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From the moment he exploded onto screens in 1962’s “Dr. No,” James Bond – 007 – has cast a suave and swaggering shadow across the cinematic landscape.

It doesn’t matter that multiple actors have played the role. It doesn’t matter that there’s little to no consistency or constancy to the timeline – some events carry forward, others are forgotten. Over the course of decades, we’ve watched assorted Bonds ply their craft. They thwart elaborate plots with even more elaborate gadget-driven schemes, saving the world and inevitably falling into bed with one or more beautiful women.

That’s it. That’s the job. Or at least, it was.

Things changed when Daniel Craig assumed the mantle. For the first time, Bond was more than an unstoppable heavily-armed lothario in a tuxedo. Craig lent a heretofore unseen gravitas to the character, creating someone who actually dealt with the consequences of his actions, both bad and good. There was no more wiping clean of the slate – Bond’s deeds had lasting impact.

“No Time to Die” is Craig’s fifth – and final – outing as James Bond, and as far as sendoffs go, well … he certainly could have done a lot worse. It is very much a Bond movie, with all of the globetrotting intrigue and wild action set pieces that label entails, but it is also a surprisingly engaging character study of a man forced to confront the inexorable passage of time. Craig’s Bond is a flawed Bond – and arguably, the best of the lot.

Cary Joji Fukunaga helms this latest installment, taking the reins from Sam Mendes, who directed the previous two Bond films; Fukunaga also shares screenplay credit with three other writers. It is jam-packed with the sorts of extended action and convoluted plotting that marks most of the franchise’s offerings. One could argue that it is overstuffed – the runtime is a gargantuan 163 minutes – but considering that it doubles as a farewell to its lead actor, I’d say that it deserves to take as much time as it likes.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 22:46

The evolution of a spy Skyfall'

Newest Bond film reinvigorates the franchise

It's hard to fathom, but the James Bond film franchise is celebrating its 50th year. That's half a century of a single iconic character evolving right alongside our culture. Starting with Sean Connery first gracing the screen as Bond in 1962's 'Dr. No,' there have now been 23 cinematic outings featuring the now-archetypal superspy.

(And yes, I'm aware that there are a handful of 'other' Bond movies; we're just talking about the projects from Eon Productions.)

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 12:07

A few fine films for fall

With the shift in the seasons, we also get a bit of a shift in our cinematic offerings. After a summer that featured blockbuster after blockbuster, a season of nine-figure box office dynamos led by all-time high-grossing superhero movies such as 'The Avengers' and 'The Dark Knight Rises,' things are calming down a bit this fall.

That's not to imply that there aren't some potentially great films coming out over the coming months.

The fall of 2012 has an awful lot to offer. You've got the triumphant return of a great director with Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master.' You've got a once-in-a-generation talent like Daniel Day-Lewis taking on the title role in the biopic 'Lincoln.' There's melodrama and intrigue, goofy animation and gritty science fiction. It looks like there could be some really good movies coming our way.

And also 'Twilight.'

Published in Cover Story

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