Dukes Hotel a mecca for Martini fans

When Daniel Craig accepted the role of James Bond in the latest James Bond film Casino Royale two years ago, he did what any self-respecting actor who had just taken on the part of a lifetime would do—he spent an evening getting very inebriated.

But not with the help of just any drink.

The 38-year-old English thespian chose a very Bond-friendly cocktail, namely, the vodka martini.

“Just a few,” Craig says, a sly grin creeping across his face, when asked in an interview just how many of the libation he poured through that night.

“A good one, there’s nothing like it. I’m not bad at mixing them, either. I used to do that in pubs and bars so I’m quite particular about them.”

So, too, is the iconic character that he plays.

The term ‘shaken, not stirred’ — Bond’s preferred method of mixing his martinis — was first mentioned by 007 in Bond creator Ian Fleming’s 1956 novel Diamonds Are Forever.

The line was first recited by Sean Connery, the first of six actors to play the part—Craig included—in the 1964 film Goldfinger.

Since then ‘shaken, not stirred’ has become one of the most repeated movie quotations in history—the American Film Institute listed the line at number 90 on their 2005 ranking of the best movies quotes of all time.

But despite his preference for the vodka-based cocktail, Bond, like the author who created him, enjoyed a wide range of drinks from mint juleps to straight bourbon.

“He’s someone who, wherever he is in the world, he likes to immerse himself in the culture,” says series producer Barbara Broccoli. “He’ll order whatever it is. I think the whole thing about the vodka is that it’s very clean, very neutral and strong.”

And its use considered incorrect, at least in purist mixology circles.

A proper martini should be prepared with gin, not vodka. That stipulation aside, since the Second World War, the increasing use of vodka in martinis has become widely accepted.

Bond’s preference for a shaken martini is strictly verboten in professional bartending circles, according to Tony Micelotta, head bartender at The Dukes Hotel in London; The Dukes is where Fleming often drank and whose carefully-crafted martinis, according to legend, inspired Bond’s taste for such strong refreshments.

“The first thing you learn is that you never shake something that doesn’t need to be shaken. There must be a reason to shake something,” Micelotta says of a bartender’s golden rule.

“In this case it’s almost only the spirit without any additional thick ingredients, so if you shake it you bruise it and you dilute it so much. The shaken, but not stirred was just a way of saying ‘I’m James Bond.’”

Bruising, as aficionados understand, is what happens when spirits are overzealously mixed resulting in a change in taste.

Skeptics questioning the validity of Micelotta’s claims should take note—a 1999 study conducted by the University Of Western Ontario’s Department of Biochemistry analyzing martini preparation and  the influence it has on the cocktail’s antioxidant capacity found that, indeed, the shaken variety were more effective at breaking down hydrogen peroxide than their stirred cousins.

In simpler, scientifically-proven terms, Bond was correct that his version of the martini tasted different than the original. Purists argue that this preference for an ice-cold martini actually ruined the overall experience.

But improper or not, who’s going to argue with someone who carries a license to kill?


Alessandro Palazzi, Barman Dukes Hotel, creator Bond Drink, “Fleming 89”.


































