Well, I figure today for a change of pace that I will do a written movie review blog instead. And it’s also about time I did a review of a James Bond movie. And what better movie to do a review on than the new Bond film Skyfall. Skyfall is the 23rd installment in the 50-year-old franchise that is directed by Sam Mendes, the man who won an Oscar for directing the 1999 film American Beauty but is probably better known as one of Kate Winslet’s ex-husbands. He seems like an odd choice to direct a Bond movie, but he pulls it off really well and the end result is one of the best Bond films ever.

But before we begin, let’s take a look at the last film, Quantum of Solace. Though while I thought the movie was good, I did have a couple of problems with it. For one thing, it was too short and the theme to that one was uninteresting. Nevertheless, it was still pretty good despite its flaws. Daniel Craig was just as badass here as he was in Casino Royale (his debut movie as 007) and the acting was still pretty good. However, Skyfall is a big improvement.

The movie begins with Bond (once again played by Craig) nearly getting killed while on a mission to obtain a document that has the identities of MI6 agents who have infiltrated terrorist organizations around the world. If the document falls into enemy hands, their identities would be compromised leaving them vulnerable to assassination attempts.

The enemy hands this time around is Silva (Javier Bardiem), an ex-MI6 agent who is out for revenge against M (again played by Dame Judi Dench) for betraying him to the Chinese government years earlier where he was subsequently tortured by the Chinese (apparently someone was pissed he married Penelope Cruz. :D) And when MI6 agents begin getting killed after being exposed by Silva, M is put under an investigation headed by Ralph Fiennes, who starts out as your typical arrogant bureaucratic jerk but plays a much bigger role by the end of the movie (I won’t spoil it here.)

Meanwhile, Bond who had been in hiding since his “death” resurfaces to resume his duties. However, his gun arm is kind of shaky as a result of a shoulder wound he got at the beginning of the movie. Despite that, M clears Bond to pursue Silva. And here is where we are introduced to the new Q (played by Ben Whishaw) who is a quiet, sarcastic 20-something computer geek as opposed to a cranky old man that he was in the original movies. And yes, folks. This Q does make some new toys for Bond though not as extravagant as they were in olden times. This time, 007 gets a customized Walther PPK gun which can only be fired by him. “What did you expect? An exploding pen?,” Q quips to Bond during their first meeting. Points if you can guess which Bond film the exploding pen appears in.

“Do I make you horny, Mr. Bond?”

Back to Javier Bardem’s portrayal of Silva. I got to say that he is one of the best Bond villains to come out of the franchise in years. He plays the character as really creepy and psychotic that you got to take him seriously. In short, he is basically the franchise’s version of Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. Among some of his highlights includes a scene where he interrogates Bond and he’s checking to see if he has a wire and well, I’ll let the picture right next to this paragraph speak for itself. And when he does allow himself to be captured by MI6 agents (and the movie ventures into Chris Nolan territory) and where he masterminds yet another terrorist scheme from the confines of a glass cell (which seems to be the in thing for big movies these days.) Hey, it worked for the Joker, Loki from The Avengers, Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, and for the main villain in the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness.

What ensues after that is some real suspense-filled edge of your seat thrills as Bond and Silva play a game of cat and mouse that ultimately ends up at Bond’s childhood home, Skyfall presided over by Albert Finney (in a role that was rumored to have been offered to Sean Connery which would have been the icing on the cake commemorating the 50th anniversary of the franchise by seeing the original Bond interact with the current Bond.)

The Bond girls this time around are Naomie Harris who starts out as Bond’s partner at the beginning of the movie and also has a major twist at the end of the movie which I will not spoil and Berenice Marlohe as the mysterious Severeine who has a secret past and is actually the girlfriend of sorts of Silva.

This movie is nothing short of awesome. This definitely ranks among the best of the Bonds that deserves to be named along with movies like From Russia With Love, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Casino Royale. It’s also one of the best spy thrillers ever. And that’s saying something. Plus I love the awesome theme song from Adele which is actually a drawback to the Shirley Bassey themes from previous films. Craig is still as badass here as he was in his previous two Bond movies and here’s hoping he still has his edge being that he is signed on for at least two more Bond movies. And if those two are as good as this movie was, then the Bond franchise will definitely have potential to make it to its 100th anniversary.

The Critic is Back!

I guess I am going to start this little video (apart from giving a display promoting the last Twilight movie being released on DVD the one-fingered victory salute) by assuming that if you’ve been on the web and enjoy wildly popular web series, you’ve heard the good news. Next Tuesday, February 5 marks the official return of one of the most beloved characters the Internet has ever created: The Nostalgia Critic.

In case you haven’t seen the video that Doug Walker posted on his website called The Review Must Go On, he is indeed resurrecting the Critic to appear in a biweekly series where he will review more movies with no cutoff date to speak of unless it is a movie that is currently in theaters. At the same time, he is cancelling his poorly-received web series called Demo Reel which he developed to replace the Critic’s show.

I started watching the Critic last year when I first got my laptop and I found him to be pretty decent. In fact, it influenced me to start up my own review series. There were a lot of people who were influenced by the Angry Video Game Nerd to do video game reviews. In my case, I decided to review movies both new and old which up until I started watching the Critic I had only done sporadically on my main channel. And I do admit that I had not seen an episode of Demo Reel so I don’t really have an opinion about it. It just wasn’t as good as the Critic was but now that he’s back I’m looking forward to the return of his show next Tuesday.

And now I am going to move on to my thoughts on the news that JJ Abrams is officially attached to direct Star Wars: Episode 7. When I first heard that, I was like didn’t he already direct a Star Wars movie? After all, his 2009 Star Trek reboot was frequently compared to the first Star Wars movie primarily because JJ Abrams is a Star Wars fan so this all makes sense that he is directing Episode 7. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out when Episode 7 hits theaters in 2015. So far there is no word on whether or not he is also attached to Episodes 8 and 9 but what I do know is that his next Star Trek movie is coming out in just a few short months plus I think he’s also attached to do at least one more movie in the Star Trek franchise.

But enough showbiz chat. So far I got through my first week of the new semester pretty well. Work load hasn’t been that heavy, at least not yet. However, as far as videos go I will probably be uploading a new video at least once or twice a week (which also applies to the Blackcatloner Reviews channel.) I got quite a bit in the pipeline, including the fact that I will be filming at Triple-Con, which is HCCC’s version of Comic-Con that is also expanded to include video games and anime. From what I’ve heard Triple-Con is supposed to be held sometime in April. So you will get to see some hot chicks in Cosplay outfits. So don’t say I don’t do anything for you.

And in honor of my five year anniversary of online video making, I am planning to upload a reedited version of one of my classic videos. I have been going through some CD-ROMs of stuff I burned to them from very early in my career and I found some unedited footage for the Librarian video I did with LisaNova. So I figure I’d reedit that in the style of my current videos and put a new soundtrack on it. I mean it’s not every day that I do remakes of my older videos the same way filmmakers redo their old movies and rereleasing them into theaters. Yeah that’s right, I’m looking at you, George Lucas. Redoing your whole Star Wars franchise because your beard ends where your double chin begins, which is where he got the idea for the Wookie.

So yeah I got a whole slew of new stuff coming out. That’s how I roll, people. Just wanted to get this little vlog out. So thanks for watching. Enjoy the Super Bowl. I know I probably won’t be able to watch it because I don’t get CBS where I live.