Criticism of art, as reviled and looked-down upon as it is, is a necessary and inextirpable facet of art itself. It is the checks and balances of the creative industry. As it relates to film, it is a mediated industry within what is perhaps arts most mediated field.
On the Russian border, super spy James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) infiltrates a terrorist arms deal in order to steal a plane carrying nuclear torpedoes before a British launched missile hits the site. One “techno terrorist” involved in the deal, Henry Gupta (Ricky Jay), is working with media mogul Elliot Carver (Jonathon Pryce), whose plan is to start World War III in order to profit off of the headlines it would provide.
In the cold open to GoldenEye, spy James Bond (Pierce Brosnan, in his first outing as the franchise character) bungee jumps off of a dam in Arkhangelsk in order to covertly infiltrate a Soviet chemical weapons facility. Once inside, he rendevouses with fellow agent 006 Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean). Together they easily break into the loading dock where gasoline tankers are kept. Here we get one of my personal favorite exchanges in the Bond series:
In the cold open of A View to a Kill, James Bond (Roger Moore) is in Siberia attempting to locate the body of missing agent 003. Upon finding the body, and the microchip that the dead agent had recovered, Bond is immediately hunted down on skis and snowmobiles by Soviet military.
Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse opens on Blake Anderson from Workaholics (here simply Ron the Janitor) dancing to an Iggy Azalea trap beat. Marvelous. Ron then single-handedly starts the zombie apocalypse. Double marvelous. The dramatic irony and use of space in this opening is great. It might be the best scene in the entire movie comedy-wise.
We then see a dated-looking boy scout recruitment tape led by the comedic styling of David Koechner. Scout Leader Rogers’ (Koechner) Boy Scout Troop 264 is comprised of three archetypal scouts: the brown-nosing overachiever Augie (Joey Morgan), the apathetic burnout Carter (Logan Miller), and the reluctant leader Ben (Tye Sheridan).
At a meeting of the United Nations in New York City, a man is killed mysteriously by a strange noise emitting through his ear-piece translator. In New Orleans, a man is stabbed and tossed into the middle of a funeral parade that just happens to be for him. In the Caribbean, a man tied up by locals is tied up and bitten by a poisonous snake during a ritual. Three men dead, and all three agents of British spy organization MI6.
Enter James Bond (Roger Moore, in his first outing as the franchise spy). MI6 head M (Bernard Lee) and his assistant Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) appear at Bonds doorstep to address the issue of agents dropping like flies. The scene is a comedic game of hide and seek, as Bond steers M away from discovering the naked woman in Bond’s bed. This, and the clever use of a magnetic watch, makes the entrance of Moore as Bond light and fun.
In a U.S. Army Base, a germophobic scientist (Scott Wilson) instructs his assistant (Brian Rhee) to dump loads of chemicals down the drain and into the nearby Han River, because the bottles are covered in dust. The result is exactly what you would expect. That is, if you expect a giant fish monster.
In Teacher of the Year, Matt Letscher plays the eponymous character, Mitch Carter. Mitch is humble and dedicated to his craft, yet also clearly tired and showing the desire to be somewhere else with his career. After winning California’s Teacher of the Year award, a documentary crew begins following him and the small charter school that he works for. He also gets offered a high paying position at the National Independent School Association, a job that he is hesitant to take.
The movie is filmed in mockumentary style, a genre that has become somewhat tired through its prevalence in television. In this case, nothing new is brought into the mockumentary genre. However, the talking head interviews that are employed are easily Continue reading Teacher of the Year (2014) Movie Review→
Fifty Shades of Grey is an erotic romance film adapted from E.L. James’ novel of the same name. In it, nervous lip-biter Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) is subbed in to interview billionaire playboy Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) for a graduate school newspaper. During the interview, sparks fly (I’m using this phrase loosely) and they become romantically involved. But Mr. Grey is oddly distant and afraid of commitment. Ana soon finds out Grey’s secret: a hidden life of playing out a sexual domination fantasy. Virgin innocent Ana doesn’t know how to handle this news at first, but soon becomes wrapped up in the “taboo” world of BDSM, falling for Christian in the process.
From the title sequence, we are immediately flooded with exorbitantly sleek mise-en-scene, namely with shots of Christian’s wardrobe. We are also given beautiful landscape shots of the Seattle skyline. All the while, Annie Lennox singing “I Put a Spell On You” fills the scene with soulful body. This lush opening is enticing and inviting. It is only when characters begin to speak that problems arise.