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James M. (Ireland)

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Casino Royale (2 Disc Collector's Edition) [2006] [DVD]
Casino Royale (2 Disc Collector's Edition) [2006] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Daniel Craig
Offered by streetsahead
Price: £3.50

35 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Craig revitalises Bond., 13 Dec. 2006
Shame on us. When Daniel Craig was announced as the new James Bond, there was outcry among many. People thought he was too wooden, that he lacked the sufficient suaveness to play 007 and, worst of all, that he was too blond.

How wrong we all were. Craig is brilliant as Bond, managing to take everything we love about Bond while adding more to the role. While he may not be a star in the Sean Connery mould, he is a fantastic actor, and to revitalize a series that looked on its last legs he needed to be a good actor. Bond 2006 is a more physical man and Craig provides this by actually looking like he could kill a man with his bare hands. Gone are the lame double entendres and sly innuendos; instead we get a young Bond who makes mistakes and is a womanising, borderline alcoholic secret agent who is effectively an assassin.

Casino Royale plays its trump card early: Craig's physicality. The much talked about Madagascar free-running chase is a thrilling sequence that takes in a chase across a crane and the Nambutu embassy, and by the end Craig is smouldering; he is a hard-hitting, killing machine. The grotty, violent bathroom fight which is shot in black and shows Bond earning his first kill is also refreshingly new, adding a new dimension to the famous spy.

Thankfully, the rest of the film doesn't lag. The set-pieces are excellent, the acting by the supporting cast good, and the storyline, while not particularly excellent, keeps the film ticking along. Eva Green in particular is impressive as Bond's love interest Vesper Lynd. Casino Royale sheds the image of the traditional Bond girl; instead we get a woman who matches Bond throughout the film and eventually steals his heart.

The film those have its faults: the soulless product placement, daft defibrillator scene, the collapsing building at the climax is too noisy a scene which almost smothers the emotional ending, and the idea of an bruised, emotionally fraught Bond with the beginnings of a drink problem might be too much to take for some people. But these are minor faults when you consider the film as a whole.

For a new generation Bond, Craig fits the bill perfectly, taking the spy stuck in the 1960's kicking and screaming into the 21st century. There is no disputing that Craig has revitalized Bond, replacing camp with a prickly sense of humour and adding heart to a franchise that has lost its way. When, at the end, Bond finally utters those immortal five words and the iconic title tune kicks, you'll be completely smitten. Bond is back and -- was it ever in doubt -- James Bond will return.

A History Of Violence [DVD]
A History Of Violence [DVD]
Dvd ~ Viggo Mortensen
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £2.74

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - one of the films of the year., 6 Dec. 2006
This review is from: A History Of Violence [DVD] (DVD)
When all the attention was firmly focused on Ang Lee's other western, Brokeback Mountain, for me, David Cronenberg's excellent, contemporary western was the more arguably powerful film.

Taking the premise of a small, idyllic town, and the small-time cafe owner who kills two robbers who he feels are endangering his costumers, Cronenberg skillfully crafts a brilliant story of a man who tries to suppress the violence that is part of his nature, but which eventually consumes him. Cronenberg searches deep in to the human nature, examining the brutal, shocking violence that is at the core of this movie.

Viggo Mortensen fits the bill perfectly, looking so much like a man of the west -- the only thing missing is a cowboy hat. Perfectly portraying the quiet cafe owner, then his violent alter ego Joey, Mortensen is excellent throughout. The violence is brutal and sudden, but it is authentic and shockingly real -- Cronenberg apparently got some of the violence from a DVD on the internet which shows you how to kill a man on the street, which he stumbled across.

