Spectre summons up the ghosts of the Bond franchise to diminishing returns

3 Stars (3 / 5)

The evocatively titled Spectre, 24th installment of the Bond franchise, is a film steeped in continuity but light on originality.

While capitalizing on the back-story laid down for Daniel Craig’s super-spy in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall – the first incarnation of the character to have much by the way of continuity – it finds the time, over the course of 138 minutes – which also makes Spectre the longest film in the franchise – to riff on nearly every previous episode from the series’ 53 year history.…

Spy is a vulgar, good-natured feminist riff on the old 007 formula

3 Stars (3 / 5)

Spy reunites writer-director Paul Feig and Oscar-nominated funny-woman Melissa McCarthy.

McCarty plays meek CIA desk jockey Susan Cooper, providing support to her suave male counterpart Bradley Fine (Jude Law doing Bond, tux and all). A tragic turn of events draws Susan out of the basement, leading her to go undercover, and gives her plenty of opportunity to prove her badassery – and for McCarthy to stretch her comedy chops.

Skyfall takes the Bond franchise deeper than ever before

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

Well, that took a while, but after four years of languishing in MGM’s cash-strapped development rooms, James Bond is finally back on the big screen, just in time for the franchise’s 50th anniversary.

The question is whether Skyfall, directed by the esteemed Sam Mendes, is a worthy showcase for half a century of martini-swilling, Aston-driving, megalomaniac-stopping, not-returning-gadgets-even-though-specifically-asked-to-by-Q-Branch-ing “spy craft”.…