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Film Review: Skyfall
11/23/12 at 01:07 PM by Jonathan Bautts
Skyfall is not only the strongest installment in James Bond's storied 50-year history, it's also one of the finest films of 2012. I've been saying for years the best way to take a franchise to the next level is get Oscar-caliber talent involved, and Skyfall certainly fits that bill to a T. Sam Mendes, who burst onto the directing scene at the turn of the century with one of the most striking one-two punch debuts in cinema history, was a bold choice to helm a Bond film. He's never done an action picture before, and though there was some action stuff in Road To Perdition and Jarhead, none of it suggested he would be a good fit for a big-budget extravaganza. However, as someone to lead Bond further down the road Casino Royale started, which strived after a grounded and character-based tone, he was a logical continuation and one the franchise needed to take that next step.

Skyfall does deliver the action goods as well as any Bond adventure to come before it, so it hasn't gotten all artsy for those who may have been worrying. There's fun homages to the Bond of yesteryear, as well as characters such as Q and Moneypenny presented in new light for the first time in the Craig era. There's arguably one of the most memorable villains Bond has yet battled, brought to life with particular gusto and relish by the masterful Javier Bardem. Bardem makes such an impression from his introduction, an amazing static shot of him walking towards the camera delivering a monologue about cannibalistic rats, you're instantly in awe. He's almost like an exaggerated Julian Assange but combined with a helping of the Joker. In fact, it shares several interesting parallels with the Dark Knight, as both men are beaten down and battered, almost to the point of no return, before reaching down deep and pulling off a miraculous resurrection. If you want to dig deeper you can even read it as a kind of meta commentary on the Bond mythos itself, which finds itself now quite antiquated from the modern age.

Skyfall's biggest weapon isn't Bond, though, it's Roger Deakins, one of the greatest DPs on the planet. From beginning to end Skyfall sparkles and pops, especially in IMAX, and you won't see a more beautifully shot film this year. In particular, there's a sequence in Shangai set in a glass skyscraper that is absolutely gorgeous. The amount of time and care it took to set up shots and have it be an integral part of the storytelling is obvious, and it works wonders. I would also be remiss if I didn't mention Adele's theme song, one of the best in Bond's history, and Judi Dench, who delivers a phenomenal performance that takes M to places the character has never gone before.

Skyfall isn't perfect, but as a Bond film it's pretty dang close. Really, I only have a few slight story nitpicks here and there, nothing major, and it would have been nice to see the sex slave character fleshed out a bit more. I know a lot of people had issues with the ending, which slows things down for an old-school western style shootout, but I thought it worked fine and helped close things out on a more intimate level. Just as Casino Royale raised the bar on what a Bond film could be a handful of years ago, Mendes calls and raises it further with Skyfall, once again proving amazing things happen when you have A-grade talent both in front of and behind the camera, no matter the setting.
Tags: film review, skyfall
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Interview – Patrick Stump
08/16/11 at 06:24 PM by Jonathan Bautts
My interview with Patrick Stump can be found here. Stump opens up about his new solo career, the challenges of finding his own voice, being comfortable as a musician, and the past and future of Fall Out Boy.

"Career wise, [going solo] really was nothing to lose. There’s nothing worse that anyone could say about me as a performer, I’ve heard everything. There’s nothing worse anyone could assume about my motivations. I think it made the record a little bit more pop to me because I love pop music. I’m not scared of saying it anymore because I’ve already been called a sell out. I’ve already been called the worst things in the world. I don’t have guilty pleasures because I’m comfortable with who I am and I’m comfortable with where I am."
Tags: patrick stump, interview, odd soul, fall out boy
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Fall Movie Picks
08/14/10 at 11:54 PM by Jonathan Bautts
I just got done reading the new Entertainment Weekly and the fall release schedule is packed with sweet goodness. It should have little trouble making up for a pretty pathetic year thus far which included one of the worst summers in recent memory, despite the trifecta of awesomeness (Inception, Toy Story 3, Scott Pilgrim). Here's my top picks of what to watch out for:

The Contenders
127 Hours (Nov 5)
Black Swan (Dec 1)
Blue Valentine (Dec 31)
The Fighter (Dec 10)
HappyThankYouMorePlease (TBA)
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hollows (Nov 19)
The Social Network (Oct 1)
The Tree Of Life (TBA)
Tron: Legacy (Dec 17)
True Grit (Dec 25)

Middle Of The Pack
Biutiful (TBA)
Buried (Sept 24)
Catfish (Sept 17)
Due Date (Nov 5)
Hereafter (Oct 22)
Let Me In (Oct 1)
Never Let Me Go (Sept 15)
The Rum Diary (TBA)
Somewhere (Dec 22)
The Town (Sept 17)

Potential Sleepers
The American (Sept 1)
The Company Men (Oct 22)
The Debt (Dec 29)
Fair Game (Nov 5)
How Do You Know (Dec 17)
It's Kind Of A Funny Story (Sept 24)
Jack Goes Boating (Sept 17)
Machete (Sept 3)
Red (Oct 15)
Waiting For Superman (Sept 24)
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Sept 24)
Tags: Fall, Film, Movie, Preview, 2010
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Review – Bamboozle Left
04/12/09 at 09:50 PM by Jonathan Bautts
Check out my review of this year's Bamboozle Left festival: Day One & Day Two.
Tags: Bamboozle Left, Fall Out Boy, The Get Up Kids, Deftones, Taking Back Sunday, Thrice
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Interview – Fall Out Boy
03/23/09 at 02:18 AM by Jonathan Bautts
Check out my interview with Fall Out Boy at MammothPress.com. Guitarist Joe Trohman discusses touring experiences, the collaborative process behind Folie ŕ Deux and why being a polarizing band is a good thing.
Tags: Fall Out Boy, Folie a Deux, Joe Trohman, Interview
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Falling Slowly
02/27/08 at 04:16 PM by Jonathan Bautts
Even though the musical genre is by far my least favorite, last summer I was taken in by a little film called Once, which was the most “natural” musical I had ever seen and a far cry from the overblown productions of Broadway. Then at the Academy Awards on Sunday, one of the highlights was when Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová performed and then won the Oscar for their song “Falling Slowly,” making it my favorite song to win an Oscar. Irglová’s speech, which was made possible after host Jon Stewart brought her back on stage after she had gotten cut off by the orchestra, was the most touching moment of the night. If you haven’t seen the film or checked out the soundtrack, The Frames, or The Swell Season, you’re missing out on some really great music.

Falling Slowly

I don’t know you, but I want you
All the more for that
Words fall through me, and always fool me
And I can’t react
Games that never amount
To more than they’re meant
Will play themselves out

Take this sinking boat
And point it home
We’ve still got time
Raise your hopeful voice
You have a choice
You’ve made it now

Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can’t go back
Moods that take me, and erase me
And I’m painted black
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It’s time that you won

Take this sinking boat
And point it home
We’ve still got time
Raise your hopeful voice
You have a choice
You’ve made it now

Falling slowly
Sing your melody
I’ll sing it loud
Tags: Once, Falling Slowly, Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová, Swell Season, Frames, Lyrics
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