November 15, 2008

Quantum Feedback (Updated)

Well, we did one for Crystal Skull and we did one for WALL·E; might as well do one for the new Bond. Consider this your Quantum of Solace talkback.

(11/17): Walter's review of the flick is live at last.


Anonymous said...

The friends that I went with said:

"They didn't try as hard this time."

That pretty much sums it up. The same old lazy Bond cliches abound and the Roman Polanski impersonator sucked as a villain.

Ian Pugh said...

Well, Marc Forster is no Paul Greengrass, that's for sure.

The action sequences were frantic and incomprehensible to no discernible end (when Bond chases Mitchell through Italy, could you honestly tell who was who by the end of the scene?), the theme song was awful, and I'm really sick of Paul Haggis and his ever-bleeding heart--but I have to admit that I was blown away by the introduction of Quantum as the new generation of SPECTRE. If 21st century terrorism has made telling friend from foe an impossibility, then Bond takes the necessary steps to not only deny allegiance like Dirty Harry, but somehow place himself beyond allegiance.

Can't wait to see what they do with Quantum in future films. I'll have to give this one a second look to clarify my thoughts, though.

Anonymous said...

I didn't need all of the bad CGI in that chase either. The movie looked really; I guess "slapped together" would be what I'm looking for. Picking a director as prolific as Marc Forster isn't really great for a film that needs to be shot at locations around the world and would benefit from a long shooting cycle. It almost felt like a quick cash in following Casino Royale as the highest grossing Bond of all time (ignoring inflation).

And Ebert hit the nail on the head, Haggis was trying to put some sort of "message" in there about causing instability in governments for our financial gain; but really, a villain with the goal of controlling Bolivia's water supply comes off as more than a little inconsequential. It's a pretty esoteric goal, no?

Ian Pugh said...

I found Ebert's review kind of petty, actually. I cetainly agree that Bond should always be more than an average action hero, and that argument definitely applies here. But he expresses his disappointment in the film with a series of complaints about the lack of dusty warhorse carryovers. (I love Q and Moneypenny too, but they're wrong for the character at this particular juncture.) Ebert seemed to understand where the new Bond was going in his Casino Royale review, but the way he makes it sound in Quantum of Solace, he's angry that the earlier film was not a one-off deal that would jump right back into the same bullshit that eventually made Bronsan's tenure so irrelevant. This isn't a humorless Bond, but the lack of punch in the villain's name, of all things, is hardly one of the film's problems. And, for the record, using "Quantum of Solace" as the title of the film was the right move; it's a reflection of that ever-elusive iota of compassion that Bond thought he found in his life with Vesper.

Haggis and Forster went far, far overboard in trying to be "sensitive" about the Bolivians' plight, but the concept itself isn't wrong. This is the kind of villainy that Bond will combat over the next few years--it's going to be about natural resources and the very basic components we need to survive.

Seattle Jeff said...

It was hard for me to judge as I was sitting in a packed theater in the 2nd row from the screen.

It was hard to know what my sense of disorientation was due to.

And I'm sure I'm not the first to comment that I was distracted by the presence of Lloyd Christmas. Also, from what I could tell, the villian was indeed weak.

Characters were thrown away so quickly that it all seemed rather meaningless.

It felt like a James Bond movie, and that's not good.

Jason said...

The movie was definitely weaker than Casino Royale, and I'm willing to lay a lot of this at the feet of Paul Haggis. The man's never been a particularly good writer when it comes to basic story structure, as Crash shows. In this film, the frantic pace of the first half doesn't just make the action difficult to follow - it almost fatally wounds both pacing and motivation.

There's never a real good sense as to why Bond does certain things, like "saving" Camille from Medrano and Greene in that pointless boat chase, for instance. I highly doubt that Bond is in the standard "white knight" mentality, since Daniel Craig has never shown this side of his Bond before. Moreover, since this is supposed to take place immediately after CR, Bond has watched the supposed woman of his dreams betray him and drown herself just a few days ago. There's no real reason for Craig to care about her safety, as Camille had just pulled a gun on him point-blank, and he doesn't try to get information out of her. He just dumps her off in some dockhand's arms, so why bother in the first place?

