Category Archives: Movies and TV


About 2 weeks ago, we saw Stardust with Jot, a good friend of Lisa’s who was visiting for the weekend.  I’ll start off with two confessions:  while I haven’t read a lot of his work, I do enjoy Neil Gaiman and the worlds he creates.  And, when I was younger (high school/college), I had a thing for Michelle Pfeiffer.  If there was one actress I thought was absolutely gorgeous, it was her.

Stardust is a fairy tale, the story of a man who enters a magical world and finds his true love.  There are a number of twists and characters along his journey, and it takes him a while, as it seems it often does in these things, for him to realize who his true love is, but he gets there.

The characters are the best part of the movie.  Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro play very over-the-top characters that are enjoyable to watch on screen.  The plot is somewhat standard.  And it, of course, has a happy ending.  But, I liked that, unlike some Disneyfied stories, this one had more of the original Grimm feel to it.  People die.  Sometimes violently.  This is mitigated a bit by them coming back as ghosts and providing some comedic relief.  But, they die nonetheless.

I was intrigued enough by the movie that I will definitely find the book by Gaiman that this was based on and see what his original version was like.  Definitely recommended.

The Bourne Ultimatum

Ack!  Lisa and I have actually seen more movies recently than my updates imply, but I tend to fairly quickly forget about them, especially by the time I get to the blog.  So, a couple of quick hits here.

About a month ago we saw The Bourne Ultimatum, the third installment of the Bourne series.  In this one, Bourne learns about who he is and how he came to be this super-spy/assassin that he is.

Lisa and I both enjoyed this.  It is sort of a “smart man’s” action film.  There is the intrigue associated with his past and how he became what he is.  And lots of action.  There were some good twists as well.  And, for all of the deadly skills Bourne has, I think he only directly kills one guy, who is trying to kill him.  That particular fight sequence was pretty damn cool.  I also liked that not all of the characters you think are going to be important survive.  Just like would happen in real life, if a person like Bourne really existed in real life, of course.

The only thing I didn’t like too much was the jittery camera.  I know why they did it, and it did give the film a bit of an edgier feel, but it also made some things hard to follow and to focus on.

Overall, I enjoyed this probably final installment of the Bourne series.  The ending was a bit disappointing, I felt, just because it maybe had too much of the standard happy Hollywood ending, but that is a minor quibble.  I definitely would recommend this movie to anyone who likes action movies.

Casino Royal

Lisa and I just watched Casino Royal last night. I’d already seen it on the way back from London, but had missed a few parts (I had a hard time hearing some of the dialog through the accents). I still had a hard time, but got most of it, I believe.

I thought it was a great addition to the Bond series. I hadn’t realized the first time, but one thing that was very different in this one was that the villains weren’t so over-the-top. Usually, the villain is bent on world domination. Not always, with the one Dalton movie being an example, but typically. This one also didn’t depend on the far-fetched technology. I think that the most sophisticated bit of tech Bond uses is the remote blood analyzing kit. Because of that, I think this Bond film felt a lot more grounded, a lot more realistic.

For the most part, I felt the plot was solid. As usual, there are times when it relies heavily on coincidence. If just a small thing here or there happened differently, Bond would have no hope of saving the day. But, this time, it didn’t rely upon the deus-ex-machina of hi-tech. And, for that reason, the special effects were much more subtle and believable. The “free running” sequence through the construction zone in Madagascar was particularly impressive.

The only thing I didn’t quite follow is at the end. Warning! Spoilers follow…

When Vesper Lynd, Bond’s partner and later girlfriend, delivers the winnings from the poker game to the bad guys, I didn’t quite understand her reasoning. I guess by this time she has given up on her French-Algerian boyfriend (not sure really what role that detail served… was she also reporting to Le Chiffre? If not, why complicate things with her being blackmailed?) She supposedly has saved Bond’s life by promising to give the bad guys the money. So, she is withdrawing that money to deliver to them. To me, it seems that she is thinking one of two things:

  • she doesn’t want Bond to know she is doing this because, if it works, they are just out the money and he is none the wiser. However, if this is the case, then why leave him clues as to what she is doing? She leaves her cell phone and the message about Mr. White for Bond to find.
  • she goes expecting to die. In this case, why not tell Bond so Bond can help her? Is she trying to protect Bond? This seems to be what M is alluding to when she talks with Bond, but then she shouldn’t have left the clues because that would induce Bond to come chasing her.

All I can figure is that she hoped it would work (the transfer of money would go smoothly) but that she feared it might not. So she left the clues for Bond in case she didn’t make it. But, it seems like she should have done something else if this were the case, such as leave him an envelope in the event that she didn’t return.

If anyone has better thoughts on what was going on here, let me know.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed the film and would definitely recommend it. I’ll definitely catch any future Bond movies starring Daniel Craig.