Friday, November 25, 2011

007 minus the Tom Ford look.

Filming has started for the latest James Bond film in London and there has been several photos taken of Daniel Craig in and about the city streets.  As recently as the beginning of this month it was reported Tom Ford would once again be dressing the fashionable Mr. Bond.  Yet this latest iteration of 007 looks decidedly unfashionable.  I'm being a little glib here, Mr. Bond always looks good in a sartorial way as pictured below in photos provided by the premier James Bond site MI6.

However, despite the Savile Row topcoat our James looks like a little worse for the wear. Normally Daniel Craig's looks can be best described as a rugged or rough hewn but surely handsome none the less.

But now there is something decidedly different in the way James Bond is being visually portrayed.

Craig looks older, greyer, unshaven and frankly a little battle worn.  So what is behind this new look for 007?  In the brief synopsis of Skyfall as provided by it's publicists we learn that Bond learns some dark truth about "M" from her past.  It shakes the very foundation of MI6 and 007 must go to any extreme to save the office and M.  Does this explain Bonds beleaguered look?  Has his efforts so taxed him that he looks as though he's been awake for a fortnight?

One clever possibility could be that this Bond flick takes place several years in the future.  Bond is actually older and the grey and gaunt look is explained by the passage of time.  This may be the 23rd Bond movie but chronologically it may be more like Bond 26 and the next two movies (24 and 25) may encompass the events that lead up to this titular "Bond 26".  I wonder if the producers have the testicular fortitude to pull this off?  It would certainly be a radical approach and good reason for not doing it would be audience confusion.  Yet this would cover completely new ground in the James Bond series and would provide a refreshing angle. 

The easy explanation for the "new look" is that Bond has fallen on hard times, the truth behind the revelations of M's past has shaken his confidence, led to a downfall of sorts wherein he has taken up the bottle and forsaken his gambling and womanizing ways.  (The horror.)

We could also speculate that the producers have decided that since much time has passed in the real world from the last movie that they are reflecting how Bond has legitimately aged.  I hope not.  If anything James Bond represents an ideal.  He always looks good no matter what!

Whatever the reason is for Bond's haggard look let's hope it is only a temporary set back for our James.  There are a lot of ladies in our world and on the silver screen that would prefer Mr. Bond to look like he's gotten a little sleep to say the least.  And if I'm going to go shopping for own personal Savile Row attire and Tom Ford look I'd rather look my normal resplendent self instead of ashen, careworn and exhausted.

Rally James!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons....

....make Lemonade.

I had nearly forgotten about this image from the Fringe episode, "And Those We've left Behind".  It just seemed so singular to me.  We have the incomparable Stephen Root in the foreground and for a brief moment we get the bowl full of Lemons as wall art behind him.  As the episode progresses we find out just how cruel life had become to the Green family.  A now convalesced Raymond Green dotes over his stricken wife.  The irony is, now that he is in good health, he is unable to return the favor to his once brilliant wife whose mind is locked away by Alzheimer's.  An ample dose of lemons indeed.

Instead of making lemonade out of this calamity, Raymond Green instead tries to undo time itself.  What he doesn't realize that his potent recipe stirs up trouble for others instead.  What was intended to be a sweet concoction to be shared by he and his wife turns out to be a deadly brew others.  Ultimately, Peter Bishop intervenes and Raymond's sour solution is dispelled.

Fortunately for Raymond he married a good woman.  Kate Green knows what to do when life gives you lemons and the easiest solutions are often the best.  She may not be her normal self but the Greens still have each other and sometimes that is all you can ask out of life.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Goodbye to the Hat?

 Word has come out today that NBC has stopped production of "Prime Suspect" starring Maria Bello.  I didn't think much of Detective Jane Timoney's head gear but there was nothing wrong the show itself.  Apparently the show fell victim to flaccid ratings and now there is a chalk line on the sidewalk where the show used to be.

What a shame.

First of all Maria Bello is first rate and deserves to be on TV in some capacity.  To anyone who isn't familiar with her work, see the films, "The Cooler", "A History of Violence" and, yes, "The Jane Austen Book Club".  To those who follow "Fringe" it looks like Kirk Acevedo is out of job again (or his he, Scarly!) and what of good ol' "Lem" from  "The Shield" Kenny Johnson? 

As recently as Monday NBC was saying "Prime Suspect" wasn't being cancelled, today it looks like we are not so sure.  It's funny, whenever a geek friendly show gets the axe we all wonder, "Do you think Sy-Fy will pick it up?"  Didn't there used to be a Mystery channel?  How about A&E?  Can anyone save Prime Suspect?  Maybe we should put Peter Bishop on the case.  He's one that said there is always hope. 

Hang in there Detective Jane Timoney.  I know you've taken a couple of rounds and your pulse is weak.  But I'd like to think the next couple of rounds will come in a tumbler glass maybe with a little water.  I like mine over ice.  See you at your Dad's place.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Prof. Moriarty in the Parlor with a Gun

We are just a month away from the release of "Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows".  Trailers, teasers, set pictures, and as we can see from above, movie posters have been flooding the inter-webs to hype its imminent debut.

Like any blogger out here in the blog-verse I have a problem with it!  (We are so negative.)  OK, just about everything is fine it's the above poster that I take issue with.  When I first saw this depiction of Prof. Moriarty as portrayed by supremely accomplished Jared Harris (see his work in Mad Men and Fringe) I was taken aback by Moriarty's use of a gun.  Surely the Napoleon of crime doesn't have need of firearms.  I nearly tumbled down my own personal Reichenbach Falls as I thought director Guy Ritchie has taken this character to a place where he doesn't belong.  As I sat aghast and alone in my empty room I thought, "Surely Moriarty is shooting out some light fixture or taking aim at a switch in order to cleverly throw it."  "Please don't tell me he is in some running gun battle with Holmes and Watson that is straight out of "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels".

Fortunately my fears were assuaged by Jared Harris in an interview with as reprinted by the Sci-Fi site io9...

"The whole story is a plan or plot that he has set in motion quite a long time before the story starts. There's a tremendous sense of motion to the story and Sherlock Holmes is arriving in the end stages of this plan and he's catching up to it to thwart it. One of the things that I was interested in about Moriarty was how he's so manipulative that he doesn't need to commit violence himself or kill people. He can get everyone to do what he needs to do and sometimes they don't even know that they are being manipulated by him. They aren't even aware that they are caught in a stratagem that he has... That's quite chilling, to have someone that understands people that well. He can have a letter arrive on the wrong day and it's going to be enough that it will set somebody off or whatever it is."

What a relief.  That is the Prof. Moriarty we all know and love. I'll be interested to see how the Moriarty  iteration is served in next years "Sherlock" featuring Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role.  Hopefully the same respect that Ritchie and Harris extend to the Professor will be granted toward that Moriarty as played by Andrew Scott.

Crisis averted!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fringe & The Time Travelers Wife.

Another episode of Fringe and another homage to a book/movie.  Well, not necessarily a homage but the relationship between the book/movie The Tme Travellers Wife and the Fringe episode "And Those We Left Behind" is pretty unmistakeable.  I must confess I never read the book but I remember it being a pretty hot property.  It was so popular that it becoming a movie was mere eventuality. 

The similarities between the movie and this past episode of Fringe are quite salient.  The most obvious of course being time travel but perhaps the most interesting is the issue of genetic defects.

In The Time Travelers Wife the protagonist, Henry, is afflicted with a genetic disorder that causes him to jump through time in a unpredictable fashion.  His wife, Clare, has to deal with the vagaries of this affliction and off times has to stand by helplessly as her husband fashes in a out of existence.

Fringe provides an interesting twist on this premise.  The husband, Raymond, is a time traveler yes.  But it his wife that has the genetic disorder and it is the scourge of Alzheimer's disease.  In the movie Henry can't help but travel through time but Raymond does so deliberately in order to spare his wife. Both couples have to bear the agony of separation and both use the strength of their love to keep them together.

It's interesting that the book was seen as an "elegy to love and loss" as noted by critic Charlie Lee-Potter.  I say so because in the Fringe episode there was such a finality to the relationship between Raymond and Kate.  Ironically they are still together yet separated by the loss of Kate's faculties.  For Henry and Clare the opportunity to be together was fleeting and always precious.  Sadly, for Raymond despite being together he felt they were separated forever due to his wife's tragic disorder.  Hopefully that elegiac message left by Kate in her notes will give Raymond the perspective he needs.  In the movie Clare had to move on with her life now Raymond must learn to do the same.

