8 items from 2012
Directed by Terrence Stamp
50 years later, and with twenty three “official” entries, From Russia With Love represents the very best of the Bond franchise. Skyfall is the closest to be considered, at best – almost equal to what was achieved in ’64 – but From Russia With Love is still unparalleled. Although it is the second in the series, and although it feels like no Bond film that followed, it is the film that solidifies all the Bond elements into a formula – a template that carries on, even today.
Spectre’s Persian-stroking nemesis/mastermind Ernest Blofeld makes his first appearance (even if he’s not referred to by that name), and so does Desmond Llewelyn’s gadget-friendly Q (starting a run that continued until his death in 1999). Screenwriters Richard Maibaum and Johanna Harwood return as does director and editor Terence Young and Peter Hunt. »
Silver screen icon Bette Davis is generally credited with this adage, “Old age isn’t for sissies.”. This is well illustrated in the Spanish feature-length animated film Wrinkles based on Paco Roica’s award-winning graphic novel. The prime focus of this tale is Emilio, an elderly widower (and former bank manager) residing with his son’s family until he becomes too difficult (tossing his soup seems to be their breaking point). The son and his wife drop him off to live in a cold, sparsely furnished old age home. There the stiff, buttoned-down Emilio is assigned to share a room with the gregarious conman Miguel (“I’ll take care of that for ten Euros!’). As they tour the facility, the men walk near the stairwell and hear the howls emanating from the dreaded second floor. Miguel explains that this is where those with extreme dementia and Alzheimer’s’ Disease reside. »
- Jim Batts
Heston Blumenthal's super-sized breakfast left me feeling empty
On an industrial estate outside Maidenhead, Heston Blumenthal has a laboratory that doubles as a kitchen in which he spends months on end developing new dishes. Now could be the moment to give a small cupboard of that space to his image and media development team. Heston may be one of the world's most creative and groundbreaking chefs, but in television terms he hit a standstill long ago because he has become a flatscreen one-trick wonder: someone who shouts: "Look at me" as he disguises one food to look like another. Even if you had the £100,000 kitchen to attempt one of his recipes, why on earth would you want to?
In his latest outing, Heston's Fantastical Food (Channel 4) – programme development time: three nano-seconds – his glasses appear even bigger than usual. So naturally he's now experimenting with super-sized cooking to make giant versions of everyday meals, »
- Dara O Briain, John Crace
Vivienne Michel is perhaps the least well-known of the women for whom Ian Fleming arranged assignations with James Bond, and yet none of her more celebrated sisters, from Vesper Lynd through Tatiana Romanova and Pussy Galore to the Countess Teresa di Vicenzo, succeeded in engaging the author's interest to the same extent. To her alone is accorded the honour of a Bond book written entirely in her voice, with 007 making a late appearance in a supporting role. And although, unlike some of the others, she survived to tell the tale, she was destined to suffer a different kind of literary death.
Few novelists in Fleming's position, riding the public's voracious appetite for the adventures of a fictional hero, »
- Richard Williams
'A highly immoral film in every imaginable way but it sure is fun' ... As Bond celebrates 50 years on the big screen, we dig out Richard Roud's review from 1963
Is it as good as Dr No? Is it better? These are the only questions a critic has to answer about From Russia with Love (Odeon, Leicester Square) but I'm afraid that I can't answer them. Dr No was such a lot of fun that it set me on to reading Ian Fleming, and so I came to From Russia with Love with a lot of preconceived ideas. Which is not to say that I was disappointed by the second film, but it didn't seem quite so lively, quite so fresh, or quite so rhythmically fast-moving.
But the second film is almost as good as Dr No. There aren't so many juicy girls; but, then, there is Lotte Lenya. As Doktor Rosa Klebb, »
(L-r) Director Sam Mendes, Daniel Craig and Producer Barbara Broccoli attend a photo conference to mark the filming of Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond adventure, in Istanbul, Turkey. It is the 3rd time in the 50 year history of the film franchise that the city has served as a backdrop. The photo call took place at the Ciragan Palace Kempinski Hotel on Sunday, April 29, 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Daniel Craig and cast and filmmakers of Skyfall, the 23rd adventure in the longest-running film franchise of all time, have arrived in Istanbul, Turkey. Their arrival marks the third time a James Bond adventure has filmed in the historic city. Previously, Istanbul served as a backdrop for scenes in From Russia With Love and The World Is Not Enough.
- Michelle McCue
Directed by Sam Mendes with a cast that includes Judi Dench, Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes, Skyfall features a smorgasbord of respected Oscar talent. It even has the legendary Coen Brothers regular Roger Deakins on cinematography duties, making it clear that this isn’t just any run of the mill Bond film. But while excitement is high for Bond’s 23rd outing on the big screen, the secret agent also has to compete with the London Olympics and the Queens Golden Jubilee for the world’s attention.
- Stephen Leigh
Natalie Haynes's guide to TV detectives: #1 – Columbo
For longevity alone, David Suchet's Poirot is right up there. The first episode was broadcast in 1989, and 12 seasons later – after a long hiatus and dark rumours of cancellation – ITV finally announced that the remaining novels will be filmed. Thank goodness. Poirot needs things to be neat and tidy: the asymmetry of stopping filming before the books had been finished would have driven him to an early grave.
Agatha Christie grew to dislike Poirot, so she packed him in with supporting characters: Captain Hastings, the car enthusiast and expositional idiot; Inspector Japp, the hapless Scotland Yard representative; and Miss Lemon, the filing queen.
- Natalie Haynes
8 items from 2012
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