Skyfall censurato dal governo cinese

Skyfall”, è ormai uscito sui grandi schermi di tutto il mondo tra la fine di ottobre e i primi di novembre, ma non in Cina. Il motivo, secondo le indiscrezioni riportate dal South China Morning Post, quotidiano di Hong Kong, è stato l’intervento della censura di Pechino per il riferimento alle torture che uno dei protagonisti, l’ex 007 britannico Javier Bardem alias Raul Silva, racconta di aver subito dai servizi segreti cinesi. Il nuovo James Bond, riporta AgiChina24, sarebbe quindi caduto sotto la scure della Sarft, l’organo governativo che controlla i media e decide quali film stranieri devono rientrare tra la ventina che ogni anno può essere distribuita nelle sale cinematografiche cinesi. Il film è ambientato solo in minima parte a Macao, con alcune scene girate a Shanghai, ma di Cina parla il “cattivo” Silva quando racconta come si fosse introdotto senza l’autorizzazione di Londra nei sistemi informatici di Pechino alla vigilia del passaggio di Hong Kong alla Cina. I servizi segreti cinesi rapirono allora sei agenti britannici e ottennero in cambio la consegna della spia che fu imprigionata e torturata per sei lunghi anni dagli agenti cinesi, prima di riuscire a fuggire per poi escogitare la sua vendetta contro Londra. E’ possibile che Pechino abbia anche voluto evitare imbarazzanti collegamenti, visto che è ancora fresco lo scandalo Bo Xilai, la cui moglie è accusata per l’omicidio di un cittadino britannico, Neil Heywood, che sarebbe stato anche un informatore dell’MI6.

Skyfall entra nella storia: negli USA N.1 assoluto!

Ce l’ha fatta in appena 12 giorni. Battere 50 anni di storia, e 22 capitoli precedenti, in meno di due settimane. Skyfall è infatti diventato il miglior James Bond di sempre al box office americano, inflazione esclusa. 170,595,344 dollari incassati fino ad oggi. Sconfitti Quantum of Solace, riuscito 4 anni fa ad incassare 168,368,427 dollari, e Casino Royale, nel 2006 arrivato ai 167,445,960 dollari.
Tenendo conto dell’inflazione, il film dai maggiori incassi americani rimane ancora oggi Agente 007 – Thunderball: Operazione tuono, quarto capitolo della saga (1965), con 593,912,000 dollari, seguito da Goldfinger (1964), secondo a quota 526,422,000. Grazie ai 678,495,344 dollari incassati fino ad oggi, Skyfall è diventato il miglior 007 a livello internazionale, rilanciando così un franchise che dopo 50 anni di storia, e una terribile crisi finanziaria che sembrava averlo ucciso per sempre, è più vivo che mai.


How James Bond’s suits made 007 a style icon

“The most fashionable suits of the series are in Licence to Kill and Skyfall,” he says. “They are at the extremes because of the way they fit. Timothy Dalton’s suits in Licence to Kill were oversized (as was the trend) and Daniel Craig’s suits in Skyfall are the opposite. Though we look at Moore’s late 1970s suits and think the wide lapels and trouser flares seem really dated, they were quite tame for the time. And the suits always fit well. Daniel Craig’s suits in Skyfall, however, are much tighter and shorter than what the majority of men are wearing today. In 10 or 20 years they may look just as silly as Roger Moore’s flared trousers do now. On the other hand, Daniel Craig’s suits in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace will date very well.”
Indeed, the tightness of Craig’s trousers in Skyfall has already created a stir, and David Mason says that many of his customers are asking for a tighter Conduit suit, albeit retaining the subtlety of the original.
“We get customers who want replicas – they want exactly what Bond wore. And then of course we get people who want a modern interpretation, with similar lines and characteristics on the shoulderline and sleeve, but cut closer to the body. They don’t want pleats in the trousers – they want much slimmer lines – so that’s what we do, but maintaining the character of the garments, and using the same kind of fabrics: there’s no windowpane checks or gaudy colours or bright lining. It’s simple, pared down, timeless, classic, but refined. It’s all about getting that elegant shape.”
An elegant suit requires elegant accessories, of course, and the crisp Turnbull & Asser double-cuffed shirts, knitted silk or grenadine ties and a distinct lack of cummerbund on the tux are all crucial pieces. On tight trousers, boots look best so that the socks don’t show on the shorter cut, and a classic watch, such as Connery’s Breitling Top Time or Rolex Submariner, is essential (preferably with extra complications such as an inbuilt garrote or a Geiger counter).
So what is the Platonic ideal of a Bond suit? Spaiser puts it down to Englishness: “The classic Bond suit looks like a well-tailored English suit. Even Pierce Brosnan’s Brioni suits were made with an English flair. The Tom Ford suits in Quantum of Solace were modelled after Savile Row suits. Blues and greys, solid or subtly patterned, give the Bond look. The shirt should be white, light blue or cream, and the tie should be simple and darker than the shirt.”
For Mason, the English part comes naturally, and while lapel widths might change (ranging from a mere 7cm in Goldfinger to as much as 9.5cm in Diamonds Are Forever) there are more practical considerations. Fabrics were lightweight, for example, because Bond “could be deployed to an exotic location at a moment’s notice”, and the cut around the chest has a certain amount of drape: “Remember, he has to conceal a weapon.” Most importantly, Sean Connery’s peerless physique has to be shown to best advantage.
“It’s the natural shoulder, padded – not like the Neapolitan suit that doesn’t have anything in it all, but it’s not the heavy, square, English military shoulder. The roped sleeveheads provide a sort of lift at the top of the sleeve. And then you’ve got that suppression on the waist, for an hourglass shape, and those slim trousers. It’s effortless on him,” says Spaiser.
And that’s where bespoke comes in. Bond famously had his suits made in Savile Row where a great tailor can adapt the cut to your shape. “If you get someone who really doesn’t have any definition on their waist, you give them a little room around the chest then suppress the waist and spring it out a little over the hips, and you create the look and illusion of the bodyshape,” says Mason.



