Vern hearts Daniel Craig and CASINO ROYALE… read his love letter here!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here to quickly introduce Vern’s review of CASINO ROYALE… and his admission of the huge mancrush he has for Daniel Craig. I saw the movie last night myself and you can add my name onto the “loved it” lists… Eva Green is the pretty and Daniel Craig could kill Cancer. Good stuff… but you didn’t click on this headline to hear me talk. Here’s the main man, Vern!

Fellas –

I liked CASINO ROYALE too. (review ends here if you’re one of those dicks who always complains that my reviews are too long)

Casino RoyaleThis is coming from the perspective of a non-James Bond fan. People are always trying to get me to watch them, especially my buds Paul and Tom at Her Majesty’s Secret Servant, who got me to review a couple for them a while back. I can understand the appeal, I like jetpacks as much as the next guy, but these movies are not really my thing. And to me the Pierce Brosnans quickly turn into snoozefests where you only perk up to groan at the worse-than-Schwarzenegger punmanship. The ridiculous action scenes I can get into (gotta love that GOLDENEYE opening) and the character names (how could Denise Richards playing a scientist named Dr. Christmas Jones not be fun? well, they pulled it off). But to me it’s mostly the same old shit over and over again with an indestructible super stud doing magical deeds and screwing beautiful women and they lust after him so much they put up with his painful sense of humor. And we’re supposed to like this guy. Well, I don’t.

So when they had that controversy going about the casting of Daniel Craig I had to laugh. Was that a made up story or were there really James Bond fans pissing their pants over the color of his hair? It’s not like it’s pink or nothin, blond is a perfectly reasonable color of hair for a secret agent. I don’t have any inside info but according to my research it is very possible that a blond man could be a secret agent in some countries. Well shit, even if it WAS pink, I had no interest in another god damn James Bond movie. I wasn’t gonna see another Pierce Brosnan with another clunky title to mix up with the other ones (I can only keep them straight as The One With Michelle Yeoh, The One With Halle Berry, etc.). They supposedly wanted a fresh start but they got the writers of the last couple, the director of GOLDENEYE, they actually turned down Tarantino wanting to adapt this particular book and then gave it to their usual guys so that bridge would be permanently burned.

But then they got Daniel Craig. I haven’t even seen LAYER CAKE, but he was definitely 2005 best supporting badass for MUNICH. They got Eric Bana in his best role since CHOPPER and this guy still steals the movie. When Bond-nerds (who, it turns out, exist) said they were gonna boycott I figured no big deal, the studio’ll be trading their money for money from people like me who didn’t go to the other ones.

And that’s what this is I think, this is more like the James Bond movie for people who don’t like that other shit. I don’t think it’s Pierce Brosnan’s fault, but Daniel Craig, and especially Daniel Craig in this story, is a WAY more interesting character in my opinion. He’s not a suave super-being, he’s a regular fuckin badass. He’s a man’s man. You believe this guy can fight. At some points early on I was thinking fuck Bond, I want this guy to play Parker. This guy can handle himself. And he can be arrogant and have it come across as part of his game. Brosnan just seemed like a stuck up prick.

Of course, he has good reasons to be cocky. I think part of why I don’t get into Bond is because he has too much at his disposal. Any gadget he wants, any woman he wants, any law of physics he chooses to defy, no problem. Money is no object, laws are no obstacle, the government’s got his back, and if he needs to he can fly around the earth really fast to go back in time. I’m more of a John McClane man. I want to see an underdog scrapping, one guy overcoming the odds. In a world where whatever whatever, only one man can etc. etc. Well, this James Bond is a little closer to that type of character. He’s just become “007” in the opening scene. Nobody expects him to live long. His boss D.J. Dench (best known for CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK) thinks he’s a fuckup, and he actually has to break into her house and computer files to get the information he needs. The only high-tech gadgets he gets to use are for medical purposes. He does drive the fancy Aston Martin, but only after winning it in a poker game. Before that he drives a Ford. (I wish it was a junker with Bondo all over it, like a Ride that has yet to be Pimped, but this will do.)

Yes, this is a starting out story. Apparently it is based on the first James Bond book by Ian Fleming, which must’ve been really ahead of its time considering all the uses of cell phones and the reference to 9-11. It’s nice because it’s a good thriller but not in that same James Bond template we’re so used to. There is no big doomsday plot. The main part of his mission is just to win a poker game. Apparently this is a compromise from the original novel, where it was a more obscure card game I never heard of. I agree that it’s lame to change it, but oh well. At least they didn’t switch it to Uno. Or Trivial Pursuits ’80s Edition.

