Archive for the ‘Daniel Craig’ Category

MOVIE: Skyfall (2012)

November 20, 2012

You know what I want for Christmas this year?  I want to skip middle age and go sta-raight to Judi Dench.  Is that really so much to ask?

This movie was fantastic fun, and since the plot is beside the point, I’m not even going to take the time to describe it to, aside from mentioning it actually made sense this time (I still have no idea what Quantum of Solace was about — you should totally click that link to read my review because I just did and it made me laugh).  It made sense, it was entertaining and well-paced, and stuff happened that I actually cared about.  I love it when that happens!

I was excited, also, to see Ben Whishaw as the new Q — I’ve been a fan of his since Perfume and I’m a sucker for cute, young nerds to begin with– and holy crow, I tell you what, any time Javier Bardem plays a bad guy, he is the new scariest bad guy of all time.  He doesn’t need a cattle prod to be terrifying, as it turns out.  He just needs blond eyebrows.

NIGHTMARELAND.

Thumbs way, way up — go see this movie!  You need a break from holiday stress, and Bond is where it’s AT.  (Though, for the record, drinking your martini shaken instead of stirred is for rookies.)

[Prequeue at Netflix]

Genre: Action, Spy
Cast: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Albert Finney, Judi Motherfucking Dench, Ben Whishaw

MOVIE: Dream House (2011)

October 28, 2011

Okay, so, the good news:  this movie isn’t nearly as bad as its trailer makes it look.  While it’s pretty much every bit as cheeseorama and predictable as it seems, it at least makes a good effort to veer slightly off the usual track at the end, something I appreciated enough to forgive it, a little anyway, for its ridiculous, silly everything-elses.

The story is about a successful big city publication house editor, Will Atenton (Daniel Craig), who has just quit his job and moved his wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and two young daughters to a big house in a small town, where he plans to write a book and spend more time being a dad.  Fans of movies like this one know that moving a big city person to a small town neighborhood so they can focus on writing is something that just NEVER goes well for anyone (I can think of a dozen thrillers/horror movies that start out exactly that same way).  You either go crazy (The Shining) or some kind of evil comes and gets you (Straw Dogs and countless others).

It’s not long before the family learns they’ve been duped by their realtor, who failed to inform them that the house was the site of a horrific murder/attempted-suicide just a few years before.  A man killed both his kids and his wife, and then shot himself in the head, surviving the wound just barely, and he’s been in a psychiatric hospital ever since.  The neighbors think the house is cursed and stay away (one previous resident even warns Will that living in the house made him kill his own family. Apparently, he’s been let out of prison because he has terminal cancer, by the way, which:  what?).  But one of them, Ann (Naomi Watts), seems to know more than the others about the murders and makes an effort, albeit a hesitant one, to welcome Will to the neighborhood.

Creeped out but practical, the Atentons decide not to tell their kids about the house’s history (asking Ann’s teenage daughter to watch what she says within ear shot), and plan to make the best of it:  new coats of paint, smooches in the kitchen, the housewarming works.

Until, of course, stranger and stranger things begin to happen.

If you’ve seen the trailer — or any one of the gazillion movies just like this one — you already know Daniel Craig is the murderous father, and his family is simply a manifestation of his traumatized imagination.  (This is not a spoiler, by the way — it’s IN THE TRAILER.)  But as he begins to remember the truth, a twist comes into play that turns the usual arc of these sorts of flicks on its ear.  Is it a brilliant twist?  Nope.  However, it’s not terrible either, and, man, major points to the writer/director for not just lazily riding this out the way I expected them to.

If you’re on the fence about checking this one out, and you have a thing for the naked male form, then I should also tell you there is an unintentionally hilarious moment in this movie where Daniel Craig hears a noise downstairs and gets out of bed to investigate.  As he throws the covers back and rises to his feet, the camera zooms in so closely the only thing you see is his naked torso, all six-packed and chisel-y.  After seeing similar close-ups of his butt in chaps in Cowboys & Aliens (MORE THAN ONE, I should add!), I gotta wonder:  does Daniel Craig know he’s being cast these days more for his body than his acting ability?  Because, really, he’s not much of an actor — he’s pretty much always the same dude, and I confess that dude is sort of getting old for me.  But man, I would — and will — happily continue to shell out nine bucks for a big-screen ticket to more shots like that one.  MROWL.

For most of you, though, I think maybe waiting for DVD would be reasonable.  This little thriller is entertaining enough, but nothing to write home about.  (Hi, Mom!)