Sam Mendes could make second James Bond

Film-maker Sam Mendes could return for a further James Bond movie following the box-office success of his 007 debut Skyfall.
The Oscar-winning director is said to have been working on a plot for a follow-up, according to the regular screenwriters of the series.
Scriptwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who have worked on five instalments of the series about the suave agent, also revealed they are quitting the franchise.
Speaking during an appearance at the fourth Doha Tribeca Film Festival, Wade said: “We’re very happy to have done five Bond movies, I think we’ve gotten it to a good place.
“I know that John Logan (screenwriter) and Sam Mendes have come up with a plot for another one, which takes the pressure off because these films take up a lot of time.”


Daniel Craig becomes highest paid British actor after £31m Bond deal


The Skyfall star, 44, will be paid £31 million ($49 million) to make the next two instalments of the franchise, which are due out in 2014 and 2016.
The new deal is a big leap from his former pay cheques as James Bond – he earned £1.9million for Casino Royale in 2006 and received £4.4million for Quantum of Solace in 2008.
Craig now eclipses Sacha Baron Cohen and Robert Pattinson as the best paid British actor while the deal also makes him the highest paid James Bond to date.
Pierce Brosnan was paid £7.5million for The World Is Not Enough in 1999 and £10.3million for Die Another Day in 2002.

Sean Connery earned £10,000 for the first James Bond film, Dr No, which increased to £157,000 for From Russia With Love.
His pay packet for Diamonds are Forever in 1971 rose to £620,000 and he also took 12.5 per cent of the profits made from the film in the US.
Connery earned an average of £3million in today’s prices for each Bond film he made.
Meanwhile, Roger Moore was paid on average £6.3million in today’s prices while Timothy Dalton earned £5.4million and Brosnan received £8.7million.

Craig’s average pay cheque works out at £9.6million per film.
Skyfall has been a box office hit around the globe becoming the fastest film in the franchise to pass the £50 million mark at the box office.
It has raked in over £378 million at the box office since it was released last month.
Craig is also giving the likes of Tom Cruise and Leonardo DiCaprio a run for their money as the highest paid actors in Hollywood.
DiCaprio has earned £23million over the year up until May 2012 while Cruise was paid £47million in that time.


‘Skyfall’ China Release Date Pushed to 2013


HONG KONG — Sony Pictures’ Skyfall might be on target to hit the billion-dollar mark in global box office, but Daniel Craig’s latest outing as James Bond won’t be hitting theaters in China anytime soon.