There is alot of other stuff going on, which makes the long poker game somehow suspenseful. It’s funny to hear the audience gasp when the cards are laid down, as if they really got those hands. It’s a movie, people, of course somebody got an ace. One thing I can’t figure out though is why only Bond or eye-damaged-asthmatic-villain-guy ever win. What about all these other dudes? Jeffrey Wright (the new Joe Don Baker)? Overweight guy? Asian guy? Somebody else should win occasionally. It’s not fair.

You might’ve heard Paul Haggis is one of the three credited writers. I have done my fair share of Haggis-bashing, though not as much as Moriarty (I liked MILLION DOLLAR BABY). But fair is fair, this movie is not Haggish. There are no big embarrassing speeches. In fact, for the first 2/3 or so of the movie they do a great job of avoiding unnecessary dialogue, instead explaining everything visually. Especially fun is Bond chasing a bomb-maker played by Sebastien Foucan (who gets a special credit for “free running stunts”). This is cool because it takes advantage of the “free running” or “parkour” or “climbing and jumping on shit” made popular in DISTRICT B-13 but originally seen in YAMAKASI (different style that includes flips) and CREMASTER 3 (style where he has a napkin in his mouth). It’s just a long, thrilling chase, no talking, lots of hurting. You gotta figure though that neither Bond or this bomb-maker are all that smart. Because first of all, the guy runs up a crane. Second of all, Bond chases him up the crane. But what did either of them think he was gonna do when he got to the top of the crane? That is exactly the place you don’t run when you’re getting chased. How many poor bastards have, for whatever fucked up reason, wound up stuck on top of a crane or an electric tower or some place like that, and then the fire department has to get them down like a cat stuck in a tree in a movie? In Seattle this happens about once a year – one year it was a topless fire swallower protesting something or other, this year I think it was a drunk guy waving a flag on the 4th of July. What usually happens, they get stuck. It would’ve been funny to see Bond just have to wait for the guy to come down. But I guess he knew what was coming.

I got the impression some of the audience was laughing incredulously at some of these jumps, like it was just too ridiculous. But I think most of them were real! Sure, most of the stuff on the cranes is obviously fake, but there’s some other ones that are the real deal, which is nice for this series. Grounds it in reality a little bit.

Of course they’re not always running and jumping, they do occasionally stop to have characters talk to each other. Since they’re trying to reinvent the series though, this is dangerous. The director, Martin Campbell, also did GOLDENEYE, where the writers seemed way too concerned with justifying the existence of super spies after the Cold War. That got tiresome, so I guess there’s the silver lining in the current state of the world: less self-conscious dialogue in James Bond movies. The terrorists have already won. No explanations needed, just mention that the bad guys are terrorists and you’re set. There’s even one reference to 9-11 and it surprised me – they mention those infamous stock transactions by the anonymous people who bet against the right airlines right before 9-11. That’s a weird mystery I never thought would be mentioned in a James Bond movie. (I hope the next one mentions that they never caught the anthrax killer.) There’s also a sexually humiliating torture scene that reminds one of Abu Ghraib (or maybe HOSTEL). Unfortunately the villain mentions that he doesn’t like to do big complicated tortures, a rare case of overly self-conscious “see, this is different from those old James Bond movies” dialogue. And of course they gotta have nods to the various Bond trademarks (shaken not stirred, all that shit) but it mostly works and at least one is put in a context that makes it completely badass.
Of course you got characters over-explaining the card game, and other things going on late in the movie. But it’s not too bad and I don’t blame Haggis. There are some corny lines, but only a small fraction of the amount you’d expect in a Brosnan. I don’t know what to make of that “perfectly formed ass” line you saw in the trailers. Somebody asked me how she knew if he had a perfectly formed ass anyway, because he’s sitting down in this scene. I figure it was probaly in his file, though.

The ass-admirer is played by Eva Green. She’s a great Bond girl because she’s got the super-hotness and what not but she seems more human than the others. Toward the end there is suddenly a surprisingly long romance portion of the movie that seems a little forced at first, but by the time it comes to its inevitable bad turn (spoiler, if you’ve never seen a movie before or heard a story) you actually give a shit or two for her and, as far as these things go, it’s pretty moving. But if you don’t want an actual character for the Bond girl don’t worry, there’s another girl who is introduced in a bikini riding a horse on the beach. So there’s something for everybody.

The one thing I didn’t understand about Eva Green is what her name was supposed to mean. Vesper Lynd? That’s not a sex act, is it? Her name should’ve been Ibetta Rentthedreamersnow.