The concept of free will comes into play in both of these stories and God know how Fringe wrestles with the issues of will versus determinism.  The character of Henry had the luxury of traveling through time and observing its consequences.  Raymond was equally gifted as he kept "resetting the clock" to chart his course.  Yet both arrived at the same destinations despite their best efforts to change the outcome.

Naturally, all of the above can be applied to the plight of Peter and Olivia and I suppose that is the point of this entire exercise.  Despite the best efforts of Peter he may be doomed to spend the rest of his existence separated from Olivia.  So close yet so far.  Perhaps Peter should welcome this added dimension to his relationship with Olivia and in time he will accept it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Fringe Event at Fenway Park

There was a Fringe event at Fenway Park last night and it was all too real if you are a fan of the Boston Red Sox. In an incredible bit of synchronicity (or was it quantum entanglement) the day it was announced that pitcher Jonathan Papelbon was leaving the Red Sox and joining the Phillies via free agency he and the Sox got mention on Fringe.

I've often wondered how a show like Fringe which is set in Boston could steer clear of the Red Sox.  The culture of Boston and the Red Sox or so intricately entwined that they are inseparable.  I'm not sure if I've ever seen and extra wear a Sox cap on Fringe while a show like TNT's "Falling Skies" gives recognition to the "Olde Town Team" in nearly every episode.

Even "Rizzoli and Isles" which is also set in Boston manages to recognize the local teams whenever they get the chance.

Kudos also go out to SyFy's "Warehouse 13".  The set one episode this past season in Boston and they mentioned the Sox, thanks Artie!

I'm willing to give Fringe a pass on this cultural faux pas.  It took "Lost" a while to get to the Red Sox also.  But c'mon Fringe let's not waste anymore time.  The Sox may collapsed into a cosmic black hole this past season but I'm sure with all of Walter's ingenuity he could locate them in time for the 2012 season.

Just one request Fringe; the next time you entangle with  the Sox can you make it some good news on all fronts?  I think we've suffered enough.  Right Yankee fans!?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fringe, Body Snatchers and The Others

I got a real vibe for the old science fiction classic, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" from the last episode of Fringe, "Novation".  What really did it for me was to see the boyfriend of Malcolm Truss's wife drop next to the bed after being attacked by the Shape-shifter Nadine only to see the lifeless body of the real Mrs. Truss lying beneath it.

In the book and the various movie iterations falling asleep was a death sentence.  It allowed the alien invaders from space to inhabit your body by creating an exact duplicate from one of their pods.  The only thing missing was your personality as a human being.  You would become devoid of emotion and bereft of individuality.

Its not much of a stretch to compare the pod people of the Body Snatchers with the Shape-shifters from Fringe.  In fact the pod people of the 1978 movie version looked a lot like the newly or malformed versions of the early shape-shifters.

They are a bit grisly aren't they?  There is something else that has always stuck with me from that 1978 version.  I think it was a street musician that fell asleep with his dog next to a pod and the busker/bowser version woke up the next morning.

There's an image I'll never be able to forget.  Is it any wonder that the dog of Dr. Malcom Truss skedaddled when he saw Nadine the shape/shifter arrive?  Poor ol' rover either saw the movie or sniffed her out.  Run dog run!

 There was an additional movie that I got a "vibe" for when "Novation" was wrapping up.  When Nadine got out her trusty "Hermes 3000" to communicate with her unseen masters she got a return message telling her to begin preparations in anticipation of "the others".

While that may have reminded many of the TV show Lost and "The Others" it featured, I was reminded of the 2001 film "The Others" with Nicole Kidman.

 The theme of this movie is similar to the themes we see in Fringe with being out of place, disassociated with time and dare I say "bi-location".  I won't spoil how the movie ends but it was a pretty clever twist.  Poor Peter Bishop if he suffers a similar fate!

