Monthly Archives: December 2006

The Daily Grind

The trailer for the Tarantino / Rodriguez collaboration Grindhouse:

I suspect the trailer is more fun than the movie will be, but then I said that about Kill Bill. I like the irony of them advertising two movies for the price of one after Kill Bill gave use one movie for the price of two. Perhaps it’s their way of clueing us in that the movie will be overlong.

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Die Hungry

I believe the original Die Hard is one of the all-time classic bits of action cinema, but have no high hopes for the fourth film in the franchise, because, well, I have an ounce of common sense. It’s going to suck like the vacuum of space. Beyond that, all I will say is:

a) “Internet Terrorists” = Lame. Alan Rickman’s gloriously Eurotrashy Hans Gruber would have hung their nerdy hides out to dry.

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S-Bend Adventures

Flushed Away (David Bowers & Sam Fell, 2006)

In the opening minutes of Flushed Away, the rat Roddy (voiced by Hugh Jackman), who spends a life of leisure as a solitary house pet, gets flushed down the toilet. He enters the sewers of London where he finds a whole society of rats: initially horrified, he wants nothing more than to escape from the proletarian rats (proletarirats?) and to reach the surface. But with the help of the attractive Rita (voiced by Kate Winslet) he comes to savour the company of his fellow rats.

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“This Never Happened to the Other Fellow:” Bond, Vesper and Tracy

Note: the following article includes detailed spoilers for several Bond films and books, including the ending for both Casino Royale and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. You have been warned.

The exciting thing about the newest Bond film, Casino Royale, is that it starts the cinematic James Bond series afresh. There has been much commentary on what this means for the Bond series going forward, centring on speculation as to whether this change in tone will carry into the next film. What I haven’t seen a great deal of discussion about, however, is what the events of Casino Royale, and the associated rebooting of the series, means for our understanding of who Bond is.

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Bond is Back

Casino Royale (Martin Campbell, 2006)

The crucial line in the opening credits: “Based on the novel by Ian Fleming.”

Ian Fleming’s credit on the film Bond series has for years been simply “Ian Fleming’s James Bond in…” and then the title of the movie. There hasn’t been a Bond film that stayed anything close to one of his novels since 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: in the seventies, the producers generally threw out Fleming’s plots, while by the 1980s the Bond films were taking the titles and a few incidents from his short stories but little more. All this time Casino Royale, the first Bond novel, remained unfilmed. The film rights were owned by different people to the rest of the series: they provided legal cover for a Bond spoof under the title in 1967, but yielded little else. In retrospect, given the level of farce the Bond series was reduced to through this period, the legal circumstances preventing an adaptation virtually amounted to protective custody. Now, though, corporate mergers and legal horse-trading has allowed its use as part of the “official” Bond series. And after the series hit a recent low with Die Another Day, the timing could not be better for a reintroduction of Fleming’s spirit to the series.

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Time to Leave

Time to Leave (Francois Ozon, 2006)

The latest film from prolific French writer-director Francois Ozon is Time to Leave, a sensitive, low-key drama exploring themes of mortality and interpersonal relationships. It centres on Romain (Melvin Poupard), a somewhat self-centred photographer who discovers that he has terminal cancer. Already somewhat aloof from those around him, he withdraws further, concealing his illness and lashing out at family and his partner Sasha (Christian Sengewald). As the illness progresses, however, Romain is transformed.

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