The Guest List: Digital Shortbread
Today, I am thrilled to have Tom from Digital Shortbread contributing to The Guest List! If you haven’t been following what Tom’s been doing over at DSB, you’ve seriously been missing out! Aside from his incomparable insight, you’ll be greeted with plenty of interesting tidbits and a chuckle or two over at DSB. So make sure you head on over and subscribe/follow!
Meanwhile, here at The Cinema Monster, we’re always looking for Guest List contributions. So, if you feel the need to partake, the instructions and criteria are posted below!
All you need to do is shoot me an e mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name, website info (if you have one), and the topic you have chosen for your top 10. If I like what I see, I’ll give you the all clear and you can begin composing your entry. Make sure to include a descriptive, yet brief introduction and a picture or clip for every entry in your top 10. Use my own top 10s and other Guest List entries as references. Then, send it back to me and we will discuss a date of publish!
I’m going to hand things off to Tom now, enjoy!
As of late, and much to even my own surprise, I have had my nose stuck in a book. That’s right. A book. I . . . am . . . I am reading, I do read. . .yes, although the activity is far too much of a rarity for me these days. At least, when it comes to good old fashioned paperback-reading. The lovely blogs out here on the internet are mostly where I spend my reading time now, and everything out here is constantly so addicting it’s kind of easy to forget there are other forms of reading to engage in.
Finally, I am getting around to contributing something to one of these great pages I keep in my routine perusings. Joseph’s Guest List is something I’ve been trying to contribute to for some time now, but I’ve just never found the most inspiring topic to talk about, until now. Seeing that I’m deep into the book at this point, I’d figure this would be a good opportunity to take a look at some of the moments from Martin Campbell’s 2006 incredible adaptation of Casino Royale, stand-out moments in the film that I find truly represent James Bond, both the character and the story. Not only does this film qualify as one of my favorites in the Bond franchise, it’s one of them due to it’s successful and total reboot of the character itself, going back to before Bond earned his status as a Double-O agent. In fact it was done so well as to place the film on a short list of my favorite action films of all time. It really is that excellent. Without further ado, here are those scenes:
(These are in no particular order. . . because they are all just equally awesome moments.)
1) Catch me if you can: Sebastien Foucan (“Mollaka”)’s incredible athleticism in the film’s first blood-pumping action sequence marks a new level of ridiculous in movie stunt reels. His pivotal role as an unidentified bomb-maker attracts the attention of Bond, who must stop at nothing to track the man down and attempt to bring him into custody. That unfortunately will not be quite so simple. This scene is not only one of the first action sequences in the movie, it’s one of the best and a simply magnificent combination of using the skill of this unique athlete and a great temperature tester for the film that is to come.
2) “That last hand nearly killed me. . .” While Casino Royale is littered with moments that demonstrate very clearly that we have a tougher, grittier Bond on our hands, there is arguably no moment that accents his hardened characteristics better than when he gets slipped a drink by one of Le Chiffre’s men during a round late in the poker game. This moment is desperate but it is also 100% 007 material. Daniel Craig in this moment is everything I’ve envisioned the guy being.
3) After hours questioning: Mark Casino Royale down as being the movie that features arguably the best and most stunning Bond girls ever. Yes, I’m willing to start that argument right now, and yes I’m prepared to defend my position. Need I mention anything more than the dazzling Eva Green as Vesper Lynd? Or how about earlier in the film, when we are introduced to Caterina Murino’s Solange? Is it fair to say that these two top them all? Probably not. But I’m saying it anyway. Between the two of them, Casino Royale possesses some of the most gorgeous scenery I’ve had the pleasure of ogling for a long long time.
4) “Utter another syllable and I’ll have you killed.” No Bond film is ever complete without a moment of tension between 007 and his superior, M, played with gleeful acerbity by Dame Judi Dench. Shared writing duties amongst Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade seemed to pay off as they really nailed the relationship between these two, and no moment is better than when M discovers Bond in her apartment, casually browsing on her personal computer. What a cheeky bugger.
5) Two orphans, a train and a half-decent plan: There are many things I love about this scene in the high-speed train en route to the high-stakes poker game set to take place in Casino Royale. But it’s the fact that the dialogue that flies between James and his most worthy female adversary in the gorgeous Vesper Lynd, a representative of the British Treasury on this risky mission, is some of the best dialogue found in the entirety of the Bond franchise. As the prickly accountant — who, by the way, isn’t entirely sold on the idea of MI6 pitting 007 in the game to begin with — and an always over-confident Bond get to know one another, words are weapons — they stab like knives and tear into one another’s psyches like bullets out of a chamber of a Walther PPK. It’s brilliant stuff.
6) “Now the whole world’s gonna know you died scratching my balls!” Again, this is one of those scenes I have many, many reasons for declaring it as a top 7 scene in Casino Royale, but. . .ultimately this comes down to the sheer intensity of Mads Mikkelsen’s increasingly desperate and vicious Le Chiffre. The obligatory torture scene is handled with aplomb, rendering it one of the more gut-wrenching yet refreshingly simple scenes in the entire ordeal. And there’s nothing quite like James’ ability to throw out some quips while Le Chiffre sets about busting his balls.
7) Cold-hearted bastard, or bound by duty? This is what we always wonder about the often-ruthless, occasionally affectionate James Bond. A man with a sensitive trigger finger with a strong patriotic compass binding him to his missions. Where does he draw the line though? After he strangles one of his assailants in a hotel hallway, he leaves Vesper in a very fragile mental state and later discovers her breaking down in front of his eyes. It gives him pause, and it opens our eyes to the first moment of Bond finally being aware of his brutal actions. This scene is both beautiful and heartbreaking, and is among the top reasons I think so highly of Casino Royale.