So there’s alot of reasons why I dug this movie more than other James Bonds, but what it all comes down to is the thing that got me interested in the first place, Daniel Craig. To my ignorant eyes he’s the best Bond hands down. He’s as cool as Brosnan, as manly as Connery, but more complicated than any of them. He has more going on behind his eyes. His emotions are repressed, which means he actually has emotions. He’s this cold-hearted bastard but then he does something nice to somebody and you realize there is something close to three dimensions here. AND he knows how to chase a guy up a crane. It’s good stuff.

I guarantee you most of those skeptics will be won over as soon as they see the movie. If you want them to go in and CGI some brown hair on him I’m sure they could do that for the DVD, but I bet you’ll realize it’s not needed. The only downside is he’ll probaly get stuck doing mostly James Bond for years and years, and we’ll miss out on seeing him in other roles. But that’s okay, I’ll watch these.




Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/30748

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58 Responses to “Vern hearts Daniel Craig and CASINO ROYALE… read his love letter here!!!”

  1. “Ibetta Rentthedreamersnow”


  2. Vern,

    I re-visited your review of CR. Well done, I completely agree, Craig is great in the role.

    It’s disheartening to be reading and hearing about the Bond series being on hiatus based on MGM’s financial woes. It would be terrible for the series to lose Craig, which is a distinct possibility.

    To those jackass “fans” who ridiculously criticized the choice of Craig (because he’s blonde?!) before even seeing the fucking movie, let’s see how well EON does in finding a worthy replacement.

    Your bud,

    PS – I also gave CASINO ROYALE a very positive review – http://www.hmss.com/films/CasinoRoyale/zielinskireview.htm

  3. sorry to turn this into hidden out of date debate on choice of actor to be james bond, but I can’t resisit: I too think that Craig is a very good james bond. hell, he easily might be the best impersonator ever (out of those that did him), even though I still think Jude Law IS the real james bond. Craig has the physique that can pull off all those stunts, and an unreadable face; on the other hand, he seems not easy to miss on the street, because I think he must be 3m tall and 3m wide, and Jude Law seem like juuuuuust right. well, at least I think that would be my logic if I were an HR in MI6, headhunting for a spy.

  4. Yeah except ALL those crane jumps were real, with just a safety wire attached.

  5. “Vesper Lynd” – a take-off on ‘West Berlin” I believe.

  6. @ The Giggler: I never took (or read) Lynd’s name that way, but goddam I think you’re right! Well done!

  7. For some reason, I never read this review before. But I am glad I did now. That “like cats stuck on a tree” shit had me in stitches. Good job Vern.

  8. Is anybody else here watching HANNIBAL on NBC lately? I remember Mads really just from his performance in this movie, and how he’s brought the character to a more subtle plane is interesting to me and I do hope it develops. I really hope the network keeps it going because the raves are pretty much universal (no pun intended), including from me. Great show.

  9. So I caught JACK RYAN yesterday (sorry couldn’t find any other review to post this in) and its a rental. Watchable but disposable. Nothing technically bad, just too routine, too many familiar action scenes for me, and not enough interesting touches. (Though evil Russian Kenneth Branagh using a lightbulb as a torture tool was nice I guess.)

    Its weird but the previous movie from this Tom Clancy-inspired franchise was SUM OF ALL FEARS, which like JR tells an origin story and was intended as a franchise reboot too (before CASINO ROYALE and BATMAN BEGINS made the reboot sexy) except SOAF failed and I doubt if JR will be anymore successful. Point is, does this make JR the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN of the series?

  10. Re-watched this one last night and am happy to report it still holds up well despite the weird structure and excessive runtime. Like Transformers 4, *shudder*, it actually seems like 3 or 4 episodes of James Bond: The Miniseries, with the 2nd episode (the mostly action-free card game stuff) being easily the best part. Just really strong character development, good dialogue, and the best Bond girl/romance by far. Craig and Green have incredible chemistry and it makes the whole movie (I’d argue the exact same movie would have been a failure if they cast the wrong person as Vesper)

    So I can’t believe I’m saying this, but i actually wish it featured James Bond even younger and was more of an origin story (like a “Bond Begins”). I mean, I’ve heard people describe this as a “Pretty Woman”-esque story of how he transforms from thuggish, blunt instrument to the suave superspy we know and love, and that sounds like a cool idea and great movie, but that’s unfortunately not really this movie. Bond kinda acts the same at the end as he does at the beginning – his brute force smashing through walls during that Parkour chase still seems like something his “new” persona would do. (*SPOILER* He’s even MORE reckless at the end because he’s the one who shot up the air bags, collapsing the house which killed his girl!) Plus he seems fairly cultured and sophisticated at the beginning anyway – he looks super-suave in his suit on the train, it’s not like he didn’t know how to dress nice until Vesper bought him that suit. My gf actually missed a few lines and somehow didn’t even know this was his first mission/origin story until I pointed it out (for some reason I thought he met M in this one but they already know each other pretty well when it starts).

