April 25, 2014

Tag Archives: James Bond

‘Inception’ Review: “Mind warping adventure about dream thieves”

By R.L. Shaffer
HollywoodNews.com: I have very mixed emotions regarding Christopher Nolan’s latest opus, a mind warping adventure about dream thieves. On some level, Inception is a brutally imaginative spectacle — an amazing achievement on nearly every level, from cinematography to visual effects to story, performances — you name it. It also seems to complete an informal trilogy for Nolan which started with the mind-bending thriller, Memento, and continued in the equally twisted 2006 film, The Prestige.
But, on another level, the film simply isn’t emotionally satisfying. Sure, we like the motley crew of heroes and villains, who all seem borrowed from a Mission: Impossible episode. Sure, we like our confused anti-hero lead (DiCaprio). He plays like a sci-fi variant of James Bond. And yes, the story provides enough layers of complexity for the hardcore geeks to chew on all while relating that material to the mainstream in a very accessible way, which is no easy feat.
That said, Inception still feels empty, much like a dream. Or rather, like Blade Runner, the beloved cult classic (and allegedly Nolan’s favorite film) that questions the fabric of reality and also happens to have an oddly emotionless core. It seems Nolan’s desire to create his very own Blade Runner has forced him to copy the film’s structure, from it’s procedural narrative, to it’s moody melodramatic score and tortured, underdeveloped characters.
The problem is, we’re never really sure we like the characters he’s forcing us to invest in. We only know their flaws. We have no real concept of who they are outside Nolan’s dizzying tangled narrative. In the film, Ellen Page’s character is brought on the “team” to help create the landscape for a dream. She quickly learns of DiCaprio’s weakness and attempts to coach him through his faults. But never once does Nolan question who she is. We know absolutely nothing about her, other than she’s a student. Her development stops at DiCaprio’s problem.
It’s flaws like this that create a functioning disconnect to the entire story. Looking back at Nolan’s first major film, Memento, one can quickly see how each character is drawn into the narrative. We know every single character– who they are and who they were before the film began. In fact, one aspect of film’s point is that our lead must learn exactly who he used to be. Same goes for Nolan’s other features. When characters are blended into the story, [...]

L.A. cops want to speak with Oksana Grigorieva’s son about Mel Gibson

HollywoodNews.com: A key witness in the Mel Gibson-Oksana Grigorieva dust-up is the latter’s 12-year old son Alexander Dalton.
Dalton’s father is former James Bond Timothy Dalton. He witnessed many of the Gibson blow-ups, both before and after according to TMZ.com.
Dalton is “a very important percipient witness” to Sheriff’s investigators and a critical one in the Gibson-Grigorieva custody battle.
While Dalton didn’t see the January 6 moment when Gibson struck Grigorieva, he may have been in the vicinity.
TMZ sources reveal that Grigorieva won’t hold Dalton back from the cops.
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Christoper Nolan not directing James Bond anytime soon

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: The internet is all aflutter today with various posts asking whether or not Chris Nolan will direct a James Bond film in the near-future. No. Heck, considering MGM’s current financial woes, it may be a long time before we see anyone direct a new James Bond picture.
All Chris Nolan has said is that he would like to make a 007 adventure and that “Inception” is partially inspired by “Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” None of this is news. Nolan has expressed his admiration for the series many times over the last decade. Heck, in many ways, the last two-thirds of “Batman Begins” is a Caped Crusader picture filtered through the constructs of a James Bond template (Batman/Alfred/Lucius/Gordon/Rachel = Bond/M/Q/Leiter/Moneypenny).
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To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos.

MGM cuts development of new James Bond film

HollywoodNews.com: MGM has been having some financial difficulties and now it has cost them a film. Production on the new James Bond film was delayed indefinitely back in April and now it seems as if the film will never see the light of day.
The development on the entire movie has been canned, reports Ain’t It Cool News. The studio had already secured Sam Mendes to come on board to direct the film that was going to be written by Peter Morgan (“Frost/Nixon”).
Now we’ll just have to wait for some other studio to pick up this blockbuster.
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Angelina Jolie turned down Bond girl role in favor of playing Bond

HollywoodNews.com: Angelina Jolie doesn’t play the hero’s girl–she plays the hero. Vanity Fair reports that Jolie turned down the role of a Bond girl in one of the Bond movie reboots. She explains how her casting in “Salt” came about with, “It started with a call from Amy [Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures]. She asked if I wanted to play a Bond girl. I said, ‘No, I’m not comfortable with that, but I would like to play Bond.’ We laughed, and then, about a year later, she called back and said, ‘I think I found it.’”
Jolie’s role in “Salt” as the titular character, a secret agent of sorts, is meant to be the female answer to Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne but was originally written for Tom Cruise. “You think it would be easy [to change],” Jolie muses to Vanity Fair. “You just flip the character from Edwin to Edwina. But it was a lot trickier than we thought. For example, the male character had a child. And he knows he’ll be in danger much of the time. And we realized that, as a woman, if you knew your life was at risk, you’d never have a child. The physicality had to change too. I’m smaller than everybody, so how do I go up against a bunch of men without looking silly? How do I fight? We made her meaner than a guy, and dirty. She uses the walls, the fact that she’s lighter and can throw herself around. It’s the Chihuahua up against the big dogs.”
“Salt” opens in theatres this month, and the edition of Vanity Fair featuring Jolie’s interview is on stands now.
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Pierce Brosnan and son will be ‘Bonded’ (but it’s not what you’re thinking)

