Thursday, January 1, 2009

Casino Royale

Martin Campbell, 2006 (7.6*)
Daniel Craig’s first outing as James Bond is a high energy, pulse pounding action film, the way the series was meant to be. The novel was Ian Fleming’s first, and was devoid of gadgets and violence; this re-write makes up for it. Judi Dench is back again as his superior, Eva Green is this film’s “Bond woman”. Down one star for a loss of pacing after a fast start. Craig is going to be the best Bond since Connery, not hard to accomplish – anyone from Ewan McGregor to Colin Farrell to Viggo Mortensen would have been an improvement. (...apparently I was the only person to like Aussie George Lazenby in On Her Majesty's Secret Service which remains the best 007 film to me.

The novel Casino Royale was author Ian Fleming’s first, and introduced the world to his glamorous and amorous spy. This novel largely revolves around the high-stakes casino card game of baccarat, in which two players go head-to-head like a duel, with money rather than blood at stake, and usually with no limit to the stakes.

This novel was filmed once before (not part of the Albert Broccoli film series) as a satire of the genre, when both David Niven and Woody Allen played James Bond; unfortunately the film was highly forgettable, not funny, not sexy, no action.

For those would-be high stakes gamblers out there, who think maybe baccarat is easy money, as a former resident of Las Vegas I highly suggest you first educate yourself with strategies and techniques by reading a lot of baccarat strategy articles. Those who don’t will be at a disadvantage to those who have and those with more experience. The internet has some excellent information so take advantage of it - after all, it's going to be your money at risk.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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