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November 10th, 2012

Movie Review - Skyfall


Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomi Harris, Albert Finney, Ben Whishaw, Bérénice Marlohe, Rory Kinnear, Ola Rapace, Helen McCrory, and more.

Directed by: Sam Mendes Written by: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan Based on Characters Created by: Ian Fleming Cinematography by: Roger Deakins Original Music by: Thomas Newman

Premise: A hard drive has been stolen from MI6, one which contains a file with the names of all agents currently infiltrating terrorist organizations. Failing to retrieve it, M finds herself in trouble at home, but worse, she comes to realize she's being targeted specifically. The file must be retrieved and the instigator stopped before hundreds of lives are compromised by the contents held within it. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: I love to watch Daniel Craig and Judi Dench work together - a dysfunctional spy family - what fun! Javier Bardem was the perfect choice for Silva. The story he tells in his introduction, combined with his easy manner and smile, will give you chills. Mr. Bardem's take on Silva was fascinating and refreshing. Bérénice Marlohe set up the stage beautifully with unvoiced hints about her employer. The scene with her at the bar and the minor cues she gave during the conversation were excellently done. 

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The two best special effects had to do with a subway train and a face. The subway train effect was a huge undertaking and will make your heart pound. Yet though the face effect was smaller, it was insidiously subtle and in many ways packed as big a punch. 

Gun shots, explosions, shrapnel, computers, the special effects department had much to do. They worked very hard, and it shows. 

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: The general plot is pretty straight forward, and one we've seen in spy films before. Yet all the underlying plots and themes truly make the finished product have more depth and complexity than is immediately apparent. 

Keeping in mind that this is the 50th Anniversary of "Bond" films, there is a fabulous subtext throughout of old vs. new, young vs. aged, cheap toys vs. expensive ones. But even as these items are thrown out there, rather than have one side or the other win, we get a connecting circle - one that extends not only to those in the film, but over the 50 years of "Bond" films themselves. True "Bond" aficionados will notice scenes, places, people, and objects from previous Bond films connecting once more in the present. Some definite love went into this film.

Pay close attention to the "Skyfall" song section - a lot of info hidden there with regards to Jame's past and future. It was very nicely done. They even seemed to mix styles to mirror past opening sequences. 

Also watch for the theme of family and how they used in the movie. I totally appreciated the realism of Jame's injury and his having to cope with it. Well done.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Unlike the last "Bond" film, the shaky cam was kept to a minimum and the audience could actually see and enjoy the expensive stunts, gun battles, and explosions to the fullest. The chase scene in the first sequence of the film, especially the section with the motorcycles, was great.   

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: As we've come to expect from "Bond" films, there were many exotic locales to enjoy, such as Shanghai, Scotland, Turkey, and England. And the cinematographer took great advantage of these locations for our benefit. The high rise in Shanghai was a wonderful choice, especially with the addition of the flowing neon. It made for a fun section of 'cat and mouse' and optical illusions.

The Chinese gambling den and the waterway to reach it were very reminiscent of early "Bond" scenes, as was James' tuxedo. The deserted island is like none you've seen before, and quite creepy in its way. 

Conclusion: An awesome example on why "Bond" films are so loved by moviegoers! A wonderful mixing of old and new as well as a great tribute for the 50th Anniversary. The franchise is alive and well!

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Paying Full Price To See Again)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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