December 2008 Movies

December 5th, 2008 Film, Film Reviews, Penthouse

Quantum of Solace

After the cash-hoovering reboot Casino Royale vindicated Daniel Craig as the new Bond, he’s firmly in 007’s shoes. For Bond 22, acclaimed dramatic director Marc Foster (Finding Neverland, Monster’s Ball) steps up to give Bond the emotional heft he needs in his mission to avenge the death of Casino’s Vesper (Eva Green), the only woman he’ll ever love.

As mad environmentalist (Amalric) tries to corner a lucrative new energy resource, M (Dench) grows increasingly concerned whether Bond’s serving the crown or his own broken heart.

When Bond last turned rogue for a cause (courtesy of Timothy Dalton in 1989’s License to Kill), the result was a cinematic train crash. Whether it will wash a second time remain to be seen, but clips of the breakneck action reveal an approach by Foster that’s both rough-edged and larger than life, further galvanising Bond as a relevant thriller franchise in the post-Bourne era.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The last time a big name director made a fairy tale the result was M Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water, and we all know how that turned out. But the story of an old man born into a baby’s body only to age backwards as he grows up seems straight from the pages of Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm.

Now director David Fincher — at the height of his directorial prowess after the searing Zodiac ? looks set to make the film of his career with this old-style curio in dramatic clothes. The 20th century spanned by Benjamin’s life is lushly detailed, the cinematography all autumnal hues and the sense of movement slow and lyrical.

The Assassination of Jesse James cemented Brad Pitt as a bona fide thesp rather than just a pretty star, and he’s aided here by makeup effects that blend seamlessly with the understated style and the graceful, unconventional beauty of Swinton and Blanchett. It’s his first reteaming with his Se7en and Fight Club director in almost ten years, and not a moment too soon.

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