  11. I thought the death of Vesper was what made him into more of the cold, hardened Bond he became in the following films. And I always liked the idea of Bond being a ‘blunt instrument’, or like a machine not that far removed from a sociopath who might charm you with style and wit at night only for you to wake in the morning groggy after having been Rohypnoled and date-raped, cold and shivering at the bottom of an indoor well being shouted at to put the lotion on.

    Craig is the closest to the type of cold soulless government assassin you’d expect from a guy like that. Much more interesting for his lack of warmth than the silly playboys found in Moore and Brosnan. Bond, to me, is at his best when he’s shut off from human emotions and out for fucking revenge. Like Dalton in LICENSE TO KILL, which, if I were forced to pick a favorite Bond film, that would be it.

  12. Exactly!

  13. The more I hear about what people like about Bond, the less I want anything to do with him.

  14. Poeface – I like that idea but unfortunately Craig ALREADY used his charm to hook up with a woman for information earlier in the movie, and also had a cold non-reaction to finding her dead. This is supposedly his first mission but he’s so cool throughout this part there’s nothing to suggest he hasn’t done this many, many times before. Again, i absolutely love this movie, but I just wish it had a few tweaks to give him more of an arc – this is probably their one shot at an origin movie, I wish they went full origin-story with it. (And when they announce Harry Styles in Bond Begins in a few years, I’ll totally regret ever thinking that)

    As for Licence to Kill, it’s one of my favorites too – I rewatched it the other day and it’s still pretty good despite a saggy middle section (which most Bonds have). It’s definitely one of the few Bonds that absolutely works better when taken in context with it’s place in the whole series though – i had to constantly explain to people how big a deal it was for Leiter to be attacked, and for Bond to go out for revenge, and for Bond to resign and go rogue on M, when that seems to happen every freaking movie now.

  15. Mr. Majestyk – I hear you. Subconsciously I think that’s exactly why I had no problem skipping the last 2 movies despite having seen most of them.

  16. Mr Majestyk, you remind me of Harry Dean Stanton in REPO MAN; “Look at these assholes! Ordinary fucking people, I hate them!”

  17. Oh and THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS > LICENSE TO KILL despite it’s lack of Robert Davi.

    With that said I really do like both those movies a lot. I’m still kinda bitter as a fan that Dalton never did GOLDENEYE as originally planned.

  18. It’s not too much of an exaggeration, sadly.

    More sadly, “I think this guy is cool because he seems like a date rapist” is closer to an ordinary fucking person thing to think than I’m really comfortable with.

  19. The Original... Paul

    November 7th, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Can I just say that I might have gone to see SPECTRE, even after the triple-disappointment of SKYFALL (I didn’t think it was the worst movie ever made, but a couple of my friends definitely did), QUANTUM, and CASINO ROYALE (I think everybody knows how I feel about that movie by now.) …Might have, anyway.

    The marketing, however, has been just obnoxious. Also ubiquitous. It’s all merchandising. And you can disagree with me all you want about CASINO ROYALE being nothing but a two-hour Sony / Pokerstars / Aston Martin advertisement, but if the marketing of SPECTRE is anything to go on then there’s no doubt it’s gonna follow in ROYALE’s footsteps in that way. The worst one so far has been a cringeworthy unfunny “joke action sequence” of Moneypenny dodging gangsters, etc… then at the end it’s revealed that it’s all been so that she can bring 007’s phone to him. See, that’s the joke! It’s funny! Honest! …Yeah, everybody even peripherally involved in the making of that needs to really reconsider their life choices. Filmmaking is not for you, guys.

    (Also I’m pretty sure it’s proof positive that the actress who plays Moneypenny has no soul.)

    But for those of you who have seen SPECTRE, I’m curious about two questions.

    1) On a scale of ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE** to GOLDFINGER, just how rapey is it?

    And 2) On a scale of SKYFALL to THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, just how effective is Bond? Is there a single point in the movie at which he doesn’t woefully fail at what he’s trying to do? (If so, I think it would be an improvement over the last one.) I’m not a fan of the new incompetent Bond.

