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Now Conspiring — Which Movie Criticisms Annoy You the Most?

spectre review

This week on the podcast, we talk about the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer and a ton of other entertainment news ripe for speculation. We review SpectreThe Peanuts Movie, and Room as well with a special guest appearance.

I’m joined on the show by digital illustrator, Kayla Savage; nostalgia expert, Adonis Gonzalez; and YouTube sensation, Maria Cineclub Garcia.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Which movie criticisms annoy you the most? It’s time to unleash your disdain for select film critics. Other question of the week: what do you think of Now Conspiring?

Go on…Now Conspiring — Which Movie Criticisms Annoy You the Most?

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‘Spectre’ Review: It Might Be Time For Another Reboot

SPECTRE review

Spectre is the latest addition to the decade-spanning James Bond franchise. It was directed by Sam Mendes and written by John Logan, Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade.

For the fourth time, Daniel Craig reprises his role as the globe-trotting spy (well, assassin at this point) in yet another mission where he takes on a shadowy organization tied to the last three films and picks up a loosely related Bond girl in the process.

In Skyfall, we finally watched Bond’s full transformation into the suave 007 being built up since Casino Royale (still the best James Bond movie in decades). That’s why I find it strange that Mendes was chosen to direct the followup, considering the fact that Spectre should (by its franchise’s standards) be an evolution.

But Spectre is really just a very small step sideways. Granted, it’s beautiful and well-acted thanks to Mendes’s distinct, signature vision for these “origin” movies. And to the film’s credit, it merges much of what we know and love from the Connery films with this new iteration, effectively closing the loop on Craig’s story. The only problem is that this is executed to feel more like a needless homage, instead of a revival.

SPECTRE review

Perhaps Martin Campbell should have returned to direct, but he’s probably on retainer for the next actor’s take on the franchise. Though Mendes delivers much of what we want from Skyfall, his writers give us what amounts to a boring, overwritten script that could have used another rewrite.

Still, there are memorable set pieces throughout, including a long take early in the film that deserves to be seen on the big screen. The action scenes and editing are just as good as they were in Skyfall, and we have the best Bond girl since Vesper with Madeleine (Léa Seydoux), though her character somewhat falters throughout the last act.

So elements of Spectre work well, including the quips, choice of locations, and Craig’s performance. Like Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, our side characters, including Ben Wishaw’s Q, have more to do than ever, and it helps the film tremendously.

If you’re already invested in the James Bond universe, you’ll probably have a good time with Spectre. But the film doesn’t come together as well you’d expect, especially with Christoph Waltz’s Franz Oberhauser ultimately being relegated to a minor role for most of the film (similar to how Dr. No was structured).

SPECTRE review

Grade: B

Overall, Spectre is a good James Bond movie (and much better than Quantum of Solace). But its script and uneven story hold it back from being a good movie on its own.

For a more in-depth look at Spectre, come back this Sunday for the Now Conspiring podcast, where we’ll discuss this and other new releases.

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Now Conspiring: Best James Bond Movie, Suicide Squad & Deadpool News

james bond suicide squad deadpool

This week on the Now Conspiring podcast, Maria and I debate all things James Bond in light of the Bond 24 announcement. Which James Bond/James Bond movie is the best? We want to know your thoughts too!

We also discuss TONS of Marvel and D.C. news that flooded the Interwebs this week, including Suicide Squad casting and the official news coming out of the upcoming Deadpool movie. And as always, we list the new movies coming out next week that you don’t want to miss.

Enjoy the show!

To stay updated on our weekly episodes, subscribe to Now Conspiring on iTunes.

Why is the New James Bond Movie Called ‘Spectre?’

spectre james bond

Ross Miller | The Verge:

This morning, director Sam Mendes announced the official name for the 24th Bond film (Spectre), the official Bond car (Aston Martin DB10), and key cast members. Five newcomers (Andrew Scott, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, and Monica Bellucci) will be joining the group established in 2012’s Skyfall: Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, and of course Daniel Craig himself as James Bond. 

Spectre begins filming tomorrow and is set for release November 6th, 2015.

I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite James Bond movie in Hollywood (sorry, I had to do that).

