Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine, David Thewlis
Some lucky high school kids are going to watch director Justin Kurzel’s “Macbeth” during class someday. If you find William Shakespeare’s language difficult to interpret, Kurzel helps you wash it down with some stunningly nightmarish imagery, stirring performances and a surprising amount of levity.
Macbeth (Michael Fassbender) is a battered and scarred soldier. A thane of Scotland, he hears of a prophecy from three witches that he will one day rule his land as its king. The character is haunted by the start of the film, after he and Lady Macbeth (Marion Cotillard) lose a child, but his madness grows and grows over the course of the story. At the insistence of his domineering yet loving wife, he murders the King of Scotland, taking over the throne.
Kurzel and the film’s three screenwriters, Jacob Koskoff, Michael Lesslie and Todd Louiso, have turned Shakespeare’s play into a horror movie of sorts. They dive under the skin of the characters, making their pain, past and present, collide in an explosive fashion. It goes without saying that Shakespeare did that as well, but Kurzel and the writers have crafted both a faithful and modern adaptation, although one that’s not too modern.
The battle sequences rely more on mood than hack-and-slash action. This isn’t “300,” for example, as Kurzel is more focused on how the violence affects Macbeth than showing heads flying in the air. There are these fantastic moments in which Kurzel and his DP Adam Arkpaw use slow-motion, not to amp up the action, but to heighten the reaction shots of Macbeth. The battle sequences are impressive on a technical level, but how the director tackles the interior conflicts is just as powerful, if not more so.
Bullz-Eye continues its look back at every James Bond film, 007 One by One, as part of our James Bond Fan Hub that we’ve created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Bond film.
It’s Vegas, baby, for James Bond, and he’s played by Sean Connery for the last time (until 1983). The jokiest and the most violent of the Bond films up to that point, it’s no one’s favorite 007 entry – and it’s a lot of people’s least favorite – but we still think it’s got way more panache than many of the films that followed. It’s…
“Diamonds are Forever” (1971)
Diamond smuggling turns out to be, naturally, only the tip of the iceberg as a graying Bond (Sean Connery) unravels a chain of deception that leads him to a Las Vegas-based ultra-reclusive mega-tycoon (Jimmy Dean), and then onto 007’s not-actually-dead arch nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Charles Gray). It turns out that killing Bond’s wife simply isn’t enough for the social climbing super-villain; he’s once again making 007’s life hellish while also having the bad manners to peddle thermonuclear supremacy on the world market. Bond, meanwhile, is nearly wearing out his license to kill.
Though it’s an underrated film and beloved of many serious Bond fans, 1969’s “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” with George Lazenby was deemed insufficient as a blockbuster. It did well enough abroad, but it’s all-important American grosses was about half that of earlier Bond entries. By 1970, Lazenby was already one for the “where are they now?” columns.
A replacement was needed, and so was a big hit. Stolid American heartthrob John Gavin (“Psycho“) had been contracted as a fall-back Bond, but moguls Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman set their sights on the one actor alive least interested in stepping into the very big shoes of Sean Connery – Sean Connery. While the Scottish unknown-turned-superstar has always insisted he was very grateful for his Bond stardom, to all appearances, Connery was over James Bond — now and forever.
On the other hand, we all have our price. Connery’s was £1.2 million – quite a lot of money in 1970 and enough cash for the actor to start his own charity, the Scottish International Education Trust. To sweeten the deal, United Artists also allowed Connery the chance to take the creative lead on two of his own movies. The understanding was, however, very clear that Connery would never again play Bond…for the Broccoli and Saltzman’s EON team, at least, that turned out to be true.
In general, Canada’s correctly beloved Bloody Caesar is nothing more or less than a Bloody Mary made with Clamato or a similar tomato/clam juice beverage rather than straight tomato juice. In fact, you are certainly not ill-advised to simply make that substitution with the previously described DOTW Bloody Mary recipe. Nevertheless, I recently tried out this particular recipe provided by, naturally, the Canadian Club people to promote their new Canadian Club Classic 12 Year-Old whisky and I highly recommend it.
Yes, you can make a bloody beverage with not only vodka and gin but with various types of whiskey, and I have to say that this particular variant on the classic is pretty fantastic. It’s about as refreshing as an alcoholic cocktail can be while having plenty of spice to it. It really does seem to taste best with CC’s newest brand, but this version of the Bloody Caesar works very nicely with vodka or regular Canadian Club as well. The trick here is that this is the first Bloody Anything I’ve tried that comes out of shaker rather than being built in the glass.
The Bloody Caesar, CC Variant
1.5 ounces Canadian Club Classic 12, or alternative boozes as preferred and available
4 ounces Clamato/tomato-mollusk beverage of your choice
4 dashes Tabasco/Louisiana hot sauce of your preference
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce (I like Lea & Perrin’s, when I find it on sale)
1 dash black pepper
1 lemon wedge
1 small celery stalk (optional but very nice garnish)
Pour your liquor and tomato-clam beverage into a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the hot sauce, Worcestershire and pepper. Squeeze the juice out of your lemon wedge and throw the spent edge into the mix. Shake very vigorously. Strain over fresh ice into a highball/Collins glass. Add your celery, if you’ve got it.
I did try one more variant of this, using an inexpensive brand of blended Scotch. It wasn’t half bad. I hereby christen it the Bloody Macbeth. Just be careful when ordering it near nervous Shakespeareans.