Monday, March 19, 2007

Post 532

Over the weekend Kevin and I watched two movies. One was Casino Royale.

The other was a 1949 flick called D.O.A. which is part of The Ultimate Film Noir Collection.

If you’re looking for people to gush over the latest Bond you’ll find plenty of sites online where people are praising it. For me, it was a movie that had all the components to give it great potential, which made the fact that it didn’t work for me even more disappointing. I feel absolutely certain Bond must have been a champion runner. I had no issues with Daniel Craig, but overall found the movie to be uneven. There were abrupt scene cuts that were disorienting. In one scene in the high stakes card game they leave for a break, then return, and no sooner has Bond sat down at the table than –snap- now he’s walking down the hall for another break. Bad editing.

And the cheesiest love lines I’ve heard in a long time. Kevin and I were both howling. When I recovered I went to drink some lemon juice, it was so nauseatingly sweet.

Great action, especially in the first half of the movie. One nagging question I won’t put here because it would be a huge spoiler, and really, it’s only one of many. That was the thing. I would ask Kevin something and we’d try to sort it, and couldn’t come up with the answer. I watched 99% of the movie, but left right before the end. So, for me, not a hit. I have no idea how it compares to the book, this is just my opinion, one which many people will disagree with. Next time I have the flu I might watch it again to see if it improves on me, but no instant hit.

On the other hand, I watched D.O.A. with no expectations. I’d never heard of this movie before, and I don’t want to say too much here because I don’t want to ruin it, but it has an intriguing plot premise. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen something like this done before. Frank Bigelow goes on a holiday, only to discover he’s been poisoned and has only at most a few days to live. Frank is determined to find out who is responsible for his death, and in a frantic race against the clock pursues leads until his murder is solved.

This movie engaged me all the way through. Sure, there are things about the time that are enough to make me roll my eyes (like the way women behaved) but that’s how things were and certainly isn’t the fault of bad writing.

This movie is rated: Questionable For Children. I love that, and I'm not making it up.

My feelings about these two movies left me thinking about how much more likely it is we’ll be disappointed when there’s a lot of positive hype around something. When you hear nothing but good your expectations get ramped up to a point where you might be impossible to please. I have never not liked a Bond movie before. I mean, there have been decent ones and ones that were good and some that were great, but I’ve never watched one and said That was a waste or Huh? Okay, I’ve also not seen them all, but I’ve probably seen at least 10 of them. And this time I was glad I hadn’t gone to see the movie in the theatre.

Any of you have that happen to you? You really look forward to something and then find it’s a disappointment? Or by contrast decide to try something you haven't heard of and really enjoy it?

SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES received another nice mention by Daniel Hatadi when he was invited to discuss his recent reads. I am nowhere near the level of John Connolly, Charlie Huston or Jess Walter – this girl has a lot of growing and learning to do – but being mentioned in the same discussion with them is a real compliment.

And, in other news, 20 years ago today a fictional legend was born: The first Rebus book was published.


Anonymous said...

I feel the same way about Casino Royale. I liked it kinda er sort of lacked, something. I did see Apocalypto without really wanting to and was very surprised...I liked it a lot, very well done. Mel may be a idiot when drinking maybe even when not but he seems to know how to make a movie.
After seeing Hotel Rwanda recently, I also saw "Sometime in Spring" it is devastating and will stay with you a long long time.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention that Dennis Quaid did a remake of DOA about 10 years ago it was pretty good from what I remember.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Casino Royale is that Daniel Craig is not James Bond. He just is not smooth enough.

I think the last film I was really disappointed by was The Village. I mean it was M. Night, it had Joaquin, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver-it should have been awesome but it sucked. I didn't even bother with Lady in the Water. norby

Sandra Ruttan said...

Okay, I'm adding Apocalypto and Sometime in Spring to my list to watch, and I had no idea there was a DOA remake. I'd like to see that.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Norby, I thought DC could work from the premise that this was Bond on his first 00 mission. I agree in the earlier part of the movie he wasn't smooth in the way I would expect. But I thought he had potential, as long as you looked at it from the position of this being the first Bond movie.

If this was a carry-over of the other movies then I'd feel differently. I loved Pierce Brosnan, although I think I'm alone in having him as my favourite. Well, except for Kevin, who tells me PB was his favourite as well.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot on IMDB but this is the one I meant.

Anonymous said...

You're not alone Sandra, I like Pierce Brosnan too. I'm not really a Bond fan though-I mainly watch the new ones for Pierce and to see Judi Dench in action.

I did have the same thought about Daniel, it's the beginning, so Bond wouldn't be quite as polished. The question is can Craig grow into the smooth sociopath that Bond is? I haven't seen too many of Craig's films so I don't know. norby

Sandra Ruttan said...

Thanks Sand Storm - I'll check it out.

Norby, I'm not sure, I haven't seen too many of Daniel Craig's other movies either... if any. I don't consider myself a real big Bond fan either - we usually watch them on DVD when they come out, but we usually do enjoy them. I think Tomorrow Never Dies is the last one I saw in the theatre.

It would be nice to see Bond try to do something other than seduce his way to information too. If we were discussing books no doubt people would be flipping out about character growth!

Nice points on Crimespace about criticism, btw.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Maybe you did have to be a big DC fan to really get into it. I love Pierce Brosnan but not so much as Bond. He's still Remington Steele for me. And I like him more when he's palying against type.
Try DC in Layer Cake or The Mother or Munich. DOA is a great one.

Sandra Ruttan said...

What else has DC been in?

Eileen said...

I liked Casino Royale- but I didn't have high expectation. The cheese factor worked for me- given the Bond feel to it. I loved DOA which I saw in a film class.

Judy said...

I had the same experience with Titanic.... I didn't see it for a while after it came out and everyone was just raving about it. When I finally DID see it, I was... huh? It was okay. I enjoyed it, but I really think all the hype left me feeling a bit let down.

We love watching old movies and have found some really neat ones on Fox Movie Channel and Turner Classic Movies.

Bill, the Wildcat said...

I can actually say that I enjoyed "Casino Royale" quite a lot. For me, it basically met my expectations. I'd be lying if I didn't admit to loving the Bond movies (with the exception of most of Roger Moore's). For me, I was just glad to see a much grittier Bond. The series has really needed that touch.

I'm glad to see the women in the Bond films improving somewhat. Even though "Casino Royale" didn't really allow for the women to get their hands dirty as in some of the more recent films, they weren't quite as bad as a lot of the past Bond women, in my opinion. I think in this one, I would have liked a little more about the bad guys behind everything that happens in the film.

For me, I mainly love having a new David Arnold movie score to listen to. I'd already listened to the score to "Casino Royale" quite a lot before seeing the film, so it was fun to see how it fit with the visuals when I bought the DVD earlier this month.

I would say Pierce Brosnan was probably my favorite Bond, too, but I actually think Craig has a lot of potential. I think Craig's Bond is different enough to where it won't really compare with the previous versions.