Saturday, November 15, 2008

Quantum of Solace - Sydney Premiere

As dark storm clouds loom and the heavens open, nothing can dampen the spirits of the hundreds of Bond fans gathered at the Hoyts cinema deep in the heart of Sydney’s Entertainment Quarter. The city is awash with Hollywood talent this week, Ben Stiller and Chris Rock are attending the premiere of Madagascar 2 and Aussie royalty Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman will be strutting their stuff down the red carpet for the world premiere of Baz Luhrmann’s long awaited Australia but for those in the know, all eyes are on the world’s most famous spy and the Australian premiere of Quantum of Solace. The soggy contingent were not disappointed as Daniel Craig, new Bond girl Olga Kurylenko, director Marc Forster and producer Barbara Broccoli posed for photos, pressed flesh, and in Craig’s case signed body parts. If there was any uncertainty that Craig had what it takes to follow Bond’s previous incarnations there is no doubt now judging by the response he was given by his shaken and most definitely stirred fans. I was lucky enough to have a position in the press pit to witness the event and have a chat with some of the stars.

"This was a Bond for our times but I was inspired by those early Bonds,” explains director Forster as he talks about working on the film. “I did a lot of pre production to create the Bond film that I always wanted to see. We took some key moments from the early Bond films and paid homage to them or what I loved about the early Bond films and then added my vision of how I thought the Bond franchise should go forward in the future.” Not that it was only the early Bond films that influenced the helmsman, “I love action movies from the Seventies and the conspiracy thrillers of the Sixties. I also think James Cameron created some great action moments especially in Alien and The Terminator.” At first glance at Forster’s resume, Monster’s Ball and The Kite Runner, he doesn’t look like an obvious choice for a Bond film director, “It’s been an interesting journey. I like switching genres, I wouldn’t like to do these big films all of the time,” although he is rumoured to be taking the directorial reigns on the forthcoming Brad Pitt produced World War Z, “I approached the Bond film more like a character study than anything else. It was all about Daniel and Bond and his character so I tried to approach the big films in almost the same way.” You can certainly begin to see why Broccoli picked Forster to inject new blood to constantly challenge the series and keep every new film fresh. “I treated it more like an independent film, in a sense that I had to work with the Bond framework but still create my own vision which was very important to me.”

“Bond is a sexy man” purrs actress Olga Kurylenko “who has success with women.” Not that her character, Camille, succumbs to the charms of young blue eyes. This isn’t your typical Bond girl. “Well she’s a very different Bond girl. She’s very independent from Bond, she doesn’t really need him. She also not a perfect person, she’s not just a beautiful doll, she’s a real woman. It’s not about the beauty, its not about getting Bond into her bed, I think she is much more real, she’s has her own story.” Camille may seem to have a love hate relationship with Bond but Kurylenko has nothing but praise for her co star, “It was great, he was amazing, he works so hard. He really inspires you. It was a great lesson to watch him in the role of Bond.”

Finally we meet Bond himself and first thoughts are about living up to the Bond legend. This is his second Bond. After the pressures of following Monsieurs Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton and Brosnan… with Casino Royale, how does Craig think Quantum of Solace will go down with audiences? “Well time will tell won’t it?” he grins, “We’re doing well at the moment. I’m very happy with the movie. Mark Forster has crafted a beautiful film so we’ll see, that’s a question for audiences to answer, that’s not my job.” Now with Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace under his belt, "It is very rare to make a movie of this size. It was the chance to be at the top of my game," what does Craig want to bring to melting pot to make his Bond different? “It’s not that I want to make him deeply emotional. It’s just I think it is interesting to find out who he is and what he’s about. I feel it’s much more entertaining, as a movie goer, that’s what I would want to see.” Rest assured that despite this talk of emotional torment, all of the usual Bond trappings are present and correct. When asked Is there any romance left in Bond Craig gives a hint of his devilish grin, “yes,” he says with a glint in his dazzling blue eyes, “of course there is.”

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sex Drive on the radio

It's that time of the week again. At 18:00 tonight I'll be producing Cinemascape on Eastside 89.7 FM. This week the show includes reviews of The Wackness featuring another fabulous performance from Ben Kingsley and veteran French director Claude La Louche's new film Roman de Gare. I'll be reviewing the US teen comedy Sex Drive starring Josh Zuckerman and Amanda Crew and deciding whether the film will become the new American Pie for the Facebook generation. Tune in tonight to find out!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Watchmen in Sydney

Last week proved to be a busy one; the day after my Dying Breed interviews I attended an exclusive preview of 25 minutes of Watchmen introduced by director Zack Snyder. Even after his sterling efforts on the Dawn of the Dead and 300 there has been much consternation amongst the comic book crowd over his placement as helmsman on arguably the most long awaited comic book adaptation of them all, Alan Moore’s Watchmen.

Well he proved to be both the perfect host, and on the strength of the footage we were shown, the perfect choice of director. The attention to detail is breathtaking and the comic book aesthetic created by Moore and artist David Gibbons has been painstakingly recreated, even in the unfinished state we witnessed. He waxed lyrical about each clip he showed us, setting up its position in the film. He even took time out to answer all of the audience’s questions. We started, funnily enough, at the beginning with the first 10 minutes of the film including the extraordinary opening credits showing the superheroes lives through an alternative history that shows the likes of JFK, Andy Warhol, David Bowie and The Village People brushing shoulders with our caped heroes to the dulcet tones of Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are a-Changin. We were also taken on a trip to Mars and witnessed a prison break out. If they are not already; Dr Manhattan, The Comedian, Night-Owl, Ozymandias and Rorschach will be household names come March 2009.

When questioned how the film would sell to the non comic book fanatics out there, he even managed a dig at the Hollywood studios. “Well, Iron Man, Batman and Superman had man in the title which is cool and we do too, sort of,” he laughed, “so we’re gonna go with that for one thing, people are gonna go, ‘Boom, look at that!!!’” he exclaims, “Men…..we should go see that!”

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Dying Breed interviews

Last week I was lucky enough to interview Leigh Whannell (Saw) and Nathan Philips (Wolf Creek) about their work in the new Australian horror film Dying Breed. Already in hot water over the film’s promotional poster; Dying Breed has caused quite a stir with its fusion of the Alexander “The Pieman” Pearce legend, the tried and trusted clich├ęs of life in rural Tasmania and bloody cannabalistic grue. The actors obviously enjoyed coming back down under to make a good, old-fashioned gory thriller. Keep posted for news of the interviews publication in Shivers magazine.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hunger on Cinemascape

Tune in to Eastside 89.7 FM at 6pm tonight if you are in Sydney to hear me appear on the Cinemascape show. This week I'll be reviewing Steve McQueen's harrowing Hunger; the story of hunger striker Bobby Sands and his life incarcerated in the 'H' Block of the Maze Prison in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The film is a stunning piece of work; emotionally draining, beautifully shot, defiantly political and fantastically played by all of the cast, in particular Michael Fassbinder as Sands. McQueen has taken his back ground in art and used his visual aesthetic to create one of the finest examples of cinema in recent years. A masterpiece and a must see. Listen in to hear my full review.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Rocknrolla on Air!

Anyone in the Sydney area who tuned into Eastside 89.7 FM last Friday at 6pm would have heard me produce the Cinemascape show. I reviewed Guy Ritchie's Rocknrolla and the program also featured discussion on Choke starring Sam Rockwell and Mirrors, the new horror film by Alexandre Aja starring Kiefer Sutherland.