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    • CommentTimeNov 20th 2006
    I watched City of God not too long ago. Good movie. Love the way it's shot, the contrast and the vibrant colours in settings not so vibrant in colour. Some cool stuff with camera angles too that only seeing clips of here and there before I didn't expect to like. Usually when people hype the hell out of a movie like people did for me with this one, I end up somewhat disappointed but still thinking it's good, but I think this lived up to my expectations.

    I also saw Casino Royale the other night, the new James Bond flick, which I liked. I thought it dragged at times and there were some points in that opening chase that I felt rightly received some "oh come on!"s from a number of people in the audience but overall I dug it. I liked this fallible human Bond but I still enjoyed the movie in the way one enjoys Bond movies too. Daniel Craig's not a bad Bond, I think, even though he does look way more like a street thug than a suave secret agent.

    I would also like to state that hockey is awesome. A friend of mine moved to Colorado recently but before she left we went to a bunch of hockey games together so I've been in a huge hockey mood since then. It's too bad my home team sucks (the LA Kings). The Anaheim Ducks are insanely good this year but I have to hate them because:
    a) cross-town rivalry
    b) named after a Disney movie
    c) their jersey design sucks
    d) named after a Disney movie

    Anyway, how's everyone doing?
    • CommentTimeNov 20th 2006 edited
    I'm doing well. Not as busy as I pretend to be, but still busy:P I have off on Friday though, so this weekend is shaping up to be a big long one where I have absolutely nothing planned. It's gonna be great:) Work is going to be kinda busy for the next couple of days, but that's to be expected and really not out of the ordinary.

    Other than that, not much going on. I still haven't decided what to do about a new computer. I was planning on using Ars Technica's system guide, but they haven't released the updated one yet (it's about a month late at this point). At this point I'm considering places like Cyber Power PC which seem to be comparably cheap, but also offer support and a warranty. The only really annoying thing is that their computer cases are... SOOOOOOOO ugly. UUUUUGGGLLLYYY. Yuk. I could probably deal with one of those coolermaster models, but the other ones are just such an embarrassment. Why can't they just have something simple.

    City of God was very good, though I didn't have anyone build it up for me. I was expecting something totally artsy, preachy, and boring, so it wound up being a nice surprise (though still not an especially easy movie).

    Casino Royale was definitely much better than I was expecting. Like you say, it drags at times (definitely a little too long) and the ending doesn't make a whole lot of sense at first (until you get to the very end of the movie, then things start to click). I think they totally succeeded in rebooting the franchise, and for the first time ever I'm excited for the next installment. I think this is the best Bond movie I've seen in... well, since Connery. And you know what? I don't even remember the Connery movies.

    I went in to the movie expecting those typical Bond conventions, which are pretty stale at this point. I had the same expectations with the Pierce Brosnan movies, and they definitely met all of my expectations (in a bad way - it was pretty boring). Casino Royale totally subverted my expectations, and I love that part of it. It's darker, more gritty, and the action makes sense (and Craig actually looks young enough to be doing that stuff).

    Again, it's not perfect, but it was a huge improvement. The entire first act of the movie had me completely enthralled. The first sequence, shot in grainy black and white was great, and it foreshadowed the grittier tone of the rest of the movie. Even the title sequence, which in past Bond films piss me off to no end, was good. That absurd chase sequence you mentioned was a whole lot of fun. It had a hint of Wu Xia Pian movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero, or House of Flying Daggers, but not too much. I thought it was pretty cool really, and I like that it didn't continue in that vein.

    Once you get to the card playing, things slowed down a bit, but they managed to keep the tension ratcheted high reasonably well, especially considering that very little happened then. The "twist" in the card game could be seen a mile away, but it still worked. After that sequence, it becomes a little unhinged, and I had very mixed feelings about the rest of the movie until the very end, when a few pieces clicked and began to make more sense. I still think they could have tightened up that section of the movie a bit, but it worked out well enough in the end. I think I would have preferred the movie to start out loose then tighten up towards the end (and not the other way around), but again, it worked well enough.

    It felt like Bond, but it definitely defied many of the expected Bond conventions, and I really liked that. I think the relationship between Bond and M was the part that cemented it for me - it allowed them to retain the Bond feel without having to rely on many of the typical conventions.

