Rapid Review: Spectre (2015)

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“You are a kite dancing in a hurricane, Mr Bond.”
– Mr White

SYNOPSIS: A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE. – via IMDB

SPECTRE DAY OF THE DEAD

GRADE 7After all this time I finally got to see Spectre over the weekend. I know, I am like the last person in the world to have watched this and to churn out a review for it, but so what? I have been looking forward to this movie for far too long. Right off the bat, I think people are being way too harsh on this movie. Granted, it is not like the other Craig Bond films we have come to expect, it wasn’t as serious or as gritty as the others, which is something that I missed, but it did not mean that there was nothing to love. Spectre was shot well, and looks great, and is carried by some solid performances. Craig is, of course, a phenomenal Bond and my favourite (though that is well known by now, I am sure), and Ben Whishaw makes for a wonderful Q, I still think that he represents a modernised Q perfectly. After I realised that this Bond might have more campier moments to it, I could even embrace the silly comments, and Q being a lot, uhm, more ridiculous than previously. He used to take things seriously, and next thing I know he is complaining about his cats and sniggering at his terribly awkward Aston jokes. Ralph Fiennes’s M started quite rocky here, as I definitely expected more backbone from his character. I have been itching to see Christoph Waltz take on Bond, and I was not disappointed. He was fantastic every moment he was on screen, which is nothing less than I expected. The man is such a phenomenal actor and excels at any role he decides to take on. I am totally looking forward to seeing more of his character in the upcoming Bond films, no ways did they bring him in just for this one. The scene with Madeleine and Bond in the traincar felt like a throwback to Casino Royale, but just didn’t sit right. In actual fact, there were tons of throwbacks to the older Bond films, and some worked better than others. I do enjoy how the last few Bond films (the Craig era) have all linked up nicely. Spectre also featured so much… well, Bond banging the world again, which was really disappointing, as the Craig Bonds have not really featured that aspect much, which was something I always appreciated. Monica Bellucci was case in point… she served no real purpose but to look beautiful. Léa Seydoux’s Dr Madeleine Swann was a really good Bond girl, she is a strong woman who can hold her own, so definitely a solid addition. Also, while Bautista may have been a villain of few words, I really liked him, and a throwback to the quieter henchman that just did their thing. I could not buy into South Africa being the holdouts on the whole Nine Eyes intelligence thing because, well, have you been reading anything smart about South Africa in the papers? Didn’t think so. Our government and intelligence agencies are a joke. Not even being nasty, but really, there is nothing there anymore, it’s embarrassing. I also really disliked that Sam Smith song Writing’s on the Wall (I have no idea who he is, I don’t listen to the radio, but he is not someone I will be listening to anytime soon – totally not my cup of tea), and I was no fan of the opening credits. I cringed. What a pity, too, because the whole octopus thing would have been fine, but instead was bordering on some extreme Hentai crap, and Daniel Craig could not have looked more awkward. Well, I am glad we got that out of the way. I was a huge fan of the opening sequence with the Day of the Dead parade, it was just gorgeous, but I do wish there had been some more to it. The action was top notch here, as always, and I liked little things in the movie that highlighted, once again, how emotionally damaged Craig’s Bond is (his flat that is bare, his drinking, how he can still not bare to deal with anything that touches on Vesper). Yes, Spectre has some drawbacks and shortcomings, and no, it was not quite the film I was expecting, but it is well worth a watch and it is fun, and it does go back to older Bond roots. It is totally not the disaster it has been painted.

Review: Road to Perdition (2002)

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“There are many stories about Michael Sullivan. Some say he was a decent man. Some say there was no good in him at all.”
– Michael Sullivan Jr 

Irish mob boss John Rooney (Paul Newman) has many people that work for him. One of those people is the exceptionally good enforcer Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks). The two have an incredibly close relationship seeing as Rooney pretty much raised Sullivan as his own son. Connor (Daniel Craig) is Rooney’s son, but has always somewhat resented Sullivan for having his father’s love and respect more than he. Rooney requests that Sullivan and Conner pay Finn McGovern (Ciarán Hinds) a visit about money that is being stolen and going missing. McGovern just buried his brother, and is unhappy about it. Sullivan’s son, Michael Sullivan Jr (Tyler Hoechlin) follows his father to the meeting place to see what it is that his father does for a living. What he sees scares him – Connor loses his temper and he and Sullivan gun down McGovern and his men. Sullivan discovers Michael at the scene, but there is no way that he will eliminate his own child.