I think the film's biggest flaw, though, is the opposite of From Russia With Love's greatest strength: a sense of scope and menace. There's no real effort put into defining the size and scale of Quantum's operation, and there's no real way of knowing just how strong they really are. I don't need a series of people going by numbers, or a SPECTRE Island training ground to get these things, but I'd like to have seen some effort put into this. Bond's "quantum of solace" comes after taking out Greene and putting the hurt on Quantum, the people he indirectly blames for her death. However, it's never properly established just where Greene stands within the Quantum organization, and whether Bond actually did anything or not. He could very well have only killed Kronsteen while Blofeld sits at the Opera in Austria (my bet's on Mr. White being one of the heads of Quantum, though they may end up going in a completely different direction for Bond 23). It'll be interesting to see where the next one goes, and whether it renders the title/ending of this film ironic, moot or tragic (or all three).

Still, though, that second half does pick up, when they start to finally show, not tell. I like that everything's a lot more ambiguous in the second half, and everyone's loyalty is pretty much in question. I like that no one can keep track of Bond except through a trail of murders he didn't commit, and that his relative lack of motivation (or explanation, rather) makes it believable that M would consider Bond to be the prime suspect. I like the crazy eco-hotel, and watching it get blown to hell. And I like the fact that Bond's "quantum of solace" is more or less a rejection of everything everyone said to him about forgiving Vesper. He's a professional now, so he doesn't kill Vesper's boyfriend, but he's also pretty much going to forget about her and write her out of his life, as evidenced by that last shot. Lesson learned, who the hell cares?

Anonymous said...

Have to say that I really did like it (including the theme song) -- but at the same time, I don't think I can deny that it gets off to a terrible start. Didn't like the car chase, didn't like the foot chase, couldn't tell what the fuck was going on.

Honestly, I liked the fact that it felt like a Bond movie, I felt like it was a good step forward into making this a sustainable franchise. "Casino Royale" was all about Bond becoming who he is, this one is about Bond embracing who he is. I really didn't like that one girl in "Casino Royale" got tortured to death -- that's way too heavy for me, bothers me way more than the Bolivia stuff in this one. But when they reproduce "Goldfinger"'s gold-paint death with oil, I could feel that old magic picking up.
This series is marching towards its past, the Sean Connery '60s Bond -- one of the girls has a ridiculous name, Bond lets out a wisecrack here and there, MI6 gets a high-tech upgrade. Q and Moneypenny will be there before you know it.


Si said...

The bottom line for me really is that the pace of the film was too frantic. There was no room for any kind of plot to develop or any actor to totally impress. And yes, Ian, you're right. I loathed Another Way To Die. (It must have been the first Bond song I turned off half way through when listening to it again after the film! By contrast, Chris Cornell's You Know My Name has really grown on me.)

I actually felt sorry for Craig, as he was given very little to work with. This after I'd declared him the best Bond of all.

Maybe my disappointment was due to my reaction to Casino Royale. I've seen all the Bonds but I've never liked one enough to buy both the DVD and the book... that is, until CR came out. I still remember staggering out of the cinema thinking, "I didn't know Bond could be THIS good." After QoS, I left the cinema feeling both irritated and let down.

I actually feel the best way to sum the film up is to call it Daniel Craig's Tomorrow Never Dies. The similarities are apt; the Bond girl who seems just as tough as 007, and isn't so much his love interest as his colleague. The wimpish villain with an underwhelming scheme who's played by a good actor. The insignificant Bond girl who meets a dead end. And, last but not least, an incomprehensible plot.

On the plus side, I loved Gemma Arterton. Her introduction and the oil scene are unforgettable. "Do you think she has handcuffs?" "You hope so".

Paul Clarke said...

