Film Review – CASINO ROYALE (2006)

Casino Royale (2006; USA/UK/Germany/ Czech Republic; Colour; 144m) ∗∗∗∗∗ d. Martin Campbell; w. Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis; ph. Phil Meheux; m. David Arnold.  Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Caterina Murino, Simon Abkarian, Isaach De Bankolé, Jesper Christensen, Ivana Milicevic, Tobias Menzies, Claudio Santamaria, Sebastien Foucan, Malcolm Sinclair. In his first mission, James Bond must stop Le Chiffre, a banker to the world’s terrorist organizations, from winning a high-stakes poker tournament at Casino Royale in Montenegro. Craig makes an excellent debut as 007 in arguably the best Bond movie. The action is fast and furious in the opening and closing sequences whilst the engrossing plot carries us through the centre of the film. All the elements are there but this is a tough, rugged entry in a series that has rebooted itself in some considerable style. Based on the novel by Ian Fleming. [12]

Film Review Round-up – SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR (2014); HEARTBREAK RIDGE (1986) and MANHATTAN (1979)

109548_mediumSin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014; USA; DeLuxe; 102m) ∗∗∗ d. Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller; w. Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez; ph. Robert Rodriguez; m. Robert Rodriguez, Carl Thiel; ed. Robert Rodriguez.  Cast: Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Ray Liotta, Juno Temple, Jeremy Piven, Michael Madsen, Jamie Chung, Jaime King, Dennis Haysbert, Crystal McCahill, Julia Garner. Some of Sin City’s most hard-boiled citizens cross paths with a few of its more reviled inhabitants. Visually impressive and stylistically violent follow-up lacks the originality of its predecessor in both approach and story. Green is the film’s best asset in an alluring performance. Based on he comic book by Frank Miller. Also shot in 3-D. [18]

5318b63fb4deeHeartbreak Ridge (1986; USA; Technicolor; 130m) ∗∗∗½ d. Clint Eastwood; w. James Carabatsos; ph. Jack N. Green; m. Lennie Niehaus; ed. Joel Cox.  Cast: Clint Eastwood, Marsha Mason, Everett McGill, Bo Svenson, Mario Van Peebles, Moses Gunn, Eileen Heckart, Arlen Dean Snyder, Boyd Gaines, Rodney Hill, Vincent Inzarry, Ramon Franco, Peter Koch, Tom Villard, Mike Gomez. A hard-nosed, hard-living Marine gunnery sergeant clashes with his superiors and his ex-wife as he takes command of a spoiled recon platoon with a bad attitude. Film coasts entertainingly on Eastwood’s supremely charismatic performance and ploughs a similar furrow to SANDS OF IWO JIMA, although the stakes are lower. [15]

download (2)Manhattan (1979; USA; B&W; 96m) ∗∗∗∗∗ d. Woody Allen; w. Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman; ph. Gordon Willis; m. George Gershwin; ed. Susan E. Morse.  Cast: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Mariel Hemingway, Meryl Streep, Michael Murphy, Anne Byrne Hoffman, Tisa Farrow, Wallace Shawn, Karen Allen, David Rasche, Karen Ludwig, Michael O’Donoghue, Bella Abzug, Gary Weis. A divorced New Yorker currently dating a high-schooler brings himself to look for love in the mistress of his best friend instead. This classic is bittersweet, accurate and ultimately poignant and is framed by sumptuous cinematography and backed by the soaring music of Gershwin. Allen produces an insightful slice of New York life through the eyes of his characters. [15]

Film Review Round-up – ABOVE THE LAW (1988); ABSENCE OF MALICE (1981); THE BIG STORE (1941); CASINO ROYALE (1967); CASINO ROYALE (2006)

