Mockingjay: Part 1

Turns a political struggle into something thrillingly personal.

The Beat Beneath My Feet

A toe-tapping indie that is, quite simply lovely.


An extraordinary true tale made disappointingly ordinary.

The Battle of the Five Armies

"Why does it hurt so much?" Because the rest of it felt so real.


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Tag:james bond
James Bond adverts

Right. Forget Heineken. If you’re wound up about Bond selling out to Dutch lager for $45 million, get over it. It’s not as if 007 hasn’t advertised products before. Fleming’s agent was defined by the brands of things he used – product placement and sponsorship in the movies is a natural continuation of that.

Besides, that Skyfall Heineken advert is nothing compared to some of the other James Bond TV adverts we’ve seen in the past. Sky-full, Casin-Coke Royale, Quantum of Sony. Here are the top 10 007 ads from the last 50 years of Bond...

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"What I can't remember, I'll just have to make up…"

As we count down the days to Skyfall’s cinema release, I’m not going to bother ranking all the different Bonds in a row – we all know Roger Moore is bottom anyway – but one 007 thing I’ve been guiltily enjoying is Moore’s book, Bond on Bond.

Sir Roger may have been the worst Bond, too many laughs and not enough anything else, but Bond on Bond has taught me to love the guy.

“Back then I could leap out of a chair without fear of my knees cracking; could chew a toffee without fear of losing a tooth; could admire my flowing locks and my bronzed, slim torso,” he gushes in the book.

"With a twitch of the old eyebrow I set pulses racing across the world. These days it’s my pacemaker that keeps my pulse racing.”

The book itself, which runs a decent 224 pages, is well presented with lots of sexy pictures and movie stills. But it doesn’t contain much critique of the franchise – he says Daniel Craig is the best 007, but that’s about it – instead turning into a roundup of facts and figures have been covered in better (and now cheaper) anthologies.

Why bother with it? Because Moore’s dry prose is rather charming stuff. It’s like listening to your granddad waffle on about something for hours - but that something happens to be the longest-running franchise in movie history..

Here are some my favourite bits…

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Daniel Craig, Skyfall review
Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes
Certificate: 12A

Skyfall has already been described by several excitable people as the best Bond movie of all time. It’s not. But that’s partly because it’s not a Bond movie – it’s a movie about Bond. And that’s something very special indeed.

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Casino Royale titleBlogalongaBond. One Bond film each month until Skyfall in October.

Finally. Casino Royale. Following the mountain of butt-nubbins that was Die Another Day, Daniel Craig’s arrival was a shot of pure 007 joy – like getting a blowjob from Sophie Marceau after a one-night stand with Jaws.

Martin Campbell returned to the helm to do what he did best: reboot the franchise to fit its era. Brosnan’s 90s baptism by Russians smartly played up the irony while allowing for some revenge. Craig’s noughties cocktail kept the cold-blooded part – a cornerstone of Ian Fleming’s character – and added in a dash of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’s sorrow.

But it was more than that: as well as nailing Bond’s character, Casino Royale knew when to blow things up and when to sit things out. Gone are the CGI surfboards and ice palaces; in their place, clever exchanges of dialogue and games of cards. After an explosive first half (and some bold opening credits), it really does feel like we’re back in Dr. No territory. Casino Royale didn’t out-Bourne Jason Bourne by punching people in the face. It did it by staying quiet for the middle act and letting Craig’s dormant landmine take centre stage.

And then there’s Eva Green - EVA GREEN – whose independent streak and sexy smarts made her the first, and arguably best, Bond girl of the series. She’s the perfect companion for Mads Mikkelsen’s quiet, calculating Bond villain, both of them adding realism rather than camp humour to proceedings.

Held together by David Arnold’s absolutely stonking score, Casino Royale doesn’t so much slap Die Another Day around the face as strap Pierce Brosnan to a chair and whip his cheesy balls with a rope while yelling: “Will you yield?” It’s a cathartic release for everybody.

Still, Casino Royale’s not the first time United Artists/MGM have tried to reboot Bond. OHMSS removed the polish of Diamonds Are Forever. For Your Eyes Only scaled back Moonraker. GoldenEye resurrected 007’s misogynistic dinosaur. The boldest restart, though, occurred in 1992, way before Martin Campbell entered the frame. And its legacy – nay, its example – lives on to this day.

I am talking, of course, about James Bond Jr.

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New Skyfall poster

There's no two ways about it. The new Skyfall poster makes no sense. Just look at Daniel Craig's expression, which has puzzled many Bond fans. The truth is quite simple. He's thinking: "What the hell happened?" 

I tried to answer his question. Here are the best three explanations I could come up with...

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Wait, Vince Vaughn is in Skyfall? 


Skyfall cinema standee 

Discovered by Marc Foley-Corner (@marcfc).



Javier Bardem, Skyfall International trailer

"The two survivors... this is what she made us."


