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Saw the new James Bond flick last week, Casino Royale. The new guy, Daniel Craig, brings a fierceness to the role that had been missing. The plot is good - not too over the top and has a bit of mystery to it. The Bond girl, Eva Green, is intriguing but lacks the sex appeal of previous Bond girls. In fact, the opening title sequence, famous for featuring silhouettes of naked women, already sets the tone by featuring only Bond himself. A minor complaint, and one of only three.
There's a long poker playing sequence in the middle that absolutely DRAGS. I don't know if they're playing to the recent poker fad, but for most of us it was A) boring, B) confusing, even with the constant explanations provided by an onlooker.
There's also a big of love story that is handled awkwardly. It's not entirely believable. And if there's one thing I loved about Bond was there are so few moments where you even WANT the movie to dip into believability.
This one tries and succeeds, enjoyably for most of the flick, except in the awkward love scenes.
Complaints aside, if you like Bond you'll probably enjoy this one and it's worth seeing on the big screen for the opening chase sequence alone.
In other movie news, we got this from degenerate RVI :
Robert Altman is dead.
He made art in a world that couldn’t give a bigger damn about art or artists. He made his films his way; he worked constantly, he experimented.
Every film was as much an experiment as a pre-planned journey with a well-defined destination. The idea you get watching his films is that, yes, eventually we'll get to the end of the tale, but after a while that's not really the thing -- the thing is all of the amazing characters and their lives and worlds.
Read Ring Lardner, Jr.’s script for M*A*S*H and then watch the film. Altman took words – good enough to be certain -- then translated them into something far more than they could ever have been on their own.
All by thinking of the script as a rough map within which he allowed his ensemble cast to run amok, departing from the lines before returning awhile, only to depart again.
All by using the microphones in such fashion that they don’t distinguish between the three, five, ten separate conversations going on at one time before someone delivers the punch line that draws them all back to face the same direction.
All by allowing the actors to speak simultaneously and at cross purposes; from this chaos, like any good demiurge, he brought forth a special sort of order, the special sort we call art. He gave us poignant, sad, hilarious scenes, everything running at separate speeds, simultaneously; and he always ends up telling one unified story.
There is all the difference in the world between a Jackson Pollock painting and paint thrown at random on a canvas. There is all the difference between Dizzy Gillespie tearing up the horn and some drunk noodling away with no genius or passion. There is all the difference in the world between William S. Burroughs’ "Naked Lunch," with its cut-up passages and kaleidoscopic imagery and the work of an amateur gluing together passages without deeper intention or inspiration.
And there is all the difference in the art and the multiple perspective cinema created by Altman and just standing a bunch of actors in front of cameras to let them ham it up. He knew when to exert control and when not to do so; he knew when to step back, watch, and let the players play. He knew when to edit and why. He knew how to make labor look effortless, and that is always the mark of a master and a past master.
Robert Altman was a past master of the art of cinema: not the business of moviemaking, which has nothing to do with art, but of the art of cinema. Go get yourself a copy of "Nashville," sit back and allow the man to show you the world the way the angels must see it in its simultaneous beauty, absurdity, hilarity -- in its humanity. Let Altman show you who you are and you’ll know why we’re poorer for the loss of his eye and sensibility, but richer for the fact he was at least here for 81 years making movies.
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