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Casino Royale (IMDB 8.1| CAP 38| Rot 95%)

At the beginning of the previous Bond movie he was held and tortured by the North Koreans. He was later released and was considered highly suspect by Her Majesty's secret service. It was a dark, brutal, and grittier Bond. I was impressed by the turn and was very excited to see what the rest of the movie would bring. Unfortunately, what it brought was an epically cliched space laser cannon melting a big ice castle. Stupid.

Well, I am happy to report that this Bond film is everything that movie was not. The chases heavily use "free-running" stunts, which are a breath of fresh air. (example, example) The plot itself is pretty good. The blonde Bond is sufficiently suave. And, in a surprise twist, the Bond character actually changes over the course of the picture.

The movie sags a bit in the third act. Bond gets all lovey-dovey and kissy-face, while there's a whole lot of dangling plot to resolve. If this weren't a Bond film, then it may have worked, but we've seen more than a score of these movies so far. Let's just say that it was tedious rather than sweet.

Go see it on the big screen. It's fun, sexy, charming, and all the things Bond should be. When you hit the boring part (you'll know it when you get there), take a trip to the loo and you won't miss anything.

Deja Vu (IMDB 7.1|Rot 62%)
A thiller with a just a wafting hint of sci-fi. A terrorist blows up a ferry in New Orleans which is carrying busloads of children and Navy seamen on shore leave for Mardi Gras. (That is not a joke. Apparently they couldn't get a baseball team, your Mom, and apple pie trucks via general casting.) To catch perpetrator, the government uses some funky tech which allows them to see into the past. The trouble is that they can't choose when in the past to look; their view is always 4 days before now.

The many interesting things one could do with this premise are hinted at but are never developed. Regrettably the Get-the-bad-guy plot wins against the can-change-our-destiny theme.

It was fun enough and was mostly harmless. Stick in your Netflix queue.

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