Skyfall One Of 2013’s Top Home Releases

Courtesy:  20th Century Fox

Courtesy: 20th Century Fox

There’s an old adage that states something to the effect of the third time is the charm.  That adage has never been truer than in the case of Daniel Craig’s take on the revered Bond franchise.  When Casino Royale first debuted, it was met with mixed reviews.  That is because it came across more as a movie that was struggling to deal with the expectations placed on it by critics and the public.  In trying so hard, it lost its identity, and became more of a melodrama than a classic Bond flick.  Then came Quantum of Solace.  The second of Craig’s Bond films wasn’t bad.  It was just misunderstood.  Its problem was that it was more a sequel to Casino Royale than its own standalone movie.  Enter Skyfall.  This is the Bond flick that fans have wanted from the very beginning.  That’s even more the case now that this modern classic has been released on Blu-ray, DVD and digital.

Skyfall is the movie that long-time Bond fans have waited for since the release of Casino Royale.  This movie is a throwback to the glory days of James Bond in every sense of the word.  Right from the beginning of the movie, audiences are taken back in time with a classic Bond style opening credit sequence complete with musical number.  This time the opening musical number is provided courtesy of pop star Adele who recently won a Golden Globe for her performance of the movie’s theme song.  And go figure, she sings in the song’s chorus, “This is the end.”  For those who haven’t seen Skyfall yet, this single line is far more prophetic than anyone could realize until the story’s surprise ending.  In between the classic opening and the surprise ending, the rest of the movie is entirely classic style Bond, complete with a wild opening chase scene, and nonstop action throughout the story’s first two acts.  The story’s final act is the only downside to the entire presentation.  The buildup to the final confrontation between Bond and Silva drags on more than it really should have.  But the story’s surprise epilogue makes that slow boil forgivable.

The meat and potatoes of Skyfall is classic James Bond in every sense of the phrase. The action is much the same as old school Bond flicks.  And fans will thrill at the inclusion of a certain classic Bond car complete with ejector seat and guns in the headlights.  Yes, that car.  And then of course there is the classic Bond attitude on the part of Daniel Craig.  Rather than being the finely trained killer/agent with emotional baggage that audiences came to know from the franchise’s previous efforts, what audiences get here is a mix of Pierce Brosnan and Sean Connery and his own attitude, too complete with the occasional semi-cheesy one-liners.  Combined with the story’s non-stop action and the constant references to the Golden Days of Bond, Skyfall quickly becomes the first true definitive Bond film for this generation.  All of these factors are discussed at length in the bonus features included in the movie’s brand new Blu-ray/DVD/Vudu combo pack.  Everything from the action scenes to the new Bond girl to the gadgets and more are discussed in the combo pack’s bonus features.  Those dicussions are made even more interesting with the inclusion of not one, but two separate audio commentaries that audiences can enjoy.  Both commentaries add their own extra insight into everything that went into making the movie.  For example, audiences will be surprised to discover that Craig himself took part in the movie’s initial train scene as it went through a tunnel.  That wasn’t a stunt double.  That was really Daniel Craig.  How many stars today are so willing to do their own stunts next to one Jackie Chan.  The commentaries offer so much more that audiences will enjoy as they watch this new home release themselves.  Keeping all of this in mind, it goes without saying that just as this was one of the best movies of 2012 in theaters, it is now one of the best movies of 2013 in its home release.  It is available in stores and online now and can be ordered online direct via the Fox online store at http://www.foxconnect.com/skyfall-14987.html.

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Shout! Factory Gives Film Buffs Even More Laughs In New MST3K Set

 

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Thank goodness for Mystery Science Theater 3000 and thank goodness for Shout! Factory keeping this classic comic science fiction show alive on DVD.  This modern classic is one of the single greatest shows ever created for film lovers.  There was no other show like it during its time.  And there has been no show like it since.  On the surface, the very concept of a man and his robot friends watching a bunch of really bad B-movies sounds like something wouldn’t work.  But it did.  And it still does today.  Now, fans of MST3K have been rewarded once again for their loyalty with another new collection of so bad they’re good movies and great skits from an equally great modern classic TV show.   