Much like Bond himself, the film is lean and brutally efficient. This Bond movie for once honours the events of the previous film (this is the film that DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, coming as it did after Bond’s wife dying in OHMSS, should have been). Overall, if not quite scaling the heights of CASINO ROYALE, it’s a top-tier Bond film and a worthy follow up for Craig, who *owns* this role now. I liked Camille, and in spite of the cliched backstory, I found myself moved and wanting her to get her target. The scene with Bond and Camille in the burning, with Camille clearly reliving the horror of her family's murder, is powerful.

The almost-Hitchcockian sequence at the opera is a highlight and one of the most interesting sequences in any Bond film. I loved the way the subsequent gunfight with the Quantum goons played out, intercut with the performance of Tosca, no sound effects. Wonderful. M and Felix Leiter have good character development, adding to the layering of the story. There are many references to the events of the previous film, and the emotional arc of Bond looking for a ‘measure of comfort’ from the wreckage of Vesper’s apparent betrayal and suicide are a powerful driving force for the film. Great moment where Bond is drinking on the plane and refuses to name the name of his drink.

Also the secret organization fronted by Mr. White begins to take shape as a worthy SPECTRE-esque foe for future Bond films, and Bond himself appears ready to take them on at the end of the film.

I loved the subtle way Bond changed from being on a very personal mission to coming to fight for something worth fighting for (i.e. against Quantum's heartless scheme to control a poor country's water supply). It mirrored Fleming's gradual evolution of Bond to a more classical hero over the novels (in one of the later books, I forget which, Fleming compares Bond to St. George in the George and the dragon myth).

A couple of negatives: the lack of Daniel Kleinman’s work on the title sequence, and the shaky-cam action sequences by second unit director Dan Bradley. Thankfully the shaky cam drops off later in the film, but the first two action sequences are confusingly shot and cut.

brandon curtis said...

I don't particularly care for the film. The best I can say is that with about five minutes left Craig, Kurylenko and Almaric finally infused their characters with the sort of gravity they needed all along.

Jared said...

Wow, Chaw went lower than my * rating. Nice.

Frank said...

Almeric should stick to Desplechin movies. While I think he's a great actor, he was unconvincing and boring as the major villain.

O'JohnLandis said...

Well, Marc Forster is no Paul Greengrass, that's for sure.

Very true. Forster is an uneven director who has made one great film (Stranger Than Fiction) and one good film (Quantum of Solace) and some bad films (everything else). Greengrass is a charlatan and a kind of poison who makes all his films worse than they need to have been. The fact that he still manages to wind up with decent films despite his efforts to ruin them is interesting, but far less important than the damage he is doing to the industry. He really needs to be stopped.

That said, the first chase scene in Quantum of Solace is terrible in the way a Greengrass chase generally is terrible--actually it's a bit worse--but nothing in the rest of the movie is shot or edited like that chase scene. If it's the worst prologue in the Bond series, that's too bad, because it's the first direct continuation and it should have been better. But a Bond movie is more than its prologue and Quantum of Solace is, thankfully, a good Bond movie. Is it better than Casino Royale or The Living Daylights or You Only Live Twice or From Russia With Love? Of course not.

(Let's not forget that Casino Royale is the longest Bond movie ever and the villain's plan--even smaller in scope than cornering the Bolivian water market--is thwarted before the love interest is introduced. The next hour is about Bond winning a poker game. Is it still pretty special? Yeah, but it hasn't exactly led to people reconsidering Legend of Zorro. A Bond movie is also more than its director's pedigree.)

Paul Clarke did a good job singling out the opera scene and the locked-in-the-burning-room scene near the end, but I'd also like to add some praise to the Mathis scenes. I knew he'd die the second he was introduced, but I was still hit pretty hard by the way they killed him. It's not some calm noble thing, and it's quite sad.

I just want to comment on a couple things from Walter's review:

(Regardless of his opinion of the film, which I obviously don't share, it's not his best work. In the Casino Royale review, there's a clever comment about the Venice scene being a distillation of the entirety of On Her Majesty's Secret Service that made me think, "Holy shit! It kinda is." There's nothing that perceptive in the Quantum of Solace review and I tend to think a good movie--even a good Bond movie--can be made with a limp dick. With all these raging erections wandering about film sets, it's amazing anyone ever gets anything shot.)

1. Saying they stole action scenes is silly. Did Bourne steal from the knife fight in Under Siege or the elevator scene in Die Hard 3? Who knows. Are the action scenes in Quantum of Solace bad or good? They're nothing special, but they improve as the movie goes along. In that and a few other ways, they're similar to the action scenes in the Nolan Batman films.

2. I'll be happy to respond to your rhetorical challenge. The opera provided a decent cover for a bunch of rich villains to talk to each other without having to call each other. One of the things decided by this group was to support a coup in Bolivia that was finalized at that desert hotel. It didn't need to have been made of fuel cells, because a series of fires and explosions would have been easy to explain with, you know, bombs and stuff. But if you're going to make this kind of hotel, I'd imagine a Bolivian desert isn't the worst place to power it. And Vesper's boyfriend is a Quantum operative who has a habit of tricking female spies into falling in love with him. He even uses the same necklace with the Canadian girl. Once he has them hooked, it's not hard to see how that would benefit Quantum.

3. I don't recall Arterton being called Strawberry in the film. So maybe you're concerned that the credits are a disappointing throwback to previous Bond credits?

Anonymous said...

Very true. Forster is an uneven director who has made one great film (Stranger Than Fiction) and one good film (Quantum of Solace) and some bad films (everything else).

Let's not forget Monster's Ball.

O'JohnLandis said...

I didn't forget it at all. It's one of the bad ones. Monster's Ball is an explicit Lifetime movie with better actors. Billy Bob Thornton has sex with Halle Berry because all the other characters have died and they didn't want Halle Berry to fuck Peter Boyle.

Try Birth or Naked or Roger Dodger or Heaven or In the Realm of the Senses or the Baumbach films.

One other (difficult) question:

Sometime in the last two years, a critic was mentioned in this "blog" as being very clever and funny, but in a formal sort of way. I'm pretty sure a link to a Star Wars prequel was involved and I'm also pretty sure that he was fairly well known. Any ideas as to who it might have been?

Mark Palermo said...

O'John, I agree with you on the basics, except that I think Quantum of Solace is as badly directed as the Bourne sequels in its action scenes. And the filmmaking is pretty bland the rest of the time (worst lit Bond film since License to Kill.)

Bond action is usually handled by second-unit, but I'm sure Forster has some say in it. He should have studied Casino Royale (the best action movie of the past couple years) instead of The Bourne Ultimatum (the preferred action movie amongst people who don't like action movies.)

And you're on point about Greengrass movies somehow being watchable despite their director's habits. Peter Berg, as well, somehow managed to make movies that transcended his dead-end style with Friday Night Lights and Hancock.

Anonymous said...

You're writing off Monster's Ball as a Lifetime special and giving incoherent blather Quantum of Solace acclaim? Like, really?

Walter_Chaw said...

1. Saying they stole action scenes is silly. Did Bourne steal from the knife fight in Under Siege or the elevator scene in Die Hard 3? Who knows. Are the action scenes in Quantum of Solace bad or good? They're nothing special, but they improve as the movie goes along. In that and a few other ways, they're similar to the action scenes in the Nolan Batman films.

Actually, here's what's silly: mimicking action scenes done really quite well (or, at the least, quite considerably better) in a series of films that, if memory serves, people were in vocal agreement that Casino Royale was openly emulating. If the obvious was that Bourne was taking off from Under Siege, I'd most likely say that, yeah, not a good idea to steal directly from its purported source/competition. Take Indy 4 for instance - not a good idea for its second half to steal from itself...

The implication though is that I didn't talk about whether the action scenes were bad or good. Silly, again, and oddly defensive in that kneejerk way that people who disagree can sometimes jerk knees. The real charge made in the review isn't that the scenes are stolen, but that they're replicated without the same coherence that Doug Liman gave them - that even Paul Greengrass gave them - making the thefts seem desperate in their nature. When they do the acrobatic chase thingy in Casino Royale, I don't mention the same acrobatic chase thingy from Bourne 3 because, what the hell, right? It's good both times.

It strikes me, too, that if you like a film and I do not, that the first place that critics of critics go is to say that the review was poorly written. No defense for that.

Then they go to the stuff about the review not being detailed enough to justify any contrary position. And yet I spend more time with this piece of shit than with others speaking directly about how the action scenes - all of them - are structured and paid off. You tell me how the cargo plane kills the little fighter. Draft? Centrifugal slingshot? Looks to me like he fiddles with the levers and buttons and the little guy explodes. Ditto the pursuing boat in the boat chase with the grappling hook attached to. . . what? another boat? why is it in 007's boat, then? to an anchor? why don't we see the anchor being tossed overboard? seems to me that Bond wins the day by fiddling with shit and the other guy explodes. How does he get away from the truck that has him pinioned in the prologue? He shifts gears a few times. How, exactly, do the action scenes get better? You tell me, moment-to-moment, which is which in the pulley-sequence. I swear to god that I thought it was the bad guy hanging upside down all the way up to the money shot.

Seems that the real criticism here should have been that the only good parts of those scenes are the moments immediately after when Craig holds onto a guy until he bleeds to death and then drops him like a piece of meat - like he does his buddy into a dumpster - like he kicks a leg of an elevator assailant so the door will close on the pile of bodies. Craig is awesome. Too bad I can't tell which one he is when the fists start flying.

And was the fire scene following all the out-running fireballs really that poignant? Truly? As poignant as the fire scene in Haggis' Crash when bigot Dillon rescues belle noir Newton from her burning car? Shivers, anyone? C'mon. Kurylenko's cute but she's not making me forget Green. I liked this a lot when it was Lucy Liu in Kill Bill - not so much when it's Kurylenko in a script by Haggis directed by Forster. What a difference a Tarantino makes.

Quentin of Solace. There's a movie I'd camp out for.

3. I don't recall Arterton being called Strawberry in the film. So maybe you're concerned that the credits are a disappointing throwback to previous Bond credits?

Yeah - she says, instead, "Fields. . .JUST Fields." Sort of like when Bond asks the bartender what he's drinking - we fill in the blanks don't we in a wink-wink-nudge-nudge to our Bond knowledge? Hey, we're all friends here, no need to get explicit. . . that is until we start talking about the CIA and thirsty Bolivian peasants. True, though, that I was pretty disappointed with the opening credits which were an attempt at a throwback to previous Bonds but actually a throwback to "Soul Train." Sad.

You read my request for plot clarification as rhetorical, but I hasten to say that it's only rhetorical because I don't care and not because I don't need an explanation. I rather like that Casino Royale isn't about Al Qaeda, Global Warming, and NAFTA - but rather about the ugliness of this franchise finally come full flower. There is something deeply arrested and uncool about Bond before this new direction (excluding the obvious suspects, yes) but after? The bar was high. It's low again.

The real shocker is that dinosaurs like The Rog didn't love it. A shame when the movies that seem to be for him are as mysterious and impenetrable now as the ones that aren't.

Jefferson said...

I just heard "Another Way to Die" on Sirius Underground Radio, and I really want to ask Steve Van Zant what the hell is "underground" about a James Bond theme song?

Of course, that says more about contemporary radio than contemporary film.

Berandor said...

An American remake for The Host? Why? WHY?

Can anyone tell me how that's supposed to make sense?

O'JohnLandis said...

Walter, I don't recall attacking the quality of your writing before, despite having attacked your reviews a bunch of times. If you believe nothing else about me, believe that I don't do either for lazy effect. For the record, you lost me at "limp dick" and didn't get me back. If you think my post is representative of the way people tend to attack you, I guess all I can say is that I disagree. But even if I came off as a dick, I never said it was poor. All I said was it wasn't your best work. Well, maybe my post wasn't my best work either. Nevertheless, I stand by it. So, I'll respond to your argument, because I believe arguments are meant to be won. I intend to persuade, so I'll keep trying.

