Movie Reviews (such as they are)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Casino Royale: contains spoilers

First, to my ever-dwindling band of readers, sorry for the hiatus. No wonder my numbers have dropped, right? Anyway, I have a huge list of reviews to do, but I'll start with last night's movie: Casino Royale.

You may or may not know, but traditionally I hate James Bond films. From a childhood glimpse of Live and Let Die, I knew this was not a genre for me. It was like a bad episode of The Dukes of Hazzard... and that's bad. And I don't mean bad as in good, ya dig?

But big things were promised by the new Bond for the third millennium. A gritty, back-to-basics kind of anti-hero. I'm not one to hold a grudge, so I figured I'd give it a go.

Well, y'know, it wasn't worth it. An hour in and I still didn't know what the fuck was going on. Something to do with money and African freedom fighters. And espionage of some sort. Or something.

Then there was some poker. I love poker. Big fan of poker. Love playing a game of hold 'em. Didn't so much love Giancarlo Giannini's constant narration for the uninitiated in the audience. But I suppose it was necessary.

Then, all of a sudden James Bond is declaring his undying love for this colleague he met like two days ago. He wants to quit the biz and settle down. Um, did I miss something? Was there a missing reel? (I rather hope not, since by this point the film had been running for about nine days.) "He must be playing her," I say. "He can't be in love with her. He's stringing her along. No?" But he wasn't. He really did love Vesper. Oh, puh-lease. Who wrote this shit?!

Sure, you might say, "Well, Bond is about action, not dialogue." Yeah, well the action scenes were boring, man. Like five, six, seven minutes of a couple of guys tussling and chasing and shooting. Very dull viewing.

I don't know. I came to this with a very open mind. I had high hopes, in fact. But not too high: it was still Bond, after all. But I was disappointed. The acting was so-so across the board; the script was really quite bad; and the action was dull. It just didn't sizzle.

As the new Bond, Daniel Craig was reasonably appealing, though I think he's too much of a beefcake. But the Bond girls weren't sexy or interesting. The great Mads Mikkelsen made a good stab at villain Le Chiffre, but he wasn't given enough to do and ended up being killed off too early. And the ending was predictable: that Vesper had stitched up Bond.

Oh well. This was a boring, naff movie. A Royale with too much cheese, if you will.

Acting: 9
Story: 5
Direction: 9
Enjoyment: 11
Involvement: 10
Total: 44

Coming soon: The Edukators, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources, Little Miss Sunshine, Volver, The Weather Man, Red Road, Hollywoodland, Thank You for Smoking, Mark of Cain, Cronos, Sunset Blvd., Requiem, Baise-Moi, A Self-Made Hero, Sheitan (aka Satan)

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