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Horror, Thriller
Cast:  Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Marton Csokas, Claire Geare, Taylor Geare, Rachel G. Fox, Elias Koteas

MOVIE: Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

August 22, 2011

A few months ago, two friends and I decided to form a little bad movie lovers gang (you know, like the Crips, only far too lazy for violent crime).  The plan was to get together periodically and go see something in the theater that looked delightfully awful.  The first flick we picked was Sanctum, an entertaining stinker that fit that description quite excellently.  We spent most of that movie guffawing inappropriately and had a grand old time.

This round, our selection was Cowboys & Aliens, which, after reading half a dozen reviews that panned the poo out of it, we were sure was going to be as bad or possibly even worse than Sanctum.  Popcorns and Diet Cokes in hand, we settled in for what was certain to be another two hours of snickering.  Ye-heh-HES!

Imagine our surprise, then, when we all three ended up enjoying this film quite a bit. What the . . . WHAT?  Sure, it makes little sense (but since when do alien movies make much sense?), but it’s actually pretty entertaining, and not just because the costume designer so beautifully tailored the seat of Daniel Craig’s pants, making them cling perfectly to his butt cheeks’ every slope and curve.   They’re truly a marvel of sartorial art, those pants.  Add to them  a pair of chaps, and what you have is sheer rear perfection.

(After the movie, one of my friends remarked that chaps are kind of like push-up bras for asses — you’ll see what she means if you check this film out.  Humina humina.  WOW.  Ahem.  Whew!  And I’m still laughing at the fact we all three noticed this phenomenon and couldn’t wait to remark on it to each other as soon as the credits rolled.  This is a truly grand gang we’ve got going, I must say.)

Okay, so, the plot:  The story opens with a classic Western set-up — dashingly gruff cowboy finds himself in a new town where he immediately encounters trouble.  In this case, it’s Jake Lonergren (Craig and his butt), who wakes up in the desert with total amnesia, a strange-looking metal cuff on one wrist, and an equally strange-looking wound in his abdomen (just above and around to the side from his butt).  He makes it to the nearest town only to collapse on its outskirts, where he’s discovered by the town’s pastor/doctor/sage (Clancy Brown), who treats his wound and introduces him to the town’s Big Jerk (every Western’s got one) right outside the church’s front doors, rustling up a fight.  He’s Percy Dolarhyde (Paul Dano), the arrogant, drunk, insecure, screw-up son of a local wealthy cattle rancher, cantankerous ex-Civil War colonel, Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford).

When Percy accidentally shoots a deputy, Jake flattens him (not with his butt) and Percy ends up in jail.  The problem is, the town’s sheriff has a wanted poster hanging in that same jail with a picture of Jake’s face on it.  And pretty soon, Jake finds himself (and his butt) in Percy’s adjoining cell.

When the colonel rides into town to demand his son back, the two prisoners are being transferred to a coach to take them into the nearby “big city” where they can be tried for their crimes.  Before the coach can get moving, though, strange lights appear in the sky and suddenly a bunch of ships start zooming by, firing lasers, exploding buildings, and scooping up several of the townsfolk.

Jake manages to get (his butt) free and the strange metal bracelet on his arm suddenly activates himself.  When he pulls its trigger, it fires, bringing down one of the ships, just as Percy is nabbed by another.  And now it’s, you know, cowboys and aliens, as Jake and the colonel form an uneasy truce and, along with several of the town’s other residents, including a strange woman named Ella (the truly awful Olivia Wilde), band together to try to destroy the aliens and rescue their people.

The concept sounds silly, I know, but if you think about it, it’s really no sillier than any other aliens vs. Earthlings movie I’ve ever seen.  The aliens themselves don’t make a lot of sense in terms of their design (for one thing, they have an extra set of arms with extremely dextrous fingers and better capability for forward motion, yet in order to USE those arms, they have to expose their vital organs.  Hmm.  Might want to try to evolve out of THAT, I’m thinking), but at least they don’t look exactly like human beings save for big heads (man, I hate that).  Granted, they look so radically different from humans it’s hard to believe they’re so readily able to breathe our atmosphere and find stuff to eat.  But whatever.  No one ever seems to get this exactly right, and how could they when there’s so much we don’t know about outer space?

The first half of this film is pretty damn great, if you ask me.  As a stand-alone Western, without the alien elements, it’s well made, and the costumes and set design were great (though ’tis true I’m a total sucker for Westerns).  When the group finds themselves teaming up with the local Apache tribe to invade the aliens’ home base, on the other hand, things get pretty silly pretty fast.  And yet, even then, I was completely entertained, only rolled my eyes a few times, and, as I said, greatly enjoyed checking out Craig’s mesmerizing backside (the filmmakers provide an absolutely ridiculous number of shots of said backside, by the way, but it’s hard to fault them too much for it).

