The 23rd film in the James Bond series premiered in the UK on Friday, and we have an early spoiler-free video blog reaction. I recorded my thoughts alongside Alex Billington from FirstShowing, a huge Bond fanatic who balances out my ambivalence to much of the series.

I think the latest entry into the Bond franchise will please both Bond fanatics and casual viewers, striking a great compromise between old Bond feel and contemporary action and seriousness. For me the highlight was Roger Deakins‘ cinematography, beautiful, striking, the best looking Bond film to date. There is one sequence in Shanghai which looks and feels like a contemporary Blade Runner but with the action of the Mission: Impossible series. Watch our complete video blog embedded after the jump to hear more.
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The twenty-third James Bond film, which once again stars Daniel Craig and is directed by Sam Mendes, is called Skyfall. As it turns out, in one sense, the title has a very nearly literal implication. In the culmination of a chase scene that winds through and beneath London, the villain Silva, played by Javier Bardem, causes an explosion in a catacomb chamber underneath a London tube station. As a result, a train crashes down on Bond’s head.

Skyfall has been shooting at the massive Pinewood Studios west of London, and on the tremendous 007 stage at that location the production replicated a large section of tube tunnel and the accompanying platform, and created both the chamber in which Bond and Silva have their confrontation, and the full-size train that crashes into it.

Last week I went to Pinewood to see part of that confrontation being filmed. While Sony and EON Productions are reluctant to give too much away at this point, still six months away from the late October/early November release of the film, we learned more than a few new things about the third outing of our modern James Bond, and I’ll detail them below. Read More »

‘Skyfall’ Will Be James Bond’s IMAX Premiere

Briefly: It’s a regular thing to see action and ‘event’ films upscaled for presentation in IMAX theaters, and so we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Skyfall, the twenty-third James Bond film, will be digitally remastered to show in IMAX when the film hits on Oct. 26 (internationally) and Nov. 9 in the US.

Note that director Sam Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins did not shoot the film with IMAX cameras, so this won’t quite be a Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol-style spectacle. Still, Bond fans who want to see the film on the largest possible screen can now start planning a trip to the nearest IMAX theater.

That news came out during today’s earnings conference call with the company, during which Imax CEO Richard Gelfond said the company would do more pre-release exclusive bookings. “(MI4) got the attention of exhibitors and studios, and we believe we will participate in more early release windows in the future.” The company will also begin to show more films in China going forward. [THR]

New ‘Skyfall’ Image Shows Bond Ready to Kill

Time to tell that poolside image of Daniel Craig as James Bond: sorry, you’ve been disavowed. Early this morning revealed what EON Productions is calling the real first image of Daniel Craig as James Bond in the new film Skyfall, which is being directed right now by Sam Mendes and photographed by Roger Deakins.

That’s a hint of the new shot, above. Check out the full thing below. Read More »

Dean DeBlois is pulling together the cast for his sequel to How to Train Your Dragon. Most of the original cast has already been locked, including: Jay Baruchel as Hiccup; Craig Ferguson as Belch; America Ferrera as Astrid; Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fishlegs; Jonah Hill as Snotlout; TJ Miller as Ruffnut and Kristen Wiig as Tuffnut. Now Gerard Butler has been confirmed to return as well, and cinematographer Roger Deakins will once more be on board to supervise the lighting work. (Many people don’t realize he had anything to do with the first film, it seems. Great that he’s back.)

The director gave the info to Empire and you can see a video of him talking about the film after the break. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Here’s something for those who have wanted to see Inception nominated or awarded with more significant honors than the film has been given so far in the awards season. Sure, the top prize from the American Society of Cinematographers is essentially a technical award, but it is the technical award, and taking the prize is no small honor. Tonight Wally Pfister won the ASC Award for feature achievement for his work on Inception. Read More »

Tonight the award ceremony took place in London to honor recipients of the British Academy Film Awards, in a show hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). The BAFTA winners won’t have any particular effect on the Oscar race, but the lineup for winners looks very much like that which has been ratified many times over by various film awards in the US over the past few months, and which is likely to be set in stone by the Oscars.

The basic breakdown is that The King’s Speech was the big winner with seven awards in total, taking the Best Film and Outstanding British Film categories as well as acting nods for Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush. David Fincher won Best Director for The Social Network, and Inception took quite a few technical awards. All the details are after the break. Read More »

Interview: Legendary Cinematographer Roger Deakins

I’ve done a lot of interviews during my time at /Film, but I usually don’t have the opportunity to interview cinematographers. However, when the offer came to chat with Roger Deakins, I jumped at the chance. Deakins has helped to craft some of the most memorable images in the history of cinema. His insanely accomplished filmography includes the likes of The Shawshank Redemption, Revolutionary Road, and A Beautiful Mind, not to mention many of the films of the Coen Brothers. This year, Deakins received an Academy Award nomination for his work in the Coen Brothers True Grit (his 9th nomination, although he hasn’t yet won). He will also be the recipient of the American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award.

Below is an excerpted version of our lengthy conversation. Note that there is a quasi-spoiler for True Grit in the interview.
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The Coen Brothers’ True Grit begins with a long, enigmatic shot of a lit porch at night that slowly fades into view to reveal a dead body. It’s gorgeously done, and it sets the tone for the rest of the film. But True Grit almost had a significantly different opening sequence.

I recently had the chance to chat with long-time Coen Brothers collaborator Roger Deakins, who was the cinematographer for True Grit. While my full interview with him won’t be published until tomorrow, I thought I’d share a tidbit about how the opening shot of True Grit came together. Hit the jump to hear the details. Read More »

Is ‘Full-On Horror’ Next For Joel and Ethan Coen?

With True Grit standing as the greatest box-office success of Joel and Ethan Coen‘s directorial career, the question now is naturally: what next? While some (read: me) might hope that this success would finally provide a way to finance their adaptation of To the White Sea, it seems like that’s not to be the case.

But there are other movies in the pipeline. One could be a pseudo-16mm documentary, and another could be called a “full-on horror movie.” More details, including the (not quite serious) cast idea for the monster, after the break. Read More »