For those of you who have not seen this I urge you to get it. Underrated, this film deserves better as it is a brilliant examination of human behaviour and Mortensen's character is a perfect example of a man trying to forget his past, but which inevitable catches up with him.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 11, 2015 11:02 PM GMT

The Naming Of The Dead
The Naming Of The Dead
by Ian Rankin
Edition: Hardcover

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rebus and Rankin -- Brilliant, yet again., 30 Nov. 2006
This review is from: The Naming Of The Dead (Hardcover)
Ian Rankin is surely ahead of his fellow crime writers if only in the amount of books that he has written that are consistently of a high standard. This is Rankin's 16th Rebus book since 1988, an asthonishing amount by by anyone standards -- not mentioning the other books not featuring Rebus.

This latest edition in the Rebus series sees the Scottsman nearing retirement only for a mysterious set of murders to drag him back in to murky world of criminality -- all set against the backdrop of the G8 summit. This book sees Rankin and Rebus on top form, and Rankin, in particular, uses the G8 and the protest marches that surround it to great effect.

Considering that this is the penultimate Rebus novel it seems to me that Rankin is grooming Siobhan Clarke to succeed Rebus when the old man finally retires -- or worse. She is given a more central role, like the previous few books, and we are seeing new and interesting sides to her.

Quite how Rankin keeps such a high standard is beyond me, but be sure not to miss out on the latest Rebus books before the character is finally seen off.

Pirates Of The Caribbean : Dead Man's Chest (Two-Disc Special Edition)[DVD] [2006]
Pirates Of The Caribbean : Dead Man's Chest (Two-Disc Special Edition)[DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Johnny Depp
Price: £2.49

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed, but saved by Depp's excellent performance., 26 Nov. 2006
Ironically enough, the best thing about Dead Mans Chest is also its main downfall. While Johnny Depp's exurberant performance as Jack Sparrow chewed up the scenery everytime he appeared in the last film, in this belated sequel he is thrust to the fore at times and other times is nowhere to be seen. When he is on screen he dazzles, his performance just as good as the first, even if the dialogue is no longer as sharp and witty as in the first. Unfortunately, when he is off screen, the lack of a talent to make up for his absence is largely conspicuous. Neither Bloom or Knightley are lively enough to carry the film, resulting in some bland scenes with little excitement.

The rest of the film doesn't help. The plot is laboured and tedious, never catching the imagination as the first did so well. At nearly two-and-a-half-hours it is over long aswell.

The film is saved, however, by Depp, whose prancing pirate is riddicuously brilliant; he is the sole reason for the success that this film has been at the box-office. If the third film can reproduce the same qualities that enthralled us in the first, then this film can be classified as a slight dip. For now, though, it is a dissapointment, but you'll still find pleasure in watching Johnny Depp act.

Infernal Affairs [2004] [DVD]
Infernal Affairs [2004] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Andy Lau
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £8.27

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original and best., 8 Nov. 2006
This stylish Hong Kong thriller was recently remade (or helped influence, if you believe the director) in the form of Martin Scorsese's The Departed. While both versions of the movie are excellent in their own ways - The Departed is excellent if only to watch it for Jack Nicholson's powerhouse performance - it is the original that shines brightest.

Infernal Affairs is a compelling case study of two sides of the one coin. Tony Leung and Andy Lau counterbalance each other perfectly as the triad mole in the police force and the police mole in the triads respectively. The tale of the two morally ambiguous protagonists is beautifully crafted and the film is infused with an emotional weight that examines the inner state of the two characters and what affect there individual tasks are having on their lives - where does the line stop between cop and criminal? As Jack Nicholson's character says in the new version: "you can become cops or criminals; but when you're faced with a loaded gun, whats the difference?"

Unlike Joh Woo's action packed movies, Infernal Affairs is a more subtle, phsychological examination of the two leading men. This refined study of good and evil is remarkabely fresh and deserves to be seen by as many as have seen The Departed.

