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Quantum of Solace

In General, Movie Reviews, News, Reviews on November 16, 2008 at 12:59:08 am

Quantum review header

Disclaimer: I’m a lousy writer, and there may be spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution.

I went to see the midnight Calgary premiere of Quantum on Thursday night (Friday morning, for those who actually care), and I must say, it was good. Not mindblowing, but good.

The film opens minutes after the ending of Casino Royale, with a spectacular car chase throughout the tunnels and a quarry in Italy, reminiscent of the foot chase opening in Royale through the construction site. It’s a rather short pre-titles sequence, which then cuts to one of the best title animation sequences I’ve seen in Bond history. Interestingly, the start of the film after the credit sequence takes place mere minutes after the pre-titles sequence ended, which is a rarity in the world of James Bond.

This rapid-fire pace barely lets up over the course of the entire film, which is both a blessing and a curse. It keeps you riveted to the screen unlike almost any other film that I can think of, however it also makes the already short film feel even shorter.

Things I Really Liked

If this entry in the franchise is nothing else, it’s the only Bond film to date that’s an art & design film. The set design is especially beautiful, with stark, modern furnishings that reflect Bond’s coldness. He’s learned his lesson in love and trust and is still feeling the pain of the loss of Vesper. All of the set design, from the black & white, modern hotel to the observatory seem to reflect this. The ESO Hotel, in particular, will go down as one of the greatest Bond sets in the series’ history.

As mentioned briefly (and linked) above, I felt that the title sequence (designed by newcomers MK12) was astonishing. It foreshadowed the film’s climax beautifully, and reintroduces those sexy title sequence girls (you know what I’m talking about). Since it doesn’t have the geometric “drawn” style of the Royale animation, it’s much, much better.

Most of the film is beautifully shot, with breathtaking imagery and gripping action sequences. Sadly, it does get claustrophobic at times, due to (presumably) short lenses, which make it feel less glamorous than it should be. Even the typography during location changes is stunning.

The chosen actors and actresses in this film are surprisingly excellent in their roles. When I first watched the behind-the-scenes footage, nobody really stood out as being a Bond actor. However, after seeing their performances on the big screen, I was impressed by the casting.

Other things I enjoyed were the continuation of the gritty, serious feel, the soundtrack, and the skilled direction of the film by Marc Forster.

Things I Didn’t Like

The major problem with this film is that it doesn’t feel like a classic Bond film any more. But maybe our expectations were wrong. If the producers kept churning out copies of old films, I wouldn’t be impressed. Therefore, I propose that we give the newest generation of Bond its own designation. Dr. No through Die Another Day are all very formulaic, and therefore are “classic” Bond films. Being a reboot, Casino Royale abandoned all sense of continuity, and therefore should be considered the “new” James Bond. But I digress…

The plot in this film is a bit thin. In some ways, that’s a good thing – the oft-most criticized part of Layer Cake (another Daniel Craig film) is the complex plot. But it didn’t have the immediate scariness of Thunderball, for example, with the villain holding countries hostage with atomic power. This film is more realistic, and with that, a certain fantastical magic that Bond films have traditionally had is lost.

The only other critique I could offer of this film is that it was far too short. I believe that they could have spent more time telling the story and it would be just as interesting (if not moreso) and nudge the 2:00 mark quite comfortably.

Final Rating

10 – Thunderball, Goldfinger and Casino Royale
9
8
7 – Quantum of Solace
6
5
4
3
2
1 – Die Another Day, Moonraker

Verdict: Action-packed and edgy, but somehow lacking Bondian magic.

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Tomorrow is a Big Day in America

In News, Politics on November 3, 2008 at 1:35:52 pm

“Get Smart” is being released on DVD. Oh, and there’s that election thinger.
I usually stay away from politics on this blog, but I have a compulsion to point out people who simply have lost the plot.
Draginol, on JoeUser, doesn’t really like Obama. Like, at all (each one of those is a separate link). But, let’s face it, the alternative is much, much worse. Obama seems like a pretty good guy with solid views.

Moby, on the other hand, supports Obama. He’s written quite a lot of entries in his journal about politics, and one of my favourites cropped up today. Have a look.

So Here’s Something Interesting…

In Interesting, Music, News on October 31, 2008 at 1:11:04 am

Deadmau5’s “Not Exactly” sounds an awful lot like Glenn Morrison’s “Contact”. Have a listen:

Windows 7

In Apple, Interesting, News, Tech on October 28, 2008 at 1:02:58 pm

I know this post is going to come off all Mac-fanboy-ish, but it must be said.

Jump lists:

OS X’s dock menus:

Window peeking:

Expose:

New system tray, which users are in control of:

OS X’s menu bar (which I am in control of):

Note: if you’re wondering why there are some funny characters in these screenshots (like the O’s above), I’m mucking around with a system font with an incomplete character set.

OS X is handling these features simpler, more elegantly, and better.

 

Images from Ars Technica.

So, Innerpartysystem’s New Album…

In Interesting, Music, News on October 1, 2008 at 12:57:41 am

…only has 2 of the 6 tracks that were on their Download EP. Tracklists:
The Download EP
1. Don’t Stop
2. Heart Of Fire
3. The Way We Move
4. Night Is Alive
5. The Lovers Dancing
6. The Lovers Dancing (Remix)

Innerpartysystem
1. Die Tonight Live Forever
2. Last Night In Brooklyn
3. Don’t Stop
4. Structure
5. Everyone Is The Same
6. Obsession
7. This Empty Love
8. New Poetry
9. This Town, Your Grave
10. Heart Of Fire
11. What We Will Never Know

It’s a pity they didn’t include The Lovers Dancing or The Way We Move. Both are excellent songs.
Huh…

The new album is great, by the way. Kinda disappointed in the album mix of Don’t Stop vs. the EP version. The EP “Don’t Stop” is much, much better. Great album. Check it out on iTunes or Amazon.