Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Irreviews, 2010: Issue XII

While I've been known to include repeat-viewings on occasion, I usually only "Irreview" films that are new to me. But, since I'm an avid James Bond fanatic, I can't help it...

The Crazies (2010)
Director: Breck Eisner
Writer(s): Scott Kosar, Ray Wright, George A. Romero (1973 screenplay)
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson
A remake of zombie-maestro George Romero's 70s cult-classic, this version is actually... not too bad. Though Romero is well-known for his social commentary, the commentary in remake seems a bit forced and, on more than one occasion, a bit cliché. But, as it's more subtle than in the original, the movie still works. Timothy Olyphant is great to watch, as usual, and Joe Anderson is a pleasant surprise (despite his character's cheesy resolution). Not altogether scary, it has its moments.
Verdict: Fans of the horror, zombie, and apocalyptic genres should SEE it. Nothing really noteworthy for anyone else.

Dr. No (1962)
Director: Terence Young
Writer(s): Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood, Berkely Mather, Ian Fleming (novel)
Starring: Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman
The film that started it all. Ian Fleming's British super-spy flies onto the screen and an instant hit franchise is born (although Dr. No is, in fact, the second appearance of Bond on-screen). A bit rough around the edges, the stage is nevertheless set for over-the-top villains and the rebirth of the double entendre in pop culture. Harry Potter and Star Wars be damned, there is no film franchise like the Bond franchise. And I must credit Ursula Andress for setting the Bond-girl standard rather high. Many pubescent boys are quite thankful for that.
Verdict: SEE it. Of course, you know I'm going to list all of the Bond films as "SEE it," even the bad ones.

Edge of Darkness (2010)
Director: Martin Campbell
Writer(s): William Monahan, Andrew Bovell, Troy Kennedy-Martin (TV series)
Starring: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston
I've never seen the BBC TV series this film is based on, but now I want to. Headlines surrounding Mel Gibson aside, this is a very, very good movie and he does an excellent job as a father trying to solve the mystery of who killed his daughter and why. With Ray Winstone and Danny Huston, the cast is about as good as anybody can ask for (Winstone, in particular, steals every second he's on the screen). It is high coincidence that this film is directed by one of the better Bond-film directors (cough, cough), but Martin Campbell continues to prove that he rocks at the action-thriller.
Verdict: SEE it.

From Russia With Love (1963)
Director: Terence Young
Writer(s): Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood (adaptation), Ian Fleming (novel)
Starring: Sean Connery, Daniela Bianchi, Pedro Armendáriz, Lotte Lenya, Robert Shaw
Though Dr. No kicked off the franchise, From Russia With Love is the Bond film that established the formula that every Bond film since has followed. Here we get the pre-title sequence, our first gadget (along with Desmond Llewelyn as Q), and our first theme song (not counting the actual Bond theme, of course). Even in light of the establishment of the uber-successful Bond-film formula, From Russia With Love manages to accomplish this while sticking close to its source material, which is something that few Bond films even bother attempting. The first great Bond movie, it remains one of the series' best.
Verdict: SEE it. Bond film. Must see all Bond films.

Inception (2010)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer(s): Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonard DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe
The Matrix meets James Bond, they're calling it. And, well, that's a close enough description as any. The plot is imaginative: corporate thieves are hired to steal secrets, but enter their target's dreams in order to do so. The cast is outstanding. The climax of the film is likely one of the best climaxes you'll ever see. Though the year's not over, Inception is 2010's best. I refuse to give anything away, because it simply must be seen to be believed. Wow.
Verdict: SEE it, SEE it, SEE it, SEE it. And if you find it hard to comprehend, SEE it until you get it!


RA said...

I've been meaning to see Inception for some time now, because it sounds like a concept I'd love. Will go this week. :)

Tom said...

silly as they can be, I love a good Romero zombie flick--though nothing beats his first.

PattiKen said...

Inception is next on my list.

Tess Kincaid said...

Sean Connery IS James Bond. None of the others come close.

Brian Miller said...

i agree willow...but have nejoyed most interpretations though the most recnet has stepped the furthest out of the mold...cant wait to see inception...

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