to see that. As usual, interesting choices are being bandied about for the Bondian director’s chair, but in 22 films, for better or worse, a director with a strong personal vision has yet to be hired, so no reason to think the Bond producers will break the pattern now.

* Rumors have been flying all over the place about a supposed disastrous screening of “G.I. Joe” — a movie that wasn’t exactly being awaited with baited breath at least in my corner of the geeksphere. Anyhow, the upshot is that helmer Stephen Sommers, best known as the writer-director behind the Mummy films, or other heads may or may not roll or be diminished creatively.

For insight, I hereby direct you to Anne Thompson‘s refreshingly FACT-ual approach to the matter. Looking at the trailer, I can’t help thinking that this movie has somehow already been made….


Team America Trailer
Uploaded by ijeannie.
  

Related Posts

Bullz-Eye’s 2008 Fall Movie Preview

The mercury’s falling, sports fans are turning their attention from baseball to football, and twerpy kids across the country are back in school where they belong. Fall is here, and for the movie lover, that means it’s time for Hollywood to begin its annual turning away from substance-free popcorn movies and toward thoughtful dramas and Oscar hopefuls.

Between early September and Thanksgiving, the studios will be working overtime to get you into the theater – Lionsgate, just to give one example, has more movies coming out than some companies release in an entire year. To help you cut through the clutter, Bullz-Eye has assembled a list of the 20 most-anticipated films of the season, including the latest Bond flick (“Quantum of Solace”), Guy Ritchie’s return to the crime caper genre (“RocknRolla”), and Oscar bait like “The Soloist” and “The Road.” Check out the list (complete with trailers), and then come back to discuss what fall movies you’re most looking forward to seeing.

  

Related Posts