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insisted that the franchise would largely be starting from scratch with this, the 21st film, but let’s face it: Not employing that beloved tune was a serious miscalculation. Fortunately, it’s about the only one. In most other respects, Casino Royale ranks among the best Bond films produced over the past 44 years. It easily swats aside the Pierce Brosnan Bond flicks, while new star Daniel Craig vies with Timothy Dalton for second place as the screen’s best 007 (it’s doubtful Sean Connery will ever relinquish the gold). Casino Royale was actually the first Bond book penned by Ian Fleming, so it’s fitting that it serves as the source material for this refashioning of the series. Basically, this new film wipes away the previous 20 installments by going back to when James Bond was first promoted by M (Judi Dench, the only holdover from the Brosnan years) to the level of a double-oh agent with a license to kill. Bond’s first mission of import is to enter a poker tournament being held in Montenegro’s Casino Royale, where he’s to prevent Eurotrash villain Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), a personal financier of the world’s terrorist organizations, from emerging victorious and collecting the sizable pot. Aiding him in his assignment is Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), a treasury agent who proves to be Bond’s match in the verbal sparring department.

BOBBY 

For all its fast and loose playing with the facts, JFK was a remarkable movie that,

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except for some tepid domestic scenes between the Kevin Costner and Sissy Spacek characters, exclusively focused on the Kennedy legacy and how his death impacted a nation. Bobby, on the other hand, is as much about Robert Kennedy as Stone’s World Trade Center was about 9/11 -- it uses a national tragedy as a springboard for a more generic Hollywood product. Set in Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel in the hours leading up to Kennedy’s assassination at the hands of Sirhan Sirhan, Bobby is inspired by the 1932 Oscar winner Grand Hotel (referenced in the film) as well as by the sort of multistory TV shows director Emilio Estevez grew up with (Hotel, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Supertrain, etc.). So while Democratic staffers are busy prepping for Bobby’s visit, other soggy dramas are being played out in the site’s corridors and rooms. The hotel manager (William H. Macy) passes the time by cheating on his wife (Sharon Stone) with a switchboard operator (Heather Graham) and by handing walking papers to the bigoted employee (Christian Slater) in charge of kitchen operations. A Mexican busboy (Freddy Rodriguez), upset that he has to miss an important Dodgers game because he’s being forced to work two consecutive shifts, finds a sympathetic ear in the philosophical cook (Laurence Fishburne). A boozy nightclub singer (Demi Moore) picks fights with her manager-husband (Estevez). A former Ambassador doorman (Anthony Hopkins) reflects on all the great leaders he greeted over the years at the front of the posh establishment. A hippie (Kutcher) sells drugs from the comfort of his hotel room. There are a few nice speeches about the American future that Bobby represents if he can get elected president, and the final portion of the picture, with Kennedy’s own words being heard over the aftermath of his fateful encounter with Sirhan Sirhan, exhibits a power and poignancy missing from the rest of the movie.

THE FOUNTAIN1/2

The word from the Venice Film Festival, where The Fountain first saw the light of day, was that the latest work from writer-director Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Pi) is a dull and pretentious slice of sci-fi silliness, at once too cerebral and too slowmoving. Funny, a lot of folks once said the

same thing about Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and now it’s routinely considered one of the two or three greatest science fiction films ever made. Mind you, I’m not placing The Fountain on that esteemed level, but to dismiss this out of hand is to miss the overriding passion that Aronofsky pours into every frame of his wildly uneven but always watchable epic. Perhaps inspired by his muse, real-life fiancee (and mother of his child) Rachel Weisz, Aronofsky has penned a love story that spans the centuries -- yet that’s only part of the tale. Jumping back and forth between past, present and future, the film stars Hugh Jackman as Tomas, a Spanish conquistador sent by Queen Isabel (Weisz) to locate the Tree of Life. It also casts the actor as Tommy Creo (the surname meaning “I create” in Latin and “I believe” in Spanish), a scientist working 24/7 to find a cure for his wife Izzy (Weisz again), who’s dying of a brain tumor; his only hope seems to be the recuperative powers found in a piece of tree in his possession. Finally, Jackman appears as a Tom of the future (Tom Tomorrow?), a 26th-century loner who travels in an orb through space with a tree that contains the spirit of his deceased beloved.

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION 

Christopher Guest’s so-called “mockumentaries” have been blessed with a generosity of spirit, a willingness on the part of their creator to allow a different member of the tight-knit ensemble to break out in each production. In 1996’s Waiting for Guffman, it was Guest himself who shined brightest, as the sweet-natured theatrical director Corky St. Clair. In 2000’s Best In Show, Fred Willard was a comic marvel as the lewd play-by-play announcer Buck Laughlin. And Eugene Levy’s work in 2003’s A Mighty Wind, as the fragile folk singer Mitch, was so memorable that he deservedly earned the Best Supporting Actor award from the New York Film Critics Circle. In For Your Consideration, the spotlight belongs to Catherine O’Hara, though it must be noted that Parker Posey trails by only a couple of steps. The film is Guest and company’s swipe at all the hoopla surrounding Oscar season, with O’Hara, Posey, Harry Shearer and Christopher Moynihan cast as actors whose latest

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What’s Playing Where CARMIKE 10

511 Stephenson Ave. • 353-8683 Deja Vu, Deck the Halls, Happy Feet, Let’s Go To Prison, Tenacious D, A Good Year, Harsh Times, Stranger Than Fiction, Flushed Away, The Prestige, Facing the Giants

REGAL EISENHOWER SQUARE

1100 Eisenhower Dr. • 352-3533 Bobby, Fountain, Casino Royale, Borat, Santa Clause 3

WYNNSONG 11

1150 Shawnee St. • 920-1227 Bobby, The Fountain, Casino Royale, Borat, Santa Clause 3, Saw III, Marie Antoinette, Man of the Year, Departed, Open Season, For Your Consideration

REGAL SAVANNAH 10

1132 Shawnee St. • 927-7700 Deck the Halls, Deja Vu, Happy Feet, Tenacious D, Let’s Go To Prison, Stranger Than Fiction, Flushed Away, The Queen

All info current as of the Monday prior to our going to press. film, an indie project called Home For Purim, is being touted as a possible Academy Award nominee. As Marilyn Hack, the cast member deemed most likely to earn an Oscar nod, O’Hara delivers a tour de force performance, channeling all the hopefulness, rage and despair that will doubtless strike a chord with aging, frequently unemployed and quickly forgotten thespians all across Los Angeles. Posey also benefits from landing one of her best screen roles to date, as the eccentric young actress whose defenses against future career disillusionment slide as she similarly gets caught up in the prospect of landing a coveted nomination.

TENACIOUS D IN THE PICK OF DESTINY 

Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny gets off to a fast and furious start. We see the portly kid JB (Troy Gentile) enduring a verbal trashing from his uptight father (Meat Loaf) before receiving words of encouragement and advice from the Ronnie James Dio poster hanging on his bedroom door. Dio’s advice: Get thee to Hollywood. And so it’s off to La La Land, and by the time he arrives, JB is now a grown man played by Jack Black. He hooks up with a struggling musician

Profile for Connect Savannah

Connect Savannah November 29, 2006  

Connect Savannah November 29, 2006  

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