After a week of pointless teasers for trailers, the full Skyfall international trailer is finally here – and by Ben Whishaw’s specs, it’s spectacular.

It builds on the teaser trailer with some surprising details: the opening few shots alone are enough to make you rewind and start again. But then it settles down into a confident rhythm, introducing Javier Bardem’s blonde villain (he’s a better brunette), Ralph Fiennes’ MI6 official and, perhaps most importantly, a hint of what Skyfall might be.

Missing hard drives, encoded lists, murdered secret agents, chases on trains. Think 1995’s Mission: Impossible, but with YouTube instead of floppy disks. (Judging by the hit count on the leaked vide, floppy disks are far less secure.) Then add in Ben Whishaw as an anorak-wearing Q (don't worry: he gets lots of sarcastic laughs in the not-yet-online Skyfall IMAX trailer), a liberal splash of Judi Dench and Roger Deakins’ stunning cinematography (check out those silhouettes again), and you have a cracking bit of espionage that looks as low-key as Spooks and as ridiculous as The World Is Not Enough. *straightens cuffs*

Read on for the Skyfall international trailer. And keep an ear out for Thomas Newman’s late reworking of Monty Norman’s Bond riff, a machine gunning rhythm that takes the signature notes offbeat – very different to the drum arrangement from the first Skyfall trailer, which is a promising sign for the composer’s first Bond score.

He’s also got a taste for the choral, by the sounds of it, which feels very similar to the music for Casino Royale’s trailer. Colour my eardrums - and the rest of me - interested.

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London 2012 Opening Ceremony 

(Image via BBC iPlayer

I was blown away by the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony last night. A celebration of Great Britain, it showed rather than told the world what our nation is and what we can do. Shakespeare and Milton. Brookside and James BondMr Bean. From music and film to industry and technology, it was as much a celebration of creativity as sport: a colourful, ambitious, batshit crazy piece of multicultural humanist theatre.

After all, what else would you expect from Danny Boyle?

Boyle's dynamic energy has always been matched by a spiritual heart. It's what elevates Sunshine above what appears to be a messy descent into horror and turns it into a five-star metaphysical masterpiece. It's what brings together the visual assault of Aron Ralston's struggle for survival into a rousing, coherent finale.

Combine that with his taste for Steampunk and apparent synergy with Underworld and you get a filmmaker with a flair for the theatrical and a love of physicality; a director with the volume and excitement of Michael Bay and the heart and sensitivity of Terrence Malick. Just look at Akram Khan's moving, primitive dance sequence against a burning orange stage and accompanied by (note this) every single verse of Abide with Me. No wonder he was so keen to have a say over the positioning of the cameras for the BBC broadcast.

A superb choreographer, he positions props and people with a tangible enthusiasm and sense of humour - the kind of man who nails the raw intensity of Frankenstein at the National Theatre, then bounces up and down like Tigger when he collects an award. How much more British can you get?

Some people have missed the point of the whole ceremony or politicised it to pieces, but between the shout-outs for the NHS and the showcasing of Tim Berners-Lee, what Danny Boyle has achieved demonstrates a simpler message: that the arts still have an impact upon, and vital role to play in, modern society. 10,000 volunteers uniting millions of folks around the world? There's a continuing importance to culture, media, sport and - above all - imagination. And it took nothing less than a British filmmaker to prove it.

Imagine what he could do with the Eurovision Song Contest.


Read on for the amusing - and perfectly judged* - Bond and Mr. Bean videos that popped up during the ceremony. 


* Don't talk to me about CGI Winston Churchill. 

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It's official. Ben Whishaw is Skyfall's Q. And he looks like this:


Ben Whishaw Q

In a word? QILF. And I thought Desmond Llewelyn couldn't get any sexier.



One of the most annoying things in the universe (immediately behind Adam Sandler) is discovering there’s a cool event happening… the day after it happened. Equally annoying is being aware that something cool is about to happen… and you’re unable to get there.

So, brace yourselves for the most frustrating blog post you'll ever read. Here are some cool film things going on in London this week/tonight/very soon/yesterday. You should try and get to all of them – unless a. you don’t live in London, or b. your self-cloning/time travel experiment went wrong and now you have no legs.


Cool Thing #1: Designing 007 @ Barbican


Designing 007 Barbican


Let’s face it, you don’t need to hear my crap Lulu impression (again) to know what that it. And it’s at the Barbican Centre from tomorrow night – TOMORROW, THERE’S STILL TIME – complete with a load of concept art and technical drawings from Ken Adam, a first edition of The Man with the Golden Gun (a better novel than the film), some sexy automobiles (hello, Aston Martin) and, erm, that ice dragster from Die Another Day. Which presumably is there for comic relief.

The star of the show is arguably the ton of costumes on display (including Sean Connery’s Sinclair tux from Dr. No). But it goes without saying that the success of the event hinges entirely on whether they have this waiter’s suit from Tomorrow Never Dies...

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