Skyfall is the perfect film to accompany the 50th Anniversary of the first big screen Bond movie Dr. No. The movie is a crossroads for 007; the spy is an old soul with unconventional archaic methods struggling to exist in a high-tech world with enemies who swap laser beams and nukes for Internet viruses and data infiltration. This conflict is the core of Skyfall — perfect for director Sam Mendes (American Beauty Revolutionary Road) — and the human drama gives every moment of the espionage thriller additional weight. Sure there are the grandiose set pieces we've come to expect from the series. But like the older films Mendes keeps most of the action contained the focus always on star Daniel Craig as he evades and confronts danger. He even pushes further allowing the evildoers into MI-6's home and through the magic of performance the audience into the mind of Bond.
After a botched mission sends him off the grid James Bond returns to his homebase in London to discover the MI-6 in disarray. The target of system attacks seemingly designed to screw with M (Judi Dench) MI-6 calls upon a noticeably shaken (not stirred) Bond to get back on his feet and track down the nefarious face behind the online terrorism. While politico Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) would prefer to use the magic of computers and drones to dig up the bad guy M knows even Bond at 50% is unlike any machine in the world. A few training sessions and a weapon upgrade from Q (Ben Whishaw) later Bond hits the road.
In pure Bond fashion Skyfall traverses some beautiful landscapes. From China's glowing waterside gambling epicenter Macau to the remains of a South Pacific isle to the foggy country side of Scotland. Departing from action movie aesthetics and embracing shadows atmosphere and imperfection Bond's journey feels even more tangible than the "realistic" approach of Casino Royale. The haunting locations reflect his deeply personal mission. It helps too that Bond is faced by one of his best villains yet: Javier Bardem as the charming psychopathic Raul Silva. Silva acts as another mirror for Bond albeit a version completely off the rails. Like a mix of Hannibal Lecter and Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight Silva is determined to burn his opponents in any fashion possible. Bardem plays it all with a sinister smirk — a twist on the maniacally-laughing Bond villains of yesteryear.
Skyfall's concentration is on the dramatic but continuously delivers in the action department. Mendes finds innovative new ways to stage classic Bond moments; a one-shot fist fight in the windows of skyscraper bubbles over with intensity while another in the Chinese casino tips its hat to the campier side of the franchise. And the movie goes big with an opening sequence on par with any of Bond's past outings and a foot chase through London's Tube that tests Craig's limits as a physical performer. He never misses a beat.
Impressively Skyfall is a movie pulled from this moment in history while encompassing everything that made James Bond a long-lasting character. It's one of the best Bond entries of all time a heart-pounding action flick from start to finish (with a rousing conclusion evoking everything from Terence Young to Sam Peckinpah) and one of the best movies of the year.
Ding dong, the Wig is dead. That wicked Wig, that nasty Wig. Ding dong, that awful Wig is deeeeaaaadddd. Yes, finally Wig has been kicked out of the competition, mostly for having bad hair. At least that is what I would like to think. That and because the gay never wins the show. It has never happened even once. Maybe Big Brother is heterosexist or something. I would like a gay to win someday, but I don't want that person to have hair like Wig's and to be going around showing America that there are gay people out there with awful hair.
But the decision to wash that man with the hair right out of their hair was so obvious that we didn't even see any clips of the game play. No, the only thing we saw was that Ashley asked Frank out on an "ice cream date," totally stealing Ian's idea of asking someone in the house out. Ashley claimed she wanted to get some info out of Frank about whether or not Wig was going home, but it didn't work that way. As soon as she got upstairs, Frank behaved like a total jerk boy. "I don't have any ice cream, but I have some booze, how about that instead?" "OK, Frank. That sounds fun." Then, after he got her suitably lubricated. "So, wanna go make out on the couch for a bit?" "OK, Frank. That sounds fun." Wow, I can't believe that move actually works. That is sort of how Frank is running this game right now, being straightforward and direct and letting everyone know that he and his mane sculpted from the errant threads of Cinderella's gown and spritzed with the mists of Avalon are in charge.
Now, I wouldn't jump to any conclusions about there being a showmance. I think Frank just did it because Ashley is pretty and he could. I think she just did it because she doesn't know how to say no. And because Frank is hot. He looks more like Carrot Top than Channing Tatum, if you ask me, but he still knows how to rock a unitard. But poor Ian. First he's going to find out he was left out of the Silent Six. Then he's going to find out that Frank made out with his girl. Ian is going to turn on him, and fast!
So, since we all knew Wig was getting chopped they had to fill up the hour somehow. First we got a little clip about Joe's family. Well, I guess the producers thought it was his turn to go home. Sorry, Wig, you don't get the reality television show Olympian "what's he like at home" news program treatment. Instead we see Joe's brood and his lovely, funny wife who hates Mike Boogie (join the club) and picks on her husband for how loud he yells in the diary room (JOIN THE CLUB!).
Then, it was time to trot out an old house guest, two time loser Jeff! Why was he there? No reason really. Maybe to plug his gig interviewing the evicted house guests on CBS.com. Maybe because there was nothing else to really show? Maybe to give the audience the idea he might go back into the game? Who knows? Anyway, everyone was there for the Jeff love in, but I still haven't really forgiven him for his homophobic rant against Dumbledore the last time he was in the house. Oh, now I can't wait for him to talk to Wig on CBS.com. That guy is gayer than Christiano Ronaldo's underwear drawer. That's gonna be comfortable. The best part was when Jeff asked the ChenBot what kind of player she would be in the house. "I'd be a combination of Janelle and Mike Boogie," she replied. Say what?! The tame, monotonous Julie Chen that we have all come to know and love would be a combination of a lying schemer with no emotion (OK, maybe she does have that cold exterior down) and a blustering blowhard with an ego problem? I don't know about that. But she definitely wouldn't be a floater. Oh god no. She has been around this game long enough to know that they are held in the highest disdain.
What else happened? Oh, not much. There was a vote, Wig put on his captain's hat as the first mate of the U.S.S. Flatiron and left his nasty sneakers behind and exited the BB house in a pair of Daisy Duke's, some slouchy boots, and a skank tank with his nipples popping out. This is his last impression. This is how we will remember Wig forever, enthusiastic, disheveled, and all sorts of wrong.
Then there was an HoH competition. It was another old BB standby where the houseguests have a vat of liquid at one end, a giant empty bowl at the other end and a greasy Slip 'N' Slide in between. Whoever fills up their bowl first wins. However, there are two other bowls. There is one for "safety" and the person who fills that up first can't be eliminated. Then there is one for a $10K prize. Whoever fills that up wins the money, at least according to the rules we got from Julie. As we leave the houseguests, Boogie was going for the money, which is so Mike Boogie. He is either so deluded and arrogant to think he's safe or going with Dr. Will's old theory that as HoH you get blood on your hands and it's easiest not to win the competitions. But who won? Well, we won't find out until Sunday (unless you live in a world without Google and want to spoil the answer right now).
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: CBS]
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