Monday, 30 April 2007
Still one of the funniest shows on TV but sadly I found this series relied too much on purile sexual innuendo and sensationalist bad taste humour. It all felt a little low-rent compared to the superior first two series.
Friday, 27 April 2007
Tuesday, 24 April 2007
Thursday, 19 April 2007
Wednesday, 18 April 2007
(Watched with audio commentary by Director/co-writer Piers Haggard, co-writer Robert Wynne-Simmons and actress Linda Hayden. Commentary moderated by Jonathan Sothcott)
Commentary Rating: 8/10
Tuesday, 17 April 2007
Monday, 16 April 2007
Sunday, 15 April 2007
Friday, 13 April 2007
I thought Casino Royale was a solid and professional effort. It was the almost universally positive reviews (many from non-Bond fans to boot) that piqued my interest in this film.
Personally, I thought the Bond franchise was dead and buried after the Brosnan era, so the makers of Casino Royale do deserve a lot of credit for taking some brave decisions in an effort to re-imagine the Bond formula for the 21st Century.
I liked the contemporary setting and modern trappings of the film and understand why - having attached Daniel Craig to the picture - they went all out for a more rugged and muscular Bond. However, in my mind James Bond will always be blue-eyed, dark haired and intellectually attuned rather than the action-hero cypher, I felt Craig ended up being for most of the film. Although, I suspect this change of emphasis in Casino Royale is due to the desire to get back to a back-to-basics, no wisecracks, more believable-type Bond based more on Ian Fleming's original creation.
As an actor Craig is more than capable of delivering a good performance so I had no problems with him being Bond before I watched the film. Unfortunately, having watched it I was a little disappointed. It is just like I said for me personally, I prefer a little more going on upstairs and some wry wordplay over lots of running and jumping with explosions in the background. My memory of this film mainly consists of Craig trying too hard to put on a "I'm a tough guy face" for fear of cracking a smile or showing any emotional warmth and thus undoing the macho persona.
That said, Casino Royale was the best Bond film I can recall seeing in years - I haven't been a fan since I was a young child - and I appreciate the script's efforts to offer explanation for Bond's (now socially unacceptable) future promiscuity and misuse of women by showing us how he loved and lost in the form of Eva Green's character (a very lukewarm performance in my opinion, again because I believed the hype - she is though a beautiful and gifted actress) back when it all began.
In the end, I find the Bond character to be an anachronism and don't think the film makers have completely overcome that yet. I am optimistic that Craig will be allowed to grow in a more nuanced representation of Fleming's protagonist and Craig has the ability to make the role his own.
However, my personal taste is not for action moves and I found myself drifting off during many of the numerous action sequences with little compulsion to piece together the narrative for myself in between. That said my concentration may have been impaired due to a large dinner and two bottles of wine shared with the girlfriend.
I would like to see the Uncut version of the film and do intend to watch Casino Royale again at some point. Although I doubt I'll be adding it to the DVD Wishlist just yet.
Wednesday, 11 April 2007
Monday, 9 April 2007
Saturday, 7 April 2007
I watched this film tonight with the girlfriend. Both of us were gripped and enthralled from start to finish. The real stand-out aspects for me were Clive Owen giving a genuinely accomplished performance and best of all the superb cinematography. Yes, the film is quite dark in places and very drab colour scheme wise but that frayed urban feel really captures the current zeitgeist of defeat and despair inherent to late-capitalist society.
The hand-held camera aesthetic, often over done in the hands of a less capable director and crew, was masterfully handled especially in the long continuous shot inside the building in the refugee slum. I also felt that whilst bordering on the over-stated the momentary halt brought to the bloodletting between the "terrorists" and the army by the sight of Owen and Key bringing out the crying baby summed up visually the films thematic core. That of human life, whatever its ethnicity, is something to be valued and treated with respect. A lesson history tells us we've yet to learn and inevitably never will as our supposed civilised society flounders from one bloody conflict to another. One only has to reflect on our own growing tendency in Britain to shoot, stab and murder our own neighbours in both city and countryside.
On a negative note though I did find the ending a little too abrupt and it highlighted my main criticism of the film over all. Whilst Director Alfonso Cuarón may wish to bring the background to the foreground and really tell the story through images I felt this technique contributed to a lack of depth being given to the main characters. However, this is just a personal response as I was moved by the film (the isolated school scene in particular) and could have even been moved to tears I suspect if the characters had engaged my sympathy to a greater degree by the film allowing me to get to know them better.
Oh well, guess I’ll have to buy the original novel by PD James...