Tag Archive: Daniel Craig


Review by C.J. Bunce

Sometimes you can align the right fan with a project and come up with something great.  Add Mark Edlitz to that list and his fascinating, broad look at the James Bond franchise in The Many Lives of James Bond: How the Creators of 007 Have Decoded the Superspy As audiences get ready for 2020’s No Time to Die, the franchise continues to be as popular as ever, through new fiction and non-fiction books, comics, music, posters, and more.   But how do you translate the master British spy from Ian Fleming’s original stories into new stories, or adapt the character to the big screen, to audio books and radio plays, and to spin-off comic books and novels?  Mark Edlitz is a long-time fan who took his tape recorder along to Bond conventions over the years and interviewed everyone he could find in front of and behind the camera, then expanded that into people behind the books and everything else he could find.  The result is the largest collection of Bond oral histories anywhere.  The result is The Many Lives of James Bond, now available for the first time, from Lyons Press.

Supplemented with sketch art (from artist Pat Carbajal) and peppered with black and white photographs of the interview subjects, Edlitz makes up for some of the big creators he was unable to interview by interviewing people close to them.  Interviewing people is not easy: Sometimes the subjects aren’t good at being interviewed, and oftentimes subjects are evasive for whatever reason.  But most subjects in the book said they felt a certain family connection to the honor of working on a Bond project, and were open with their thoughts.  It’s full of all kinds of surprises, and more insights than you can imagination about being Bond, from interviews with Roger Moore and George Lazenby, a stunt double, Hoagy Carmichael and David Niven’s sons (Fleming’s initial visions for Bond), and Glen A. Schofield, who provides his account of working with Sean Connery as voice over actor in a video game 20 years after his last Bond performance.  The Many Lives of James Bond also looks back to some early, pre-Bond film era performers.

  

Edlitz covers casting the role and directing Bond (from movie directors Martin Campbell (GoldenEye, Casino Royale), Roger Spotiswoode (Tomorrow Never Dies), and editor and unit director John Glen (who worked on eight films with four Bond actors)), writing words and working with the famed producers who own the Bond legacy (from interviews with more than a dozen writers, including three-time Bond screenwriter Bruce Feirstein), creating music for Bond (from songwriters Leslie Bricusse (Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice) and Don Black (who wrote songs for five films)), creating clothes for Bond (from Jany Temime (Skyfall, SPECTRE)), and even marketing Bond (in movie posters created by Robert McGinnis (Diamonds are Forever, Live and Let Die), Rudy Obrero (Never Say Never Again), and Dan Goozee (Moonraker, Octopussy, A View to a Kill)), all while trying to be faithful to Fleming’s vision while adapting when necessary to changing times.

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No Time to Die It will be the 25th official James Bond movie and the 27th if you include the independent movie Never Say Never Again and the first version of Casino Royale, all part of the longest running blockbuster franchise that began in 1962 with Dr. No.  The first full movie trailer for No Time to Die is here (check it out below), along with several character posters.  And those (like us) who see Daniel Craig as their favorite Bond will be sad to hear Craig says this will be his last turn at 007.  His performance as “the man every guy wants to be and every woman wants to be with” would no doubt be familiar to author Ian Fleming, whose character was a rugged, late career spy as Craig has played it (check out our past reviews of the Bond novels here at borg).

Along with other international venues, Bond returns to Jamaica in his next film, where we’ve seen him before in Dr. No and Live and Let Die, but more importantly it’s Bond coming full circle, as Jamaica is where Fleming wrote all of his Bond stories, at his real home there he called Goldeneye.  Long-time series producer Barbara Broccoli tapped Cary Fukunaga, a cinematographer and relative newcomer to the big screen, to take the reins as director, following Sam Mendes, who directed the last two Bond movies.  Returning as the familiar core characters are Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, and Léa Seydoux as Bond’s latest love interest from the last outing.  New to the series are Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) as the villain Safin, plus Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049), Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel) as a new 00, Lourdes Faberes (Knightfall), Rae Lim (Tomb Raider), and Billy Magnussen (Black Mirror).

