• It's a new day at Condé Nast. The mag giant's chief exec, Chuck Townsend, has gone from firing staffers to giving them motivational speeches. [NYO]
• In Touch's editor quit yesterday, reportedly because he wasn't happy that his bosses wouldn't agree to increase his $750,000-a-year salary. [NYP]
• Is MSNBC's Ed Schultz thinking about running for Senate? [HP, The Hill]
• A draft of the script for the third Twilight film has been leaked online. [WSJ]
• Fox's latest reality show, Our Little Genius, is stirring up controversy. [NYT]
• It looks like Sam Mendes will be directing the next James Bond movie. [MTV]
• Advertising: Hanes is pulling its TV ads featuring Charlie Sheen. [People]
• Taylor Swift's "Fearless" was the No. 1 selling album of 2008. In other Taylor-related news, Taylor Lautner is now the highest paid teenager in Hollywood.
• "Newspaper reporter" is officially one of the worst jobs in America. [HP]
Now that the Communist Party has gone after Bond girl Olga Kurylenko for becoming "movie kept girl of capitalist super stud," the actress has been freed to divulge all about her humble, Socialist upbringing. Just how humble was it? Well, as Kurylenko tells Jimmy Kimmel, she was kept locked in a fridge until she reached maturity (in Soviet Russia, you see, fridge owns you).Then, when pressed by Kimmel about injuries suffered while making the film, Kurylenko one-upped her co-star Gemma Arterton by claiming she lost not just a superfluous sixth finger but a third arm as well! Hmmm, a third arm... there's gotta be a 007 sexual innuendo in there somewhere...
Welcome back to Defamer Attractions, your weekly guide to everything new, noteworthy and cash-hoarding at the movies. That latter qualifier is the centerpiece of today's new openings, with the 007 franchise facing virtually no competition outside a few escaped zoo animals from last week. But you still have options, including some critics' choice for this year's best picture and the usual harvest of fresh DVD's. As always, our opinions are our own, but their hauling power is unmatched and they seat millions comfortably. Take a test drive after the jump?WHAT'S NEW: Quantum of Solace has the wide-release slot to itself, where Daniel Craig's brooding Bond will likely crest above $60 million — by far the highest opening gross of any 007 film to date. We'll call it for $63.7 million despite some pull from leftovers Madagascar 2 and Role Models, themselves expecting $40 million and $10 million respectively in their second weekends. Your options are a lot better when avoiding the multiplex in LA: Jean-Claude Van Damme's meta-self-biopic JCVD is opening, along with the almost universally acclaimed Catherine Deneuve/Mathieu Amalric dramedy A Christmas Tale. Also: The Alphabet Killers, featuring Eliza Dushku as a police detective (!); the explicit gay Israeli romantic comedy Antarctica; the talky Afghanistan war indie B.O.H.I.C.A. (Army slang for "Bend Over Here it Comes Again"); the Liberian repression doc Pray the Devil Back to Hell; the Jewish basketball chronicle The First Basket; and a new adaptation of Dalton Trumbo's novel Johnny Got His Gun. THE BIG LOSER: Aside from the glut of indies above, chasing scraps from art-house audiences on their way to DVD — and Soul Men continuing to underperform with $2.2 million or so — today's slate seems to be pretty insulated from disaster. Everyone wins!
License to Kill? Yet another delicious dish to add to the all-you-can-eat James Bond Minutiae Buffet: 5 Bond Girls Who Died After Wearing A Bikini. "[O]ut of 11 Bond girls who had 'bikini moments,'" we've learned, "five died before the end of the film. That’s 45 percent, making the wearing of a two-piece bathing suit in the company of James Bond just about the most dangerous activity a woman could engage in anywhere on the planet at any time in history." Not so fast! They could always work with Alan Ball. [Spout Blog]
Quantum of Solace opens tomorrow, and will likely draw out every stripe of James Bond fan. (Except the George Lazenby contingent, who all these years later still feel the On Her Majesty's Secret Service and The Kentucky Fried Movie star was wrongly stripped of his double-o status.) But as audiences thrill to the secret agent's adventures battling the nefarious Dr. Heinrick Discord and his plans to detonate the planet using a sympathy-powered nuclear device, some of the touchstones of the Bond brand—the gadgets, the martinis, and, most of all, the cringe-worthy double-entendres—will be nowhere on display.Ex-Bond Roger Moore has recently voiced his disappointment over the character's devolution into a monosyllabic id, lumbering around hotel lobbies and breaking necks in skimpy gay swimwear. "My Bond," he said wistfully, "was a lover and a giggler." Yes, we remember him well—so it's in his honor that we dedicate the above montage we call Five Decades of James Bond Sex Puns. We hope it Moonrakes your Octopussies off. (Thanks to Nick McGlynn for putting this together, and Maxim for finding the clips.)