1. When I asked whether the action scenes were bad or good, I was doing so to reset the conversation away from the tangential mention of originality and answer the question myself. I certainly knew you thought they were bad. I'd agree that they're inferior to the action scenes in good Liman or good McTiernan or good del Toro or good Zhang Yimou. But if you're listing the lazy ways people tend to attack you, I'd like to ask people to stop confusing quality with originality. The easiest way to do that is to be extremely cautious about ever mentioning originality, as it's basically never relevant. Ditto intentionality.

2. As to quality of the action scenes, I've already said they were nothing special. But from memory, I liked the car chase least, then the foot chase/pulleys (though I could always tell which swinging stuntman was Bond), then the boat, then the Mathis death scene, then the fight with Greene matching blind rage and skill, and finally, the airplane (which ended with a very tense parachute bit). That's only very slightly out of order. I think the plane scene was the best despite not knowing exactly how he got rid of the second plane, though I don't remember being confused about the anchor in the boat scene. So yes, as a whole, they're nothing special, but they're decent enough not to ruin the good stuff. Can good action movies have mediocre action scenes? Judging by the Nolan Batman films, I'd say yes.

3. Tarantino is better than a lot of people at a lot of things.

4. I hate Crash as much as anyone, but it's simply not good enough to cite the worst art someone has made in order to invalidate his other work. Regardless, I don't buy the comparison of the fire scenes.

5. Obviously, I never claimed/implied that your review wasn't detailed enough, and I assume when you brought that up, you were simply venting your spleen at a career of abuse. That's fair--you get a lot, sometimes from me. But at least have the courtesy to exclude me from the parts that aren't about me. Contrary to how I perceive my reputation, my intent is never to spread misery, and I only start an argument if I think I can win it AND I think it ought to be won.

6. The thought that Arterton's name was supposed to be Strawberry never crossed my mind. I thought it was a simple cookie joke.

Finally, to everyone, if you're saying that the problem with the old Bond formula is the naked chicks in the titles, I'd like to strongly voice my support for naked chicks--in the titles and maybe, one day, in an actual Bond movie. If, for instance, you think naked chicks in the titles would have tonally weakened Casino Royale, I think that's fucking crazy. I bet you don't think naked Eva would have weakened it.

Jefferson said...

The title sequences have always been the most sexually daring portions of any Bond movie -- more graphic and artistically erotic than any component of the actual narrative. They revel in the male gaze. Those places where Bond has injected sex as key to narrative have often been profoundly sex-negative. Examples include Bond's "taming" of Pussy Galore, and Scaramanga's implicit rape of his female accomplice in The Man With the Golden Gun, using said single-shot firearm in lieu of a male member. (This is also the movie where the Bond character's misogyny is well and truly on display, with his threat to break the arm of the same female accomplice -- the put-upon Maud Adams, later to be renamed Octopussy, for God's sake). The gravity-free ladies of the opening titles -- absent altogether from Casino Royale -- are a promise on which the films themselves practically never deliver.

So I guess I'm voting for naked chicks here, but only if they're treated respectfully while naked.

Bill C said...

I can think of one critic who'd probably think a naked Eva would weaken things: Jonathan Rosenbaum, who once criticized her for having "balloonlike breasts." (Apparently that was one of THE DREAMERS' many anachronisms.) I don't know why (well, I do know why), but that phrase has always stuck in my head.

At the risk of sticking my neck out, I don't really get the CASINO ROYALE veneration. I just find it so dry.

Vikram said...

I was in Bombay at the time when it opened (November 7, a week earlier than out in NA) and I watched it with an Indian, a Londoner and a guy from Dubai so it was an somewhat varied group with different backgrounds, knowledge of film, knowledge of Bond, different ages and expectations and all of us walked out of it disappointed, albeit for different reasons - whether it was story, editing and directing, poor characters etc... the same issues that Walter noted in his review.

Too bad the movie is doing so well, there's no pressure to up the standard for the next one.

Walter_Chaw said...

