Tag Archive: ben whishaw


Skyfall Review

The arrival of a new James Bond film is always treated as a special occasion because the Bond films hold such a high place of regard in the history of film. Never has that been more true than this year with the arrival of Bond 23: Skyfall. 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of James Bond on screen and with the amount of time fans have been waiting Skyfall has to be something exceptional… and it is.

Skyfall sees M come under review and her ability to head up the Secret Service in doubt. This is after the Secret Service’s intelligence is broken and a list of agents has been stolen and in attempt to retrieve that list Bond has gone missing, presumed dead. However, when the Service itself comes under attack at the hands of suspected terrorists Bond is drawn back to London only to find that the person behind the attacks, Raoul Silva, claims a personal connection to both Bond and M, which forces Bond to question his loyalty to M.

Director Sam Mendes’ take on the world’s most famous spy marks the first time that an academy award winning director has taken the helm of a James Bond flick. Citing Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight as one of the main influences on his take on the film you could tell that he was clearly going to make sure he put in a shift directing Skyfall. And he does not disappoint. Skyfall is shot superbly and combines a rare treat in Bond films of giving the characters equal billing with the action sequences, without one outweighing the other.

Right from the very first sequence, which includes a motorbike chase over rooftops as well as a shootout on a train, the bar is set very high. The set pieces are absolutely wonderful, explosions galore all the way through the film but this is not just action for the sake of it which is clear by the amount of emphasis put on characters throughout the film. Mendes manages to really add layers to Bond, M and the villain of the piece Raoul Silva and it is brilliant to watch these characters grow throughout the film.

Many fans of the James Bond series say that a Bond film is only as good as the villain and Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva delivers a villain not easily forgotten. As a rogue agent he is an equal match physically for Bond but his intellect is on a rather high level too and it seems as though his resources are endless. There is something incredibly creepy and sinister about the character and this performance is easily the best of the film. Although perhaps too much was put in to Bardem’s character because it seems as though the Bond girls were somewhat forgotten. After seeing all the promotional shots for the film I was expecting both Naomie Harris and Bérénice Marlohe to play a much larger part in Skyfall than they actually did and it seemed to render their characters almost irrelevant other than to have something nice to look at.

Is it Sean Connery? Is it Roger Moore? The debate goes on and on among fan communities about who is the best Bond and with Skyfall Daniel Craig goes a long way to stamping out any doubt that would deny him of the accolade. Craig is a wonderful fit the Bond role, he’s a rough and ready guy with a charm to him; he delivers his one liners excellently and you can’t help but like his portrayal. Couple that with the fact that Craig actually is a very very good actor and you get a great combination of on screen presence. And I have to mention that Ben Whishaw certainly pulls off the Q role perfectly.

Skyfall is a Bond film that, for me, stands alone above the rest. It does a great deal in differentiating itself from the rest of the films and makes sure it is better than Quantum of Solace. The opening sequence, the soundtrack, the title sequence; everything is wonderful. And I deny anyone to at least get a smile on their face when the famous James Bond music kicks in the middle of a scene. Skyfall is full of twists, turns and huge explosions that comes to its conclusion with a fantastic, yet incredibly surprising, ending. Enjoy!

My Rating: 9/10.

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He’s just a guy that I really want to hang out with.

Since it’s his birthday today (14/10/2012) this is the perfect opportunity for me to write about one of my favourite British actors, or actors in general, at the minute – Ben Whishaw. Now, I’ll openly admit I haven’t seen everything he has been in but once you see him for the first time in a main role, you will not forget him. Even if on screen for just a few minutes he brings great charisma, energy and unforgettable character to his roles and, being in quite a few big films this year, it becomes clear almost instantly that Whishaw is a master of the craft of acting.

At 32 years old, Whishaw has been acting now for 13 years. His career began all the way back in the twentieth century in 1999 and although he appeared in a few films and television series’ it would not be until 2011 that Ben Whishaw would finally get the recognition and attention that he so richly deserves. Whishaw has been quoted previously saying about his personal life “as an actor you have total rights to privacy and mystery, whatever your sexuality, whatever you do. I don’t see why that has to be something you discuss openly because you do something in the public eye. I have no understanding of why we turn actors into celebrities” perhaps showing a desire to stay out of the public eye and just to enjoy his work and let others enjoy his performances too without focussing too much on him as a person.

Ben Whishaw and Daniel Craig together for the first (but not the last) time on film.

As well as appearing on stage Whishaw first got recognition from the film world in 2001 when he was names Most Promising Newcomer at the British Independent Film Awards for his part in My Brother Tom. This led to appearances in Enduring Love, Layer Cake (where he would appear with Daniel Craig for the first time) and Stoned, a biopic about Brian Jones in which Ben Whishaw played Keith Richards. He then moved to television to appear in short lived Channel 4 comedy Nathan Barley. At the time I can remember watching this and thinking that it was indeed very funny, although upon a recent return to the series I think I over rated it quite a lot back then.

After this Whishaw appeared in Perfume playing a perfume make whose craft turns deadly and I’m Not There in which he is one of several people to portray Bob Dylan. After a BBC television series (Criminal Justice) and a couple more feature films: Brideshead Revisited, The International and The Tempest Ben Whishaw appeared in the role that would help get him into Hollywood. The role in question is that of Freddie Lyon in The Hour, a sort of British answer to Mad Men which I enjoyed greatly! Whishaw was absolutely brilliant in his role and this is where I first became the big fan of his that I am right now. After this Ben Whishaw played King Richard in the BBC adaptation of Richard II which thanks to his back catalogue of performing Shakespeare in the theatre Whishaw was perfect for.

My favourite Ben Whishaw role so far – The Hour.

And that brings us right up to speed with Ben Whishaw’s projects this year. The Americans get to see him this month in Cloud Atlas but we Brits have to wait until next February for our chance, but Cloud Atlas is a huge undertaking and has already done well critically in early screenings. Then we finally get to see Whishaw as a young Q in Bond flick Skyfall, which will see him reunite with Daniel Craig eight years after both appearing in Layer Cake. From what I have seen of Whishaw already he seems like he will make the ideal Q. And on top of that (as if that’s not enough) Whishaw is rumoured to be in the running for a role in Robopocalypse which, if you read my blog regularly, you will know is Steven Spielberg’s upcoming blockbuster.

One thing is certain: Ben Whishaw is a very talented young man. Whether he continues to ply his trade in theatre, television or film he will surely be enduring great success. I predict that if he continues to work in films he will one day be on the receiving end of an Oscar nomination, if not being a winner.

Hopefully we’ll see Whishaw in plenty more Bond films after Skyfall!

There hasn’t really been much news this week that has really grabbed my attention other than these three stories so this shouldn’t take long.
Steven Spielberg’s Robopocalypse is one of the most highly anticipated movies in production right now and the film takes place sometime in the future after the robot uprising.

Earlier this year Chris Hemsworth was reported to have landed the lead role (although some people say that is still being negotiated) but now there have been more rumours about the casting. Anne Hathaway is reportedly in talks to land the female lead which, I think, would be a bad call for this because she doesn’t have a reputation in big blockbusters (The Dark Knight Rises being her only one) and she isn’t actually that good an actress in my opinion; I just don’t see the hype. However, the other casting rumour involves British actor Ben Whishaw who I have no doubt will be a huge star in the next ten years. He has wonderful acting ability and a great sense of likeability surrounding him: he will be in Cloud Atlas and Skyfall later this year. Robopocalypse is due for a 2014 release.

Whishaw is ‘Q’ in the latest Bond outing.

Last month I wrote a blog about my dream cast for a female version of The Expendables. In that cast list I placed Gina Carano, who had her first acting role at the very beginning of this year in Haywire, and now it seems that she is the first name to sign on the dotted line and join the movie. A great choice. Carano will next be seen in the next Fast & Furious instalment alongside action heavyweights Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson.

And finally another casting choice that I can smile about. Casey Affleck has taken a part in Race to the South Pole. The film will chronicle the real life journey of two men in the early 1900s, the British Robert Falcon Scott (Affleck’s character) and Norwegian Roald Amundsen (yet to be cast), and their race to be the first man to reach the South Pole which is the last uncharted territory on the planet at the time. What’s more is that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (that old friendship) will be partnering up to produce the film based on Peter Glanz’s script. It will be Glanz’s second feature film after The Longest Week but Casey Affleck does choose his films carefully so all signs are pointing in the right direction on this journey.

Cloud Atlas is getting noticed more and more this week as a few days ago a number of images were released onto the net from the film and now we have an incredible six minute trailer showcasing the vast scope that this story takes on. Here are a number of reasons as to why Cloud Atlas has no choice but to be an absolutely incredible film.

Cloud Atlas is based on the novel of the same name that was released back in 2004. The novel was written by British author David Mitchell (not the comedian). To this date Mitchell has written five novels, two of which have been nominated for the prestigious Booker Prize. Mitchell has received huge praise throughout his career for his work. Cloud Atlas is one of the novels that was nominated for the Booker Prize as well as being nominated also for the Nebula Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award among many others as well as actually winning the Literary Fiction Award at the British Books Award. The novel is clearly held in very very high regard and so turning it into a film will have a huge pressure on it, especially because of the nature of the story which itself is an intriguing piece of imagination.

The official synopsis of the film is thus: An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution. This sounds fascinating itself but when you learn of the structure it becomes even more compelling. Cloud Atlas tells six nested stories, all of which are being read or observed by a character in the next story; it then mirrors itself as the second half to each story is revealed one after the other. This means that the cast are playing a number of characters through each time line and this structure is sure to make for a very exciting journey for the cast and audience, but it is going to take one hell of a good cast to make this work.

And a pretty good cast is what they have got for Cloud Atlas. Here we go: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, Jim Broadbent and James D’Arcy.  The cast is a wide range of careers as you have people like Tom Hanks and Halle Berry who are already accomplished actors and you have the wonderful Ben Whishaw who I am a huge fan of and really hoping his career takes off (he will also be playing Q in Skyfall).

Whishaw is destined to become a huge Hollywood property.

The budget is around $100 million and clearly a lot of that has gone to ensure that a cast capable of playing a number of characters over different times and places is gathered and it certainly looks like an ensemble to be excited about!

To direct a film with such a huge scope and with so much pressure with such a talented cast is no easy thing that’s for sure and Cloud Atlas has three directors! Will it be a case of the old proverb “too many cooks…” or will it work perfectly? I suspect the latter. Each of the three directors (Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski) combined to write the screenplay and they clearly have a lot of passion for the project. Because of the size of the project two units were needed to make sure the film was created to the best it could be: Tykwer directed one unit and the Wachowski siblings directed the other. Tykwer has experience with films with a number of narratives as he has previously directed the fantastic German film Run Lola Run. The Wachowski brothers directed The Matrix and it’s sequels so they can handle this vein of films very well too.

 

The six minute trailer is absolutely fantastic. It manages to give an idea of the film, bring together the themes and characters that Cloud Atlas will explore but does not give away any major plot details or spoilers and so it can really be enjoyed for its visual beauty. It is obvious that nothing has been held back as the special effects look absolutely stunning and the actors look as though they will be putting in a shift and a half. Not many people will know about this film yet but now they will have to; it is definitely going to be a big deal. If this is done right it could become known to be one of the greatest films of all time. It is a huge project but hopefully it will all be worth it in the end.

Hanks and Berry in one of their many guises.

I, for one, am very very excited for the arrival of Cloud Atlas. It is set to be released in October of this year however no specific date has been slated yet. The sooner it comes round the better!

UK Release Date: 26th October 2012.

Plagued with difficulties throughout its production we have now been treated to the first glimpse of James Bond’s next outing.

Directed by Sam Mendes this is Bond’s twenty-third official film. In Skyfall Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

Daniel Craig and Judi Dench are joined by Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem as they try to get the Bond franchise back up top after the disappointing release of Quantam of Solace. One of the criticisms of Craig’s first two films as James Bond were that they didn’t really feel like Bond films with no gadgets that the agent is famous for. With the brilliant Ben Whishaw cast as a young Q this should change in Skyfall yet the trailer shows no signs of this.

The trailer will surely get fans of the franchise excited to see their favourite secret agent back in action and this first glimpse at Skyfall will definitely wet their appetites although I think that non Bond fans will not be convinced by this trailer. Not much of the plot is given away and that’s to be expected since this is just a teaser trailer but the explosions, the girls, Bond’s fractured psyche and the visual locations of the film all look very good and anything with Bond’s name on it is a sure fire hit either way.

Most of all though fans want this to feel like the old Bond films and, although overall it looks decent, I’m not sure Skyfall does feel like Bond so far.