Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Skyfall and the Whale

See, it's possible to make an action film without the constant shakycam. And I like that the filmmakers take their time telling the story, not just rushing from setpiece to setpiece. Unfortunately, they're not able to top the pre credit sequence, and then the film drags quite a bit at the end, even getting slightly pretentious (well, it is a Sam Mendes film, after all). It's not as good as Casino Royale, but better than Quantum of Solace. Even while enjoying the classic style of this film, it would have been fun to see a punkrock James Bond film, in black and white, why not, and clocking in at under 90 minutes. That's sort of what QoS should have been.

The Squid and the Whale:
Loved this film. Since it's about divorce I was afraid there would be a lot of yelling and crying, all captured by a constantly moving handheld camera, like Danish dogme movie Festen or Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives.  But no, there is handheld camera, but mostly pretty subtle; it's just observing what's happening, with no fancy tricks. It has the feel of a French film - there is some nouvelle vague namedropping - and avoids any sentimentality. Did the mother remember watching the Robin Hood film with her son? We don't know. 


  1. Yes, this is a truely great movie. All the actors are good, especially Jeff Daniels makes the performance of his carreer. Why any of the boys would want to look up to this p···· is a mystery.

    I got aware of the film when watching "A life aquatic…" where Anderson and Baumbach mention it in their writer/director commentary. Real nerdy stuff, by the way.

  2. I like Casino Royale, but I think Skyfall is the best. I actually really like the last part of the film--I thought it was really interesting and different to have Bond stuck in one place, out in the middle of nowhere, sort of trapped and fighting for his life, rather than the usual running-all-over-the-place-expansive fight/chase sequence. I guess that made it more Bourne-like, but I thought it was a nice change. Plus Javier Bardem was a terrific and terrifying villain. That scene when he removes his facial prosthesis? So creepy! Sure, Le Chiffre cries blood, but I never found his end very satisfying in CR.

  3. I should listen to the Life Aquatic commentary. I bought the film after the Baumbach episode of WTF, Marc Maron's podcast.

    Yes, Bardem was very good. And it's always interesting when they break from the formula, like the ending of In Her Majesty's Secret Service.

  4. I didn't see Skyfall. Judging from the danish press it seems that it is the "intelligent-mans-Bond-movie". I liked Casino Royal, but Quantum of Solace but horrible, so that put me of Bond for good!

    I miss commentary tracks on the other Anderson movies. Do they exist on any DVD or BluRay releases?

  5. I don't think I've ever listened to a Wes Anderson commentary. Possibly there are some on Blurays or on Criterion editions.

  6. Wes Anderson's commentaries are great! Not sure about the blurays, but you have to get the Criterion editions of the dvd to get them. The last one I watched was the Darjeeling Limited, which had Anderson and co-writers Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman talking about the film. Very interesting.