“Spectre”: Restoring the Common Bond


“How hard would it be to change our Tomatometer rating to 105%?”

In one of the precious few MCC movie reviews ever to draw non-positive responses, I called Skyfall my favorite James Bond film of all time, based on having seen maybe ten or eleven of them in all. Even as a kid I never got excited about the concept of a globetrotting sophisticate who’s more into booze and hook-ups than he is into crimefighting. At least Batman confines his vices and his expensive suits to his off-duty civilian hours. If Bond were an Inside Out character, the simplistic emotions ruling his head would be Sex, Suaveness, Sarcasm, and Slaughter.

After the welcome reboot of Casino Royale and the redundant vendetta of Quantum of Solace, Skyfall struck me as the apex of Daniel Craig’s 21st-century take, which built to a genuine emotional arc for the usually one-note character, supported by stunts genuinely thrilling without resorting to renamed sci-fi Bat-gadgetry, by updated camerawork, and with none of the nonsense of the last two Pierce Brosnan farces. It was a film designed to reach beyond the typical fan base, and for me it worked.

Spectre, in contrast, is less about director Sam Mendes deepening the impact he made on the aging series last time, and more of the intellectual property’s longtime producers giving Bond Classic fans more of what they want. Lucky them, I suppose.

Continue reading

Yes, There’s a Scene After the “Django Unchained” End Credits

Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, Django UnchainedI hadn’t originally planned to see Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Unlike many of my longtime Internet peers, his films aren’t an automatic draw for me. Though Reservoir Dogs has been a qualified favorite of mine since college, the rest have been a mixed bag. His previous work, Inglorious Badwerds, was a mature, complex, riveting film about WWII and about the role of film in WWII, but was hampered by Brad Pitt’s Kentucky-fried B-movie brigade who snuck in from the direct-to-video good-ol’-boys revenge flick next door. From the trailers, Django looked to me like a 2-cool-4-school blaxploitation Western. Call it Shaft in Texas or Black Grit. Despite the talented cast involved and the joyous responses from the critical majority, it didn’t really sound like my kind of movie.

Then it was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. As explained in a previous entry, I’ve watched every Best Picture nominee since 1997, whether I was enthusiastic about them or not. On this technicality alone, I checked Django out.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: