Archive for November, 2008

Helping man Smith gives back at latest premiere

Posted in Features on November 24, 2008 by Steve Mesa

Call him Mr. July. Call him Mr. Blockbuster if you will, but do not call him ungenerous.
Will Smith (“Bad Boys II”) and Rosario Dawson (“Rent”) were on-hand in Miami on Nov. 17 promoting their latest movie, “Seven Pounds.”
Coming out on Dec. 19, “Seven Pounds” is about a suicidal IRS agent who goes on a journey to redeem himself by helping out seven strangers, including Dawson’s character. Directed by Gabriele Muccino (“The Pursuit of Happyness”), the film also stars Woody Harrelson (“No Country for Old Men”) and Barry Pepper (“61”).
Throughout most of the day, Smith and Dawson sat down to talk to reporters from several publications, including The Beacon. “Seven Pounds” is the first movie that Smith and Dawson have starred in together.
Six years ago, they worked with each other in another Will Smith blockbuster, “Men in Black II.” Smith said that they have matured a lot since then, and Dawson responded jokingly by saying he has more gray hairs than the last time they worked together.
“It is fun to watch someone make choices and become better,” Smith said. “To watch Rosario scratch and fight to be better is inspiring to me and makes me want to become better.”
Dawson shared similar thoughts on Smith.
“I am really grateful not only to work [with] Will again on this film, but for the audience,” Dawson said. “Because of who Will is, it gives audiences around the world an opportunity to watch a film like this.”
As soon as they were done speaking to the Miami television and print media at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Smith and Dawson made a surprising visit to the editors of the Miami Herald at their news meeting.
Wrapping things up for the day was a charity movie premiere of “Seven Pounds.” It was held at The Shops at Sunset Place and benefited the Florida Marlins Community Foundation charity.
If moviegoers wanted a chance to see Will Smith and his new movie, they would have to bring at least a can of food to get in. It was there where Smith and Dawson donated 300 turkeys, and both of them were presented with Florida Marlins jerseys by the president of the Florida Marlins, David Samson.
Afterward, Smith approached a stage-like set up near the mall and told spectators that he would be back to sign autographs after the presentation. Keeping his promise, he returned to the remaining spectators.
The Beacon asked the two stars why they stopped in Miami to promote “Seven Pounds.”
Aside from getting a chance to visit her family, Dawson said that she loves the weather, the warm water, the food and the shopping.
Smith had a different take.
“I think there is a city somewhere in the world that matches your personal emotional patterns, and Miami is that place for me,” Smith said.

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Stars of latest “Bond” installment talk making of

Posted in Features on November 19, 2008 by Steve Mesa

Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig all took a role in Ian Fleming’s creation, James Bond, and turned the character into a cinematic icon. Since the first “James Bond” film (“Dr. No”) released in 1967, the Bond franchise has pushed out 21 films and six actors have played the role of the suave and debonair spy.
“Quantum of Solace” is the 22nd Bond film and the second outing for Craig as the man with a license to kill. Craig and Olga Kurylenko, who plays this film’s lead Bond girl, were in Miami at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for a press day for the film, and The Beacon was on hand.
The Beacon: What was the most difficult part in filming this movie?
Daniel Craig: The physicality. There is a lot to do on the set, but it is very satisfying. I work with some of the best people in the business, and we push each other to try to improve what we did in “Casino Royale.” The rooftop chase was pretty difficult … once we fell in the art gallery with the ropes. That was tough. I had two doubles, an acrobat and a gymnast, but I was also hanging up there as well. It is tough, very tough.
Olga Kurylenko: The fight sequence was difficult because I had to try hard in order to choreograph my moves. The littlest detail, like the way you throw a punch on film, was difficult to do because you have to make it look, not only real, but good on camera. You do the moves precisely because the camera captures what gets filmed and that is why I trained for six months for a 30 second action scene. To get it right is so much work. It was fun to shoot it, though, because it is a different job from acting.
TB: Do you have any input on the script?
DC: Yes, I do. I have been involved with this script since the beginning.
TB: You’ve already done two Bond films. Is there any talk about expanding the later movies with some of the old characters from the past Bond films?
DC: Yes. What we are doing or what we are trying to achieve with the second movie is to make a solid base. One of the biggest things is expectation, where everybody is expecting the real Bond, what Bond becomes with the martinis, characters such as Q and M. Unfortunately, we have to earn them instead of just plopping them into a movie without explanation. What this has been about is inferring all these things. At this point, we can do anything we want. We can introduce Q back in, we can introduce Moneypenny, we can introduce the submarine base. We’re there. We got to that point, and I am very excited in doing the next movie.
TB: Why do you make films like “Quantum of Solace” and “Casino Royale?”
DC: Because they are rare. To be given a chance to make a movie like this as an actor, and hopefully as an artist and filmmaker, is just a privilege. I grab it with both hands and see what we can do with it.
TB: This role must take a physical toll on your body. Does it take a mental toll on you as well?
DC: Of course. I am just tired, both physically and mentally. At the end of the shoot, I go on a holiday to go back to my friends and family. I hope to become normal again.
TB: What is your opinion on the new interpretation of the James Bond role, is he crazier than the other incarnations?
DC: I do not think he is crazy at all. Most of my cues are from the earlier films such as “From Russia With Love,” and I think what Sean Connery did was that he devolved an incredibly strong character from the Ian Fleming novels and made Bond a very edgy man. I would never copy what has been done. I just put my take and effort to the role. I’ve seen all the movies, read all the books and did my research. I am a Bond fan.
TB: What did you have to do in order to submerge yourself into this role?
OK: This role requires me to undergo a huge transformation; and I am not just talking about the fight scenes, learning how to sky dive and working with guns, which I never did before. I had to adopt a different personality as a different person from a different country and having a painted-on tan. It is interesting because I’ve [gotten] into a different skin.
TB: How different is this role compared to your roles in “Hitman” and “Max Payne”?
OK: This is the first time where I get to play a fighter because in the other movies, I am just a girl. This is a different experience.
TB: How did you feel about being a fighter in this movie – kicking a guy’s ass?
OK: That felt good, especially when it is this very big guy.
I was well prepared and went through a lot of training in order for me to do that.

First-ever Bond sequel pays homage to its predecessors

Posted in Reviews on November 14, 2008 by Steve Mesa

His name is Bond. James Bond. As the sixth actor to fill the shoes of agent 007, Daniel Craig returns in his second outing as Bond in “Quantum of Solace”.
As the first movie in the Bond franchise to become a direct sequel to accommodate its predecessor, “Quantum of Solace” picks up where “Casino Royale” left off.
The film opens with Bond being chased by a couple of thugs in a car chase that seems reminiscent of the car chases from the “Bourne” franchise.
After quickly dispatching them, it is revealed that he has Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), the man responsible for the death of Bond’s love, in the trunk of his car.
As Bond tries to uncover the organization that backs Mr. White, he teams up with a beautiful Bolivian women (Olga Kurylenko) with a vendetta to stop an environmentalist (Mathieu Amalric) from controlling the world’s water supply.
Daniel Craig is the best actor to play James Bond in the franchise, no offense to fans of the 007 franchise who would prefer Sean Connery or Roger Moore.
I think what really makes his performance significant in this movie is that he plays Bond not just as a rugged man who gets his hands dirty, but as a man who lost the love of his life due to tragic circumstances.
There are certain events throughout the movie that make every relationship Bond has a metaphorical virus, everything he touches dies. Bond’s vulnerability becomes his main weakness.
During a confrontation with Bond’s boss, M (Judi Dench), she says to Bond, “I think you’re so blinded by inconsolable rage that you don’t care who it hurts.”
He does balance himself between the fine line of duty and revenge, sometimes being pushed to the latter.
The action scenes from “Quantum of Solace” can be easily compared to those from the Jason Bourne movies. There is a rooftop chase sequence that seems like it was ripped off from the other rooftop chase sequence that took place in “The Bourne Ultimatum”.
I respect this movie because it becomes a throwback to the previous Bond movies, such as “Goldfinger”. The opening title sequence to “Quantum of Solace” pays tribute to earlier Bond films by featuring silhouettes of nude women.
The organization that Bond is seeking information about in this film is known as QUANTUM. This becomes a throwback to SPECTRE, the organization that became responsible for villains like Dr. No, Rosa Klebb, Red Grant and Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
Last, but not least, the dead body of a beautiful woman is found in Bond’s hotel covered in oil, a reference to a similar discovery in “Goldfinger,” in which both bodies were found in similar locations and positions.
“Quantum of Solace” has everything a fan of Bond can want in a Bond film: great action, an amazing performance from Daniel Craig and many direct homages to the earlier Bond films.
QUANTUM OF SOLACE: 4 Stars out of 5