 

Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica.  His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help.  The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.

Check out all the character posters (which list the UK release date) and the first trailer released today for No Time to Die:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Like an episode of Monk or Murder She Wrote, the next film from writer/director Rian Johnson (Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) is a straightforward mystery.  Knives Out comes in on the heels of the similar looking Ready Or Not, and it’s a mash-up of sorts, aiming to have that ensemble cast variety of the last Thanksgiving movie release mystery, Murder on the Orient Express, while trying to bring back the nostalgia of the famous comedy whodunnit movie, Clue.  It’s the 85th birthday of the family patriarch and the families of his three children arrive to celebrate.  The next morning the patriarch is found dead.  Arriving in theaters next week and marketed toward the Thanksgiving holiday crowd, Knives Out turns out to be a mixed bag.

The reason to check it out is as you’d expect: the cast.  The cast choices would be a dream assemblage for any film.  James Bond Daniel Craig facing off against Captain America Chris Evans?  Legend Christopher Plummer delivering a performance as good as his last Oscar-winner?  Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, and Toni Collette playing against type?  And top it off with Don Johnson, poised to have his own career second wind as a leading man.  But the real star performance comes from Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049).  de Armas, a ringer for a Tru Calling-era Eliza Dushku, plays a nurse to Christopher Plummer’s character.  Incredibly charming and engaging, de Armas is also given the biggest opportunity to show the most emotional range in the film.  A plus for Bond fans, this movie will serve as a preview of sorts for movie audiences of No Time to Die, as de Armas plays the next “Bond girl” opposite Daniel Craig’s master spy in theaters next spring.

Not a recommended movie for taking on a date, and ultimately a questionable choice for Thanksgiving, one of the conceits (which may take viewers outside the realm of reality) is a character who vomits with each lie.  By the end of the film it becomes an in-your-face gross-out, making viewers watch one character… covered… for an entire scene.  As a story element this “human lie detector” is also a writers’ crutch, a trick that skips over some story challenges viewers would normally be able to work through on their own.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

At the beginning of Daniel Craig’s first foray as James Bond in 2006’s Casino Royale, Craig redefined Bond as viewers were taken back to his first kill, the event that earned Bond his 00 status.  The scene instantly set the standard for the modern fight-or-die scene.  This is the exact level of hand-to-hand combat viewers will be treated to in the new summer release, Atomic Blonde.  Charlize Theron terrifically portrays what everyone always wanted to see: a woman in the role of James Bond.  Sure, she has a different name, but Theron is believable just the same as a spy being interrogated by heads of MI6 at the end of a mission.  As she tells her story, in every way she convinces us that she could go head-to-head with, and maybe even knock out Craig’s tough and bloody version of the Brit master spy.  Only don’t think this is a typical Bond movie.  It isn’t.  It’s layered, more like The Usual Suspects or Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, only better–less cerebral and more fun.  And Theron chalks up another badass cinematic heroine, resulting in a film that is easily worth the admission price.

Based on Antony Johnston and Sam Hart’s 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City from Oni Press, Atomic Blonde follows the original, focusing on several nations’ spies trying to recover a secret list of agents being smuggled out of East Germany just before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.  Theron plays Lorraine Broughton, a no-nonsense top-level spy, with attitude and style, battered and bruised from some recent epic encounter when we meet her at the beginning of the movie.  She’s being interrogated and debriefed by both British and American agency heads, with John Goodman (Argo, 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Big Lebowski, Monsters, Inc.) as the American and Toby Jones (Captain America: The First Avenger, Snow White and the Huntsman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Doctor Who) as the Brit.  What unfolds is a smartly constructed Cold War thriller, more complicated than Ian Fleming but not as complicated as John le Carré, but enough so that it may lose viewers a few times along the way.  Ultimately Broughton finds herself trying to smuggle out of the country a German officer who memorized the secret spy list, played by Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes, The Illusionist, V for Vendetta, The World’s End).  The rewards and payoffs come not only at the resolution but in several scenes along the way, as Theron punches, kicks, hammers, fires, splatters, mows down, stabs, punctures… everything but bites her way through dozens of bad guys trying to kill her.  The violence is extreme, but it all works–it’s great fun much like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s or Chuck Norris’s blockbuster rampages in the 1980s–and it’s not gratuitous like a Quentin Tarentino bloodbath (blown-off heads aside).