The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Chinese authorities now are eyeing a late-January or early-February bow, a solid three months later than its original release date of Nov. 2 — the date still listed on the official James Bond website, 007.com.

Box Office Report: ‘Skyfall’ Runs Up $12.75 Million for Imax on Opening Weekend

Foreign Box Office: ‘Skyfall’ Stays Mighty Overseas; Poised to Become Highest-Grossing Bond Ever Offshore

Feng Xiaogang’s ‘Back to 1942’ to Screen at Rome Film Festival
It’s not that the authorities have problems with Skyfall’s content. The official press, including the English-language China Daily, has run quite a few wire stories about the fanfare surrounding the release of the film around the world. But the decision to push Skyfall to January could be interpreted as overtly political and protectionist, since authorities appear to be ensuring that it doesn’t overshadow big-budget Chinese releases at the box office.
Feng Xiaogang’s Back to 1942 and Lu Chuan’s The Last Supper, both the kind of lavish, state-backed historical epics that China turns out regularly, are slated for late-November releases in the country. By pushing Skyfall’s bow into the Chinese New Year theatrical window, Chinese officials might be attempting to secure bigger box office for homegrown films.
It wouldn’t be the first time. During the summer, Chinese authorities pledged to make July the “month of protecting domestic films” by bumping all international summer tentpoles out of the release schedule. This led to an unhindered run at the box office for local productions, including the action fantasy Painted Skin: Resurrection, which took in $112.4 million (700 million yuan) as it nearly monopolized screens in the country during the month of June.
As a result, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises, which opened in the U.S. and most other countries a few weeks apart in July, were released head-to-head in China on Aug. 27, a day after Prometheus also bowed in the country.
All of this calls into question whether the regime of China’s newly installed president Xi Jinping will continue to open its doors to Hollywood. After all, when Xi arrived in Los Angeles in February and announced plans to allow more foreign films to be released in China, the trip was interpreted as Beijing’s effort to bolster their leader-in-waiting’s standing as a reformer. During the visit, Xi even admitted that Saving Private Ryan and The Departed are among his favorite movies.
But just as Xi is finally installed as the Chinese Communist Party’s general secretary this week — an appointment which, in effect, seals his status as the country’s new leader — the decision to delay Skyfall’s China release suggests this change of guard might not translate into the decrease in state control that many were hoping for and expecting.


Neil Purvis e Robert Wade lasciano il franchise di 007

Ben prima dell’enorme successo di 007 – Skyfall, che a breve arriverà a 700 milioni di dollari incassati in tutto il mondo, la Sony, la MGM e la EON Productions hanno iniziato a sviluppare il 24esimo episodio della saga di James Bond, incaricando il co-sceneggiatore di Skyfall, John Logan, di scrivere la sceneggiatura.

Intervenendo in una masterclass del Doha Tribeca Film Festival, Neal Purvis e Robert Wade (che hanno scritto i primi tre film della “saga” di Daniel Craig e i due precedenti con Pierce Brosnan) hanno confermato che questa volta non torneranno alla sceneggiatura:

“Siamo molto felici di aver fatto cinque film di James Bond. Abbiamo lasciato il franchise in buone mani. Sappiamo che John Logan e Sam Mendes hanno già avuto una idea per la trama di un nuovo episodio, il che libera la produzione da un bel po’ di pressione perché ci vuole molto tempo per lavorare a questi film.”

I due hanno spiegato che inizialmente dovevano lasciare la saga dopo Quantum of Solace, ma che sono felici di aver lasciato dopo l’episodio che considerano il migliore della saga.

Qualche tempo fa, Mendes aveva spiegato di aver utilizzato tutte le sue idee per Skyfall, e che quindi se fosse stato coinvolto nello script del prossimo Bond, avrebbe preso in considerazione la possibilità di dirigerlo. Questa dichiarazione potrebbe forse voler dire che il regista rimarrà convolto anche nel prossimo film.


