A couple of you have asked about the shorthand over on the right column, where I've instructed you to skip the Bond reboot CASINO ROYALE and Christopher Guest's Oscar race send-up FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION. I figured I should elaborate.

The dozens of people who told me that CASINO ROYALE introduced us to a "grittier", "more realistic" James Bond must have seen a very different movie than the one I saw. First things first: I'm by no means even a Bond fan, but I've enjoyed the few Bond movies I've seen. So I won't attempt to contextualize CASINO ROYALE amongst the Bonds of the past. CASINO asks that you welcome the new, blonde Bond (Daniel Craig), which I do. He's the young, naive Bond, reckless with both his body and soul. But after the BOURNE IDENTITY and 24 showed us that action doesn't have to be so bombastic anymore, CASINO ROYALE seemed to me as unbelievably over-the-top as any 150-million-dollar Hollywood blockbuster from the past ten years.

Making it through the entertaining but ludicrous construction-site chase to the babe galloping across the beach on horseback to the overly-staged finale where the Venitian buildings cannot simply be collapsing but must be sinking underwater, at the 2 1/2-hour point I'd had enough. There were too many convoluted plots, too many villains, too many endings, and even I, having just learned how to play Texas Hold'em over Thanksgiving, could tell you that those poker hands were ridiculous; Just because there's a multi-million-dollar pot doesn't mean the dealer will turn a miraculous flop on miraculous hands. Daniel Craig will make a fine Bond in the future, but I think CASINO ROYALE is the most overrated movie of the year.

Of the dozen or so holiday movies to cram into your free time, you can safely skip the new Christopher Guest comedy FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION. The early buzz I heard from my friend John Ott was every bit as absurd as Guest's movie-within-a-movie, "Home for Purem," getting any kind of Oscar buzz (or being a real movie at all). But that wouldn't matter if the movie was at all funny; If you've seen the trailer you've seen it all, except for the utterly horrifying visage of Catherine O'Hara's character after getting the full silicone and botox treatment. But all of these Hollywood "in-jokes"are stale, cliche, and simply not funny. Even Fred Willard (who does look quite funny in a faux-hawk) adds nothing after scene-stealing turns in previous Guest films like BEST IN SHOW. Plus, I'm possibly the biggest Oscar fan you know, which makes FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION even more disappointing. What made sitting through this movie even worse? The fact that Guest has zero interest in making his movie aesthetically sound-- he doesn't even take the time to match his reverse-shot actors' dialogue to the movements of their mouths. I now feel about Guest like many feel about Kevin Smith: that it's now obvious he isn't evolving any time soon.


Anonymous said...

Sam, Casino Royale is not an episode of "24." It's a James Bond movie, and is supposed to be bombastic and over-the-top...that's what makes them great. This was a vast, vast improvement over the last Pierce Brosnan films because there were no pithy one-liners: there was real action and no Denise Richards, which really is enough for me.

Sam Smith said...

I know. I had just heard so much about how it's a less silly Bond, and it all couldn't have been sillier. Keith, are you listening?

Jason M Jackowski said...

Sam, let's be real here... CASINO ROYALE is no sillier than BATMAN BEGINS.

Anonymous said...

"Silly" is of course relative. Was it siller than The World is Not Enough? No way. Was it sillier than "The Bourne Identity? Absolutely.

Anonymous said...

Wrong. Your expectations were skewed. This was the least silly bond movie since Dr. No.

casino online said...

great post, I liked the casino royal film, mostly because of Daniel Craig, he's a great 007.

Regarding the "CASINO ROYALE is no sillier than BATMAN BEGINS"...they are both not silly movies at all.