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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 2002, 02:22 AM Thread Starter
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Bang! Splat! Kapow! Must Be That 007






Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in "Die Another Day."




Halle Berry as Jinx in "Die Another Day."


MOVIE REVIEW | 'DIE ANOTHER DAY'
Bang! Splat! Kapow! Must Be That 007
By A. O. SCOTT


I'M gonna avoid the cliché, delay the pleasure," Madonna sings during the opening credits of "Die Another Day," the 20th James Bond picture in 40 years. These words may provoke an ambivalent reaction. On one hand, something fresh and unexpected would not, at this point, be unwelcome. Nor would some teasing before all the big, eye-popping explosions start.

But on the other hand, don't we go to these movies precisely to savor the familiar: the sports cars, the shaken vodka martinis, the knowingly stale elbow-in-the-ribs sexual innuendo, the pop song during the opening credits? And isn't our taste for Bondage built around a desire for immediate gratification? Not to worry. By the time Madonna's electronically enhanced chirps emanate from the soundtrack, we've already witnessed some extreme surfing off the coast of North Korea, an armored hover-craft chase across the DMZ and fireballs that bloom like a bouquet of toxic peonies. Madonna herself shows up a bit later, in a black leather bustier, playing a fencing instructor named Verity. (Verily!) In any case, it would have been foolish indeed for Lee Tamahori, the director, and Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who wrote the script, to depart too drastically from the formula, and they don't. This is a big, noisy blend of globe-trotting, coy sexuality and cartoonish political intrigue, solidly in the Bond tradition. But happily the filmmakers have been smart enough to push this story — at least until its noisy, turgid ending — in some interesting and surprising directions, making it perhaps the most satisfying Bond movie since "The Spy Who Loved Me."

There is, for instance, that credit sequence, in which computer-animated fire and ice maidens gyrate over grisly images of torture, as Agent 007 (Pierce Brosnan) is plunged repeatedly in a tub of ice water, stung by scorpions and beaten senseless by uniformed thugs. The man who emerges from these sessions, and a long sojourn in a dank North Korean prison cell, is scarcely recognizable.

Freed in an exchange of prisoners, he staggers across the border filthy and scarred, his hair long and matted and his face obscured by a shaggy beard. (This dishevelment pays off in a witty scene at a luxurious Hong Kong hotel.) And Bond's humiliation does not end there. "You're no use to anyone now," says M (Judi Dench), crisply relieving Bond of his license to kill.

Part of the fun in seeing Bond brought low lies in the certain knowledge that he will triumph in the end. His enemies, luckily for him, share an essential trait with those who have gone before them. Given the choice between a quick, efficient method of killing and one that calls for long speeches and slow-moving high-tech machinery, they can be counted on to choose the latter.

The beginning of "Die Another Day," which opens today nationwide, also has the effect of making the suave superagent sympathetic as well. Mr. Brosnan, in his fourth tour of duty, may not be the definitive Bond — an honor that will always belong to Sean Connery — but he is the most human.

Mr. Brosnan, as he nears 50, has a thicker face and a stiffer gait than he did in his callow "Remington Steele" days, and he shows emotion more readily than any of his predecessors. This Bond is curiously vulnerable, decidedly flappable underneath the cynical urbanity. At especially perilous moments Mr. Brosnan's features register panic, fatigue, pain and — in an exquisite scene of rescue that should be the movie's ending — tenderness.

Not that he's gone all sensitive or anything. He may dabble in trendy cocktails — ordering a mojito instead of the standard martini during a visit to Havana — and appear without a necktie frequently enough to make you wonder if Her Majesty's Secret Service has instituted a casual Fridays policy, but the essential Bond DNA has not been altered. (DNA alteration, by the way, figures prominently in this movie's extravagantly intricate plot.)

Moneypenny (Samantha Bond, no relation) still pines for 007, Q (John Cleese) once again outfits him with the latest gadgetry in the weary certainty that it will all be trashed by the end of the mission, and 007 still has his way with the ladies. There are two: both of them, in keeping with the series's accommodation of changing social mores, steely professionals.


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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 2002, 02:29 AM
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Yum, yum, yum. I can't wait to see Halle. This is one video that I'll definitely be buying!!!!!!


Tasty, tasty.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 2002, 02:37 AM
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Bright Red... You like black girls, don't you?! *wink wink*

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 2002, 03:21 AM
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Among others, I do. :blush:

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 2002, 07:17 AM Thread Starter
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"Die Another Day"
Pierce Brosnan is relaxed, Halle Berry has a catsuit to die for and the gadgets are awesome. It's flawed, but it's the best 007 flick in 20 years.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Stephanie Zacharek

Nov. 22, 2002 | It's a testament to the eternal optimism of moviegoers that nearly everyone looks forward to a new James Bond picture. It never matters how disappointing the last one might have been: The franchise, which is now 40 years old, has come to mean something more than the sum of its highly inconsistent parts. For one thing, the series is safe as milk that's been neither shaken nor stirred -- grannies of many stripes will happily watch the older Bonds (and maybe some of the newer ones) on the telly when they show up.

At the same time, there's still something vaguely disreputable about the Bond movies; it's more an aura than a theorem that can be proved. When they're bad, they leave us feeling disappointingly clean. But when they're good, we walk away feeling just a little dirty -- a bit treacherous and elegant ourselves, if only for an hour or so.