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“A man of honour always pays his debts… and keeps his word.” – John Rooney

Rooney is deeply angry with his son, and Connor bears the brunt of it. Sullivan is making sure that Michael stays quiet about what he saw, interacting with his son on a more frequent level than ever before – he has not really been the family man. Connor, however, is sure he can “fix” things between himself and his father, but will not have Michael a part of what went down. Instead, he arranges to have Michael killed, and when he visits the house he kills Sullivan’s wife, Annie (Jennifer Jason Leigh), and youngest son Peter (Liam Aiken), mistaking him for Michael. Sullivan is crushed to find his family, but takes Michael and flees Rock Island, Illinois, to speak with Al Capone. He needs work and he needs to know where Rooney has hidden Connor.

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“Natural law. Sons are put on this earth to trouble their fathers.” – John Rooney

Father and son trek across the country, spending more time together than ever before. Sullivan meets with Frank Nitti (Stanley Tucci), Capone’s associate, who turns him down for both work as well as assisting Sullivan exact his revenge against Connor. Rooney learns of the meeting, and is forced to employ assassin Harlen Maguire (Jude Law) to eliminate Sullivan. Sullivan, however, has other plans. On the run from the assassin, Sullivan starts to rob banks that are known to contain Capone’s laundered money. Michael is helping his father, and together they rob the mob of plenty of money. Sullivan wants to hit them where it hurts, and he needs someone to tell him where to find Connor so that he can bring about order to his life. Sullivan comes across some ledgers when holding up Alexander Rance (Dylan Baker), Rooney’s accountant.

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“Just one last thing, and then it’s done.” – Michael Sullivan

Michael and Sullivan continue to rob banks, but the ledgers that Sullivan has acquired tell him a hell of a lot more about what is going on with Connor and Rooney and McGovern. However, with his son in hand, they need to get to a safe place. His sister-in-law’s place is not safe, seeing as Maguire is watching it and sure to know that it will be the place that Sullivan seeks cover. Will Sullivan be able to get Connor and punish him for robbing him of his family? Will Sullivan and Rooney still have ties if Sullivan exterminates Rooney’s biological son? Will Maguire ever get off of Sullivan’s case? Will Michael be able to stay on the run across the country with his father, whom he is only now finally developing a relationship with?

I would score Road to Perdition a 7.5/10. This was a good movie, not too much, not too little of anything. Tom Hanks played his role well, though this was really something a bit different for him in my opinion. This was full-fledged drama with virtually no comedic aspects to it, which is not always his thing. Watching a father and son find themselves after the colossal loss that they suffered is quite sad. Without his mother, Michael Jr doesn’t really know his dad, and vice versa. They knock heads and are so damn similar to each other that building a relationship is no mean feat. They need to get to know each other more and make peace with so much that had, before the tragic loss of family, never been dealt with before. There were a few scenes that made me smile, and a few that were terribly sad. I thought Michael Jr being the getaway driver was hilarious, as well as his desire to be cut in to some of the earnings. The movie had sweet moments, and others that just made you feel things were not right. I liked Maguire’s character that Jude Law played, the assassin that loves his job too much and documents it in excruciating detail. Jude Law himself, however, still doesn’t impress me much. I liked the way that Michael Sullivan Jr told the story of his father, their pain and the antics that they got up to. The film also looked really pretty, which is always nice. Not a bad film and worth checking out I reckon.

