Roundup, Pop Culture Roundup. It’s 39, Double-Ohs!

We attended opening night of Skyfall, last Friday, and enjoyed it immensely. The opening was a huge success, raking in $87.8 million in North America, the 007 franchise’s best opening. It’s hard to imagine the production was nearly canceled, along with the series, due to MGM’s financial troubles.

Here’s my SPOILER-FREE initial reaction after letting it marinate for about a week. Though Skyfall may be one of the best modern Bond films, I still find 2006’s Casino Royale to be better, overall. You may chalk it up to the pleasant surprise of Daniel Craig‘s debut in Casino Royale but, in my opinion, Skyfall is not as masterful and flawless as some have said. But it’s pretty damn close. It currently boasts an astronomic 92%/89% at Rotten Tomatoes while Casino Royale stands at 95%/87%. The current film ranks at 225 on the IMDb Top 250. In that bunch, Casino Royale doesn’t even make the cut.

Neither is Skyfall deserving of the criticism by the few who vehemently dislike the new offering. It’s an enjoyable and entertaining ride, laced with clever dialogue, and polished storytelling. The characters seem smarter than ever, exchanges are occasionally delivered with panache or with tongue planted firmly in cheek. This installment of the franchise is solid at its core and a very, very good bid into the Bond pantheon. As expected, the collection of action sequences deliver, the visuals are rich, the settings are luminous. It also showcases probably the best opening title sequences in the history of 007 films. The motion graphics and direction by Daniel Kleinman are superb and worth the price of admission alone (hi-def naked reel w/o titles). I am begging you to see it on a giant screen. The combination of Adele and the moving images are a heavenly match; Adele, a throwback talent, has a timeless tone and was made to sing a Bond title song. This one was it.

It’s hard to say if Sam Mendes, the film’s director, is overrated or underrated. I have never met a Mendes fanboy/fangirl. At this point in his career, after six productions under his belt, we can describe him as a consistent filmmaker who makes thoughtful films of a high quality. No more, no less.

Not surprisingly, Javier Bardem is fabulous in more ways than one. Without giving any morsels away, the homoerotic tension within the first meeting between the villain and hero is comically memorable and priceless. Bardem has proven his worth as an award-winning actor but he’s also captivating. Whether it’s a small part like Latin mob boss Felix in Michael Mann‘s Collateral or hall-of-fame villain Anton Chigurh in the Coen Brothers‘ No Country for Old Men, the Spaniard has a tendency to sizzle. Javi carries an intensity and unique charisma. The actor is up there with the likes of Gary Oldman, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken; captivating players who have a propensity to steal scenes. Their performances, big or small, are not to be missed; these guys can’t avoid peppering a scene. With that said, how distracting are Bardem’s wildly asymmetrical nostrils on an IMAX screen? I must apologize if I might have ruined the great actor for you.

The film also succeeds because of Dame Judith Olivia Dench. We are finally served with a sizable serving of Judi Dench, the Bond staple and matron of MI6 is not just background and exposition fodder in this one. This marks the seventh film in the series for her. She was in all four of the Pierce Brosnan Bond films (GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day) and the last trio with Craig. Fantastic work by her here, Dench carries a hearty chunk of the movie.

This 23rd film marks the 50th anniversary of the franchise, there was a conscious effort to pay homage to the past. If it’s the deliberate motif of analog smarts versus contemporary digital know-how, the battle between old and new, or the use of simple gadgets and customary presence of an over-the-top villain, it all works fairly smooth and isn’t distracting. The fondness of old school nostalgia and tradition works well and actually assists the narrative. It doesn’t seem tacked on. I should mention there’s a sweet cameo of something-something from the first Bond film. The audience let out a collective sigh/gasp/wow when it made its appearance. A very cool callback and payoff for the fans in the third act. You will know what/who I’m talking about when you see it.

Finally, I also dug how they tried to explain the relevance of having spies and espionage in this modern climate. It’s somewhat topical, given our day and age of terrorism fears, but it was icing on the cake and helped aid in grounding the film in reality. The layer of an aging James Bond, an agent out of his prime, likewise added a touch of realism to the story. 007 is still cool as ever but, now, he struggles a bit more making that leap-and-grab, his aim is a little bit off, and he takes a smidgen longer to recover after taking a punch. Bond, Trill Bond.

So let’s recap the Craig films. Casino Royale: the best; Skyfall: radical, go see it immediately; Quantum Solace: dogshit.

Sidebar: Food for thought, I love DC as the current Bond but I heard an interesting rumor. There are talks of Idris Elba portraying the following James Bond. It would be an interesting and modern choice. Bell, Stringer Bell.

Skyfall- Daniel Craig on the Style of Skyfall

Skyfall – Judi Dench on SKYFALL and Playing M

Skyfall – Ralph Fiennes

Skyfall – Bérénice Marlohe on Bond’s Ladies

Skyfall – Naomie Harris

Skyfall – Ben Whishaw



Skyfall  Videoblog: Helicopters

SoundWorks Collection – The Sound of Skyfall

Daniel Craig Says Rihanna Would Be An Ideal Bond Girl


Hashima, the abandoned island setting in the film.

The jellyfish graphic background during dark fight scene in the high-rise. via

A neat memento from Skyfall, the British bulldog that sits on M’s desk. These things are backordered and going for triple the price on eBay. I’m an anglophile and kinda want one. Jack is named after the bold Union Jack flag that’s emblazoned across his back and directly honours the original 1941 model. Jack is also making a special appearance in the 23rd James Bond movie, Skyfall, released in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Bond film series. To commemorate his starring role Jack has the enviable reference number DD007. BUY

GQ: The Lust List: Bérénice Marlohe


Django Unchained (60 Second Clip)

Here’s a wave of wallpaper and GIFs from their very cool interactive official movie site. filled with easter eggs.