I also liked that both the bad-asses in the film — Jake as the traditional “Man With No Name”-type character and Ford’s Col. Dolarhyde — weren’t your usual one-dimensional Western bad-asses.  They both had relatively complicated personalities, and the colonel in particular was a truly interesting character, in my opinion.  His obviously horrific experiences in the war left him hardened and bitter, willing to fight but hating to fight, and he frequently takes that dissatisfaction out on his son Percy, whom he considers to be an absolute coward.  At his side more often than not is a young Native American man the colonel had taken in as a boy, Nat (Adam Beach — and yes, this movie’s a veritable ex-Boyfriend of the Week smorgasbord for sure!), who respects and loves the hell out of Col. Dolarhyde, even though the colonel mostly treats him with disdain.  As they fight side-by-side to get Percy back, however,  Col. D. comes to realize how solid Nat’s character is and their relationship finally begins to bloom in a very masculine, yet also very touching kind of way.

My two friends seemed to consider the colonel an irredeemable jerk, and there’s good enough reason for that.  But he actually reminded me a lot of my own father, a Marine who also fought in a brutal war — tough on the outside, with a big, big heart on the inside he hasn’t always been confident enough to reveal.  It was refreshing to see both this character in general, and Harrison Ford playing this character in specific.  The last few Ford movies I’ve seen had me worried his time as an actor was done — he mostly just grunted and scowled his way through Morning Glory, for example.  But he was spot-on perfection in this role and I hope he manages to land more parts like this one soon.

In retrospect, I can’t help but think the movie reviewers who hated this film went into it thinking all the wrong things.  I think their expectations were probably too high, and I will grant them that a movie entitled Cowboys & Aliens sure sounds like it ought to be a comedy, which this film most certainly, at times laughably, is not (it IS a truly bad title — I would’ve gone with REALLY Bad Day at Black Rock, myself).

Go into it expecting it to be good-bad, though — somewhat badly thought-out, fairly goodly acted — and you will be rewarded with two hours of definite fun.  And also, did I mention Daniel Craig’s ass?  Because DANIEL CRAIG’S ASS.  <– Mentioned.

Recommended!

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Sci-fi, Western
Cast:  Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, Noah Ringer, Keith Carradine, Adam Beach, Clancy Brown

MOVIE: Quantum of Solace (2009)

July 9, 2009

Damn, Daniel Craig sure is hot. . .

I have absolutely no idea what this movie was about.

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre:  Obfuscation
Cast:  Daniel Craig, The Dame J.D., Mathieu Amalric, Olga Kurylenko, Giancarlo Giannini

No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to DIE.

April 1, 2008

Not that this is in ANY way important, but for some reason, I just had the urge to tell you that Daniel Craig has been voted “best dressed Brit” by GQ magazine again.  Ex-Boyfriend Prince William, on the other hand, made the WORST dressed list.  But since I have an absolutely PERFECT record of predicting the wrong person will win on every season of Project Runway(but Chris made his outfits using HUMAN HAIR!  C’mon, that was AWESOME!), I’m hardly about to hold this against him.  I’m sure he looked fabulous.

In even better Boyfriends in the News news, however, I read this morning that Horatio Hornblower (okay, okay, Ioan Gruffudd, but he’ll always be “Haitch” to me) just landed a role on a network television show scheduled for the fall season.  (Read all about it.)

I’m torn between two reactions to this:  1) “YAY!” and 2) “You’re coming back to TV but NOT doing an eighth Hornblower movie?  So. . . you hate me, is that what you’re saying?” 

I’ve been recently working my way through the A&E Hornblower series for the 86,093rd time, myself, and man, if you still haven’t seen those, gettenzee hott.  Never have I ever applied the word “dashing” more appropriately.

That said, I can only assume Ioan didn’t make the Best Dressed Brit list for one reason and one reason alone — this hat:

MOVIE: The Invasion (2006)

February 23, 2008

In my review of Black Horizon a couple of days ago, I mentioned there was a second total dog I saw with my Mom over the weekend, and this was it! This movie, the third (at least?) remake of the classic 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, actually starts out fairly decent — there were some moments in the first hour I found truly creepy and I’ll put up with a lot, of course, to spend two hours with Jeremy Northam and Daniel Craig. But about halfway through, I started to realize this movie was just completely lacking in any substance whatsoever, despite the fact it quite obviously wanted us to think it was extraordinarily “deep.” And it was pretty much all downhill for me from there.

