The most important thing you should know about the latest James Bond film is that it's better than Quantum of Solace. (Granted, that's grading on a serious curve, but still.) That said, it's less about Bond (Daniel Craig) than it is about M (Judi Dench), who finds herself targeted by a former asset turned enemy of the state. As her antagonist, Javier Bardem is convincingly conflicted in his attitude toward M: The reason he wants to exact revenge against her is that he feels she abandoned him, and is lashing out like a child having subjecting his mother to a temper tantrum — admittedly, one in which a bunch of people get violently murdered along the way.
Though the movie is longer than any action movie needs to be, it is fun to watch, particularly if you don't think about it too hard; by the time Albert Finney shows up for the Home Alone homage, you kind of have to give up on coherence. The additions of Ben Whishaw (as Q) and Ralph Fiennes (as an M antagonist within the government who isn't killing her assets willy-nilly) are good signs for the longevity of the franchise. My biggest complaint is that the film introduces the suggestion that the Big Bad is going to try some gay stuff on Bond, but that nothing comes of it. Aren't we, as a society, ready for a Bond who neutralizes his male foes through sexual conquest as much as he has female ones?! I just feel like once we accepted that James Bond could be blond, pretty much anything goes.
"Our crew had lots of meanings for the words Wu-Tang — ‘Witty, Unpredictable Talent and Natural Game,’ ‘We Usually Take Another N****’s Garments’ — in China, I learned another, the original one: ‘Man who is deserving of God.’ So in that sense, we are all Wu-Tang. You are Wu-Tang." RZA writes those words in The Tao of the Wu, his stew of memoir and spiritual philosophy, penned with Chris Norris and released in 2010. It’s one part 150-page koan, one part gripping reflection on almost dying every day in Brooklyn. Fun book, you should read it. It’s an unlikely dichotomy. But then, RZA’s had an unlikely life.
Ever since a beautiful afternoon in July, when we were first treated to the life-altering sight of a steel-gauntleted RZA punching out some dude's eyeball — an eyeball that proceeded to fly right into the camera, as per the Second Law of Ultraviolent Ocular Aerodynamics — there have been few movies we've anticipated with more bloodthirsty desperation than The Man With the Iron Fists. And so today's debut of the video (slightly NSFW? Maybe?) for the soundtrack's "The Baddest Man Alive," a collaboration between RZA and The Black Keys, holds particular interest for us. "How can they top the eyeball thing?," you are probably asking. They can't.
Silver: I see the folks at Paramount took my advice and sprinkled some Werner Herzog into this trailer. Why hold any of his scenes back? It’s not like his brilliance as a performer gets stale like an overused joke in a comedy trailer. But more than this, what I like — a lot — about this trailer is that it shows us Christopher McQuarrie’s sardonic and sharp sense of humor. The hang-up-and-call-back bit at 1:00 is tonally reminiscent of some of McQuarrie’s best moments from The Usual Suspects and The Way of the Gun.
But back to Herzog for a moment. I’ve often advocated for a Liam Neeson–Jason Statham pairing in his post. But I feel I’ve found a new film that could be just as amazing. A shot-for-shot remake of My Dinner With Andre starring Christopher Walken and Werner Herzog. There’s no doubt that would be the funniest and most compelling movie ever made. Hey, Hollywood, I claim no ownership over any of these ideas. I’m just a fan who wants to see a great film. So please, just make these movies.
While profiling RZA ahead of his directorial debut The Man With the Iron Fists, the New York Times asked the dude to speak on the perpetual swirl of Wu-Tang reunion chatter. And instead of handing back a canned, generic answer about how everyone really wants to do it but everyone's really busy, Bobby Digital got nice and blunt and honest. Basically: With the first few Wu-Tang classics (and that includes the first few rounds of Wu-Tang solo albums), everyone listened to me. If we want to make more classics, everyone has to listen to me again.
Back in July, Grantland Trailerologists Dan Silver and Rembert Browne broke down RZA's Russell Crowe–starring kung fu opus The Man With the Iron Fists: "There have been rumors of RZA's directorial debut for years, but I never believed this film was real. Well, consider me a believer if the blood splatter on the lens wasn't enough, then the eyeball flying toward the camera [see here, but only after you've had your breakfast] should be." So that's what we're dealing with here: At one point, just the fact it actually came to fruition would have been enough; now, though, this thing is barreling into theaters (it's out November 2) with some steam. Now here's some more good news for Bobby Digital's first flick: The track list for the soundtrack has been released, and it pretty much slays.
Silver: Rem, last Friday when we were off saving humanity from that intergalactic, planet-destroying meteor storm, we missed covering one of the most mind-melting trailers to ever grace the Internet. There have been rumors of RZA’s directorial debut for years, but I never believed this film was real. Well, consider me a believer. And in my best RZA voice, it’s time to “take note, bitches!”