March 13, 2007

DVD Pick of the Week: Casino Royale

Another quiet week of releases is upon us. It is probably a good thing, now you can go and see 300 a few more times. You have seen it, right? Well, it not, make sure you do, it is an amazing film and a gorgeous cinematic achievement. Now, for those of you who have had your fill of the Spartan warriors, this week does offer a couple titles of interest within its meager offerings.

This week's pick is the twenty-first official go around for legendary superspy James Bond. Yes, that's right, this week's movie to see is Casino Royale. The movie introduced a new actor to take up the mantle in Daniel Craig, as well as taking the character back to his roots and showing us how he back the double-0 that he we know him as. It also takes the lead of 2005's Batman Begins, delivering a film that is grounded in a more realistic universe, eschewing the over the top camp that has afflicted the series from time to time over the years.

This is the second filming of the story, the first time was in 1969. It was a spoof with a cast that included Woody Allen, David Niven, Peter Sellers, and Orson Welles. That was then, this is now. The new Casino Royale is anything but a spoof. It is a smartly written, high octane spy thriller that pleased me to no end. Craig proved to be a formidable Bond, smart, tough, and with a look that carries much weight in the eyes. It ably tells the origin story of the world's most famous spy, showing us a Bond that is not nearly as polished as we have seen in the past, but we see the seeds planted for the man that he will become.

The DVD is being released as a two disk set, with extras including how Craig became Bond, a look at Bond's ladies, and a journey into the stunts of the film. It is also being released in the Blu-ray and UMD formats, not to mention the dreaded "full screen" formatting.

As always, remember that this is but a sampling of what is out there. A list of titles I found to be most worthy of inclusion, for good or bad reasons.

Also out this week:
  • The Holiday. This past holiday's romantic comedy arrives on DVD, I missed it on the big screen, but may check it out now. I do like the cast, which includes Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, and Jude Law.
  • Harsh Times. Take to the mean streets of Los Angeles with Christian Bale as he looks for work and struggles to deal with what he saw while in Iraq. This is an unflinching film with is gritty and once again prooves Bale's considerable talents.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning. All I can say is "Why?"
  • Dokken: Unchain the Night. Aaaah, memories of days gone by. This is a newly transferred version of the band's VHS release with some new interviews. This band had it's "80s" moments, but did manage to turn out some good music. I don't care what you may think.
  • Sublime. The second release from Raw Feed, which previously released the mediocre Rest Stop. This time it brings star Tom Cavanaugh to ahospital ward where strange things are occurring.
  • Bloody Reunion. A Korean slasher film, finally, no ghostly girl! This is about a group of former classmates reuniting with their former teacher when they start getting killed off. Sounds like fun.

What are you getting this week?


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