Boston Herald:  James Bond is
now just another corporate flunkie.

Boston Herald
Dismal fall releases won’t help fans, critics Bond
By James Verniere
Boston Herald Film Critic

Friday, September 8th

Have you heard?

Film critics are so obsolete the studios may have to stop inventing them and
printing their fraudulent blurbs in ads, as an executive at Sony did not too
long ago.

If I were pushing a fall lineup that included these films, I’d claim critics are
irrelevant, too.

A funny thing happened about 20 years ago. The corporate American film
industry abandoned the old-fashioned goal of making quality films and put
all of its efforts into making commercial products that would sell as many
tickets as possible. Surprise, it hasn’t worked, and panic has ensued.

OK, I have a vaguely nostalgic interest in the James Bond
series, and ‘‘Casino Royale” with new 007 Daniel Craig. The
newer Bond films bear almost no resemblance to the movies
that established the franchise or the sexy, violent and at-the-
time widely condemned Ian Fleming novels. James Bond is
now just another corporate flunkie.

‘‘Saw III,” ‘‘The Grudge 2,” ‘‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning,”
‘‘Jackass: Number 2,” ‘‘Night of the Living Dead 3D,” ‘‘The Santa Clause
3: The Escape Clause” and ‘‘Rocky Balboa”? Welcome to yesterday’s
movie schedule.

I don’t expect they’ll be screening many of these films for critics. Will it be
because we’re obsolete? Or because the word of mouth is going to be
‘‘Snakes on a Plane”-alicious.

Trends? Here’s one: The titles are getting more meaningless and
interchangeable: ‘‘Children of Men,” ‘‘Little Children,” ‘‘Facing the
Giants,” ‘‘Sleeping Dogs Lie,” ‘‘‘Breaking and Entering,” ‘‘Driving
Lessons,” ‘‘The House of Adam” and ‘‘Employee of the Month.” What?

I am looking forward to Clint Eastwood’s Iwo Jima-based ‘‘Flags of Our
Fathers” and Martin Scorsese’s Boston-set ‘‘The Departed.” I’ll see Mel
Gibson’s ‘‘Apocalypto” for the Mel factor alone. Also on my want-to-see
list are the fantasy-adventure ‘‘Eragon” and Guillermo del Toro’s ‘‘Pan’s
Labyrinth,” a gothic fairy tale about Franco-era Spain.

Here’s another trend I have noticed: Scarlett Johansson (‘‘The Black
Dahlia,” ‘‘The Prestige”) is in everything.

Will the highly touted ‘‘Dreamgirls” be another ‘‘Rent” or another ‘‘Ray”?
With the crime thriller ‘‘Deja Vu,” Denzel Washington reunites with
director Tony Scott (‘‘Crimson Tide”).

More interesting hookups coming our way: Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in
‘‘Babel,” Jude Law and Cameron Diaz in Nancy Meyers’ ‘‘The Holiday,”
Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz in the futuristic romance ‘‘The Fountain”
and Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie in Robert De Niro’s ‘‘The Good
Shepherd.” Ridley Scott’s Provence-set romantic comedy ‘‘A Good Year,”
which reunites him with ‘‘Gladiator” lead Russell Crowe, is going to turn
that luscious part of southern France into this year’s Tuscany.

If we have films titled ‘‘This Film Is Not Yet Rated,” ‘‘Hollywoodland” and
‘‘For Your Consideration” this fall, doesn’t it suggest the industry is stuck
staring at itself in the mirror? All those waiting eagerly for a Jack Black-
Tenacious D movie will have their prayers answered by ‘‘Tenacious D in
The Pick of Destiny.”

This fall we’re also getting to see ‘‘Marie Antoinette,” or, as I call it,
‘‘Gidget Gets the Guillotine,” the Sofia Coppola bioflick that started a
second French revolution at Cannes. I am also striving not to make an
obvious joke about the title ‘‘Flushed Away” and trying to figure out how
to break it to my readers that ‘‘Idiocracy” is not going to open in Boston.

Maybe it’s the first red-state-only release?