With just a bit of streamlining, "Die Another Day," the 20th Bond picture, might have left us feeling very, very dirty. As it is, the movie is hobbled by an overblown climax that feels tacked on, a trundling, sorry patchwork of needless explosions and weary derring-do that reads like an apology -- a coda thrown in, at great expense (these are big explosions), in case we didn't find the rest of the movie exciting enough.

That's a shame, because right up until that climax -- which mucks up the movie's last half-hour or so -- "Die Another Day" has plenty of the wit and style that the Bond movies have been missing for the past 20 years or so. Pierce Brosnan, who has played Bond in the last four movies, has sometimes been a perfectly adequate 007 and sometimes a disappointing one, depending largely on what's going on around him: He's elegant and often very human, but he's also rather stiff, as if he has sometimes found it hard to compete with so many deafening explosions and can-you-top-this stunts.


"Die Another Day"

Directed by Lee Tamahori
Starring Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, John Cleese, Judi Dench

Brosnan has been livelier in pictures like "The Thomas Crown Affair" and "The Tailor of Panama" than he has in any of his first three Bond movies; in "Die Another Day," he seems to have finally brought it all together. He's both relaxed and sly, and his lines have a nice ring to them, like the satisfying ping you get when you tap a piece of fine crystal. And in the best Bond tradition, he isn't afraid to play the fool occasionally.

When the terrific "new" Q (not that the late, great Desmond Llewellyn can ever quite be replaced), John Cleese, shows 007 some of the new gadgets, Bond looks him over and takes a good-natured jab at him: "You're cleverer than you look." Cleese's Q coolly sends it right back at him: "And you're looking cleverer than you are." Brosnan's Bond takes it like a gent, with an unabashed little laugh that shows he knows he's been topped.

Perhaps Brosnan is particularly good here because for once he's actually been given something to do. At least until that ill-advised climax, director Lee Tamahori, whose credits include "Once Were Warriors" and "Along Came a Spider," and writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade seem to have taken care to give us something different from the same old Bond. Tamahori seems out to entertain us rather than just impress us, and that distinction makes all the difference.

For the 2.9 percent of the population who expect a contemporary Bond movie to be a model of coherence, it's crucial to note that the plot of "Die Another Day" doesn't make a whole lot of sense, although there are moments when Tamahori fools us into thinking that maybe it will. In the opening sequence, Bond is captured in a demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, after botching an assignment to kill a power-crazed baddie.

When 007 is finally released, he zigzags across the globe, from Hong Kong to Cuba to London to Iceland, to track down that villain's right-hand man, the steely Zao (Rick Yune), who's pretty easy to spot, thanks to the glittering diamonds that have been embedded into his cheek after an unfortunate accident with an exploding briefcase.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 2002, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 2002, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Kiwi finds critics have licence to kill
23 November 2002

Kiwi director Lee Tamahori has shaken but hardly stirred the critics with the latest James Bond movie Die Another Day.

"This is a sharper, edgier Bond, in which first-time Bond director Lee Tamahori allows a smidgen of character work to creep in," said The Hollywood Reporter.

But critic Kirk Honeycutt said the film had so much action "audiences may be fatigued. Competition among Bond directors to top one another has provoked stupefying overkill".

Tamahori, from Porirua, moved to Hollywood after the success of Once Were Warriors in 1994. His films have included Mulholland Falls, The Edge, Along Came A Spider and an episode of The Sopranos.

New York's Village Voice said the plot was "idiotic" and the first third of the film was grim before it descended "into the usual deafening twaddle". Critic Michael Atkinson said criticising a Bond movie "was like calling a dog stupid".

Entertainment newspaper Variety dubbed it "a mid-range series entry that sports some tasty scenes but also pushes 007 into (computer effects)-driven, quasi-sci fi territory that feels like a betrayal of what the franchise has always been about".

Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers said Tamahori's direction was energetic but the film dragged a bit. "The explosions dull with repetition and the one-liners lack the flair of the Sean Connery Bond films," he said.

Britain's The Guardian said Tamahori's effort was "cheesier than Roquefort in the microwave ... it's as if Austin Powers never happened".

The Sun praised Tamahori's film as "a fantastic action movie". But it said the film lacked the panache of predecessors. "It seems more a case of satisfying sponsors and financiers than 007 fans."


Die Another Day opens in New Zealand on January 2.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 2002, 04:08 PM
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Halle Berry Looks Very Tasty
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 2002, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Who knows...Haile just might win anothe Oscar based on her performance in this movie.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 2002, 05:45 PM
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Or at least "Best Costume"!
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 2002, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by CHOCO
Who knows...Haile just might win anothe Oscar based on her performance in this movie.

ummm, no.

She really deserved last year's Oscar (though I wanted Nicole to win), but this year it's sooo full of stellar performances.

Nicole in the Hours, Renee Zelweger (sp) in Chicago, Julianne Moore in Far From Heaven...
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 2002, 06:22 PM
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You Mean That Halle Can Act, Too!?


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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 2002, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Barrie_Dude
You Mean That Halle Can Act, Too!?


Without her uttering a word, Halle would get my vote (and anything else she might want).

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 2002, 10:55 PM
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guys, Pierce Brosnan is in this movie too
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 23rd, 2002, 02:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Barrie_Dude
You Mean That Halle Can Act, Too!?



I was stunned by the realization myself.


Quote:
guys, Pierce Brosnan is in this movie too

Piearce who?!
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