    **Yes, the Bond film whose main plot involves dozens of young beautiful women having their minds controlled by an evil supervillain is the least “rapey” one that I could think of; and yes, I am fully aware of the irony of this.

    Also, Poeface: good choice.

  20. The Original... Paul

    November 7th, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Broddie – I think THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS is the best of the lot. As a film. But both Daltons still work really well.

    The only thing that I’m a bit miffed about is that they turn Milton Krest of the short story THE HILDEBRAND RARITY (easily the best villain Ian Fleming ever created) into basically a henchman with a few extra lines to say in LICENCE TO KILL. If you don’t remember him from the movie, I don’t blame you; he’s the captain of Robert Davi’s boat. Honestly I think THE HILDEBRAND RARITY is unfilmable for the same reason that CASINO ROYALE is unfilmable, and I do like that they at least paid lip service to it by using the name. But taking as great a monster as Milton Krest and reducing him to a mere henchman does not seem to do him or Fleming justice.

  21. Boy, am I the only one who liked Bond when he was, you know, Bond? When he was just a ridiculous, irresponsible anachronistic fantasy of male id and it would have as ridiculous to ask why he was like that?

    Frankly I’m tired of this modern trend of using shallow pop psychology to turn shallow cartoon characters into gloomy headcases. James Bond is not real. Nothing about the character is remotely related to the real world or anyone who was ever in it. None of this has anything to do with reality or psychology. Why muddy up a good cartoon with fake reality?

    I’ve been hearing that SPECTRE is closer to the old, campy Bond, and apparently everyone is bummed out about that but frankly that makes me much more excited to see it than any of these other Craig ones which are just as stupid as the old ones were, but try to pretend they’re “about” something so they’re less fun.

  22. Not at all Mr. Subtlety I much prefer some of the Moores as well as Connerys and 3 of the 4 Brosnans. The Dalton movies were like “my” Bond cause it was my first real exposure to the character back in the late 80’s so I have affection for that and OHMSS but I wacth 15 to 20 min of QUANTUM OF SOLACE and SKYFALL and I watch Craig’s Bond trying to keep up with Bourne and it just doesn’t work and bores me to the point that I tune out. Dalton is much more like the “book” Bond than Craig anyway so that doesn’t hold any weight for me and quite frankly literature and cinema are so different that what fits one medium may not fit the other.

    The cinematic Bond is better when he’s a quippy quasi Superman who also has tremendous luck with funnily named ladies, cool gadgets and vehicles and always outsmarts death. I think trying to make it more tonally like “the novels” has hindered this current iteration and I look forward to seeing what happens post-Sony cause at least it could be fresher than this.

  23. The reason he’s better that way is cause at least it’s original. Every other spy on TV and film bit off that and never the other way around. Now Bond is being a follower and no longer a leader. Shit seems kinda off. I will check out the new one though if it’s more like “Classic” Bond. Daniel Craig could use some lightening up in these movies and at least Sam Mendes finally saw that.

  24. The Original... Paul

    November 7th, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Mr S – I could definitely get on board with your point of view, if it weren’t for the rapiness. The rapiness bothers me. Especially in “serious” Bond. And maybe the way to deal with that is to make him so outrageous that it’s impossible to take him seriously. The TOXIC AVENGER of Bond movies, if you like. The trouble is that this has been tried before, and it’s not worked all that well (see: DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, LIVE AND LET DIE, or DIE ANOTHER DAY.) I certainly think that a return to the days of the invincible Bond who’d get involved in a life-or-death struggle with an invincible henchman on top of a freakin’ aeroplane would be better than the incompetent fool that Craig seems to be portraying. And I am not a fan of the Bond-as-Bourne trend thing that we had recently, especially in QUANTUM.

    Honestly, I’m “over” Bond. I think Jason Bourne took his place a while ago as my action-spy of choice. I think that no matter what the hell you do with Bond, people will be complaining about it. Why not just let the franchise go?

    (Oh yeah… because then we wouldn’t have the Sony product tie-ins. How silly of me.)

  25. Really, I don’t like any of the Bonds that much. all the movies are twenty minutes too long, and they’re always too self-serious. Even when they’re trying to be campy, they still play like a conscious effort to represent Not Your Daddy’s James Bond, which is too much pressure to put on a cartoon character like this guy. I like a few of the movies, generally the ones with the best pacing, and still read the books, because while Book Bond might be a patriarchal imperialist running dog, at least he’s a solid professional. Really, I just like the rare moments when the push and pull between the two diametrically opposed sides of the character–He’s a gritty, realistic government thug who just happens to wear $10,000 suits and bang supermodels every time he leaves the house–creates some version of our current Platonic ideal of manliness–whatever the fuck that is–that isn’t completely embarrassing five minutes later. Personally, I think Dalton pulled that off best, but that might be because he was my first intro to the character.

