Archive for the ‘Martin Campbell’ Category

Gambling with Ellipsis

Casino Royale

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Director: Martin Campbell

Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelson, Judi Dench, Jesper Christensen, Jeffrey Wright

After a four year hiatus with the Lee Tamahori directed Die Another Day, (2002) the hugely successful Bond franchise returns with a glossy and brilliant cinematic adaptation of Ian Fleming’s first novel, Casino Royale originally published in 1953.

Director Martin Campbell (Goldeneye) updates Fleming’s novel to the 21st century and the Bond franchise controversially introduces the new blond Bond, a blue eyed hunk named Daniel Craig whose film credits include Love is the Devil and Sylvia.

Judi Dench reprises her role as M while Jeffrey Wright takes on the role of Felix Leiter. Bond girl and femme fatale, Vesper Lynd is coolly played by the French actress Eva Green (The Dreamers) and the villain, a swindler, money launderer and compulsive gambler the infamous Le Chiffre is wonderfully played by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen.

With a gritty opening sequence in Prague followed by a spectacular stunt and action sequence in Madagascar, viewers are reintroduced to Bond as a tough, rebellious British secret agent who is after the elusive source of Ellipsis, codename for an international terrorist money laundering ring with ties to Le Chiffre and his overseer the mysterious Mr White played by Jesper Christiansen, first seen in the Ugandan jungle.

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As the action moves swiftly around the world from The Bahamas to Montenegro to Venice, Casino Royale is a superb and ambitious adaptation of the 007 novel, as all the central characters gamble with each other’s lives and motives, with Bond even getting caught in a horrendous torture sequence nearly breaks his British patriotism as well as his manhood. Bond’s love for Vesper Lynd is consecrated in a Hotel room in Montenegro while he is in between playing in an international high stakes poker, superbly teased out and the onscreen chemistry between Craig and Mikkelsen as Bond and Villain is palpable and nefarious.

Complimenting this classic hero/villain tension is the intense partnering of Bond and Lynd, with a matching chemistry between Green and Craig, showing that both actors are consummate performers and expertly cast together.

Besides the awesome stunts, the superb action and the intense gambling, Casino Royale belongs to Daniel Craig who makes the role of Bond his own and really proves his weight as the new Bond for the 21st century, as demonstrated recently with two more Bond films Quantum of Solace (2008) and the hugely popular Skyfall (2012).

Retrospectively Casino Royale pays homage to all the elegant Bond films of the 1960s especially Dr No and Goldfinger as well as the Pierce Brosnan films of the late 1990s such as Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies. Gone are the spectacular sets and outlandish plots of The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker which characterised the Bond films of the 1970’s, even though those films were the most popular of the Roger Moore series.

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Casino Royale is glossy film noir with a great supporting cast, exotic locations and some jaw dropping sequences including the iconic shot of Daniel Craig emerging out of the Caribbean surf in nothing but swimming trunks, oddly enough paying homage to Dr No and Die Another Day.

Casino Royale is 142 minutes long and by far one of the best Bond films made in the expanding 007 filmography, memorable, thrilling and unsuspectingly heart wrenching. This is definitely a vintage Bond film and one to keep for all the ardent franchise collectors. Absolutely Brilliant.

Ideally Casino Royale should be watched before Quantum of Solace as the two films complement each other stylistically and the plot follows on chronologically.

 

Cheeky Green Superhero

Green Lantern

Bond film director Martin Campbell, who was responsible for the hugely popular Casino Royale and Goldeneye takes a new directorial route with the Sci-fi superhero action film The Green Lantern starring the gorgeous and ever quirky Ryan Reynolds as a hapless Californian pilot first appearing in a pair of tight whiteys, who is accidentally bestowed huge responsibility by a dying purple alien to quell the disruptions facing the galactic status quo caused by the unleashing of Parallax, a menacing evil force which has come back to haunt the realm of the Green Lanterns.

Going Green and Saving the Universe

With the help of a tight-fitting Green costume, cool mask and a rather large green ring, the irresponsible jet pilot Hal Jordan, played with relish by Reynolds is the first human to become a Green Lantern and is able to fly, create objects in space and generally be very malleable with his own willpower.

The only problem with casting Ryan Reynolds as the green clad cheeky superhero was that it was very difficult to take him seriously in this role after he was so brilliant in such comedies as The Proposal but is no stranger to Superhero films as he appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Blake Lively seen briefly in the brilliant film The Town appears as the female lead, Carol Ferris and although there is a great supporting cast including Mark Strong, Tim Robbins and Angela Bassett, The Green Lantern whilst it remains entertaining fails to supercede X-Men: First Class and is not even in the same league as The Dark Knight or the hugely popular Spiderman franchise which were released at the beginning of the 21st century.

Green Lantern firmly rooted in science-fiction remains more comic than action and the film looses its impetus and becomes another superhero film about men who have severe father complexes. Both the Green Lantern, aka, Hal Jordan and the villain Hector Hammond are men who are desperately trying to live up to the legend their fathers were, while Hammond simply takes vengeance, Jordan as the Lantern shows that all the galactic responsibility has proven that he is a man capable of saving the Earth from utter devastation.

What saves The Green Lantern is the quirky acting of Ryan Reynolds and the wonderful onscreen chemistry between him and the rising star Blake Lively. As superhero films go, this Lively Lantern is thrilling but by no means unique. The story line is straight out of superman and lacks the panache or psychological profile which makes some superhero films so utterly compelling such as Batman Begins and Hellboy.

Bruce Wayne the complex Super Hero

Martin Campbell should stick to more gritty action films which are more his style like the Bond films, The Mask of Zorro and the excellent but under rated thriller Edge of Darkness starring Mel Gibson before his spectacular fall from grace.

The overkill of superhero movies only points to a trend in recent big budget studio film making which is taking audience away from the blinding realities of common existence and allowing them to escape into a world  of super egotistical hyper-realized potential where the super hero in everyone is waiting to be unleashed. A concept that America firmly believes in. Watch out for more superhero films being released including the aptly titled Captain America. Escapism at its most comical yet undeniably entertaining!

A Far More Stylish Hero

 

 

 

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