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44 Inch Chest [Blu Ray]: a man is left shattered when his wife walks out on him, so he and some unsavory friends kidnap Casanova and figure out how to best resolve the situation. Instantly obvious is the unimaginable level of crass language and nasty homophobic terms oozing from your speakers for the duration… it’s almost too much, yet it provides a strangely soothing and lyrical/rhythmic effect when intertwined with the cockney rhyming slang script. It also somehow feels genuine and integral to the situation and characters. With a strong play-like feel (long scenes, one main setting, and dips in and out of pretentiousness) it’s very much an ‘actor’s film’, and each cast member gets your undivided attention to shine at some point. The breakdown of the main character means you’re never really sure what’s real and what’s not, which is also a bit surreal. I’ve never really rated Ray Winstone as more than a typecast, but this absolutely ripped my heart out – his eyes and the speech about love being a hard graft are as good as it gets. McShane easily has the best character, best flashback and most room for fun; which he clearly laps up. There’s some lovely black comedy, and great usage of cinematic tropes – particularly music to manipulate. The BD picture and sound are average, although the content’s not really HD worthy. More than anything else, 44 Inch Chest the tale of a broken hard man being challenged by several stereotypes of stock British gangster characters – which keeps it interesting for the duration. Because of the off kilter tone and excessive offensive language you can’t safely recommend this, although it could well be one of the best sleeper hits you’ll ever see… I guess time will tell.

Score: 7/10

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: essentially an English language, scene for scene, character for character and detail for detail re-make of the Swedish original film adaptation. The over-stylised James Bond-esque opening credits paired with NIN industrial techno Led Zep remix are fantastic, and promise something fresh/new; unfortunately the rest of the film fails to deliver as it copies almost everything from the original. Most annoyingly, it’s still set in Sweden and full of Europeans talking in ‘svee-deesh’ – it’s like watching a professional dubbing of the original. Character-wise, Daniel Craig is good, but Nyqvist has the edge as the flawed idealist journalist; Rooney Mara is very watchable as Lisbeth Salander, but it feels like a good imitation of Rapace’s portrayal. In all honesty, both pairs of boots were almost impossible to fill. The rest of the cast deliver, but again, have very little room to put any new stamp on the characters. As a stand-alone film, it is good (although it would have been hard to mess up sticking to the original). All is not lost though, as the 2nd/3rd Swedish films weren’t perfect, and have far more room for improvement. As someone who saw and loved the original, this lacks any of the impact that the modern twist on the classic murder mystery had – this just feels redundant and unimaginative. Expected a something better from a director of David Fincher‘s calibre.

Score: 7/10

Review of the original

Octopussy: When agent 009 gets killed holding a fake Faberge egg MI6 put their best spy on the case, which leads Bond to a plot involving an Indian Prince, crazy Russian general, some chick with eight vaginas, a circus, a nuclear bomb and prospect of WWIII (again).

Pleasuring Octopussy - You're doing it wrong!

It’s somewhat sad that the most memorable aspect of this film is it’s terrible stereotype – India is summarised by elephants, tigers, coal walkers, beardy wise men, snake charmers, motorised rickshaws, belly dancers, bed o’ nails men, and the one thing everyone must do when in India – a Tarzan swing complemented with the Oo-aa-oo-aa-ooo!!!! Not contempt with offending one nation we see a lovely German couple offer Bond some beer and wurst…

Turbon, Check. Beard, Check. Indian Musket... Check.

On the up-side, this film ties two of the staple evil schemes into one film: one is the tried and tested Cold War / WWIII / nuclear threat complete with the ticking time-bomb scenario; the other is an underground smuggling operation that Bond must smash to pieces.

Tick tock... looks strangely familiar

Women play in interesting role in Octopussy: Bond is bailed out by a female agent in the opening mini-mission, helped tremendously by Octopussy who’s quite the strong character (although wooed by James – obviously), there’s a whole island of empowered red-jumpsuited women (some also wooed by James – obviously). Things are finally looking up for the ladies!! Oh… wait…

Cutting edge technology means only one thing: cutting edge perversions.

… the unbelievable rapid camera zoom in and out of a lady’s cleavage!!! Seriously!? I wonder if women even have the right to vote yet in Bond’s parallel universe!?!

What's that rule about strangers and cars again... ?

Other footnotes are Bond’s suspiciously well-fitted waistcoat (stolen from a guy 1/2 his size), the crocodile stealth boat, awesome car on the train tracks scene, ridiculous British hot-air balloon, Bond straddling and sliding down a staircase towards a nut-buster, and yet another groan of the immortal “Ohhhh Jaaammeeesss”

Cheer up Roger, only one more film to go!

By this time, Moore had explicitly wanted to leave the role, and it’s safe to say that he’d done his time, however with Never Say Never Again (unofficial Thunderball remake starring Sean Connery) being released the same year – EON believed that an established Bond like Moore would be required to draw in as large a crowd as possible. Maud Adams also returns as another Bond Girl. No complaints from this guy though.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee - can't remember who's who

All-in, Octopussy’s probably one of the most lackluster films of the 22. Some aspects like the stereotyping, you want to forget straight away, other aspects like the Villains, Henchmen and action are so generic that they’re hard to remember.

Score: 3/10

Penelope Smallbone (left) was due to be Monneypenny's replacement... turns out the public preferred GILFs. Unfortunate.

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Kamal Khan & Soviet Madman – respectfully smart and mad but totally forgettable. 4
Henchmen: Beardy mental turbon Gobinda – Possibly posessed. Knife throwing brothers. Super metal yo-yo man. 4
Bond Girl: Anorexic chick with stupidly long hair / Octopussy with her 8 vaginas / Bianca at start! 7
Action: Mini-jet, spalstick moped chase, jungle hunt, bomb, car chase, airplane. 5

India's Yo-Yo champ!

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The Tourist: an American tourist has a bad case of mistaken identity when the police and Russian gangsters believe he’s a wanted criminal. Step back for a second and consider the following: biggest actress in Hollywood; biggest actor in Hollywood; Oscar-winning director; writer of Usual Suspects; re-make of an interesting French film; and Timothy Dalton! On paper this is cinematic gold, however, on celluloid, it’s so far off the mark. To call the casting of the mains ‘stale’ would be an insult to the word – Jolie plays a seductive siren (good English accent though!) and Depp is an eyebrow-wagging bumbling idiot. Both appear to turn up, force themselves through the motions, then laugh to the bank. What’s worse is that the stronger supporting cast all share a handful of short scenes. The slow-paced story uncomfortably meanders towards an unsurprising finale – that doesn’t make any sense in hindsight. Not unlike The American, this is more of a throwback to the classic thriller films (than their trailers would suggest), but where Clooney actually acts the part, a vacant Jolie just stares on as the lens slowly zooms in on high-fashion clad arse, legs and neck – a big indicator of how weak everything else about the film is. On the plus side it’s efficiently shot, classically lit and what you see of Venice looks nice. The final product is OK, and just watchable but if you want to see Jolie frolic with some Russians and a few plot twists, Salt was far better.

Score: 3.5/10