Let's see if we can pick out any more movie/book homages in tonight's episode of Fringe, "And Those We Left Behind".  Popcorn ready!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Peter Bishop & the Memory Box

Television gets its inspiration from a variety of sources.  Sometimes TV takes it ideas and rehashes them and tries to spin them in a new direction when its really the same old thing we've seen before.  When I saw Walter Bishop open up the Memory Box from his deceased son Peter I thought to myself, "We've seen this before, it supposed to evoke thoughts of Pandora's Box."  The imagery of Pandora's box speaks to Walters rashness in crossing over to the other dimension and unleashing a torrent of ills that now plague each universe.  Peter's other connection to Pandora's box was his speech to Altlivia still in the disguise of Olivia when he tells her in the season three episode, "6955 kHz",

"There are billions of innocent people over there, just like here... people with jobs, families, lives. I got to believe there's another way. And whatever my part in all of this is... I got to believe there's another way. There's always hope, right?"

According to the myth of Pandora's box when the box was opened all the evils it contained were spread throughout the world and in her haste to close the box Pandora trapped the last item which was hope.  And as Peter observed, there's always hope.
So when I saw the Memory Box and thought of the Greek myth and how it was related to Fringe I was dismissive of the whole scene.  "Recycled!" I exclaimed," we've seen this before".  But then Walter held a seashell to his ear.  He listened to the false echo of the surf and it evoked cherished memories of a seaside vacation shared with his lost son.

It wasn't until I thought about the seashell that I realized there might be something more to this scene.  The seashell as many Fringe fans may recall is one of instances in  nature where we see the golden spiral occurs organically.  The spiral itself is famous for its connection to the  Fibonacci Sequence that Walter often refers to.  Below is an illustration of a shells appearance and spiral itself as represented in a Fringe glyph.

All these thoughts came together when I viewed one of the teasers for the next episode of Fringe (And Those We've Left Behind) and Walter draws a spiral to show a pattern of events to the Fringe team it appears around the 28 second mark.


I've tried to capture the spiral in a screen grab to better examine it.

So lesson learned my friends, never be dismissive of anything you see on Fringe.  The truth is out there and sometimes its hidden in a memory box, held up to a grieving father's ear or drawn on a crime scene map.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

007 in SKYFALL

Well it is finally official, the new James Bond film is officially entitled "SkyFall".  Perhaps we are to derive some "Chicken Little" metaphor from this enigmatic title as in, "the sky is falling".  The brief but official description of the plot is that some deep dark secret is revealed about "M" played by Judi Dench and it could lead to the collapse of MI6 as we know it.  It'll up to 007 to pull out all the stops to save the agency (ministry?) even while all confidence is lost in M and all of she has built is shaken to its core.

The director of the film is Sam Mendes which seems as an odd choice at first but since we are dealing with a crisis of confidence in M and how Daniel Craig's James Bond is supposed to deal with it I suppose it makes good sense.  Mendes has directed movies such as "Revolutionary Road", "American Beauty" and "Road to Perdition" all of which explore the human condition when faced with the ultimate crisis in faith.  Mendes is known for investigating how people deal with issues of deep seated trust that are fractured and their foundations laid bare and broken.

The other big news, at least for myself, is the official addition of Berenice Marlohe to the cast.  This has been widely speculated on in the past but confirmation of which came maddeningly slow.  I wrote of the aforementioned speculation here.  I'm not aware how heavy the French accent of Ms. Marlohe is but I was actually hoping she would be Bond's female equal in MI6 and a Double O agent herself.   However, if the accent is too heavy I would imagine that would to difficult to pass off as convincing as she would have to be veddy English to work for that agency.

Speaking of opposite numbers and equals of Bond I would like to see the character played by Javier Bardem fill such a role also.  He has been billed and speculated upon as being Bonds nemesis.  But I would rather see him as Bond's adversary from another agency either friendly or unfriendly.  It has become too cliche to see  such characters always as the evil genius that is intellectually calculating but not the physical, emotional and resourceful equals to 007.  Let's hope Bardem's character is given the chance to give Bond a run for his money in every category.

Lastly, Mr. Craig looks a bit haggard in the publicity shots doesn't he?  I 'm sure the demands of international travel and a whirlwind schedule has taken its toll on him.  Or maybe its the reviews for "Cowboys and Aliens".  Either way its time to hit the gym Danny the world of 007 awaits.