Shout! Factory released the latest volume of this modern classic earlier this week.  Included in this brand new set are four more movies that are so god awful that they’re great.  Contradictory, no?  This four disc set is anchored by the absolutely campy sequel to Universal’s The Creature from the Black Lagoon in Revenge of the Creature and the equally campy Operation Double 007.  1955’s Revenge of the Creature sees the return of the famed creature.  This time out, the creature actually becomes a bit of a sympathetic character as it’s captured by scientists and taken to an aquarium in Florida to be studied.  Awakening in the aquarium and gawked at by hundreds of people, the creature (played here by Ricou Browning) becomes angered and tries to escape his tank.  This leads to more strict means to hold the creature, which only makes it angrier when it finally escapes.  And as was the case with classic monster flicks of that era, it went after the first young, attractive woman it saw as it wanted her for a mate.  The creature is of course stopped in the end and the damsel in distress saved.  While the film is absolutely campy, the very fact that it’s part of a franchise featuring one of Hollywood’s great movie monsters, having the opportunity to take in this flick will be appreciated by any true classic movie buff.  As an added bit of trivia, a young Clint Eastwood plays an uncredited role in this campy sci-fi classic.

Revenge of the Creature is a great addition to the new MST3K set from Shout! Factory.  It’s just one of the movies included that make the set great for anyone that wants to go back in time to just one era of Hollywood’s “Golden Age.”  Along with that flick, classic film buffs will also appreciate the even campier, Operation Double 007.  This largely forgotten flick from 1967 starred the younger brother of now retired actor Sean Connery, Neil.  Neil plays a plastic surgeon that is brought on board by the British government when his older brother (who just happens to be a secret agent) turns out to not be available to help them for a special mission.  Here’s where things get completely ridiculous.  The mission in question involves Neil stopping the evil crime syndicate Thanatos from using a giant magnetic wave device that will stop all metal machinery in the world.  Yes, it’s laughable.  But that’s what makes it so fun.  Of course, the action is just as campy, making it that much more fun and funny.  Think it can’t get any worse?  It can.  Not only is the plot and the action hilarious, but the scriptwriters didn’t even try to give Connery’s character a name.  He is actually called by his real name throughout the story.  There is even more that classic film buffs will love and laugh at throughout this movie proving why it’s one more that’s so bad that it’s great.  Thanks to being part of this new set, it’s one more movie that would be great for a classic camp movie marathon.  Of course, it’s just one more in this set.  Audiences will also love Robot Holocaust and Kitten with a Whip.  They finish out the four disc set that’s available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct at Shout! Factory’s online store, http://www.shoutfactorystore.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Skyfall Is Bond Done Right

Courtesy: MGM/Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures

There’s an old adage that states something to the effect of the third time is the charm.  That adage has never been truer than in the case of Daniel Craig’s take on the revered Bond franchise.  When Casino Royale first debuted, it was met with mixed reviews.  That is because it came across more as a movie that was struggling to deal with the expectations placed on it by critics and the public.  In trying so hard, it lost its identity, and became more of a melodrama than a classic Bond flick.  Then came Quantum of Solace.  The second of Craig’s Bond films wasn’t bad.  It was just misunderstood.  Its problem was that it was more a sequel to Casino Royale than its own standalone movie.  Enter Skyfall.  This is the Bond flick that fans have wanted from the very beginning.

Skyfall is the movie that long-time Bond fans have waited for since the release of Casino Royale.  This movie is a throwback to the glory days of James Bond in every sense of the word.  Right from the beginning of the movie, audiences are taken back in time with a classic Bond style opening credit sequence complete with musical number.  This time the opening musical number is provided courtesy of pop star Adele.  And go figure, she sings in the song’s chorus, “This is the end.”  For those who haven’t seen Skyfall yet, this single line is far more prophetic than anyone could realize until the story’s surprise ending.  In between the classic opening and the surprise ending, the rest of the movie is entirely classic style Bond, complete with a wild opening chase scene, and nonstop action throughout the story’s first two acts.  The story’s final act is the only downside to the entire presentation.  The buildup to the final confrontation between Bond and Silva drags on more than it really should have.  But the story’s surprise epilogue makes that slow boil forgivable.

