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All reviews - Movies (1) - Books (48)

Bond is back.

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 16 November 2006 07:49 (A review of Casino Royale)

I don't have time to write a long review, so I'll just throw down a few quick thoughts for those thinking of going to see the new bond film 'Casino Royale'.

Firstly, this is the best action film I’ve seen for a long time, probably the best bond film by some way, and Daniel Craig may end up being the franchises best leading man as well.

The film does indeed differ from its predecessors, but is still very much Bond. If anything the thing that stops this film from being even better is the constant comparisons you find yourself making whilst watching. In my case this was increased by having recently read the original novel. This turned out to be a mistake, as whilst the film differs in many respects from the book, I was forewarned of a number of the plot twists.

There was a lot of pressure on Daniel Craig when he took over as Bond, and a lot of rather foolish criticism, and ill-informed talk about him not being up to the physical side of the role. Quite the opposite turns out to be the truth. As for all his credentials as the most ‘heavyweight’ Bond, in terms of acting talent, it’s in the actions sequences where he is truly outstanding. Not only has Craig bulked up for the role, but he plays a Bond with an almost Terminator attitude to getting the job done. Craig’s Bond is relentless, and the first hour of the film, which is mostly action, sees very little dialogue, but a more exacting physical performance than any of his predecessors turned in.

Whilst some of the lessor characters have the 2-D quality of Bond films of old, the main protagonists are much more developed. The relationship between Bond and the two leading ladies, M and Vesper Lynne are given more screen time than usual. This leads to some excellent scenes between Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Eva Green. Stripped of most of the corny one-liners, the dialogue has much more depth than in previous films, whilst still retaining enough humour to remind you of past glories.

Thankfully the plot is much more fleshed out than the novel it was based on, whilst retaining some of the darker side of the job than Fleming wrote about. My only real criticism is that the Casino scenes do slow things down, leading to the makers feeling the need to up the action a little too much at the end of the film. Personally I ‘d have preferred them to really take a risk with the ‘new Bond’ and finish in a much more low-key manner, concentrating on the consequences of what has happened to them. In the end I think they played things down as much as they could.

All in all this is an excellent film and I’m looking forward to see what Craig does with the character next.

K-S


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Playing for Keeps by Alex Stewart

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 1 November 2006 08:08 (A review of Playing for Keeps: The Autobiography of Alec Stewart)

Bog standard sporting autobiography, seems to have been written without disturbing the author’s sleep patterns.

K-S


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Pelagia & The White Bulldog - Boris Akun

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 1 November 2006 08:07 (A review of Pelagia and the White Bulldog: The First Sister Pelagia Mystery)

I'd already read four of Akunin's Fandorin series, so I knew what to expect from this, a good old fashioned detective story with a bit more meat on the bones than usual and a turn of the 19/20th century Russian setting.

K-S


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A clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 1 November 2006 08:06 (A review of A Clockwork Orange)

Put this book off for to long as I thought the slang would make it a pain to read. Turns out most of it is anglicized Russian and even my, very, basic grasp on that language allowed me to read it with ease. It's a classic, but we all kinda know that.

K-S


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Eats Shoots & Leaves - Lynne Truss

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 1 November 2006 08:05 (A review of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation)

Take away the overly strained attempts at humour and you're left with a reasonable punctuation guide, which I should have read more carefully.

K-S


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Scenes from the Bathhouse

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 1 November 2006 08:04 (A review of Scenes from the Bathhouse: And Other Stories of Communist Russia (Ann Arbor Paperbacks))

Soviet era b@st@rd son of Gogol. Humorous short stories, more like sketches actually, which have aged a bit too much.

K-S


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Ideas That Changed the World

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 1 November 2006 08:03 (A review of Ideas That Changed the World)

178 inventions, political & philosophical ideas all jazzed up with pretty pictures to make a coffee table book for the chattering classes. I liked it.

K-S


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White and Red by Dorota Maslowska

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 1 November 2006 08:02 (A review of White and Red)

Potty-mouth Polish Journalist writes potty-mouthed Druggy novel. So Potty-mouthed I decided to read it again.

K-S


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Dog of the South by Charles Portis

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 1 November 2006 08:00 (A review of The Dog of the South)

Not quite to the standard of 'True Grit' but still a solid, if quirky read. A modern day, well 50's, western come road movie in book form.

K-S


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The Compromise by Sergi Dovlatov

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 1 November 2006 07:59 (A review of The Compromise)

Comic stories of working as a journalist in 1970’s Estonian. You think your countries newspapermen drink too much? Pah! Amateurs!

K-S


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