More box art from Tarantino XX. Hint: Christmas is around the corner. I wouldn’t hate having this boxed set. Check out some various pics at the Kill Bill Facebook site.

Gifted printmaker Tyler Stout produced another hit poster for Mondo, this time for the 20th Anniversary of Reservoir Dogs. It was released yesterday and sold out within seconds, again, like all of Stout’s limited prints.




21 & Over, straight-A college student Jeff Chang has always done what’s expected of him. But when his two best friends Casey and Miller surprise him with a visit for his 21st birthday, he decides to do the unexpected for a change, even though his critical medical school interview is early the next morning. What was supposed to be one beer becomes one night of chaos, over indulgence and utter debauchery in this outrageous comedy.


Admission, at Princeton, an admissions officer gets involved with a less-than-model potential student.


Europa Report, the movie was directed by Sebastián Codero (Crónicas) and stars Sharlto Copley (District 9), Michael Nyqvist (Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol), Daniel Wu, Anamaria Marinca, Christian Camargo and Karolina Wydra. For decades, scientists have theorized the existence of liquid water oceans on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. We’ve recently discovered new, captivating evidence that these sub-surface oceans do exist and could support life. We’ve sent six astronauts from space programs throughout the world on a three year journey to Europa to explore its oceans and confirm these findings. We’re proud to be at the forefront of the effort to prove the existence of extra-terrestrial life within our solar system, within our lifetimes.


Hitchcock Official International Trailer, based on the book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello, Hitchcock is a love story about one of the most influential filmmakers of the last century, Alfred Hitchcock and his wife and partner Alma Reville. The film takes place during the making of Hitchcock’s seminal movie Psycho.


Killing Them Softly Clip, an explosive gangster thriller starring Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta and Richard Jenkins. A longtime hanger-on in the wiseguy world, Johnny Amato (Vincent Curatola) has come up with a slick plan to roll a mob-protected card game. To complete the actual theft, Johnny turns to Frankie (Scoot McNairy), a jittery young crook who is fresh out of jail and flat broke, and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn), a gleefully seedy Australian junkie whose latest criminal enterprise involves dog theft. Presidential politics and America’s financial crisis are all over the news, but it’s little more than background noise to these three guys who are angling to make a quick score in a broken-down city. The conspirators feel assured of success, certain as they are that the mob’s suspicions will immediately fall on the game’s regular dealer, Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta). But only a fool believes in a foolproof plan. With more bluster than brains, Frankie and Russell manage to pull off the robbery and escape without being recognized. But while Frankie, Russell and Johnny are busy congratulating themselves, the mob is taking steps to nip any problems in the bud by bringing in the seasoned enforcer Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) to investigate the heist and restore the status quo. Punishment must be exacted, but even more a message must be sent, to customers and would-be thieves alike: nothing and no one will be allowed to capsize the local criminal economy. Jackie brings his customary professionalism to the assignment, only to find himself navigating frustrating complications, including a finicky client that communicates through a buttoned-up middle-manager (Richard Jenkins), and a trusted colleague (James Gandolfini) who has turned surprisingly unpredictable. In the end, it is up to Jackie — unflappable, efficient and thoroughly versed in the vagaries of killing — to get the job done right.


Les Misérables Official International Trailer, starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway. An adaptation of the successful stage musical based on Victor Hugo‘s classic novel set in 19th-century France, in which a paroled prisoner named Jean Valjean seeks redemption.


Oz: The Great and Powerful, Disney’s fantastical adventure Oz The Great and Powerful, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum‘s beloved wizard character. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful wizard but into a better man as well.


Rust and Bone Trailer, put in charge of his young son, Ali leaves Belgium for Antibes to live with his sister and her husband as a family. Ali’s bond with Stephanie, a killer whale trainer, grows deeper after Stephanie suffers a horrible accident. A drama directed by Jacques Audiard and written by Audiard and Thomas Bidegain in which a marine animal trainer and a brutish bouncer develop a relationship of strength and emotional dependence. Rust and Bone hits theaters on December 23, 2012.


Side Effects Official Trailer, a woman turns to prescription medication as a way of handling her anxiety concerning her husband’s upcoming release from prison. Directed by Steven Soderbergh.


Silent Night Trailer. Hahaha. Or hohoho?


The Canyons 1950’s Teaser Trailer, it’s not The Hills… THE CANYONS is a contemporary L.A. noir from director Paul Schrader, writer Bret Easton Ellis, and producer Braxton Pope about the dangers of sexual obsession and ambition, both personally and professionally, among a group of young people in their 20’s and how one chance meeting connected to the past unravels all of their lives, resulting in deceit, paranoia, cruel mind games and ultimately violence.


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – TV Spots 5 and 6

The Heat Official Trailer, an FBI agent teams up with a Boston police officer to take down a Russian mobster.




Part 2: George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy: Getting Started on the New Star Wars Films


HBO for the Holidays on Blu-ray and DVD, LMAOOOOOOOO!


Grand Theft Auto V: Official Trailer #2


Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn : Official Full-length Trailer (Live action Machinima Prime series), it’s finally here! The first full-length, official, live action Halo series is here on Machinima Prime! “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” is a live-action digital series that takes fans back to the terrifying beginning of the Human/Covenant war, when the Master Chief inspired a young cadet who would eventually become a leader aboard the UNSC’s greatest vessel: the UNSC Infinity.


Well, for all of us here at PCR News, I’m Teemunny, you stay classy, San Diego.


PS. Go Ducks, Win the Day…

Pop Culture Roundup 39 Thread