Daniel Kleinman: art of the title

Daniel Kleinman is a British commercial and music video director and title sequence designer.

After graduating from Hornsey Art School, he began his career in the ’80s as an illustrator, collaborating with music video directors. Since then, he has directed more than 100 videos for artists such as ZZ Top, Fleetwood Mac, Prince, and Madonna. Through the ’90s he concentrated on advertising for clients such as Guinness, X-Box, and Chrysler. Daniel has also directed TV dramas and comedies, notably Smashie and Nicey — The End Of An Era, which was BAFTA-nominated and won a Golden Rose at Montreux. He also created the title sequences for the James Bond films from 1995’s GoldenEye to 2006’s Casino Royale, and Skyfall (2012).

He has won top awards for his advertising work at Cannes, D&AD, and the New York One Show. In 2006, Daniel and fellow director Ringan Ledwidge founded the production company Rattling Stick. In 2011, the company won the top spot in the Televisual Peer Poll and in 2012, it won Production Company of the Year at the British Arrows awards for the fourth time.


Il mio Skyfall

Il riecheggiare del classico suono di tromba, quel corridoio in ombra, e la figura indefinita di un uomo, che cautamente avanza verso di noi, fino ad essere svelato da quel taglio obliquo di luce, che scopre il volto di James Bond è il brivido di eccitazione più potente di questi ultimi 4 anni.
James Bond è tornato, nel migliori dei modi.
Che film!!!
Mi aspettavo molto, ma onestamente, non bello cosi!
Certo, ero preparato, d’altronde le critiche uscite nei giorni antecedenti l’uscita si erano espresse quasi unanimemente in maniera molto positiva, ma è anche vero che, come ho avuto modo di dire altre volte, in passato, non c’è miglior critica che quella personale.
Questo è un film importante sotto tutti i punti di vista, dal regista, agli attori a tutti quelli che ci hanno lavorato. Un team colmo di premi e riconoscimenti, come solo un grande film può avere.
Il duo Broccoli Wilson, ha sempre lavorato ricercando la qualità, ma questa volta, i due, si sono superati, alzando l’asticella in un punto che sarà difficilmente raggiungibile in futuro.
Durante le due ore e venti di durata, non c’è un momento di stanca, anche durante i momenti di quiete, il film riesce ad essere coinvolgente, con un approfondimento, mai banale, dei personaggi e delle loro psicologie. Anzi, il film, ci offre, si, delle scene d’azione eccezionali, ma al contrario di molte altre volte, precedentemente, sono loro questa volta a servire l’evolversi della trama e lo sviluppo delle dinamiche psicologiche. Tutti i personaggi, sono speciali. Ci si affeziona a ciascuno di loro.
Bond in primis, messo a nudo, torchiato, destrutturato e ricomposto come mai prima, ma anche M, vera Bond lady del film, e Silva, uno strepitoso malvagio con un lato umano ed una motivazione facilmente condivisibile. Ma eccellenti sono anche i personaggi di contorno, con Severine, a mio avviso, un gradino superiore ai vari, Mallory, Eve, Kincade.
A chiudere il cerchio, una fotografia bellissima, con soluzioni cromatiche ed inquadrature da togliere il fiato, una su tutte, la scena di lotta tra Bond e Patrice, in un gioco di ombre cinesi al neon.
Ed infine, un’ovazione per Sam Mendes, che ci ha messo anima e corpo, per consegnarci questo gioiello cinematografico, e per essere riuscito a sdoganare definitivamente James Bond, agli occhi, invero spocchiosi, dei tanti critici cinematografici, che fino a ieri, si divertivano ad affossarlo e a non ritenerlo più degno di nota.
Uscendo dal cinema si è rafforzata una certezza: questo è il nuovo inizio di uno dei più grandi eroi contemporanei, ed il futuro sicuramente gli sorride.
God save Mr. Bond!!!!
Di Pierfrancesco Stenti, Vice Presidene di Le Cercle.