The Atomic Blonde of the title comes from Broughton’s short, 1980s style hair, and that length allows us to see that much of the time Theron is actually doing her own punching, and taking plenty of punches, from all these men.  She’s quicker, and she prepares herself for many of her punches and bruises by soaking in a tub of water filled with ice cubes–a concept that helps her more than once throughout the film.  The story and action really kicks in as Broughton begins to smuggle Marsan’s character out of the country and as the steps are laid out in a subplot involving her mission to assassinate Satchel, a double agent known for selling secrets to the Soviets.  It’s exciting like the real-life story told in Ben Affleck’s hit film Argo, where a spy smuggled a group of would-be hostages out of Iran in 1980.  Atomic Blonde has less subtlety and nuance than Argo, but Atomic Blonde similarly displays an early, retro style of storytelling compelling enough to keep viewers interested.  Does it feel like a comic book adaptation?  Sure.  Like History of Violence and Road to Perdition.  In fact Broughton could be Hit Girl from Kick-Ass all grown up.

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aston martin db10 james bond spectre

Christie’s & Eon Productions are auctioning off 24 lots from last year’s latest James Bond entry, SPECTRE, now out on Blu-ray and reviewed here at borg.com last week.  An online-only sale will offer 14 of the 24 lots, open for bidding beginning tomorrow, February 16, 2016, through Tuesday, February 23, 2016, with an invitation-only live auction being held on Thursday, February 18, 2016, at Christie’s in London.  The live auction is also open to Internet and telephone bidders.

1.  Blu-ray disc signed in gold marker pen by Daniel Craig plus James Bond’s blue initialed ‘JB’ Tom Ford cufflinks worn by Daniel Craig

Each set with oval lapis lazuli panels engraved with the monogram ‘JB’ for James Bond, to single-link connections, signed Tom Ford, 15mm wide, in maker’s case and card box.  Bond’s cufflinks were personalized for SPECTRE, designed by Jany Temime and made by Tom Ford.  Daniel Craig as James Bond wore these cufflinks throughout the film with each of his suits apart from the ‘mother-of-pearl’ version which he wore with his dinner suit (see Lot 15).  They are one of two pairs held in the EON archive.

Estimate: $4,300–7,100

spectre day of dead james bond mask skull cane

2.  James Bond’s Day of the Dead Costume worn by Daniel Craig

Designed by Costume designer Jany Temime and mask designer Robert Allsopp.  The set includes:

  • Black frock coat with white hand painted bones, size IT38
  • Skull mask with elastic fastening
  • Black leather gloves, size M
  • Black top hat, 100% wool with grosgrain ribbon hat band ‘Jaxton Victorian’, size 7 ⅝” (61 cm.)
  • Skull cane

This is one of three Day of the Dead Costumes worn by Daniel Craig (the other two are retained by EON) in the pre-title sequence of the film.  Bond is in pursuit of assassin Sciarra.

Estimate: $17,000–25,000

3.  Longines ‘Conquest Heritage’ watch

This is the 18-carat rose gold automatic wristwatch worn by Ralph Fiennes as M in SPECTRE.  With a diameter of 35 mm, this model in 18-carat rose gold displays a sunray silver dial with pink applied indices, “dolphine” hands with superluminova and date aperture at 12 o’clock.  Fitted with a self-winding mechanical calibre L633, it indicates the hours, the minutes and the seconds.  The caseback is decorated with a gold and enamel medallion representing a constellation.  One of only two worn by Ralph Fiennes in SPECTRE, the other retained by Omega.

