There are only two major new releases this week to talk about. One is the continuation of arguably the greatest franchise in cinema history and the other will likely contend for every major award given for 2012 films.
Before we get too far along, don’t forget to read the review of “The Man With the Iron Fists,” our most recent pick off the week. The movie placed behind the animated “Wreck-it Ralph” for the weekend box office.
The James Bond 007 franchise was in danger of ceasing just last year. A variety of studio deals got this 23rd official Bond film made. (For you trivia hounds, this would be the 25th Bond film. Can you name the other two?) Daniel Craig returns to celebrate 50 years of 007 in the theaters. This time, he’ll face Javier Bardem as the villain Raoul Silva. The last time Bardem played a major villain (“No Country for Old Men”), he walked away with Oscar gold. The supporting cast features Judi Dench reprising her role as “M,” Ralph Fiennes in a very special role, and Naomie Harris (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” “28 Days Later”) as Eve, the requisite Bond girl. Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”) is the first Oscar-winning director to helm a Bond film so expectations are high. Expect a good title song from Grammy winner Adele.
Daniel Day-Lewis doesn’t make very many movies. When he does, he’s a near-lock for an Oscar nomination. Under the guidance of director Steven Spielberg, it’s a safe bet that we’ll see “Lincoln” dominate the nominations. Joining Day-Lewis are David Strathairn, Sally Field, Joseph-Gordon Leavitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, Tommy Lee Jones, John Hawkes (who was amazing as Teardrop in “Winter’s Bone), Jackie Earl Hailey, and Tim Blake Nelson. The movie is based on historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “Team of Rivals,” and focuses on the decision to emancipate the nation’s slaves during the Civil War. Emmy and Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner wrote the screenplay. He previously teamed with Spielberg for the vastly under watched “Munich.” Various Hollywood reports say that Spielberg spent 12 years doing research before finally making this film, which then went through a number of development problems. The last time Spielberg spent a decade trying to make a movie it turned out to be “Schindler’s List.”
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Pick of the week: Sorry, folks. This is a toss-up. You really can’t go wrong with either film. The question will be whether the Bond loyalty my wife and I have or our interest in the Civil War influences us one way or the other.