James Bond: Skyfall

James Bond: Skyfall. Bond’s biggest opening weekend ever – and if you’ve seen it, you’ll understand why.
★★★★★

So I have managed to sneak out and catch Bond as it was a film I just couldnt bare to miss and for good reason, with Bond coming back with more enjoyment than I thought it could manage. What a way to signify the milestone Bond has reached, from the opening scenes in Istanbul to the final moments of Skyfall, Daniel Craig manages to become the Bond I had always hoped he would and so much more. With good locations, a good villain, some very good acting, some even better action and fantastic writing, this Bond film can definitely be put down as one of the best yet – some may even say the best in the history of all Bonds…

Image from: James Bond: Skyfall, (2012), [ONLINE]. Available here

Repo Men (2010)

Repo Men: Jude Law and Forest Whitaker go on the hunt for organs…
★★★★


I feel like it’s turned into an Action/Sci-Fi type week over here – In Time, Looper and now Repo Men reviews. I was just in that sort of mood, I guess. I like these, maybe a little too much 😮

When it comes to actors I really enjoy watching, both Jude Law and Forest Whitaker would be placed somewhere near to the top and for that reason, as well as the intriguing storyline of Repo Men is what initially enticed me to catch this speculative Sci-Fi film, and neither failed in impressing me again. Once the characters are established, Repo Men manages to provide a satisfying and enjoyable ride full of action that tells an intriguing story of morality where Law & Whitaker repossess artificial organs from those who can no longer keep up with their payments in a violent and often humorous manner that keeps you hooked from start to finish. There is more to this film than what’s on the surface though, and taking a minute to think about the ending and what the film is trying to say about Remy (Jude Law) makes this a respectable film that I personally enjoyed quite a lot.

Image from: Repo Men, (2010), [ONLINE]. Available here

Looper Review

Looper: A truly memorable sci-fi thriller from Rian Johnson
★★★★★

Looper has many plus points, from the stylistic opening scenes to the smart script and original storyline that concludes with a very satisfying end that will ultimately leave you thinking and talking about the whole film for some time afterwards. It’s initially paced at a speed that manages to hold your suspense whilst punching you in the face with action and superb acting, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt destined for a big and bright future (not to mention Johnson’s future too), but there are also some very slight negative points as the film progresses (I’m nitpicking), if you could call them negative as such. The pace shirks from its beginnings and becomes more, well, boggy and perhaps less entertaining as the earlier sequence of events, but no less enjoyable as the plot progressively develops in to something very interesting and so, take nothing away from Looper, it is a smart and largely well put together film full of great moments that provides something truly memorable – loved it.

Image from: Looper, (2012), [ONLINE]. Available here

In Time (2011)

In Time: Where money is time, and time is money. How much time do you have left?
★★★½

In Time, the sort of film title film critics love, giving them the chance to twist it in an attempt to make a witty statement about how this film was a waste of time, or how it indeed did finish just in time. But the truth is, time was no issue here, apart for those involved in the film – it was paced well to ensure that the plot was always moving forward in what is one of the more original and interesting concepts in Sci-Fi, making for an enjoyable watch, even with the drawbacks. There are some well made points to this film, highlighting many a relatable issue that strikes a chord or two, but the execution across the board was disappointing, from the acting to the writing amongst other slight niggling drawbacks, reducing this film to a somewhat regrettably forgettable flick that could have been better than what it really was.

Image from: In Time, (2011), [ONLINE]. Available here

Killing Them Softly

Killing Them Softly: A blackly funny and enjoyable crime drama
★★★★

Brad Pitt stars as Jackie Cogan and gives an excellent performance in the blackly funny, crime thriller Killing Them Softly – it is violent, smart and memorable but it is so much more than what the trailer initially suggests. The films setting and backdrop gives this film a unique twist that is fascinating and captivating to the point where this film becomes more than just a film about an assassin catching some criminals – given this, the film surpasses those typical expectations you would have of a mobster, assassin type crime drama. The script offers some great moments and the cast do a great job in their roles, especially Pitt, as ever, but it is Andrew Dominik, the writer/director, who makes this film what it is by converting the standard crime drama into something that offers a whole lot more in terms of the films style, music and direction.


Might start implementing the above rating system/or similar – I could add other things like Acting and what not but unsure as to whether I need to complicate the normal rating system at all – might just keep the usual rating system?