Bill Bailey Live: Part Troll [DVD] [1997]
Bill Bailey Live: Part Troll [DVD] [1997]
Dvd ~ Nick Morris
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £3.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, an original, eclecic mix of music and comedy., 2 Nov. 2006
In an age where comedy, especially stand-up, is becoming ever more preidictable and un-original, it's great to see a comedian taking a different slant on the stand-up routine. Bill Bailey is first and foremost a genuinly talented comedian, but he is also a great musician, and his many musical moments are some of the best parts of his act. Completely underrated, Bailey deserves to be more recognised than he currently his. Part Troll is like nothing I've ever seen, in a good way that is. If you want original, smart, well structured comedy and not the trash that is spurned out by the likes of Jimmy Carr, then watch this and enjoy one of Britian's most talented comedians at work.

Morbo: The Story of Spanish Football
Morbo: The Story of Spanish Football
by Phil ball
Edition: Paperback

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morbo!, 8 Aug. 2006
There really is no shortage of excellent books on football in particular countries -- Brilliant Orange, Futebol, Tor, Calcio -- but Phil Ball's book on Spanish footballing culture is among the best.
From its star-studded league to the biggest derby in the world, Spain is not lacking in interesting stories to tell, and,thankfullly,Ball is a great storyteller who has crafted a wonderfully entertaining book. His insightful stories of, not only the Madrid-Barcelona rivalry, but also of the rivalries in Seville and the Basque country are erudite yet enjoyable to read. Brilliant, don't miss it.

Calcio: A History of Italian Football
Calcio: A History of Italian Football
by John Foot
Edition: Paperback

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb insight into Italian football., 31 July 2006
To many people, Italian football is a mystery. On one hand, Italy has produced some of world football's best players and is home to the world's biggest clubs. The football is often beautiful and there is never a lack of passion. On the other it embraces the worst parts of the game with games often soiled with blatant cheating and racist fans.

Calcio does a very good job in attempting to shed light on the Italian mindset and the culture and society that spawned its approach to the beautiful game.

The author John Foot clearly has alot of love for the Italian game but that doesnt cloud his judgement of the dark side of the game. He is rightly outraged by the unchecked racism that has blighted the game since the 1990s. In fact the book really ecsells in the chapters on fan culture. He also delves into the scandals and murders that have occured within the game.

From the origins of Calcio through to the personalties who have shaped the game, such as Benito Mussolini and on to Silvio Berlusconi, Foot has created a detailed and enjoyaable account of Italian football. All the major players who have played the game including; Gianni Rivera, Giacinto Facchetti, Gigi Riva, Marco Van Bastin etc, are all examined.

This book is a superb journey into a football crazy nation highlighting some of the best and worst of Italian mentality. It is only a pity that this wasn't published until later so as to include the recent match fixing scandal, the largest in Italian history, and Italys triumph in the World Cup.

Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football
Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football
by David Winner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than just a football book!, 31 July 2006
If the originality of the cover of this book is what attracted you to David Winner's excellent football book, then that is just a taste of what to expect. Surprisingly original and at times very abstract, Winner has managed to craft a book of spectacular inventiveness, combining examninations of Dutch architecture and insightful looks at Dutch football, Winner has created not only a dazzling look at Dutch football, but Dutch society aswell by using football as a looking-glass. I can't rate this book highly enough. An essential purchase.

Inside Man [DVD]
Inside Man [DVD]
Dvd ~ Denzel Washington
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £2.90

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slick and entertaining., 28 July 2006
This review is from: Inside Man [DVD] (DVD)
Spike Lee's take on the proverbial bank heist movie employs an imposing cast and an intruiging narrative to deliver one of the more entertaining releases of the summer. Starring Denzel Washington, Clive Owen and Jodie Foster, Inside Man centers on Washingtons character negotiating with Owen's villian after he takes over a Manhattan bank. Lee does adress some political issues of the day but it feels slightly hafl-hearted compared to his previous movies. For the most part it functions as a twisty thriller. The movie revels in the charisma of the three leading actors who are all in great form. This is Lee's most conventional film and he makes the transistion to mainstream with ease. While there are logical flaws, the movie remains the directors most purely entertaining film in a decade.

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