Day 266: Casino Royale (2006)

hqdefaultAfter today, there are only 100 days left to the year which means I have a 100 movies left to watch (I know the blog is titled 365, but my mistake cause there’s 366). Believe it or not, there are a lot of James Bond films that I still have to see and so for today I chose to watch Casino Royale which is the first Daniel Craig (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) film in the series. James has just gotten his 00 status and he gets sent into the field for the first time. His immediate result is not a desirable one, but he looks to make it up with a poker game. You see James follows a weapons dealer named La Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) to a poker game in Luxembourg where James will have to outsmart him to stop him. The film also stars Eva Green (300: Rise Of An Empire) as Vesper Lynd, Judi Dench (Skyfall) as M, Jeffrey Wright (Boardwalk Empire) as Felix Leiter, Giancarlo Giannini (Man On Fire) as Mathis, Caterina Murino (The Story Of My Life) as Solange, Simon Abkarian (Zero Dark Thirty) as Alex Dimitrios, Isaach De Bankolé (The Skeleton Key) as Steven Obanno, Jesper Christensen (Spectre) as Mr. White, Ivana Milicevic (Banshee) as Valenka, and the film was directed by Martin Campbell (Goldeneye). 

casino-royale-letterboxOn the scale of all of the Bond films that I have seen, I actually enjoyed watching this one because it was fun to watch. The series took a dark turn with Skyfall and it continued through Spectre (I still have Quantum Of Solace to watch). This was as fun of a movie to watch as Goldeneye was and it was one heck of an improvement from it’s predecessor Die Another Day. This is definitely a side of James Bond that we had never seen because it was a young version of him who is adjusting to being in the field. We figure out through this film why he has a hard time keeping the ladies (he has no problem getting them). I really liked Mads Mikkelsen as a bond villain, but he’s certainly not my favorite. He’s everything a Bond villain would be and I love his choice of torture (I don’t really love it, it’s just extremely painful to watch). I am in love with Eva Green so I think it’s safe to say that I loved her as a Bond girl. She was the perfect counterpart to James Bond as she matched wits with him on plenty of occasions. The great thing about these films besides the action and special effects is the locations that they travel to. They filmed in the Bahamas, Italy, Czech Republic, and England. Do yourself a favor and give Casino Royale a shot because the film showcases why I love Daniel Craig as James Bond and why I wouldn’t be upset if he returned to the role once again. I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade only because Skyfall and Goldeneye are better than this one.

Day 37: The Last Witch Hunter (2015)

last witch hunterFor today’s film, I was interested in see The Last Witch Hunter, but enough at the time to see it in theaters. This was one of my I’ll wait till it’s out on Redbox before I see it type of movies. The film stars Vin Diesel (Furious 7) as Kaulder, a man cursed by the witch queen to live forever as he has hunted down witches for centuries. One day, Kaulder’s 36TH Dolan (Michael Caine) is put under a curse by an elusive witch who practices a form of witch craft that hasn’t been seen since Kaulder killed the witch queen 800 years before. With the help of his 37TH Dolan (Elijah Wood) and a dream walker witch named Chloe (Rose Leslie), Kaulder will go on the hunt to save his friend and the world from the plagues before it is too late. The film also stars Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty) as Belial, Rena Owen (Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge Of The Sith) as Glaeser, Julie Engelbrecht (The Red Baron) as The Witch Queen, Joseph Gilgun (This Is England) as Ellic, Isaach De Bankole (Casino Royale) as Max Schlesinger, Dawn Olivieri (American Hustle) as Danique, and the film was directed by Breck Eisner (The Crazies).

the-last-witch-hunter-still02The film was essentially a box office flop for the studio as the budget was over 80 million and they only grossed 27 million at the box office. I don’t think people really gave this film it’s fair shake because it was actually entertaining in my opinion. The film had some pretty cool concepts that went with it and the visual imagery and effects is what is actually stunning. There are some sequences in the film that are actually very cool to see and that is what captured me about the film. As I said the special effects are good, there is plenty of action to go around in the film, and the story was actually pretty well written as well. Listen I always tell people that you shouldn’t expect the greatest story every unfolded on the silver screen with Vin Diesel (unless it’s Guardians Of The Galaxy), You should expect a film that is action pact and bad ass. That is what Vin Diesel movies are all about since day one. The acting in the film was great and you shouldn’t be surprised with a cast that features the great Michael Caine. This could have been an Ass Whoopin Wednesday film for sure, but that’s OK because there’s plenty more films out there. This was definitely a film that was cool to watch and I truly enjoyed it. However, for a final grade I am going to give the movie a B for a final grade because it’s not the best Vin Diesel film.