    Jeeze, I'm still talking about Bond. I guess I like it a lot:) Come to think of it, this year has two of the best spy thrillers in years (Mission Impossible 3 was actually pretty darn good, though I think Casino Royale may be better)

    Hockey. Yeah. The Flyers are the worst team in the league right now, so I'm in the same boat. I like hockey, but man, it's depressing to watch the once great Flyers constantly falling apart. In any case, this is more of a football town anyway, though the Eagles have been sucking lately too (and McNabb's out of the season now too, which ain't good). If only we could get a wide receiver who can actually catch the ball. Also, we need to learn how to tackle. Gah, sports suck. Except fantasy sports - I'm 9-1 in my league, and unless tonight goes very poorly, I'll be 10-1. Probably a decent chance at some money this year. Ok, I'll stop now:P

    • CommentAuthorSamael
    • CommentTimeNov 21st 2006
    A quick question: have either of you read the Bond books?
    Starting about a year or so ago, I went through and read them all, and it really changed my perception of the character, a lot. The movie bond (at least, in the past) has been very different from the book bond. In the books, Bond is a lot less... eh... perfect?

    I'm wondering how the movie holds up to the books in their interpretation of the character.
    • CommentTimeNov 21st 2006
    I've never read the novels, but the Bond in Casino Royale seems to me to be a much more vulnerable Bond than I'm used to. It remains to be seen whether or not this will continue (as this is supposed to be a "young" Bond), but still. Bond always used to seem like a clinical superhero type, with no real weaknesses. In this movie he's actually a bit of a human being, and he does display some vulnerability at times. That's another thing I like about the movie:P

    • CommentTimeNov 21st 2006 edited
    Yeah, the end is really where Casino Royale dragged and became too loose. Still, good movie. I liked that Bond's mistakes weren't limited to what happened at the end. The incident at the embassy at the beginning, for example. Bond's young, arrogant, and over-eager and the negative consequences of those qualities are shown as well as the positives. It makes the Bond character surprisingly real. I'm interested in a next installment as well and yeah, now that you mention it, it makes sense to have an actor young enough to be able to believably pull-off a lot of the action sequences.

    I haven't read any of the novels. It's interesting you say they present the character as less perfect. From what I'd heard here and there, I was under the impression the books actually went the other way with that, making him even more super-human. I may check some of them out at some point.

    tallman, I hope you appreciate that my Kings gave your Flyers a victory not too long ago. I assure you we were just being nice and it had nothing to do with also sucking or anything of that sort. (Except that it completely did.) The Kings do have this rookie, Anze Kopitar, who's been ripping it up and another one not playing this season so he can finish school who's supposed to be awesome so it seems like there's hope on the horizon. Then again, our new goalie sucks. There's this video I found on YouTube of him (Dan Cloutier) back when he was on the Rangers beating the crap out of the Islanders' goalie, then skating over to the Islanders' bench and challenging the rest of the team. Since he can't tend goal that well, I'm waiting for him to do something similarly bad-ass as a King before I stop groaning every time I see him in net when I watch a game (our back-up goalie is actually better).

    It's frustrating. Once in a while the Kings play really well, so I know it's possible, but most of the time they don't. But hockey's still awesome! Other people need to understand this. I run into more people into football despite the fact that LA hasn't had an NFL team since 1995.
    • CommentAuthorSamael
    • CommentTimeNov 22nd 2006
    Oh, no- Bond in the books is really rather flawed. He makes mistakes, and realizes it, but does so anyway.
    Let me think... In Casino Royale I think he falls for a double agent, loses all of his money and is bailed out by a CIA agent, fails to notice when someone is about to murder him, only survives a bomb attempt because of a tree, and gets himself captured and tortured, etc.
    After the mission, Bond gets pretty depressed, and contemplates leaving MI6 and marrying Vesper, until... well... she kills herself. He reports back to HQ with the line "the bitch is dead."

    He routinely blows his cover, does stupid things because of his temper/drinking and is saved by other people as much as his own skill.

    As I recall, he's more "human" in this book than in some of the others, but I always found him a lot more flawed in the books than in the movies.

    I'll have to check out the movies again, I think.

    Anyway- the books are good, but the casual racism and the blatant sexism are kind of unsettling. Different times and all that, but still troubling.
    • CommentTimeNov 22nd 2006
    It sounds like you'd like Casino Royale. It seems to be somewhat close to what you're describing, though there are some differences. I'd recommend it...

    DyRE, Yeah, the Flyers aren't really a bad team, which makes our losing ways all the more frustrating. When we have Forsberg in the lineup, we seem to do better...

    • CommentTimeNov 24th 2006
    I've read all of the original Bond books, and I agree completely with Sam's assessments. Fleming's Bond is a much more interesting character...he's cold, calculating, flawed, and more than a little arrogant. As fun as the Bond flicks are, that representation of Bond is little more than a caricature. Fleming's Bond had none of the hi-tech gadgetry that got so silly in the movies. However, Fleming was not really the best writer, and as Sam mentions, comes across as more than a little sexist and racist (especially so in Dr. No, IIRC).

    If you're a Bond fan, then the books are worth a read...they offer a darker and more interesting representation of a fun character. However, I wouldn't recommend any James Bond books written after Ian Fleming passed away...a couple of authors have tried to keep the series going, but they're bland and poorly written.