  26. I blame the nerds of the 90’s. I do. They spent their childhoods on dorky genre shit that came by its stupidity honestly and wasn’t ashamed, which is great. But then they grew up, and refused to just admit that the stuff they loved was sort of stupid. They had to twist it until it was dark and serious and gloomy so they could claim it was legitimate for a grown-up to continue to play with the same toys. Obviously, I still love all that stuff too, but I actually love the stuff itself, and don’t understand why people would feel the need to turn something they actually liked into something it never was.

  27. The Original... Paul

    November 7th, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Majestyk – I absolutely agree that Dalton pulled that off best. I think it was a combination of having a really great actor playing Bond with an unusual amount of subtlety, plus him being in two specific movies that really worked as films and not just as “Bond films”. THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS in particular is legitimately really good, and I would think that you wouldn’t have to be a fan of “classic Bond” to enjoy it.

    I think one thing that really comes out of this whole debate is that everybody expects something different from Bond. I mean, over the last fifteen comments alone, this is what we have:

    – Bond is at his best when “shut off from human emotions and out for revenge”.
    – The best Ian Fleming books are unfilmable, and the greatest characters from those books haven’t been put to film in a satisfactory way yet.
    – The best Bond moments are those that allow a Platonic ideal of manliness that can be re-examined without seeming embarrassing later on.

    – The best Bond moments are when he’s”just a ridiculous, irresponsible anachronistic fantasy of male id”.
    – The worst Bond moments have been the “rapey” ones.
    – Bond has a nasty appeal to people who think that “this guy is cool because he seems like a date rapist”.

    – Some of the worst Bonds have been when the filmmakers have consciously tried to make him outrageously over-the-top.
    – The Bond movies are always too self-serious. “Even when they’re trying to be campy, they still play like a conscious effort to represent Not Your Daddy’s James Bond.”
    – “The cinematic Bond is better when he’s a quippy quasi Superman who also has tremendous luck with funnily named ladies, cool gadgets and vehicles and always outsmarts death.”

    Is it just me, or do we all want totally different things from our Bonds? Even the stuff we agree on is often for different reasons.

    The obvious conclusion, as always, is that I’m right. (Come on, you must’ve seen that one coming.) Not necessarily about the best “Bonds” – because when everybody is using a different yardstick to measure how good or bad they are, who’s to say what’s “best”? – but about the Bond series having run its course. There’s too much baggage to handle here, too many fans with too many different expectations and desires. You’re never going to satisfy everybody. Just let this series go.

  28. Thank you Paul, for highlighting what I was getting at.

  29. Mr Majestyk, I was going to say that I don’t think people think he’s cool because he seems like a date rapist, but some spam moderator page told me I wasn’t allowed to write on Vern’s sight last night, and now it all seems a bit pointless…

  30. Oh and Paul, I meant to say thanks for highlighting what I was *trying to get at*.

    Midway through a rewatch now and loving it. I’d forgotten about the comic styled black and white prologue that shows Bond earning his 00’s – nice way to kick off a reboot at the start of the superhero golden age. And yes neal you’re right, Bond is already dead eyed from the get go. Regarding his need to be emotionally detached M states “You don’t have that problem”. But if Bond were already several degrees of emotionally shut off before Vespers death, then I’d say by the end of CR and in subsequent films he had become a block of ice.

    I also like the meta Money Penny quip when he first meets Vesper on the train. Jon Favreau must have borrowed it in spirit for Don Cheadles entrance in IRON MAN 2.

    I’m almost ready to put CR up there with LICENSE TO KILL as damn near great Bond films. Superior action sets too – the parkour and airport/truck chase scenes have clarity and spatial awareness, something that was immediately lost in the first 5 minutes of QUANTUM.

  31. It’s also great to have an unpretentious non-cartoony villain in Mikkelsen’s Le Chiffre. No cackling or cat-stroking. The kind of sweaty scar-faced bastard who likes to do his own torturing.

    Speaking of that torture scene, Bonds knackering by Le Chiffre could be read as punishment for his misogyny. He even says to Vesper when he’s in recovery “I have no honor left” during some of his most vulnerable moments with her. The emotions are reattaching, through the paralysis of what he thinks constitutes his manhood.