Review: Skyfall (2012)

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“I know I can’t do this job forever, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to leave the department in worse shape than I found it.”
– M

MI6 agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) is on a mission to hunt down a mercenary named Patrice (Ola Rapace) and recover what he has stolen – a computer hard drive that contains details concerning undercover agents placed in terrorist organisations by NATO states. However, he is unsuccesfful when M (Judi Dench) orders Eve Moneypenny (Naomi Harris) to take a shot at the target, even though Bond is wrapped tightly to him. Eve takes her shot, and Bond goes down, falling from the moving train into the rapids below. Patrice escapes with the drive, and M gets a lot of flak from Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), the Chairman for the Intelligence and Security Committee. They want her resignation, and are forcing it upon her, though all M wants to do is fix the wreck that has been caused in the wake of Bond’s death and Patrice’s escape.

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“Just look at you, barely held together by your pills and your drink.” – Raoul Silva

On the way back to MI6 headquarters, M’s laptop is hacked and the signal is traced back to her office. In a rush to get back and apprehend someone, M is stopped in time to see MI6 headquarters explode. Bond catches a news broadcast on television where he has been recuperating and returns to London immediately, and M is furious that he did not make contact when he recovered. He is still angry with her for insisting Eve take a dodgy shot and wounding him. The blame can go on endlessly. Bond is an absolute wreck, both his body and mind are deteriorated and he is drinking excessively. M agrees to put him back on active duty provided that he passes all the MI6 physical and psychological evaluations again.

Bond does dismally at his examinations, though M lies and declares him fit for duty. Some shrapnel from Bond’s wound assists in identifying Patrice, and Bond is sent off to Shanghai to recover the hard drive with the undercover agents’ names on it and execute Patrice as well as identify his employer. In Shanghai, Patrice executes a man and scuffles with Bond, leading to his death. Bond knows nothing of Patrice’s employer, but has another clue to follow up on. Bond heads to Macau, where he meets with Séverine (Bérénice Marloh), who was present at the assassination that Patrice was sent to carry out. Bond tries to work it out of her who Patrice’s employer is, and eventually he succeeds. Bond is taken to Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), originally birthed Tiago Rodriguez. He was once M’s cream of the crop, but nowadays dedicates his time to cyberterrorism and is very good at it. Bond, however, outsmarts Silva’s capture with the radio transmitter that the new Q (Ben Whishaw) provided him with, and Silva returns to Britain a prisoner.

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“They kept me for five months in a room with no air. They tortured me, and I protected your secrets. I protected you.” – Raoul Silva

Trouble starts soon after captivity. Silva’s laptop infiltrated MI6 systems when Q plugged it into the network, and Silva escapes. With an incredibly clever disguise, he makes his way to M, who is in the midst of a public enquiry, intent on killing her for his perceived betrayal of her. Bond saves M, inadvertently kidnapping her, making sure that Q lays a path that only Silva can follow. The mission is definitely off the books, and M places her life and trust into Bond’s hands. Bond takes M to his childhood home, Skyfall, where they enlist the help of the gamekeeper, Kincade (Albert Finney).

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“Orphans always make the best recruits.” – M

Will Bond be able to protect M? Will Q successfully map a way to Bond that Silva will be able to follow and suspect nothing? Will Bond be able to deal with his past demons and return to his roots to protect a woman he holds as dear to him as that of a mother?

An 8/10 for Skyfall. This was another solid entry to the Bond collection, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. While this movie was distinctly different from every other Bond movie, it just worked. I thought Daniel Craig did a bloody excellent job of coming back as Bond, washed out, bitter, angry and drinking far more than he needs to. Javier Bardem provided a truly genius Bond villain, and was simply amazing to watch. He had it all, excellent. Ralph Fiennes was a very welcome edition, I truly do enjoy him, and he was worthy of the way things went down. The latest Q is also something fascinating – Ben Whishaw takes it up a notch and modernizes the Quartermaster’s position entirely. A lot of this film focuses on M, and Judi Dench again delivers a fantastic performance, and the relationship between her and Bond has changed very little – still very much like mother and son. A lot of the story focuses on her, and it is a welcome addition. Skyfall gives us another look at Bond prior to rising up to his 00 status, and is executed well. The action at Skyfall itself is phenomenal, and it didn’t let up, the story never ceased, and the characters were ever present, no matter the circumstances. The humour that was featured was not over the top, but very witty and sharp as it came along. The intro for Skyfall is definitely my favourite of them all, and was just absolutely stunning to watch. This was a good way to celebrate fifty years of Bond, I must admit. However, I am pretty depressed that my Bond run has finally concluded. I was seriously getting used to the idea that I would have a Bond every week for the rest of my life. Oh well, now we wait for the next installment.