The meat and potatoes of Skyfall is classic James Bond in every sense of the phrase. The action is much the same as old school Bond flicks.  And fans will thrill at the inclusion of a certain classic Bond car complete with ejector seat and guns in the headlights.  Yes, that car.  And then of course there is the classic Bond attitude on the part of Daniel Craig.  Rather than being the finely trained killer/agent with emotional baggage that audiences came to know from the franchise’s previous efforts, what audiences get here is a mix of Pierce Brosnan and Sean Connery and his own attitude, too complete with the occasional semi-cheesy one-liners.  Combined with the story’s non-stop action and the constant references to the Golden Days of Bond, Skyfall quickly becomes the first true definitive Bond film for this generation.  Keeping that in mind, it also has made its argument for consideration to be one of the year’s top movies.  With any luck, now that the people behind Skyfall have crafted a movie for ALL Bond fans, those same people will realize that “the end” is just the beginning for this Bond.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Modern Marvels Re-Issue Is Fun For Any Bond Buff

Courtesy: History Channel/A&E Entertainment

James Bond is returning to the big screen this Fall in the latest installment of the long running franchise.  Skyfall hits theaters November 9th.  In celebration and anticipation of the upcoming flick, History Channel and A&E Entertainment are re-releasing the 2007 special, “James Bond Gadgets.”  The newly re-issued DVD will be available September 18th

“James Bond Gadgets” takes viewers on a look at some of the most famous of the gadgets featured throughout the Bond franchise, proving just as with so much science fiction and fantasy that fact and fiction aren’t as far separated as some may think.  The special episode of the network’s show, “Modern Marvels” shows that many of the gadgets used in the Bond movies actually do work in real life, believe it or not.  It also shows that while some of Bond’s gadgets do actually work, some are still just science fiction.  That aside, it doesn’t tarnish the glimmer of the gadgets by any means.

 “James Bond Gadgets” opens with what is perhaps the greatest of all of the Bond gadgets.  It opens with a look at the Bell Rocket Belt used in the 1965 James Bond flick, Thunderball.  Audiences will learn in the special that believe it or not, the Bell Rocket Belt really does exist.  And it really does work, too.  The current owners of the rocket pack, Powerhouse Productions, Inc., put on a display for History Channel, showing that it still works to this day.

Another of the high flying gadgets used in the Bond franchise that really works is the “Little Nelly” autogyro.  This helicopter looking flying device was invented and flown by Ken Wallis.  Wallis actually flew the “Little Nelly” in the 1967 Bond flick, You Only Live Twice.  What’s even more amazing is that Wallis shows that the machine guns in the “Little Nelly” do indeed work.  Audiences will also learn in this segment that Wallis has built nineteen autogyros since 1961, only one of which apparently doesn’t work.  In the years since he built his first autogyro, Wallis has even been approached by British police and military to use his autogryos to help them.

Along with the Bell Rocket Belt and the augtogyro, audiences are treated to a demonstration of the Q-Boat and the cars that have been featured throughout the Bond franchise during their stay at the National Motor Museum in the United Kingdom.  The DVD also features a bonus segment featuring even more gadgets not included in the main segment as well as a bio on Bond author Ian Fleming.  Seeing all of these really amazing vehicles and gadgets is great for any James Bond fan.  But it’s not so much getting to see them actually put to use that makes “James Bond Gadgets” such fun to watch.  What makes the DVD so enjoyable is seeing them put to use in combination with the history behind each one.  Whether one is a movie buff, general James Bond fan or history lover, the stories behind the gadgets make seeing them come to life off the big screen that much more incredible.

Fans of the James Bond brand will get to check out this DVD next month.  It will be available Tuesday, September 18th.  It can be ordered online at http://shop.history.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/ 381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.