Written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, & John Logan
Directed by Sam Mendes

Tron, nooooooo!

The formula for a successful James Bond film is tricky. Too serious, too lighthearted, too romantic, too distant, too many people dressed as clowns: all problems the franchise has faced before.

Now we may have run into a new one: too artsy. Sam Mendes, the Academy Award winning director of American Beauty and a half dozen other explorations of the horror of American life, helms the latest Bond excursion, Skyfall. Getting the opportunity to play with a British icon, Mendes delves immediately into doing what he enjoys doing: peeling away the paint to find the rot underneath.

With the cliches of the franchise firmly in place, Mendes decides to throw the accumulated mess against each other and find where the pieces fall when push comes to shove.

Skyfall Daniel Craig James Jimmy Bond James “007” Bond (Daniel Craig) – Still smarting from all the other dumb crap he’s gone through in the last two films, Bond is brooding and upset. He also gets shot and presumed dead in the pre-title sequence, something that would put a damper on anyone’s mood.
Skyfall Judi Dench M (Dame Judy Dench) – The head of British Intelligence’s MI6, she’s getting up there in years, having advised James Bond way back in the day when he was still Pierce Brosnan. She’s a big focus of the plot this time around, as apparently the entire island of Britain has a good old case of the Oedipus complex when it comes to her.
Skyfall Q impish being creature thing Q (Ben Whishaw)– Impish little man with a foppish hairdo that puts Bond on trial for the crimes of humanity…I bet no one’s ever made that joke before! Anyway, this little twerp is Dr. Who, Jr. for the most part, except his extreme overconfidence gets the better of him more than a few times.
Skyfall Voldemort Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) – Yes, Voldemort is in this movie. This time he’s M’s superior, so we have someone threatening to take her badge away after one more reckless act. Layers upon layers.
Skyfall Two Bits Eve (Naomie Harris) – Another British spy who hangs out with James during some down time. Also knows the correct response to the ages old riddle of “Shave and a haircut.”
Skyfall Pain Fear You Know Not These Things Severine (Berenice Marlohe) – The villain’s sex slave girlfriend, with all the joy and fun that that entails.
Diego Silva (Javier Bardem) – One of the greatest computer hackers the world has apparently ever known, he also has questionable fashion taste and social skills. Completely different than me, I assure you. Well, at least the hacker part.

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Review)

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Written by Ol Parker (screenplay) and Deborah Moggach (novel “These Foolish Things”)
Directed by John Madden

In the West, our society doesn’t have the best track record in taking care of the elderly. In fact, it’s pretty awful in America to be old, with our bizarre obsession with the worship of youth. People spend billions trying to look younger, and old people are shuttered away in homes and retirement communities, ignored by their kids. Old people are written off as crabby grumps, except for the occasional “rockin’ grandma” stereotype. Quite frankly, it sucks. So when The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel started appearing on the trailer radar, you can imagine how quickly the youth of today ignored it and went back to Facebook on their smartphones. Which is a shame, because The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a great film. It is uplifting and inspiring, a film that will make you feel good.

Once The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel began, we were in for a treat. A story that deals with the plight of older retirees, for whom the cards didn’t fall just right and through various financial, medical, or personal reasons have decided to spend their twilight years in India at a hotel designed to cater to their needs. (To outsource their retirement, as the hotel owner states!)

Once again, TarsTarkas.NET has sold out and attended another advanced screening for free, because we have the golden touch of acquiring free tickets from gullible studios! Take that, big money! Tracking down free screenings is becoming my favorite game, though the princess might be in another castle, I can often find tickets lying around her empty room…

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel features a wide array of awesome British actors and actresses, who I have seen in more movies than I can count over the years (I was going to count, and then lost count and gave up!) Instead of a paragraph explaining everyone, I’ll do it in Roll Call form, because that’s what makes TarsTarkas.NET feel like TarsTarkas.NET!

Evelyn (Judi Dench) – A widowed housewife, who let her husband take care of the financials and never asked questions. Thus she’s forced to sell her house to pay off his debts and move to India to retire, and to finally have an adventure. Her blog on her time at the hotel serves as narration and reflection.
Muriel (Maggie Smith) – A former nanny with a bad hip and a bad attitude to those of darker skin. But the only way to get her hip replaced quickly is through a hospital in India, thus her journey to the hotel and the Indian experience. She spent her whole life caring for another family that she didn’t bother with one for herself.
Graham (Tom Wilkinson) – A judge who finally retires after threatening to do so for many years. Graham grew up in India and returns to find the boy he grew up with and loved, only to cause drama among their families when they were discovered and Graham was sent back to the UK.
Douglas (Bill Nighy) – Douglas has been married to his wife Jean (Penelope Wilton) for 39 years, but their retirement is gone thanks to an investment in their daughter’s company that didn’t pan out, and their future seems bleak in an awful retirement community, until they decide to take a chance on the Marigold Hotel. Douglas loves India and grows beyond his useless henpecked self thanks to the country.
Sonny (Dev Patel) – Owner of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel that he inherited from his father, the prior operator. Has big plans for the facility, but is stymied by lack of funds and lack of his mother’s enthusiasm of both his dreams for the hotel and the woman he wants to marry, a telemarketer named Sunaina (Tena Desae)

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