Review: Quantum of Solace (2008)

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“This is the world’s most precious resource, we need to control as much of it as we can.”
– Dominic Greene

MI6 007 agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) is rushing to deliver his captured Mr White (Jesper Christensen) to M (Judi Dench), to uncover more about his operation, Quantum. Bond is also personally invested with the events, seeing as Mr White was involved with Vesper Lynd’s (Eva Green) betrayal and death, a woman that Bond fell in love with, though is angered by her betrayal. However, in questioning, it turns out White meant it when he said we have people everywhere, and M’s personal bodyguard, Craig Mitchell (Glenn Foster), turns out to be a double agent, taking a shot at M. Bond chases him down and kills him, making M angrier than before. With information they discover in Mitchell’s flat, Bond sets off to Haiti.

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“This is about trust. You said you weren’t motivated by revenge.” – M

Tracking down a contact, Edmund Slate (Neil Jackson), he kills him too and meets with Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko), whom Slate was sent to kill at the behest of environmentalist Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric). Bond watches her, and gets an insight into Greene’s operation – he is assisting General Medrano (Joaquín Cosío) in overthrowing his government so that he can return from exile and take power. All Greene wants in return is a piece of desert that has nothing in it. Bond gets involved with saving Camille from Medrano after Greene handed her over, and here he learns that Medrano is responsible for having killed her family, and that she is on a revenge mission. Bond is tailing Greene now, intent on discovering the whole plan, and why pipes are being used. The CIA, however, seems to be making deals with Greene, what with Gregg Bean (David Harbour) striking a deal to not interfere with anything involving the access to Bolivian oil they are led to believe is there. His partner, Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), makes it known that he is unimpressed with the deal.

Quantum of Solace
“There is something horribly efficient about you.” – Camille Montes

Bond makes it into Quantum’s meeting, and it ends with a very bloody conclusion, causing M to finally decide she is finished with his rash decision making. A Special Branch bodyguard and advisor to the British Prime Minister is killed by Greene’s men, though it appears Bond is responsible. M order Bond return, and he defies her orders, instead meeting up with René Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini) and asking for his assistance, which he grudgingly gives, still not having quite forgiven Bond for calling him a traitor during the whole Le Chiffre ordeal. British agent Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton) meets them at the airport and orders Bond home, though he will hear nothing of the sort. Attending a party of Greene, Bond is set up to look like he killed Mathis, though he did not, the Bolivian police did. Bond goes on the run officially when things start going seriously sour and innocents are dying. Though everyone else is hunting Bond, M realises that he may very well be onto something, and sort of steps back to allow him some leeway. With Camille, Bond finds out that Greene is not interested in oil out in the desert, but that he is creating a drought, blocking up the water supply. It would make him immensely rich and powerful.

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“Everything he touches withers and dies.” – Dominic Greene

Camille wants revenge on Medrano for her family’s murder, and Bond wants to find out who is at the heart of the Quantum debacle, and how it all fits together. Someone needs to be held responsible for having shot M as well as robbing Vesper of her life. Will Camille get what she wants? Will Medrano pay for his sins? Will Greene gain power through successfully creating the drought, and will Bond ever work his way back into M’s good graces? Will he figure out how Quantum fits together as well as what exactly they are up to?

Quantum of Solace scores a 7/10. While most definitely not the best film of the franchise, it was not nearly as bad as criticisms would have you believe. Daniel Craig again knocks you out the park with his portrayal of Bond, who is still reeling from the loss of Vesper, and holding her accountable for everything that he feels. He is driven by a suppressed rage and serious anger problem, and is rather blasé about how he approaches most life and death situations, although you can see dying is not an option for him. I was not particularly impressed with Olga Kurylenko, she is not a particularly fascinating Bond girl overall. I just want to comment and say that I thoroughly enjoyed the theme song, Another Way To Die, but then that might be due to my being a Jack White fan. Whatever. Mathis’s death was terribly sad, and illuminated more of Bond’s character, and the relationship between M and Bond continues to impress. There were most certainly plot holes and some flaws, and Mathieu Amalric did not really impress me as the villain. He was definitely not the worst, and had a lot going for him, just something about him did not… dominate as much as you would expect a villain to. I understand that they wanted to show more of a monster integrated into society, and that they nailed. Some homage was paid back to previous Bonds, but not enough to have this whole film be a knock of to its predecessors. Felix Leiter as a character was a little bit not himself for this, and his partner was a damned pain in my toe. Overall, not a bad movie, though definitely not the strongest in the series but holds up well, a large part due to Daniel Craig’s performance, I am sure.

Review: Casino Royale (2006)

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“Money isn’t as valuable to our organization as knowing who to trust.”
– Mr White

James Bond (Daniel Craig) gets his 00 status after cleaning out some treacherous MI6 staff. As a newly appointed 007 agent, he is sent to Madagascar to capture an international bomb-maker and acquire who they are all reporting to. When Mollaka, the bomb-maker, realizes that he is being tailed, he heads for the nearest embassy. Things end badly when Bond is unable to bring Mollaka in, and shoots him to death instead and sets off a massive explosion. He does, however, have to phone, and moves on to more promising issues. Bond breaks into M’s (Judi Dench) home and goes through her personal machine. She gives him off time, in which he goes to the Bahamas after tracing the text on Mollaka’s phone to an Alex Dimitrios (Simon Abkarian), who is connected to banker and terrorist financier Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen).

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“Any thug can kill. I need you to take your ego out of the equation.” – M

M realizes what Bond is doing, though she is furious that he stole her passcodes and hacked into her account to do his research. Bond seduces Dimitrios’s wife, and discovers that her husband is on the last flight out of the country. He follows Dimitrios to  Miami, where he kills him while figuring out what he is up to. In a clever plan, Bond finds out who Dimitrios was making a drop for and follows the man to Miami International Airport. Le Chiffre is involved with short-selling stock in successful companies and then hosting terrorist attacks against them to ensure he is the one that makes the big cash back. Bond realizes that Le Chiffre’s latest plan is to bomb the new Skyfleet airliner, and makes sure he stops him.

casino royale gambling
“All in. I have two pair and you have a 17.4% chance of making your straight.” – Le Chiffre

Le Chiffre has real problems now thanks to Bond, and is in a lot of debt after having a lost a lot of influential and terrifying people’s money. To get it back, he enters into a high stakes poker tournament at the Casino Royale in Montenegro. M decides that Bond should go there and compete, but only because he is the best player they have. She intends for Bond to win, so that Le Chiffre will be forced to assist the British government in exchange for protection from his old clients. British Treasury agent Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) is sent to be Bond’s cover as well as the money. The tournament has a $10 million dollar buy-in. Bond enters, and progressively loses his money due to ego, pride and arrogance. His local MI6 contact, René Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini) is not impressed, and does not know what to do when Vesper refuses to buy Bond in another hand.

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“I have no armour left. You’ve stripped it from me. Whatever is left of me – whatever is left of me – whatever I am – I’m yours.” – James Bond

CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) comes to Bond’s aid, and supplies him the cash to continue playing. Le Chiffre is unhappy that Bond is suddenly doing so well on his second chance, and attempts to kill Bond, who ultimately survives. When all is said and Bond, much to the displeasure of Le Chiffre, wins the tournament. He celebrates with Vesper, whom he is falling in love with. However, the honeymoon period will not last, and she is kidnapped by Le Chiffre’s men, who it turns out was not in the American’s grasp. Using her as bait, they capture Bond.

Will Bond be able to save Vesper? Will he be able to escape Le Chiffre’s deadly clutches? Will the money safely make it back to the people it belongs to? Will Le Chiffre manage to recover the inordinate amounts of money that he lost so that he will be safe from the terrorists that are hunting him? Who is betraying whom, and will Bond be able to survive long enough to truly enjoy the worth of his 00 status?

Casino Royale earns a solid 9/10. This is by far my favourite Bond film of them all, and embodies everything I expect a Bond film to be. Yes, I can wax lyrical about this film, and I am going to do so now. Everything about this movie worked. The cast was great, the camerawork was wonderful, the action was top notch, the dialogue was good, the story was well presented and laid out, the score worked wonderfully and it was probably the first Bond intro to really impress me (no more gyrating, naked silhouettes, but a story to boot in its own right). Then there is Daniel Craig. He is my favourite Bond of them all, only Dalton being in a similar league. Craig completed what Dalton set out to do – give us a deeper, grittier, raw Bond with more going on psychologically than just sex and guns. For the first time, we get a brief look at Bond prior to being granted his 00 status, as well as what he does with it. Daniel Craig’s agent gave us someone who played by a different set of rules – he is edgy, he is dark, he is flawed. The way his two assassinations prior to his 00 status were done in black and white was pretty cool, too, showing that there was a difference. The love story that was worked in between Vesper and Bond was also good, it had a little more substance than we are used to seeing from Bond. Mads Mikkelsen, as ever, was simply amazing, and gave us a fresh, new villain. I was again reminded that he is truly an underrated actor. Hopefully we will be seeing more of him since his breakthrough in Hannibal… It would be lovely. The stunts in Casino Royale were well executed. Overall, this was a great way to reboot a franchise that desperately needed some phenomenal reviving. Bond’s gadgets were also limited a lot more in this one, which made me happy. The show was not stolen/killed because of some technology. Eva Green was an absolutely gorgeous Bond girl, truly a stunning lady. The relationship between M and Bond is also pretty awesome in here. Really, I have gone back to Casino Royale the most over the years, and it never ceases to thrill me. In my opinion, it is the best Bond film of the series.

James Bond: 50th Anniversary DVD Box Set

Oooooh thank you, Mother! What a fantastic, wonderful and highly appreciated gift! I am going to watch so much Bond it is going to come out of my ears, I can tell you! Ricky told me I am on my own, he is not spending a month or so watching Bond. Never fear, I’ve got this!

In any event, I thought that I would post a review on what the box set actually looks like. I mean prior to ordering it I could find virtually nothing to actually show me hands on what this set looked like. Apart from a lone video or two on YouTube, I was going in blind. There was slightly more to view if you bought Blu-ray, but not enough on the DVD set. So this is more for the people who, like me, would like to have a good look at what they are buying, and for those who are not always buying Blu-ray.

Also, I am going to start a Bond Friday, so until I have finally watched all of these movies, there will be a Bond review at the end of each week.

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The exterior of the box set is stunning. It is a sturdy gloss box cover (sort of like the really nice hardcover books that you get, the coffee table ones). It features the six 007’s from the last five decades, with a gorgeous gold swirling and BOND 50 emblazoned over the front. The spine pronounces the celebration of fifty years of Bond. The base of the box has a list of the twenty two Bond movies contained in the set.

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As you can see, it is a slot box. A stunning black book-type slips from the case, plain black with BOND 50 stamped onto it in gold lettering. It is also on the back of the box.

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It looks very pretty once taken out. As you can see, it is plastic “pages” so to speak that hold the DVDs in the book-type folder. The materials used are truly lovely, feel fantastic, and there is no cheap feeling about the set whatsoever; the construction is wonderful!

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Inside the box set, the first five Bond actors appear on the left and the inside fold. The DVDs are stacked two to a page, and they are all a uniform black with a grey 007 on each one, and a gold title for each film.

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Another depiction of the pages and the look of each disc. They clip in and out of the holders nicely, and the first DVD does not have to be removed to take out the second one, seeing as the first one is set slightly higher, so the second one just slips out beneath it should you want to watch the bottom one.

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The box set includes a slot for Skyfall, which I own and was incredibly eager to put in, so my pictures show Skyfall as a part of the box set already. The fact that there was a space for the movie was so great, because it means the box set gets to remain pretty uniform, and has an added kick, keeping all the movies together. Granted, the DVD lable is one that is different, but that is completely alright!

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Taking Skyfall out of the predefined slot that was inserted, Daniel Craig joins the Bond lineup right at the back.

The films themselves are great, having the video and audio remastered, it looks and sounds beautiful, and the menus are pretty cool, too, giving the options to “Initiate Mission”, “Mission Select”, “MI6 Commentary” or “Language Decryption”. This truly is a gorgeous box set, whether for yourself as a fan or someone you know. It looks so nice in any collection, and is worth the spend!

Review: Dream House (2011)

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“Once upon a time, there were two little girls who lived in a house.”
– Will Atenton

Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) moves his family into what is supposed to be his dream house, a new start on their lives and a positive spin on their future. His wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz) is an artist, and takes to moving into a new home with gusto. Their two daughters, Dee Dee (Claire Geare) and Trish (Taylor Geare), move with them. One evening, the girls come screaming to their father, who is trying to write his new novel after resigning from the publishing business – there is a man outside, a man with a funny face.

dream house familyWill does not take kindly to this, and soon discovers that some man has indeed been watching his family. He attempts to keep it under wraps in fear of scaring his family and ruining their dream of staying together in peace, love and harmony, but Libby knows he is keeping too much to himself. The house’s past is revealed: a family was brutally murdered in the house by the father, who was the only survivor even though his wife shot him in the head.

Teenagers gather in the basement, worshiping Peter Ward in that sick way children do when they are obsessed with death but lack the understanding that comes with it. Will banishes them from the house, but he needs to know more about the house, and goes on a mission to find out what really happened to the family that night, and wonders why the police are not very helpful in catching the perpetrator that has been stalking his family, and why the neighbours treat him the way they do. His neighbour, Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts) is more forgiving, and seems to have a soft spot for Will.

But what happens when you find out you are looking for the wrong answers? Will’s life collapses when he makes the gruesome discovery that he is Peter Ward, that he killed his family, and that he was the lone survivor. The elaborate world that has been created in his head and fueled by his dream house prevent his family from ever really leaving him alone, and Ann lets Peter know that she does not think he killed his family.

Can they piece together the mystery of what happened that night? Is Peter, in actual fact, the killer of his family, and will he have to find a way to come to terms with that? Will Peter ever find a way to move on with his life and bear the stigma of being labelled a psychopathic murderer?

I rate Dream House scores 5.5/10. I was lost for a little when they let the Peter Ward cat out of the bag so early, and they floundered for a while and then found their footing again. I really did not know what they were going to do with the movie after the big secret dropped, but they managed. I felt Dream House was an exceptionally sad movie, and it was actually pretty depressing at times. It was not a phenomenal movie, but truly it had its moments, and the execution was not too shabby, either. There were some serious plot holes, but not so severe (well, a little) as to cast the movie into oblivion. Overall, worth a look see at the very least.

My cinema sucks!

I want to tell you about my innate disappointment in my movie theatre here in Nelspruit. I am heartbroken that we will not have Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie play here. I have been waiting for years, earmarked the release date, got prepared (I was completely let down by his last movie, Dark Shadows) and then waited. Well, 26 October 2012 came around and rolled away with no apparent airing on the horizon. Eventually I could not take it anymore and I phoned the cinema. It is not on our cards to have it here, sorry, deal with it. The rest of my country got it, why not us?

I suppose our cinema here is the worst. And I mean the absolute pits. When The Dark Knight came in 2008, it was literally only played here for roughly a week.  That was a huge title to bin like that!  They did, however. Rush Hour 3 played for four months! How does that even work?!

So through my depression of having to wait for Frankenweenie to release on DVD, I had to make sure that they were still bringing my last two highlights of the year: Skyfall and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Luckily for the theatre, those two are very much still in store for us. So I am pre-booking my tickets for Bond next week (I only see certain films on the big screen, and I always make sure that I pre-order and see it on opening night as movies never seem to last long here). I cannot wait for it! I love Daniel Craig as Bond. He is my all time favourite 007. I know that there are so many people that will not agree with me, but so what? He brought something fresh and new to the secret agent franchise.

That is all I wanted to share, just vent a little about how useless they are here, and how disappointed I am. Oh well, I shall soldier on!