Image from: Killing Them Softly, (2012), [ONLINE]. Available here

Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina: A beautiful modern adaption
★★★★½

 
 
There have been dramas about love that have been charming and poignant and then there have been love stories that have been terrible, cringe worthy and awkward – Anna Karenina fits in with the first; it is a superb example of how to direct a well written drama about love and passion that is refreshingly different to anything else. It is both fascinatingly beautiful to look at with its 19th century setting as well as being quietly poetic with Knightly performing admirably as Anna, though sometimes overly pretentious and annoying. I respect the costume designers, writers and actors for their attention to detail in trying to get everything perfect, from the array of emotions portrayed to the art direction that uses elements of theatre and cinema that helps keep this film fresh and original, but it isn’t quite perfect – you need to be patient and attentive and if you’re not, you’ll get frustrated and annoyed with this modern adaption of Tolstoy’s classic.

Image from: Anna Karenina, (2012), [ONLINE]. Available here

The Long Review/Preview: Breaking Bad Season 5 (Part 1)

The Long Review/Preview, Breaking Bad Season 5(Part 1)

Once Walter the Grey, a weak and minor motorhome Meth wizard, then became Walter the Blue, the purest, most respected and greatest Meth wizard in all of Middle Methworld, has finally become Walter the White, the most powerful, recklessly ambitious and stubborn wizard of them all; the top of the food chain, the top of the most wanted list.

At least, that’s my summary of the Breaking Bad as we know it. The final half of the fifth and final season is due to end next year in what I can only hope will be a battle of epic proportions. No matter what we expect or want to happen to Walt and co though, I’m sure we won’t be disappointed with what Vince Gilligan will give us.

But what do we expect and what do we want to see in the final half of season five?

Well, first we must address what has happened previously, so if you have never watched it, then don’t read it unless you want it to be partially ruined with spoilers.

Previously on Breaking Bad…

1.Walt was diagnosed with cancer, resulting in the new Walter White that has gradually become the Walter White we now know today. We first saw him creating Meth for the ‘greater good’ of his family for when he died, but the cancer went into remission in two senses – in Walt’s body and in the series. The focus became on all things Meth from there onwards, over ambitious plans and the big questions as to how much is enough and when will the cancer come back.

Looking down at the pile of cash he has amassed and looking at himself in the mirror of the hospital toilets, these questions are raised in the most obvious way. As Vince Gilligan said himself, the scene wouldn’t have been put there if there wasn’t a reason. So has the cancer returned?

Walts’ alter-ego as Heisenberg has been in full flow this season, becoming the completely self-assured and malevolent man he never was at the start of the series. With Skylar made to keep his secrets and Jesse made to follow whatever he says, Walt begins to cause more fractures in these relationships.

Slowly, those around him become ever more cautious of him. No wonder, his nasty streak is at its worst – killing Mike and ordering the jail murders. Skylar insists on Walt stopping once more and this time, he complies. Why? The cancer? His conscience catching up on him? – nah, surely not.

And so can we believe him? The focus on Hanks comment of “Who am I to fly in the face of public demand?” about brewing a batch of beer after the table of guests unanimously votes in favour suggests that there is more Meth on the way, or at least, he won’t be giving up just yet.

2. But then there is Hank himself, always chasing the mysterious Heisenberg’s Blue Meth, who is always a couple of steps ahead. Never has he stopped in his pursuit that you could call fanatical and obsessive, but often he is on the ball unlike those around him who appear miles behind. But gradually, he seems to get ever closer to Heisenberg where finally, he uncovers the note in Walt’s bathroom, realising the haunting truth that will unravel it all. The question here is what will he do with this information and what situation will it create? Will he hold it back, analyse and watch Walt, allowing him to get away? This one is difficult, given his relation to Walt and the state of things.

3. Which brings me on to Jesse. We’ve followed Jesse’s addiction, his tears and his pupilage with Walt from the very beginning of the ever present teacher/pupil type relationship that never really passes. Working in a motorhome, then for Gus and then as their own bosses, Jesse eventually quits the business after things began to get messy. In the final episode of this half-season, we watch as Jesse and Walt reminisce on the good times past, yo, the moments we all shared and enjoyed. Nostalgic to say the least, but it’s clear their partnership has suffered a final breaking fracture, with Jesse completely untrusting of Walt as shown by the gun in his belt, and if only he knew more of the secrets (Lilly of the Valley). The relationship is irreparable, and Jesse’s lack of trust could well lead to some interesting revelations. So just what will Jesse be up to in the final bout of episodes? What will he be saying if he is taken in by Hank in Walt’s possible getaway, or will they getaway together?

4. We’ve watched as Skylar was kept in the dark, suspecting Walt of many a thing, as well as having an affair before opting to help launder the money via their new business together after being somewhat forced to comply with Walt. Eventually, she goes a little more crazy and we see more and more of Skylar’s other side as she for a walk in the swimming pool and decides to offload her kids to Hank and Marie’s in an attempt to get out, or for Walt to stop. Now, more than ever, she wants her life back. But what will she do to get her life back? How close is she to breaking point with Walt? If he starts up again, the little trust that remains will surely be gone?

The Opening Scene of Season 5

I figure this scene gives us the insight we need to help partially answer these questions. First of all, he is 52, time has moved on and he is both alive and not in prison. He’s taken up a new identity (well, he’s taken up giving Skylar’s maiden name as his), is doing business, securing himself a machine gun and plenty of ammunition. We can assume things have come out, he’s a wanted man, not Heisenberg, but Walter White is, and is in the process of doing some meaningful business. He lets out a little cough in the process… suggesting the cancer is back and his biggest challenege now is fighting the cancer again.

What comes next, we will have to wait and see. But we can try and predict, hope and scream for certain things. The main thing though, is that of an edge of your seat, intense and thrilling ending sequence.

How will it end?

The truth is, I don’t want to know. I don’t really want to predict either, but I can’t help myself.

He’s the anti-hero we all love, but do we want him to get away with it or do we want a big bust up in the wider sense of the phrase with Walt ultimately not walking away? Well personally, I like the idea of both. If done right, Gilligan could get away with either, or anything else.

But I personally like the idea of a battle of epic proportions best. I believe many other things, though, such as that of his cancer being his ultimate demise in the midst of a cat and mouse chase.

In those 4 points above, I was trying to convey that Walt’s relationships have fallen down through a lack of trust. Skylar, Jesse and now Hank do not and can not trust Walter anymore. But what about Walter White? Can Walter White trust himself?

Or perhaps the question should be, can the invincible, indestructible Heisenberg trust and overcome his own worst enemy, Walter White and the cancer that plagues  him? He’s stubborn and surely won’t let someone else punish him except himself.

What will come of our Walt in the final episodes, with the opening scene of season 5 suggesting something interesting, something a little way into the future, something with guns, something big, something final.

The Walt Whitworth references are shown throughout the series and perhaps more are in order to end the series. I’ve read other things were people have highlighted such incidents and it made me wonder and look, so take what you want from this extract from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman – the book Hank holds in the mid season finale. Take a look at the whole thing, if you want – it’s so interesting when reading it in context to Breaking Bad, and I cant help but make assumptions on this.

27

To be, in any form—what is that?
(Round and round we go, all of us, and ever come back thither;)

If nothing lay more develop’d, the quahaug in its callous shell were enough.
 

Mine is no callous shell;
I have instant conductors all over me, whether I pass or stop;
They seize every object and lead it harmlessly through me.
I merely stir, press, feel with my fingers, and am happy;

To touch my person to some one else’s is about as much as I can stand.
 

28

Is this then a touch? quivering me to a new identity,
Flames and ether making a rush for my veins,

Treacherous tip of me reaching and crowding to help them,
My flesh and blood playing out lightning to strike what is hardly different from myself;
On all sides prurient provokers stiffening my limbs
Straining the udder of my heart for its withheld drip,
Behaving licentious toward me, taking no denial,
Depriving me of my best, as for a purpose,
Unbuttoning my clothes, holding me by the bare waist,
Deluding my confusion with the calm of the sunlight and pasture-fields,
Immodestly sliding the fellow-senses away,
They bribed to swap off with touch, and go and graze at the edges of me;
No consideration, no regard for my draining strength or my anger;
Fetching the rest of the herd around to enjoy them a while,
Then all uniting to stand on a headland and worry me.

The sentries desert every other part of me;
They have left me helpless to a red marauder;
They all come to the headland, to witness and assist against me.
 

I am given up by traitors;
I talk wildly—I have lost my wits—I and nobody else am the greatest traitor;
I went myself first to the headland—my own hands carried me there.

You villian touch! what are you doing? My breath is tight in its throat;
Unclench your floodgates! you are too much for me.

Images from: Breaking Bad, (2012), [ONLINE]. Available at: here and here