Archives for posts with tag: Daniel Craig

The James Bond series gets a fresh start with “Casino Royale.”  There is no Q, M is a woman (Judi Dench), the female lead (Eva Green) doesn’t have an outrageous name (e.g., Dr. Goodhead, Pussy Galore), Felix Leiter is a black dude, and Bond (Daniel Craig) doesn’t have Bond gadgets.  It’s a stark contrast to the dozens of Bond movies of the past, but it wouldn’t be a fresh start if it was the same old stuff, right?

Have no fear, Bond fans, there’s enough of the Bond DNA in “Casino Royale” to make you happy.  Let’s start with the villain: Mads Mikkelsen (what a hell of a first name for a Bond villain!) plays some type of investment banker for terrorists/dictators.  He makes a really bad trade in the stock market and loses the bad guys’ money.  Not wanting to be chopped up into teeny pieces by his “investors,” Mikkelsen decides to play high-stakes poker in a place called Casino Royale, where the buy-in is $10 million and there will be ten players.  Fancying himself as a math genius and a great poker player, Mikkelsen expects to win the entire pot and have enough money to pay off his debts.

As for our hero, Craig, he throws a monkey wrench in everything that the villain does; and he does it with great style and the cocky attitude that we’ve all come to expect from the spy with the license to kill.

One very strange thing about “Casino Royale” that makes it stand out from the previous Bond flicks: the movie is structured so that there are two separate plots, the first taking place in the first hour (the attack on a new airline to make its stock plummet) and the second (the Casino Royale poker tournament and its aftermath) taking place in the last hour and twenty minutes.  From a technical standpoint, this is a mistake as it violates the standard, tried and true, three act structure of screenplays.  I noticed the sudden change of pace as the movie transitioned from plot one to plot two, going from the wild ride of an outrageous, roller coaster to the mild, slow turns of a tea cup ride for toddlers and tweens.   Fortunately, there were enough bits of juicy dialogue between Craig and Eva Green, and short but intense action scenes that kept the movie from flatlining at the halfway mark.  Bottom line: the unorthodox structure was a big gamble that paid off…kind of fitting considering what the second plot is about.

Third place for my memorable moments of this movie is the introduction of the gorgeous, powerful, Aston Martin DBS.  This is the real Bond girl, as far as I’m concerned!

Second place goes to the scene when Craig meets Eva Green’s character for the first time, and they have a verbal exchange that no Bond movie of the past can touch.  This is screenwriting excellence.

First place for my most memorable, movie moment of “Casino Royale” is the scene when Craig is captured by Mikkelsen, stripped naked and put on a chair that has the seat cut out so Craig’s babymaker is hanging out in the cold.  Mikkelsen wants information, Craig just gives him a f@*k off look.  Mikkelsen then hits Craig in his privates with a weight attached to a rope…multiple times!  Oh…my…God…this scene makes me cringe and cross my legs every time I see it!  I would’ve caved.  I would have told the bad guy everything he wanted to know!  I would’ve admitted to killing Kennedy, that I know where the lost city of Atlantis is, where Al Capone’s secret vault is (you know, the one that Geraldo Rivera couldn’t find), whatever the hell he wanted to hear!  Just leggo my eggos!

Obviously I wouldn’t make a good spy; but Daniel Craig makes a great James Bond, and “Casino Royale” is a very good reincarnation of the Bond series.

— M

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Ever heard of the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover?”  Well, don’t judge a movie by its title.   I thought this movie was part comedy due to the title, and I was wrong.  Yes, there are some funny moments here and there, but overall this is a serious, Western/Sci-Fi movie.  The opening scene sets the tone for this movie, where several men are quickly killed in a brutal fashion.  That pretty much ruined my notion that I was watching a Western/Sci-Fi/Comedy.

“Cowboys & Aliens” is about an alien race that comes to the western part of the U.S. back in the 1800s to seek that which they deem to be rare and valuable.  The humans get in their way and so they are killed or kidnapped for experimentation.  Cowboys, being rough and tumble and not taking crap from anyone, decide to look for where the aliens are holed up and lynch every single one of them.  There’s a problem with that idea though.  The aliens are much more advanced technologically and physically.

The movie stars Daniel Craig, and we first see him waking up with a nasty wound to his side and wearing a gaudy looking bracelet on his left wrist that even Liberace wouldn’t wear.  Is he human?  Is he an alien?  Is he a Western fruit cake?  Even Craig doesn’t know, as he has amnesia.  We find out later that the Chandler Bing, Liberace House of Crap bracelet is actually an alien weapon that he got by accident.   How Craig got the weapon is one of the stupid things in this movie.  Basically an alien takes off his bracelet weapon and places it next to the wrist of Craig, his prisoner.  Why?  You tell me, dude.

How can an alien race so advanced as to build spaceships do something so retarded as leave their weapon next to the hands of their prisoners?  It makes no sense right?  But then again having advanced technology doesn’t always come with common sense.  We humans have built spaceships.  And we do the most stupid things like: believe what our politicians promise us; readily give up our freedoms that millions have fought and suffered for just to feel a little more safe; ingest things that we know will give us cancer; buy more than what we need and so we end up in debt for the rest of our lives; spend so much of our free time watching tv shows that keep us distracted from the real news that is happening all around us, etc., etc.

So, Craig teams up with Harrison Ford (who plays a mean, old fart who always looks like he’s trying to pass hard stool) and other cowboys and one cowgirl and a bunch of Chiricahua Apaches to rescue the people who have been kidnapped, get payback, and keep the aliens from invading the rest of the U.S.  There are a lot of action, a body count of maybe 3 dozen and  vicious and gory kills.  This movie is not for the rugrats.

My most memorable, movie moment is the scene where — spoiler alert here — one of the main characters comes back to life.  It turns out this person is not human, but part of an alien race that has been invaded and almost wiped out by the aliens invading Earth.

I like this movie.  Not enough to buy it, but enough to watch it one or two more times.   It’s not “Unforgiven” nor is it “Alien,” but it is good entertainment.

M

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