Casino Royale

Director: Martin Campbell
Year Released: 2006
Rating: 3.0

Gritty rethink of the Bond franchise, eliminating the smirking know-how of your Sean Connery and your Pierce Brosnan in favor of perverse genital torture, cardiac arrest and bloody shirts and led by the new, more serious Bond, played by blonde, icy-eyed Daniel Craig. The 007 pictures, to me at least, represent that tiny sliver of my movie-watching soul that wants to see pre-feminist pictures about secret agents, the women they heartlessly seduce and the men they kill (and those gadgets!) - as well as the exotic drinks they drink and the clothes they wear so well and the cars built for them - and this certainly belongs to that Bond Universe: even when Our Hero threatens to let his guard down and become emo, he finds out he's been double-crossed and puts the defenses back up. The complaints you've heard are correct - no, Eva Green will never win an Oscar for acting and yes, it is too long and yes, this Bond World does tend to feed off itself and yes it does seem like one day they'll run out of exotic locations to invade - but I believe most viewers go into the 007 pictures knowing they're for Pure Adolescent Fantasy, and I know I've always been ready and eager for each new Guilty Pleasure, regardless of pros or cons. (For the record, there's are a few Bond pictures I can't stand, and the one glaring one stars a certain George Lazenby.)