In order, that’s Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and…Spectre. Anyone else feel like the title is lacking something?

Though to be fair, this movie won’t be lacking talent. Along with the stellar cast listed above, Spectre is thankfully gifted with the same writing and cinematography team as Skyfall.

As for the title, a rumored plot synopsis is that “Spectre” is the name of a new crime organization that Bond has to take down. So I guess we shouldn’t expect it to be tied to a third act revelation the same way Skyfall was. And that’s probably a good thing.

The Next James Bond Movie and Casting Will be Announced Thursday

james bond

Nancy Tartaglione | Deadline

It’s not exactly a speedboat on the Thames, but Thursday’s Bond 24 event is sure to kick up a raft of global excitement. That’s when the moniker for the latest 007 yarn will be unveiled at Pinewood Studios. The event will be streamed at 007.com, and we’ll carry the live video here at Deadline that morning. Also to be divulged is the full cast of actors who will alternately cozy up to or try to kill Daniel Craig’s superspy. Expected to return are Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Whishaw as Q and Naomie Harris as Miss Moneypenny. I’ve also heard that Monica Bellucci may be in the mix.

Of course, Sam Mendes will be directing again, which shouldn’t surprise anyone after the monumental success of Skyfall. That said, it’s hard to guess what’s in store for the franchise going forward.

Let’s just hope it’s not another remake.

What I Learned About Writing From Ian Flemming

Image Courtesy of theparisreview.org

Ian Flemming created one of the most iconic figures of modern times. James Bond. He wrote the original novels that would someday become immortalized in one of film’s biggest, and greatest achievements: the first real franchise for movies.

I recently watched a documentary about the James Bond franchise, called Everything Or Nothing. It’s the full story of how James Bond came to be, both in print and on film, leading up to the release of the latest Bond film, Skyfall. The documentary was definitely fascinating for a Bond fan like me, and you can catch the whole thing on Netflix.

One of the biggest takeaways I took from the documentary was how Ian Flemming became a literary success. He came into writing as the Cold War began, and he went into writing almost like it was his life’s mission to translate his experiences and imagination into a book. The character of James Bond is really what Ian envisioned himself to be, which is why the lore would become such a staple. James Bond represents pure escapism.

When he first wrote the books, he would write over 2,000 words a day, everyday. He would write in very short sentences, the documentary explains, in order to capture the characterization of James Bond. What immediately comes to mind is how this has carried on in every James Bond movie (well maybe not the Timothy Dalton ones), where the titular character responds in short, clever responses to what happens around him.

I obsess over making sure my sentences count, and I prefer to keep them as prolonged as I can without disrupting the flow of what I’m trying to say. With Flemming, we have a writer who understood that this doesn’t always work for characterization.

When crafting dialogue, which is something I’m poor at, it is essential to say as much as you can in very few words. This is a lot like copywriting, but with a twist: the character you’re reflecting has to be believable. This isn’t always the case with advertising, since their time on screen is short. The dialogue of a character in a story, however, has to have a consistent and precise personality.

We see this in James Bond, for sure, especially since Flemming put so much of his own personality into the character. That makes crafting other characters a huge difficulty when writing, which is a main reason why most people are not that great at it. Empathy, understanding, and world-building are key in writing.

There is one more thing I took away from Flemming’s success. When he first wrote the James Bond novels, he made them exactly the way he wanted to. He used themes that would not go over very well with many people, such as the use of womanizing, overt sexual themes, and even sadism. The result was initial backlash.

It would have been easy for Flemming to give up at that point and conform his style of writing in order to please the masses and find success. How many of us have been faced with that decision? Instead, Flemming wrote what he wanted to write, and the ultimate result was that he was a pioneer. His work became legendary because it was something no one had done before.

The whole story of how James Bond became immortalized in film is full of huge risks and gambles, hence the title of the documentary, Everything or Nothing. I highly encourage anyone to see it, whether they be a Bond fan or just a lover of rags to riches stories.

Regardless, I will be sure to write according to these principles inspired upon me from one of the most underrated  writers in his time: Write what you want to write about. Take risks. Put yourself into your work. Make it count.

Of course, putting yourself into your work may not be a great idea if you’re not that interesting. Mean?

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

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