Estimate: $7,100–9,900

4.  Final Legal SPECTRE script signed by Sam Mendes, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli

Estimate: $4,300–7,100

spectre ring gold oberhauser blofeld christoph waltz

5.  Oberhauser’s SPECTRE gold ring worn by Christoph Waltz

The ring is made of 9 carat yellow gold, with 7 tentacle octopus logo rendered in distressed black, and has some marks on back of ring.  This is one of only two gold rings made for the film, the other is retained by EON.

Estimate: $5,700–8,500

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Spectre Blu-ray

Review by C.J. Bunce

For every new Bond actor there is a handful of films that are forgettable. SPECTRE is not one of those Bond movies.  In fact SPECTRE is on the heels of being as good a James Bond formula piece as Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale.  After re-watching it on Blu-ray, now available this week, it may just be better.

So why is SPECTRE a cut above the rest?

It has the most elaborate, exciting, and best choreographed action scene opener of any Bond film.  Ever.  We begin with Bond and his attractive companion Estrella, played by Mexican actress Stephanie Sigman, at the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico City.  A single-take shot parade walk.  Bond is in pursuit of an assassin, for a reason yet to be disclosed to the viewer.  Bond in a skeleton suit is still unmistakably Daniel Craig’s Bond.  We get an inadvertently blown-up building.  A foot chase through a parade culminating in a hand to hand fight in a helicopter over the crowded festival.  Want exciting?  This scene has it all.

James Bond Day of the Dead

Gone is the tired, old, worn-out Bond emphasized in the plot of Skyfall.  Gone is the disheartened Bond of Quantum of Solace.  This is Bond as he is supposed to be–confident, cocky, and calm, solving a puzzle and seeking some revenge for all that has happened to him, and revealed to us since Casino Royale.  And physically Craig could still out-match all prior Bond actors at any age.

SPECTRE’s main “Bond Girl” is a well-developed character this time around.  French actress Léa Seydoux’s Dr. Swann is compelling and interesting, closer to Eva Green’s engaging Vesper Lynd than any Bond film actress since.  But equally appealing is Italian actress Monica Bellucci as Lucia Sciarra, a character widowed by Bond, who Bond actually rescues in an almost uncharacteristic act.  Did Bond make sure she was safe because he failed to do so in a similar encounter in Casino Royale with Caterina Murino’s Solange?

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Craig in SPECTRE

Review by C.J. Bunce

If you’ve been too busy buying your advance tickets for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and forgot to get to the theaters to see the latest James Bond film, here’s your wake-up call.  Get thee to the theatre before it’s gone!  For every new Bond actor there is a handful of films that are forgettable.  SPECTRE is not one of those Bond movies.  In fact SPECTRE is on the heels of being as good a James Bond formula piece as Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale.  It will be hard for any Bond movie to top that one, since it was as close to perfection as an action vehicle can get.

So why is SPECTRE a cut above the rest?

Let’s start with the required action scene opener.  We begin with Bond and his attractive companion Estrella, played by Stephanie Sigman, at the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico City.  Bond is in pursuit of an assassin, for a reason yet to be disclosed to the viewer, and the result is some of the best action in any Bond movie.  Ever.  Bond in a skeleton suit is still unmistakably Daniel Craig’s Bond.  We get an inadvertently blown-up building.  A foot chase through a parade culminating in a hand to hand fight in a helicopter over the crowded festival.  Want exciting?  This scene has it all.

James Bond Day of the Dead

Gone is the tired, old, worn-out Bond emphasized in the plot of Skyfall.  Gone is the disheartened Bond of Quantum of Solace.  This is Bond as he is supposed to be–confident, cocky, and calm.  And physically Craig could still out-match all prior Bond actors at any age.

Bond’s main “Bond Girl” is a well-developed character this time around.
Léa Seydoux’s Dr. Swann is compelling and interesting, closer to Eva Green’s engaging Vesper Lynd than any Bond Girl since.

The villains are perfect, starting with Dave Bautista’s Mr. Hinx and his Groot-like single word of dialogue, and Christoph Waltz’s mastermind is as classic a Bond villain as you’ve ever seen.  He’s creepy, but not too creepy like Javier Bardem’s villain in Skyfall.  Also well-written are the classic Bond supporting roles: Ben Whishaw’s Q gets more, key screen time than any prior Q, Naomie Harris’s Moneypenny gets more backstory, and Ralph Fiennes’ M gets to take on his own parallel fight against villainy.

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SPECTRE Craig

The same agency that taunted James Bond in five classic James Bond films (Thunderball, Dr. No, The Spy Who Loved Me, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and You Only Live Twice) is the subject of SPECTRE, the 24th in the current franchise and 26th to feature Bond (if you include David Niven’s Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again).  Two-time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz will star as the next Bond villain, “Oberhauser.”  SPECTRE is also the agency led by fan favorite Bond villain Blofeld, which has led to speculation that Oberhauser is really an alias for Blofeld.  With the last trailer released a few hours ago and the release date almost upon us, we’re that much closer to learning the truth.

Have you voted yet in out our James Bond – Bond Girl poll?  Check it out here.

Skyfall director Sam Mendes again directs Bond in SPECTRE.  New cast members include the BBC Sherlock’s Moriarty, Andrew Scott, as Denbigh, Monica Bellucci and Léa Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Colour) as the new Bond girls Lucia Sciarra and Madeleine Swann, with Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista as Waltz’s henchman Hinx.  Returning cast includes Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, and Ben Whishaw, reprising their roles from Skyfall as well as Jesper Christensen as Mr. White.

Christoph Waltz

Here is the final trailer for SPECTRE:

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James Bond SPECTRE

The same agency that taunted James Bond in five classic James Bond films (Thunderball, Dr. No, The Spy Who Loved Me, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and You Only Live Twice) is the subject of SPECTRE, the 24th in the current franchise and 26th to feature Bond (if you include David Niven’s Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again).  SPECTRE, which stands for SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion,” is the movie incarnation of the less gritty sounding SMERSH, a Russian acronym for “Special Methods of Spy Detection” in the original Ian Fleming Bond novels.  Two-time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz will star as the next Bond villain “Oberhauser.”  SPECTRE is also the agency led by fan favorite Bond villain Blofeld, which has led to speculation that Oberhauser is really an alias for Blofeld.  Soon we shall see.

Skyfall director Sam Mendes again directs Bond in SPECTRE.  New cast members include the BBC Sherlock’s Moriarty, Andrew Scott, as Denbigh, Monica Bellucci and Léa Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Colour) as the new Bond girls Lucia Sciarra and Madeleine Swann, with Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista as Waltz’s henchman Hinx.  And of course, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, and Ben Whishaw will reprise their roles from Skyfall as will Jesper Christensen as Mr. White.

Bond in SPECTRE

Here is the latest trailer for SPECTRE:

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Jaguar Bautista James Bond SPECTRE

If you like cool cars (and who doesn’t?) and you like ogling the latest and greatest high-end, high-performance cars, then you need look no further than the latest James Bond movie.  Bond will be back this November in SPECTRE where he takes on the latest villain, Mr. Hinx, played by Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista.  The production recently closed down the streets of Rome for the next Bond high-octane car chase, this time pitting Bautista against Daniel Craig’s Bond in two unreleased cars.

First is Bautista in this sleek, jaw-dropping Jaguar C-X75.  Then Craig, of course, has his Aston Martin, this time the new DB10. And they apparently made plenty for filming action scenes in the new entry in the Bond franchise.

Aston Martin from SPECTRE

A new featurette just released by MGM shows some behind the scenes images and interviews with cast and crew.  Check it out, after the break:

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