  32. It may not be as satisfying an arc as you were hoping for neal, but it works for me as more of a momentary awakening in Bond’s interior world, before it’s back to business with a betrayed Bond, a chase and a shootout amid sinking riviera mansions…and fuck, was he really betrayed though? And now she’s dead… Oh to hell with feelings anyway! It’s all so sensitive new age. Who needs them, am I right?

  33. The Original... Paul

    November 8th, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Man, Poeface, I’ve suffered through CASINO ROYALE twice now, and it doesn’t get any better. I wish I was getting the same experience as you, but… no. It’s one of those films that I get “respecting” as a technical achievement, but I don’t see how anybody can actually like it. Much like my reaction to WAR OF THE WORLDS 2005. (On the positive side for CASINO… WoTW is about twenty times worse than it. So there’s that.)

    Talking of films that I wish I was getting a better experience from… I went to see the new Colin Farrell / John C Reilly film THE LOBSTER today, and kinda wished I hadn’t. Another hot contender for “worst of the year” I think. I’ll try and write something up on it in the forums. I saw it in the arts cinema – with, surprisingly, a full screening – and it got a lesser but similar reaction to the PROMETHEUS screening that I saw. Yeah, the rest of the audience did not like this one, any more than I did, and weren’t slow to voice their disapproval of it.

  34. The way I see it real life spies are assholes and downright villainous characters. So when you take a character that has been pure fantasy wish fulfillment his entire cinematic life and try to implement such a structure to him he becomes a buzzkill.

    The more you make him close to an authentic spy the closer he becomes to seem outright dislikeable. Audience members no longer want to be him instead they wish to punch him in the face.

    That’s the main issue with this current iteration of Bond. Even when we look at a recent on screen antihero like Jack Reacher there is inherent goodness driving him and the audience is shown this. So it becomes natural to root him on at points. Same for Mad Max 2.0

    By comparison Bond in this movie seems like such a prickasauraus you can’t help but kinda smile when he realizes just how bad Vesper had played him.

  35. Paul, not being that precious about Bond helped me to enjoy CR on it’s own genre terms. Neal mentioned the weird structure – action/action/card-game/action/romance/action seems about right for a 132 minute film like this. It reminded me a lot of Thomas Jane’s THE PUNISHER which I rewatched a week ago and which is surprisingly outstanding in many ways I’d forgotten about. Craig’s Bond and dark Frank Castle have a bit in common, validating my preference for Bond when he’s hard-boiled and gunning for payback.

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  38. RIP Chris Cornell. It looks like 2017 will be just as shitty as 2016!

  39. Nah, in 2016 we lost David Bowie and Alan Rickman in just Jan.

    Terrible news about Cornell’s passing though.

  40. Cornell’s voice was absolutely epic. I’ve always felt like Soundgarden was an underrated band. They were cursed to have their singles replayed constantly for decades, but if you can get away from the fact that you may have heard “Spoonman” and “Black Hole Sun” about a million times, it becomes clear that Superunknown is a masterpiece of an album. Their sound was such a great mixture of metal, punk, psychedelia, and classic rock, and they used unusual time signatures. Their reunion album was much better than it had any right to be. And Cornell’s Bond song eventually grew on me.

  41. Well, this is unexpected and sad. Not many rock stars from my youth still standing these days,

    I liked Soundgarden back in the day, and I still have fondness for a lot of their songs (and one [1] of Conrell’s solo songs), but I kind of think of Cornell as the Rod Stewart of grunge: a phenomenal voice he absolutely insisted on wasting. I mean, Audioslave was like where rock went to die, you know? Midtempo, overproduced dirges about nothing (not that Soundgarden songs ever possessed much in the way of lyrical content). A guy with a voice like that should have been singing songs with passion and brio and soul, not making faux-heavy anthems for aging bros in backwards baseball caps.

    I always liked this one. The first line is very ironic now.

    Soundgarden - Blow Up The Outside World

    What are you wearing under your kilt? Leave a comment and if it is funny enough we will feature it on our website and on our next video. good luck! Live chat...

  42. Damn! RIP. The dude had amazing pipes, and Soundgarden was my favorite Seattle band when I was a kid.

    I met him once around 2002, seemed like a nice guy.

  43. Came on here to say the same thing, RIP Chris Cornell and I get the sinking feeling the “curse” of 2016 will keep going the rest of our lives. Plus I absolutely wish no ill will on any of the other legendary Bond singers like Tom Jones or Shirley Bassey, but there’s something perversely wrong about the fact that one of the youngest Bond theme singers is the first one to die.