It’s probably been fifteen years at least since I’ve seen the original Body Snatchers movie, so the details are mostly all gone for me (replaced by three-plus years of having to keep track of plot twists on Lost, I guess). But what I CAN tell you is that traditionally this story has something to do with the politics of the era in which it is made (or remade, as the case may be). It’s supposed to have a point — we’re supposed to take away a current events lesson from it. For example, the original was about the dangers of McCarthyism, if I remember correctly. And though I haven’t seen the two remakes that came before this one, I’ve heard they did the same thing.

This movie definitely makes an attempt to make such a point, but its attempt is almost ridiculously half-assed. It’s so half-assed, actually, that it’s really more quarter-assed. Eighth-assed, even. Eighth-assed times infinity plus one, if you want to get specific.

It’s about a psychiatrist named Carol (Nicole Kidman, being her usual boring self) who one day begins to notice bizarre changes in the people around her. It starts with her ex-husband (Northam), who shows up out the blue suddenly wanting to spend time with her son but acting really. . . weird. And from there it spreads to her patients and everybody she sees on the street (that was the creepy part for me, by the way — the people all standing together and staring at Carol with such blank expressions. Gives me the willies, that sort of thing).

Desperate to figure out what’s going on, Carol teams up with her friend Ben, a doctor (Craig), and the two of them run some tests and soon discover the epidemic is being caused by an alien parasite that spreads through vomit (p.s., gross). As Ben and Carol struggle to rescue her son from her pod-person ex-husband, they realize a few people, including the kid, appear to be immune. The plan becomes clear: if they can get Carol’s son back to their lab, they can come up with a cure and save the world! Hallelujah, humanity wins again!

But, but. . . um, Ben? You’re suddenly acting really strange, Ben. Oh nooooo! Beeeeeennnnnnnnnnn!!

Meanwhile, in the background of many scenes, we see newspaper headlines or hear radio or TV reports of various wars raging in the world. As more and more people are infected by the alien parasite, more and more of those wars begin to end. It soon becomes clear that the moral of this film is that emotion is the root of all evil. Shut down our feelings, and the world would be a perfect place.

Hmmm, sounds a little like Equilibrium, right? But while I didn’t think Equilibrium was in any way a good film, after seeing this piece of total dreck, I found myself with a new respect for it.

In Equilibrium, this same premise (emotions = bad) made a lot more sense. That is, it made no sense whatsoever, and it was extremely easy for us, the viewers, to recognize that right out of the gate. We saw very clearly the reasons WHY this was a bad idea and we were easily able to choose sides. Take away our emotions and we are freed from war, it said, but we also lose art, music, literature, and love, and that’s just not a good enough trade. Not only that, but it’s a lesson in the dangers of corrupt leadership too, something anybody who’s been paying attention since 9/11 can certainly relate to.

But in The Invasion, there are literally NO negatives to becoming a pod person whatsoever. The wars end, the people who are “invaded” are at peace and happy, and life goes on pretty much just as it always has. There’s no downside.

Not only that, I didn’t at all understand what the writers were actually trying to tell us about how we should go about achieving this happiness. Equilibrium taught us that the path to true happiness is to stop trying to bury our feelings and instead release them in creative, positive ways, right? Ways that better our society instead of damage it.

But this movie? I mean, all I could come up with was that it was trying to teach us that the path to true happiness is joining a cult and refusing to think for ourselves anymore. . .

Ohhhh, I see! It’s a movie about Republicans!!

I’m kidding, of course. In actuality, what I believe to be the case here is that the writers simply didn’t think that deeply. Instead, I picture them sitting around a table for an hour or two after being hired to work on this project and saying, “Sure, I never thought I’d be so pathetic the only job I could get would be to write the script for the THIRD remake of a movie from the 1950’s. But since I’m here. . . Anyway, I guess we better make it seem like we at least tried to make our version relevant to the modern day, so somebody work on throwing in some keywords like ‘Iraq’ and ‘Darfur’ and we’ll just hope people think our point was so brilliant it flew right over their heads. Hey, worked for Clooney in Syriana, right? Oh wait, and while we’re at it, let’s also toss in a subplot that will encourage people to stop getting flu shots, because lord knows all that stuff we keep hearing about superbugs is total bullshit, right?”

In other words, this movie really has nothing interesting to say about anything. They thought an alien flick might make them a little dough, so they threw a bunch of money at a group of popular actors, tossed in a little stab at political commentary (one that totally backfired, because I’m sure they actually thought they were being ANTI-war here), and then rolled their eyes and pressed on.

A total waste of everybody’s time, including ours. Save yourselves!

[Don’t Netflix me | Don’t Buy me]

Genre: Science Fiction
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Jeremy Northam, Jeffrey Wright, Veronica Cartwright