Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Update: Shame-Faced

The spin-off blog lives! Rosemarie crosses The Bridge at San Luis Rey.

Movie: Casino Royale (2006)

Loved it. Coming from someone who has cited James Bond and Bugs Bunny as his two formative influences, that’s high praise.

The black-and-white intro, followed by a dazzling title sequence, had me in the movie’s corner. (The song, not so much. Chris Cornell is no Shirley Bassey.) The ending completely won me over, especially that closing line. For a lifelong 007 fan, it packed a wallop. As the credits roll, you realize that they’ve rebooted the entire franchise. Leaner, meaner, darker, more relevant. Hell, it even has parkour in it.

I have to single out the final action sequence, set in a Venetian villa, as a model for how slambang ought to be done. Nowadays these scenes typically rely on flashy editing, but nothing generates suspense like knowing where characters are in relation to each other within a well-defined space. Director Martin Campbell – a craftsman in the best sense of the word, whose BBC miniseries Edge of Darkness remains one of the finest programs I’ve ever seen on television – conveys all the particulars in a handful of shots. Within seconds you know that those tanks are keeping the building afloat, and that elevator is going to be a problem. Don Siegel would be proud.

Sports: Suited, Not Booted

The NFL’s sideline dress code is actually a cover for a fat merchandising deal with Reebok. But two head coaches – the 49ers’ Mike Nolan and Jacksonville’s Jack Del Rio, who has a name right out of a Gold Medal paperback – lobbied for and received permission to wear suits in a throwback to the days of Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry. They donned the Reebok-designed duds this weekend, so I rooted for the sharp-dressed men. This meant going against the Seahawks and the Giants, two teams I normally pull for. But standing up for men’s fashion is more important, damn it.

For the record, both teams won. And Reebok is now considering a men’s suits line. Meaning we’re all winners.