judi dench


November 11th, 2012 at 7:52 pm by under A Look at the Movies

Rated PG-13
2 hours 25 minutes

Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem

The latest adventures of 007 are darker and more brooding than ever. “Skyfall” is far more psychologically complex. Daniel Craig is more deeply troubled and more vulnerable as the suave super spy with a license to kill.  But some things never change. He still attracts sultry women at the gambling tables.

The handsome production includes some of the most elaborate action scenes in the history of those Bondian exploits. Bond’s out to prove that neither he nor the legendary series are damaged goods or have lost of step. In a stroke of inspired casting, Javier Bardem is as villainous and pathologically twisted as the best of the Bond villains have a right to be.

It never hurts having an Oscar winning director like Sam Mendes at the helm. Mendes orchestrates a visually exciting and dramatically relevant adventure. It’s a new Bond for a new era.

Endless arguments lie ahead. Is “Skyfall” too much of a departure or just keeping up with the times?

I say this is a wonderful James Bond film in which 007 earns his 4 stars.

And whose to say that Daniel Craig isn’t the best Bond ever?

“J. Edgar”

November 19th, 2011 at 9:15 am by under A Look at the Movies

Rated R
2 hours 17 minutes

No one can accuse Leonardo DiCaprio of shying away from a challenging role, but Clint Eastwood’s stodgy directing lets DiCaprio down and leaves us with a bland biography of the overtly suspicious tyrant.

Eastwood stuffs his film with all the familiar highlights and lowlights of the legendary lawman’s sordid public and private life. It’s all very interesting, but dramatically, the scenes often fall flat.

The picture doesn’t have any punch. It seems J. Edgar’s character flaws overshadowed whatever good he did; he was ruthless to the core.

The great Judi Dench enjoys her scenes playing Hoover’s overbearing mother and the picture leaves little doubt about the nature of his relationship with Clyde Tolson, his protege and confidante.

DiCaprio’s made up as the aged Hoover looking like a figure out of a wax museum. He was a blackmailer of presidents to the very end.

Unfortunately, J. Edgar hardly gives us what we want. That’s why this disappointing character study rates only 2 stars.

It’s obviously just what Hoover deserved.