The new lean, mean, blue-eyed killin' machine James Bond movie Quantum of Solace comes out on Friday! It's exciting, I guess, because 2006's Casino Royale franchise reboot was good and whatnot, but judging from early clips and reviews we've eyeballed, there's something missing. It's that spark, that joie de vivre, that sense of humor that colored the older films. We're talking, of course, about the sex puns. There may have been one or two in Royale, but they weren't nearly as good as the creaky old ones about something suddenly "coming up," or the more recent delightful Pierce Brosnan clunker "I thought Christmas only comes once a year," which he said while boning a lady named Christmas Jones. Terrific. Luckily for us, Maxim (natch) has put together a list of the punny best, and our video wunderkind Nick McGlynn smushed them all together into one handy video. Click above to enjoy it. (Was that a sex pun?)
"The dollar isn't doing so well," says a general who demands to be paid in euros near the end of the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace. The violent follow-up to Casino Royale is the first action film of the recession, and one of the film's shadowy villains is America, whose place in the film is corrupt enabler at best, and malevolent evil at worst. The fast and fabulous Solace has already satisfied audiences overseas, but with its North American premiere this Friday, we're about to find out if audiences here are ready to root against America.In Marc Forster's follow-up to Casino Royale (the new film picks up an hour after the first one ended), death is given no particular extravagance - from when you wake up, wherever you wake up, it's a straight line to the grave, and Bond leaves them where they die in his arms. The muscled bullet of a secret agent tracks the movements of the shadowy Quantum organization, with help and harm from his American friends along the way.
Now that Daniel Craig's second turn as James Bond has been threatened by critics, the Communist party, and a diaper-craving Paul Haggis, it almost seems unfair to keep piling on. However, nobody's told 81-year-old Roger Moore to hold his tongue, and the former 007 (perhaps peeved that his general standing as "second-best Bond" is in danger of being usurped by Craig) has weighed in with his thoughts on the franchise's direction to Britain's Daily Mail:
As exit strategies go, Daniel Craig's long view on stepping away from James Bond is the most progressive we've encountered in some time: At a Quantum of Solace press conference last week in Rome, Craig suggested that Barack Obama's election win had perhaps laid the groundwork for a black 007. Admittedly, we hadn't yet considered the "action-movie franchise" component of Obama's social influence, but at least one critic opened the discussion online — and this only days after Beyoncé Knowles made a public appeal for the role of Wonder Woman in the long-delayed (and presumed dead) comic-book adaptation. And so begins America's next essential civil rights debate: Have our blockbuster heroes moved beyond race?Clearly it depends on whom you ask. By at least one person's standards Batman is already Turkish, and Hancock recently depicted cinema's first drunk, misanthropic superhero as a black dude living on the streets. Global audiences threw $624 million at Will Smith in the latter film, and according to Craig, may be color-blind enough to greet a black Bond with similar largesse:
Though Casino Royale provided the James Bond franchise with a rebooted reservoir of goodwill, director Marc Forster says that the follow-up, Quantum of Solace, almost took things in a perilous, Mutt Williams-ish direction. Speaking to New York, Forster detailed how Bond producers clashed with screenwriter Paul Haggis when the Crash scripter wanted to add one considerably more kindergarten-friendly element to the film:
The early returns on the new Bond flick Quantum of Solace before its Nov. 14 release date have been mixed, with critics describing, for better or worse, a movie that consists entirely of a never-ending sequence of exciting violence in the air, land and sea. While Daniel Craig's debut as the British agent in Casino Royale was well-regarded, the agent is now more than a musculed projectile hurting forwards through different exotic locales than a crafty secret agent. In the pages of Playboy, Craig speculates on Bond's development into an inhuman automaton.Like most people, we have fond memories of the old James Bond. This Bond is not your mother's Bond, however, and he's probably not even your slightly older sister's Bond. Critics have described the new Bond as a more built Jason Bourne, and while that's not going to hurt box office, it certainly constitutes a different bond than the suave, charming Sean Connery and Roger Moore. From Daniel Craig's interview in this month's Playboy we learn the blame for the new, silent Bond falls on another powerful secret agent. When Craig is asked why Ian Fleming's hilarious double entendres have disappeared, he names the villain:
