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A View to a Bond Baddie: Le Chiffre

To celebrate James Bond’s 50th birthday on screen (and the release of Skyfall), we’re going to take a look at the character and his films. We’ve already reviewed all the classic movies, so we’ll be looking at his iconic baddies, and even at the character himself.

A new era of Bond deserved a new type of villain. Or, at least, a renewed look at the oldest. Casino Royale had been the first James Bond novel written, but it was only the twenty-first filmed – long past the point where the series had even paid lip-service to Fleming’s novel and short story titles, let alone their plots. Much like the Bond girl Vesper Lynd, Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale radically reimagined the story’s villain, while remaining relatively true to the character’s roots. The result is a rather interesting addition to Bond’s iconic selection of foes, as brought to life by Mads Mikkelsen.

Playing his cards right?

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Non-Review Review: Haywire

Steven Soderbergh is an interesting film maker. Even when his films don’t really come together as well as one might hope, you can’t help but admire some of his bold ambition. Contagion was probably one of the boldest major releases of last year, and it was always fascinating even when it was just short of brilliance. Haywire falls into a similar trap, with some nice ideas, some great scenes, but nothing that really melds into a particularly compelling film. Indeed, Soderbergh’s spy thriller is messy, undoubted as the director intended – but it doesn’t seem like a highly-energised kinetic mess so much as poorly-plotted and muddled mess. The result is a film that is occasionally invigorating, but also quite infuriating.

On top of it...

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Something Sinestro This Way Comes…

Note that this article contains spoilers for Green Lantern. So I waited until the movie was released to post it. They aren’t exactly huge spoilers, but consider yourself warned.

It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell that Sinestro is going to end up evil. Created in the sixties, the character was introduced to fans as a rogue Green Lantern, so he wasn’t ever designed to be seen as a good guy in four-colour style. In fact, the guy is red, has an evil moustache and is played by Mark Strong. Although the name Sinestro could arguably refer to the fact he wears his ring on his left hand, it isn’t exactly a name that inspires implicit trust. So his path to the dark side in the intended-franchise-launcher Green Lantern shouldn’t be a surprise.

However, it really demonstrates a lot of the key flaws with the movie.

Not quite mellow yellow...

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Non-Review Review: Green Lantern

Green Lantern is solidly middle of the road as far as superhero movies go. Perhaps in a less crowded (and less high quality) summer action season it would seem a stronger contender, but the film really shows as Warner Brothers’ first major attempt to produce a big-budget superhero film not directly related to Superman or Batman. It’s perfectly functional, managing to do everything it sets out to in a relatively efficient manner, but there’s never really a sense that the film exists as anything more than a series of plot points that need be checked in order for the movie to cross the finish line. Given the potential of the source material, as well as its relatively unique nature amongst the slew of generic superheroes, a functioning and formulaic adventure can’t help but feel like a bit of a disappointment.

Hal Jordan: Space Cop? It has a nice ring to it...

Note: We also have an introduction to the Green Lantern mythos available, if you’re interested in checking it out.

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Non-Review Review: GoldenEye

This post is part of James Bond January, being organised by the wonderful Paragraph Films. I will have reviews of all twenty-two official Bond films going on-line over the next month, and a treat or two every once in a while.

GoldenEye saved James Bond. Bond had wallowed in obscurity for six years by the time that Pierce Brosnan’s first appearance in the role was released. As a kid, James Bond was something that was dead to me. Sure, it came on television from time to time (mostly on holidays) and they filled up a shelf at the videostore, but I always felt like they were something that had happened in the past – like the original Star Wars movies, or any Star Trek films featuring Captain Kirk. Even though I lacked the sophistication to articulate it at the time, I think I felt that the entire James Bond franchise would be reruns for me. There was nothing new happening.

And then GoldenEye was released.

Brosnan is Bond...

And it meant business.

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Non-Review Review: Green Lantern – First Flight

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. This is one of the “stand-alone” animated movies produced by the creative team that gave us the television shows. 

In case you weren’t aware, director Martin Campbell (the man who saved the Bond franchise twice – with both GoldenEye and Casino Royale) will be bringing a big screen adaptation of DC comic’s Green Lantern our way next summer. I am really looking forward to it, which might seem odd – Green Lantern has never really had the popular exposure that Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman or even Flash has had. Of course, that might be down to the fact that nobody has produced a television show based entirely around the character – hell, even Aquaman had that aborted Ving Rhames pilot and that fictional movie. So, it’s understandable if Green Lantern isn’t exactly lighting up the radar in the same way that, say, Kenneth Branagh’s Thor is. That said, if you’re looking to get a taste for the character, you could do a lot worse than checking out Green Lantern: First Flight.

Shoulda put a ring on it, indeed...

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Green Lantern 101: A Beginner’s Guide to The Green Lantern Mythos…

The trailer for Green Lantern arrived yesterday. I’m already excited about the release. However, I acknowledge that Hal Jordan isn’t quite the household name that Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent is. So I put together this collection of frequently asked questions about Green Lantern, which will hopefully give you a bit of an introduction to the character. If this proves popular, I might do the same for Thor or Captain America, the other major comic book releases of next year. Check out the trailer below.

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