Diary of an old cheeser

Hi there! Like other blogs, this is my chance to wax lyrical (some might say talk utter cr*p) about a) what's happening in my life b) all of my pet obsessions in particular music, tv, movies, books and other generally connected things, quite often of the retro, old and "cheesy" variety. Hence the title of my blog. Feel free to leave a comment if the mood takes you. There's nothing like a good chinwag about one's favourite topics and besides I love to meet new people! Cheers, Simon

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Licence to thrill

Just got back from a visit to the flicks this afternoon. Me and my hubbie went to see "Casino Royale". I wasn't 100% sure about seeing it but then again I was curious to see what the fuss was all about. I have enjoyed some Bond movies but they have tended to follow the same old formula which I was getting a bit tired of. However, on the whole "Casino" is definitive viewing. It's a return to a more traditional, hard-edged Bond and a lot of the camp humour has been dropped with more emphasis on action and serious talk, though not without some witty, clever dialogue too. A world away from the days of eyebrow-raising old Grandad Roger Moore and his naff quips, then.

Daniel Craig is excellent as the new Bond and plays him as a hard, ruthless killer whose emotional chinks are nevertheless gradually exposed when he falls for assistant Vesper Lynd. As for looks, he's an interesting choice for the role, being neither traditionally good-looking nor ugly - some where in between I think - a handsome ugliness perhaps? And what a body! I couldn't help overhearing a few appreciative murmers from the audience in the scenes where Bond struts about in a pair of tight-fitting trunks on the beach. Mmmm! And the scene where's he's tortured naked is rather kinky too. Double mmmm.

Eva Green as Vesper (above) is also excellent and a worthy partner for Bond. Her character is a million miles away from the girls in bikinis who used to populate Bond movies, screaming "James! James! Help me!!" at the smallest sign of trouble. Actually that is a bit of a generalisation; certainly in the Pierce Brosnan films we'd seen the emergence of a much more assertive, tougher female character to equal Bond - Halle Berrie and Michelle Yeoh for instance. About time really. Bond and Vesper have some great scenes together and there's some amusing verbal sparring between them, for example the scene where they first meet on the train and suss each other out, with her commenting on his great arse. Well, who wouldn't? Eva Green is also a stunning-looking lady and almost enough to turn a gay man like me straight. Her and Bond make a suitably eye-catching pair. I won't spoil it by telling you how things end up between them but it's a refreshingly unconventional ending.

There's also the requisite mix of action scenes and overseas locations, all of which are presented with the usual panache. A few small criticisms though. Firstly, the title song / sequence. Whilst lyrically appropriate it was rather lacklustre and the singer was someone I hasn't even heard of? What happened to the great Bond divas like Shirley Bassey, Carly Simon or Tina Turner? In fact the theme songs to the last films have been a bit of a let-down (bar perhaps Madonna's "Die Another Day" even if Queen Madge sounded a bit Cyber-woman-esque on that one). Also call me old-fashioned but I do miss the title sequences with the silhouettes of sexy women dancing and writhing all over the place. But maybe that's not allowed any more in this age of political correctness. Instead we got "arty" shots of Bond and hearts, diamonds etc (as on playing cards).Okay, how about silhouettes of naked men doing suggestive things with guns instead? Right, I'll stop now...

Second, the ending. It felt a bit abrupt and I would have liked to have seen what Bond did next. It was also a pretty downbeat conclusion in comparison with previous Bond films and you didn't feel the sense of overwhelming triumph as with the other movies. But perhaps that was a good thing in some respects ... life doesn't always have a happy ending and victories can be small ...

Otherwise enjoyable stuff and to be recommended. One other thing, I will freely admit I didn't really understand how the winning-money-at-the-casino-plotline and the acts of terrorism quite tied up. I'm probably being a bit thick here. Can anyone explain this to me, please?


  • At 9:47 pm , Blogger matty said...

    I think I only ever saw the James Bond movies because of the opening sequences --- my fave was SPY WHO LOVED ME --- with that way cool sex'd up dance number to Carly Simon's song! ...but they lost me with Duran Duran.

    I've a cold. No biggie, but I've decided to stay home and lay about rather than see Judy Garland on the big screen at The Castro in A STAR IS BORN. ...I can't believe I am missing such a major gay moment.

  • At 10:23 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Matty - Yes the titles did used to be very memorable, and has a certain camp appeal which now seems a bit lacking. "Spy" had the girl doing gymnastics on Bond's gun didn't it? How naughty!

    Sorry you have a cold - time of the year. Probably best to stay home and rest. "A Star Is Born" eh - which you do prefer the Garland version, or the Streisand one?

  • At 5:39 am , Blogger TimeWarden said...

    "The Spy Who Loved Me", the third of the seven Roger Moore films, is my favourite too. It introduces Jaws, teams Bond up with Mrs. Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr to Beatles fans!) and, best of all, features Caroline Munro as a helicopter pilot. Effects by the late, great, "Thunderbirds" SFX maestro Derek Meddings, too.

    Favourite character in a Bond movie would have to be Sheriff J W Pepper, from the previous two. "My brother Billy-Bob's got the fastest boat on the river, he'll surely catch 'em. If one side of the family don't, the other will!"

    With regard the theme songs, I liked "The World is Not Enough", probably because I'm a fan of Garbage and Shirley Manson, although it isn't one of their most natural songs, I admit. Most critics are of the opinion that Madonna's song and her fencing-instructor cameo are the weak points of "Die Another Day". Bassey fits the mood of the series best but my favourite is "We Have All the Time in the World", ironically Louis Armstrong's last recording.

  • At 3:22 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Once again you are a mine of information, Time Warden!!

    I remember Sheriff Pepper and that comic boat-chase in "Live and Let Die" - funny stuff.

    One of my fave Bond girls was Jane Seymour as Solitaire - all cut-glass English accent and poshness and I loved the tarot-reading stuff - very 1970s.

    "All the time in the world" is a lovely mellow tune.


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