Above the LawAbove the Law (1988; USA; Technicolor; 97m) ∗∗  d. Andrew Davis; w. Steven Pressfield, Ronald Shusett, Andrew Davis, Steven Seagal; ph. Robert Steadman; m. David Michael Frank; ed. Michael Brown.  Cast: Steven Seagal, Pam Grier, Sharon Stone, Daniel Faraldo, Ron Dean, Jack Wallace, Henry Silva. An ex-CIA policeman working for the local police department, while doing an investigation discovers the existence of a big weapon trade. Seagal has the physical attributes but not the charisma of a Clint Eastwood. The plot is used merely as a prop from which to hang a number of admittedly polished action scenes. Aka: NICO: ABOVE THE LAW. [18]

Absence of MaliceAbsence of Malice (1981; USA; Colour; 117m) ∗∗∗∗  d. Sydney Pollack; w. Kurt Luedtke; ph. Owen Roizman; m. Dave Grusin; ed. Sheldon Kahn.  Cast: Paul Newman, Sally Field, Bob Balaban, Melinda Dillon, Luther Adler, Barry Primus, Josef Sommer, John Harkins, Don Hood, Wilford Brimley, Arnie Ross, Anna Marie Napoles. When a prosecutor leaks a false story that a liquor warehouse owner is involved in the murder of a union head, the man’s life begins to unravel. Absorbing and well-made conspiracy thriller with excellent star turns from Newmand and Field. Adler’s last film. [PG]

Big StoreThe Big Store (1941; USA; B&W; 83m) ∗∗∗  d. Charles Reisner; w. Sid Kuller, Hal Fimberg, Ray Golden; ph. Charles Lawton Jr.; m. George Stoll (musical director); ed. Conrad A. Nervig.  Cast: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Tony Martin, Virginia Grey, Margaret Dumont, Douglass Dumbrille, William Tannen, Marion Martin, Virginia O’Brien. A detective is hired to protect the life of a singer, who has recently inherited a department store, from the store’s crooked manager. Although the musical interludes threaten to drown the comedy there is much here to enjoy notably Groucho’s rendition of “Sing While You Sell” and the slapstick finale chase through the department store. Based on a story by Nat Perrin. The Marx Brothers announced that this would be their last film, but they actually went on to make two more. [U]

Casino Royale 1967Casino Royale (1967; UK; Technicolor; 131m) ∗∗  d. Ken Hughes, John Huston, Joseph McGrath, Robert Parrish, Val Guest; w. Wolf Mankowitz, John Law, Michael Sayers; ph. Jack Hildyard; m. Burt Bacharach; ed. Bill Lenny.  Cast: Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, David Niven, Woody Allen, Orson Welles, William Holden, Deborah Kerr, Daliah Lavi, John Huston, George Raft, Joanna Pettet, Charles Boyer, Kurt Kasznar, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Peter O’Toole. In an early spy spoof, aging Sir James Bond comes out of retirement to take on SMERSH. Out-of-control spoof is interesting mainly for its cast and Burt Bacharach’s score. The whole thing, though, is ill-conceived and loses its way completely in a free-for-all climax. Based on the novel by Ian Fleming. [PG]

Casino Royale 2006Casino Royale (2006; USA/UK/Germany/Czech Republic; Colour; 144m) ∗∗∗∗½  d. Martin Campbell; w. Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis; ph. Phil Meheux; m. David Arnold; ed. Stuart Baird.  Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Caterina Murino, Simon Abkarian, Isaach De Bankolé, Jesper Christensen, Ivana Milicevic, Tobias Menzies, Claudio Santamaria, Sebastien Foucan, Malcolm Sinclair. In his first mission, James Bond must stop Le Chiffre, a banker to the world’s terrorist organizations, from winning a high-stakes poker tournament at Casino Royale in Montenegro. Craig makes an excellent debut in arguably the best Bond movie. The action is fast and furious in the opening sequence and the plot carries us through the centre of the film. All the elements are there but this is a tough, rugged entry in a series that has rebooted itself in some considerable style. Based on the novel by Ian Fleming. [12]