Hollywoodnews.com: Former 007, Pierce Brosnan, and his son Sean are readying “Bonded” under the star’s Irish Dream Time production label.
“Bonded” is described as “a South-American, border-crossing, slave-labor drama” by U.K.’s Empire online which has been tracking the news online. Script was penned by Mo Ramchandani.
Both papa Brosnan and son will play cops. Plot revolves around a Mexican teenager, Jesus, who is sold by his father and smuggled into America as a sweatshop worker. Jesus’ amiga Elena is snapped up by a sex trafficker and the protagonist takes justice into his own hands.
Empire likens the film’s log-line to “Lilya4Ever.” Screenwriter Ramchandani is a childhood amigo of Sean and says “I want to make movies that not only entertain people, but also empower, educate and inspire them.”
Film looks to shoot in September. Jesus has yet to be casted.
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Seth Rogen unveils first “Green Hornet” trailer

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: I’m not familiar with “The Green Hornet” story. The trailer for the upcoming “Green Hornet” movie, which was released online late last night, makes me feel like I’ve heard it all before.
Seth Rogen plays Britt Reid, the spoiled, party animal son of media mogul Jack Reid (Tom Wilkinson). Jack’s a good man who’s disgusted by his city’s corruptions and disappointed in his do-nothing son. Quicker than you can say “Bruce Wayne,” Jack is murdered, forcing Britt to team with Jack’s man-servant, Kato (Jay Chou), to bring down the head baddie (Christoph Waltz, selling out quickly after winning an Oscar for “Inglourious Basterds”).
The clip establishes that capsule and tries to sell the film’s other two assets: carnival action, as directed by Michel Gondry; and Rogen’s frat-guy comedy.
The opening scenes of Rogen drinking his nights away looks like the sizzle reel for a “Knocked Up” sequel. Granted, he’ll likely snap out of that mode relatively quickly and get down to superhero business. Yet even when the action commences, it feels like James Bond meets “Mission Impossible” meets every damn spy thriller franchise out there. Except this hero wears a green mask.
Oh, and it will be released in 3-D. Great.
When “The Green Hornet” moved its release date to January 2011, alarms went off. Good movies don’t come out in January. Movies like “Leap Year” and “The Spy Next Door” come out in January.
And I’m not opposed to seeing a slimmed-down Rogen doing action, though the underrated “Pineapple Express” scratched that itch. Word is that there’s an ace up Green Hornet’s sleeve, that Gondry — a visual wizard — has something called “Kato Vision” (not illustrated in the clip) that illustrates how Kato views situations through different eyes. That could be cool. But will it correct Chou’s lifeless delivery, because right now it feels like Rogen is working overtime to inject life into the duo’s shared scenes, and that’s not promising.
Check out the clip for yourself below. “The Green Hornet,” in 3-D, opens Jan. 14, 2011.
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Mads Mikkelsen, star of “Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky” — Hollywood In Ten

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: HollywoodNews.com’s interview feature, “Hollywood In Ten,” showcases the creative individuals responsible for the movies we love, and corners them for 10 quality minutes.
Poor Mads Mikkelsen. When I told a friend I’d be interviewing the respected Danish actor for his role in the smoldering period romance “Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky,” he replied, “You mean the guy who pegged James Bond in the testicles with a ball of twine?”
And while it’s accurate to say Mikkelsen tortured Daniel Craig’s bound-and-naked secret agent in “Casino Royale,” he also established his presence long before that with critically lauded performances in Susanne Bier’s “After the Wedding” and “Open Hearts,” as well as the dark comedy “Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself.”
In an effort to shake his evil Bond roots, Mikkelsen is burying himself in various projects that test (and show off) his range. Some are bigger-budget effects pictures like last spring’s “Clash of the Titans” or a recently announced “Three Musketeers” remake. And others are quieter, more intense character studies like “Coco,” where Mikkelsen plays famed Russian composer Stravinsky at a serious crossroads. It was for this movie that we spoke.
Hollywood News: When you think back at the time you spent shooting Igor, what component do you best remember about the whole experience? What comes to mind?
Mads Mikkelsen: In my case, there were a lot of things that I didn’t know. I didn’t know how to speak French or Russian. And I didn’t know how to play the piano! So in my case, it was a lot like going back to school for the first time in 20 years. I was rehearsing 22 hours a day. We’d shoot and rehearse, sleep for a couple of hours, and then go back and start shooting again. That’s definitely what I remember most about this film.
Do you prefer having to immerse yourself in traits and activities that are unfamiliar to you at the time?
No, no, not necessarily. I would have loved to have been able to speak French from the beginning. That would have been so much easier. But once it’s there, it becomes a challenge. However, I’m not looking for challenges. There are a lot of actors who have said they are looking for “this” challenge or “that” challenge. I’m not. I would like to make “this” film, because “this” film sounds like it is going to be a great one, so let’s [...]

