Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Review: Quantum of Solace

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Movies,News and Current Events,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:07 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous


Originally uploaded by Network Geek

I saw Quantum of Solace Friday night, but I’m just getting to review it now.

I have to admit, when Daniel Craig was revealed as the newest James Bond, I wasn’t impressed. But, after seeing Casino Royale, my opinion on the subject changed. Dramatically.
Quantum of Solace, in spite of the goofy, contrived title, is, if anything, better than Casino Royale ever thought of being. In fact, unlike all previous Bond movies, this is the first movie that’s not based on a book or story from Ian Fleming.  UPDATE: I’ve been told by a pair of Bond fanatics at work that this is incorrect.  Goldeneye is the first Bond movie not based, at least in part, on an Ian Flemming story of some kind.  This is, however, the first movie that is an obvious and direct sequel that really doesn’t stand entirely on its own. This let the script writers do some things that they might not have been able to do otherwise. For instance, this movie continues from where the last one ended. In fact, it really sort of helps if you see Casino Royale right before going to see Quantum of Solace, because things will make more sense. Honest.

Quantum of Solace starts with Bond running from pursuit by both classic, unnamed “bad guys” and police. It turns out that he’s running because he has Mr. White, who’s responsible for killing Bond’s lady love in Casino Royale, in the trunk of the car.
Mr. White, in classic “War on Terror” fashion is tortured somewhere off UK soil to get information out of him. But, instead of cracking, with the help of a turned agent in MI6, White escapes. Bond, naturally, gives chase. And chases the whole organization through the rest of the movie. Though it’s not clearly identified, I think, Quantum is the name of the vast criminal organization to which Mr. White belongs. Of course, the chase runs through several exotic and beautiful locations, not to mention the two very exotic and beautiful women that Bond meets along the way.
I won’t ruin the movie by revealing the rest of the plot, but there are a few twists and turns that you won’t expect. Also, an homage to earlier Bond films, including Goldfinger. And, there are quite a few car chases and intense action scenes. The villain is a little weak, especially compared to Craig’s Bond. The only thing that wasn’t there were a lot of gadgets. Oh, sure, Bond had a super cell phone and there were some cool computer gadget things, but those are really almost here now, if they aren’t already.

I won’t say this is the best James Bond film ever, but it’s got to be in the top five, for certain. I’d definitely see this again if the opportunity presented itself. And, no matter what anyone says, Daniel Craig makes a great James Bond.
If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor and go see Quantum of Solace!


Review: The Dark Knight

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Movies,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:57 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous


Originally uploaded by Network Geek

I saw The Dark Knight today.

I feel confident that this is going to be the best movie of the year. I have to admit I was a little dubious based on the massive amount of publicity the movie’s gotten and all the rave reviews my friends gave it. I mean, when they compared Dark Knight to the Godfather movies, well, I thought the reviewer had lost his mind, but I think they may be onto something.

So, the Dark Knight picks up where Batman Begins left off. Batman Begins retells the origin story of Batman in a way that’s closer to the original comic than the first movie did. This movie continues with that story, though Maggie Gyllenhaal replaces Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawson and Aaron Eckhart joins as Harvey “Two Face” Dent. Christian Bale still plays Bruce Wayne/Batman, with Michael Caine as Alfred and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, not to mention Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon.
The story opens with Batman fighting a number of criminals in a parking garage, along with some Batman copycats sort of getting in his way. He seems to find the whole thing a little depressing, having copycat vigilantes. He’s also sort of looking for a way to retire, once the city is safe from organized crime. For this, Bruce looks to Harvey Dent, the Gotham District Attorney. He’s the last honest man, outside of Jim Gordon, in the city and he’s putting away plenty of criminals. He’s also dating Rachel Dawes, much to the pain of Bruce Wayne.

Well, it seems he has his work cut out for him when he goes up against a new kind of criminal, the Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger. He’s scarred, both physically and mentally, and appears in makeup to hide both. But, his crazy shows through both when he kills his accomplices and offers to kill the Batman, for a fee. So, off he goes, in his crazy way, using random violence and our own worst nature against us.

Well, I don’t want to give away too much plot, because you all really have to see this movie, so I won’t tell you more, but it is a violent roller coaster through a dark world of back alleys and sub-levels and ruined buildings. There are explosions and guns and more explosions and hand-to-hand action and car chases. But, oddly, there’s also a fair amount of philosophy, brilliant dialog, and social commentary. But, none of that stuff gets in the way of the story or the action.
The sets and cinematography are brilliant, too. Oh, and most of the movie was shot in Chicago and near where I worked for several years. I kept seeing things in the background that totally reminded me of home. In a good way.

I’m sure I’ll see this movie again, possibly on IMAX. The friend I saw it with today had already seen it twice before and was talking about seeing it again. Dark Knight is one of those movies that you can watch many times, finding more each time you watch it. It truly is the best of the Batman films and, really, is one of the best films I’ve ever seen.
I cannot encourage you enough to see this film. If you see no other movie this year, make it Dark Knight.

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