Hey John-O - y'know, you're right, I'm venting my spleen at a career of abuse. Sorry, man. Any response outta' me nowadays is a bit of a compliment.

Quentin is better at a lot of things than a lot of people is a good point though I don't think that Crash is the worst of Haggis - just representative of Haggis. Haggis has no peaks and valleys - he just is. In truth, I'd rather a large handful of directors have directed this than Forster. I mean, shit, Kathryn Bigelow how 'bout? The much-derided Nolan? The Hughes Brothers? I'm doin' my best to avoid the obvious ones here.

Dark Knight isn't an action movie.

Anyhoo - good talk.


KayKay said...

Walter's points on the action scenes in QOS is spot-on!

I, for one would like to call a moratorium on all jerkily shot and strobe-light edited action sequences that have taken incoherence to a whole new level.I mean...seriously, WTF?? The idea is for images and shots to register long enough on your retina so your brain can actually process who's ramming whose car, who's on the downward slope of a pulley and reaching for a gun and who's kicking whose ass in an elevator. Distilled to it's bare essence, this franchise is an ACTION MOVIE,right, where an appreciation of it's stunt coordination forms a pivotal connection between movies like these and fans who fork out the moolah to see movies like this???

Since Walter mentioned Kathryn Bigelow, a director I absolutely fucking love, it's interesting that I can trace the evolution of bringing a camera up close to the action to Point Break, where Keanu and Patrick beating up some surfer assholes and later each other was a flurry and tangle of limbs.
For the record, I love Point Break by the way (any movie that features Neo getting the shit kicked out of him by a naked chick gets my vote).

Bill C said...

So, um, no Friday update again.

Sorry, folks.

Berandor said...

No friday update, but a great Vern quote re: Quantum

"Increasingly, action movies are designed to be viewed on your phone or wrist watch or whatever silly shit they invent next. Why do I wait out in the cold for two hours to see this movie on the giant Cinerama screen when it's just gonna guarantee that I will have no idea if James Bond's car is in front of or behind the other car, which one went off the cliff, what James Bond is doing to the guy he's fighting and also which one is James Bond? At the very least they should rope off the front 2/3 of all these theaters since Marc Forster, the director of QUANTUM OF SOLACE, apparently was not told that people may sit within 250 feet of the screen."

Great, as usual

Anonymous said...

No evisceration of Twilight? Was looking forward to that all week.

Anonymous said...

I think I can live without an evisceration of "Twilight," but I would love to hear what the FFC contingent think of "Let the Right One In." For me, anyway, this film is the perfect antidote to the strain of nostalgic, idealized adolescent longing in the vampire genre, in that it doesn't flinch away from the aggression and ugliness that come packaged along with thwarted adolescent desire. The slowness of it seems to invite a degree of libidinal participaton that is often (now) precluded by over-emphatic editing. That is, unless I'm wrong...(?)

-Dan C.

Bill C said...

The lack of a LET THE RIGHT ONE IN review is 100% my fault. I took on the assignment when I shouldn't have, then got predictably sidetracked.

I loved it, by the way, all the more so as I've had time to reflect on it. It's wonderfully old-fashioned in all the right ways yet thoroughly alien and downright beautiful at times. It made me want to take a shotgun to TWILIGHT sight-unseen.

There's an image near the end of the picture, underwater in a pool, that has lingered on my brainpan for weeks. I really can't recommend it more highly.

Samuel said...


There is, most definitely, a worst of Haggis. It's called Walker: Texas Ranger.

I am continually amazed that a guy actually associated with that franchise is at the top of any food chaun in Hollywood.

theoldboy said...

Is there something wrong with me that each time I see "Paul Haggis" on a movie screen I shake my fist and spitefully exclaim "HAGGIS!"?

I didn't hate Q.O.S. It has some ephemeral pleasures. Craig is sufficiently Craigly, Kurylenko looks stunningly Kurylenkoid, and Forster's schizophrenic arty/derivative direction is inept but in a way that yields an occasionally striking image. I can't for the life of me tell you what the fuck the plot was, though, and the action is gibberish.