Jennifer Garner’s next move should be an “Alias” movie

Hollywoodnews.com: Why not, right?
Television-to-movie adaptations are the current craze, and have been for the past few years. Hollywood is going back to the archives for “The A-Team,” celebrating present-day hits with “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” and looking ahead to future big-screen stories from the “24″ and (possibly) “Lost” universe. “Alias,” at the very least, belongs in the conversation.
This isn’t coming out of thin air. The idea came to me after digesting Fox’s recent Blu-ray touch-up of “Elektra” while surfing The Hollywood Reporter’s column asking if movie audiences are tiring of sequels. The answer to that age-old question is yes and no. Most of us didn’t need to see another “Shrek” film, and clearly “Sex and the City 2″ ran out of gas before Liza Minelli put the finishing touches on Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies.”
But “Iron Man 2″ brought plenty of story material to the table — some would argue too much, in fact — and audience members responded in kind. Sequels will always be accepted if they continue to expand on the overall story being told. Take the fourth “Die Hard,” as an example. It felt like a natural progression for Bruce Willis’ indestructible officer John McClane. A rumored fifth adventure, however, might be overdoing it. We’ll know when we see it.
Why “Alias,” though?
Well, the show (which ran from 2001-06 with a relatively unknown but perfectly cast Jennifer Garner) was nothing short of fantastic. The earliest seasons, which featured Garner’s double-agent character Sydney Bristow juggling a private life and a lethal secret life), were enormously elaborate and entertaining episodes of spy fiction. Character actors Victor Garber and Ron Rifkin chewed the right amount of scenery as Garner’s father and nemesis. And while the show got caught up in a convoluted mythology that led to the series’ ultimate demise, there’s PLENTY of material left on the table to turn Bristow into a big-screen James Bond for multiple feature-length adventures — especially while Bond, himself, languishes in MGM’s financial discontent.
Why now? For a number of reasons.
1. Bond is in limbo.
As we just mentioned, the next Bond adventure officially is TBD. A Sydney Bristow thriller could not only fill the void left by 007, it could potentially replace him on the spy food chain in ways Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt could not.
2. A TV version might be on the horizon
Rumors of an “Alias” reboot on network television are starting to swirl. And [...]

Exclusive: Sylvain White discusses directing ‘The Losers’

By Todd Gilchrist
As a huge fan of Sylvain White’s Stomp the Yard, a surprisingly thoughtful addition to the growing legacy of urban dance movies that proliferated in recent years, I was intrigued to see what he would do next. Too often, filmmakers with even a little bit of style show a lot of promise but quickly disappear into projects that afford them plenty of visual exercise but precious little else. But it’s a testament to White’s dissatisfaction with a potential career status quo that makes The Losers, his latest film, such an effective piece of entertainment: he clearly not only wanted to bring a strong visual sense, but a measured amount of character development and genuine, coherent storytelling in order to elevate what otherwise might be a thrill ride that is forgotten by the time the credits have rolled.
Hollywood News spoke to White earlier this week via telephone to talk about the film, which is being released nationwide today. In addition to exploring his own artistic impulses, he talked about the film’s uniquely multiethnic cast, and finally hinted at what might be to come if The Losers turns out to be a box office winner.
Hollywood News: In Stomp the Yard, you managed to deliver the meat and potatoes of a dance movie but still made it about the character’s journey, and didn’t overshadow, say, the education and fellowship that the character needed to discover. In this film how did you juggle the demands of delivering action and fun and energy and yet retain the dimensionality of the characters?

Sylvain White: Well, that’s the whole bag of tricks right there. There was a multitude of challenges with this movie; the first thing that was the trickiest was to find the tone of the movie. The comic book has this great combination of action and comedy, and it’s done in kind of a unique way – it’s not Bad Boys, it’s not Lethal Weapon, it’s something different. It’s very unique in that sense, and I wanted to make sure that I was going to be able to translate that into cinematic language in the right way. That was my first task. Second, this was my first action movie, so I had to study very hard to get ready for it just like I studied very hard before making Stomp the Yard, when I studied every dance movie that had been made. For [...]

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