The James Bond movie franchise may be 50 years old but with the latest film “Skyfall” the old Brit is as good as he’s ever been. Daniel Craig wears the tuxedo as well as anyone ever has and this time around he’s got a villain in the form of Javier Bardem who makes as worthy an adversary as Bond has ever faced. It’s one of the best Bond movies ever and a must-see even for those who aren’t the biggest fans of the debonair superspy.
Also this week, a paint-by-numbers coming-of-age movie, an exceptional film about sex and the disabled, and a halting documentary about America’s bullying epidemic.
Bond does battle with a cyber-terrorist named Silva (Bardem) who is bent on revenge against MI6 and more specifically Bond’s boss M (the stately Judi Dench). As you would expect, stuff explodes, sexy ladies are seduced and martinis are ordered, but director Sam Mendes gives the movie just enough weight and style to make the movie worthy of being taken seriously. Bring on the next 50 years!
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
You’ve seen this all before. A lonely and troubled teenager (Logan Lerman) finds acceptance among a hip group of outsiders and learns some life lessons along the way. “Wallflower” isn’t a bad movie but it’s not all that great either. This movie may be most remembered for being Emma Watson’s first major post-“Harry Potter” role and proving she has some decent acting chops. It is a little weird hearing Hermione drop an American accent though.
This movie about a polio-stricken journalist played by John Hawkes, and his meetings with a professional sex surrogate played by Helen Hunt made my Top 10 list of 2012. The movie is very sexually graphic but also incredibly warm and life-affirming. The biggest travesty of this year’s Oscars is that Hawks didn’t get a Best Actor nomination. A definite must-see.
“Bully” is not a very elegant or subtle documentary and offers no insight into the cause of, or the solution to the problems it addresses. Even still, it is an important and valuable piece of filmmaking for simply shining a bright light on bullying in America’s schools. This is less a movie and more of a call to action and I have no problem with that.