When it comes to the James Bond franchise, everything is pretty much fair game in terms of cast and crew. Approaching the 23rd film in the series, anyone can direct a chapter and there’s absolutely no issues with recasting the role of James Bond himself after an actor has contributed to a few of the flicks. Since Daniel Craig took over the famed title in 2006’s Casino Royale, Bond has reached a whole new level of quality and entertainment. Martin Campbell directed that chapter, which was followed up with Marc Forster’s Quantum of Solace, and now we know who will handle the duties for Bond 23: Sam Mendes.
Much like Forster (Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland), Mendes is not a director who plays in the realms of action movies very often. His best work to date is the Best Picture winning American Beauty, which he has followed up with many loved and respected films such as Road to Perdition, Jarhead, and Revolutionary Road.
J. Michael Straczynski recently promised that his Forbidden Planet offering would be “something you’ve never seen before” and now he’s made a similar, highly positive statement for his other project, the zombie disaster movie, World War Z.
The film is being directed by Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) and produced by Brad Pitt‘s Plan B production company, with Straczynski penning the script, who is planning to keep the storytelling angle of the book by Max Brooks, which is told from the viewpoint of survivors of a massive worldwide zombie outbreak through eyewitness accounts told to a United Nations agent.
Most zombie movies to this point have been small, focusing on a few people in a house. And this has got real scare. You’re in India with hundreds of boats trying to get out of there with a tidal wave of zombies. The scale of what we’re doing here is phenomenal.
Quantum of Solace Directed by Marc Forster
Starring Daniel Craig, Gemma Arterton, Judi Dench, Mathieu Amalric, Olga Kurylenko, Jesper Christensen
Release date: November 14, 2008
Casino Royale for me was the definitive James Bond. It took author Ian Fleming‘s British super spy back to his rough-and-tumble roots while giving him a 21st century makeover and a new direction for a darker post-September 11 world lacking in operatic villains with stylish bases and magnificent science-fiction weapons. Under the direction of Martin Campbell, Daniel Craig became the best cinematic portrayal of James Bond since Sean Connery was first fitted for Agent 007’s tuxedo in 1962’s Dr. No.
Craig had previously been best known as a intense actor specializing in playing characters who existed in the grayest of areas in films like Road to Perdition, Love is the Devil, Layer Cake, and Munich. Born with piercing blue eyes and a distinctly roguish charisma reminiscent of Steve McQueen, Craig was the perfect choice to play a James Bond reborn into a world where the terrors we read about everyday in the newspapers and online far exceed the evils of the would-be world conquerors the suave MI6 agent has faced before on the big screen.
Now two years after Casino Royale brought Bond blazing back to theaters in top form comes Quantum of Solace, the first Bond film that continues the story from the previous one and builds on it, expanding the secret agent’s world beyond the pulp novels that gave birth to him into a bleaker and more dangerous world. Now we have a Bond who sports more than his fair share of scars both on his face and his soul. Quantum, in a way, is like an extension of the third act of Casino, and in the end some of Bond’s questions have been answered but more have been raised. This is a James Bond for a different time. He won’t be sipping champagne on a yacht in bed with a beautiful lady when the curtain closes on this tale. This is the movie where he truly becomes Bond… James Bond.
The Kite Runner Directed by Marc Forster
Written by Khaled Hosseini
Starring Zekeria Ebrahimi, Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada, Khalid Abdalla, Atoosa Leoni, Shaun Toub, Homayoun Ershadi
Paramount Home Entertainment
Release date: March 25, 2008
“There is a way to be good again.”
The Kite Runner is a story about friendship, betrayal, hope, and atonement. Beginning in the 1970s and ending in the 2000s, we witness the relationship of two childhood friends, and the impact the Soviet Invasion and the Taliban regimes have on their relationship through the years in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Young Amir and Hassan (Zekeria Ebrahimi and Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada) are as socially different as two people could be. Amir is wealthy and has all of the vestiges of wealth, whereas Hassan is a servant and is a member of the Hazara. Beginning in 1978, the two children are inseparable and spend their time playing and flying kites. Amir flies, and Hassan runs the kite (kite running is fetching a kite when an opponent cuts the spool string to the kite midair with their own kite). However, their social differences are not the difficulties in their friendship which ultimately hinder their bond. The care that Amir’s father, Baba (Homayou Ershadi), shows toward Hassan makes Amir jealous. In Amir’s child mind he believes that Baba cares for him less and exalts the bravery and devotion of Hassan in contrast to the cowardice and weakliness of his son. Of course this is not true, but, in this instance, Amir’s truth outweighs the love and loyalty Hassan has for him — he is the overlooked. This jealousy plays a role in a tragic occasion which forever changes the relationship between the two boys.