The typical formula of two pliant Bond girls per movie tends to serve the 007 franchise well, as in Casino Royale, where Daniel Craig's first at-bat was supported by striking work from Eva Green and that other one. For the new Quantum of Solace, though, things seem to have gone haywire — almost as though it were planned by some shadowy, nefarious league pulling the strings of Her Majesty's empire! First, Bond girl Gemma Arterton unnerved fans with the bizarre revelation that she was born with six fingers, and now female lead Olga Kurylenko is... well, we'll let the Communist Party give you the details:
The first reviews of Quantum of Solace are in, a mixed lot providing a mostly underwhelmed response to a shorter (in running time, not baby-blue-mankini hemlines) Bond film. Bottom line: Solace is packed with brooding, Bournesian action, but lacking in all those touches that—you know—leave an audience more stirred than shaken. What all manage to agree upon is the effectiveness of Daniel Craig in the lead, as well as the excellent performance delivered by Gemma Arterton, an actress who sinks all dozen of her claws into a small but pivotal role. Here's a sampling of what critics are saying:· "It's James Bond, licence to bore....Bond is a boorish oaf who simply rushes from country to country with the manic speed of Jason Bourne, including sequences shot in Panama, Chile, Italy, Mexico and Austria, in a plot about holding a country to ransom over its water supply...Quantum of Solace lacks any wit, ironic or otherwise, which has been a strength of so many 007 films...At around one hour 40 minutes, this Bond is shorter than most. Somehow it felt longer." [Times Online] · "Quantum Of Solace doesn’t seem like a major entry in the Bond canon. Well under two hours long, it’s shorter and more frenetic than most of its predecessors, and an often-jolting experience to watch. Loose ends about. What it does have, though, above all, is vigour." [The Independent] · "I was disappointed there was so little dialogue, flirtation and characterisation in this Bond: Forster and his writers Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade clearly thought this sort of sissy nonsense has to be cut out in favour of explosions." [The Guardian] · "One wonders if director Marc Forster and screenwriters Paul Haggis and Neal Purvis haven't tried a little too hard to distance the film from traditional Bond plots. The expository dialogue scenes can be dull, and cram in so many machinations and double-crossings that it's easy to lose track of who's duping whom." [Telegraph] · [SPOILERS] "Mostly it doesn't feel like a Bond film at all. Not once does Craig say: "The name's Bond. James Bond." There's no Q or his gadgets. Heck, we even see Bond in a cardigan. There are no risque quips or arched eyebrows. This Bond is a soul in torment having lost the love of his life when Vesper Lynd drowned...It doesn't disappoint - just don't expect the brilliance of Casino Royale. [Daily Mail] · "The raw nature of the film may put off some who yearn for the days of gizmos, gadgets and Bond quips as he dispenses with faceless opponents...It's a film that feels like the second part of a trilogy, with this being the bleaker second act." [BBC]
After the rapturous reception afforded the Daniel Craig-toplined Casino Royale, it seemed like the James Bond franchise could do no wrong as it headed into its next installment. Then, the problems began to pile up for 007's 22nd adventure: a lopped-off fingertip for Craig, stuntmen badly hurt, and a theme song tangle with Amy Winehouse that forced producers to settle for a middling Alicia Keys/Jack White duet. Through it all, though, one decision stood head and shoulders above the rest for its sheer confoundingness: the decision to title the film Quantum of Solace. Now, in an interview with GQ, Craig reveals that the head-scratching moniker was essentially his idea: