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 222: The Seventh Seal (1957)

the seventh sealI am once again using this time to knock off some films off my must see list and today’s film is one that has always peaked my interest since I watched Last Action Hero (if you’ve seen it then you know what I am talking about). The film that I chose for today is The Seventh Seal which was written and directed by Ingmar Bergman (Persona). The film follows a knight by the name of Antonius Block (Max von Sydow) who returns to his native country after ten years of being in the crusades. When he returns things are much different as the country has been struck by the dreadful plague. One day on the beach, he has a chance encounter with Death (Bengt Ekerot) and he challenges Death to a chess match. If he wins, he lives and if he dies then Death can have him. The film also stars Nils Poppe (Private Bom) as Jos, Gunnar Björnstrand (Wild Strawberries) as Jöns, squire, Bibi Andersson (Persona) as Mia- Jos Wife, Inga Gill (Cries & Whispers) as Lisa- Blacksmith’s wife, Maud Hansson (Emil and the Piglet) as witch, Åke Fridell (Summer With Monica) as Plog-Blacksmith, Gunnar Olsson (Summer Interlude) as Albertus Pictor, Church Painter, and Gunnel Lindblom (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) as Girl. 

seventh sealFirst I just want to say that I thought the film was beautiful shot with great scenic shots and very rich textures. I thought the film was very well acted and it had a very good story. I know Max von Sydow would become a cinematic legend here in the states, but I just wanted to say that the MVP to me was his squire in the film Gunnar Björnstrand who had some amazing lines and scenes that just stole the show in my opinion. I thought the film was going to be this long drowned out film about a chess match, but it was much more than that as these two men who have just spent ten years of their lives fighting for God are looking for the answers as to whether he is there, does he exist, and if so does he listen to their prayers? You see them walk around in this land that has been drastically changed for the worse due to the plague and you see how unexcited to live people are until they are confronted with death. One of my favorite scenes in the film has to be the one where Jöns has been told a story about people who whip themselves hoping to be cured of this plague and then when Jos is trying to cheer people up, here comes this group of travelers carrying crosses while some look sick and are being whipped. A very powerful scene as the monk preaches of death and doom to everyone like life is hopeless. I really liked this film a lot and I am probably going to check out a lot more of Bergman’s work in he future. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.

Top 25 Of February

Top-25 copyI have decided after seeing what a friend was doing with his challenge that I would rate the month of February as far as the films I watched. So, I have decided to list my top 25 films of each month and we are starting with the month of February. I will look at all the films I watched and I will rate them from 25 to 1 with one obviously being my favorite film of that particular month. At the end of the year I will rate the top 25 of the year if I make it to that point and hopefully I do. Obviously there are films that are left behind from the list considering some months have 30, 31, and this year February has 29 days. So, some films are unfortunately left behind and I will tell you that The Witch, Sharknado 3, The Punisher, and Black Mama, White Mama are left off the list. I’m not really going to explain why, but rather just show what my top 25 was. So, here is the list:

25. Jem And The Holograms

24. Freaks Of Nature

23. Good Guys Wear Black

22. The Other Woman

21. The Ladykillers

20. The Visit

19. The Last Witch Hunter

18. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

17. The Transporter Refueled

16. The November Man

15. Eulogy

14. Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm

13. Johnny Dangerously

12. Johnny Got His Gun

11. Triple 9

10. Trainspotting

9. Reservoir Dogs

8. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

7. Friday Night Lights

6. The Fifth Element

5. Oldboy

4. The Dark Crystal

3. Cinderella Man

2. The Good Dinosaur

1. Deadpool

Day 42: The Girl With The Dragon (2009)

girlEver since the release of the American version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I never understood what the fuss was all about. So, I decided that before I watch that that I should check out the original version which was made in Sweden. The film stars Noomi Rapace (The Drop) as Lizbeth and Michael Nyqvist (John Wick) as Mikael Blomkvist, two different people from different worlds. Mikael is a disgraced reporter who tried to expose a CEO of a company and was basically ruined and sentenced to jail. Lizbeth is very different as she has had a very rough beginning to her life, but works as a spy basically for companies. One day, Mikael is hired by a wealthy man to figure out the disappearance of a niece of his 40 years before. Together with Lizbeth, the two will stop at nothing to figure out what happened to her. The film also stars Sven-Bertil Taube (The Eagle Has Landed) as Henrik Vagner, Peter Haber (Beck) as Martin Vagner, Peter Andersson (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) as Nils Bjurman, Björn Granath (The American) as Gustav Morell, David Dencik (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) as Janne Dahlman, and the film was directed by Niels Arden Oplev (Dead Man Down).

the-girl-with-the-dragon-tattooLet me tell you that if you want to see a movie with some pretty intense and graphic scenes, then this is definitely it. There are a couple of rape scenes in the film that Lizbeth is apart of, but other than the movie is actually smart and engaging. You’re glued to the TV set wondering if Mikael and Lizbeth are going to solve the mystery that has plagued the family. The film is actually very clever in that department because at first I didn’t see it coming. I thought for sure that they were never going to solve the mystery and right when they figure it out, you are like wow I should have seen that coming. At first the film is like two different parts because one part, you are getting to know the both of them separately before they come together. The Lizbeth scenes in the first hour can get a little uncomfortable for some, but if you can get past that then you’ll see that the film is brilliant. The second half is all about them teaming up to figure out the case and it gets a little personal between the two of them. You really see Lizbeth grow a little in the second half of the film. I originally was watching The Drop when I was curious as to what films Noomi Rapace was in and that is when I discovered that she was in these films. I’m definitely glad that I decided to check them out for myself and I look forward to the other films in the series. One thing that I will warn you is that the film is in Swedish with Subtitles. So, if you can also look past that, you will enjoy it for sure. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.