  44. Here’s that one solo song I like. I haven’t listened to it in a long time and it still really holds up for me. I can relate to these lyrics, and the production gives his voice room to breathe. I never really got into the rest of the album but maybe I’ll give it another chance.

    Chris Cornell - Can't Change Me

    Music video by Chris Cornell performing Can't Change Me. (C) 1999 A&M Records

  45. Cornell could be a fantastic lyricist once you dig past Audioslave’s frat/nu metal association. Damn, this is sad.

  46. Damn sad to hear that. Soundgarden was the shit.

  47. I found nine out of ten of his songs to just be jumbled, vaguely brooding imagery and second-person taunts and complaints. Every now and then I could kind of figure out what he was getting at, but the rest of the time it was like he ran a few keywords through an Alternative Rock Lyrics Generator.

    I mean, take one look at “Black Hole Sun” and tell me there’s anything going on there. It sounds real deep until you think about it for two seconds. It’s like Spinal Tap for grunge.

    I mean, good lyrics are not really a prerequisite for good music. And sometimes he had some decent ones. But a lot of times I felt like he was a voice in search of something to say. I had that problem with most 90s rock, though. There’s songs I’ve heard literally a thousand times and I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what they’re about beyond a nebulous feeling of dissatisfaction.

  48. Crushinator Jones

    May 18th, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    I like the “emptiness” of the lyrics. I’m ok with mysterious imagery in my songs. I also like the concrete stuff too but there’s something to be said with HOW the words are sung rather than WHAT they are saying.

  49. Crushinator Jones

    May 18th, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Having said that, “I’m looking California…but feeling Minnesota” is a great great great lyric, dudes.

  50. I’m sure that’s my own bias talking. I’m a pretty literal guy. I think the point of writing is to communicate. I find most abstraction to be about obfuscation, which is the opposite of what I want any piece of wordsmithing to do. So when all you’ve got is a bunch of words that sound poetic when put next to each other, I assume you’re just jerking off. Obviously other people connect differentl.

    I also get jack shit out of David Lynch movies. I feel like he’s always pulling a fast one.

    tl;dr: Learn to speak plain. Saves time.

    But sure, most songs rely more on sound than substance anyway. If I didn’t like songs that I thought had dumb lyrics, I wouldn’t like songs.

  51. Crushinator Jones

    May 18th, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Majestyk there’s absolutely no wrong way to enjoy art. My philosophy is that instrumental music still communicates moods and emotions very clearly. And the voice is an instrument.

    A good example of this, to me, is The Boys Are Back In Town. Write the lyrics out: the song is a straightforward story about nothing more than some unnamed boys who are back in some unnamed town. Yet the exuberance of the singer overwhelms the simple message and makes the reader FEEL it. The boys are back in town! Woooo! It’s why it’s a perennial favorite catchphrase and rock anthem.

  52. Yeah, but Phil Lynott was actually a great lyricist. That song was one of Thin Lizzy’s mainstream hits but even when they got overtly poetical, you could figure out what he was talking about. There was some kind of communication going on in the words that the music emphasizes. I would rather have a dumb message articulated clearly and forcefully than an ostensibly smart one that hides itself in riddles and symbols. The power of music is that it cuts through the bullshit, and my feeling is that the lyrics should follow suit. Save the free verse for the poetry workshop.

  53. Also, the lyrics of “The Boys Are Back” are great. They use details and hints at backstory to create a setting and a cast of characters, and the tone and tempo of the music lets you know how you’re supposed to feel about it. I think it’s a great example of the kind of art I like: the kind that’s purely entertaining on the surface but manages to imply great feeling and meaning with just a few artfully deployed gestures.

  54. All this to say, I liked a lot of what Cornell did even though I didn’t care for some aspects of it. I’m sorry he’s gone and I’m REALLY sorry that he seems to have been suffering in silence for a while. That’s a shit way to live and I wouldn’t wish it on (almost) anybody.

    Also, I think BADMOTORFINGER and SUPERUNKNOWN are the people’s choices but I always thought DOWN ON THE UPSIDE was underrated. Discuss.

  55. I love DOWN ON THE UPSIDE, not more than SUPERUNKNOWN, but more than BADMOTORFINGER. It’s a really interesting combo of lo-fi and futuristic, and has ruined almost every rock album for me since.

  56. SUPERUNKNON was one of the albums that primed me for the puberty/teenage era of my life. It speaks to me on a deeper level still. DOWN ON THE UPSIDE had the better singles though.

  57. Have to admit I love the “will this do?” energy of a BotPoster called Porn

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