Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: November 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

End of Year Mayhem: Deadfall (2012), Life of Pi and Silver Linings Playbook

by Tony Dayoub

I'm wading through about sixty-plus screeners (and counting) as we head into the end of year awards season. What I'm really saying is please forgive me for allowing the blog to lay fallow. With two kids to watch after while my wife is running our business and a hard deadline for voting for the upcoming Online Film Critics Society awards I've neglected the blog. I'm going to compromise a bit then and post some quick and dirty capsule reviews as I catch up on 2012 films (and if you're lucky, I may preview some as well... including one in today's post). The first crop comes after the jump.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Is Lincoln Meant to Caution or Console?

by Tony Dayoub

It's a rare occurrence when a preview screening plays to a nearly empty house, but a preview screening of Lincoln that I attended last week did just that. It's not entirely surprising since it played in an Atlanta suburb. The schizoid nature of the metro Atlanta area is such that though the city proper is a stronghold of the African-American Civil Rights Movement (fully reflected in the diversity of its population), pockets of areas outside of the I-285 perimeter still have a lot of catching up to do. It was only 2 years ago that the Daughters of the Confederacy un-ironically set up a booth in my own suburb's annual Main Street parade. Things are changing, but not at the speed one expects. One week post-election and roughly one half of the country still feels steamrolled by the Democrats' top-to-bottom victory. And into this comes Lincoln, a movie centered on the enfranchisement of a subjugated people during the most divisive era of our storied history.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Illuminating Bond in Skyfall

by Tony Dayoub

We've come to expect a certain formula from the 007 movies, now numbering 23 with the release of Skyfall: opening stunt scene, sexy title sequence playing over a torch song, 007 on a mission where he first meets the bad girl, then the evil villain that keeps her and finally, the good girl before he fights the baddie to the death. Any freshness injected into the traditional outline has usually come through the recasting of James Bond himself (Daniel Craig is the sixth actor to play him in the official series) or by stripping the character down to his gadget-less essence so that the only thing he can depend on are his wits. In only one instance have we ever strayed close to knowing the man behind the facade. That was in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, my personal favorite and most underrated of all the Bonds, in which he gets married not because of any ulterior mission but because he has truly fallen in love. Things don't end well for Mrs. Bond needless to say. More grist for the cold, callous mill.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The History of 007

Since I've got Bond movies on my mind, here's an infographic sent to me by the folks at There are a few mistakes here and there, but otherwise it's neat. Click to enlarge.

Infographic: The History of 007

Monday, November 5, 2012

You Only Live Twice (1967)

by Tony Dayoub

You only live twice:
Once when you are born
And once when you look death in the face

- You Only Live Twice by Ian Fleming

One of the most arresting images of the entire James Bond series is the sight of Sean Connery, THE iconic 007, laying dead and bloody in a bed. The shocking scene occurs even before the opening credits roll on the fifth of the 23 "official" films based on the Ian Fleming spy novels. For this and many other reasons, You Only Live Twice is a watershed movie in the series. The Death of Bond is a potent trope that has and will be repeated again throughout the 007 series. Bond's death and subsequent resurrection not only foreshadow the handful of times 007 would be regenerated in the performance of another actor; they also look forward to Connery's departure from the role before returning to it in Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and again in the "unofficial" Never Say Never Again (1983). Watching the schizoid You Only Live Twice—satisfying in some respects, frustratingly comic in others—is instructive in explaining why Connery was getting fed up with the series and how the Bond movies would eventually stray quite far from their source material before its triumphant reboot decades later.